Reading the Enemy

Understanding of the enemy’s CoG depends partially on understanding what is the enemy’s principle objective.

France in WWI did not want to capture Berlin, its objectives was to recapture Alsace-Lorraine. Thus, its Plan 17 was to punch through the Franco-German line to capture the two provinces. However, the German understood the French objective and read correctly that the French will focus on their borders. Thus, it sent its southern army to occupy the French’s attention while it swept through the lowland nations of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg in an attempt to capture Paris

While the Schlieffen Plan did not fulfill the objective eventually, the Germans had an initial advantage and the French had to scramble to meet the German’s nortern right flank. In this strategic manoeuvre warfare, the Germans was only stopped as it was unable manoeuvre its right flank fast enough to achieve its aim.

If we are able to understand and correctly read what the enemy is seeking to achieve in its strategics, ie what is the enemy’s grand strategy? we can then deduce what are the probable options for him to achieve such aims. From there, it is a natural step to set up counters for such options and even, in German’s case, use it to set up an advantage for our side.

Interestingly, in reading the enemy, we need to understand the enemy. In understanding the enemy, doesn’t it make the probability of war lesser?


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