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Posts Tagged ‘General Sir John Hackett (Ret.)’

It was recognized that free trade in goods, though to be continued, was likely to be much less important to rich countries in the future than freedom for international and transnational telecommunications.  Now that factories (except in low wage areas) were bound to become more and more automated, people in the rich northern one-third of the world would mostly be in white collar jobs where they would be working with their imaginations rather than their hands.  But people in such jobs would not necessarily need to live near their workplaces.  What should be the nationality and tax position of a Belgian dress designer who lives in Monte Carlo and St Moritz in the winter, at Stratford-on-Avon in the spring, and Corfu in the summer, and does his work by daily telecommunication through a portable console to colleagues and computers at the largely automated textile factory at Volgograd where he works – who becomes, in fact, a telecommuter?
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From: “The Third World War: August 1985
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The wars of the late nineteenth century – the American Civil War, for example and the Franco-Prussian War – were wars of the railway, the telegraph, breech-loading small arms and tinned rations.  The seas were dominated by the ironclad.  At the beginning of the twentieth century the Russo-Japanese War show to any who cared to learn the dominance on the battlefield of the spade, barbed wire and automatic weapons.  The First World War rammed home the same lesson, in a war in which the internal combustion engine, artillery, the submarine, air power and armoured vehicles became the dominant features.  The Second World War was one of worldwide mobility on land and sea and in the air, of total mobilization of population and industrial reserves, of sea power and of air forces.  It ended in the shadow of the nuclear weapon.  The Third World War was widely expected to be the first nuclear war – and perhaps the last.  It turned out in the event to be essentially a war of electronics.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From his book:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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The fighting could hardly have gone on for very long in any case.  Neither side could have sustained for more than a few weeks the expenditure of aircraft and of missile and other stocks – of fuel, for example, and of all manner of warlike stores and equipment – demanded in the modern battle.  Even if the production of munitions of war in the home bases had been possible at the rate at which they were used up on the battlefield, it is doubtful whether, with hostile interference to the lines of communication, supply could ever have kept up with consumption.
The Soviet concept of the application of armed force for the purpose of securing a political advantage, in the state of the art in the last twenty years of the twentieth century and in the circumstances of the time, was thus wholly rational. It was facing an adversary relatively weak in the first instance but disposing of potentially overwhelming resources.  Late twentieth-century war consumed material in such enormous quantities as to put very long drawn-out operations out of the question.  It was imperative, therefore, to secure a position of great political advantage in a short, sharp, violent encounter, starting with the offensive initiative, exploiting as far as possible the advantages of surprise and of a somewhat longer period of preparation than the enemy’s, and reaching a chosen strategic objective before the enemy could bring his superior resources to bear and while stocks were still sufficient to sustain intensive action.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From:  “The Third World War: August 1985
[This quote is very similar to one I offered a few days ago.  The point is the same and it is one which was repeated in the cited book:  modern warfare needs to be quick and over.  It is also “best” when conducted by proxies rather than principals – particularly if it can’t be either brief or decisive.  This is because of the logistic and manufacturing requirements of modern warfare.  You need to have a large stock of logistics – ammunition, trained warriors and supplies – AND you need the ability to replenish the logistics as quickly and as continuously as possible.  National / internal manufacturing is better than buying internationally because it shortens your supply chain.  The counter to this is that it makes your manufacturing base an object of attack for an enemy seeking to break your logistics chain.  This is why factories are strategic targets.    —    KMAB]
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In absolute terms, moreover, the mass and volume (to say nothing of the cost) of all that was required, particularly in fuel and munitions, to maintain an army in field operations at an intensive rate against a similarly equipped opponent, was now very great.  It had taken a quantitative jump since the Second World War.  Warfare in the Middle East in the seventies had shown this very clearly, if on relatively small scale.  It was just no longer possible, at the rate at which stocks could now be exhausted, to sustain intensive operations of war for months on end.  Head – and equipment – counts were no longer the true measure of an army’s capability.  Formation in large numbers could be a liability rather than an advantage unless they could be kept effectively in action.
The Soviet war-fighting philosophy, from whatever origins it may been evolved, was in the circumstances of the 1980s exactly right.  It enjoined the initiation of total and violent offensive action, swiftly followed through to the early attainment of a valuable objective.  The position of military advantage thus secured would then be exploited by political means.  Speed was everything. The corollary was that failure to secure the objective in good time must result in a thorough-going reappraisal, in which to continue to press towards the same end might very well be the least sensible course.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From the “future-history” novel:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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History is not an exact science.  And ‘the historian of the future’ is as much artist as scientist or academic.  But the futurologist cannot be taken lightly.  He bases his conclusions on perceived trends, and his predictions themselves may possibly have some effect on the future:  in helping either to prevent his predictions coming true or to realize them.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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Colonels and generals are expected to fight moving, active battles, always seeking an advantage from the use of terrain, surprise and mobility.
Generals are expected to concentrate defending forces in front of the main thrusts of the enemy so that the fighting troops do not have to meet a greater ratio of strength against them than three or four to one.
The captains and their troops have learned that modern weapons in the defense can and should inflict losses on an attacker, in comparison to their own, of well over three to one.  They have learned, in short, that a successful defense against considerable odds is possible.
    —    General Sir John Hackett (Ret.)
From his book:  “The Third World War:  A Future History
The book was “written” by General Hackett and “others” and purported to be a “future history” of a war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.  The “war” ends following a limited tactical nuclear exchange which leads to a revolution in Russia.
[With the delays in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, much has been said about the failure to overwhelm the militarily over-matched defenders.
Ukraine vs Russia (In Theater)
Armed Forces 200,000 850,000 200,000
Fighter Aircraft 69 772 193
Attack Aircraft 29 739 185
Helicopters 112 1,543 386
Attack Helicopters 34 544 136
Tanks 2,596 12,420 3,105
Personnel Carriers 12,303 30,122 7,531
Self-Propelled Artillery 1,067 6,574 1,644
Towed Artillery 2,040 7,571 1,893
Mobile Rocket Launchers 490 3,391 848
What isn’t clear to me is how many of Russia’s forces are actually “in theater” and committed to the invasion.  The numbers I’ve seen indicate approximately “200,000” Russians were gathered for the invasion.  This is (again approximately) 25% of Russia’s forces.  If we assume a similar ratio across the board for other assets, the numbers are far less indicative of an assured success for the invasion.
In military theory, it is almost a given that the attacker needs a six-to-one superiority in order to have a reasonable “guarantee” of success against a prepared defense.  (This is why you concentrate forces at breakout / breakthrough points.)  Three-to-one superiority is considered the bare minimum to have a reasonable “expectation” of success.
Based on the above numbers, the “only” Russian advantage is in attack aircraft (29 vs 185).  This is an even greater advantage than just the numbers indicate as attack aircraft serve as force multipliers for both your tanks and your ground forces.
IMHO this invasion will succeed or fail based on three factors:  logistics, will and geography.  If the Russian forces can maintain their supply of fuel and ammunition, they will have the advantage in a war of attrition.  If Ukraine can maintain their will to fight in the face of both heavy civilian losses and questionable munitions resupply from other countries, they will make the war / occupation unsustainable for Russia.  Finally, we should recall Russia invaded and then dominated Afghanistan for almost twenty years before finally being driven out.  Afghanistan is roughly the size of Texas.  Texas is only about 10-15% larger than Ukraine.  There is a vast amount of land to hide in and fight from IF you have the will to do so.  So far, the Ukraine people have shown the will…
Of course, all of this assumes Russia does not choose a tactical nuclear option…    —    KMAB]
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