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Major Mamun, Tac Wg, SI&T

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CLIMATE OF WAR
Q. According to Clausewitz four elements make up the Climate of War: Danger,

Exertion, Uncertainty and Chance. How does these elements affect the conduct of War? Also suggest how to overcome these? General 1. Four inherent intangibles of the climate of war involves all military persons from a

General down to a soldier. These elements i.e. danger, exertion, uncertainty and friction meet together in the war-atmosphere and make a resistant medium for every activity. In their impediment effects they may therefore be comprehended again in the collective notion of a general friction which can not be diminished by applying any sort of lubricant. Only the habituation of an army to a war can diminish this friction which is not readily available at the will of the commanderd or his army. Danger and Fear 2. Danger. Dictionary meaning of danger is chance of suffering or liable to suffer injury

or loss of life. In the battle field danger implies any adverse situation which maximizes cause. Risk is inherent in war. To Clausewitz, War is the realm of danger. There is no certainty to danger. Danger can only be overcome by courage. Therefore courage is a soldiers first requirement. Courage is of two kind: Physical in the presence of danger and Morale in the face of responsibility. 3. Fear. It is a natural human reaction to any danger and a degree of it is essential for

the sake of survival. 4. Effect. a. b. c. d. e. f. 5. a. survive. b. c. d. Efforts should be taken to select a man of character in peacetime, because he is Discipline, pride, comradeship, espirit de corps and realistic training will help the Tasking troops according to their capacity. 1
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Fear comes from danger. Excess of fear causes the following:

Paralyses will to survive. Reduces physical ability. Reduces the ability to reason. Increases friction. Curtail / Cease initiative. Makes indecisive. Fear can not be eliminated altogether. It can be controlled by an act of will to

How to overcome.

likely to be a man of courage and resolution in war. individual soldier to overcome danger and fear.

Major Mamun, Tac Wg, SI&T


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6.

Commanders Responsibility . a. A commander can develop his mens courage by: (1) (2) (3) (4) Positive leadership. Earning a reputation for not squandering his soldier lives recklessly. Ensuring that his troops are well supported in the battle. Giving them tasks at which they can succeed in order to build up their

confidence. b. Commanders should have strong nerves to endure the tension of impending

danger and to withstand the shock of any setback. It is more applicable at higher level. Exertion 7. General. Exertion means bodily fatigue. According to Clausewitz, War is the

realm of physical exertion and suffering. Generally it is believed that a tired man is less brave. The reactions of a weary commander will be slow and he is likely to make more mistakes. 8. Effect. a. The attacker with superior force having modern equipment can maintain

continuous pressure, where as with fewer resources the defenders will have problems of sustaining operations over a long period. As such the troops are likely to be exhausted and defence may collapse. b. Continuous contact with the enemy, high rate of casualty, accumulated fatigues

and fears are likely to reduce the courage, stamina and fighting efficiency of a unit. c. At higher level temptation is there to rely on veteran units/formations to execute

the vital task for indefinite period. As a result at unit level leaders become diluted and troops loose their cutting edge. 9. How to Overcome a. To prevent the exhaustion and collapse of a weaker defence with fewer

resources, a commander has to fight the battle in considerable depth with well organised obstacle belt and plan for the relief of exhausted troops. b. In a prolonged conflict, troops in contact with the enemy must be taken out of the

line periodically for rest and refit. c. When a veteran unit / formation is engaged for a prolonged period to perform a

high demanding task, tired and exhausted troops must be replaced by the fresh troops. Fog Of War / Uncertainty 10. Clausewitz said, War is the realm of uncertainty, various factors on which actions in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser degree of uncertainty. 11. Effect.

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Major Mamun, Tac Wg, SI&T


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a.

Reports originating from units in contact with the enemy are often incomplete and

misleading. They are likely to be distorted and misinterpreted on the way up the chain of command. Initial reports and assessments are often found over sanguine. b. Modern survey devices, air reconnaissance along with efficient intelligence staff

activities and better communication facilities when not withstanding or misreporting then uncertainty, doubt and pessimism will often cloud commanders perception of the battle. 12. How to Overcome. With only a flawed picture of the situation a commander may have to make his decisions on incomplete information and intelligence. In doing so, he has to rely on his sense of judgement, intuition and a feel for the battle situation based on experience and knowledge of the enemy. Friction of War 13. Gen. Clausewitz correctly said, Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest is difficult. Any one who has not experienced a war, it is very difficult for him to conceive a kind of friction which is produced by accumulation of all these difficulties. 14. Effect. a. The friction summarises the total effects of danger, exertion, uncertainty, chance and accident which render the execution of a plan less perfect than the concept. b. Some friction occurs due to causes outside human control, Such as rain and mud

which reduces the mobility or fog which prevent close air support, but the fallibility of human nature lies at the root of the problem. c. However well trained an army is, misunderstanding, misinterpretation, mistakes

and hesitation will occur in war. In the stress of battle when recognition signal is forgotten even a commander may become casualty. A Liaison Officer carrying orders may die in a road accident causing undue delay in action. d. Apart from accidents in war, enemys reaction and initiatives constantly impose a

measure of uncertainty, surprise, disorganisation and delay. 15. How to Overcome. a. Well rehearsed routine of peacetime breeds a habit of regularity and it reduces

friction or war. b. Commanders and Staffs must cater for the elements of friction in war by ensuring

that their plans are flexible and simple. Only plans which fulfil these two criteria are likely to survive the frictions, hazards and vagaries of war. c. Group training.

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