As part of my latest book project I've been updating and expanding the battle dataset I put together for my thesis. It's an awful lot of work, but fun to be back on the old project.
One of the things I've been thinking about is how to better clarify the roles of 'attacker' and 'defender', particularly in regards to how to improve the validity of their coding. Large-n studies such as mine are usually quite vague when it comes to sorting out which belligerent is which, and my previous work is no different.
I've come up with bi-level way to think about the issue, which I hope better encapsulates the nuances of so fluid an activity as military combat. The basic idea is
that strategic-level oritentation describes the broader ebb and flow of a campaign (who's on the march, who is on the retreat?), while a tactical-level
posture coding can for account for the fact that armies invading another country can be surprised, and that retreating armies are capable of dealing their opponents a nasty blow.
I've tried to outline these ideas in graphic form below. They're actually created in Keynote for iPad, since that's the easiest diagramming software I have/need. $150 for a Mac/iPad Ominigraffle is far too rich for my blood!
In any case, comments and suggestions are most welcome. I'm always looking for ways to improve methodology.