• Military Thought
  • 2006-06-30MTH-No. 002
  • Size: 15.7 Kbytes .
  • Pages:214-218.
  • Words: 2525


Author: V. S. FROLOV

Col. V. S. FROLOV (Ret.)

Candidate of Technical Sciences

Alexei Voevodin's Stratagems have been issued for the third time now.1 Though the stratagem term has a modern European definition, its original meaning is associated with the Greek concept of "warfare, " "ways of conducting military operations" and even "military deceit." At present, this term is applied to define the algorithm of a military commander's actions aimed at accomplishing assigned missions, as well as the rules (sometimes extraordinary ones) he has to follow or, vice versa, he has to neglect. The systematization of stratagems dates back to ancient China, where it turned out that military commanders used only 36 of them. The world has greatly changed since then, and as the author points out, he got to know much more stratagems due to long years of service in the elite of the Soviet special forces, namely KGB. The author could have suggested his own classification of stratagems, but he decided to use the Chinese methodology as a basis. Sometimes it is quite reasonable, but in some cases it makes the author give prolonged explanations while "bridging" definition gaps to present day.

The most ancient stratagem-"to raise a stink in the East, to advance in the West"-implies the diversion, the most well-known maneuver in the military art. To confirm the importance of this postulate the book demonstrates a concrete example from World War II history-Japanese sudden attack on the U. S. marine base in Pearl Harbor (on December 7, 1941). Nobody expected attack that morning, since Japan had been continuously demonstrating the build-up of its aggression against continental Asia. The contradictions with the USA didn't seem to be irreconcilable.

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