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The Theory Of The Defensive





The defensive is divided into the purely passive defense and the active
defense.

The passive defense seeks merely to delay the enemy. The results can
never be other than negative. It is usually for the purpose of gaining
time and most frequently used by a rear guard. Since the idea of taking
up the offensive is absent, no strong reserves are held out for a
counter attack; the firing line is as strong as possible from the first;
every advantage is taken of obstacles, natural or artificial. The flanks
must be made secure.

The active defense seeks to attack the other side at some stage of the
engagement. It seeks to win and only the offensive wins. It is often
necessary for a commander to assume the defensive (active) either
voluntarily, in order to gain time, or to secure some advantage over the
enemy; or involuntarily, as in a meeting engagement where the enemy gets
a start in deployment for action or where the enemy's attack is
impetuous and without sufficient preparation. In either case the
defensive force contents itself with parrying the blows of the enemy,
while gathering and arranging its strength, looking and waiting for the
right place and time to deliver a decisive blow which is called the
counter attack. Hence, a counter attack is the offensive movement of an
active defense. Its success greatly depends on being delivered with
vigor and at the proper time. It may be delivered in two ways:
1st--straight to the front against a weak point in the attacking line,
or 2nd--by launching the reserves against the enemy's flank after he is
fully committed to the attack. The latter method offers the greatest
chances for success and the most effective results.





Next: Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Defensive

Previous: The Charge



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