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Battlefield Study Themes

Our Guides are selected to bring the historical campaigns - the personalities, locations and events - to life in an interesting and stimulating way. In doing so we pitch the Study at either the tactical, operational and/or strategic level, depending on the audience. But we also know that 'he who fails to learn the lessons of war live to suffer them' - so we also work hard to draw out lessons for modern warfare - operations in terms of the relevant Phases of War and the unchanging Principles of War in each case.

The Phases of War

  1. Preparation, Planning and Training
  2. Command & Control (C31)
  3. Intelligence & Reconnaissance (ISTAR)
  4. Armoured (Cavalry) Operations
  5. Infantry and Light Infantry Operations
  6. Artillery Support
  7. Logistics & Engineer Support
  8. All Arms Cooperation
  9. Inter Service Cooperation - Air/Maritime Support
  10. Mulitnational/Coalition Operations
  11. Political/Civilian/Military Operations

The Principles of War

These 'critical success factors' don't change over time:

  1. Selection & Maintenance of the Aim
    Commanders must be clear what the aim of the operation is, communicate that aim with absolute conviction and clarity, and then stick to that aim with a clear Strategy.
  2. Flexibility
    Whilst maintaining the overall strategy (Principle 1), retaining the agility of mind to adjust Organisation & Tactics in order to react to changing or unforeseen circumstances.
  3. Maintenance of Morale
    Morale is a battle-winning state of mind instilled by good leadership and team spirit based on a shared purpose & values and well-being.
  4. Offensive Action
    A state of mind which is always seeking to gain the advantage, sustain momentum and seize the initiative.
  5. Security
    Creating the environment - at least at the start of operations - in which friendly forces are best prepared and protected from potential disruption by the enemy.
  6. Surprise
    The obverse of Security: Knocking your enemy off-balance by creating shock and confusion by acting in ways he does not expect, and therefore hasn't prepared for.
  7. Concentration of Force
    Even if outnumbered overall, success is achieved by concentrating superior fighting power at a critical point and time.
  8. Economy of Effort
    Managing manpower, material and time - and holding sufficient reserves - in order to be sure the aim can be achieved with minimum effort/casualties.
  9. Cooperation
    The use of team work to share workload, risks and opportunities at all levels - Allied, Inter Service, All Arms, individual teams.
  10. Sustainability
    The provision of good administration and logistics to maximise morale (Principle 3), fighting power and freedom of action.