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Posted on Aug 25, 2008 in Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101: 029 – The Defense

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

“Little minds try to defend everything at once, but sensible people look at the main point only; they parry the worst blows and stand a little hurt if thereby they avoid a greater one. If you try to hold everything, you hold nothing.”

Frederick the Great

Beginning this month we will start a series of articles focused on the defense. For you dedicated readers of the series (and we thank you!), you know we have addressed defensive operations numerous times. However, we have not gone into the true art and science of planning, preparing, and executing a defense. We hope to remedy this in the upcoming months.


This month we will begin with a general overview of the defense. Upcoming articles will focus on areas such as developing an engagement area, utilizing combat multipliers in the defense, and decision-making in the defense. Our objective is to provide you some ‘nuggets’ that will assist you on your own particular battlefield.

This month’s article will cover the following areas: 1) the purpose(s) of the defense, 2) types of defensive operations, 3) characteristics of the defense, and 4) Key terms and symbology used in the defense. As is our standard operating procedure, we will provide a general overview this month and begin to get into the weeds in the future.

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