Birth of Combined Arms Warfare Explanation

Birth of Combined Arms Warfare


Carl Von Clausewitz is credited for revolutionizing warfare. He introduced science in the analysis of warfare. This can be explained in three theories. Firstly, he views war as an extension of policy. Secondly, that war is a move that makes the enemy succumb to your wishes. The last aspect is on war and its nature. [footnoteRef:1] Carl Von Clausewitz came up with a new generation thinking that utilized appreciation of strategic thinking that recognized chaos and the unpredictability of warfare in the era of mass mobilization. [footnoteRef:2] Clausewitz utilizes the concept of the trinity of war to point out how warfare circumstances should be governed. The trinity consists of three major parts, the people, the military, and the government. [1: ?aji?, Jasmin. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s Theory of War to Contemporary Conflict Resolution.” Connections 15, no. 1 (2016):72] [2: Clausewitz, Carl. On war. Study Guide by Course Hero, 1832: 4]


War is a continuation of policy

The theory proposed by Clausewitz deals with states, and so many military personnel needs to understand it. The policy highlights the possibility of military action because it is a vital tool of extension politics. When it comes to war itself, it comes up with a framework that allows the military to fit into a wider geopolitical picture. Thus, understanding Clausewitz does not, in any way, change the bureaucratic and operational realities of military professionals. But the insights from the Theory of Combat may bring some changes. The text is relevant because it is theoretical. [footnoteRef:3]The most important point here is that Clausewitz thinks that war entails a vertical continuum that involves policy and strategic moves. He describes this as the “end and the means” model. [3: Garard, Olivia. “Clausewitzian Deep Tracks: ‘Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat.’” RealClearDefense. RealClearDefense, n.d. Accessed October 8, 2020.]


According to the model, Clausewitz says that war is not the end of politics. It is part of it and could not be suspended or divorced from it. The critical insight here is that it invokes tactics that were commonly used in the Napoleonic era. Thus, it treats the concepts as abstract.

The formulation further provides the reasons for applying Clausewitz’s thinking beyond the times he formulated it. He argued that war has political objectives, but it is subordinate to politics. He saw a strong link between politics and war. According to him, politics influences the objectives of war and other elements[footnoteRef:4] [4: ?aji?, Jasmin. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s Theory of War to Contemporary Conflict Resolution, 73]

War as a force that compels the enemy

Clausewitz says that policy and politics are above war. The reason for waging war is political. Thus politics will determine the goals that should be achieved in war and what will be done to achieve them. Clausewitz sees war as a move that tries to compel the adversary to obey[footnoteRef:5] [5: ?aji?, Jasmin. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s Theory of War to Contemporary Conflict Resolution, 74]

With the objectives stated, Clausewitz’s puts forth his thinking on the Theory of Victory”. To him, it referred to the retirement of the enemy from the battlefield. But the modern battlefield is continuing to expand and is amorphous. Therefore compelling the enemy to move away from the thinking of destruction is desired, whether in cyberspace or on land warfare. According to Clausewitz, there are seven ways to help achieve this. Still, they are just mental effects that are influenced by perception about yourself or the enemy. He further says that the enemy can be moved to this if he is made to believe that he no longer can achieve his end goals. He can also move away from it if he thinks that regenerating this capacity will not be worth the treasure and the blood. Thus it crushes the enemy’s morale. So if the enemy is made to believe that he lost a position and is allowed to experience fear and disregard his beliefs, there will be a mismatch between the forces he will apply. Therefore, the enemy is likely to experience surprises or made to believe that is he is not ready. He ends up believing that the opponent has the greater capacity or has, the stronger will[footnoteRef:6] [6: Garard, Olivia. “Clausewitzian Deep Tracks: ‘Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat.’”]

Based on the historical overview from the wars waged by Alexander and Napoleon, Clausewitz wraps it up by saying that every age features its type of war that is limited by preconception and conditions resulting from the features demonstrated by certain actors and the means. Still, it does not change the fundamentals of war.[footnoteRef:7] [7: Landmeter , Eric. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s ‘On War’ to Today’s Conflicts.” Militaire Spectator. Last modified July 26, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2020.]


Clausewitz postulated this theory many decades ago, but it remains relevant up to date. In modern times, war and conflicts are fought against states and entities that are not ready to comply or those that do not have the attackers’ interest. A good example of this is the war on terrorism, which is waged on groups that do not want peace to prevail. The advancement in technology, information campaigns communication, and globalization means that campaigns must be centered on winning this warfare through hearts and minds and, thus, depriving the adversaries of the support they need, as seen recently between Nato forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan. In this strategy, Nato relies on information campaigns to help win minds and hearts in Afghanistan[footnoteRef:8] Clausewitz does not focus on lethality, but the reasons for lethality. This thinking has not changed even though the means have changed. [8: ?aji?, Jasmin. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s Theory of War to Contemporary Conflict Resolution, 74]

So when discussing the difference between fire and close combat, they are closely related to firepower and maneuver. According to him, weapons that can destroy an enemy at a distance are important in understanding the instincts and the feelings for fighting and calling upon them to maintain peace. So weapons with a greater range such as aviation and drones will allow forces to affect and influence their enemies without subjecting their personnel to stress and fear of combat. This is how Clausewitz described the modern times use of drones.[footnoteRef:9] [9: Garard, Olivia. “Clausewitzian Deep Tracks: ‘Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat.’”]


Clausewitz’s theory begins by assuming that all wars in human history share certain common characteristics. Firstly the nature of war does not change, but the way the wars are fought, the warfare keeps on changing. The part of Clausewitz’s theory, which regards most wars, could be called Clausewitz’s General theory of war.

The classical Clausewitz’s approach to war refers to warfare and wars in terms of times, and so it forms the theory of the 19th Century, which is quite different from the General Theory[footnoteRef:10] [10: Garard, Olivia. “Clausewitzian Deep Tracks: ‘Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat.’”]

According to Clausewitz, strategy and tactic wars are different. The strategy focuses on winning while tactics determine the engagement that the forces choose to use. To him, a strategist refers to a person responsible for planning and the war objectives, so the soldiers and the commanders will essentially determine how the actual war is fought and won.

But the military strategy has a different meaning compared to other forms of strategies like technological, prevailing strategy, development, economic, and strategy of domination. The reason for this difference is that the military strategy focuses on operations; thus, the cost of failure is disastrous.[footnoteRef:11] [11: Joseph M. Guerra, “An Introduction to Clausewitzian Strategic Theory: General Theory, Strategy, and Their Relevance for Today,” Military Strategy Magazine, accessed October 8, 2020,]

What is important in their objective is the destruction of the enemy. But how lethal it is may vary. For close combat, the effect of this is certain and is what makes it lethal and continues to make the enemy anticipate deadly future harm.

Fire combat is less probable and will remain true in the modern world as human beings attempt to increase tactical precision. It helps to identify the difference and variation between destructive and decisive acts. The very reason why the enemy is driven from the battle zone forms the decisive act. He is certain of destruction in close combat. Even though it may not be as crucial as destruction itself. Thus free combat is the preparation that may destroy the adversaries’ force. It all stems from the epistemological perspective of victory. [footnoteRef:12] Thus military strategies will require one to keep on changing and upgrading strategy to ensure that they succeed. They must evolve, otherwise, they become ineffective, and the results could be disastrous. The strategy entails planning and winning, and should define how this could be done.[footnoteRef:13] [12: Garard, Olivia. “Clausewitzian Deep Tracks: ‘Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat.’”] [13: ?aji?, Jasmin. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s Theory of War to Contemporary Conflict Resolution, 76]


Clausewitz’s theory has been around for many years but remains relevant to date. When you look at them wholesomely, together, it provides a framework that helps to contemplate the strategy and how you can apply, including the military approaches discussed. It helps to augment them with non-military sources and approaches, to achieve military goals that allow one to achieve political goals while blending the other non-military sources of power to settle issues peacefully. Thus, it is the role of political leaders to ensure that the military supports the political purpose. The military is responsible for the grand strategy and assistance of the commander.


?aji?, Jasmin. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s Theory of War to Contemporary Conflict Resolution.” Connections 15, no. 1 (2016): 72-78.

Clausewitz, Carl. On war. Study Guide by Course Hero, 1832.

Garard, Olivia. “Clausewitzian Deep Tracks: ‘Guide to Tactics, or the Theory of the Combat.’” RealClearDefense. RealClearDefense, n.d. Accessed October 8, 2020.

Guerra, Joseph M. “An Introduction to Clausewitzian Strategic Theory: General Theory, Strategy, and Their Relevance for Today.” Military Strategy Magazine. Accessed October 8, 2020.

Landmeter, Eric. “The Relevance of Clausewitz’s ‘On War’ to Today’s Conflicts.” Militaire Spectator. Last modified July 26, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2020.






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