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The Rules of War: A Beginners Guide to Combat Situations - Part 3!

By lordpeter3 - 26th February 2013 - 21:23 PM

Hello and welcome to the third installment of The Rules of War: A Basic Guide to Battle Situations. This time we will talk about the tactical genius of Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) and his wise lessons of war abstracted from his book, Von Krieg, where he states: "war is just the continuation of politics by other means".

The Rules of War: A Beginners Guide to Combat Situations - Part 3


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This military mastermind joined the army when he was 12, being best of his class at the military academy and became a general when he was 26 years old. He wrote a book in 8 parts about war when he was promoted headmaster of Prussia's finest military academy but unfortunately couldn't complete it due to his death in 1831 caused by cholera, while campaigning.

Karl von Clausewitz:

"It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past."


Taking action is far better than passively observing. To lose because you made the wrong decision isn't as bad as failing to make any sort of decision at all. From the former, you'll learn something, the latter will teach you nothing. Good strategic play is based on always having your troops on the move, harassing one point and capturing another. The constant movement and decision making takes away the monotony of artillery warfare that follows more often than not in static battles.

Karl von Clausewitz:

"To secure peace is to prepare for war."


In the past, the army was used to maintain control over one's state, allowing for the government to ignore domestic squabbles and focus on the safety of the nation as a whole. To defend a nation, armies had to be both a shield to a country and a deterrent for those thinking to attack it. However, amassing troops could lead to an arms race in which neighboring countries would also begin to pile up troops and weapons.

In this case, out of the box thinking is necessary to break out of this endless race and win. For example, in games, if a player gains artillery the other will copy the action, ultimately leading to a stalemate. However, if the second player responds to the artillery with tanks instead, he can overpower the artillery and life the arms race. Thus, the importance of thinking outside the box.

Karl von Clausewitz:

"The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy."


Have you ever wondered why certain units are better at harassing than others? Those most adept at it will most likely be fast and strong damage dealers. For example, you wouldn't use units with excessively high armor and health like tanks to harass because they'd be terribly slow. Since units used for harassment are quick, they're easier to hide as well. This "secrecy" allows them to sneak behind enemy lines and launch devastating attacks as well as retreat quickly before being targeted.

Karl von Clausewitz:

"Principles and rules are intended to provide man with a frame of reference."


Everything you read on sites like Gamereplays with our tips, guides, and build orders are bound to certain situations and templates. Every situation is subtly different, and thus has to be responded with in a subtly different way. Following the guides laid out here won't lead you to victory if you adhere to them word for word in every situation.

Use your head and make sure to use the guides as a framework for your strategy. Tanks are good versus infantry, but if the infantry gets anti-tank capabilities, it would be unwise to continue following the guide that tells you using tanks against infantry is effective. Keep in mind that guides will build a foundation for you, but all the adaptations and small changes have to come from you!

Karl von Clausewitz:

"Never forget that no military general has ever become great without audacity."


Even if it costs you the game, try something new and take a few risks. Knowledge is gained from trial and error and can be very helpful in the future. You'll always learn more from defeat than victory!

Author: lordpeter3

lordpeter3 is a respected RA3
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Strategy Specialist who for over 4 years has written guides, made VODs and laid down advice for members of the Red Alert 3 section.