THE ART OF TACTICAL DEFENSE

Author: A. I. KALISTRATOV

Col. A. I. KALISTRATOV (Res.)

Candidate of Military Sciences

Alexander Ivanovich KALISTRATOV was born in 1946 in Ukraine; in active service with the Armed Forces from 1964 until 1996; education: the M. V. Frunze Military Academy and post-graduate school; command positions: platoon commander, deputy battalion commander; staff positions: operations department officer, senior operations directorate officer at a military district; teaching staff positions: instructor, professor; since 1996, retired serviceman of the Russian Army; professor of the Tactical Art Department at the Combined Arms Academy of the RF Armed Forces.

Defense as a Component of Warfare*

Defense, being a type of combat action, is essentially a reactive form in which one of the opposing sides realizes its combat capability. Defensive operations are almost always a retaliatory reaction to initiative displayed by an advancing adversary. The form of this reaction can vary: It can be the holding of positions and delivery of preemptive or retaliatory strikes, or even shifting to the offensive (counteroffensive). Not surprisingly, Karl von Clausewitz defined defense as waiting it out plus action.1

In any event, the ultimate objective of the defense will be neutralization of an attacking force-i. e., rendering it into a state when it is no longer possible to continue the offensive with its deployed forces. Achievement of this objective creates prerequisites for seizing initiative by the defending side through shifting to the counteroffensive in the interest of completing the routing of the enemy's advancing (striking) forces. Karl von Clausewitz defined defensive action as a rapid and effective switching to the offense-the shining sword of retaliation.2

The main method of achieving defense objectives is depriving the adversary of its offensive capability by using stand-off weapons and assets to rout its attack


* Warfare is understood here as simple or expanded confrontation between armed subjects.

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