Salvo Warfare-I.

People who think that I am on some sort of a crusade against the political “science” or what passes today for “history”, or rather what it becomes once some “historian” begins to offer “the range of interpretations”… they are absolutely right. These two fields of human “academic” activity–and this is not my definition, many other people used and continue to use it way before me–are the fields in which credentials are bestowed upon primarily interpretations and personal (however “justified” with sources) opinions. But in history, at least, there is some inherent knowable truth which could be found, once layer upon layer of “interpretations” will be peeled off, especially when it is done by professionals who know the subject which constitutes this layer. This is not the case with political “science” which for the last decades produced a dearth of BS and failed to predict just about anything. 

It is not surprising. Just take a look at the political “science” courses, say in Columbia University, and you will find there a hodgepodge collection of mostly “current events” theoretical BS which anyone with IQ higher than room temperature can get from media. Here is one “unit” which has some relevance to real world: DATA ANALYSIS & STATS-POL RES.



This course examines the basic methods data analysis and statistics that political scientists use in quantitative research that attempts to make causal inferences about how the political world works. The same methods apply to other kinds of problems about cause and effect relationships more generally. The course will provide students with extensive experience in analyzing data and in writing (and thus reading) research papers about testable theories and hypotheses. It will cover basic data analysis and statistical methods, from univariate and bivariate descriptive and inferential statistics through multivariate regression analysis. Computer applications will be emphasized. The course will focus largely on observational data used in cross-sectional statistical analysis, but it will consider issues of research design more broadly as well. It will assume that students have no mathematical background beyond high school algebra and no experience using computers for data analysis. 

As you can see yourself–they give them a very basic math, which later finds its other incidence, buried in the pile of purely story-telling topics such as “ISRAELI NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY, POLICY AND DECISION MAKING“, such as, and you have guessed it–Game Theory. Among all this disjoint collection of “stories” about politics the most remarkable is this: THEORIES OF WAR AND PEACE.

In this course we undertake a comprehensive review of the literature on the causes of war and the conditions of peace, with a primary focus on interstate war. We focus primarily on theory and empirical research in political science but give some attention to work in other disciplines. We examine the leading theories, their key concepts and causal variables, the causal paths leading to war or to peace, and the conditions under which various outcomes are most likely to occur. We also give some attention to the degree of empirical support for various theories and hypotheses, and we look at some of the major empirical research programs on the origins and expansion of war. Our survey includes research utilizing qualitative methods, large-N quantitative methods, formal modeling, and experimental approaches. We also give considerable attention to methodological questions relating to epistemology and research design. Our primary focus, however, is on the logical coherence and analytic limitations of the theories and the kinds of research designs that might be useful in testing them. This course is designed primarily for graduate students who want to understand and contribute to the theoretical and empirical literature in political science on war, peace, and security. Students with different interests and students from other departments can also benefit from the seminar and are also welcome. Ideally, members of the seminar will have some familiarity with basic issues in international relations theory, philosophy of science, research design, and statistical methods.
Wow! So, as you can see yourself it is a feeble attempt to provide some degree of legitimacy for political “science” graduates’ opinions on war, by skipping every single subject which constitutes the foundation of modern war and, as I am on record ad nauseam here, it is higher math, physics and fundamental engineering and military courses ranging from radio-electronics to weapon systems integration, to combat applications, tactics, operational art and research and many other things of which political “scientists” never heard about, not to mention have no clue that such subjects do even exist. How about the theory of survivability of the ship or structure of combat communication networks? Don’t hold your breath. Those graduates get a glimpse of Theory of Operations through some statistical methods and basic probabilities course, and then move on to study what anyone with a half-brain can read up on internet in several hours. 
Yet, guess from three times who dominates in the modern West (especially in the US) the “discussion” on crucial issues of war and peace, military strategies and geopolitics? You bet, political “scientists” who, as I often use this expression, will not know the difference between LGBT and BTG, which is Battalion (or Brigade) Tactical Group. These are the people who continue to not only spread mostly incompetent sophomoric BS on warfare, they are the MAIN force behind shaping a discussion in the US on geopolitics and strategy, having zero competencies in what defines humanity’s main tool of group-against-group survival which is groups’ power (capability) and warfare. You can bet your ass also on the fact that this contingent of institutionalized ignoramuses, together with lawyers, constitute the main body of the US legislature and government officials. Recall utter embarrassing failure of all those “scientists” in 2016. How did your political “science” and “statistics” work out, eh?  
And here is the main point–modern warfare is complex. Extremely complex. By modern I mean already highly motorized warfare of WW II, with massive mechanized armies, supported by the vast combat aviation fleets, massive naval armadas equipped with radar and sonar clashing on different theaters of operations and producing not only catastrophic destruction and human loses but gigantic volumes of combat data and correlates which not only contributed immensely to a development of tactical and operational models but accelerated technological development of war and its deadly instruments to a breakneck speed. In 1942 a graduate of the Soviet high school or lower college could get into the accelerated artillery officer program, complete it in a few months and be sent to the front line to face Wehrmacht and its panzers. In 1985 the study of missile-artillery officer in academy (officer school) would take full 5 years (6 academic years) with graduate degree in engineering and under-graduate in military science and would involve the study of weapons systems of immense complexity. Same was and is true for naval and air force officers.
Today, the same is done based on immensely complex and state-of-the-art academic facilities which unify in themselves latest in weapon systems of an immense power even with conventional explosives, and warfare today is defined by extremely complex combat networks, computers, some really mind-boggling sensors, instant propagation of information, neural networks, robotics, materials which even 20 years ago seemed inconceivable. Ranges of even what would be considered tactical weapons 40 years ago grew into thousands of kilometers, decision making is assisted by AI elements and battle management systems provide not only sensor fusion but probabilistic analysis of operations. How do you fight such a war. By studying the politics of Japan and basic Game Theory with Statistics? Of course not. Political “science” is simply outclassed by several orders of magnitude by warfare and its instruments, as well as applying “the lessons” from history to modern war and geopolitics is a fool’s errand because at the Battle of Lepanto they didn’t have to resolve the issue of uncertainties when developing firing solution by long-range supersonic missile salvo against Carrier Battle Group at 500 kilometers. 
So, tactics and operations take the front seats and this is what constitutes the most important element of modern day geopolitics as we observe it through the lens of actions by nations-states or their alliances and is manifested in statements by leaders of the states, their ministers of foreign affairs, parliaments and, 99% full of shit, media. It all rests on military-economic power, period. The rest is merely an addition or iteration of what is known as Composite Index of National Capability and if I can build a better weapon and kill you with less damage to myself–this is exactly what constitutes the real national power and, as Den Xiaoping used to play with Clausewitz’ famous dictum: “Diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.”  You either have a weapon or you become an object (not a subject) of history and your only hope is that you don’t become a meal for a hungry aggressive superpower. 
Late legendary Captain Wayne Hughes understood it clearly and developed an incredible sense for both strategy and evolution of weapons. Not surprisingly, Hughes was a graduate of the US Naval Academy in 1952 in the times of naval titans the scale of  Chester Nimitz, Arleigh Burke and, inevitably, later Elmo Zumwalt, who recognized, unlike many of his contemporaries, the changing nature of the (naval) warfare and was a keen observer of Admiral Gorshkov who built the Soviet Navy around missile weapon systems and that changed everything. Hughes wrote extensively about it and applied his very own Salvo Model to a new paradigm of the naval, and not only, warfare which he presented to a wider public in his famous treatise. 

Salvo Equations’, unlike Osipov-Lanchester model, deal with discrete values. That is the things which you can actually count in exchange, they are not continuous, such as, for example an infantry battalion under the artillery barrage where it is possible but extremely difficult to model losses because not only the barrage could be continuous (for an hour with unknown number of shells) but depend dramatically on the design of defensive positions capable to take some degree of damage and thus save lives. In the end, even awareness and running skills of soldiers could be a factor in such an ordeal, which makes it extremely difficult to predict. Here is how Lanchester’s model looks like for combat:

This is not a nice looking set of differential equations where coefficients a and e define the rate of NON-combat losses, b and f define the rate of losses due to fire impact on areas, c and g define the rate of losses at the front line (immediate contact) and d and h are the numbers of arriving or withdrawing reserves. You see, a hot mess. And then, of course, you cannot shoot down every single artillery shell. Not so with missiles, which you can shoot down and which are discrete by their very nature, as are ships. If you have 5 ships in your task group–that is it. This is 5 ships and that is what gives Salvo Model an elegant and easily understood form. Not in embellished form, I underscore. Embellished Salvo Equations are a bit different animal and require a serious understanding of weapons, but I will touch upon those later. Here is basic Salvo Model for two hostile forces (fleets) A and B. 

The beauty of this model is in the fact that it is not necessarily just a naval one. Missile exchange exists not only at the sea and between fleets. One can apply this model to exchange between defended base and combat air component attacking it. It is a classic missile exchange between discrete forces. We also will look into that, but for now it is clear that at this level of basic Salvo Equations one can easily “play” with them based on some assumptions and get a feel of how they work. Mathematically it is very simple and I did present some examples before elsewhere but let’s play a bit. But to cool down your enthusiasm a little bit because of a seemingly simple math in this model, the math behind it is actually quite complex and salvo model is basically a tip of the iceberg and its application requires a serious tactical and operational (and engineering) knowledge which, of course, is beyond the grasp of political “scientists”. 

Here is a simple illustration of the damage analysis for a ship. In any naval academy the course on Theory of Ship Design (Construction) and Survivability is a two full years course, which involves not only a truckload of math and naval architecture but such earthly and prole things like closing damn holes in the hull being under the attack of incoming and roaring water, or extinguishing fires while shit around you explodes and burns–believe me, this is not fun. It looks good only in the movies.

Here is a general solution for a salvo by a submarine:

Or here is maneuvering on board for taking salvo position:

So, this is just a minuscule part of what is needed to fully grasp what is this all about in Salvo Model, not to speak of Embellished Salvo Equations. So, don’t get cocky just yet. You will have the chance to get cocky once you will follow my blog and, of course, support (those well-off among you) me on Patreon.  

Now to basic play. Let’s assume that two forces  A and B have equal number of ships, say 5. Thus: A=5 and B=5. Let’s continue with other coefficients. Say force A’s α=3 (that is the number of well-aimed missiles fired by each ship from A), while the same for B will be β=4. Now, the following: a1 and b1 are what is generally known as omega(ϖ) which is mathematical expectation, or, as is stated in model, a number (usually weighted average) of missiles 
needed to take a ship out of action. Let’s say a1=2 and b1=1 (I use deliberately whole numbers to simplify the task) and now to a3 which is, basically, effectiveness of A’s air defense, which is the number of missiles fired by B destroyed by A’s air defense. So, say a3=2 and for B we say same effectiveness: b3=2. Now we are ready to calculate. Let’s start with A’s losses:


As you can see yourself A doesn’t fare that well–it gets completely destroyed, and loses all 5 ships. But what about B. Plug in your numbers.  As you can see, B didn’t fare much better and got its ass handed to it by A. So, two task groups basically sunk each-other. Of course, this is a completely unrealistic scenario but it showed that B having much less “resistance” to being taken out by enemy missiles (only one per each B ship) couldn’t capitalize on its advantage in a number of missiles it had over A. Force A ships simply could absorb more battle damage. If only B had better air defense or could absorb more damage. Should  a1=2 and b1=2, that is being the same, force B could have won this exchange over A and would have retained 2.5 ships afloat. We round it and it is 3 ships–this is victory, a bloody one, but victory nonetheless. So, here we are, with some example of how simple this basic model is. But, of course, as you may have guessed it already, the devil is in those pesky details which define modern missile combat and that is a hell of a topic, which I intent on discussing…

P.S. If anyone notices some stupid mistakes in calculations, please inform–it is evening and even two monitors is not enough for navigating this mambo-jumbo. Do not forget to support me on Patreon.  

To Be Continued…