On Tactics

A Theory of Victory in Battle
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Binding:Hardback
Published:May 15, 2017
By B.A. Friedman (Author)

On Tactics is intended to be the remedy to the chaotic and thus far unformed realm of tactical theory and to answer questions like the one above. Part One of the book will establish a tactical system meant to replace the Principles of War checklist. First, the contextual role of tactics with regards to strategy and war will be established. This will necessarily lean on major strategic theories in order to illuminate the role of tactics.
On Tactics is intended to be the remedy to the chaotic and thus far unformed realm of tactical theory and to answer questions like the one above. Part One of the book will establish a tactical system meant to replace the Principles of War checklist. First, the contextual role of tactics with regards to strategy and war will be established. This will necessarily lean on major strategic theories in order to illuminate the role of tactics. This section will be formed around the Physical, Mental, and Moral planes of battlefield interaction used by theorists such as J.F.C Fuller and John Boyd. Each plane will then be examined in turn, and many of the classic Principles of War will be discussed along with some new ones. It will present some standard methods that tacticians can use to gain an advantage on the battlefield using historical examples that illustrate each concept. These “tactical tenants” include maneuver, mass, firepower, tempo, surprise, deception, confusion, shock, and the role of the moral aspects of combat. Finally, Part One will circle back around by discussing the role of tactical victory- once achieved- in contributed to a strategy. Part One is short by design. It is intended to be both compelling and easily mastered for junior non-commissioned officers and company grade officers, while still rich enough to be interesting to both specialist and non-specialist academics. It is a book meant not just for bookshelves but also for ruck sacks and cargo pockets.

Part Two will build on Part One by exploring concepts with which the tactician must be familiar with such as the culminating point of victory, mission tactics and decentralized command and control, offensive and defensive operations, and the initiative. Part Three will conclude the book examining implications of the presented tactical systems to a variety of other issues in strategic studies.

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List Price: $29.95
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Product Details
  • Subject: Strategy, Tactics, Operations
  • Hardback : 256 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 15, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1682471632
  • ISBN-13: 9781682471630
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 oz
Praise
  • “…insightful, well written, and an immediately accessible resource I wish I had as a young officer.”—Army University Press
  • "The basis of the book is both a challenge and a critique of existing tactical theory... a great read, thank you." - The Navy Magazine
  • "This work is an interesting salvo into an area that does deserve review. His position is certainly understandable... This work suggests some interesting proposals." —The Military Review
  • “Friedman’s On Tactics fills a critical gap and is an important read for both the emerging tactician and seasoned strategist alike. A vital addition to the professional military library for its organizing theory on tactics alone, his substantive appendices and the interwoven historical examples and insights from fellow intellectual heavyweights make this book a must-read for the individual and a must-share for the leader.” —RealClearDefense
  • "On Tactics contains some excellent sections, and truly insightful observations, most of which will be obvious to most readers. On Tactics addresses a number of issues with precision and skill and says much that practitioners can agree with. If you are new to the subject, then you will be provided with a strong starting point that is unlikely to set you on the wrong path. On Tactics more than passes the mark for making soldiers curious about their profession and should be read by all those who are." —Parameters
  • "Given the steady flood of books about strategy, it is remarkable how few there are about tactics. Friedman has filled that gap with a short, sharp piece of analysis that highlights the physical, mental, and moral dimensions of conflict." —Foreign Affairs
  • "Friedman offers us here a treatise of tactical theory of high quality. The clarity of his style and the clarity of his reasoning are remarkable, and his book will be useful to those who already have knowledge of the subject as well as the uninitiated." —Politique Etrangere
  • "On Tactics is a workmanlike survey of thinking about tactical level ground combat - useful and accessible to the military novice and non-expert..." - War on the Rocks
  • "B. A. Friedman has written a brilliant and original work on the theory of tactics. He has captured the essence of the tactical level of war in a way not achieved by anyone else. This should be required reading for all those in the profession of arms". — GEN. ANTHONY C. ZINNI, USMC (RET.)
  • “Providing insights for those outside the field, On Tactics should be read by people in all service branches, including our top enlisted men and women, as well as policy makers at the Pentagon and in Washington. . . . [This is] an essential addition to the study of tactical principles and practice and the sort of book sure to spark the crucial conversations our leaders and policy makers need to have about the conduct of military operations.” — WAYNE. P. HUGHES, author of Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, Second Edition
  • “B. A. Friedman makes a major contribution to our much-needed understanding of the theory of tactics for ground combat. He justifiably points out that there are many books written on the theory of war, but few on the theory of warfare—that is, the employment of combat forces on land, sea, and in the air. To his great credit, Friedman reminds us throughout his work of the timeless importance of the moral factors in warfare." —MILAN VEGO, author of Joint Operational Warfare: Theory and Practice
  • “A brilliant and highly relevant work, On Tactics is a masterful brush-clearing exercise that strips away the tangled and overgrown thicket of assumptions and beliefs that have taken over the theory of tactics to reveal an elegant and easy-to-grasp cognitive framework to guide thinking about how to achieve victory in battle. "In a period of conceptual confusion about the changing character of war, this book should be essential reading for battlefield leaders, particularly junior officers and noncommissioned officers, as well as those responsible for devising strategy.” —PETER HAYNES, author of Toward a New Maritime Strategy: American Naval Thinking in the Post‒Cold War Era

B. A. Friedman grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and entered the Marine Corps after graduating high school in 2000. He attended The Ohio State University and gained a B.A. in History as well as the Naval War College where he gained a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies. He transitioned to the Marine Corps Reserve in 2016 as a Captain.

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