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Crippling

 

Disciplines > Warfare > Strategies > Crippling

Action | Analysis | Example | Analogy | See also

 

Action

Crippling takes away a critical ability, removing the enemy's potential for specific actions. Then exploit the weakness created.

For example:

  • Bomb their airfields so the cannot use their aircraft.

  • Mine particular areas so they cannot be used.

  • Destroy power stations, pipelines, dams and other means by which they obtain basic utilities.

  • Take out their gun positions so they cannot fire back.
  • Destroy their telecoms stations so they cannot communicate.

Analysis

When the enemy loses a particular capability they are weakened such that you can now use this as a strategic advantage.

If their airfields and aircraft are destroyed, this gives you air superiority by which you can attack targets at will.

If the weaponry in certain installations is disabled, you can mount frontal assaults.

If an enemy cannot communicate, it cannot report on your positions or actions. Nor can it send commands or requests between its various parts. It thus runs open loop ands effectively rudderless, allowing you to sneak up unnoticed, to divide and confuse and otherwise cause chaos.

Example

In the 1990-1 Gulf War, the US forces started by disabling Iraqi communications systems. Later, they destroyed utilities for Bagdad, including electricity supplies.

Analogy

In negotiations keep people in the negotiating room, stopping them from taking breaks and stepping out to call headquarters for advice and information.

See also

Confusion in war, Division in war, Beheading, Starvation

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