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Today the United States confronts an uncertain world. The strategic environment has changed. It no longer has one main enemy and a military force to confront that foe. Instead, the United States must be prepared to deal with a multiple of possible threats as its military continues to downsize. This new regional orientation and world situation requires that the US Military be ready to fight simultaneous major regional contingencies to achieve the victories that the American people expect.Therefore, this study examines Field Marshall Wavell's campaigns in the Middle East in WWII to provide a historical case study of a similar situation. There he had to simultaneously conduct a large number of campaigns and operations over four theaters of operations against different enemies under difficult conditions to achieve strategic objectives. It compares this case study with the current strategic military requirements facing the US and current US Military doctrine to determine if the US is prepared to deal with multiple simultaneous regional contingencies.Finally, this monograph indicates that the US Military needs to update both its National Military Strategy and it's doctrine in order to be prepared to fight and win multiple simultaneous major regional contingencies in the future. In addition, this study has indicated a number of implications for the conduct of operational art by the US Military.
Throughout this first century of air power, military theorists have proposed numerous schemes as the best use of air power. Airmen of many nations tried and tested these theories in wars large and small and they have learned, ignored, or forgotten many lessons. Of the four major coercive mechanisms available to air power-punishment, risk, military denial and decapitation-Robert Pape in Bombing to Win, concludes that military denial is the best use of air power. Furthermore, Pape argues that recent technological advances only enhance the military denial mechanism. In his appendix, Pape categorizes the Italian case as another case of successful military denial.This study examines the collapse of Italy in 1943 and the contribution of air power to this collapse. Several broad works, often citing Ernest May in "Lessons" from the Past, claim that air power decisively caused the Italian surrender, but do not indisputably argue this point nor do they define the coercive mechanism(s) air power employed to achieve this result. Studies such as the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey or the British Bombing Survey Unit largely ignore Italy or in the case of F. W. Deakin's The Brutal Friendship, cite the coalition politics as the primary cause of Italy's surrender...In an era of clean conflict, both painless and quick, leaders and airman downplay the psychological effects of air power-with the exception of the questionable negative effects of casualties on the democracies. Operation DESERT STORM typifies both these effects. Furthermore, attrition-based computer wargame simulations largely ignore the human element. The collapse of Italy serves as one example where the psychological effects of air power outweighed the physical damage caused by bombing.
The Japanese defeat at Midway and the U.S. occupational failure in Iraq resulted from operational blindness on the part of arrogant strategic leaders. The failures of the Japanese and U.S. militaries directly resulted from the professional arrogance exhibited by Admiral Yamamoto and Secretary Rumsfeld as they deliberately limited the scope of their strategic thinking to how their own forces would be employed, exclusive of the combat potential available to their enemy. Admiral Yamamoto and Secretary Rumsfeld insisted on complete control and created environments where their highly capable and informed subordinates were either isolated from the decision-making process or not included at all. They were similarly contemptuous of their foe and uncritical of their own capabilities. Admiral Yamamoto and Secretary Rumsfeld made the mistake of confusing great power with unlimited power, failed to recognize that their positions were subordinate to a greater goal, and ultimately lost perspective on the limits of their power.
The focus of this paper will be on the 1 August 1943 bombing raid on the Ploesti oil field and refineries by an American task force composed of bombardment groups of the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. The Ploesti raid stood apart from the rest of the war in the air. The idea for it, and the unusual tactics employed, came from the top; it generated from General Arnold's headquarters and was approved by President Roosevelt. Winston Churchill called Ploesti "the taproot of German might." It was not a part of any particular campaign, but was considered vital in itself. It was painstakingly planned and executed relatively quickly by the best-prepared and most experienced force available at the time. It was also fought with unparalleled bravery, the sole action of the war for which five Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded. The purpose in examining Ploesti is to first gain a complete understanding of the events leading to the planning for the raid, the raid itself, and finally the impact on the Germans in its aftermath. With this established, the intent is to assess the raid while keeping one fascinating question in mind - after building a doctrine for twenty years based on high altitude, daylight, precision bombing, why, in its first major bombing effort, did the United States "depart from doctrine" and conduct a low level bombing mission on Ploesti, the only low-level bombing mission conducted in the war?
This study focuses on the operational level of war-that level which links tactics to strategy. The study seeks to identify and define principles applicable to the operational level of war. If valid, those principles ought to guide and/or govern the conduct of war at the operational level. Also, understanding of operational principles and the theoretical foundations of the operational level of war can assist US Army commanders and staff officers in preparation for and conduct of war at that level.Selected campaigns and battles conducted by Erwin Rommel and Bernard Montgomery during World War II are analyzed. The objective of the analyses is to determine what each commander considered as guides in making battlefield decisions. The research is not limited, however, to specific campaigns and battles. A description of each commander is offered; that is, his experiences and the evolution of his military thought. The prevailing German and British military doctrines are also reviewed. Interestingly, the criteria each commander used in making battlefield decisions-his operational principles-are apparent by understanding the man and the doctrine; the campaign and battle analyses serve to substantiate those principles.While Rommel and Montgomery represented different styles of war-fighting, maneuver and attrition respectively, they demonstrated a remarkable commonality in battlefield decision-making...Apparently the operational level of war can accommodate a broad range of war-fighting styles and instruments.The implications for the US Army derived from this study cover a wide range of subjects. Some involve organization, training, and preparation of operational-level commanders and staff officers. Most important is the development of an army which can successfully fight the campaigns and battles in future war.
Military history contains many lessons from which the warfighting doctrine of the individual services, as well as joint doctrine, is derived. World War II stands as one of the major contributors of valuable lessons learned. From a joint and combined warfighting perspective, Germany's planning and preparatory military actions to the invasion of Great Britain after the fall of France are instructive. Their plan, called Operation SEA LION by the Germans, was never carried out, as certain prerequisite conditions were never achieved, and Hitler elected to move on to other operations. But Germany could have been successful in invading and, if necessary, occupying Great Britain had they exercised joint and combined operations to achieve better unity of effort within the German military, remained focused on key British operational centers of gravity, and exploited the capabilities of friendly nations such as Spain, Italy, and the Vichy government of France.
The Battle of Aschaffenburg examines the fight for the Main River city of Aschaffenburg in the closing weeks of World War II in Europe. It investigates the reasons why it took mobile and well supported elements of the U.S. Army ten days to subdue a defending German military force that was very much militia in character. After setting the battle in the context of Nazi Germany and the Aschaffenburg region just prior to the fight, the study takes the reader through the battle day-by-day describing the struggle and establishing the reasons why it was so prolonged.The study groups the reasons for the successful German defense into three categories: terrain, operational factors and behavioral determinants. It establishes that the terrain favored the defenders with the town located across the Main River from the attackers so that they were forced into frontal assaults. Granting favorable defensive terrain, it was not until a numerically superior attacking force enveloped the urban defenses, under the cover of massive fire support, that the Americans gained the upper hand. The study further demonstrates the Impact of the concept of the will to win on military operations, even in a hopeless cause.The Battle of Aschaffenburg addresses Europe an urban combat in the context of World War II and concludes that the factors relevant to success then are still applicable. An attacker must carefully plan operations in urbanized terrain, follow doctrine and be physically and mentally prepared for a difficult fight.
From 1 April 1945 to 21 June 1945, the United States Tenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, Jr., executed Operation Iceberg--the seizure of Okinawa for use as a staging base for the expected invasion of Japan. The Tenth Army, which included the U.S. Army's XXIV Corps and the U.S. Marines Corps' III Amphibious Corps, executed an amphibious assault on Okinawa against the Japanese 32nd Army. The Japanese defenders allowed the Tenth Army to land virtually unopposed, preferring to fight a battle of attrition from strong fortifications. The Tenth Army rapidly seized the lightly defended northern end of the island, but became quickly bogged down against the main Japanese defensive belt on southern Okinawa. Japanese air power repeatedly assaulted the supporting Allied naval force with massed kamikaze attacks, resulting in heavy casualties. Ultimately, Lt. Gen. Buckner committed both corps to a frontal attack on the Japanese defenses in southern Okinawa and the campaign lasted some eighty two days before the final collapse of the 32nd Army. This thesis examines the effectiveness of Buckner and his staff's command and control of the Tenth Army. Buckner and his staff succeeded, but flaws in Buckner's generalship and his staff's failure to provide him with an accurate battlefield picture prolonged the campaign.
In 1941, after the conquest of Yugoslavia and Greece, senior German military leaders were considering two airborne operations, one for the invasion of Crete and the other for the invasion of Malta. The invasion of Crete was executed from 20 May to 1 June 1941 with heavy German losses. The invasion of Malta never took place even though the senior military leaders in the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) recommended invading Malta over Crete because of its strategic importance, but were overridden by Adolf Hitler. A year later, while the North Africa campaign was being conducted, another invasion was planned for Malta, but within a few weeks of executing the plan it too was postponed and eventually cancelled. The primary focus of this research is to establish why in 1941 Crete was invaded, but Malta was not. The secondary focus is to establish why one year later a second planned invasion of Malta was rejected and abandoned, and what were the strategic repercussions of not invading Malta. The Axis never captured Malta, and the offensive capability of Malta was never destroyed, thus leading to the defeat of all Axis forces in North Africa.
Behind The Myth Of The Jungle Superman: A Tactical Examination Of The Japanese Army’s Centrifugal Offensive, 7 December 1941 To 20 May 1942by Major C. Patrick Howard
This thesis studies the successful Japanese Centrifugal Offensive of 1941-42. The Japanese lacked realistic strategic objectives for the offensive, and the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), which was trained and equipped to fight the Soviet Army on the plains of Manchuria, had neither sufficient logistics structure nor appropriate equipment for a dispersed jungle campaign. Despite these severe strategic and operational failings, IJA tactical units achieved all of their objectives within six months. This study uses government documents, untranslated Japanese sources, and secondary works to examine the conscription system, training methods, equipment, and tactical doctrine that the IJA employed during the Centrifugal Offensive.The study concludes that the IJA's aggressive training methods produced a skilled army that easily adapted to the unfamiliar jungle terrain of the Southwest Pacific. While the IJA's equipment was usually ill suited for battle against the Soviets, Japanese emphasis on light weight unintentionally made the IJA's standard issue items eminently suitable for jungle operations. Likewise, the IJA's doctrine was ideal for a short, offensive jungle campaign. The Centrifugal Offensive provides evidence to the modern military leader that well-trained soldiers will adapt to unfamiliar situations without special training, and that junior leaders can learn initiative through instruction and conditioning.
This monograph examines General J. Lawton Collins' career and argues that his command style was characterized by technical and tactical competence, the practical ability to lead from the front and sound judgment. This monograph examines these key factors in three subsections. General Collins gained his technical and tactical competence by theoretical preparation as a student and instructor. He first demonstrated the ability to position himself at the critical point on the battlefield as the commander of the 25th Infantry Division during the Guadalcanal Campaign in January 1943. As the commander of the VII Corps during the Allies' Campaign in northwest Europe from 1944 to 1945, he refined this ability. Finally, he developed sound judgment while performing key postings both during the interwar period and during the Second World War. This monograph shows how General J. Lawton Collins' command style translated into action and made him such an effective combat leader.
This study is an examination of historical data to determine if weather was the decisive factor of the Aleutian Campaign. The campaign was carried out early in World War II along the over 1,000 miles of the archipelago. Island warfare made joint operations a necessity. Weather conditions disrupted all areas of battle; sea, air and ground, and made attempts at coordinated actions futile.The intense weather conditions of the North Pacific severely complicated operations over, near and on the Aleutian Islands. Weather and its effect on the Japanese raid on Dutch Harbor and the American response is examined. The role of the weather is also examined as the Americans attempt to bomb the Japanese out of Kiska and Attu. Finally, the influence of weather on the amphibious landings and ensuing ground action to eject the Japanese from the islands is reviewed.Though a dominant factor, weather was not the decisive factor at the tactical level of warfare during this campaign. The American ability to mass overwhelming combat power ultimately drove the Japanese from the region.
Most strategies have to be proven in combat. And more often than not, these strategies do not survive the realities of contact with the enemy. How do strategic leaders deal with this? What is their role in implementing the strategy and when do they face the inevitable and adapt their original strategy?A vital component of the United States' strategy at the outbreak of World War II was a bombing offensive against Germany. It was assumed that unescorted but heavily armed bombers could find their way to specific industrial targets, and could bomb these with great accuracy. However, in 1943 this strategy was proven to be untenable. With rapid adaptations not only to its strategy but also within its operational and tactical domains, the Eighth Air Force overcame the problems, managed to continue its daylight campaign and achieved success. This paper will look at the leadership displayed at the strategic level by Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker during the vital first eighteen months of combat operations. It will examine the agility and adaptability of Eaker and his organization as they gained experience and will focus on Eaker's prime areas of interest: leadership, public relations and the availability of resources.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Area during World War II, commanded the most powerful naval force ever assembled and was arguably the individual most responsible for the Allied victory in that theater. His unique abilities serve well as a model for all who aspire to fill a strategic leadership role. Some of his competencies were derived from natural ability, while others were learned, and honed, through education, training, and experience. This report analyzes Admiral Nimitz's strategic leader competencies and evaluates his contributions in achieving a total victory in the Pacific for the Allied powers.
This study analyzes the operational performance of the 28th Infantry Division during a period of high intensity combat in the European Theater of Operations. The focus is on the difficulties the division experienced within its subordinate infantry units. Infantrymen, though comprising less than 40 percent of the division's total strength, absorbed almost 90 percent of all casualties. The high casualty rate within infantry units severely curtailed the operational performance of the division. The difficulties the 28th experienced were commonplace in the European theater. Compounding the problem was the inadequate number of divisions in the U.S. Army force structure. This inadequacy forced divisions to remain in combat for excessive durations, greatly increasing battle and non-battle casualties. The army's personnel system further contributed to the problems infantry divisions experienced within their infantry units. It failed to provide sufficient numbers of infantry replacements in a timely manner and there was widespread dissatisfaction with the quality of infantry replacements. This study shows that the U.S. Army failed to realize both the importance of infantry units to the war effort and the severity of combat on the modern battlefield. The result was an infantry force structure poorly designed to accomplish its wartime mission.
The United States Military, the ultimate Instrument of national resolve, is centered on servicemen and women. Without effective leadership these men and women are ill equipped to succeed in combat and are unjustly put in harm's way. The commander at the operational level is the link between national policy and action. His actions, character and decisions are of historical importance. While this paper will not cover the full spectrum of operational leadership; the most important traits of operational leadership will be explored. Additionally, this paper will highlight recent failures in operational leadership and compare and contrast them with lessons learned from two diametrically opposed operational leaders of World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower and Field Marshall Erich von Manstein. Analysis will concentrate on the specific operations of the Normandy invasion and Kharkov. The analysis will not deconstruct the operations but rather center on the operational leadership traits each commander displayed and their importance to the operation. Finally the paper will show how the lessons of sixty-five years ago are applicable today and for the future.
Japan's December 1941-February 1942 invasion of Malaya and culminating conquest of Singapore is analyzed from an operational perspective. Although overshadowed by better known Pacific Theater actions in World War II, the campaign was Japan's most successful example of joint warfare and replete with lessons for the modern operational commander. Approached from the level of the commander and staff, the background and decision making processes are reviewed, with applicable areas identified for today's leaders. The need for aggressive leadership, accurate intelligence, flexible application of power, adjustment of force based on environmental conditions, and the value of logistics are the major lessons from the Japanese victory. Poor leadership and futility of trying to defend too much are among those lessons from the defeated British.
This historical reassessment of the World War II British bombing campaign notes that though in 1940 Churchill declared that he was waging "a military and not a civilian war" to destroy "military objectives" and not "women and children," within eighteen months both types of targets would be struck by Bomber Command. The author searches for the reasons in "three contiguous realms" of strategic influence: moral (and legal), political, and military. The study concludes that although for much of the war "area bombing" of cities was a "tragic necessity" meeting the 'reasonable man's' standard of what was decently allowable given the blunt weapons the Allies had" and the evils they faced, nonetheless Allied leaders could have and should have abandoned indiscriminate bombing in the last phases of the conflict, when more precise means were at hand and "Nazi power had been overmatched."
This study analyzes the career of General Earle Everard "Pat" Partridge, USAF, with a focus on the airpower lessons that inspired his craftsmanship of the first air campaign of the United States Air Force. The author separates Partridge's career into three sequential periods: company grade operational experiences; field grade instructional and doctrinal studies; and finally Partridge's flag grade leadership and innovation. The conclusion, drawn from a career spanning both World Wars and culminating in the Korean War, is that Partridge generally endorsed official doctrine as a training goal; a goal to be adjusted to meet the unique and unpredictable contextual demands of an explicit war scenario. Next, the writer evaluates Partridge's leadership in the Korean War-the first to follow the National Security Act of 1947-where service doctrine, joint training and technology deficiencies demanded unprecedented compromise and innovation. The final section of the study illustrates the lessons learned by Partridge in the aftermath of the Korean War, lessons that are as valuable today as they were fifty years ago on the Peninsula where America and its allies fought Communist expansion.
An Application Of The Principles Of War To The Schweinfurt Raids On 17 August 1943 And 14 October 1943by Major Thomas J. Griffith
This monograph provides a historical look at the use of daylight precision bombing by American bombers against the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany, on 17 August 1943 and 14 October 1943. The principles of war from AFM 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, are used to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the American and German efforts during these operations.
This case study analyzes the role of operational art in Allied operations at Anzio, Italy and the battle for Rome (January 22-June 4, 1944). As part of the Allied Campaign in Italy, the amphibious assault on Anzio-code-named Operation Shingle, and the subsequent drive to Rome remains one of the most controversial military operations in history. Although the Allies eventually captured Rome from the Germans, the failure to use 'operational thinking' led to a poorly planned and executed operation.Most historical accounts blame the failures at Anzio on the lack of aggressiveness by the Operation Shingle commander Major General John P. Lucas. However, when viewed in the larger context of the strategy to defeat Germany and the Allied Campaign in Italy, Operation Shingle is a showcase of failure at the operational level of war. Political rather than military considerations drove Shingle-dooming the operation from the start.Anzio demonstrates the importance of linking tactical actions to operational and strategic objectives. At the strategic level of war, the Allies had a sound strategy to defeat Germany. However, at the operational level of war, the decision to launch Shingle did not adequately assess risk. In operational design, commanders failed to define an objective, lacked sufficient mass, and did not include alternative plans based on potential enemy actions. During planning and preparation, the Allies misjudged the enemy's center of gravity and failed to exploit valuable intelligence. During execution, operational leadership lacked initiative. Finally, the complexity and tensions created by the combined operation made unity of effort difficult. These lessons should benefit future operations.
Operational Leadership As Practiced By Field Marshal Erwin Rommel During The German Campaign In North Africa, 1941-1942: : Success Or Failure?by Commander Charles M. Gibson
The Germans entered the North African theater to alleviate pressure on the Italians and prevent the collapse of the Italian Fascist regime. Rommel arrived in North Africa, and despite orders to establish a blocking force, immediately went on the offensive with the objective of forcing the Allies out of North Africa. After two years of fighting, Rommel and his forces were defeated.This paper analyzes the operational leadership of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel during the North African campaign of 1941-1942. It concludes that Rommel, despite being an accomplished tactical leader, was a poor operational leader. Rommel lacked the proper personality, military education, and military experience to obtain the broad view necessary to become a successful operational leader. His personal relationship with Hitler put Rommel in a position of authority he was not qualified to fulfill. Additionally, his inability as an operational commander to fully comprehend logistics and strategic objectives resulted in the German's defeat in North Africa.The Joint Force Commander must ensure his operational commanders are more than just tacticians. A successful tactical leader will not automatically become a successful operational leader. Close scrutiny of potential operational commanders is a must to ensure the future leaders of the U.S. military will be able to accomplish military strategic and operational objectives.
This study is a partial biography of Major General Ernest N. Harmon, focusing on his military career from his West Point graduation in 1917 to his assuming command of the 2nd Armored Division in 1942. When Harmon attained division command in July 1942 he was one of the most experienced officers in the army to command an armored division. However, he is overlooked in many histories and leadership studies. The intent of this thesis is to determine what in Harmon's professional military development prepared him to become a successful and widely acclaimed leader of armored forces in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II.Harmon's career reflected the generation of army officers whose service began during World War I and ended just prior to or during the early years of the Cold War. However, his World War I experience was unique in that, with only eighteen months of service, he commanded the largest U.S. cavalry formation to see combat in France. Harmon's interwar career mirrored that of most of his peers, shifting between command, staff, instructor, and student assignments. Therefore, this study also provides a snapshot era's officer professional development...The first twenty-five years of his career prepared Harmon for combat in World War II and the occupation of Germany that followed. His career development and personal experiences forged his competence and character. He personally played crucial roles in ending three of the greatest crises faced by American forces in the ETO: Kasserine, Anzio, and the Ardennes. The units that he commanded played decisive parts in securing North Africa, seizing Rome, and penetrating the Siegfried Line into Germany. Following the war Harmon served in a variety of key positions including military governor of Czechoslovakia and the organizer and first commander of the U.S. Constabulary Force in Germany before retiring in 1947 with thirty years of military service.
In this vivid and compelling memoir, Rulka Langer, tells of the horrible advance of the Wehrmacht into Poland in 1939. Thrown into the chaos of war-torn Warsaw she recounts her struggle to survive as rumours of atrocities fly thick and fast and she attempts to keep her family of two young children and an ailing mother together. A fascinating snapshot of the advent of the Second World War.
On 19 January 1942, two Japanese divisions invaded Burma and within five months defeated a numerically superior Allied Army. The Japanese conquest of Burma completely isolated China from lend-lease equipment support provided to it via the Burma Road. Over the course of the next three years, Allied forces engaged in ground campaigns designed to re-establish this land communications link with China. This is a description of the Allied campaigns in Burma and the importance that secure supply lines played in each of those campaigns. Information was gathered by historical review of a variety of reference materials. The lessons of Burma related to the campaigns launched there can be applied today in that country and in similar areas of operation around the world.
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