No one can deny that having superior numbers when going to battle is an advantage, but it certainly does not guarantee victory. The will to win, great tactics, agility in movement and power multipliers all mean everything and how to use every aspect and information in the battlefield can still win. Yes, it helps to have overall numbers, as the Law of Dignity, “as I like to call it, enables recovery from mistakes or surprises. But perhaps it is important that we have a philosophical discussion in this to make it all clear.
“The most common element of victory is superiority in numbers,” rough translation from Karl von Clausewitz.
Historically, this is true – it has been the “most common” element of victory and certainly in his time, but it is not always the case, it essentially claims that the bully in the school yard, the law of animalism matters most, which is not true, but realize that “normal” and “most common” matter.
Examples of where it might not have been “David and Goliath” for a fun biblical reference and there are many others in the scripture realize that I am not a religion so I would not use it but one that discusses this point can to shock their audience there, especially if this audience was filled with mostly Christians, will make them think, so could the “Jam it To Them” debater while thinking about it with the old; Example of “George Washington” crossing Delaware, and even Clausewitz realizing the value of “Surprise”, like Sun Tzu, and you can also talk to Colonel Boyd’s “guerrilla warfare” tactics to make them look smart on the subject .
Next, the debater could lead their audience to the human biosystem, with its overall immune system, and how something as small as a virus or bacteria can bring it down to number, from common cold to prolonged health deterioration, sometimes death. The “Bigness Act” is not a guarantee, although it is a formidable deterrent “in general” – and even in Clausewitz, opponents would line up on the battlefield and often play a game of exhaustion, not recommended in my book, but that’s how they were used to do it.
It could be argued that the notion of overwhelming strength in winning a fight may not win the war or complete the goals, but certainly win some battles along the way. Eg. The “rises” in taking regions in Afghanistan or Iraq, as there is a matter of keeping this territory, it’s costly, foot to feed and the logistical supply chain. One of the biggest issues in these wars was the cost of the US Treasury, $ 2 billion a week in Afghanistan is a lot to stomach at a time when economic recovery here at home is the biggest driver and political push, see that point?
Also, it must be realized when it comes to costs that for every member on the battlefield behind these swords, we now see 10-20 in the supply chain for any actual war relocator, huge costs that can bankrupt the state, in the end the economy kills the nation with the giant army, not the enemy, so even if you over power the enemy you can lose the war. Alone by having a huge military force, yet still abusing it is unaware of military strategy during the actual conflict.
Proper tactics allow a military force to penetrate and force a larger army to its knees. Consider the tactics of the German “Blitzkrieg” – perhaps the best example, taking advantage of the weakest link, so who is interested in how great the opposing force is? Every force has important issues to content with; Will, morals, supply lines, media, public support, politics, command and control, weather, technology, etc. – still, Clausewitz is right, mostly numbers matter. Now to end this philosophical study, let me give you a question; count robotic weapon systems as “superior numbers”, and in that case you should consider that as well.