Shaka Zulu's Linkage of Strategy and Tactics: An Early Form of Operational Art?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Shaka Zulu was successful in establishing Zulu dominance in southern Africa because he was a great strategist and military innovator. His political objective was to expand his territory with the unification of neighboring clans and war was the primary means used to achieve this. His employment of tactics to achieve strategic objectives is reminiscent of operational art as it relates to the arrangement of military forces in time, space, and purpose. In order to achieve his political objectives, Shaka reorganized his clan, developed an intelligence network, and employed new tactics and strategies in his quest to form a new system of war thus allowing him to change the society and the nature of warfare in southern Africa. Shaka became the military architect of southern Africa unification. Through the application of his innovative tactical actions and weapons, Shaka expanded his territory from a local district of a few hundred square miles to thousands of square miles. This was achieved by his unique ability to transform a small volunteer army of approximately 400 men to a standing army of 70,000 highly trained and disciplined soldiers. His victorious military campaigns against other clans culminated with the creation of the Zulu empire in just ten years. After his death, other Zulu leaders emulated Shakas system of organization, tactics, and the strategies he employed. These tactics were so successful that they remained the main offensive tactics employed by the Zulus until their defeat at the hands of the British in 1879. This monograph concludes that Shaka Zulu provided a blueprint for mastering the complexity of military affairs through tactics and effective strategy that is reminiscent of what is today considered operational art.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics