Published Resources Details Journal Article

Heitman, H-R
Asymmetry and other fables
Jane’s Defence Weekly
vol. 43, no. 34, 38952, p. 23

Accession No.1177


"The military profession is generally hard-nosed, but every now and then it succumbs to fable or fashion. Some readers may remember the missile-only fighter of the 1950's and 1960's, which operational experience proved wildly out of touch with reality. Also of course, there were those who believed guided missiles meant the end of the main battle tank. Today we are fascinated with asymmetric warfare, net-centric warfare and precision warfare and we are convinced that heavy forces and the tank (yet again) are passé. Perhaps so, but the view from a comfortable enfilade position suggests that the profession may once again be riding into the guns rather than to the sound of the guns. Asymmetry works both ways. There is nothing quite as asymmetric as a tank driving over an infantryman. Asymmetry is not new. It is as old as warfare: mounted knights totally outclassed foot soldiers until faced with new weapons and tactics. The crossbow reversed things and declaring it 'unchristian' and attempting to ban it did not work too well. Both mounted and foot soldiers remain on the battlefield, however, despite the shifting advantage. Asymmetry is real and can offer a real edge to those who recognise its potential in the particular situation and exploit it in either direction."