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Posted on Mar 19, 2006 in Front Page Features, Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101: 001. Introduction to The Art and Science of Tactics

By Armchair General

One of the things we are most proud of at ACG is our varied readership. Among our ranks we include wargamers, reenactors, readers and lovers of military history, and of course Armchair Generals. However, the one thing that bonds us all together is a fascination and interest in warfighting. With that fact in mind, we at ACG are proud to introduce a new monthly feature entitled TACTICS 101.

The goals of TACTICS 101 are threefold. First, is to provide readers a better understanding of the art and science of tactics. Second, is to provide readers the ability to utilize this understanding in their particular environment (i.e. the game board, the computer screen, or through the pages of a book or a scene from a movie). Finally, is to provide “nuggets’’ that will be useful to not only to the relative novice tactician, but the seasoned veteran as well. For some, the learning curve may be steep. For others, the curve may not be as steep, but there will be a curve nevertheless.


Get trained by the experts!

The writers of TACTICS 101, Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland are certainly well-versed in their subject matter. Both are retired U.S. Infantry Officers, who served in a variety of command and staff positions at Division and below organizations during war and peace. Combined they have over 100 rotations at the U.S. Army Combat Training Centers as members of the Opposing Force, Observer/Controllers, and as visiting ‘Blufor’ units. Each is a well-published author in the areas of tactics and military history. Finally, they have in total over 12 years of experience in teaching tactics at the U.S Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army Infantry School. We believe Rick and John not only possess great experience, but have the uncanny ability to share that experience with you (see their bios at the end of this intro).

Over the next several months, the series will focus in three key areas all geared at the tactical level of war (at division level organizations and below). First, will be discussion on the art and science of planning operations. These topics will include mission analysis, the importance of the decisive point, developing viable courses of action and arraying forces. After discussing planning, the series will shift into “how to” articles on executing various types of operations. For example, “how to conduct” a mobile defense, a river crossing, or a raid or ambush. These sessions will expose readers to different environments and different types of units (mechanized, light, etc.). The final articles in the series will provide insights on decision-making on the battlefield. These articles should assist you in making quicker and better decisions than your opponent.

In summary, ACG is extremely excited about this exclusive new series. We believe you will share our enthusiasm once you read the first article in the series entitled, “The Importance of Mission Analysis in Planning.” (coming this week!) It should provide you some valuable insight and above all, make you think!

Go to Tactics 101 articles.

RICK BAILLERGEON is a retired U.S. Army Infantry Officer. His assignments included serving as a member of the Opposing Force and as an Observer/ Controller at the National Training Center, an assignment as a Brigade Operations Planner, two company commands (including an infantry company during Desert Shield/Desert Storm), and serving two tours as a battalion executive officer and one tour as a brigade deputy commander in infantry units. He has taught tactics at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College for six years. During his tenure, he has received many awards including being twice named Instructor of the Year. He is currently an associate professor at the College and is serving as Chief of Faculty Development in the Center for Army Tactics (as well as teaching). Mr. Baillergeon has published numerous articles in the area of tactics and dozens of military history book reviews. He additionally completed a master’s thesis on the performance of Field Marshal William Slim during the World War II Burma Campaign.

JOHN SUTHERLAND is a retired U.S. Army Infantry Officer. His past assignments include: OPFOR at the National Training Center, assistant battalion operations officer, company commander during Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, assistant Brigade Operations Officer, chief of plans and exercises and deputy operations officer in Korea, land component planner in Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and Coalition Forces Headquarters (CFH / CENTCOM) during Operation Enduring Freedom / Iraqi Freedom, and Chief of Studies and Analysis for the Joint Center for Operational Analysis, Joint Forces Command (JCOA, JFCOM). He has taught tactics at the U.S. Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning and at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Mr. Sutherland is a published author and is currently working as a government employee at the Joint Center for Operational Analysis in Suffolk, Virginia.

1 Comment

  1. thanks for the series ACG! I was hoping to learn more about tactics. thanks a bunch!


  1. The Generals – Book Review | Armchair General | Armchair General Magazine - We Put YOU in Command! - […] Rick Baillergeon is a retired U.S. Army Infantry officer. Since his retirement, he has served as a faculty member…