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The Field and the ForgePopulation, Production, and Power in the Pre-industrial West$
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John Landers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.001.0001

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War and the Organic Economy

War and the Organic Economy

(p.202) Chapter Nine War and the Organic Economy
The Field and the Forge

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The political and social context of any conflict affected strategy and operations, but variations were constrained systematically by the limitations of the military technology being used and by the underlying structures of an organic economy. High-level warfare involved the disposition of concentrated force in space and time. Its operational conduct was shaped by the interplay of strategy and logistics. The goal of high-level warfare was the destruction of enemy forces, the seizure of territory, or the looting and destruction of large swathes of countryside. Chronic armed conflict arose where neither side was able to expel the other from a given territory or where controlled areas bordered, overlapped, or were otherwise liable to continuing incursions from outside, resulting in endemic small-scale fighting between locally based forces, usually relying on point defences of some kind. The resource limitations and spatial structure shaped the strategic goals and the operational conduct of military campaigns.

Keywords:   strategy, military technology, warfare, chronic armed conflict, resource limitations, spatial structure

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