Strange as it may seem, today's generation of kids probably know more about military strategy than many generals of a hundred years ago. Why? In a phrase: "Video games." From World of Warcraft to Halo, Modern War to Fallout 4, gamers these days get quite the education in military strategy well before they're old enough to attend West Point.
Maybe that's kind of a natural thing for a nation that proudly boasts the largest and most powerful military in human history. All things considered, it shouldn't be that weird. And yet somehow, we bet you'll be surprised by exactly how many of these classic military strategies you already know. You might not know the names of the strategies themselves, or the history behind them. But you'll probably find at least half of these strategies oddly familiar.
Vote up the most genius military strategies below.
Air Superiority (Taking the High Ground)
One of the most basic tactical concepts in the world is taking the high ground. In infantry battles, it's a lot easier to attack going downhill than uphill. Think of Gandalf and the Rohirrim's charge down the mountain at the Battle of Helm's Deep; they took the high ground, and used the downward momentum of that charge to smash Sauron's orc army. And this battle also revealed another benefit of charging downhill. If you time it right, and plan your attack for morning or evening, you can attack with the sun at your back, blinding the enemy and giving your forces a massive combat advantage.
But landborne forces aren't the only known to "come out of the sun" for an attack. These days, "the "high ground" is as often as not the sky itself. Since WWII, it's become axiomatic that he who establishes air superiority wins. Mostly because the high ground also gives an advantage in range for bombarding the enemy with artillery or bombs. Which, in the case of aircraft, fall straight from overhead.74769Is this smart?
Raiding (Resource Denial)
Pretty standard strategy, and a staple of any comprehensive military campaign. Resource denial could mean sabotaging, destroying or (preferably) stealing enemy weapons and supplies. It could also mean destroying the means of production of vital materials, like power stations, reservoir dams, farms, crops. Raiders might also target vital facilities that are used to support a war effort, like the British Commandos' famous raid on Nazi U-Boats. A "raid" is any attack that specifically targets the supplies and ancillary resources, rather than enemy soldiers themselves.60248Is this smart?
In terms of broad strategy, you already know history's most famous choke point maneuver: brave Leonidas, and his tiny band of Spartans at the narrow Thermopylae Pass. A mere 300 Spartans held back an army of as many as 200,000 Persians by acting as a stopper in one ridiculously narrow mountain pass.
In the modern day, a "choke point" could be something as small as a doorway for individual soldiers, a narrow strait for Naval forces, or the Suez Canal area on the Sinai Peninsula. All represent choke points on different scales.848108Is this smart?
Blitzkreig means "lightning war" in German, and it refers to a fast-moving, highly aggressive, generally unexpected attack using overwhelming forces. Hitler wasn't the first to use this form of attack (most famously in Poland), but he did favor it for very good reason. Germans who fought in the first World War saw first hand the pointless horror of trenches, slow advances, and battles of attrition.
That's why Hitler favored the blitz, and that's why it worked so well. Nobody expected the kind of fast-moving, decisive attack Hitler planned, led first by speedy Luftwaffe bombers. They expected slow-moving lines of entrenched soldiers and massive artillery pieces; Germany shocked everyone by using highly penetrative maneuvers, and capturing territory in hours instead of months. Eventually, though, the Allies adapted to Hitler's lightning strikes with radar, quick-responding defenses and lightning attacks of their own.847110Is this smart?