[irevuo] Principles: Attrition Warfare

Let’s travel back in time.

Back to 279 BC. There was a Greek king by the name of Pyrrhus, and his army defeated the Romans in two bloody battles. And while he won two battles against the Romans, the greatest army the world had ever seen, Pyrrhus didn’t have enough soldiers to keep fighting.

The Romans may have lost the battle, but they were only temporarily defeated. Even though they suffered more casualties than the Greeks, the Romans still had a large reservoir of replacement soldiers, all of whom were eager to sharpen their swords and march into battle.

The casualties harmed King Pyrrhus more than the Romans. Aware of his disadvantage, Pyrrhus famously told a friend that winning one more battle against the Romans would “utterly destroy him.” Damaged by the size and strength of the Roman army, Pyrrhus gathered his troops and sailed back to Greece.

The lesson is this: Pyrrhus won the battles but lost the war.

Attrition warfare is a military strategy where the goal is to wear down the enemy to the point of collapse by causing continuous loss of personnel and resources.

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