Flexibility as a principle of war.

This may seem a contradiction of the Maintenance of the Objective principle, but it isn’t. Flexibility in planning, thought, and action is otherwise known as common sense. Maintenance of the objective does not mean ignoring the obvious. If your orders are to take a town, and you determine the easiest way to do this would be to surround it and attack from all sides instead of charging right in, that’s being flexible. If, while moving around the town, you discover a large relief force is coming to support the enemy in holding the town, you would go after this new force before it has a chance to link up with the enemy forces inside the town. After the relief force is defeated, you can go back after you initial objective, the town. That’s being flexible and maintaining the objective at the same time.

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Flex`i*bil"i*ty (?), n. [L. flexibilitas: cf. F. flexibilite.]

The state or quality of being flexible; flexibleness; pliancy; pliability; as, the flexibility of strips of hemlock, hickory, whalebone or metal, or of rays of light.

Sir I. Newton.

All the flexibility of a veteran courtier. Macaulay.

 

© Webster 1913.

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