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Attrition Warfare

Attrition is a style of warfare characterized by the effort to destroy an opponent’s ability or means to resist. The primary goal of attrition warfare is to seek out and destroy the mass of the enemy’s forces. Such an approach seeks to pit friendly strength against enemy strength and by this method destroy the enemy’s capacity to fight. Forces employing attrition generally rely on mass to achieve this effect.

In the offense, attritionist forces measure success by the amount of ground they control, the number of enemy personnel that they have killed or captured, and the stocks of enemy equipment that have been seized or destroyed. In the defense, many of these same measures of effectiveness are still considered valuable. The goal of an attritionist force ...

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