Choke point

Choke point

In military strategy, a choke point (or chokepoint) is a geographical feature on land such as a valley or defile, or at sea such as a strait which an armed force is forced to pass, sometimes on a substantially narrower front, and therefore greatly decreasing its combat power, in order to reach its objective. A choke point would allow a numerically inferior defending force to successfully prevent a larger opponent because the attacker would not be able to bring his superior numbers to bear.

The most important naval choke points were first identified by John Arbuthnot Fisher in his defense of continued British colonialism (important colonies in parentheses):

These choke points continue to be the sites of conflicts and piracy today because of their critical role in global economy for the transshipment of goods and oil. However their importance has diminished somewhat as commerce has developed on other networks such as aviation. There is also the potential for other naval chokepoints on both the local and global scale - the development of the Northwest Passage for instance.

Some famous examples of the tactical use of choke points are King Leonidas's defense of the Pass of Thermopylae during an invasion led by Xerxes I of Persia and the Battle of Agincourt, where Henry V of England decisively defeated the French when they were forced to attack his smaller army through a narrow gap in the Agincourt woods.

"Chokepoint" is synonymous with "bottleneck". In network security, the firewall between a local network and the Internet is considered a choke point because any attacker would have to come through that channel, which would be guarded carefully. In graph theory and network analysis, a chokepoint is any node in a network with a high centrality.


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