Piercing the Fog of War: Recognizing Change on the Battlefield: Lessons from Military History, 216 BC Through Today

Piercing the Fog of War: Recognizing Change on the Battlefield: Lessons from Military History, 216 BC Through Today

by Brian L. Steed
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

This book is about extreme, unexpected change in war, the phenomenon that author Brian L. Steed calls aberration. Aberration is not mere surprise, not just the unexpected; it is something that is so far outside our normal frame of reference as to be unrecognizable. In the heat of the moment, an aberration may just cause embarrassment or financial loss; in

See more details below

Overview

This book is about extreme, unexpected change in war, the phenomenon that author Brian L. Steed calls aberration. Aberration is not mere surprise, not just the unexpected; it is something that is so far outside our normal frame of reference as to be unrecognizable. In the heat of the moment, an aberration may just cause embarrassment or financial loss; in the heat of battle, aberration will cause death and defeat. Piercing the Fog of War is a study of aberration in war.

Author Steed’s study of seven “aberrational” battles drawn from the full timeline of military history shows how unrecognized change can have a profound effect upon victory and defeat. These case studies include both ancient battles, such as Cannae in 216 BC, as well as more contemporary combat, such as the Battle of Grozny (Chechnya) that started on New Year’s Eve 1994. Steed includes both famous battles, such as Little Big Horn, as well as others, such as the Horns of Hattin, that are lesser known.

Each case study presents a detailed and uniform consideration of the subject battle, including geographical setting, units involved, key leaders, historical and grand strategy, tactical chronology, battlefield leadership, and lessons learned. In the discussion of each battle, the author applies the “strategies” he has developed to provide the reader a framework for analysis of battle. From introspection to “think science fiction,” these strategies allow combat leaders to recognize the difference between unexpected and never before known or experienced, between surprise and aberration.

Expect the unexpected. Think outside the box. But can you . . . really? In any conflict, if the commander fails to recognize an aberrational event, defeat will be the result. Piercing the Fog of War provides all leaders a means of expanding the box in order to better deal with true aberration.

Major Brian L. Steed is a U.S. Army officer. He joined the Utah Army National Guard while attending Brigham Young University and was commissioned in the U.S. Army upon graduation in 1992. Steed has taught battlefield tactics and military history on the college campus and in U.S. Army classrooms and training grounds. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including most of the Arabic-speaking world.

Steed ‘s writing credits include Armed Conflict: The Lessons of Modern War (Presidio Press, 2003), a historical analysis of present and future warfare. He has had several articles published in professional journals dealing with planning, preparing, and conducting combat operations. He has also written numerous book reviews on military history. Steed’s current assignment is as an exchange officer in Jordan where he serves as a Deputy Battalion Commander in the Jordanian Armed Forces. He advises and consults with various agencies of the United States government in his current position and is a Middle East specialist for the U.S. Army.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Bookviews
“Drawing on twenty years of studying, teaching, and applying military history, author Major Brian Steed, has written Piercing the Fog of War to develop an understanding of how the nature of conflict in all its aspects is changing so rapidly that it poses new demands on today’s military. The Iraq War is a perfect example of how the U.S. military learned how to combat an insurgency in which the enemy used improvised explosive devices, snipers, and suicide bombers as opposed to war between massed forces. Using eight case studies from the classical to the modern era, strategies for dealing with unexpected circumstances in a swiftly changing world are addressed. That makes this book valuable to anyone with management responsibilities, as well as those whose interest is the art of war.”

Military Heritage
“U.S. Army officer, military historian, and strategist Brian Steed has put together a unique look at battlefields throughout history to help future commanders learn from their mistakes.”

Soldier (UK)
“This well-researched title is a detailed academic analysis of the complexities of warfare. Examining a wide historical range of battles and engagements, it represents a useful reference tool…The best part, albeit rushed, is the battle for Grozny in 1994/1995, which highlights the total asymmetry of both protagonists.”

Library Journal, June 1, 2009
“We don’t want to fight the last war again, so how do we meet the challenge of the new war? What is the balance between experience and innovation? Steed, a U.S. Army officer who has taught battlefield tactics, offers a template to recognize game-changing innovation and provides historical examples in which a commander altered the battlefield to defeat a superior, complacent enemy, e.g., at Little Bighorn and more recently at Grozny (1996). For serious readers in military history.”

Book News Inc.
“Steed is a US Army officer, noted author and lecturer on battlefield tactics and military history, and he has written this account of seven historic "aberrational" battles that helped to redefine modern warfare. Written for general audiences and fans of military strategy, this book examines such legendary battles such as Little Bighorn (1876), the Horns of Hattin (1187) and Trenton (1776) to illustrate novel and effective strategies that are the very definition of "thinking outside of the box." The author presents the geographic setting, units involved, key leaders, tactical chronology and an overall analysis of the battle and what makes it unique.”

Library Journal

We don't want to fight the last war again, so how do we meet the challenge of the new war? What is the balance between experience and innovation? Steed, a U.S. Army officer who has taught battlefield tactics, offers a template to recognize game-changing innovation and provides historical examples in which a commander altered the battlefield to defeat a superior, complacent enemy, e.g., at Little Bighorn and more recently at Grozny (1996). For serious readers in military history.


—Edwin B. Burgess

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780760335239
Publisher:
MBI Publishing Company
Publication date:
04/15/2009
Edition description:
First
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Library Journal, June 1, 2009 “We don’t want to fight the last war again, so how do we meet the challenge of the new war? What is the balance between experience and innovation? Steed, a U.S. Army officer who has taught battlefield tactics, offers a template to recognize game-changing innovation and provides historical examples in which a commander altered the battlefield to defeat a superior, complacent enemy, e.g., at Little Bighorn and more recently at Grozny (1996). For serious readers in military history.”

Book News Inc.“Steed is a US Army officer, noted author and lecturer on battlefield tactics and military history, and he has written this account of seven historic "aberrational" battles that helped to redefine modern warfare. Written for general audiences and fans of military strategy, this book examines such legendary battles such as Little Bighorn (1876), the Horns of Hattin (1187) and Trenton (1776) to illustrate novel and effective strategies that are the very definition of "thinking outside of the box." The author presents the geographic setting, units involved, key leaders, tactical chronology and an overall analysis of the battle and what makes it unique.”

Military Heritage“U.S. Army officer, military historian, and strategist Brian Steed has put together a unique look at battlefields throughout history to help future commanders learn from their mistakes.”

Bookviews“Drawing on twenty years of studying, teaching, and applying military history, author Major Brian Steed, has written Piercing the Fog of War to develop an understanding of how the nature of conflict in all its aspects is changing so rapidly that it poses new demands on today’s military. The Iraq War is a perfect example of how the U.S. military learned how to combat an insurgency in which the enemy used improvised explosive devices, snipers, and suicide bombers as opposed to war between massed forces. Using eight case studies from the classical to the modern era, strategies for dealing with unexpected circumstances in a swiftly changing world are addressed. That makes this book valuable to anyone with management responsibilities, as well as those whose interest is the art of war.”

Soldier (UK)
“This well-researched title is a detailed academic analysis of the complexities of warfare. Examining a wide historical range of battles and engagements, it represents a useful reference tool…The best part, albeit rushed, is the battle for Grozny in 1994/1995, which highlights the total asymmetry of both protagonists.”

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >