Sunday, January 17, 2016

Military Power (Cont'd 3)

Previous parts of this Military Power "thought-stream" by me are here:

Military Power, Start 


Continued 1 

and here:

Continued 2 

Culture. As was stated not for once by many military people--brains are not enough. Of course, they are necessary condition for any successful military but, alone, are not sufficient. Culture, defined as behavioral matrix, based in values, in perception and feeling of right and wrong, the way duty is defined, societal attitude towards the war, among many other factors, that is what makes a huge difference. In the end, the war itself is a cultural affair. Even the way morale (high, average or low) asserts itself within military is a cultural matter, esprit de corps'  is a derivative of culture. It is only when "brains" and culture coalesce into a single entity, the assessment of Military Personnel could be given with some degree of accuracy. It is then, that some, however conditional (and inaccurate), numerical value  can be assigned to this coefficient "C", and even then, this number being a mathematical expectation, that is weighted average of all possible states of, say, military morale. Let us get back to Napoleon's maxims: "An army's effectiveness depends on its size, training, experience, and morale, and morale is worth more than any of the other factors combined". 

We can review a simple example of such mathematical expectation of morale. Other factors which go into this coefficient "C" could also be viewed through the prism of mathematical expectations since the war...well--it is probabilistic in  nature. Nothing is certain in war. Consider this: let's say we have an abstract army which fights a prolonged campaign with different outcomes. Throughout the campaign all sub-units of this army, from platoon, company and way up to a division level, provide honest (good luck with that) reports on the morale (or fighting spirit) after each engagement with the enemy. This sum is then calculated and averaged, in the army's staff, for the whole army. If we to assign (for the sake of experiment, it could be useful later for other applications) three different values to the morale's states, we can get something like that: 

Low Morale: 3
Average Morale: 5
High Morale: 7 

Calculating the average of these three values (which is 5) makes absolutely no sense until we can really figure out how to get this army's performance based on weighted morale values. But let's say, that this army fought a total of 10 battles in this campaign. In 2 of these battles, the army performed poorly and exhibited a low morale, that is 3. So, we can calculate now the probability, based on this campaign, of low morale: it is 2/10=1/5 or 0.2, that is 2 battles fought with low morale divided by total number of battles in this campaign, which is 10. Say, in 4 of these battles, the army exhibited an average, that is 5, morale. By analogy, the probability of an average morale, based on this campaign, is 4/10=2/5 or 0.4. What is left are 4 battles fought with high morale and that gives us the probability of high morale as 4/10=2/5 or 0.4. Now, we are ready to calculate our mathematical expectation for morale:

  E[Morale]= 3 x 0.2+5 x 0.4+7 x 0.4=0.6+2.0+2.8=5.4

In other words, when comparing this imagined army to other armies which were judged by the same, or similar, metric we can say that we can expect, based on described campaign, the morale in our army to be slightly above average, 5.4, which, in the end, can be used as an element while calculating our coefficient "C', being one of its constituent parts. Of course, this example is just that--an extremely simplified, to the point of being vulgar, example, but what this example opens for us is a window into the importance of history. After all, we calculated our expected value based on historic performance of the army in 10 battles of a campaign. Of course, we can play with mathematics and metrics all we want, we can expand our sample space, we can give different values to morale and expand grades from low-average-high to twenty or even thirty grades. In fact, we can tie morale to outcomes and even create some graphs (with the best fit) but none of it ever will give number to this "unquantifiable", in the words of Israeli flight leader, connection to own culture and history which, in military terms, define WHAT FOR and HOW TO

In immortal War And Peace, Leo Tolstoy came up with the idea of differential of history. Yes, I know, damn calculus again. Tolstoy writes: "To study the laws of history we must completely change the subject of our observation, must leave aside kings, ministers, and generals, and study the common, infinitesimally small elements by which the masses are moved.....Only by taking infinitesimally small units for observation (the differential of history, that is, the individual tendencies of men) and attaining to the art of integrating them (that is, finding the sum of these infinitesimals) can we hope to arrive at the laws of history....To the imperfect human mind not all information can be available in a snapshot, and so it is reduced to ignorance or at best probabilistic reasoning." Indeed, Obercommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) thought that in 1941 it would have to merely, in the words of Hitler, "kick the door" and the whole building of USSR would collapse. The probabilistic reasoning was so strong, especially after the lightning victory in the West and gross miscalculations on the issue of Soviet morale and combat qualities, which provided Wehrmacht with cultural shock of facing the enemy who simply refused to give up. But then again, the outcome was per-determined by Nazis' refusal to see Russians (and other peoples of the USSR) for what they really were, not untermensch as overall Third Reich's state doctrine prescribed. But the issue of the Eastern Front and quality of military personnel on both sides in WW II (or Great Patriotic War as it is known in former USSR) is a separate topic in itself and it is NOT within the "Western" military paradigm for a number of strategic reasons, among which is "West's"  having nothing of like in its history is one of the most important ones. It is this reason which gives a very good explanation to "West's" infatuation with some of the most despicable a-historic propagandists and hacks of Solzhenitsyn or Victor Rezun (aka Suvorov) "caliber" who "interpreted" Great Patriotic War into the only lingo which "western elites" understand--self-congratulatory mythology of own might and self-righteousness. Where it all led to we can observe today all over the world and the picture is not pretty. But then again--this is what happens when prescriptions on how to fight wars are written by incompetent triumphalist lawyers, journos and "political scientists" who have no touch with military realities or real history. But, to be fair, a significant number of "Western" military scholars DID attempt to study war for what it is and, when speaking about  real war, that is war of nation-states, came up  with or, rather, noticed one determinant of Military Personnel which Russians discovered long ago and which is an axiom, whether seen through the eyes of Marxists or  Herbert Spencer's liberals--The Social Dimension Of Strategy.

 In 1984, Michael Howard noted in his "The Forgotten Dimension Of Strategy": "But Marxist military thinkers, without differing in essentials from their contemporaries in the West, naturally devoted greater attention to the social dimension of strategy--the structure and cohesiveness of the belligerent societies....Their picture of the world in which oppressed peoples are kept in a state of backward subjection by a small group of exploitative imperialist powers bears little resemblance to the complex reality...But the West is in no position to criticize. The stereotypes which we have imposed, consciously or unconsciously, on the political structures that surround us, have in the past been no less misleading...We appear to be depending on the technological dimension of strategy to the detriment of its operational requirements, while we ignore its societal implications altogether. "
"The Art And Practice Of Military Strategy", National Defense University, Washington D.C., 1984, pages 88-92. 

The importance of Howard's succinct observation is in the fact that NO serious discussion of Military personnel (if to follow CINC model which we are following here) is reasonable without overall assessment of the society, which produces the said Military Personnel, as a whole. The quality of this Military Personnel IS the quality of the belligerent society, because REAL wars are fought by societies, not just by armies. Sure, the conventional wisdom must tell us that throughout the XX century, at least, the best Military personnel was that of a Germany. Arguably, Wehrmacht's personnel was the best throughout 1940-1943. But, in the end, be it in WW I and, especially so, in WW II, Germany lost both wars as a nation, as a state, as a belligerent society. In social metric, which covers also this personnel quality, Nazi Germany turned out to be  no match for Soviet people, their tenacity, heroism, sacrifice and  will. Neither were soldiers of Napoleonic France, nor Polish invaders, nor Teutonic Knights and the list is very long.  As David Glantz and Jonathan House observe about WW II:

 The bulk of "Western" scholars of warfare would rather not deal with these conclusions. It is especially true for Anglophone world, which never experienced, nor could it, by the virtue of its safe geographical position, anything comparable in scale. When the issue of the Military Personnel is taken for consideration outside of the social, that is structural, framework it is inevitably reduced to what amounts to fanboys' penis measuring contests in linear comparison of, very often dubious, statistics within particular operation or battle. This is an amateurish approach when dealing with the primary issue of military power since, as was stated already before, it is not linear and it rings especially true for the factor of Military Personnel. In the end, as conventional wisdom goes, winning a battle and a war could be two very different propositions. During WW II, American and British soldiers exhibited more than enough heroism and military professionalism which earned them respect and admiration among peers. But neither British soldiers nor, especially, American ones fought  what would be defined a continental warfare in which soldiers would require, in the words of Chesterton, to not so much hate what was in front of them, but rather love deeply what was left behind their backs. British defeats in North Africa and humiliating escape from Dunkirk did not bring British State down, nor could they in the short run. Realistically, for Britain proper, that is not for the empire, naval warfare, especially  ASW and convoy component, that is keeping SLOC (Shipping Lines Of Communications) open, were way more important for national survival than the fortunes  of the 8th Army in North Africa. No British citizen saw or experienced, despite some of them being bombed, any horrors of the warfare on the grand scale which would require, in Clausewitz lingo, the maximum exertion of force not only on the battlefield but across whole society. This is even more true in the American case, where the United States Army could have never landed in Normandy and that would not in any way endanger the existence of American nation, which never experienced anything on the scale of the siege of Leningrad, mass executions of its civilians, destruction of its cities and infrastructure on the industrial scale.  

Neither United States nor Great Britain fought any real war for the survival of their respective nations. Overwhelming majority of the Anglo-warfare is expeditionary and that requires a very different  set of morals and qualities of military personnel, since fighting in some backward  shithole 7 000 miles from the glitz of downtowns and shopping malls of major urban centers and peaceful safety of middle town USA IS NOT the same as fighting at the outskirts of own burning town knowing what comes to it if the battle is lost. The proof of such utter un-preparadness, and of the lack of social and cultural institutions came on a tragic morning of 9/11. These were not, however horrible, terrorist acts, despite being a major failure of US security apparatus, which demonstrated a complete lack of any real American national experience with real war, this was a knee-jerk reaction which followed. To a nation utterly unprepared and unconditioned historically by the realities of the warfare it was easy, to the point of being surreal, to sell "War On terror" which, after 15 years, produced a global mayhem, destroyed nations who had nothing to do with 9/11, saw United States lose a bulk of its political, financial and military capital and, for all intents and purposes, lose wars. Seeing today totally divided American nation, which is the first and foremost symptom of demoralization, it goes without saying that it reflects on US Armed Forces. Even humiliation in Ukraine, when US Army "instructors" to Ukrainian Army were forced themselves to learn, instead of "instructing" was a case in the point: "Our soldiers are doing the training with the Ukrainians and we've learned a lot from the Ukrainians," said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges. "A third of the [Ukrainian] soldiers have served in the ... combat zone, and no Americans have been under Russian artillery or rocket fire, or significant Russian electronic warfare, jamming or collecting — and these Ukrainians have. It's interesting to hear what they have learned." (c)

The Real War 
Thus the conclusion is not only warranted, but irresistible. Until one fought with the enemy at the gates, facing real extermination of not only oneself but much of what is beloved and treasured, until one faced equal enemy, capable of dealing equal fire impact (ognevoye vozdeistvie), until one has a historic record and culture of defending own nation--NO accurate comparison of military personnel is possible. I know of no such record in Anglo-sphere. In the end, even after 25 years of liberal brain-washing, after years of neglect and open sabotage, the speed with which people of Crimea and Novorossya showed their St.George guards ribbons in direct reference to the heroes of Great patriotic War stunned even me. It took "Western" presstitudes about two months to even notice those ribbons, let alone understand their meaning. A single symbol of defiance against all odds was a testament of high morale and determination. This was confirmed later time after time when much smaller armed forces of Donbass dealt one defeat after another to the Ukrainian Army. A genetic historic memory simply kicked in. 

People of Russia, century after century, fought off one invader after another. After losing some battles, Russia usually won her wars. From the battlefields to the industrial and agricultural rear, to the diplomatic cabinets, no nation in the world has even remotely comparable record of consistent defense of her realm. Despite incessant attempts of the "western" historiography to diminish, misinterpret or openly steal valor or Russia, no citizen or soldier in the world can state that he truly stood as one with his own people with the sword at the gates, against the best the world could throw at him, for thousand years as Russians did. And that is the best testament to the quality of the Military Personnel. It is not difficult, then, to come up with some mathematical expectation of what some values of military personnel quality could be....

To be continued.....  

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