Misguided Weapons: Technological Failure and Surprise on the Battlefield

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Potomac Books, Inc., 2002 - History - 304 pages
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Technological failure results when one side in a conflict does not fully grasp the potential impact of known, or even familiar, weapons in the enemyas hands. In most cases, such failure resulted from higher officialsa ignorance or their total misunderstanding of the importance and relevance of such technology and science as well as of their application to warfare. Technological failure is also the root cause of technological surprise. While operational surprise on the battlefield poses grave problems, technological surprise is far more serious, because, as Azriel Lorber explains, it often leads to disasters on the battlefield and is more difficult to recover from. In too many cases, technological failure and surprise stem from all-too-human characteristics, such as self-satisfaction, disdain for the adversary, obtuseness, and conservatism. Because these traits show no evidence of disappearing, political decision makers and military commanders should be aware that technological failure and technological surprise could happen at any time."
 

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Contents

Early Technological Failure The Battle of Crecy
1
1 Predicting the Outcome of Conflicts
5
2 The Roots of Technological Failure
15
3 Misunderstanding the Battlefield Environment
37
4 Misunderstanding Available Technology
86
5 Bad Management Worse Leadership and NIH
111
6 Preconceived Ideas Overconfidence and Arrogance
156
7 Political and Ideological Meddling
188
8 Technological Developments and Science Fiction
207
9 Technological Surprise and Technological Failure
226
Notes
247
Bibliography
273
Index
281
About the Author
293
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About the author (2002)

Azriel Lorber, Ph.D., is an aerospace engineer and a retired Reserve officer. In 1998-99, Lorber participated as a visiting scholar in the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Misguided Weapons" is his fourth book. He lives in Israel.

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