Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Maneuver warfare is used to defeat an enemy by learning about them, moving tactically, and using the target’s faults against them. According to Carl Conetta, there are three basic principles of maneuver warfare, which I will discuss and relate to ASW in the following paragraphs. Attrition warfare, on the other hand, is used to defeat an enemy by steadily wearing them down to the point of overpowering them. To be triumphant, a mold of the two should be considered, but personally I believe that ASW is best supported by maneuver warfare.
The first principle of maneuver warfare is: identify and target enemy centers of gravity. A center of gravity is not really a weak point, instead it is what you need in order to have strength. In relation to ASW, this would be like finding out speed and course of contact so you know exactly what they are doing which puts you on a higher ground. Also, being familiar with your contact and knowing the tactical movements they prefer.
The second principle of maneuver warfare is: set and maintain favorable terms of battle. This means to find the best terms to expand friendly capability and enemy shortcomings. While this is very hard to do in ASW considering the unpredictability of terms, we have ways to adapt to the environment around us. Running ranges, adjusting how we look at our displays, and picking certain bands to look in based off of the environment we are in is how we do this.
The third principle of maneuver warfare is: find and exploit “gaps” in enemy strength. Most of ASW is centered around this. We find out what on the target will make certain frequencies, then search for them and use them to figure out what we need to know. This comes with studying pur target and knowing what special identifying factors it has. Also, if we know capabilities and limitations of our target, then we use that to make knowledge based estimations on their actions.
In ASW, I feel that it probably is not wise to unload all our torpedoes at a target in hopes to overpower them, because chances are, they are going to fire back and it only takes one hit to cause serious fatalities. Having said that, I don’t think the only way to use attrition warwarfe is to throw every weapon we have. I think that threatening through quantity of force is sufficient. In the case of one ship versus one target, attrition would not be the best option. However, if you have other assets around, showing that you have the capability to aggressively over power the target as a unit would probably deter them from escalating the situation to the point of violence.