Karl von Clusewitz,in his “On War”has said that ”attack is the best form of defense.”It is meant to say that one has to attack the enemy before the enemy attack oneself. However, this maxim is also true in another context. That is, if attacked, defend yourself and proceed to attack the enemy. This is what is meant by a counter-attack or a counter-offensive. According to Clausewitz: “the defense is a relative state and should be impregnated with offensive operations.”The counter-attack endorses this maxim fully and goes further in making the defensive into a full blown offensive.
The counter-attack, too, has both advantages and disadvantages. The first and foremost danger is rashness, or being beset by a sudden impulse to attack without looking deeply to ascertain whether it is wise and appropriate to launch a counter-attack. Clausewitz has said that: “a rapid transition to the attack is the most brillinant form of defense.”
Many resort to a counter-attack though it is imprudent to do so,due to being angered by the attack or the pride demands it. The most dangerous in a defense is the initial successes that propel a person to extend it in to a counter-attack without ascertaining the possibility of it being effective or whether it achieves a meaningful purpose in the end. If a counter-attack is launched without a proper assessment of the situation, the enemy can cause worse damage by launching a counter-attack against the counter-attack.
There are several factors that need to be considered when thinking about a counter-offensive.
*Keeping in a state of preparedness to meet any offensive move by enemies, hence not to be completely taken by an enemy launching an offensive.
*Not to panic when under attack.
*Not to take any action rashly, through anger, haste or pride, but ascertaining patiently whether the circumstances are right for a counter-offensive. That is, wait for an opening It is very important to wait for the opening to fully open-up before going for the right move.
The impatience, eagerness and aggressiveness of the attacker makes it possible to unbalance them sooner or later, thereby creating openings that could be used against them.
*When he time is correct and there is an opening, launch the counter-attack with full force.
*Proceed in an orderly manner, not letting the enemy to launch a counter-attack against the counter-attack.
That is, you too could be providing openings for the others to exploit while engaged in an offensive.
*Guard against other adversaries who might make use of this opportunity to attack you.
*Bring the counter-offensive to a logical conclusion.
*Never ever go further with the counter-offensive when the objective is met or if one foresees any looming dangers.
Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law