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Admiral Chester W Nimitz's Strategic Leadership During World War 2

by CDR David J. Jerabek

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.

Operational Performance Of The US 28th Infantry Division September To December 1944

by Major Jeffrey P. Holt

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.

Eisenhower And Manstein: Operational Leadership Lessons Of The Past For Today's Commanders

by Major William E. Herbert IV

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.

Bicycle Blitzkrieg: The Malayan Campaign And The Fall Of Singapore

by LCDR Alan C. Headrick

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.

'Are We Beasts' Churchill And The Moral Question Of World War II 'Area Bombing'

by Dr Christopher C. Harmon

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."

General Earle E. Partridge, USAF Airpower Leadership In A Limited War

by David H. Gurney

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 1943

by 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.

Anzio (Operation Shingle): An Operational Perspective

by Captain Stephen P. Gray

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.

Professional Military Development Of Major General Ernest N. Harmon

by Major Matthew B. Dale

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.

The Mermaid And The Messerschmitt

by Rulka Langer

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.

Burma Campaigns: Battles Over Lines Of Communication

by Lieutenant Colonel Kurt M. Frey

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.

Lessons Learned From Operation Market Garden

by Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer B. Fox

Operation Market Garden was the largest paratroop drop of the Second World War; It was also one of the worst operational failures. What strategy could have led the Allies to such an incredulous failure and what lessons can be learned for future military operations? Several timeless lessons are apparent from an analysis of the operation: (1) at the strategic level, military planners must never lose sight of the political reasons which fostered the initial conflict; (2) at the operational level, total coordination and planning with all elements of an operation remain critical to the successful execution of any plan; (3) logistics shortages caused the troops to be ill prepared; (4) most importantly, at the tactical level commanders must learn to "read the troops," watch their collective behavior and be ready to step in to keep them focused on the ultimate goal, the satisfactory completion of the mission; (5) from a leadership perspective, we learn that truly great leaders sacrifice their personal ambitions for the good of the unit effort and the successful execution of the mission.

The Lucky Seventh in the Bulge: A Case Study for the Airland Battle

by Major Gregory Fontenot

This study examines the operations of the 7th Armored Division from 16 December 1944 through 29 January 1945. The focus is on the nature of combat as seen from the perspective of battalion through division-level commanders. The 7th Armored Division provides data on defensive operations, withdrawal, reconstitution and offensive operations. This data is used to examine the validity of the AirLand Battle concepts of "agility," "initiative," "depth" and "synchronization."The study illuminates the tremendous complexity of high-tempo, continuous operations and the validity of the AirLand Battle doctrine. The study reveals the key to success in such operations is the ability to cope with high levels of friction which stems from the clear communication of intent. The study raises questions on the ability of the US Army to fight at night, the Army's doctrine for retrograde operations, and its artillery doctrine.

The Lucky Seventh In The Bulge: A Case Study For The Airland Battle

by Captain Robert G. Fix

More so than any other operation, the Campaign to seize Okinawa in the closing days of World War II represents the greatest joint effort undertaken by the US Military. From its organization to the way it fought, Tenth Army incorporated every element of the service to a degree never before attempted and never since replicated.This study analyzes the Okinawa Campaign, Operation ICEBERG, using the operational operating systems as a framework for assessing how well the Tenth Army conducted the campaign and for determining what lessons are applicable to joint operations at the field army level.This study first traces the historical background of field armies in the twentieth century and shows that every major conflict has included combat operations at this level. It then outlines the operational operating systems as defined in TRADOC Pamphlet 11-9. Before actually analyzing the campaign, the study provides a battle summary of the Okinawa Campaign which provides the basis for analysis.The study then looks at the campaign through each of the six operational operating systems to determine how Tenth Army planned for the operation, how well it performed, and what lessons can be extracted and applied to today's joint operational requirements.Although Okinawa was the largest joint operation of the war, it was not the largest planned joint operation. Operation DOWNFALL, the campaign to seize the Japanese islands, was the largest planned. So Okinawa was really a test of how joint operations at the large unit level could be conducted. Although the war ended prior to the invasion of Japan, the lessons the US Military learned in executing ICEBERG are still relevant and still provide insight into how joint operations should be conducted at the field army level.

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.

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