Coaxial machineguns are machineguns that point the same direction as a tank's (or IFV's) main gun. This makes aiming simple and the vehicle needs no additional means for training and elevation of the machinegun.

Coaxial machineguns use the mass of the turret for cooling and can be reloaded from under armour. Their biggest downside is that most coaxial machineguns allow burnt propellant gases to pollute the air within the turret, but that's an even bigger issue with the main gun, so ventilation is a must in crewed turrets. Coaxial machineguns have been common since the 1930's.

A special (and rare) kind of coaxial machineguns are retrofitted heavy calibre machineguns that are mounted outside of the turret.

You've very likely read about the threat of remotely-controlled flying drones to tanks. They're radio command-controlled and susceptible to jamming, but few tanks have such jammers. Netting is used to counter such drones, but purpose-built fuses would easily counter any such net.*


The answer to such drones is mostly jamming, though you may also shoot them down or burn them with lasers. Jamming can be done with quite simple means; you merely need power supply, a radio transmitter for the correct radio frequency band and a (directional) antenna that fits said band as well.

The whole package can be compact enough to be a one-man 'weapon'.


It's obvious that Western MBTs and IFVs are not prepared to deal with such a threat, and they are VERY vulnerable to it. We could equip them with jammers with omnidirectional antennas, but the permanent emissions by such antennas would be very easily triangulated and inform the enemy about tank locations and movements. We could switch such jammers on only when needed, but this requires the knowledge when they are needed; the detection of the drone.

You may use a weaker (or at same output power more effective) jammer with a directional antenna when you know where the drone threat is. So there's a case for directional drone jammers to be added to armoured fighting vehicles.

We already have quite a garden of antennae, cupolas, sensors and guns on top of tank turrets, though. A coaxial installation of a drone jammer antenna may thus be the way to go IF one decides against an omnidirectional antenna jammer. It may also make sense to have omnidirectional self-protection jammers and one tank or infantry fighting vehicle per platoon equipped with a longer-ranged directional jammer. The longer ranged one would be against observation drones, while the self-protection jammers would only affect the much more close attack drones.

I didn't write much about such jammers in the past because I consider remotely-piloted vehicles as a transitory thing. The really big deal will be drones with a degree of autonomy that allows them to do their job without an intact two-way datalink with a human operator.

My preference remains the use of mass-produced standardised remotely-controlled weapon stations (RCWS) on almost all battlefield vehicles (80+ % of the vehicles of a mechanised infantry brigade, for example). I hope we can make do without onboard search radars.



*: Drones with simple impact fuse can be countered, but a fuse can be built with an acceleration-measurement chip that sense the sudden deceleration when the drone gets caught by the net or cage and initiates the shaped charge explosion. The result would be a shaped charge attack with near-optimum standoff distance; even worse than a textbook impact fused shaped charge attack.


"Sanctions don't work!" (That's bollocks!)


Certain people on the intertubes are claiming that sanctions on Russia don't work, that sanctions circumventing renders them moot. It appears to be fashionable to cite trade statistics with Central Asian countries to provide supposed evidence for this assertion.

I'm not going to publicly guess why these people do so, or what their sources of income are. Instead, the economist in me found the topic a bit interesting from an analytical point of view:


Suppose you want to buy a used car. You spend time looking at offers on the internet, you drive to car sellers, discuss with friends, finally you travel to a specific seller and actually buy a used car from him for 10,000 currency units.

What was the cost of this purchase? I suppose the average economics layman will say it was 10,000 currency units. The average economist should be ashamed if he/she/it gave such a reply. Economists know about the concept of transaction costs. All those other activities around the used car purchase deal caused transaction costs; currency units and time were spent on that deal beyond the purchase price.

Now let's look at a hypothetical case of a 250,000 CU machine being purchased from a Western company by a Russian company through a middleman in some Stan-country. That purchase has a long rat's tail of additional transaction costs; middlemen, briberies, additional transport costs, a greater time delay, additional risks.

So we know for sure that circumventing sanctions like that imposes extra economic burdens on Russia(ns).

Furthermore, economists know a concept called price elasticity of demand. The usual case is that less goods will be purchased if the price increases. The opposite is so super rare that these freak cases have their own name (Giffen goods).

Imagine a 10 € spare part for a 250,000 € machine. Its price could triple and it would be purchased just as often. Imagine the machine's price increased from 250,000 € to 750,000 € and the quantity sold will plummet.

So what's the effect of additional transaction costs on products that Russia(ns) want to import from the West? The quantity will be reduced by this change, as many of the import goods have a price elasticity of demand that means less purchases at higher costs of purchase. Moreover, Russia(ns) not only get less, but they pay more for it per copy.

This was a "ceteris paribus" analysis. We considered how the outcome changes if one input variable is changed. The overall outcome may be influenced by a gazillion input variables and others may override this one input variable's influence, of course. Trade statistics of poor countries have a lot of statistical noise. There may be a mighty influence for less trade and the end result of all input variables may still be an increase of trade for a while.

A certain input variable has recently been very powerful, though; inflation. The "Sanctions don't work!" crowd doesn't attempt to convince people of their opinion by using trade statistics that were  corrected for inflation, currency exchange rate issues or even things such as population and economic growth. A serious economics scholar would be expected to do so if he/she/it proposed a paper on the subject for peer reviewed publication. No, that highly opinionated crowd uses relatively short run and raw trade statistics (nothing like 'since 1991', no 'real', no 'per capita', no '%GDP').

In short; they're not in the information dissemination business. They're in the propaganda business.


Long story short; sanctions don't work as absolutely as desired, but they hurt. Adjustments can be made to the sanctions regime, and it can become ever more restricting, an allegorical anaconda strangling an aggressor state. Russia's quality of life won't plummet much, though. The cases of Cuba and Iran show that a country with decent natural resources luck can maintain regime survival and a low-but-not-starving consumption level for decades in face of severe sanctions.



P.S.: More could be written about this. I didn't touch on the subject of opportunity costs this time, for example. And the whole 'thinking' of the "Sanctions don't work!" crowd is somewhat reminiscent of the bollocks spreaders who claim that minimum wage increases get significantly if not fully neutralised by what inflation they (supposedly) cause.



Maneuver / manoeuvre - an elegant military theory framework - Part IV: Applications and consequencs of the new definition


Maneuver/manoeuvre is movement to exploit superior readiness.

  1. This definition is not limited to the age of firearms.
  2. It's giving manoeuvre a purpose, which helps guiding the mind to what's important.
  3. Manoeuvre does by this  definition not include almost all retrograde movements (withdrawal, delay, retreat), regardless of whether fighting goes on or not.
  4. As per the additional remarks in the last post, the movement may create the readiness advantage. Encirclement gives readiness advantage by cutting the enemy's supply lines (+ morale effects). A flank attack may generate surprise and may overstretch the defences. 
  5. The superior readiness may also exist prior to the manoeuvre, and the movement means immediate exploitation of superior readiness.
  6. Classic manoeuvre such as the oblique order attack at Leuthen or Washington's sneak night attack across the Delaware river would not qualify as manoeuvre under some definitions. They do qualify as manoeuvre under my definition.
  7. The definition is applicable at all levels from individual soldier to an entire corps moving as part of a theatre commander's plan.
  8. The definition includes a one-size-fits-all definition of relative fitness for the fight ("readiness"), which directs attention to creating an advantage in this.
  9. "to exploit" implies that manoeuvre is a voluntary leadership decision. Some other definitions pretend that it's also maneuver (manoeuvre) when a driver is running away from enemy infantry and occasionally firing at burst at their general direction.
  10. This definition does not render the "attritionist" vs. "maneuver warfare" discussion moot. Discussions are fine to attract people to military theory and to educate them. A discussion such as the aforementioned one may even make sense when the conclusion should have been obvious 40 years ago.
  11. The definition makes it almost trivially easy to recognise that manoeuvre will never be entirely obsolete or out of fashion. It made sense even in 1915, when trench raids with limited objectives were conducted with planning and surprise advantage with the limited objective of snatching some POWs for interrogation.
  12. It's also almost trivially easy to recognise  that manoeuvre cannot be the correct tactical answer at all times. You do not always have (or can create) superior readiness that could be exploited by movement.
  13. The definition does not show that manoeuvre is typically leading to a quicker conclusion of a battle than attrition by firepower without movement. A definition doesn't need to include the information about this fact, though.
  14. Regrettably, the definition required additional remarks to assist in the correct (as per the author) interpretation. "The movement can create or improve the superior readiness, for example by encirclement, by shock or by the morale effect of arriving reinforcements. The exploitation can happen in the near future, enabled by the movement." To avoid this would have complicated the definition too much IMO.
  15. Another downside is that it requires an understanding of the term "readiness" as defined by me.
  16. The definition appreciates the value of "shaping the battlefield", as it's an activity to create superior readiness.
  17. Definitions that tie movement to firepower emphasise firepower/lethality more, and thus lead thoughts astray. My definition emphasised movement and readiness. The emphasis on movement  (regardless of firepower) helps with recognizing the importance of rapidity for exploiting or creating opportunities. An ordinary definition would rather lead to thoughts about how much suppressive fires are needed.
  18. The Boyd apostles will likely not find this definition to be incompatible to their faith, but they'd likely want to add their 'quicker cycling' fixation to it. They might add (at the end of the definition) "by running the OODA loop quicker" or something similar.
  19. The definition can be applied to naval, air and space just as to land warfare. Americans may (as they're much more militaristic than Europeans) also apply it to business, as they did before with Sun Tzu and some other military theory.



This definition will not be used by armies in their field manuals. It's meant to advance & provoke military theory discussions, not as copy&paste content for a field manual revision.

 S O


Maneuver / manoeuvre - an elegant military theory framework - Part III: Definition of Maneuver / Manoeuvre


A definition serves the purpose to enable clear communication about an abstract thing or concept. A good definition also makes thought about it easier and gives it clarity.

I offer to you a re-definition of maneuver / manoeuvre for these purposes.

First, though, let's look at the definition of "maneuver" by the biggest Western military:

Maneuver is movement in conjunction with fires (ADP 3-90).
The purpose of maneuver is to gain and exploit positions of relative advantage to accomplish the mission.


It's also one of the most crappy definitions of "maneuver" I've ever seen if not the worst ever. It supposes that there was no maneuver before the invention of firearms. To sneak into the rear of a n enemy position is not "maneuver" according to the U.S. Army. That's ridiculous.

You may also note that the maneuver vs. attrition debate was 'solved' by the official American (Army) definition of maneuver in a most lazy way; maneuver was defined as moving in battle while someone non-hostile shoots. This didn't answer the debate that started in the early 80's; it sabotaged it. Americans cannot discuss maneuver vs. attrition if they stick to their official definition.

My encounters with such crappy professional insider works are the reason why I dare to voice dissent instead of being in awe of the established paradigms.

My definition for manoeuvre/maneuver:

Maneuver/manoeuvre is movement to exploit superior readiness.

Important remarks for interpretation:

  1. The movement can create or improve the superior readiness, for example by encirclement, by shock or by the morale effect of arriving reinforcements.
  2. The exploitation can happen in the near future, enabled by the movement. 

The next part of the series will look at consequences and benefits of this definition.



Maneuver / manoeuvre - an elegant military theory framework - Part II: Readiness


Back in September 1939 a section of German infantrymen entered a Polish barn and went to sleep in the straw. One man woke up the next morning from a separate and very high sleeping position, and what we saw was terrible: All his comrades of the section had their throats slit over night.

It doesn't even matter whether this anecdote from a book is true or not; it reminds us convincingly that even a granny with a kitchen knife (or a brick) is a match for a trained and armed infantry section if only the latter is not ready for a fight. They were definitely not ready for encountering even a single hostile while they slept.

This serves to illustrate the importance of readiness for a (particular) fight as a single variable descriptor of the odds of combat. Combat troops vs. support troops, first world vs. third world, gucci spec ops gear vs. self-made clubs - the readiness for a (particular fight) can be considered as a universal single variable descriptor. Training, equipment, health, morale, position, formation, terrain, time of day, weather and supplies all affect readiness, but there are many more input factors.

My definition for readiness for combat:

Readiness (for combat) is the fitness to succeed in a fight at this time and place.

The fight may be ongoing, commence right now or be started very soon (before readiness can be improved by much).

To have such a single variable description for the ex ante odds of prevailing in combat is hugely useful for the understanding of maneuver / maoneuvre in my opinion.

I understand that this definition of "readiness" is not practical for everyday use in armed forces training. It's relational; armed forces would want a metric that a unit can achieve by itself, and would include things like 'is qualified on equipment', has completed unit-level training exercise', 'has 80+% deployable and present personnel'. I'd rather call that "state of training" and "deployability", and the existence of such terms means that a definition of readiness doesn't need to answer non-battlefield needs.

The next part of the series will introduce a definition for maneuver / manoeuvre that uses "readiness".





Maneuver / manoeuvre - an elegant military theory framework - Part I: Maneuver/manoeuvre, published military theory debates


"Maneuver warfare" or "Third Generation Warfare", as it was termed by a group of American theorists, is widely considered to be an alternative approach for winning battles and campaigns to the attritionist approach.

The attritionist approach is very much about finding targets, shooting at them and eliminating them from the balance of forces in the fight or campaign. It works. The issues with it are that it's often rather slow and you need to really good at it, for else you may suffer unacceptable losses by attrition yourself.

Maneuver is different. Let's look at a simplistic platoon-level tactical problem; an enemy section of infantry is in a free-standing farmhouse, and a platoon has to pass that area, so this threat needs to be eliminated.

The attritionist ideal is to call in fires that destroy the infantry section in the building, likely destroying the building in the process. A guided bomb might be dropped on it from an aircraft, for example. "Artillery destroys, infantry occupies." is an example for this approach/attitude.

A maneuvrist ideal is to feign an attack from one direction, then assault the building with a section from another section with the advantage of suppressive fires by small arms. The assault team takes the enemy by surprise and wins the fight inside, ideally more by taking prisoners than by killing. The building merely has a couple bullet holes and interior damaged by hand grenades.

A campaign-level example for attrition could be the decision to shell and bomb the hostile army until it's bled white or its morale crumbles (this happened to 1917 Russia, 1918 Germany, 1945 Germany, 1973 U.S.).

A campaign-level maneuvrist approach would be to break through the front to seek encirclement(s) (and surrender) of so much hostile army power that the hostile leadership loses hope and surrenders.

- - - - -

There have been discussions about which approach is more promising for generations. Likewise, there have been discussions about whether this or that approach is obsolete, usually based on recent events. The current Russo-Ukrainian War may serve as an occasion to claim that maneuver is dead. The focus on artillery shell deliveries and the plethora of war porn gore videos of killing and destruction fits to this very well.

I will not recount all those previous debates here (that would require a book, not a few blog posts); instead, I will introduce a new definition of maneuver/manoeuvre. I'm usually no friend of modifying definitions, but at times it's advisable to give more clarity of thought on the topic and to make the topic easier to understand. I'm convinced that my definition does indeed help a lot.

First, I need to introduce another definition in the next post, though; it's about a term that is part of my maneuver/manoeuvre definition.

(The other parts will follow sooner than weekly.)

part II:


part III:


part IV: