Topic: Military Theory
Canadian Army Training Memorandum No. 26, May 1943
Elements of War
Major-General J.F.C. Fuller
1. The three elements of war are so closely related that they cannot be separated one from the other. This, both weapons and protection depend upon movement, and in war movement must have some offensive purpose, and in turn it must be protected if force is to be economized.
2. There are three forms of movement—human, animal and mechanical. There are three vehicles of movement—earth, water, and air. And there are three dimensions of movement: one-dimensional, such as movement along rods and railways; two-dimensional, such as movements over land and water surfaces; and three-dimensional, such as movement under water and through the air.
3. There are also three types of military movement—strategical, tactical and administrative. Tactical movements, which are the ultimate aim of strategy and administration, may be divided into protective and offensive movements. The first "approach movements," and the second "attack movements." During the former the one thought of the soldier is to prevent himself from being hit, and during the latter it is to hit his enemy. The more he can hit, the less he will be hit. Therefore, indirectly, though it may be, not only is the whole action protective in character, but it becomes more and more secure as the offensive succeeds.
4. If we remember that the object of all attack movements is to develop weapon power against an enemy, and of all approach movements to prevent the enemy developing weapon power against ourselves, we shall at once understand that, when we are not attacking, we are approaching, even should we be sitting in a camp five hundred miles away from the battlefront. If the soldier remembers this, he will seldom be surprised, and surprise is far easier to effect to-day than in the past, because aircraft can almost as safely attack back areas as front lines. The correct appreciation of the approach and the attack carries with the maximum of security and offensive power. These can never, without danger, be divorced.
5. Rising from battle tactics to campaign tactics, the same holds good. we are confronted first by strategical movements, and secondly by tactical. In brief, the whole of strategy consists in placing an army in such a position that tactical movements can be carried out with the greatest economy of force.
The same page included the advice for officers that:
"Rigidity of thought and action is suicidal when fighting an enemy whose whole regime is revolutionary."