Most of war experts’ analysis of either historical wars or present time armed conflicts tend to cover the following: strategic and political aspects, balance of power; size and quality of each side’s forces and equipment; technology; economic and logistic aspects; combatant’s motivation and lastly, the military leaders’ skills including traits such as courage, determination, resilience etc. All of these are by no means significant factors affecting the outcome of the conflict and the winning side, however it seems that one of the most important aspects is often overlooked: tactics.
Tactics reflect the presence or absence of a profound military thinking, presence or absence of well written combat doctrine, presence, or absence of an appropriate training methodology and above all – the emphasize (if any) given to the commanders’ tactical skills. The later also measures how talented these commanders are in that field and not only how much experience do they have.
There are two main reasons why this subject doesn’t receive enough attention as it should:
Lack of understanding how much “tactical talent” is an important trait (which is mostly birth given – you either have it or not).
This is not to be mistaken for merely sense of direction or ability to navigate (although these traits are somehow connected). Tactical talent means the ability to perceive a combative situation rapidly and accurately.
It includes the ability to “read” the terrain either by direct observation or by looking at maps and aerial photos; to intuitively see lines of visions and blind spots; to easily choose the optimal and hidden progress lines and posts locations; to accurately estimate time and distances; to identify own and enemy’s weak spots; to plan coordination and creation of synergy between various forces (plus to rapidly detect possible flaws in the plan) and all of that under fire and under a tight schedule.
It's true that it is possible to train and improve on these abilities and experience plays an important part, however the difference in tactical skills between two commanders with the same training and experience can be immense.
This factor, the extent of tactical skills possessed by tactical-level commanders determines the outcome of battles and affect the number of casualties more than anything else!
2. Besides the individual traits of field commanders, there is another no-less grave phenomena. In most armed forces (Israeli and American for sure) many tactical mistakes have emerged and have been perpetuated over the years; essential considerations have been neglected and even wrong assertions that have been systematically adopted.
All that without being detected and corrected by the higher level. As a result, severe tactical mistakes keep repeating themselves without anyone correcting them or even realizing that they are indeed mistakes.
Going through a lot of military literature about modern armed conflicts (since World War II) shows that while much of the given information is accurate and detailed, it fails to analyze the actual lessons from armed conflicts either because the researchers who writes this material lack the military experience or the fact that they focus on other aspects like strategy, logistics and leadership while neglecting the very important aspect of tactics.
General Eiland is considered to be high reputable expert on the subject of military tactics of ground forces in general and infantry in particular.
During his military service in the IDF, he was a platoon leader (around the 1973 ‘Yom Kipur’ war, three times a company commander, three times a battalion commander (including in the 1982 first Lebanon war), twice a brigade commander and the commended the IDF’s officer’s training school as an IDF colonel. Later as a Brigadier General he headed the IDF's infantry and parachuters corps for three and a half years. At that time he re-wrote the entire combat doctrine of the Israeli Infantry.
Even after such a long time ever since, whenever it comes to military tactics and doctrines, General Eiland is still on high demand, being invited on a regular basis to contribute from his knowledge and provide analysis to current various tactical events on all levels of commend. Eiland is also very knowledgeable and passionate about the military history of World War II.
His immense experience and professional knowledge allow him to offer the following:
Being a worldwide consultant in the field of military tactics including fighting against guerrilla and terror organizations.
Give academic lectures on the subject including analysis of famous battles through history.