BRINGING IT TOGETHER - CONTEXTUALIZING THE PRINCIPLES
The missions that you'll play in Steel Beasts will fall into two broad complementary categories, attack or defend. When one team is attacking, the other defends. There is another category of mission that is frequently played, that is the movement to contact. The movement to contact is a hybrid in that both teams are attacking and defending at the same time.
In an attack, your objective will be to either destroy the enemy forces and/or to seize and hold terrain. This is best accomplished by maneuvering aggressively to concentrate your force at a place and time where your opponent is overwhelmed and is unprepared to react.
When defending, your objective will be to either avoid destruction and/or to maintain control of terrain. Defense is the stronger of the two complementary categories. Fire from a prepared stationary position against a moving target is more effective than fire from a moving platform against a stationary target. Counterintuitively, the defender frequently has the initiative, in that in his choice of battlepositions, he determines the terrain on which the engagements are fought. One of the more successful forms of defense is the defense in depth. Here the main effort is the counterattack. Sufficient elements are used, in an economy of force action, to screen the attack. The screen is placed in sufficient depth to reveal the opponent's intended concentration point. The screen also frustrates the opponent's flexibility of maneuver causing him to deploy early. Once the opponent is fixed, the counterattack force aggressively maneuvers from the security of the screen to surprise and overwhelm the opponent.
The movement to contact is similar to the attack, except that information regarding the location of the opposing force is more vague than in an attack mission. Thus the goal is to locate and identify the main body of the opposing force by using the smallest sub element possible (the pointman). Once the opposing main body is identified, in an economy of force action, sufficient elements make contact with the opposing main body and, in a defensive posture, fix it. The main effort is then an aggressive maneuver to overwhelm the opponent from an unexpected location.
Using these principles is how the art of tactics is practiced. It requires imagination and intuition. For instance, one may, in an attack, use a small element in a reconnaissance or feint attack to prematurely trigger a counterattack, misdirecting the opponent and totally overwhelming him from a surprise direction.