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Failure Of German Logistics During The German Ardennes Offensive Of 1944

by Major James L. Kennedy Jr.

This study investigates the role that logistics played in the failure of the German Offensive in the Ardennes in 1944. The thesis explains that despite the incredible build-up of forces and supplies, the inability of the German strategic and operational logistics systems to properly equip, fuel, arm, and move forces caused the failure of the Ardennes Offensive.The concept of this thesis starts with the overall strategic military and political situation of Germany in the fall of 1944 that Hitler used to base his decision to conduct the offensive in December 1944.The study then examines in detail the strategic capabilities during the build-up of supplies and the operational level organization and planning for the offensive. An analysis of the details on the impact of terrain, climate, allied air interdiction, and Operation Point Blank is included in this chapter.Then it examines the first weeks of the offensive and looks at the failure of the fuel and arm and move tactical logistics functions. An analysis of the impact of logistics on supporting operations is included in this chapter.

Investigation Into The Reliefs Of Generals Orlando Ward And Terry Allen

by Major Richard H. Johnson Jr.

Between April and August 1943, the U.S. Army's II Corps saw two of its division commanders relieved of their commands. Each relief appeared tied to battlefield setbacks. MG Orlando Ward of the 1st Armored Division was relieved after his division failed to seize a narrow mountain pass near the town of Maknassy, in Tunisia. Ward's superiors labeled him too cautious, unwilling or unable to motivate his soldiers to take their objective. Months later on the island of Sicily, MG Terry Allen was relieved of command of the 1st Infantry Division. His relief followed the failure to seize the Sicilian town of Troina. Allen's superiors accused him of being too hesitant in committing his entire force to the attack. He was branded an insubordinate rebel who cared only for his own troops.In both cases, a standard history of the events emerged. It was based on the official U.S. Army account and a narrow reading of primary sources. This version of events ascribed each relief to flaws in Ward and Allen's leadership ability. The standard description of the reliefs continues to appear in recent scholarship. However, some accounts departed from the accepted portrayal, and point to alternate reasons behind the reliefs. When these alternative accounts are considered along with a comprehensive examination of primary source material, a new argument emerges. Ward and Allen were removed from command for political and military reasons of expediency. From a broader perspective, this investigation revealed how wartime leaders dealt with unprecedented circumstances to accomplish their goals. Understanding the reliefs of Generals Ward and Allen provides insight into organizational decision making and its effect on the U.S. Army in the early portion of World War II.

An Analysis Of The Norwegian Resistance During The Second World War

by Major Kim M. Johnson

The Norwegian Resistance during the Second World War (April 1940-June 1945) was basically a peaceful set of events conducted by the civilian population as well as underground military organizations. While sabotage and other hostile resistance acts did occur, they were not great in number. It should not be overlooked the Norwegian Armed Forces did fight for 63 days before admitting defeat to Germany.This paper will answer the question "Was the Norwegian Resistance successful against the German Nazis once their country was taken over by them during the Second World War?" The Warden theory of the organization of a system is used to categorize the Resistance movement, dissecting it and placing it in categories. Centers of gravity are noted and discussed. While the Norwegians did not have the military strength to beat the Germans, they did win many battles via their Resistance to the German Rule. These victories along with German acknowledgment prove the Norwegian Resistance was successful against the German Army and its rule over Norway.

Churchill: The Making Of A Grand Strategist

by Colonel David Jablonsky

Strategy is the calculated relationship of means to ends. At the highest military level, that relationship guides the use of the joint and combined military instrument of power to achieve national military strategic objectives. At the national or grand strategic level, the relationship becomes more complex, dealing with multiple, interrelated objectives that can only be achieved by the coordinated use of all the instruments of national power, to include that of the military. In a rapidly changing, increasingly more complicated and interdependent world, the U.S. military professional needs to understand not only the dynamics of military strategy, but of grand strategy as well.This book examines the evolution of Winston Churchill's understanding of both strategic dynamics. In the author's view, that understanding came about not so much from any detailed, consistent study of great strategists or immutable strategic principles, but rather from on-the-job strategic training throughout an incredibly rich and varied life. In the military sphere, there were at first only his tactical experiences in the small wars in the closing years of the Victorian era. In the First World War, however, Churchill came to appreciate the operational and military strategic levels of war as well. Moreover, it was that conflict which drew him increasingly to the realm of grand strategy in which all the elements of national power were combined to achieve victory in the first total war of this century.

A Worker’s Way Of War: The Red Army’s Doctrinal Debate, 1918–1924

by Major Matthew M. Hurley

Following the October 1917 Revolution, the leaders of the fledgling Red Army embarked on a debate concerning the nature, form, and function of military doctrine. A group known as the 'military communists,' including M.V. Frunze, M.N. Tukhachevsky, K. Voroshilov, and S.I. Gusev sought to formulate a 'proletarian' military doctrine based on the lessons of the Russian Civil War (1918-21) and purged of supposedly outmoded, bourgeois military thought. Their doctrine, they claimed, would be based overwhelmingly on maneuver and the offensive, which they felt best represented the 'active' nature of the working class. Against them stood Commissar for War Leon Trotsky, supported by ex-Tsarist military specialists, notably A.A. Svechin. Trotsky and his allies, noting the Soviet Union's backwardness relative to the West, professed a policy of expediency in military affairs. Though Trotsky and Svechin proved their position correct both in reference to military affairs and orthodox communist thought, the ripening political struggle eventually secured Frunze's and Tukhachevsky's domination of the Red Army and Trotsky's eventual ouster and exile.

Operation Stalemate II

by Lt.-Col. Daniel C. Hodges

Operation Stalemate II was conducted on 15 September 1944 to secure the Palau Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The primary purpose of this operation was to prevent the Japanese from attacking MacArthur's western flank while he conducted operations in the Philippines. After 72 days of fighting US forces eliminated the entire Japanese garrison of 13,500 soldiers. US casualties included over 2,000 dead or missing.Operation Stalemate II did not achieve its primary purpose of preventing the enemy from attacking MacArthur's flank because that purpose had already been accomplished. The commander of Japanese forces in the Palaus did not have the ability influence actions against the Americans in the Philippines.Prior to 15 September 1944 key leadership realized the intent of Stalemate II had already been achieved. Despite this knowledge Stalemate II was allowed to proceed because military leadership of the Pacific was hampered by an inefficient command structure. The inefficiencies manifested as disputes between personalities and services, competition for resources, and decentralized execution of two distinctly separate courses of action against Japanese forces in the Pacific. This led to duplication of efforts and execution of unnecessary tasks. Stalemate II was one such unnecessary task.Although unnecessary at the time, Stalemate II significantly contributed to today's Joint command and control concepts. The sacrifices made by those who participated in Stalemate II continue to pay dividends for America's modern military forces.

A Comparative Analysis Of The Military Leadership Styles Of Ernest J. King And Chester W. Nimitz

by Major James R. Hill

In a constantly changing world threatened by the likelihood of terrorist acts, the American people need military leaders who clearly demonstrate an understanding of American core values, and who are both competent and morally focused. In order to produce military leaders who meet these qualifications and who can successfully meet the future challenges America faces, it is important to develop and refine those leaders early and help them understand how to create and refine a successful leadership style. The process of developing leadership styles, however, is not easy and it requires a prodigious amount of determination, time, and planning from prospective future leaders. It also requires military training institutions to align their curriculums to promote leadership, as well as, to provide guidance and mentoring in order to help develop these future leaders.One way to help develop leaders is to provide examples of both successful and flawed military leadership styles. There are many cases of each in American history. In particular, World War II leaders Admirals Ernest J. King and Chester W. Nimitz provide contrasting examples of naval leadership. An examination of the leadership styles of these two naval officers provides useful examples which future leaders can consider when reflecting on their own leadership styles. After careful review, it soon becomes evident that the leadership style of Nimitz closely aligned with the leadership styles of Generals George C. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower, two World War II leaders I closely examined in my previous Master's thesis. In addition, it also becomes evident that King was a diametrically different leader from these three leaders. He provides an example of a leader who was cold, harsh, and morally bankrupt. As result, reviewing the leadership styles of these World War II leaders will benefit future leaders as well as those they lead.

The Fall Of Fort Eben Emael: The Effects Of Emerging Technologies On The Successful Completion Of Military Objectives

by Major Thomas B. Gukeisen

This study details the events of 10 May 1940 at Fort Eben Emael, Belgium, and the elements which led to the successful seizure of the fort by the German military. The central focus of this thesis is the following question: Was the use of emerging technologies the key to victory at Fort Eben Emael? First, the study focuses on the technologies themselves. Secondly, this study examines the leadership and training of the German unit assigned the mission at Fort Eben Emael. Lastly, this study examines administration and personnel issues that existed for the Belgians stationed at Fort Eben Emael. This study determined that the glider did afford troops the advantage of surprise; however, the hollow charge failed to live up to its reputation as it was most effective when used in such a way that it was no different than a conventional charge. Further, the German unit's training and leadership was exemplary and contributed more to the mission's success than the technologies the unit employed. Additionally, Fort Eben Emael was faced with serious internal issues that prevented a successful defence of the fort. Therefore, this thesis concludes that emerging technologies were not the most crucial component contributing to mission success.

Command and General Staff Officer Education for the 21st Century Examining the German Model

by Major Luke G. Grossman USAF

Education has been the foundational cornerstone to every profession and continues to be so in the 21st Century. As a profession, the military is obligated to conduct not only training but also education of the keepers of the profession, the officer corps. Since the rise of large military bodies enabled by the levee en masse and industrialization, armies have required educated officers skilled in both command and staff functions. The Prussian-German model of staff officer education embodied in the Kriegsakademie of the Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth Century's, was highly regarded and much copied. The education officer received at the Kriegsakademie directly contributed to an efficiently organized and employed Prussian-German Army at the tactical and operational levels. The investment in Kriegsakademie officer education paid huge dividends at Gravelotte-St Privat and Sedan 1870, Tannenberg 1914, Battle of Poland 1939, and the Battle of France 1940, critical first battles.With the rearming of Germany in 1955 came the need for the fledgling Bundeswehr to educate general staff officers. This need was met by establishing the Führungsakademie (German Armed Forces Command and Staff College). The Führungsakademie was created with the same time honored principles that had served general staff officer training previously: careful selection of the most highly qualified and promising officers and a broad based education rigorously applied. However, little information on the current Führungsakademie Education System is available in the English language. This monograph attempts to address this void. The author conducted research and interviews with the faculty, staff, and students at the Führungsakademie in Hamburg, Germany in order to understand and assess the education given to German general staff officer aspirants. The central general staff officer's education course is the National General/Admiral Staff Officers Course.

Operating Below Crush Depth:: The Formation, Evolution, And Collapse Of The Imperial Japanese Navy Submarine Force In World War II

by LCDR David W. Grogan USN

Prior to entering World War II, the Japanese Navy did a considerable planning and force development in preparation for a single "decisive battle" with the American fleet. The Japanese submarine force entered the war with highly trained crews operating some of the most capable submarines in the world. Even so, they accomplished little. This study will analyze the genesis and evolution of the technological basis of the Japanese submarine fleet before and during the war. Along with the technological evolution, it will also review the strategic and tactical evolution of the force. It will further analyze the employment of submarines as they apply to two major forms of naval warfare: guerre de course and guerre de main. While the entire study will use comparison with the American and German, the majority of the focus will be on the unique aspects of the Japanese employment of their submarines. These analyses will answer whether the Japanese submarine force would have been capable of influencing the results of major battles and the overall campaign in the Pacific Ocean. Could the Japanese submarine force have influenced the result of the war allowing it to end with a more favorable outcome for the Japanese?

The Soviet Airborne Experience [Illustrated Edition]

by Colonel David M Glantz

[Includes 36 maps and 10 tables]Deep battle, a major element in both U.S. and Soviet doctrine, is a tenet that emphasizes destroying, suppressing, or disorganizing enemy forces not only at the line of contact, but throughout the depth of the battlefield. Airborne forces are a primary instrument to accomplish this type of operation. While the exploits of German, British, and American paratroops since 1940 are well known to most professional soldiers, the equivalent experience of the Soviet Union has been largely ignored--except in the Soviet Union. There, the Red Army's airborne operations have become the focus of many recent studies by military theorists.Lieutenant Colonel David M. Glantz has done much to remedy this gap in our historical literature. The Soviet Airborne Experience examines the experiences of the Red Army in World War II and traces Soviet airborne theory and practice both before and since the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. Airborne warfare emerges as an essential part of the high-speed offensive operations planned by Soviet commanders.Because Lieutenant Colonel Glantz examines airborne operations within the larger context of Soviet unconventional warfare, the implications of this study reach beyond one specialized form of maneuver. This study, in demonstrating the ability of Russian airborne and partisan forces to survive and fight behind German lines for months at a time, provides us with an instructive example of how Soviet special operations troops probably plan to operate in future wars. The Soviet Airborne Experience is an important reference for anyone concerned with planning and conducting operations.

The Great Patriotic War And The Maturation Of Soviet Operational Art 1941-1945

by Colonel David M Glantz

This report examines the development of the Soviet Army's operational art against the Germans during World War 2. It examines the reconstruction and reorganization of the Soviet military forces after Hitler's invasion, the development and coordination of military tactics on the various fronts and the deployment of forces for defense or attack in several battles.

Soviet Defensive Tactics At Kursk, July 1943

by Colonel David M Glantz

In his classic work, On War, Carl von Clausewitz wrote, "As we shall show, defense is a stronger form of fighting than attack." A generation of nineteenth century officers, nurtured on the study of the experiences of Napoleon and conditioned by the wars of German unification, had little reason to accept that view. The offensive spirit swept through European armies and manifested itself in the regulations, plans, and mentality of those armiehe events of 1939, 1940, and 1941 in Poland, France, and Russia respectively again challenged Clausewitz' claim of the superiority of the defense and prompted armies worldwide to frantically field large armored forces and develop doctrines for their use. While blitzkrieg concepts ruled supreme, it fell to that nation victimized most by those concepts to develop techniques to counter the German juggernaut. The Soviets had to temper a generation of offensive tradition in order to marshal forces and develop techniques to counter blitzkrieg. In essence, the Soviet struggle for survival against blitzkrieg proved also to be a partial test of Clausewitz' dictum. In July 1943, after arduous months of developing defensive techniques, often at a high cost in terms of men and material, the Soviets met blitzkrieg head-on and proved that defense against it was feasible. The titanic, grinding Kursk operation validated, in part, Clausewitz' views. But it also demonstrated that careful study of force organization and employment and application of the fruits of that study can produce either offensive or defensive victory. While on the surface the events of Kursk seemed to validate Clausewitz' view, it is often forgotten that, at Kursk, the Soviets integrated the concept of counteroffensive into their grand defensive designs. Thus the defense itself was meaningless unless viewed against the backdrop of the renewed offensive efforts and vice versa. What Kursk did prove was that strategic, operational, and tactical defenses could counter blitzkrieg.

August Storm: The Soviet 1945 Strategic Offensive In Manchuria [Illustrated Edition]

by Colonel David M Glantz

[Includes 15 tables, 1 tables, 26 maps]In August 1945, only three months after the rumble of gunfire had subsided in Europe, Soviet armies launched massive attacks on Japanese forces in Manchuria. In a lightning campaign that lasted but ten days, Soviet forces ruptured Japanese defenses on a 4,000-kilometer front, paralyzed Japanese command and control, and plunged through 450 kilometers of forbidding terrain into the heartland of Manchuria. Effective Soviet cover and deception masked the scale of offensive preparations and produced strategic surprise. Imaginative tailoring of units to terrain, flexible combat formations, and bold maneuvers by armor-heavy, task-organized forward detachments and mobile groups produced operational and tactical surprise and, ultimately, rapid and total Soviet victory.For the Soviet Army, the Manchurian offensive was a true postgraduate combat exercise. The Soviets had to display all the operational and tactical techniques they had learned in four years of bitter fighting in the west. Though the offensive culminated an education, it also emerged as a clear case study of how a nation successfully begins a war in a race against the clock arid not only against an enemy, but also against hindering terrain.Soviet military historians and theorists have recently focused on the Manchurian offensive, a theater case study characterized by deep mobile operations on a broad front designed to pre-empt and overcome defenses. Because these characteristics appear relevant to current theater operations, the Soviets study the more prominent operational and tactical techniques used in Manchuria in 1945. What is of obvious interest to the Soviet military professional should be of interest to the U.S. officer as well.

August Storm: Soviet Tactical And Operational Combat In Manchuria, 1945 [Illustrated Edition]

by Colonel David M Glantz

[Includes 19 tables, 7 figures, 41 maps]To be successful, a strategic military operation requires careful planning and meticulous execution. History applauds the commander who orchestrates the operation, and major subordinate commanders share in the glory. In reality, however, commanders and soldiers at the operational and tactical levels play an even more critical role in achieving battlefield success. History often accords them little attention.Practitioners of war must study war at all levels. An understanding of the strategic aspects of military operations is essential in order to provide a context for a more detailed and equally critical understanding of precise operational and tactical techniques. Few officers practice war at the strategic level. The majority wrestle with the myriad of problems associated with implementing those strategic plans.Leavenworth Paper no. 8. through the medium of detailed case studies, examines the operational and tactical aspects of a major strategic operation--the Soviet offensive m Manchuria in 1945. The case studies, which involve army, corps, division, regimental, and battalion operations, focus on the many problems commanders and soldiers at that level face. Constrained by time, a desperate enemy, rugged terrain, and severe climatic conditions--the realities of war-- Soviet commanders devised find implemented techniques that produced victory. This paper highlights those techniques in the knowledge that Soviet theorists have likewise studied them in detail, both historically and in a contemporary context.

Nijmegen Bombardment On 22 February 1944: A Faux Pas Or The Price Of Liberation?

by Joris A. C. van Esch

A steadfast misbelief in precision bombing evolved into the leading concept for US Army Air Force during the Second World War. This concept envisioned the destruction of the German industrial and economic system as the swiftest path to victory. However, the belief in survivability of bombers through self defense proved incorrect, and the Allies realized that the Luftwaffe had to be defeated first, by attacking the German aircraft industry. On 22 February 1944, Eighth Air Force conducted a mission as part of this offensive. During this mission, the bombers were recalled because of severe weather. On the return trip, the airmen decided not to abandon the mission outright, but to attack targets of opportunity. Because of navigational errors a section of 446 Bombardment Group misidentified the Dutch city Nijmegen as in Germany, and bombed it. Due to aiming errors, the greater part of the bombs missed the designated marshalling yards by a kilometer, and hit the city center instead. The bombardment caused chaos on the ground. It surprised the citizens, ignorant by earlier faulty alarms, and damage caused great difficulties for the provision of aid relief. As a result, the bombardment killed about 800 citizens and destroyed the historic city center.

The Operational Implications Of Deception At The Battle Of Kursk

by Major James E. Elder

This monograph analyzes the use of deception by the Germans and Soviets in the battle of Kursk. It uses a paradigm consisting of: commander's aim, intelligence, centralized control, synchronization and operations security to determine why Soviet deception succeeded and German deception failed. The analysis provides insights into the use of operational deception on the modern battlefield.The conclusions of this monograph suggest that: operational deception is not a separate deception activity; that it can be used in the offense or defense; that it can be a viable combat multiplier today and that deception is an acquired Skill. The study monograph shows that operational deception must organize and control the deception efforts at the tactical level and that simple battlefield deception techniques can produce an operational effect.The monograph shows the critical role commanders have in establishing an appropriate course of action that sets the stage for deception. The selected course of action must provide a picture of duplicity to the enemy commander by presenting two possible objectives. This concept of alternative objectives allows the deception activity to flow naturally from the COA and confuse the enemy.The monograph recommends incorporation of deception into the officer corps professional development through professional reading programs in schools and practical application at the National Training Center. Combat Maneuver Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center and the Battle Command Training Program. It also recommends that the Army develop and field sufficient communications and non-communications' devices to allow Army Groups to simulate a U.S. Corps.

Nimitz And Goleman: Study Of A Civilian Leadership Model

by LCDR Derrick A. Dudash USN

Within a couple of weeks after the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, selected over 28 other senior admirals, Admiral Nimitz took command of the Pacific Fleet and held that command until the Allied Forces won the war in the Pacific almost four years later. He went on to hold the highest office in the U.S. Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations. Nimitz's ability to lead effectively throughout his career proves that his style of leadership can be a model for any military officer. Even since 1941, the requirement to lead personnel in the Armed Forces has not changed. However, with the advent of information sharing on a global scale, today's military officers are exposed to a wide range of leadership styles such as one presented by Dr. Daniel Goleman derived from the civilian sector. This study examines in detail Goleman's leadership model and compares it to Fleet Admiral Nimitz's style to see if it is feasible for use in the military environment.

Beyond the Battle Line: US Air Attack Theory and Doctrine, 1919-1941

by Major Gary C. Cox

This study examines the development and usefulness of US air attack theory and doctrine during the interwar period, 1919-1941. This period represents more than twenty years of development in US Air Corps attack theory and doctrine. It was the first peacetime period of such development. Attack aviation during this time was a branch of aviation used to provide direct and indirect combat support to ground forces in the form of machine gun strafing, light bombing, and chemical attacks.From the earliest origins, attack theory and doctrine evolved primarily along two paths direct and indirect support of ground and air force objectives. The direct support approach was based on fundamental beliefs by the Army that attack aviation was an auxiliary combat arm, to be used directly on the battlefield against ground forces and to further the ground campaign plan.The indirect support approach, or air interdiction, was derived from the fundamental beliefs by the Air Corps that attack aviation was best used beyond the battle line and artillery range, against targets more vulnerable and less heavily defended, to further both the Air Force mission and the ground support mission.As attack doctrine evolved, range and hardened targets became problematic for the single-engine attack plane.Thus, attack theory and doctrine in terms of the indirect support approach, was adequately developed to be useful at the start of WWII. The use of light and medium bombers in North Africa showed the effectiveness of air interdiction and the indirect approach. Attack aviation had, indeed, established itself before WWII. Attack aviation, in the form of close air support, would have to wait for the lessons of WWII.

Operation Market Garden: Case Study For Analyzing Senior Leader Responsibilities

by Lt.-Col. Elizabeth A. Coble

With German forces on the run following the Allied success at Normandy and the breakout and pursuit across France, Allied forces were staged to enter Germany in late summer 1944. Both Field Marshal Montgomery and General Bradley clamored to be given the priority of effort. General Eisenhower chose Montgomery's Operation MARKET GARDEN as the plan for action. It called for airborne forces to open the route for a ground force to move more than sixty miles up a single road, ending up north of the Rhine River near Arnhem, Netherlands. By accomplishing this task, the German Ruhr industrial heartland would be within easy grasp. But the operation failed. The ground force did not make it to the last bridge; it was six more months before Allied forces crossed the Lower Rhine River near Arnhem. Between 17 and 26 September 1944, there were 17,000 Allied casualties including eighty percent of the 1st Airborne Division (UK). Did senior Allied leaders do enough to resolve issues raised before the operation began? Should it even have been conducted at all? This paper uses primary sources, including diaries, memoirs, and autobiographies, and unit reports, to examine what role senior leaders played in the failure of the operation.

The Necessity For The Destruction Of The Abbey Of Monte Cassino

by Major John G. Clement

The Abbey of Monte Cassino, founded by Saint Benedict in A.D. 529, at the beginning of the Italian campaign was one of only two sites requiring special consideration in the interest of historical preservation. The monastery overlooked the only north-south road from Naples to Rome. The promontory, studied by the Italian War College as an example of a position made impregnable by nature, was the focal point of the German Gustav Line. The German defensive scheme did not include the monastery but did establish positions within 300 meters of its outer walls. After the lackluster landing at Anzio, the Fifth Army was obligated to conduct a winter campaign to break through the Gustav Line and relieve Anzio. In a sinister scape of bush and rock, soldiers endured immeasurable hardships while the monastery stood immune to the scars of war. On 15 February 1944, 253 tons of explosives were dropped on the Abbey of Monte Cassino as hundreds of refugees and wounded assembled in the chapel for morning services. The German paratroopers survived the onslaught of Allied airpower without a casualty and occupied the ruins that would serve as a strongpoint for the next four months. The perceived necessity for the bombing was nested in leadership interpretation of military necessity, psychological impact, and political considerations. Because the bombing was not coordinated with the ground assault, it was tactically irrelevant and failed to meet the requirements of military necessity. Decisions made to bolster friendly morale and to avoid political conflict are not intended for the defeat of the enemy and also fail to meet the requirements of necessity. The bombing was a careless act resulting in the needless death of civilians, destruction of a sacred building, and a waste of valuable military resources.

Fallen Eagles: The Italian 10th Army In The Opening Campaign In The Western Desert, June 1940

by Major Howard R. Christie

The Italian Army developed a sound and unique combined arms doctrine for mechanized warfare in 1938. This new doctrine was called the "War of Rapid Decision." It involved the use of mechanized warfare in the Italian version of the blitzkrieg. This doctrine evolved from the lessons learned in the Italian-Ethiopian War of 1935 to 1936 and the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939. With Italy's entry into World War II, military operations ensued along the Libyan-Egyptian border between the Italian 10th Army and a much smaller British Western Desert Force. The Italian Army in Libya outnumbered the British Army in Egypt by a ratio of four to one. The setting seemed to be ideal for the employment of the War of Rapid Decisions. Moreover, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, who was the commander of the Italian 10th Army in North Africa during its first campaign in the western desert, had pioneered this new form of mechanized warfare during the Ethiopian War. Surprisingly, the Italian forces in Libya did not employ their new doctrine, reverting instead to more conventional techniques of "mass." It was Graziani's failure to utilize the doctrine which he had helped to develop that led to Italy's embarrassing defeat in 1941.

Why Was General Richard O’Connor’s Command in Northwest Europe Less Effective Than Expected?

by Major Sam E. A. Cates

General Richard O'Connor was the British VIII Corps commander in Normandy 1944. Previously he forged an outstanding reputation as a large unit commander in the desert of North Africa and this form suggests his command in Northwest Europe would be faultless. However, this was not the case. Some historians explain his pedestrian performance in Normandy by pointing to his two and a half years as a prisoner of war in Italy. This monograph challenges this narrative suggesting instead that O'Connor's command style was not suited to the context of war in Normandy. General O'Connor had a wealth of relevant military experience. The crucible of World War and his experiences commanding the Western Desert Force in North Africa created in him a style of command that was best suited to independent operations, on ground that facilitated effective maneuver, and with conditions that enable the achievement of the element of surprise. Yet in Normandy 1944, the context in which General O'Connor commanded did not allow for any of these conditions. Rather, a constrictive chain of command, narrow fronts, restrictive terrain, and the difficulty of achieving surprise all combined to provide a context in which General O'Connor was a less effective corps commander than expected.

The Battle Of Kasserine Pass: An Examination Of Allied Operational Failings

by Major Vincent M. Carr Jr. USAF

The Battle of Kasserine Pass proved to be a shock both to American military forces in the field and to the American public at home. The defeat of the Allied forces in the battle put doubt into the minds of many--all of whom assumed the righteous democracies of the western Allies could not be defeated in the field by the armies of Fascism. The defeat suffered by the Allies had nothing to do with right versus wrong, however, but was very much a product of a number of operational shortcomings on the part of the Allies. Poor logistics, failures on the part of American leadership, lack of unity of effort on the part of the Allies, the lack of combat experience, and inferior equipment all combined to contribute to the failure at Kasserine. Despite the setback at Kasserine Pass, the Americans proved quick learners, and applied the lessons of the North African experience to the remainder of their campaign in the European theater.

The Impact Of Political-Military Relations On The Use Of German Military Power During Operation Barbarossa

by LCDR Richard Carnicky USN

The German General Staff launched Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 assuming the eastern campaign would last only three months. However, within six months after the initiation of hostilities the Red Army blunted the Wehrmacht's attack outside the gates of Moscow, Operation Barbarossa had failed. Although a long standing and professional organization the German General Staff failed to achieve strategic success, despite significant success during the early stages of the campaign. Adolf Hitler's national goal of Russian extermination exceeded the German Army's capabilities. The war lasted nearly four years and resulted in the devastation of western Russia, millions dead and the destruction of Germany. This thesis examines how the divergence between the Wehrmacht's capabilities and Hitler's ideological national objectives affected Operation Barbarossa.Through examination of the historical role the German General Staff held during military operations, this study addresses the linkage between German political and military relations during war. It begins with an analysis of the Prussian General Staff system under Moltke the elder. It follows the staff's development through the wars of German unification, prelude to World War I and, the interwar period leading up to Hitler's rise to power. It concludes with an analysis of Operation Barbarossa and the German General Staff's efforts to achieve strategic victory on the eastern front. Finally, it concludes with lessons modern military leaders should learn from the General Staff's mistakes.

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