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Tarnished Victory: Divided Command In The Pacific And Its Consequences In The Naval Battle For Leyte Gulf

by LCDR James P. Drew

The Battle for Leyte Gulf in October 1944 was the largest naval battle of World War II both in terms of the number of ships involved, and the expanse of area the battle covered. The battle was a decisive victory for the Allied Forces, who effectively crushed the might of the Japanese Navy for the remainder of the war. The Joint Chiefs made the decision to keep command in the Pacific divided in the early months of the war. The Joint Chiefs were presented with opportunities to resolve this problematic command structure as the war progressed, but they chose to perpetuate the division. This decision, directly contributed to disunity of effort, differing objectives, poor communication, and tragically, unnecessary loss of life during the Battle off Samar.

Strategic Deception: OPERATION FORTITUDE

by Lt.-Col Michael J. Donovan

The Allied leaders decided to conduct the cross-channel invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe in the first half of 1944 during the Tehran Conference held in November 1943. To support this invasion they also decided to implement a comprehensive deception campaign given the cover name BODYGUARD. The goal of BODYGUARD was to deceive Hitler and his senior military commanders about the location and timing of Allied offensive actions. Under the BODYGUARD umbrella, operation FORTITUDE was specifically designed to support the invasion of Normandy. FORTITUDE consisted of two primary operations. FORTITUDE-NORTH was designed to convince the Germans that the Allied invasion in 1944 would come through Norway and Sweden vice France. FORTITUDE-SOUTH was developed to convince Hitler and his staff that the primary invasion site in France would be Pas de Calais and other potential invasion sites, such as Normandy, were only diversions. The BODYGUARD and associated FORTITUDE operations were quite successful in fixing German forces, causing reserves to be committed piecemeal and basically paralyzing Hitler's decision making ability during the time of the Normandy landings and for weeks afterwards. The principles of current joint deception doctrine were applicable and utilized by the deception planners of General Eisenhower's staff long before the current Joint doctrine (Joint Publication 3-58, Joint Doctrine for Military Deception) was ever written.

Stalingrad And The Turning Point On The Soviet-German Front, 1941-1943

by Captain Dennis W. Dingle

This study is an historical analysis of the Soviet-German conflict during World War II and focuses on the years 1941-1943. It examines the relative economic and military power of the two nations to determine if there was a shift in advantage, or turning point, during that period. To quantify those elements of power, it uses criteria taken from a current strategic analysis model. This model assesses elements of national power to aid in strategic problem solving and international policy formulation. Specific criteria are applied to four specific military events between 1941 and 1943. The resulting data is then graphed to compare relative military and economic power. The graphs serve as the basis for conclusions.Among the conclusions which may be drawn from this study are: the Battle of Stalingrad was not the economic turning point of the war when considering the criteria of industrial labor and armaments production; Stalingrad was the military turning point, considering military forces and equipment on the Soviet-German front.This study concludes that this method of assessing relative national power of nations can be applied in an historical context to evaluate past wars. It may assist historians to better understand the factors that led to various turning points throughout history.

A New Look At The Battle Of The Atlantic

by Colonel Donald L. Davis USMC

The paper examines the Battle of the Atlantic from an operational rather than the usual strategic perspective. The impressive achievements of the small force of German submarines against such overwhelming odds was a direct result of Admiral Karl Doenitz's skillful practice of the Operational Art. An examination of his attributes and methods may provide useful guidance for the commander of the small, austere force of the future. Superior numbers or technology does not guarantee for military success. Sound doctrine, vision, operational excellence, initiative and audacity, on the other hand, can produce substantial advantages. The paper also cautions that the dramatic allied reconstitution which did so much to turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic is unlikely to reoccur and that the large, costly multi-purpose weapons platforms of today may be as ineffective in fighting the low intensity naval battle on the littoral as the large capital ships were in the Battle of the Atlantic.

No Quarter Given: The Change In Strategic Bombing Application In The Pacific Theater During World War II

by Major John M. Curatola

European airpower theorists of the 1920's and 30's envisioned the deliberate bombing of civilians in order to affect an enemy nation's wartime production capabilities and national morale. However, American proponents of airpower were more exacting in their approach to the use of the airplane. The US Army Air Corps developed the idea of precision bombing as a means to destroy an enemy's ability to prosecute war through the targeting of only an enemy's means of production and state infrastructure while avoiding civilian casualties.World War II provided the US Army Air Force (USAAF) the opportunity to prove the effectiveness of this theory. However, as the war progressed, the USAAF targeted not just centers of production, but political targets as well as civilian populations. Thus, USAAF bombing came to resemble the type of application that was initially proffered by European theorists. Large-scale bombing of cities and populations became the mode of operation for the USAAF in the Pacific. Despite its policies and doctrine, the USAAF deliberately bombed civilian populations in conjunction with the Japanese means of production. Why did this targeting change take place? How did the USAAF eventually come to conduct indiscriminate area bombing of civilians despite the perception that it was contrary to our national mores?

Why Fight On? The Decision To Close The Kursk Salient

by Lieutenant Colonel Christian Cunningham

The Battle of Kursk in July of 1943 was a pivotal battle in the Russian-German conflict, 1941-1945. After the German attack failed, the Russians responded with a major offensive and gained the strategic initiative. From then on, the German army was only capable of a series of defensive stopping actions in failed attempts to thwart the advancing Red Army. The inevitable outcome was the fall of Berlin in May of 1945. There were a number of options Hitler and the German high command could have chosen in lieu of attack. The decision to choose offensive action becomes even more interesting upon examination of Germany's strategic situation. Tunisia, the last vestige of the German occupation of North Africa, was lost and Allied offensive action on the European continent was a real and imminent threat. There were also attrition issues, production problems, and differences of opinion between Hitler and key German generals. Finally, the northern and southern shoulders of the Kursk salient, the chosen points of attack, were heavily defended. What compelled Hitler and the German High Command to take such a gamble? What were the strategic issues that guided this decision? Was the outcome decisive? And finally, what other actions might have altered the outcome of the conflict?

Operation HUSKY: A Critical Analysis

by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen R. Cote USMC

The Allied invasion of Sicily was the largest amphibious operation conducted in World War II with over seven assault divisions landing across Italian beaches. The planning and conduct of HUSKY was fraught with indecision, fragmented planning, poor coordination, and a lack of unity of effort. Husky proves to be an interesting case study of the operational level of war and provides several relevant lessons for today's commanders and joint staff officers.This paper analyzes the Allied planning effort from the operational level of war only. Specifically, this paper analyzes the planning and conduct of HUSKY in regard to following seven operational functions: operational intelligence, operational command and control, operational movement and maneuver, operational command and control warfare, operational fires, operational protection, and operational logistics.The Allied invasion of Sicily was the largest amphibious operation conducted in World War II, with over seven assault divisions landing across Italian beaches. From 10 July to 17 Aug. 1943, Allied forces fought a determined opponent that effectively traded space for time and successfully evacuated a large force to the mainland of Italy. Operation HUSKY culminated in an Allied victory and proved to be the catalyst for the decision to invade the Italian mainland...HUSKY proves to be an interesting case study of the operational level of war and provides several relevant lessons for today's commanders and joint staff officers.

Combined Special Operations In World War II

by Captain James C. Nixon

This study is an historical analysis of combined special operations units in the European Theater during World War II. The study examines the Dieppe Raid Force, the First Special Service Force, and the Jedburghs to determine common strengths and weaknesses in organization, training, command and control, and effectiveness. The study also analyzes the adequacy of current United States combined and special operations doctrine based on the results of the historical analysis.The study concludes that current U.S. doctrine does not adequately address the organization, training, and command and control of combined special operations. Current doctrine provides sufficient strategic guidance, but requires supporting doctrine at the operational and tactical level. One of the contributing factors is an over-reliance on Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.The study provides planning considerations that should be incorporated into current combined doctrine. The historical examples illustrate the criticality of establishing clear goals and objectives and the use of training to assist in achieving unity of effort. The study also identifies centralized control, clear communications, and coordination as fundamental to successful command and control of combined special operations units.

A Military Leadership Analysis Of Adolf Hitler

by Major Paul A. Braunbeck Jr.

"Before the war, and still more during the conquest of the West, Hitler came to appear a gigantic figure, combining the strategy of a Napoleon with the cunning of a Machiavelli and the fanatical fervour of a Mohomet. After his first check in Russia, his figure began to shrink, and towards the end he was regarded as a blundering amateur in the military field, whose crazy orders and crass ignorance had been the Allies' greatest asset. All the disasters of the German Army were attributed to Hitler; all its successes were credited to the German General Staff." - B. H. Liddell HartLiddell Hart goes on to say that while this description of Adolf Hitler may not be entirely true, there is certainly some truth to it. While conducting the research for this project, it became increasing apparent that in the late 1930s Hitler was indeed a successful military leader. The impetus behind this success was partly due to Hitler's political decision making process which, in effect, laid the foundation for World War II. However, as his success continued to mount, he became more and more involved in the intricacies of battlefield tactics and strategy. This is where Hitler's and Germany's eventual downfall for the conquest of Europe began. Upon examining Hitler's strengths, weaknesses, and decision making processes as a military leader one can begin to fully appreciate how the infamous "stop" order at Dunkirk and his "no retreat" policy at Stalingrad are often referred to as Hitler's greatest blunders of World War II.

Dieppe 1942: Reconnaissance In Force With Strategic Overtones

by Colonel Lewis M. Boone

In the early hours of August 19, 1942 an amphibious force of approximately 6000 troops, primarily Canadians of the 2nd Infantry Division, approached the coast of France. Their destination was the small port of Dieppe and their mission was to foster German fear of an attack in the West and compel them to strengthen their Channel defenses at the expense of other operational areas. Their secondary purpose was to learn as much as possible about new techniques and equipment and gain experience and knowledge necessary for a future great amphibious assault. By early afternoon, 807 Canadians lay dead in and around Dieppe. Another 100 would die of wounds, and in captivity, and about 1900 more would sit out the rest of the war in POW camps. The intent of this paper is not to refight the battle in detail, but to examine the strategic implications of the raid in terms of future operations by the Allies. This paper will also inform the reader on the utility of the mission given the tragic loss of life that day. Historians still debate whether Dieppe was a "needless slaughter" or a precursor for success at Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Lithuanian Freedom Fighters' Tactics: Resisting The Soviet Occupation 1944-1953

by Darius Bernotas

Although the end of World War II enabled devastated countries to rebuild and enjoy a time of peace, another bloody war had just started in Lithuania. Lithuanian Freedom Fighters (LFF) fought for almost a decade (1944-1953) against the Soviets who occupied their country after World War II. This research focuses on LFF tactics that enabled them to oppose greatly superior Soviet forces for an extended period of time and on the factors that resulted in eventual defeat of LFF armed resistance. The research utilized the elements of combat power as the measurement criteria to describe the LFF tactics.The author concludes that the LFF tactics were to some extent effective. LFF managed to adapt tactics in accordance with a changing situation in terms of shifting Soviet tactics and wrong initial assumptions regarding international support. The other factor that contributed to the LFF success fighting the superior enemy for almost a decade was related to LFF ability to mitigate LFF combat power elements' weaknesses while exploiting their strengths.Nevertheless, the absence of both political and material international support along with Soviet success in cutting off population support to the LFF were two main reasons that resulted in the gradual defeat of the armed resistance.As asymmetric warfare is likely to continue playing an important role in future conflicts, members of the military profession should find it useful to familiarize themselves with this research. A thorough analysis of LFF tactics employing a combination of regular and irregular warfare to counter superior forces should assist military professionals in further deepening their understanding of asymmetric warfare phenomena thus contributing to their awareness of contemporary operational environment.

Airpower Employment Of The Fifth Air Force In The World War II Southwest Pacific Theater

by Major James A. Barr

This research project studies the employment of airpower by the Fifth Air Force, under Gen George C. Kenney, in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II. The research began with two basic assumptions. First, it assumed that the strategic bombardment theory developed by the Air Corps Tactical School in the 1930s was the definitive doctrine of the Air Corps upon entry into World War II. Second, it assumed that General Kenney and his staff were required to develop a new doctrine for airpower employment since the situation in the Southwest Pacific did not lend itself to strategic bombardment of the Japanese industrial web. The research process proved both of these assumptions invalid.Study of historical records, personal accounts, and subsequent historical writings in several areas revealed that there was no clear and consistent doctrine for the employment of airpower...General Kenney assumed command of the Fifth Air Force with a clear vision of how to employ air forces to defeat the enemy. His diverse background gave him a balanced view of the roles airpower should play, and he was not convinced by the strategic bombardment theory that claimed invincibility for the bomber. His World War I experiences and teachings at the Air Corps Tactical School provided a strong belief in the importance of air superiority and attack aviation. He was innovative in modifying tactics and equipment, and in developing new roles for airpower as the situation dictated...This study surveys the development of airpower doctrine beginning with World War followed by major developments during the interwar period in several arenas. It then looks at the varied aspects of Gen George C. Kenney's career which prepared him to command the Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II. Finally, it considers General Kenney's employment of airpower in light of the pre-war doctrine development.

Air Leadership - Proceedings of a Conference at Bolling Air Force Base April 13-14, 1984

by Wayne Thompson

More than 200 airmen and historians met in Washington, D.C., on April 13 and 14, 1984, to discuss the men who have led American air forces. The first century of air power is drawing to a close and though some retired air leaders joined in the discussion, many have passed from the scene. What kind of men were they? What kind of leaders were they? What can we learn from their experience?The conference approached broad questions of leadership by taking a close look at two air leaders, Rear Adm. William A. Moffett (1869-1933) and Gen. Carl A. Spaatz (1891-1974). While Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics during the 1920s, Moffett did as much as anyone to nurture air power within the Navy. Spaatz, on the other hand, helped to lead the increasingly autonomous Army Air Forces during World War II and became the first Chief of Staff of the independent Air Force when it separated from the Army in 1947.Despite the major roles played by Moffett and Spaatz in the development of American air power, there has been little biographical work on them until recently. A decade ago Alfred Goldberg, chief historian in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, contributed an essay on Spaatz to Field Marshal Sir Michael Carver's The War Lords. Richard G. Davis, an Air Force historian, has just completed a dissertation on Spaatz's service in World War II. Meanwhile the Air Force Historical Foundation has sponsored a biography of Spaatz by Lt. Col. David R. Mets, USAF, Retired, and the first fruit of his effort is one of two essays on Spaatz published here; the other is by Maj. Gen. I. B. Holley, Jr., USAFR, Retired, who has drawn upon his many years as a professor of military history and biographer.

9 April 1940 German Invasion Of Norway - The Dawn Of Decisive Airpower During Joint Military Operations

by Major Brian T. Baxley

Operation Weserübung, the German invasion of Norway during the Second World War, is considered by many military historians to be the first joint military operation involving the combined planning and execution of air, land, and sea forces. After a brief introduction and an explanation of the significance of Norway, Chapter Three will analyze the planning process and strategy used by the Germans in late 1939 and early 1940 for devising this joint operation. Chapter Four examines, primarily from an airpower perspective, the plan itself and its execution during the first day of the operation by the Germans, and the British response. Chapter Five determines how German airpower was used, and in particular, what effect the Luftwaffe attack on 9 April against the British Home Fleet had against Britain's campaign strategy to control the North Sea. The final chapter examines three important lessons United States military planners should extract from Operation Weserübung and apply to operations in the 21st century. They are: 1) the joint operation of air, land, and sea assets produce a synergetic effect greater than the sum of their parts; 2) a difficult part of joint operations is the air command and control; and 3) airpower can decisively deny the enemy use of the land or the sea.

American Observers On The Battlefields Of The Western Front

by Major James A. Vohr USMC

Although during World War I the United States employed observers on the battlefields of the Western Front, the information they provided lacked the substance and conclusions required to evolve the tactical doctrine of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). In initial engagements, the AEF was largely forced to rely, with predictable negative outcome, upon outdated concepts founded largely upon the prejudices of the Army's leadership.In August of 1914 the United States Army and Marine Corps demonstrated strong foresight, considering the isolationist perspective of the nation, in detailing officers to the battlefields of Europe. These officers were given little guidance, but their mission was clearly to report on military actions and developments in what was becoming the largest struggle in history. A significant military development of World War I noted by the U.S. was the advance of offensive infantry tactics to cope effectively with the characteristics and lethality of the modern battlefield.The United States, with a two and one-half year opportunity to observe tactics prior to the engagement of the AEF, arguably should have benefited from the experience of others. However, this was not the case. The AEF in its initial engagements, performed much as its European counterparts did at the onset of the war. Eventually the AEF performance improved, but only as U.S. soldiers and Marines gained personal battlefield experience.

Why Gallipoli Matters: Interpreting Different Lessons From History

by Lieutenant Colonel John M. Sullivan Jr USMC

After careful study of the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915, why did the British and the Americans come up to contradictory operational conclusions regarding the future applicability of amphibious operations? Divergent views from the lessons of Gallipoli campaign are the result of three differing operational approaches to strategic considerations that Britain and the Unites States faced in the 1920s and 1930s. The first were different theater strategic objectives that required different operational campaigns necessary to achieve each. The second was different operational experiences, which caused one side to focus on the past while the other to the future. The final was the different means available to operational commanders to execute their campaign.History can often provide contradictory lessons to those who wish to use it to practically apply operational art. Using analogies correctly is important. For the operational commander, drawing the correct lessons learned is made even more difficult by the very nature of inter-service rivalry. Derived from an analysis of the operational art and at operational level of war, the lessons learned from this campaign led directly to the development of sound doctrine, which developed in peacetime was absolutely essential in wartime. Finally, we continue to learn from failure more often than through success, but we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by failure either.

Birth Of Modern Counterfire - The British And American Experience In World War I

by Major William M. Campsey

This study investigates the original needs for and development of counterfire techniques in World War I. Concentrating on the experiences of the British and the Americans, the examination explores techniques of counterfire and their failures or successes.The first chapter investigates why World War I was the first war in which modern counterfire techniques were employed. Chapter 2 describes the British experience. Chapters 3 & 4 explain how the Americans trained for and fought in the war. The last chapter analyses those techniques and principles of action that had relevance for both nations.The study concludes that several techniques were necessary in World War I to suppress enemy artillery. First, efforts to destroy enemy artillery before battles were not as successful as efforts to neutralize it for the duration of the battle. Second, with the enormity of details necessary to collect intelligence, assign targets, preposition ammunition, and execute the program of fire, competent staff work became critical. Third, the intelligence procedures developed in position warfare were insufficient to suppress enemy artillery as the battle line moved progressively forward. Suppression of all terrain in the zone of operations that was capable of holding enemy artillery became necessary. Finally, artillery organization and control must be centralized.The study also identifies two techniques necessary to exploit successful counterfire. First, surprise over the enemy would invariably gain the initiative. The enemy guns would not recover from the surprise for the duration of time that neutralization fires continued. Second, counterfire must be integrated into the overall fireplan and the infantry scheme of maneuver. It did the commander no good if counterfire was successful only to fail to exploit that success with maneuver.

When Elephants Clash - A Critical Analysis Of Major General Paul Emil Von Lettow-Vorbeck

by Major Thomas A. Crowson

For over four years during World War I, Lieutenant Colonel (Later Major General) Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of the German Schutztruppe led the men of the British East African Expeditionary Force on a chase over some of the most inhospitable terrain imaginable. As the commander of German forces in East Africa, he was the author of one of the most successful guerrilla fights in history. His innovative and creative solutions to daily problems proved to be the undoing of a succession of British commanders, allowing him to bleed Allied forces from European fronts. Although he never had more than 3,000 European and 15,000 native soldiers, von Lettow-Vorbeck consumed the efforts of over 250,000 Allied (mostly British) soldiers. Von Lettow-Vorbeck and the men of the Schutztruppe are little known outside of Germany, but they were never defeated and have the distinction of being the only Germans of World War I to occupy British soil. Despite their successes, their exploits remain obscured in the greater tragedy of the Great War.

What Were The Causes Of The Delay Of The 79th Division Capturing Montfaucon?

by Major Paul B. Mitchell III

On the opening day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I, the newly-created United States 79th Division was templated to advance nine kilometers through German-controlled terrain. However, the advance through the first four kilometers, which included the German strong point of Montfaucon, took two days. The slowed advance of the 79th Division is credited with slowing the progress of the entire American Expeditionary Forces' First Army, thus allowing time for Germans to react to the surprise American offensive. Thus, the central research question is: What were the factors that caused the delay of the 79th Division in their capture of Montfaucon? Little research has been completed on this subject, and most historians pinpoint the sole cause as inexperience on the part of the 79th Division. Therefore, an analysis will be conducted which takes into account the training received by the 79th Division in the United States, the training received in France, and other factors that influenced the outcome of the battle.

Battle Of Tanga, German East Africa, 1914

by Major Kenneth J. Harvey

In November 1914, British Indian Expeditionary Force "B" conducted an amphibious assault on the Port of Tanga in German East Africa. The British possessed all the tools required for success; they outnumbered the defenders almost eight to one, they possessed the only artillery and naval guns available for the battle, and they landed where the Germans were weak. Despite these factors, a hastily organized German defense force of 1,100 soldiers not only defeated the 8,000 British soldiers, but also compelled Indian Expeditionary Force "B" to retreat to Mombasa.This thesis examines the manner in which German and British forces were organized, trained, equipped, and led. Additionally, it identifies the critical factors that together led to British defeat at Tanga.

Australian Light Horse: A Study Of The Evolution Of Tactical And Operational Maneuver

by Major Edwin L. Kennedy Jr.

This study analyzes the actions of the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East campaign during World War I. It shows the basis for their approach to war and how these techniques were successful by adapting to the circumstances of the situation. The Australian Light Horse demonstrated the traits of initiative and flexibility during the campaign in Egypt and Palestine by changing their modus operandi from mounted infantry to cavalry, a seemingly minor shift semantically, a major shift doctrinally.Their adaptability to the situations in the desert was largely responsible for their tactical successes and played a major part in the success of the operational maneuver of the mounted forces under General Allenby during the last year of the war. Most importantly, the lessons learned from their actions sustained the advocates of horse cavalry doctrine long after the apparent usefulness of the horse on the modern battlefield had diminished in importance.

A Regiment Like No Other: The 6th Marine Regiment At Belleau Wood

by LCDR J. Wayne Hill

This thesis addresses the unique composition of the 6th U.S. Marine Regiment and the role they played in the battle of Belleau Wood. It analyzes composition of the 6th Marine Regiment: 60 percent were college men, many of whom were college athletes. With the exception of the Battalion's senior officers and a handful of senior non-commissioned officers, the Regiment was composed of volunteers. Although they were put through rigorous training, these young Marines were not fully prepared for the war that they would face. These young men overcame shortfalls, and became leaders who motivated others to follow. The argument is that these men were able to use their educational and athletic backgrounds to overcome adverse training and combat conditions and proceeded to shape both the outcome of the First World War as well as the Marine Corps for the remainder of the 20th Century.

What Kept The Tank From Being The Decisive Weapon Of World War One?

by Major Brian A. Pedersen

The modern tank was invented in 1916 as a means to mechanically overcome the stalemate of trench warfare brought on by the increased lethality of fires employed during World War I. Its introduction received mixed reviews among British leaders. Some advocated its continued role supporting infantry and artillery attacks. Others envisioned it as a revolutionary weapon with the potential to effect decisive results at an operational and strategic level. Still others viewed it as a useless and unnecessary drain on already-scarce resources of men and materiel. Ultimately, the tank was an ancillary sideshow and failed to produce a decisive knock-out punch leading to Allied victory in World War I. The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons why the tank failed to become the decisive weapon of World War I. It specifically focuses on the genesis of logistics, maintenance, training, and production infrastructure, studying the interaction of development, employment, acceptance or lack thereof, and subsequent frictions which negatively influenced the ascent of tanks as the decisive weapon of World War I. By examining the British efforts to design support systems while simultaneously producing, fielding and employing multiple iterations of the tank, this paper seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the potential challenges facing other armed forces that are rapidly upgrading or replacing combat systems in the midst of the Global War on Terror.

When Should A Commander Be Relieved?: A Study Of Combat Reliefs Of Commanders Of Battalions And Lower Units During The Vietnam Era

by Major Thomas V. Draude

This study attempts to determine when commanders of battalions and lower units should be relieved during combat. The investigation analyzed actual reliefs during the Vietnam era to determine why the commanders were relieved, the availability of replacements, the role of counselling, and the effect on the unit.Investigation reveals that most reliefs were not caused by a single deficiency but rather by a combination of perceived shortcomings. Mission failure was not a significant reason for relief. Captains and lieutenants were more likely to be relieved than were lieutenant colonels. Replacements for the relieved commanders were usually available. Most reliefs were effected without prior counselling. The effect of the relief on the unit depended primarily on the unit's evaluation of the relieved commander's leadership and popularity.Further examination of the causes and effects of reliefs produced guidelines for commanders to consider before relieving a subordinate commander.

Attack On The American Embassy During Tet, 1968: Factors That Turned A Tactical Victory Into A Political Defeat

by Major Robert J. O'Brien

What could have made the Military Police (MP) and Marine Security Guard (MSG) response more effective, averting negative media coverage and public opinion? The Tet Offensive has been widely acknowledged as the turning point of the United States (U.S.) effort in Vietnam. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces attacked over 100 cities and towns on 31 January 1968, during the Tet holiday. At the epicenter of this cataclysmic event was the attack on the U.S. Embassy. Although this was a platoon level action, the publicity generated would be wildly disproportionate to the value of the Embassy as a military target. Controversy has continued unabated four decades later. The media role in conveying the outcome of the attack is still a subject of debate. The fact that the U.S. forces that successfully defended the Embassy were greatly outnumbered and not organized or equipped as combat troops was not portrayed in media reports.This thesis first examines the attack on the U.S. Embassy during the Tet Offensive of 1968, and what factors turned a tactical victory into a political defeat. The Marine Security Guards (MSGs) and Military Police (MP) were effective at preventing the enemy from entering and holding the Chancery. The MSGs and MPs at the Embassy achieved a clear tactical victory, yet the action was portrayed as a political defeat. Two sets of factors contributed to this portrayal: the political situation, including shifting public opinion and declining media-military relations; and actions taken by the State Department that directly affected the conduct of the action at the Embassy.

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