Swarming on the Battlefield: Past, Present, and Future

By Sean J. A. Edwards | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
HISTORICAL CONCLUSIONS
Across the identified cases, at least three factors appear to play a role in whether or not swarming was successful:
Elusiveness—either through mobility or concealment
A longer range of firepower—standoff capability
Superior situational awareness.1

When all three factors were present, swarmers stood a very good chance of winning.2 Table 4.1 indicates that superior elusiveness and situational awareness appear to be more important than standoff capability.

Certainly one could argue for the inclusion of several other variables. Willingness to take casualties was probably a factor in the Dorylaeum and Mogadishu examples. Training is usually a key variable in most battles. Shooting arrows accurately from horseback is a skill that usually is reserved for those with a nomadic lifestyle, which offers a lifetime of training.

____________________
1
Concealment is closely related to superior situational awareness. By definition, superior situational awareness involves having more information (unit locations, activity, intent, etc.) about the enemy than he has about you. It is more difficult to conceal your location from the enemy when his situational awareness is superior to yours.
2
It is worth noting that the Macedonian-Scythian case is exceptional. The swarmer army was defeated despite its having many advantages, because all the advantages in the world matter little against a military genius like Alexander the Great.

-53-

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Swarming on the Battlefield: Past, Present, and Future
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figure vii
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms xxiii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Methodology for Historical Analysis 7
  • Chapter Three - Historical Cases 13
  • Chapter Four - Historical Conclusions 53
  • Chapter Five - Toward a Swarming Doctrine? 65
  • Chapter Six - Conclusion 87
  • References 89
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