Book One, Continued

I have a few more illustrations for Book One here, and once again, I am putting the new stuff up front, followed by the full book so far. This will pretty much take us to the end of this fairly static (artwise) portion of the book. Starting with the next post, there will be a variety of different perspectives, which – while all still rendered in the same pencils-ink-watercolor format – I hope will bring in new palettes and very different looks. Which hopefully everyone will not hate. I’ve been feeling inspired, and I’m excited to get to work on taking these new ideas beyond the very rough sketches they are now.

At the end of the post, there is a little homage portrait of RBStalin, in which I tried to bring together lynxes, Stalin, rainbows, and Russian icons.

Lastly, welcome new readers! There have been a lot of you these last few days. Danger Room is indeed mighty in certain circles.

Your political aims will be different in different wars. In theory, your military aim is to destroy the enemy’s fighting forces, to make it so they cannot fight back, to occupy his country, and to break his will so he is forced to make a peace with you on your terms. The size and importance of your political aim will determine how much effort you put in, and how far you will go to achieve that aim. In reality, there can be lesser outcomes. You may not always be aiming for your enemy’s total destruction. You might be trying to scare him, or make him doubt, or interrupt an alliance. You may make victory seem so improbable to him that he gives in, for example, or present much too high a cost. Boar?

-What do you mean when you say ‘too high a cost?’

Excellent question, Boar. Cost does not only mean money. You make a war cost the enemy by invading, and destroying his territory, by making him – his people – suffer, by wearing him down. The minimum aim in war is pure self-defense, when you are looking for nothing save to withstand an enemy’s attack. In this case, you want very much to wear the enemy down, to make him expend his efforts and resources for little or no gain, until he is tired, spent, loses the will to attack.

Defense is stronger than offense in war. We will discuss this idea more later, so remember that. Remember also that defense is not purely passive. Even if your sole aim is defensive, you take any opportunity you have to inflict damage on your enemy.

The only effective force in war is combat. Yes, Badger?

-Combat means fighting, right?

Essentially, yes, combat means the use of your fighting forces in engagements with the enemy. However, it is not effective only in action. Just the threat of combat can be effective in the right circumstances. You choose to enter combat because you believe you will win. If combat is not met, it is because it is assumed which side will win.

While you may not always meet your enemy in combat, and even if you do you may not seek to destroy him, that is always the highest goal, destruction of the enemy’s armed forces is the standard against which other aims of war are measured.

———

———

Guten Morgen, Class! For our first lesson, we will talk about what war is, why we go to war, what we get from war, what some of its primary characteristics are, and a little of what it takes to be successful in war.

War is the use of force – Yes, Otter?

-What’s ‘force’ mean?

Violence, threat of violence, physical advance on territory, etc. – use of force to make the enemy do our will, to make him do what we want him to do. The aim is to disarm the enemy, to – Yes, Otter?

-What’s ‘disarm’ mean?

It is to make it so he cannot strike back at us. In war, you place your effort against the enemy’s resistance – Yes, Otter?

-What’s ‘resistance’ mean?

His resistance is both the men and resources he has – please save your questions! – and how much he wants to resist. War does not just happen out of nowhere, and it does not happen on a perfect chessboard. Your resources will nearly always be spread out, trees and mountains and rivers in your way. Even if you want to, you will not likely be able to use all of your resources at once….Yes, Otter?

-What are ‘resources?’

Your resources are made up of your fighting forces – your men – and the country, the land and the people and things on it. In war, the result is never final. Things can always change. And things are different in theory than they are in reality. Yes, Otter?

-What’s ‘theory’ mean?

Ideas. When you are thinking about it, imagining it, as opposed to doing it. If you think that every time you strike your enemy, they would strike back a little stronger, and that would keep happening until you were striking as hard and with as much as you possibly could, then the logical thing to do would be to just hit as hard as you can the first time, and put an end to it quickly. But in real life, it’s not that simple. You have physical restrictions, in where your forces are, in what the land is like – mountains or rivers or forests might be in your way.

Chance also plays a crucial role. Things happen that you don’t expect. The weather changes. An ally switches sides, or decides to stay neutral. With the best planning in the world, you will still always be at the mercy of chance. It is unavoidable in war. You are always gambling to some degree.

You also have limits based on what the point of the war is. Your government decides this, your King or President or Congress or Parliament. This political goal will determine what your military goal is, and how much effort it is worth. You must never forget this part, because war is just a continuation of policy. Yes, Otter?

-What’s ‘policy’ mean?

Policy is what your government believes, its goals and ideas. Sometimes it can get what it wants by negotiation, discussion, trade. Sometimes it can’t, and then it might decide to go to war to get it. War can have an effect on policy, but policy is always the key influence.

There is one more idea I think will help you understand what war is, before we move on to other factors: there are three main elements that work together in different ratios: 1) emotion, or passion – the feelings of violence or enmity, which belong to the people; 2) the realm of chance and probability, which belongs to the commander and his forces, and where there is room for creativity; and 3) the subordination of all to policy, which belongs to the government and which allows the actions of war to be ruled by reason. Different parts of this trinity will be stronger at different times, but you cannot understand – or even discuss – war without understanding the roles that all three play.

Your political aims will be different in different wars. In theory, your military aim is to destroy the enemy’s fighting forces, to make it so they cannot fight back, to occupy his country, and to break his will so he is forced to make a peace with you on your terms. The size and importance of your political aim will determine how much effort you put in, and how far you will go to achieve that aim. In reality, there can be lesser outcomes. You may not always be aiming for your enemy’s total destruction. You might be trying to scare him, or make him doubt, or interrupt an alliance. You may make victory seem so improbable to him that he gives in, for example, or present much too high a cost. Boar?

-What do you mean when you say ‘too high a cost?’

Excellent question, Boar. Cost does not only mean money. You make a war cost the enemy by invading, and destroying his territory, by making him – his people – suffer, by wearing him down. The minimum aim in war is pure self-defense, when you are looking for nothing save to withstand an enemy’s attack. In this case, you want very much to wear the enemy down, to make him expend his efforts and resources for little or no gain, until he is tired, spent, loses the will to attack.

Defense is stronger than offense in war. We will discuss this idea more later, so remember that. Remember also that defense is not purely passive. Even if your sole aim is defensive, you take any opportunity you have to inflict damage on your enemy.

The only effective force in war is combat. Yes, Badger?

-Combat means fighting, right?

Essentially, yes, combat means the use of your fighting forces in engagements with the enemy. However, it is not effective only in action. Just the threat of combat can be effective in the right circumstances. You choose to enter combat because you believe you will win. If combat is not met, it is because it is assumed which side will win.

While you may not always meet your enemy in combat, and even if you do you may not seek to destroy him, that is always the highest goal, destruction of the enemy’s armed forces is the standard against which other aims of war are measured.

———

RBStalin

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