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What Lessons Can Be Drawn From U.S. Riverine Operations During The Vietnam War: As The U.S. Navy Moves Into The Twenty-First Century?by Major David J. Spangler
This study examines U.S. riverine force operations in the Vietnam War to determine why the force was established, how and why it evolved, and what significance it held for the war as a whole. This study begins with Operation Game Warden, continues through Mobile Riverine Force operations, and ends with the completion of the SEALORDS campaign. The impetus for this research arose from the current debate in Washington as to whether or not the U.S. military has a real need for riverine forces and if those forces should be "stood up" today.Looking back through history gives an opportunity to view past riverine warfare conducted by the American military and determine the contributions such operations have made to the overall conduct of wars. This study shows that riverine operations have been crucial to success in certain environments in the past and points to their possible use in similar environments today. This study measures the effect of U.S. riverine operations in Vietnam and evaluates the contribution this type of force made to our war effort in that environment.This study promotes the use of Task Force 194, which conducted the SEALORDS campaign, as the model for establishing U.S. riverine forces today. This study points out that the nucleus of a riverine force must be maintained, doctrine modernized, and crew currency maintained in order to have any reasonable expectation for success at the outset of future riverine conflicts.
The performance of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) at the Battle of Ap Bac, January 2, 1963, established a narrative that the South Vietnamese were unwilling to fight or lacked aggressiveness. At the time of the Battle of Ap Bac, the South Vietnamese had been receiving direct military aid from the US and under the tutelage of American advisors for over eight years. Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann was the senior US Army advisor present and remarked after the battle, "It was a miserable damn performance, just like it always is. These people won't listen. They make the same mistake over and over again in the same way." In the context of those comments, ARVN did not show an appreciable increase in combat effectiveness with years of direct American support. The larger narrative surrounding the battle indicates that the performance of ARVN was a harbinger for future challenges and setbacks in South Vietnam. This battle and subsequent evaluation of the ARVN attribute the cause for combat ineffectiveness was the South Vietnamese lacking leadership and not possessing the necessary fighting spirit. Is the evaluation that the outcome of the Battle of Ap Bac hinged on the ARVN's lack of aggressiveness still valid when put in the broader cultural, social, and political context that existed at its birth?
This SRP examines Operation ROLLING THUNDER (1965-1968) bombing campaign in the context of military Principles of War and their applications. It analyzes accomplishment of strategic objectives and future implications for applications of airpower doctrine. It reviews the pre-Vietnam strategic situation, discussing its military, political, social, global, and doctrinal characteristics. It then analyses Operation ROLLING THUNDER by phases, focusing on its controversial aspects. This analysis concludes that Operation ROLLING THUNDER failed to accomplish most of its strategic objectives. It offers several contributing factors to account for this failure. This SRP concludes with examination of the lessons learned about airpower doctrine and of the strategic implications of Operation ROLLING THUNDER for the overall war effort in Vietnam.
This paper examines U.S. riverine operations in the Vietnam War. With the current drive to establish a riverine capability within the U.S. Armed Forces as an integral part of the GWOT and small wars of the future, the evolution and operation of the U.S. riverine force during the Vietnam War serves as an effective blueprint for the conduct of modern riverine warfare.American riverine forces in Vietnam operated in a diverse range of brown and green water environments, successfully conducting a wide variety of missions. The evolution of these forces reflected the continuing need to develop the capabilities necessary for these operations. Their success was largely derived from experience which resulted in the creation of a variety of discrete riverine task forces specially configured for their specific missions as the situation dictated. U.S. riverine operations in Vietnam illustrate the complex nature of operations in brown and green water and the inherently joint requirement of the forces involved. The lessons learned as a result of these operations should be incorporated as a fundamental part of the creation of any modern riverine force.
Military and civilian agencies conducted Psychological Operations on an unprecedented scale during the Vietnam War. Emphasis on PSYOP from MACV and the U.S. Mission resulted in the creation of an interagency organization providing direction to the overall PSYOP effort. The military PSYOP force supporting MACV underwent a series of organizational changes over seven years as the force struggled to meet ever-increasing demands, but never reached their full potential in Vietnam. Difficulties in measuring effectiveness combined with a lack of understanding of PSYOP techniques and capabilities more often than not resulted in the relegation of PSYOP to supporting "sideshow" status rather than the full integration into supported unit planning necessary for success. However, the evolution of the PSYOP force and reports from participants provide numerous lessons learned applicable to current operations under the aegis of the Global war on Terrorism.
This study examines the campaign to defend southwest France waged by Marshal Nicholas Soult against the Anglo-Allied Army of Arthur Wellesley from 1 July 1813 until 14 April 1814 to garner insights that are applicable to today's officer. In the first stages of the campaign Marshal Soult conducts an operational offensive across the Pyrenees Mountains but is defeated at the Battle of Sorauren. After this battle, Soult retreats back into France and attempts to defend the French frontier by occupying three successive river lines. Wellesley attacks and defeats Soult's army at each of these lines forcing the French to ultimately retire on Toulouse where the campaign ends.A study of this campaign illustrates that there are a number of intangible factors that effect the success of a campaign. These factors include the impact of the commander's vision on the conduct of the campaign, as demonstrated by his active involvement in the operations, the decisions he makes during the campaign, as well as his ability to translate strategic guidance into a sound operational plan. Other intangible factors identified include the effects of soldiers' morale on operations and the commander's employment of forces in the manner in which they are trained.
Battlefield Integration: Wellington's Use Of Portuguese And Spanish Forces During The 1812 Salamanca Campaignby Major John B. Yorko Yorko
This thesis examines how the Duke of Wellington used Portuguese and Spanish forces during his 1812 Salamanca campaign. Wellington assessed the strengths and weaknesses of his allies, and then leveraged them throughout the campaign within the constraints of dissimilar command relationships. He was able to supplement his British formations largely with Portuguese forces, as well as and prevent the numerically superior French from massing on his army through influence and interaction with Spanish forces. Scrutinizing how Wellington engaged in military actions with allies who had divergent political interests and varying degrees of military capability offers lessons in coalition warfare that are still applicable today.
U.S. Marines In Iraq, 2003: Basrah, Baghdad And Beyond:: U.S. Marines in the Global War on Terrorism [Illustrated Edition]by Colonel Nicholas E. Reynolds USMCR
Includes more than 75 photos, maps and plansThis particular book is about Marines during the first stage of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). It spans the period from 11 September 2001 to March and April 2003, when the Coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power, and concludes in November 2003 when the Marines left Kuwait to return to their home bases in the U.S.. While many then believed that the "kinetic" phase of the fighting in Iraq was largely over, as we now know, it was only a prelude to a longer but just as deadly phase of operations where Marines would be redeployed to Iraq in 2004 to combat insurgents (both foreign and domestic) who had filtered back into the country. However, this phase of the fighting would be very different from the one the Marines and U.S. Army had fought in the spring of 2003 in the march up to take Baghdad.The primary focus of the book is I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF)-the run-up to the war in 2002 and early 2003, especially the development of "the plan," with its many changes, the exhaustive rehearsals, and other preparations, and then the conduct of decisive combat operations and the immediate postwar period, mostly under the control of the U.S. Central Command's Coalition Forces Land Component Command. The book also touches upon other Marine activities in the Military Coordination and Liaison Command in northern Iraq and with the British in the south. Nonetheless, the primary focus remains on I Marine Expeditionary Force and the interactions of its constituent elements. Other forthcoming History Division publications will soon offer detailed narratives on Marines in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and II MEF operations inside Iraq.
Includes more than 30 photos, maps and plansThis study examines a counterinsurgency campaign conducted during the Iraq War between the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006 in the district of al-Qaim on the Syrian border. In many ways, the struggle to clear and hold the district marked a turning point for the U.S. Marines fighting to bring security and stability to al-Anbar Province. The tactics and procedures utilized by the Marines of Regimental Combat Team 2 as well as its numerous supporting units served as a model for future operations in 2006 and 2007.The Iraq War began in 2003 with a lightning quick assault by Coalition forces that toppled Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime within a matter of weeks. During the months immediately following the overthrow of the old regime, a lack of adequate security forces and indecision among policy makers rapidly led to a collapse of order and stability. By the summer a broad insurgency conducted by former regime loyalists, criminals, and Islamic fundamentalist fighters had broken out against the U.S. occupation of the country. The U.S.' initial goal of creating an independent, democratic government was superseded by the more basic and pressing need to establish a secure and stable Iraqi state.The lack of a unified approach to U.S. strategy in Iraq meant that it often fell to the commanders of smaller units (brigades, regiments, and battalions) to devise an effective means for defeating the insurgency in their particular areas of responsibility. It was in this type of operating environment that the commander of Regimental Combat Team 2, Colonel Stephen W. Davis, and one of his battalion commanders, Lieutenant Colonel Julian D. Alford of 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, undertook a concerted campaign to clear and secure al-Qaim District in western Iraq.
In the aftermath of the euphoria brought on by our military victory in the Persian Gulf War, is the realization that we still have much to learn. The Persian Gulf War appears to have validated the quality of U.S. doctrine, leadership and military prowess. It showcased the technical superiority of our equipment, and confirmed under fire the courage and competence of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Yet, even in an overwhelming victory there are painfully hard lessons to be learned, or in the case of fratricide, relearned.Perhaps no other aspect of our failures strike the military psyche harder than fratricide. This study will suggest that we do not have to accept the fratricide statistics of the past, however factual, as inevitable of future U.S. conflicts. It will propose that the facts of fratricide should be gathered not as a casualty prediction planning tool, but as a focus to design training and operational procedures, which in conjunction with advanced technology will work towards the significant reduction if not the elimination of fratricide from attack helicopter fires.
This monograph addresses the concept of air operations and their relationship to campaigns. It determines whether air actions should be considered as operations or campaigns. The monograph first addresses the definitions of the terms "campaign" and "operation," and then establishes the criteria by which to judge three historical examples of the use of air power. These examples are the Battle of Britain, the Korean War air interdiction battle, and the Israeli pre-emptive strike against the Egyptian Air Force during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.The monograph concludes that air operations should not be considered as campaigns. Air operations are part of the overall campaign and support campaign objectives rather than accomplishing strategic goals. The implications of this analysis are that air superiority should be the primary air operation; offensive air and ground operations must be synchronized for success; and the terms and concepts applied to ground operations can be applied to air operations. By understanding the correct relationship between air operations and campaigns, air planners can help Army planners prepare for success on the joint battlefield.
This paper addresses the question: Can fog be identified from past air campaigns and applied to make future air combat more effective? The purpose is to educate the reader on fog and to offer techniques for coping with fog in future air combat. The paper is divided into three sections: Defining fog; presenting examples of fog from the air campaigns of World War II Europe and the Persian Gulf War; and recommending ways to cope with it.This paper defines fog as uncertainty about the enemy, the environment, and friendly forces. Examples will illustrate these uncertainties so the reader can learn to identify uncertainty in the air combat environment. The paper concludes with an analysis of uncertainty, along with recommendations for coping with uncertainty in the employment of airpower. These recommendations are under the five general areas of technology, leadership, training, experience, and planning.The author believes that the key to coping with uncertainty is to understand it. Thus, the airpower practitioner needs to know what uncertainty is, what it looks like, and how to avoid it, or at least minimize its adverse impacts.
Minimization of collateral damage is an objective of the United States Air Force (USAF) whenever it conducts hostile operations. While the USAF has often expressed concern about causing collateral damage, its actions have not always reflected a consistent level of commitment. This essay explores the evolution of USAF concerns about collateral damage and examines the causes and effects of this unfortunate by-product of airpower. It concludes that the concerns harbored about causing collateral damage reduce the military effectiveness of airpower. This loss of effectiveness is not always important. For example, when a resource rich coalition conducts an air campaign against an inferior adversary, that coalition can discriminate in its application of airpower by allocating great effort to the avoidance of collateral damage. In a different context, such asymmetry may not exist. Commanders then might have to focus on achieving objectives while paying little attention to the possibility of collateral damage. In either case, collateral damage will likely occur, varying only in degree. The USAF can take actions which will help alleviate some of the causes of collateral damage. Improvements in the areas of planning and technology provide certain relief, but ultimately, political and military leaders must accept that collateral damage is an inevitable part of airpower.
This paper is a comparative analysis of the British campaign in Mesopotamia during the First World War, 1914-18 and the current campaign in Iraq, 2003-4. The study focuses on an examination of Phase III decisive operations and Phase IV reconstruction operations, including strategic imperatives, operational planning, and the impact of changes during operations. The British had no campaign plan for Mesopotamia upon the outbreak of war in 1914. Deployment to this theater began as a peripheral operation. Overriding politico-strategic requirements spurred further exploitation to reach Baghdad. Failure to match ends and means resulted in the disastrous surrender of a division at Kut on 29 April 1916. Sweeping reorganization and large-scale reinforcements resumed the advance; Baghdad fell on 11 March 1917. The British conducted ad-hoc reconstruction operations throughout this period, beginning in the Basra vilayet and expanding their scope with the capture of Baghdad. The British established viable civil institutions, to include police forces, a functioning legal system, Revenue and Customs Departments, a banking system, and even domestic mail.Conversely, the recent U.S. strategy of pre-emption in Iraq was a policy decision based upon the wider strategic perspective and benefited from exhaustive operational planning. However, the rolling start campaign utilized minimal forces. They had the capability to win the decisive operations phase rapidly, but this same troop level was woefully inadequate to conduct incompletely-planned, sorely under-estimated, post-conflict operations. Both campaigns suffered from a serious mismatch of ends and means at certain stages, especially for post-war reconstruction operations. They achieved significant success due to herculean efforts in theater. The study concludes with recommendations for strategic leaders related to planning and force structure.
During the final stages of World War II, Japan was finally defeated through the strategic use of the Marianas Islands as a jumping-off point for power projection into the heart of Japan. The main island, Guam, and her northern sister islands, Saipan and Tinian, were the hub from which American forces inched northward towards Japan. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, believed in the strategic value of the Marianas because he moved his Pacific Ocean Areas headquarters to Guam where he could better direct joint forces operations closer to Japan.Guam, Saipan, and Tinian were used as staging bases from which over 500,000 troops and approximately 1,500 ships were readied for their move on Okinawa. It was from these islands where U.S. B-29's took off for bombing raids on Japanese cities and where the Enola Gay began its mission to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Like World War II, the U.S. military should withdraw all its foreign bases in the Asia Pacific region and return to Guam and possibly, the Marianas which are United States soil and make it their hub of operations. We can still maintain a strategic forward military presence from Guam and feasibly project our military power deep into Asia to protect America's vital interests in peace and regional stability. We will be near, yet far enough away from Asia to do so.
This study investigates the contributions made by the U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) during the Persian Gulf conflict. Particular emphasis is placed on each mission performed by the SF during operations DESERT SHIELD/ DESERT STORM. Emphasis is placed initially on the building-block foundation of how a Special Forces Group (Airborne) is organized, paying particular attention to the operational A-detachment and the makeup of the SF soldier, which is paramount to this study. Brief accounts and descriptions are made of the various missions assigned to SF's coalition warfare support, which involved providing "ground truth" and close air support to the Arab-allied units, border surveillance; direct action; special reconnaissance; and combat search and rescue. This provides a base of knowledge into the myriad of operations conducted by the SF during Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM. The study concludes by examining published quotes from key leadership within the Department of Defense which provides this study with a measurable means of determining what significance the missions executed by the SF did have on the success of DESERT SHIELD/STORM.
This paper examines the role of British intelligence operations during the American Revolutionary War as they apply to the British defeat at Yorktown. It begins with a brief history of British intelligence prior to the war, discusses strategic collection against the burgeoning French-American alliance, examines preconceptions during the planning of the southern campaign, and analyses the tactical intelligence operations of Lord Charles Cornwallis' army from the British victory at Charleston in 1780, through the defeat at Yorktown in 1781. It concludes that at the strategic level British intelligence accurately monitored French assistance to the Americans but had difficulty using the information to effect meaningful action on the American continent. At the operational level, General Sir Henry Clinton developed an accurate, reliable intelligence system in the northern colonies but was unable to transfer those successes to the southern theater. At the tactical level, General Cornwallis suffered from initial misconception about the degree of loyalist support in the South, lacked a general knowledge of the physical terrain in the southern colonies and failed to conduct proactive, deep reconnaissance during operations.
The British Experience In Iraq From 1914-1926: What Wisdom Can The United States Draw From Its Experience?by Major Matthew W. Williams
This thesis examines the British experience in Iraq from 1914-1926. Britain invaded Iraq to secure its oil interests and to protect its lines of communication to India. The British initially defeated Ottoman forces and captured the Basra vilayet (province) in December 1914. Although Basra's capture accomplished the objectives that Britain had sought to achieve at the outset of the campaign, it was followed by an ill-advised advance to Baghdad that culminated in defeat by the Ottomans at Kut-al-Amara in 1916. The British regrouped, however, and resumed the offensive, capturing Baghdad in 1917 and Mosul in 1918. After the war, Britain managed Iraq as a League of Nations Mandate from 1920-1932. The British installed Iraq's first ruler, King Feisal I in 1921 and helped demarcate its northern border with Turkey in 1926.This thesis explores the British military campaign in Iraq during World War I and its subsequent civil administration. The thesis will examine the actions Britain took during this time period and determine, what wisdom, if any, that the United States (US) can draw from these experiences in relation to its current efforts in Iraq. This study concludes that, if the US is going to accomplish its objectives in Iraq, it should base its future relationship with Iraq primarily by incentives and not coercion. Furthermore, any attempt by the US to simultaneously develop Iraq into an independent nation-state and maintain dominant, long-term influence will likely result in failure. Overall, if the US wants to accomplish its goals in Iraq, it should treat Iraq like an equal and strive to be the best friend it has never had.
This monograph examines the key determinants necessary for the successful forced entry seizure of an airfield. The importance of contingency operations is paramount to the United States military as it transitions from "forward defense" to "CONUS based." The ability to project power into an isolated objective area requires the rapid deployment and forced entry of a tailored force package. For many of our current OPLANS, the seizure of an airfield serves as a lodgment area for the introduction of combat power into the objective. The success of the entire contingency operation, in large part, depends upon the successful seizure of the airfield.The monograph analyzes three historical cases of airfield seizures using the Wass de Czege combat power model. Operation Mercury (Crete, 1941), Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada, 1983), and Operation Just Cause (Panama, 1989) are examples of operations that introduce combat power into the objective area. This analysis identifies the key determinants for the successful forced entry seizure of an airfield.This study concludes that an airfield seizure is fundamentally a deliberate attack to seize a terrain oriented objective. Success is achieved by the synchronization of maneuver, firepower, and protection by capable leadership. However, the unique nature of an airfield seizure requires special application of the four elements of combat power to ensure mission accomplishment.
The purpose of this paper is to answer two questions. The first question is: Is it feasible to use airborne forces to penetrate enemy airspace and to conduct a vertical envelopment to effect deep operational maneuver? If it is feasible, what are the employment options available for the use of such an airborne force in the conduct of a modern military campaign? To examine these questions, the paper begins with some definitions to provide a common frame of reference. The use of airborne forces in World War II is next examined to determine if the use of airborne forces to effect deep operational maneuver is historically feasible. Next, the contemporary threat is discussed as it is relevant to the employment of airborne forces in a modern context. Next, the feasibility of the use of airborne forces with some limitations to conduct deep operational maneuver is established in the context of the maneuver, firepower, and protection aspects of the combat power model. Next, the theory of deep operations and the use of airborne forces to conduct these kinds of deep maneuvers is examined in the theories of Clausewitz, Jomini, Tukhachevskiy, Triandafillov, and Simpkin. Next, six employment options for the use of airborne forces to conduct deep operations in a modern context are deduced. They are: (1) an airborne force can be used to create a second front within a theater of operations; (2) an airborne force can be used to operationally contain an enemy force targeted for destruction within a theater of operations; (3) an airborne force can be used to seize a "bridgehead"...; (4) an airborne force can conduct coups de main against high value targets within a theater of operations; (5) an airborne force can conduct light operations in a theater of operations to disrupt and disorganize the enemy's rear facilities and networks and have a cumulative operational impact; and (6) an airborne force can conduct expeditionary operations to achieve political, strategic, and operational aims
The process of urbanization throughout the world is making urban warfare a major aspect of future military conflicts. Past experience in such combat indicates that wall breaching is an important capability in facilitating the movement of ground units. Maneuver in strongly defended built-up areas is sometimes possible only if units move through buildings.This study attempts to determine if there is a need for a wall-breaching capability in infantry units today. The investigation is focused on an analysis of historical experience, contemporary urban areas, and the capabilities of U.S. Army weapons.Investigation reveals that a distinct need for a wall-breaching capability in infantry units does exist, and that current weapons and equipment readily available to the infantry rifle company are inadequate for this purpose. Further examination reveals that the means of satisfying the requirement are within the capability of current technology.
British Governance Of The North-West Frontier (1919 To 1947): A Blueprint For Contemporary Afghanistan?by Major Andrew M. Roe
From the conclusion of the Third Afghan War (1919) to India's Independence (1947), Great Britain governed the wild, mountainous territory of the North-West Frontier that borders Afghanistan. This control used a variety of mature political and military structures to successfully administer the tribal areas.The challenges faced by the British in the North-West Frontier are comparable to current problems the coalition and North Atlantic Treaty Organization face in Afghanistan.Looking at British solutions to similar problems in the same geographical area, albeit from a different era, has clear utility.This thesis provides a historical overview of Colonial India, reviews the political and military structures employed in the North-West Frontier (1919 to 1947), and discusses the current warfighting and reconstruction challenges faced in Afghanistan. It also identifies the pertinent lessons learned from the British experience that are transferable to settling the conflict and furthering the national reconstruction of Afghanistan. The thesis concludes by combining the lessons learned into a coherent four-step plan for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
British artillery played a major role in the land campaign to retake the Falklands from the Argentineans. The study of the Falklands Campaign provides an outstanding opportunity to analyze modern artillery in limited warfare.Faced with numerous challenges, both operationally and logistically, the professionalism and dedication of the British artillerymen proved extremely important to the success of the overall operation. Leaders employed the 105mm light guns in manners that utilized its strengths to deliver effects on the enemy and offer freedom of movement for friendly maneuver units. Specifically, during the assault towards Stanley, the British were able mass its artillery in a manner that overwhelmed the enemy. To accomplish this, the British overcame many operational and logistical challenges to ensure that artillery was positioned to support the fight and that it had on hand sufficient ammunition to complete the mission. More importantly, when called to fire, the artillery batteries were ready, willing, and able. Their fires proved critical in allowing the infantry units to close on the enemy...In the end, the final lesson, as spoken by the Commander of 3 Commando Brigade, Brigadier Thompson, was that artillery was the most important battle-winning factor.In the conduct of the campaign, British artillery usage provides three main lessons important to the U.S. Marine Corps Artillery community. First, it validated the need to have a lightweight gun in the inventory in order to support operations in areas of limited mobility. Second, the British practice of positioning the most senior artillerymen with the maneuver units proved to be an effective method of providing advice to the commander, conducting fire support planning, and making hasty adjusting to execution of plans. Finally, the campaign revealed the need to train artillerymen in realistic conditions in order to prepare them for the impact of combat operations.
Dr. Richard Gatling invented the world's first practical machine gun in 1862. Between that weapon and subsequent improved designs, the world's armies had roughly 50 years to adopt the machine gun and perfect its employment before it helped wreak the carnage of World War I. However, for some reason or combination of reasons, none of the armies of the day saw fit to do so. This thesis explores the potential explanations behind this phenomenon by using the Russo-Japanese War as a case study. The Russo-Japanese War should have demonstrated to the world how the machine gun fundamentally altered the conduct of land warfare, especially since the major world powers all sent military observers to report on the war's events. This thesis will show, however, that because of a complex combination of the prevalent military tactical culture, bureaucratic pragmatism and logistical concerns, the five major protagonist armies of World War I generally failed to apply the lessons they learned about machine-gun employment from the Russo-Japanese War and as a result were completely surprised by the weapon's impact on the battlefield ten years later.
The Mesopotamia Campaign of World War I and Operation Iraqi Freedom of the Global War on Terrorism took place on the same geographic and human terrain. Though separated by nearly a century, a significant number of points of comparison are evident, particularly with regard to strategic and operational missteps. In both cases Western armies successfully invaded and occupied the present-day region of Iraq, and both armies suffered the effects of difficult insurgencies in the wake of their conventional campaigns. This thesis explores parallel mistakes committed by the political and military leadership of each operation in order to determine what aspects of the Mesopotamia Campaign might have provided useful precedents to the planners of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These comparable operations suggest an argument for studying history during the formulation of strategy and the design of supporting campaigns. If the American leadership had closely examined the earlier British encounter in Iraq, then it may have been able to avoid repeating some of that operation's costly and deadly aspects.
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