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A History of the Peninsular War, Volume VI: September 1, 1812 to August 5, 1813: Siege of Burgos, Retreat of Burgos, Vittoria, the Pyrenees [Illustrated Edition]by Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman Kbe
Illustrated with 11 maps and 2 portraitsThe 1807-14 war in the Iberian Peninsula was one of the most significant and influential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Arising from Napoleon's strategic need to impose his rule over Portugal and Spain, it evolved into a constant drain on his resources. Sir Charles Oman's seven-volume history of the campaign is an unrivalled and essential work. His extensive use and analysis of French, Spanish, Portuguese and British participants' accounts and archival material, together with his own inspection of the battlefields, provides a comprehensive and balanced account of this most important episode in Napoleonic military history.Between the autumn of 1812 and the late summer of 1813 campaigning in the peninsula took on a new aspect. From being a defence of Portugal and those parts of Spain not under French control, it became an effort by the British, Spanish and Portuguese forces to drive the French out completely. Operations at the end of 1812 included the unsuccessful British siege of Burgos and the subsequent retreat; renewed campaigning on the east coast of Spain, including Murray's actions around Tarragona; and the beginning of the final offensive against the French, including the epic battles of Roncesvalles, Maya and Sorauren.
A History of the Peninsular War, Volume V: October 1811-August 31, 1812: Valencia, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Madrid [Illustrated Edition]by Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman Kbe
Illustrated with 15 maps and 6 portraitsThe 1807-14 war in the Iberian Peninsula was one of the most significant and influential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Arising from Napoleon's strategic need to impose his rule over Portugal and Spain, it evolved into a constant drain on his resources. Sir Charles Oman's seven-volume history of the campaign is an unrivalled and essential work. His extensive use and analysis of French, Spanish, Portuguese and British participants' accounts and archival material, together with his own inspection of the battlefields, provides a comprehensive and balanced account of this most important episode in Napoleonic military history.During this period, the outcome of the war was effectively decided by Wellington's advance from Portugal into Spain. The operations that took place at this time included the French campaigns of late 1811, the Allied offensive, and Wellington's great victory at Salamanca. Other notable actions included that at Garcia Hernandez, and there were also smaller operations such as those on the east coast of Spain. Orders of battle, lists of strength and casualties, and an account of Wellington's intelligence officer and code-breaker Sir George Scovell, whose efforts contributed greatly to Wellington's plans of campaign, are given in the appendices to this volume.
A History of the Peninsular War, Volume IV December 1810-December 1811: Massena's Retreat, Fuentes De Onoro, Albuera, Tarragona [Illustrated Edition]by Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman Kbe
Illustrated with 16 maps and 5 portraitsThe 1807-14 war in the Iberian Peninsula was one of the most significant and influential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Arising from Napoleon's strategic need to impose his rule over Portugal and Spain, it evolved into a constant drain on his resources. Sir Charles Oman's seven-volume history of the campaign is an unrivalled and essential work. His extensive use and analysis of French, Spanish, Portuguese and British participants' accounts and archival material, together with his own inspection of the battlefields, provides a comprehensive and balanced account of this most important episode in Napoleonic military history.Volume IV covers the period during which Portugal was finally secured from the danger of French conquest. French successes in Spain continued but the army under Massena was forced finally to retreat from Portugal. The Allied offensive began to gather momentum, although their attempt to recapture Badajoz was unsuccessful. Beresford's campaign on the southern frontier of Portugal included one of the hardest-fought actions of the era, the Battle of Albuera, and Graham's victory at Barrosa aided the long-running defence of Cadiz against the French siege. Wellington saw victory at Fuentes de Onoro, and smaller scale successes for the British Army also occurred at El Bodon, Sabugal and Arroyo dos Molinos.
A History of the Peninsular War, Volume III September 1809 to December 1810: September 1809 to December 1810: Ocana, Cadiz, Bussaco, Torres Vedras [Illustrated Edition]by Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman Kbe
Illustrated with 14 maps and 5 portraitsThe 1807-14 war in the Iberian Peninsula was one of the most significant and influential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Arising from Napoleon's strategic need to impose his rule over Portugal and Spain, it evolved into a constant drain on his resources. Sir Charles Oman's seven-volume history of the campaign is an unrivalled and essential work. His extensive use and analysis of French, Spanish, Portuguese and British participants' accounts and archival material, together with his own inspection of the battlefields, provides a comprehensive and balanced account of this most important episode in Napoleonic military history.Volume III covers the period from September 1809 to December 1810, when the French were consolidating their hold on Spain, crushing resistance and attempting to drive the British out of Portugal. However, they could not wholly defeat their opponents. The forces of the Spanish Regency Council, with British and Portuguese aid, held out against the siege of Cadiz. Wellington's Allied army fought a model defensive battle at Bussaco, stalling the French drive into Portugal and enabling the British and Portuguese forces to retire to the shelter of the Torres Vedras fortifications. Here the Allies' defence led to a strategic victory, blunting the French offensive, and ultimately forcing the French to abandon their invasion.
A History of the Peninsular War, Volume II January to September 1809: From the Battle of Corunna to the End of the Talavera Campaign [Illustrated Edition]by Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman Kbe
Illustrated with 9 maps and 5 portraitsThe 1807-14 war in the Iberian Peninsula was one of the most significant and influential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Arising from Napoleon's strategic need to impose his rule over Portugal and Spain, it evolved into a constant drain on his resources. Sir Charles Oman's seven-volume history of the campaign is an unrivalled and essential work. His extensive use and analysis of French, Spanish, Portuguese and British participants' accounts and archival material, together with his own inspection of the battlefields, provides a comprehensive and balanced account of this most important episode in Napoleonic military history.The fate of the Iberian Peninsula was very much in the balance during the period January-September 1809, when it seemed all too possible that Napoleon would achieve control over Spain and Portugal. This volume covers the continuing Spanish resistance to French occupation, the renewed French invasion of Portugal, and the return to the Peninsula and subsequent victories of Sir Arthur Wellesley, including his outmanoeuvring of the French from Oporto and culminating in the hard-fought victory at Talavera.
A History of the Peninsular War Volume I 1807-1809: From the Treaty of Fontainebleau to the Battle of Corunna [Illustrated Edition]by Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman Kbe
Illustrated with 9 maps and 2 portraitsThe 1807-14 war in the Iberian Peninsula was one of the most significant and influential campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Arising from Napoleon's strategic need to impose his rule over Portugal and Spain, it evolved into a constant drain on his resources. Sir Charles Oman's seven-volume history of the campaign is an unrivalled and essential work. His extensive use and analysis of French, Spanish, Portuguese and British participants' accounts and archival material, together with his own inspection of the battlefields, provides a comprehensive and balanced account of this most important episode in Napoleonic military history.The first part of this classic work provides the background to the war and its origins, and covers the early stages of the conflict. Introducing the subject and many of its main players, this volume recounts the French invasion of Portugal and the forcible deposition of the Spanish royal family, the beginning of Spanish popular resistance, the arrival of the British in the Iberian Peninsula, the first victories of Sir Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington), Napoleon's personal participation in the Spanish campaign, the French surrender at Baylen, and Sir John Moore's terrible retreat, ending with his death in the hour of victory at the Battle of Corunna.
There are several historical instances of the problems caused when equipment is rushed in production and fielded too soon. A great example of this was the German rush to field the new Panther tank before the Battle of Kursk during the Second World War. Unlike the U. S. Army today, the Germans were trying to develop, test and field a major weapon system while fighting a war. It can be argued that the Panther tank was the finest tank built during the Second World War, but it certainly did not make its appearance on the battlefield with great distinction. The study of the Panther tank shows the dangers the U. S. Army faces today as the Army tests equipment that will digitize the battlefield. The Panther clearly shows three potential pitfalls of new equipment. These pitfalls are:*the user of the equipment must have input to the design and development,*new tactics were not formulated to capture the advantage of the new equipment,*logistics required for fielding the new equipment must be in place.Each of these pitfalls caused significant problems for the Panther tank. They can cause significantly more problems for the Army as the equipment being tested and fielded today will be used largely for command and control.Today's U.S. Army has the potential to experience the pitfalls of the Panther. As the Army moves to digitize the battlefield it will use information technologies that it hopes will produce disproportional lethality...If we do not pay attention to the lessons learned from past fielding of equipment, and more importantly, the possible consequences of introducing equipment not yet fully tested to the field, the Army will create more problems for itself with the new technologies used in Force XXI.
Proper doctrine for close support of American ground forces by airpower has been a tumultuous issue since the first days of combat aircraft. Air and ground leaders struggled with interservice rivalry, parochialism, employment paradigms, and technological roadblocks while seeking the optimum balance of missions given the unique speed, range, and flexibility of aircraft. Neither ground force concepts of airpower as self-defense and extended organic artillery, nor air force theories focused on command of the air and strategic attack fit the middle ground of close air support (CAS), leaving a doctrinal void prior to American combat in World War II. This thesis focuses on the critical period from September 1939 through the doctrinal and practical crucible of North Africa, which eventually produced a resoundingly successful system. Theoretical and practical changes in organization and command, airpower roles, and the tactical air control system are examined, with subarea focus on cooperation and communications technology. Upon examination, discerning leadership, able to transcend earlier compromises and failures, emerges as the essential element for CAS success during the war. While many airpower concepts proved valid, air-ground cooperation through liaison proved indispensable, a lesson repeated even today.
The 100/442D Regimental Combat Team's Rescue of the Lost Battalion: A Study in the Employment of Battle Commandby Major Nathan K. Watanabe
This thesis examines the application of battle command during the 100/442d Regimental Combat Team's rescue of the First Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, the "Lost Battalion." As background, this study presents a brief history of the Japanese in Hawaii and the United States, of the formation and record of the 100/442d RCT, and of the battle to rescue the Lost Battalion. The contemporary concept of battle command is defined as per Army Field Manual 3-0, Operations (June 2001) and Field Manual 22-100, Leadership; Be, Know, Do (August 1999) and shown to encompass the World War II-era concepts of command and leadership.This study examines how the tenets of battle command-visualize, describe, direct-were applied by the 36th Division and the 100/442d RCT during the operation. Specific examples from the battle will illustrate both the use and neglect of the precepts of battle command and illustrate the importance of sound command and leadership techniques as well as the value of unit cohesion in present-day operations.
An Evaluation Of The Aerial Interdiction Campaign Known As The “Transportation Plan” For The D-Day Invasion: Early January 1944 To Late June 1944by Major Timothy A. Veeder
The various airmen leading the air war had great differences of opinion regarding what to target in the European theater of operations in support of Operation Overlord. The central leadership figures were Lt. General Carl Spaatz, USSTAF commander, and Air Chief Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory, AEAF commander. Each of these military men obviously wanted to support the planned Allied invasion, but they held differing opinions in regard to how to best support the invasion troops. They were greatly influenced by both personal experience and the advice of their respective scientific advisors, Walt W. Rostow and Dr. Solly Zuckerman. Also, Air Marshal Tedder, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, and Air Marshal Harris, Commander of the RAF Bomber Command, contributed to the decisions to carry out the transportation interdiction campaign.This research focuses on the period January 1944 through the end of June 1944. It includes a literature review of published memoirs and historic accounts of the individuals involved in the decision to implement the transportation plan. The archives of the Air Force Historical Research Agency were accessed to obtain actual accounts and directives implementing the pre-D-Day interdiction campaign. Numerous facts support a discussion of each of the airmen's interests and the controversy that surrounded the transportation campaign.The implementation of the transportation interdiction campaign resulted in the successful denial of German reinforcements to the Normandy beachhead.
Stalingrad is often described as the turning point of the German war with the Soviet Union, or perhaps even the entire European war. This paper argues that the actual turning point was probably earlier in the Barbarossa campaign, and that the decision to hold Stalingrad, while a serious mistake, followed several other strategic blunders of Adolf Hitler.Given that, this essay reflects a study of primary source material collected from key German commanders, as well as numerous documents collected in 1956 as part of the "Karlsruhe Collection." The focus was to determine where the airlift failed, why it failed, and what could have been done better.Ultimately the failure could be attributed to the lack of a survivable and more capable transport aircraft, difficulties operating out of poorly prepared airfields which were under constant threat from the Red Army, the absolutely miserable weather which frequently prevented any flying at all, enemy action which prevented daylight flights by much of the fleet, supplies which were not ideally suited for airlift, and finally difficulties organizing the airlift at both ends. Many commanders involved knew it was bound to fail and warned Hitler and Paulus, to no avail. In the end, what could have been a tremendous feat ended as tragic folly.
While amphibious operations have historically straddled single service prerogatives and had been conspicuously avoided prior to World War II, in the Pacific area of operations during World War II such operations were abundant, decisive and generally regarded as models of joint service cooperation. Under the legendary General Douglas MacArthur, the Philippine Campaign in 1944-45 was especially noteworthy as a model of a single flexible strategy, unity of command, and joint service cooperation. Yet forty-five years later, our national military experience in joint planning and operations has appeared to regress. The recent Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, however, has elevated service interest in joint planning and operations. This study briefly discusses the Mindanao Operation (March-July 1945), one of several operations within the Philippine Campaign. The study focuses on the impact of existing joint doctrine on the planning, coordination and execution of operations and evidence of joint action to solve some specific and unique challenges encountered within the operation. A summary of the Mindanao operation and appropriate comments on its applicability as a model for today's joint operations complete this study.
The Influence Of British Operational Intelligence On The War At Sea In The Mediterranean June 1940 - November 1942by Lieutenant Commander Mark E. Stille
Intelligence derived from a number of sources, primarily the decryption of high-level German and Italian communications, provided British forces in the Mediterranean with extraordinary insights into Axis naval operations. This level of intelligence was instrumental to the success of British forces during most of the decisive points during the naval war in the Mediterranean and indirectly had great influence on the ground war in North Africa. Many of the hallmarks of the nature in which operational intelligence was used retains relevance for today's operational commander. These include use of intelligence to identify and attack enemy centers of gravity, the importance of incorporating intelligence into the planning process, use of intelligence as a force multiplier but not as a force substitute, and the dissemination and handling of sensitive intelligence.
The purpose of this research project is to determine what factors led to the operational failure and destruction of the 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions during the battle of Cisterna on 30 January 1944. Subordinate questions include: Why did experienced combat commanders, like General Truscott and Colonel Darby, utilize the lightly armed Ranger Force against a fortified town? Did the training level of the new ranger replacements compromise the infiltration and affect the outcome? Did the Germans detect the infiltration and emplace an ambush for the unsuspecting Ranger Force? What was the intelligence preparation of the battlefield, and how did it affect the plan? Did General Truscott's and Colonel Darby's previous experience lead to assumptions about effectiveness of the Ranger Force in such a mission?
Field Marshall Viscount Slim holds a special place in modern military history. He soundly defeated the Imperial Japanese Army in Burma in 1945, retaking the strategically important Burma Road, and safeguarding the Chinese Theater from sure culmination. By all accounts, Slim is a military genius, having achieved this notable victory even after the Japanese 15th Army pushed Allied troops all the way back to India. The historical records attribute Slim's success to his superior ability to lead soldiers in combat, but they tell only half the story. By tracing Slim's implicit process of theoretical thinking, using an observe, interpret, hypothesize, test, and prescribe action framework, this story demonstrates that Slim's genius came from a combination of his abilities to lead and think theoretically. Specifically, in the case of Slim, his ability to think theoretically afforded him the opportunity to develop a new operational approach-a paradigm shift of sorts-and his leadership made it possible to motivate his men to employ that approach. The author asserts that it is the presence of these two abilities in a single man that make him a superior military commander.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed as, and remains, a defensive alliance. It is axiomatic therefore, that in the event of a war in Europe, NATO forces would be initially on the defensive. It is also likely that the Warsaw Pact (WP) forces would use all the considerable means at their disposal to achieve their war aims, including air power, and in the past 50 years or so, air power has had a considerable, some would even say a decisive, role to play in the conduct of war. From the foregoing, it can be seen that NATO air defences would be a vital pillar in the overall defence of Western Europe and that should they fail, or be overcome, then the achievement of NATO war aims would be made very much more difficult. In this context, it would seem worthwhile to examine one of the very few air defence campaigns of the past that succeeded and to see what lessons can be learnt from it that have relevance for today.Arguably, the most notable example of a successful air defence campaign was the Battle of Britain, which took place in the summer and autumn of 1940. Many books articles, and reminiscences have been published about the struggle and this study does not intend to give a detailed blow-by-blow account but rather to analyse the campaign and highlight those aspects which seem of particular importance to the outcome of the battle. It may be that some of these illuminate the eternal verities of warfare and are therefore as important today as they ever were.
The German planning process for the 1941 invasion of Soviet Russia is analyzed through the presentation of the major plans developed from July 1940 until June 1941. The final plan is then critiqued within the context of the applicable Principles of War. The planning process was characterized by significant disagreements between Hitler, the German High Command and the Army High Command. The major points of contention relate to the selection of primary objectives and force deployment patterns. A set of conclusions is presented which argues that the planning process was faulty due to a number of assumptions which were generally held by the officers who were involved in the process.
Lt Col John J. Zentner's The Art of Wing Leadership and Aircrew Morale in Combat addresses the role that the air force wing commander plays in affecting the level of aircrew morale during combat. More specifically, Colonel Zentner's study seeks to identify and define those unique characteristics associated with leading airmen that sustain aircrew morale in the face of significant losses.Colonel Zentner defines aircrew morale as the enthusiasm and persistence with which an aviator flies combat missions. He then offers three historical case studies to establish a framework within which aircrew morale can be assessed. The first case study is of Maj Adolf Galland and Jagdgeschwader 26 during the Battle of Britain. The second case study considers Lt Col Joseph Laughlin and the 362d Fighter Group during the invasion of France in the summer of 1944. The third case study examines Col James R. McCarthy and the 43d Strategic Wing during Operation Linebacker II. Drawing heavily on the results of questionnaires and personal interviews, each case study is focused on the importance that aircrews ascribed to three general areas: individual needs, group cohesion, and unit esprit de corps.Colonel Zentner concludes that aircrew control over development of combat tactics was the single most important element affecting morale. This finding supports one of the fundamental truths about the employment of airpower, centralized control and decentralized execution that has become embedded in the airman's culture. In each of the three cases studied by the author, morale generally improved when the wing commander either displayed a personal flair for tactical innovation or allowed his subordinates to become innovative. Conversely, morale declined when higher headquarters placed burdensome and unsound restrictions on aircrew tactics.
In recent years the army has adopted rigorous programs which evaluate the competence and leadership abilities of its combat leaders. For the first time, senior leaders are being formally evaluated as they command their units in the simulated combat environment provided by the Battle Combat Training Program (BCTP). Preparation for BCTP will require introspection and thought as the commander develops his concept of the operation and establishes the vision to guide his organization. This paper can assist the commander in this effort by challenging his thought processes and by provoking him to find answers to the problems of command. It describes the Battle of Alam Halfa which was fought in North Africa in 1942. It is appropriate because its major participant, General Bernard Montgomery, had a uniquely "BCTP-type" mission. He was expected to assume command, imprint his methods and procedures on his army, and fight a major battle within a two-week period. The study includes an overview of the following: the situation in North Africa during the summer of 1942; the steps Montgomery took to prepare his force for battle; and the fighting itself. It concludes with an analysis of the battle using the AirLand Battle imperatives.
The Second Front: Grand Strategy And Civil-Military Relations Of Western Allies And The USSR, 1938-1945by Captain Denys Schur
The debate about grand strategy in the Second World War has scarcely ended even in the 21st Century. The present study examines the classical issue of the grand strategy in Europe and the anti-Hitler coalition as concerns the US-UK-Soviet exchange about the Second Front. The great phenomenon of the Second World War was the creation of an unprecedented military alliance between the western powers and the Soviet Union. Due to mutual antagonism, inter-Allied cooperation during the Second World War was very complicated and at times extremely tense. Perhaps the most acute disagreement in the relationship between the Allies was the "Second Front" controversy. Despite desperate Soviet demands to open the Second Front as soon as possible, the Western Allies launched a massive cross-channel operation in the northwestern Europe only in June 1944. This thesis analyses the reasons why it took the western powers so long to organize and execute such an operation and its implications for the post-war order. The detailed analysis of the grand strategy during the Second World War is one of the ways to comprehend the violent 20th Century amid the carnage of the 21st Century and its own problems of grand strategy.
The planning and execution of Operation Weserübung was the first major joint operation of its kind in history utilizing naval, ground, air, and airborne forces. Its conduct proves to be one of the most noteworthy applications of operational art and the principles of war during all of World War II. The principles of surprise and security were the most critical in the German success. The German planning taking into account and exploiting the operational factors of time, space and force are another key element in why this operation is worthy of further analysis and study. Additionally, the operational lessons learned that could be applied from the belligerents' experiences further illustrate several important lessons that can apply today. From the Germans we saw the importance of planning around apparent disadvantages, command and control as it relates to operational objectives and commanders intent, and the importance of initiative in military operations. From the British, the pitfalls of mirror imaging and a lack of decisiveness can prove fatal in military operations. Lastly, from the Norwegian side we see the importance of national defense for maintaining a nations' own self-determination against outside belligerents.
All opening gambits in WWII were initiated by surprise (Denmark and Norway, France and the Low Countries, Russia and Pearl Harbor). The early war period provides an excellent laboratory for the study of the art of surprise and deception and offers many lessons for today's military planner. Surprise and, to a lesser degree, deception have long been recognized as elements of combat power. This study examines surprise and deception from the perspective of major military operations and campaigns with specific focus on the North Africa Campaign between 1940 and 1942. This was the first active theater of war for the Allies, and surprise and deception were frequently used by both sides. This study examines selected key battles of the North African Campaign, focusing on the achievement of surprise through deception. The scope of this effort includes the doctrinal thinking and development that occurred during the inter-war period and presents theories which show a relationship between that preparation and successes in the Campaign. The author suggests that the lessons learned from this critical period in history are relevant for contemporary military thinking.
The appeasement of Nazi Germany by the western democracies during the 1930s and the subsequent outbreak of World War II have been a major referent experience for U.S. foreign policymakers since 1945. From Harry Truman's response to the outbreak of the Korean War to George W. Bush's decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, American presidents have repeatedly affirmed the "lesson" of Munich and invoked it to justify actual or threatened uses of force. However, the conclusion that the democracies could easily have stopped Hitler before he plunged the world into war and holocaust, but lacked the will to do so, does not survive serious scrutiny. Appeasement proved to be a horribly misguided policy against Hitler, but this conclusion is clear only in hindsight - i.e., through the lens of subsequent events.Dr. Jeffrey Record takes a fresh look at appeasement within the context of the political and military environments in which British and French leaders operated during the 1930s. He examines the nature of appeasement, the factors underlying Anglo-French policies toward Hitler from 1933 to 1939, and the reasons for the failure of those policies. He finds that Anglo-French security choices were neither simple nor obvious, that hindsight has distorted judgments on those choices, that Hitler remains without equal as a state threat, and that invocations of the Munich analogy should always be closely examined.
On 21 June 1941 Churchill relieved General Archibald Wavell from command in the Middle East. This action followed a series of set-backs in the theatre during which Churchill had direct dealings with Wavell. Given the significant internal conflict within the British High Command during World War I, this action by Churchill was seen as symptomatic of yet another poor political/military relationship.A close examination of the British national command structure shows that while there was certainly inter-personal conflict between Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff, they still maintained an effective relationship. Churchill's strong personality, and penchant for becoming involved in military matters, may have reduced the potential effectiveness of this relationship but it still remained effective none-the-less.The relationship between Wavell and the British High Command was similarly effective, despite personal conflict between him and Churchill. The High Command provided Wavell with broad strategic guidance, the resources to implement it, and allowed him a relatively free hand to do so. It was only when he strayed from strategic guidance that he came into conflict with the High Command.Following a brilliant opening series of campaigns in North and East Africa, Wavell lost his broad strategic vision. He allowed part of his limited forces to be dissipated to Greece at a critical time, while under-estimating the implications of German intervention in North Africa. He then failed to appreciate the strategic implications of Axis threats to both Iraq and to Syria, and finally he allowed himself to be pressured into a premature counter offensive in the Western Desert. It is argued that it was these errors which caused Wavell's dismissal, and not a failing in the political/military interface.
Crossing a river against a defending enemy force is a difficult and complex task for any army. History has shown that preparation is necessary to avoid disasters during this type of operation. In 2003, the Third Infantry Division crossed the Euphrates River because it was prepared for this task and possessed the necessary equipment. Since then, no other divisions or corps has executed river crossing operations.While the United States Army focused on counterinsurgency operations during the last twelve years, it underwent significant changes to adapt to meet the adversities on the battlefield. It transformed its war-fighting organizations, trained its corps and divisions with computer simulations, and relegated field training to brigade and below units. In addition, its current doctrine now refers to river crossings as the deliberate wet gap crossing. Because of these changes, many questions arose as to the present corps and divisions' preparedness to do large-scale operations, to include its ability to plan, prepare, and execute the deliberate wet gap crossing. If called today, could these organizations conduct this complex operation? Examining river crossings in Europe during the Second World War was appropriate for insight into how the previous generation of corps and divisions prepared and executed such a complex task. After analyzing how these units were able to cross the numerous waterways in Europe, the present Army should consider reassessing its doctrine, training, and organization and equipment to prepare its units for future deliberate wet gap crossings.
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