Military strategies and tactics are essential for military organizations to pursue a desired strategic goal. Broadly stated, is the set of ideas implemented by the aforementioned to plan, coordinate, and give general directions in order to meet the overall political and military objectives.
It appeared as a means to improve the planning and conduct of campaigns, movement and disposition of the troops, employment of weapons on the battlefield, and deception of the enemy as well as eroding enemy resources. Over the years, they have been perceived differently depending on the specific time period, as technology evolves and society is changing its shape.
Although strategy and tactics are different concepts, they have always been difficult to distinguish because the two are interdependent (in the 20th century, tactics have been termed operation strategy). Yet, tactics are supposed to secure the objectives defined by the military strategy. Their change, meaning, and scope have been largely defined by the enormous changes in technology, with the appearance of more automation systems.
Regarding the interdependence, although tactics are used to achieve the objectives set out by the military strategies, these strategies are also highly dependable on the tactics available (in regard to training, size, moral of forces, number and type of weapons, weather, terrain, and enemy characteristics).
Although military strategy dates back to the origins of human warfare, its development is connected to the growth, spread, and clash of civilizations, the evolution of the modern state power and ideology as well as technological refinements. Some early strategies and tactics combined infantry, cavalry, and primitive artillery into a trained fighting force, but all was revolutionized with the appearance of gunpowder during the Middle Ages.
The age of the modern warfare was born with Napoleon I, as the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars revolutionized military strategy by producing a mass a patriot army grouped in loose divisional formations, and later into corps, with such great complexity of warfare that a rudimentary general staff emerged under Napoleon. This period also impacted the American Civil War and the early phases of World War I.
Withal, with the rise of mass ideologies, global alliances, and rapid changes in technology since the 19th century, military strategies have become difficult to distinguish from grand strategies, which are national strategies that involve using diplomatic, military, informational, and economic resources as opposed to people, equipment and information.
As regards the classification of strategic and tactical maneuvers, which along with their variations have been studied over time in the field of military science, it appears that there are classical types of maneuvers that have not been impacted by the evolution of technology and, self-implied, weaponry. These strategies can be either offensive or defensive, along with some concepts followed such as strategic or economic concepts.
Some of the classics concerning offensive maneuvers include penetration (a main attack that attempts to pierce the enemy line followed by an attack on the rear once through), envelopment (a secondary attack that attempts to hold the enemy’s center while one or both flanks of the enemy are attacked in a push to the enemy’s rear, threatening their line of retreat and communication), turning movements (indirect approaches that attempt to swing wide around an enemy’s flank to threaten their supply and communication), but also, defensive-offensive maneuvers (including attacks from a strong defensive position after the enemy forces have been drought).
Concerning the defense maneuvers, these can be divided into mobile defense (defeating the enemy with a decisive attack; it requires defenders to have a greater mobility than the attacker, luring them into the best position in order to counterattack), area defense (relies on synchronization, control, and distribution of fire, combining both static defensive positions and small mobile reserves to retain ground), and retrograde (that can be divided into withdrawal, delay, and retirement).
Although this material has presented the classical techniques, these are constantly improving as society and technology evolve. The Journal of Global Security and Military Studies presents articles that approach these techniques more profoundly as well as introduces you to the future.