Cordon Strategy

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cordon Strategy


or cordon system, the even deployment of troops along an entire front to cover the borders of a state and to conduct mainly defensive operations.

Cordon strategy took shape in the 17th and 18th centuries, when small standing armies existed. It was especially characteristic of the Austrian Army. The strategy had serious defects: the need to disperse forces over a wide front, which facilitated an enemy breakthrough; difficulties of troop maneuver and command; and the absence of unit and strategic reserves. The experience of the wars of the 18th and 19th centuries showed the inadequacy of the cordon strategy, and it was abandoned. Nevertheless the influence of the strategy was later felt in many armies, causing their campaigns to end in failure. Russian generals such as Peter I, P. A. Rumiantsev, A, V. Suvorov, and M. I. Kutuzov were opposed to the cordon strategy.


Mikhnevich, N. P. Strategiia, book 1, 3rd ed. St. Petersburg, 1911. Pages 191–94, 194–202, 324–41, 486–93.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.