398 - On the indivisible aspect of the armoured division.

N. Lygeros

  • Post Category:Articles

The main advantages of the armoured divisions are the element of surprise linked to the extreme mobility, the fire power and the penetration capacities. However, badly exploited, tanks as in a context of mere infantry support prove to be not only inefficient but become a perfect target. For, as a mere support, they essentially work like fixed cannons because soldiers are too slow. Thus, the army only makes use of their fire characteristics to the detriment of the clash ones.
Another negative point as regards the use of tanks is their possible scattering. Deliberate or required for the defence of a wide front, scattering represents a profound strategic mistake. It means a degenerate case of the use of tanks. It naturally leads to an implicit change of scale that restricts the role of the tank to the one of the isolated infantryman. Its behaviour is then like the one of an ant away from the myrmecosystem. Information outsourcing in the battle system of a group of tanks disappears when they are too distant from one another to get weaker focusing on each of them. This phenomenon is a loss of structural coherence.
Contrary to appearances, a tank is not really powerful in itself. It becomes so within an organized formation that can increase the power of clash-fire combining via the mobility of global assembling and the possibility of crossfires. Thus, the keystone of the system is its communication that has to be sturdy and redundant in order to maintain the reinforced architecture on being a target. Nevertheless, despite the strike force of an armoured division, it would be nothing without air cover.
This comment that could seem innocent at first sight represents in reality a theoretical reconsideration of the separation of the armies. Each of them, eager to keep authority in its control zone, is reluctant when using its forces in a border cooperation. And yet, it is precisely the contribution of dynamical systems that points out the importance of phenomenon on the borders of basins of attraction.
In fact, the tank / plane partnership, uniting clash and action, solves another intrinsic problem of the armoured division that is to say the one of dimension. As a matter of fact, despite all its power, an armoured division is an entity moving in two-dimensional space. So, it is subjected not only to the layout of the field, but above all, to the horizon effect. And the very structure of the visual field of a tank that is nearly one-dimensional only worsens the situation. To compensate for it, air cover is perfect. It more or less moves the horizon effect and increases the strike force enabling a partial breaking-up of the adverse plan before the actual clash.

Thus, it is the indivisible nature of the armoured division that makes its force and not the individuals forming it. Moreover, its entity goes past the usual military contexts for it needs the cooperation of various armies ( Air Force and Army ) and various arms ( infantry and cavalry ). By the way, it requires an independent going through view as regards strategy and tactics radically different in its understanding, changing local cooperation into a real global synergy, because the only force standing up to matter is thinking.