The Combat and the Operational Movement as the Essential and Complementary Opposites of War. 2nd. Part.


A favorite tactic of the Mongols, especially effective when their enemy was willing to meet or was more confident in its exit, for reasons of pure initial numerical superiority, was the «mangudai». It was that a Mongol «army» corps, inferior to the enemy, was seriously engaged in fighting. Its size was large enough for the Mongol effort to be considered important. With it he would mentally attract the enemy and remove him from any other thought or possibility. After a hard battle, the sheer weight of the enemy forced the Mongol corps to retreat. What was a tactical retreat, never really disorderly, was taken by the enemy as an exploitable defeat. His total and permanent ignorance of the Mongols made him suspect nothing. And his desire for victory, augmented by the true effort made in the combat, did not let him to see beyond.

Mangudai - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

The yearning persecution ended up scattering the tight, solid formations of the enemy riders. At a moment of pursuit, always far from the rest of the enemy forces waiting, the bulk of the Mongol heavy cavalry emerged, hidden, fresh and thrown to the clash. That ended by undoing the disjointed cavalry groups, in which the persecutors had dispersed. After a real hunt, the enemy forces that remained in their initial positions in battle, either dispersed or were in turn attacked by the whole of the Mongol forces.

The modern working of the combat and operational movement binomial.

In putting into practice with a «correct sense» these things, the combats and the operational movements are continuously and cyclically renewed in their possibilities. Giving each one mutual impulses, opportunities and reasons for action. In this intimate collaboration, decisions are outlined and consolidated until objectives are achieved.

The operational movement of units in military operations, returning to the physical force simile, is not an applied force, but a potential one, that has not yet produced work. It is like free gas or a stream of water. Its potential character, which is perceived by the enemy, is a threat that can cause disorganization and dislocation on its operational advance. Combat is like a concentrated, regular and kinetic force, capable of immediately performing the service asked of it. It springs into action as steam exits a boiler and as water moves the turbine paddles of a dam.

Another pair of better-known complementary «opposites» exist between interarms groups and it is the factor of efficacy that they possess.

FDRA - Historia de la Defensa: SGM: El frente oriental y la Operación  Barbarossa

This refers to cooperation between mechanized infantries and tanks, which is derived from the nearby combat capacity of the first and the protection and direct fire power of the second, that are united in comparable tactical and operations speeds. Both forces maintain the impulse and the shock of the armored corp, according to opportunities that are offered to it and framed by its intentions and resources, the terrain, and the intentions and means of the enemy.

We have to remember that at the end of 1980s and the beginning of 1990s, proponents of a war of maneuvers in America argued that combat (bad) harmed movement (good).

BMP-3 - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
The BMP-3 is a ICV very good equiped to fulfill its missions

But, without combat there is no decision and without operational movement there is no exploitation of the operational and strategic enemy zones, nor there are high profitable combats against enemies whose deployments have been dislocated. A mobile corp «influences» the enemy by damaging him through combat or by the timely interruption of vital parts of his deployment. Nuclear dissuasion worked because its destructive capacity was real and intolerable and because the possibility of its employment was credible.

Amx-56 Leclerc Carro De Combate Principal Frances - Fondos de pantalla HD,  Fondos de escritorio, Imágenes y Wallpapers HD para móvil, tablet y  ordenador

Operational movement and combat are necessary, complementary, cooperative and mutually transcendent instruments of the operational strategy. Problems and contradictions arise when, deprived of freedom of action, it is necessary to use or substitute one in the detriment of the other, in order to generate a new impulse for continued military action. When forced to do this, the effects are grave, as they harm «total time» required to planning, preparation and accomplishment of combat or movement operations. It is for this reason that, for example, to engage in an unexpected combat during a march, is inadvisable, as it wreaks havoc on operation «time» and squanders the combat capacity of the units.

Los primeros vehículos blindados de reconocimiento CRV 8x8 Boxer, con la  torreta de 30 mm llegan a Australia. – Galaxia Militar

In the movement phase, combat is secondary and should be used against opportunistic objectives, to secure the sector of advance, and, especially, to thwart enemy efforts when possible. In the combat phase, combat capacity should be used according to tactical established procedures and looking in its conception to ensure that decisions have transcendence in operational strategy. Doing this results in each element stimulating and strengthening the other in their respective operations, something that often has a multiplier effect in causing final results that were unexpected «a priori». The feeling that a special «pace» or tempo has been achieved is a sure enough sign that one’s forces have freedom of action and are operating correctly with the nature of war in its favor.

The relative characteristics of combat are:

Its great intensity in a tactically «dense» environment, with heavy operational actions; the depletion of combat capacity, with a corresponding loss of «influence» on the enemy, that comes from not being able to further damage him; and the maintenance of movement capacity to carry out an operational exploitation.

Descargar fondos de pantalla Coche blindado, Fennek, de reconocimiento de  coches blindados, alemán de vehículos de combate, modernos vehículos  blindados, el Ejército de Alemania | Military vehicles, Army vehicles,  Armored vehicles

Combat allows one to gain operational «impulse» by breaking through and penetrating, enveloping and pursuing the enemy. Including a delayed defense when forces are obliged to stop their advance, and, in general, to take advantage of tactical opportunities.

The relative characteristics of operational movements are:

Operational lightness that allows for a high speed of march; the depletion of its movement capacity with the corresponding loss of «influence» on the enemy, that comes from not being able to reach him; and the maintenance of combat capacity in a system where combined arms are balanced.

Operational movement becomes obstructed when mobility is impeded. This can be caused by: the enemy (mine fields, reinforced and/or covered by fire obstacles); the necessity of responding to enemy fire or tactical movement; the lack of supplies or the dislocation of mobile groups from their «mass of support«; deployment changes, the force reorganizations, the uncertainties caused by the lack of intelligence, and the undecisions or doubts within the command.

Finally, when logistics are well-organized and communication lines are secure and adequate, the capacities of combat and operational movement can be recovered. Even if they have been depleted by the mobile corps and by its support mass in the different operations, in order to move forward on objectives ordered by the command.


The Combat and the Operational Movement as the Essential and Complementary Opposites of War

Combat and operative movements are not antagonistic forces. Rather, they are necessary and complementary forces. That move harmonically and opportunely our military resources in the effort to achieve the objectives that an enemy would violently denies us. Combat is the utilization of combat capacity, while operational movement refers to the employment of the operational movement capacity of a military system.


Both form a unit of action, so that one without the other can not exist from conceptual and practical points of view in the machine of war. One force may sometimes be predominant, such as when it is being employment, and during that period it is more visible to observers and in its effects.

UNED - Literatura Inglesa de la Primera Guerra Mundial: Poetas en las  trincheras (I) - 25/07/14 -
The trenches covered soldiers from enemy machine guns deadly fire.

The combat without opportunity and operational transcendence ultimately falls, in unbearable human and material losses and brutal and successive shocks. That enervate and degrade participants. Effects that could get in «the chaos born from itself». An example are the battles on the Western Front during World War I. Which originated the tactic of slow, prolonged, stabile and undecided fighting, whose results and personal and economic costs were terrible.

Maurici de Saxònia - Wikiwand

Operational movement that systematically avoids combat also fails due to the lack of decision and transcendence. It becomes superfluous and useless, a spendthrift arabesque that depletes logistics and results finally in paralysis. This is illustrated during the epoch of Marlborough and Marshall of Saxe. As Beaufré claims, this war that began in the 17th century lasted through much of the 18th century was characterized by mobile but only slightly decisive operations.

John Churchill, I duque de Marlborough - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

An example of the synthesis of these factors in an almost perfect system of war is art of war achieved by the Mongolians through their conquests and invasions. As example, its series of sustained attacks that managed to seriously threaten the center of Europe in the middle of 13th century.

The Mongolian Warfare: an harmonic synthesis of the combat and the operational movement.

On one hand, the Mongolians possessed an incredible capacity for consistent movement. Their minimal needs were met by pillaging the land and each rider possessed several mounts. These provided both meat and transport for their rapid tactical and operational actions. One Mongol horse could supply enough meat for more than 100 men’s daily rations in campaign. Their success was enhanced by a few polished, simple and forceful tactics. Based on discipline and that made use of their hunting experience with the compound bow, their expertise in managing herds and their knowledge of the human feelings that combat intensifies. The know-how of the Mongolians with the compound bow –a skill that takes much time to acquire and that must be maintained by frequent training– came from their productive activities as nomadic shepherds, who had a great deal of free time.

What was the operational zone of the Mongols?

They did not have it, nor did they need it. Their optimal level of enlistment was both simple, effective and quick to achieve. They start from «their» strategic zone, defined by the advance and the location of their nomadic hamlets, never observed or suspected by their enemies, to the tactical zone with it. No need for the transition or adaptation imposed by the complexity of manufacturing technology and the combined arms groups and their deployments and the entire logistics chain of an army. Their operations do not require the physical support of the operational zone.

In front of the discontinuous front of the positions of their enemies, there is a wide, unprotected and empty area, controlled by no one, that the Mongols use to the fullest for their strategic approach.

There is nothing, on the part of its enemies, that reminds advanced detachments or reconnaissance groups. Although the Marshal of Saxony in a similar war context, because there was not yet mechanization of armies or long-range fire, warns that they can be relatively safe, in their operations independent of the forces advancing behind them.

This double character, punctual of the combats and independent of them in the operations, favors to the maximum the art of the Mongol war, which is always operationally offensive.

En busca de la tumba de Gengis Khan

The Mongol preoccupation with the enemy is generally strategic, thinking of its exposed flanks at the level of the occupied countries. Somehow, it is originated in its ever-small number for their objectives and in the tactical non invincibility of their forces. If they find an organized, skilled and, above all, serene enemy. Genghis Khan, in 1221, after the conquest of the Muslim empire of Samarkand, located in Turkestan, Persia and Afghanistan, systematically sacked Afghanistan. His son Tului killed most of the inhabitants of northern Persia (Khorasan). With this they protected the southern flank of the empire.

Subuday-Bagatur.Mongolia | Монголия, Скульптура, Доспехи

In 1241 100 thousand Mongols, under the command of the crown prince Batu and general Subudai, crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border to attack Hungary. Around 20000 men, two Tumans or divisions, under the command of Prince Baidar and Prince Kadan, are charged with ensuring that the Hungarians will not receive reinforcements from Poland, Germany or Bohemia.

To this aim, they defeat the concentrations of the forces of these nations in Chmielnik (attracting the enemy in their pursuit, without a previous fight, to an ambush, appearing as a incursion group that was retiring to its base), at 18 Kms of Krakow, and in Liegnitz (by means of a “mangudai”), at 60 Kms to the west of Breslau. With this last victory and a feint to penetrate in Germany, they drive away, until more than 400 Kms of Hungary, the King Wenceslau of Bohemia, who goes back to defend his lands. In less than a month, the Mongol detachment had travelled 650 Kms and fought two decisive battles for its plans. Poland was stunned and prostrated after their passage and the Germans, at west of the Oder, were preparing to defend their lands. This action also protected the Mongol’s land communications with Ukraine, their base of departure, where their nomadic hamlets remained. Which were unable to follow or logistically support so spectacular advances.

Its large units, divisions or tumans always advance covertly, disguised and informed by what was an operational reconnaissance with combat capacity. It was based on squadrons of light cavalry (archers protected with a silken wadding that enveloped, isolated and allowed to remove very easily the points of enemy arrows) from 50 to 100 men. Their exploratory tests and rapid movement also contributed directly to misleading and intimidating an enemy who was unaware of the role of these units. And many times he took them for the vanguard of the armies. Also, this way, the enemy saw Mongols everywhere…

Guerra abierta: Sd.Kfz 232
SdKfz 232 reconnoissance vehicle. It had a 20 mm. gun to do it «in force».

This function of operational reconnaissance has not always been recognized by modern armies. The Germans were masters in it, especially in theaters like the African and the Soviet, where discontinuous fronts and the vacuum of enemy operational areas allowed very well it.

Independent of this reconnaissance of their immediate area of operations, the Mongols maintained another strategic exploratory activity, as a generator of intelligence for immediate use: espionage and the use of agents at their service, inside enemy countries. They sought to understand the characteristics of those nations and the alliances and divisions among them. The Mongols, in turn, were virtually impervious to their knowledge by their enemies. Even in tactical details that, when they found the Mongols, had to be more obvious to them.




It is possible to bring «coherent collective microdirection» to the tactical microterrain, giving specific missions and orders at battalion or company level. The units used will be light infantry, reinforced with material and experts (engineers, mines, mortars, anti-tank, anti-aircraft). The lower tactical unit will be the section with 2 or 3 squads of 3 to 5 men and their supports. She will receive a direct and simple mission, however dangerous, difficult and laborious. The operating time and available equipment will necessarily be short and light, unless the equipment can be bring forward at a protected . From the time of departure or crossing our own lines until their extraction or disengagement should not pass more than 40 hours. And, it would be preferable not more than 24 hours for an individual mission.


The combatant’s means are: the terrain, with which he must melt and blend for his basic operations: march, attack and defense; the grenades are a part of his organic «heavy fire». Completing or replacing the 60 mm mortar, when the combatant is at the distance of subreptitious penetration or infiltration.

And the mode or manner of actions must be guided by harmony in the system «friend, enemy and ground» and the serenity and silence of the combatants. Thus, for example, harmony requires that in the infiltration of an enemy position the effect of camouflage on the advance of the fighter be respected. A shrub or bush cannot move forward or change position in such a way that it is shocking to one of the elements of the enemy’s security or combat advanced.

The attack.

Rather than attacking from afar, favoring the use of enemy heavy fire (artillery, mortars, aviation), the combatant must subreptitiously slide to more or less depth in the enemy’s tactical rear. To attack there operational or tactical targets: command and communications centers; warehouses, trucks parks and vehicles and general logistics equipment; barracks, heavy weapons and observatories of all branches. Depending on the type and the entity of the enemy unit attacked.

In a major attack, the section can advance 2 or 3 teams or raid squads. And, for a thorough reconnaissance of the enemy position, it can send 1 or 2 groups or scouting squads. The advancing sector or band of the section can reach 150 ms.

The enemy, in this subreptitious attack, can defend itself by changing the structure of its security zone. By increasing surveillance positions, it will further strengthen it. But, its security will not have improved qualitatively. Effective protection will come from superimposing that network of sniper pits and defense nests, a network of patrols without a fixed route. To hinder or detect and prevent the work of concealed, patient and silent penetration of the attacking groups.

The defense.

In defense, the fighter will do the same, but almost the other way around. It will melt and blend with the surrounding micro-terrain. Hiding as much as possible their battle positions and fortifications to the more numerous and/or technological enemy. Dissipating the tactical trail of their strong positions, both for combat or support.

Japanese in Battle. Enemy Methods

If fortified redoubts are used, they must be camouflaged and covered and partially excavated in the ground. Around them, there will be a swarm of shooters or pairs of them, covering its approaches at the appropriate distances. It is good to be able to maintain a crossfire, which distracts the attention of the enemy on the origin of it.

In urban areas, the light infantry will create a series of defense positions articulated in defense zones. The use of sewers and tunnels shall be continuous for concealment, protection and subreptitious maneuvres. The positions of direct heavy fire (anti-tanks, machine guns, light guns) will be embedded inside the buildings, controlling the rebuffs.


On a block, some buildings will be defended by pairs of fighters and others by sections. The movement of the fighters between and across the floors for tactical opportunity will be decided by the defenders. Access to the lower floors from the streets shall be obstructed and protected by booby traps and/or fire from other positions. The courtyards and lots can be suitable for the deployment of anti-aircraft and indirect heavy fire positions.

The mines, barricades, cuts and obstacles will be «interruptions covered by fire«, which break the enemy impulse. The «relative hidden heights» of any urbanized area and the twists and turns of the streets and tracks hide us and break enemy units. Our indirect artillery can register approaching routes and parks and squares, to disrupt enemy advances, concentrations and deposits.

Our tactical actions will seek to: override the enemy impulse; prevent it from encircling and surpassing our units; erode their advances from various sides; destroy their armored and transport vehicles; block their entrances to buildings from terraces and top and bottom floors; and advantageously anticipate their intentions and attempts.


All our efforts seek to make that the enemy, with our defense deployment and with the technics and tactics we use to make it work, lose all its numerical, technological, and fire and tactical motion capabilities advantages over us.

If we can have a «detached mobile group» outside the urban perimeter, that is not located by enemy reconnaissance or its air or ground units. It could harass, ambush, erode or attack, as the case may be, the enemy in its tactical rearguard. Their offensive actions must have the operational objective of weakening and disrupting enemy tactical capability. And with this task in mind, the various opportunities to fight against small enemy units and their supports of all kinds will arise. Another premise of their action is that our «detached group» must keep its security, always avoiding an unwanted encounter with the enemy, its premature detection and being surrounded by it.

The marches.

There is a third category of actions that are marches. These would be to the combat, between our own near or far positions and retrograde, with enemy persecution or not. The march to the combat, especially at the near and medium distances, aims to reach the combat positions of each branch with the enemy. Protecting and maintaining the combat and tactical movement capabilities of all units. To make the enemy feel, without any reduction, all our fighting capacity: fire, shock, infiltration.

Here, it is also necessary to get melt and blend with the march terrain. It can be different according to the sections of the route. Protection is the primary condition of our march, as we have not yet begun combat with the enemy. And, without it, we will have squandered and thrown away our opportunities and scarce military means.

Every march with the possibility of an unwanted encounter with the enemy is a march to the combat. And that possibility will define the security and concealment needs of our «marching groups«.

Chindits: The British guerrilla warriors who crippled Japan - Americas  Military Entertainment Brand

The reconnaissance of our routes must be sufficiently advanced, depending on our knowledge of the route and the enemy and their characteristics. That reconnaissance will be supported by a “vanguard with fighting capacity”. And considering always that its mission includes avoiding the fight with the enemy, except our rejection in a suffered ambush. The hidden and silent features of our fight strongly advise it.

Protection is a necessary element of surprise. Which is a cheap and effective multiplier of the combat capabilities of our light and lean units. Since the enemy tends to not «combat readiness» for most of the time. But this is a desirable and natural thing: lions rest more than 2/3 of their daily available time. And since the enemy needs a «time of detection and alert» to prepare to fight, he has to maintain an advanced security in an effective deployment. That guarantees him to count on such «essential time«, so as not to be surprised by our attack incursion.

The technological weakness of our deployment will be amply compensated, with the concealment, the longer running time, the security of this, the careful and necessary reconnaissance and use of the ground, which gives us that desired fusion with it.

Employing the most favorable terrain to advance: its folds, unevenness and concealment; and dragging to cross over waterlogged lands or near to the enemy and difficult to cross terrain; and the creative and varied camouflage; and making use of the concealment that gives us the night, as a natural reinforcement of our actions. To leave as little tactical footprint as possible for the enemy.

In the cities, there are means of concealment, which gives us their layout, their elements and their construction, the parks, the ditches and the sidewalks. Along with the metropolitan railroad system, the general sewer system and the tunnels of circumstances that we can excavate or reinforce.

To advance through the slopes, it is important to use our side or slope of the relative military crests. Considering that, the enemy will deploy on its side. And, whether or not advance some security, branches observers or forces near them. The distance to the ridge is important and different for the types of fighting. If the defender is somewhat separated, he could be attacked with grenades. And if it is very separately, this means leaving the attacker the domain of the subreptitious approach. Somewhat close, may allow you to detect the assailant and beat and reject him with grenades.

The Command Conduction.

The conduction of these units must include and then inspire and reflect the complementary and continuous character of their «essential polarity«. And that it acts in its conception, development, doctrine, implementation, equipment and training, logistics and support, marches and execution of missions and tasks.

Let us remember, now, that they are regular or semi-regular units, which protect themselves and fight, in a characteristic and singular way, with a greater or better equipped technologically enemy. And, employing in its dialectic war any form of fight (attack, rejection, retardant defense) or maneuvers. And acting partially and to the appropriate degree, as an irregular unit, confusing and merging with the tactical terrain.

Whereas, if we insist too much on a form, conception and implementation, the dynamics of the processes underway can end up moving us away from good doing and even from success. All this has to do with quantum mechanics, Heissenberg’s indeterminacy principle and Hobber’s principle, as natural and ultimate regulators of processes.

Thus, the direction, mode and realization of our means and objectives must be guided as the pilot of a small boat guides it. With the objective on the horizon and employing small course corrections to resume the initial and successive intentions.

Flowgram and Balance processes, actions and facts in the fight of light units in an different or extraordinary way.

Centralization // Coordination // Delegation

Authority // Information

Terrain // Terrain and Micro terrain

Strategy and Operations // Implementation

Intentions // Contingencies

Means // Chances

Organization // Error’s correction and prevention

Reinforcements // Carrying out

Intelligence // Reconnaissance and Intelligence application



Simultaneity seeks to directly and immediately shock the most enemy echelons allowed by one’s own combat capacity. But, it does not discriminate among objectives according to their importance, which violates the previous and universal principle of the economy of means (one of the most accepted by authors) and it does not create a center of gravity for one’s own efforts. Its action is purely and clearly focused on enemy attrition, demanding a proportionally high consumption of ammunition and missiles of different types, since the action does not look only to neutralize the enemy, but to destroy him. This action commits the equipment and maintenance logistics, demanding a greater number of substitutions of tubes, of ammunition, etc.

In any given moment, simultaneity gives equal preference to objectives such as tactical reserves in depth and obstacles to the advance in the forward edge of the enemy defense position (observatories, infantry combat positions, heavy infantry weapons firing positions, anti-tank positions in the infantry zone). Simultaneity also gives equal preference to objectives that are explored in depth, to objectives that flank one’s advance in the rupture (including an antitank bolt, which has enfilade and firepower cover).

Norman Schwarzkopf - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


This simultaneity demands a combat capacity greater than that of the enemy. Since the principal task of our forces of containment and of maneuver is to strike at the same operational «time» all the depth of the attacking deployment. Seeking to shock it, to undo its coherence and to disintegrate it. And the theoreticians ones call «own synergy» to the simultaneously and linearly created effort over the enemies whole front and flank and/or rearguard. This “own synergy” is adding and rather meagre. And it would enrich with the operational indirect, not frontal, fighting, with the surprising action, with the application of the effort on enemy weaknesses. This way, it would be an exponential synergy.

Simultaneity is really a tactical principle. It collaborates in making a breakthrough in a battle, extending contact with the enemy or in taking advantage of different weapons ranges in a defense in depth, in order to beat the tactical echeloned forces of an attacker, for breaking the continuity of his effort by tactical isolating his different echelons. Its transcendence at the operational level is through planning of the battle and is achieved when a positive decision in battle is obtained.

On the other hand, complementariness, when focused on fire (heavy infantry arms, tanks, artillery and aviation), does not respect the combined-arms systems. That place the enemy deployment in a centripetal effort (derivative of different and complementary actions). That tend to place him in a “tactical defenseless dilemma”. We have already indicated that the destruction of an objective is always very onerous (goes against the saving of costs looked for in budgets). The difficult thing is to obtain this effect. If we use maneuvers of combined-arms groups, it will be sufficient the neutralization or temporary loss of the actuation capacity of the objective against us.

On the other hand, given the distance of most enemy objectives from one’s combat capacity, some are immediately attainable only by indirect heavy fire or aviation. This tends to trade one’s mobility and shock elements (including tanks and mechanized infantry) for heavy firepower units, in the mix of one’s available combat capacity. It is hoped that these produce the simultaneous destruction. In favor of this interchange of funds for the defense, is the psychological and politically preferred fact that the precise or the saturation heavy fire theoretically diminishes the “interfaces of action” with the enemy at close distance. The existence of a more than proportional heavy fire tends to favor its use as an attrition element on the enemy in the doctrines and regulations.

The two last reasons fix heavy fire as a key weapon in operations, enhancing mobility as its capacity to locate itself very quickly in successive and/or effective fire positions forces. That it is in fact a tactical mobility, measured at the rate of Kms/day in advance. This harms operational mobility and the main instrument for the decision in that level will be that of “successive combats”, which not always will be wished and transcendent. That is to say, the simultaneity and complementariness unbalancedly support the employment of attrition or pure destruction. And undesirably favor the interchangeability of mobility (operational mobility of troops) and shock for indirect heavy fire and/or aviation bombing.

The Center of Gravity:

In addition, the principles of means economy and of the systematic use of surprise (as a multiplier of combat capacity, even in defense, with reverse slope positions echeloned in depth, opportune counterattacks, fire bags) are directly related to the principles of the concentration of means and mobility in all operations (combats and movements, activity in the defense). Employing by the command the use of the “center of gravity” of the joint effort, as a factor of planning, actuation and direction of combined-arms systems.

That is to say, the center of gravity is the main integrator of the principles of war, in its conduction and execution and is a natural feature of it. As Marshal Von Hindenburg said: “A battle without Schwerpunkt (center of gravity) is like a man without character”.

Battle of Ulm - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia


As far as concentration goes, the so called “principal effort” expresses an effect of penetration in a given direction and sense, to be able to arrive at the rupture and exploit it. The combined-arms and aerial efforts of the units are concentrated on this. The main effort is exemplified by the «hammering strategy» of general Foch on the European Western Front, beginning in the summer of 1918. This strategy was used to overcome the Germans, purely by eroding their combat capacity in the theater of operations. And only shifting the direction of attack, when German resistance was excessive in a sector.

Batalla de Ulm - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


The center of gravity has a more spatial and temporary sense, looking for an “operational convergence” of the “related effortstowards an objective. Those are not necessarily contiguous, simultaneous or sequential. But are synergic and resulting in the effects and outcomes. Which based on consideration of the optimal form (energy economic) of action of each weapon and service.

The center of gravity is more global or holistic; the main effort is more adding and cumulative. The effects of the main effort are more direct, predictable and evident. Those of the center of gravity are more subtle and unexpected, at least in the first phases of a military action. The ramified lines, in a final centripetal action, are peculiar to the center of gravity. The accumulation of forces in a sector, reiterating (inserted or successive units) or strengthening (adding tanks or engineers, narrowing the strip or sector or providing greater fire support) the effort is peculiar to the concept of main effort.

The center of gravity supposes a centripetal action of all the lines of performance, of the ramified activity of all the units and the services, not necessarily coincident, but convergent on the enemy objetive. The center of gravity directs, canalizes, gathers and orients the creation and the direction of the strike of different units and supports in each case. Its shift by the command allows the continuous adaptation to circumstances and the maintenance of focus on intermediate goals.

At the National Strategy Center of a Society, the center of gravity guide and drive all the different diplomatic, economic, military and social available or created means of a society in synergy and continued actions over the enemy and its allies, to get and produce our National Strategy Objectives (NSO). This is what discovered and found recently the theory of Asymmetric Warfare.

The Tactical or Operational Success. Its Signs. 2nd. Part.


The Signs of Tactical or Operational Success related to the Physical and Environmental Support:

Land transitability will be neutral or favorable to the operation.

Transitability is the geographical (superficial or spatial) dimension where military actions take place. It is principally framed by the superficial capacity of an area to support certain means or military capacities and their movements. It is completed today in a spatial dimension, by the range of heavy fire and aircrafts.

It has independent and absolute functions, as are the passing of specific points during a period of time, the time it takes to travel the distance between them and the not superficial simultaneity of military means. These refer on the transitability, related to how the Nature and obstacles interact with operations. Transitability also has relative functions that are generally dependent on geography. These are more concretely determined by the availability and quality of roads, railways and fluvial nets (urbanized geography), the climate, the hydrology, the orography, the season and meteorology and the hour of the day (physical geography). These functions change with different national and regional surfaces.

Transitability determines the facility or physical difficulty for rapidly maneuvering and, in consequence, determines the total time of an operation, in the phases of execution through the successive «cycles of action«. Roads and railroad networks are the most suitable physical support to obtain low times of execution in operations or high «tempos». Their transitability characteristics will be their availability in the operations zone, the road surface resistance, the traffic saturation conditions and the “narrow or critical” points existing in the ways networks and their “continuity traveling cuts”.

Roads that support a good advance pace are problematic, as outside of developed countries pave roads are uncommon. More often it is the case that a terrain is untransitable as an operational element and will require units to physically struggle in order to going on. The channels, the rivers, as continuity cuts, constitute another relative conditioner of the transitability of a zone. On one hand, they constitute an almost inevitable restraint of the impulse of maneuver. In effect, in almost any direction that follows an operational route during sufficient Kilometers, it ended up confronting the crossing of a natural or artificial water obstacle. The bridges that surpass them, as part of a road network, not always will exist or be at hand. Given the present amphibious means, the main obstacle to the transit will be offered by the water flows banks. It will be necessary to consider the slope of both banks and the characteristics of resistance, adherence, consistency, etc. of them and of their immediate approach grounds.

Resultado de imagen de MILITAR traveling grounds

One can try to use the superficial dimension, or even the spatial one, to improve transitability in different cases when good conditions do not exist. The first leads to employ a cross country mechanized formation, supported logistically. This was the imagined ideal of strategists and tacticians in the 1930s. On one hand, the best all-field or tracked vehicle moves better along a highway than across a field. For a given useful load weight, all-field or tracked vehicles have more tare than wheels vehicles. For total given weights, vehicles on tracks and on wheels that advance cross country have greater wears, more breakdowns and more fuel consumption than those that travel on highways.

Resultado de imagen de MILITAR river fording

This raises a double economic and logistic inconvenience, whose solution is very difficult. For this reason, it is ideal to operate along steady surfaces and using the railroad up to a bit more than one hundred kilometers to the front or the enemy. And to fight cross-country, taking advantage of shooting cover sectors, concealment and so on. Using the tactical characteristics of the field. Specially, rolling grounds that favor the mechanized fighting.

The spatial dimension also encompasses the impossibility, like that of saturated ground roads, of the simultaneous arrival of numerous aircraft at a given point. Or the airships fly in row, arriving at the same time, but laterally extended or they go in line to unload or arrive successively in a «single» operations point. The helicopters give more concentrated results than those of the airplanes, but these have more lifting and ordnance capacity.

Resultado de imagen de Military airborne falling

The effects of climate, season, hour, and hemisphere are superposed on these conditions, worsening or mitigating them. Orography affects transitability when it make difficult the construction of a road layout and when it increases the slope that military marches must cross. The cross-sectional passing of “height lines” can become impassable, except by defiles or mountain ports. Which create bottlenecks that collapse the maneuver impulse and prevent the deployments of the units that cross them. Fights at heights have a generic “gravity center” in order to control these passages.

Resultado de imagen de urban warfare city A RESOLUTE ENEMY  IS STILL WAITING YOU OVER THERE

When “height gradient” diminishes there exists a less evident, but more frequent and very important factor, which is the «drop». “Drop» refers to height variations of a few meters up to dozens of meters in relation to the surroundings. It appears in cross-country running, in areas of more or less waviness, in broken areas and even in roadways sections. It has also an expression in urban zones, both residential and industrial. As well as buildings, houses and facilities form «relative concealing heights«. These generate protection and danger, opportunities and risks. And are the urban expression of the «drop». The forest is a special variant of this case, with obstacles and shorts views for both enemy forces.

Urbanized or industrial zones shape numerous parallel, transverse and interweaving «drop» lines. They channel all military effort in the mentioned zones, generating innumerable «interfaces of action» with the enemy. That are frequently determined under surprise conditions. These zones definitively paralyze the impulse of the units and generate attrition (in military means) and wear (in logistical terms) disproportionate to the results obtainable by their occupation.


The Principle of the Objective, Today. 2nd. Part.


An Historical Application of the Principle of the Aim in the War.

A clear and simple example of the application of this principle in the operational strategy, we have in the campaign of Ulm. In May, 1805 broke out the war between France and the Third Coalition, formed by Russia, Austria and England, its promoter. The main body of the French army was deployed along the coast of the English Channel, preparing itself to invade England. But the threat for the French army in campaign, which was the real strategic aim in the Napoleonic wars (let’s remember that the occupations of Madrid, Vienna, Moscow, were not decisive), was arising in the East Europe, from the armies of the Russian and Austrian empires. In September, 1805 Napoleon moved his «Army of England» to the Rhine, deploying it between Mainz and Strasbourg and renamed the «Great Army». The Great Armée was formed by 145.000 infantrymen and 38.000 riders, joined 7 army corps. Each one at the orders of a French marshall, a great cavalry reserve, at the orders of the marshall Prince Murat, and the Imperial Guard, directly under Napoleon. To them 25.000 Bavarian allies were added.

Taking the initiative, as was habitual with him, Napoleon decides to give the first strategic blow against the army of 72.000 Austrians, which, at the orders of the general Mack and the archduke Fernand, son of the emperor Francis II, was advancing towards Ulm, without waiting for the arrival of the Russian help. Napoleon maneuvered his army corps in a centripetal spiral over Ulm. It supposes the joint action of all the means in his “lines of action”. Of the «branched out» activity of all the units and the services, not necessarily coincidental in the time, but convergent and resultant in his efficiency and in the result. By means of the different and coordinated,lines of advance or action, the uncertainty and insecurity is induced in a prepared enemy. And always his rejection capacity is dispersed and is disturbed his plan of defense and its systematic conduction.

Resultado de imagen de battle of ulm 1805

The general Mack went out at the doors of Ulm, to surrender to Napoleon, at the foothills of mounts Michelsberg.

In a wide advance of his independent army corps, the great Armée quickly crossed the center of Germany, from the Rhine to the Danube, between septiembre, 25 and October, 6. With this he operationally intervened between the Austrians and the Russian allied forces, still distant.

The Austrians did not understand the need of the rapidity of these movements. They were thinking only about the battle, as the only instrument of the decision. Their operational strategy did not exist. And they waited his enemies, centred on Ulm and expectant. The Frenchmen initiated the crossing of the Danube on the 7th. And, during the whole week, Napoleon made converge, on an enormous constrictive maneuver, the majority of his forces on Ulm. While, an army corp was monitoring the possible arrival of the general Kutuzov from the East. The trap was remaining closed in irresistible force.

The general Mack uselessly realized several attempts of breakthrough, with the major efforts in Haslach and Elchingen. Both Austrian commanders fought between them. And the archduke Fernand separated from the main body with his 6.000 riders and tried to escape in North-East direction. But, near Trochtelfingen, his forces were surrounded and defeated by the Murat’s corps cavalry. Other 12.000 Austrians gave up themselves in Neustadt. The general Mack and the rest of his men (around 27.000, after the combats and mentioned incidents), with Napoleon in scandalous majority at the doors of Ulm from October, 14, went out to surrender their weapon at the foothills of mounts Michelsberg. The general Mack signed the capitulation of the army on the 20th. The campaign, without battles in strict sense, cost to Austria more than 50.000 men, almost 70 % of his initial troops.

The Current Process of Definition and Follow-up of the Aim.

The retreat of the USA of Vietnam produced a readjustment and another appreciation of the principle of the aim. The later evaluations of the politicians and military men led to proclaiming the imperious need to give always to their armed forces in any future conflict: the support without fissures of the people; a few clear and expressly defined operational and strategic aims and the necessary means for its achievement. This «check list» of supports of the national strategy to the military strategy, appears today as a good summary of the moral and material commitment that the peoples and the controls have with their military men, when they send them to the war for reasons of «national interest».

In the practice, the development of the operational strategy will be defining new operational and tactical aims. That are the surveyor’s poles of the sinuous way that leads to obtaining the strategic aims raised to the military men. That can be so precise and so general as: the occupation of an enemy territory, the recovery of a some provinces pillaged by that one, his effective military defeat or his surrender with or without conditions. Let’s remember that Moltke the Old was saying that the own initial plans only were resisting or were viable up to the first contact in force with the enemy.

The western democracies are provided with extensive, direct and deep communications through all their social tissue. Everything appears easily at first sight. And all the persons take the right or the obligation to debate about everything. But, in the «political military area» that is great more unstable, insecure and opaque. This does not want to say that the operational requirements should not exist. And that the need to prescribe and keep the discretion and the security necessarily limit the «universal exhibition» to the mass media in the area of the national safety.

Resultado de imagen de senate of the us

The Senate of the United States controls the evolution of the wars objectives.

It is necessary to define and to give clear aims to the military men. It implies the need of that the politicians study and compromise themselves with the high or national strategy. And, as necessary and inevitable corollary, that they give the sufficient operational autonomy to his military men. In order that they do not waste lives, efforts and a material means. In order that they neither get entangled, do not even be distracting in unproductive or secondary actions. In order that they do not lose the respect and the support of his people and gain the scorn of the neutrals and potential enemies.

But, closing an ideological and practical «curl», the age of the communications also offers advantages of rapidity and constant, reasonably trustworthy and sufficient intelligence using the military information and his management. Even in the fleeting and delicate cases, with the wireless communications of several levels and accesses, it is possible to obtain a «virtual presence» of the military chiefs and of certain politicians, in the operational distant field. This would facilitate to these controls, a successive approximation and the graduation of the actions of the military means in presence, towards the operational action. And it would facilitate the dilution in the space and the time of the need to fix the successive secondary aims, already from the beginning of a “cycle of military operations”. Keeping always a constant acceleration of the «cycles of action» on the enemy, to dislocate his rejection capacity and to seek and to act on his operational weaknesses. Already those must seek to go successively forward to the enemy, progressively turning ineffective his actions and induce in his men the abandonment of not being capable of offsetting nor overcome our tactical actions guided by our “in real time” operational strategy.


The Principle of the Objective, Today.

The principle of the objective demands that every operation goes towards a decisive, clear and obtainable aim with the means at disposition. This principle is applicable to the four levels of the war: the tactical, the operational, the military strategic and the total strategic or of national politics. In this last level meet to collaborate the national diplomacy and economy, who would give him his category of «total». At first, it seems that this principle of «direction of the war» is of the easiest to conceive and apply. Nevertheless, it is in the highest level of decision, that of the great strategy or national strategy, where it has not been correctly or sufficiently applied this principle. We can remember, supporting revolts of Lybia, as the great powers of the anti Gaddafi Coalition had difficulties to define the essential aims of his military intervention in Lybia.

Origins and Appearance of the Principle of the Aim in the War.

This principle is always related with the general principle of economy (or the administration) of the means. So, we rationalize our efforts and means on having centred on a complete aim. And this way, the lives and other military available means, always scanty or, even, insufficient, for a campaign, can be squandered, if the national commands fail in applying the principle of the aim at his own level. This principle is directly related to that of concentration. Which seeks to assemble all the means, not necessarily present for the moment, well simultaneous or successive, in a common effort on the aim to get. This way, for example, a combined arms unit that covers the free flank of his main body or the units of tactical exploration deployed in advance, are also taking part with his missions in this complete and synergical effort.

In the classic ancient military men (Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Frederick the Great or Jomini) the knowledge of this principle arises more by what it is deduced from his works, that for its direct mention. That is to say, up to only a few decades ago, the principle of the aim was a second-class principle. How could be giving this paradox between his managerial importance and his carelessness? The principle of the aim was implicitly careless, when the military men expressly attended to the principles of surprise, of concentration and of protection. And it was so, because it was too evident. It was really, to defeat the enemy in the minor number of possible battles. We must remember that the principles of the war originally appear in the tactical field: as the advices and directives to follow to gain the battles.

Resultado de imagen de frederick the great

Frederick II, the Great, ruled the Kingdom of Prussia for 46 years. A practiced and theorist of warfare.

Initially and even until little ago, the state matters were not of the interest or of the consideration of the people. The kings and absolute princes, even the illustrated ones, were autonomous and sufficient in the direction of the war and were not using the principle. This changed with the establishments of the diets, the parliaments and the chambers. More or less representing peoples cosovereigns with the monarches. It was already necessary to explain the motives and the aims of the wars. This way, the principle of the aim began to take form and content. And it reached his importance and sovereign, when the tactics or the art of considering and gaining the battles, already cannot by itself to gain a war.

In any operation the aim is essential. Without it there can exist neither a definite and clear plan nor the coordination of efforts (or «mass»). The last military aim is the destruction of the enemy forces in presence (not necessarily the physical annihilation, it would be enough that they were giving up themselves). Considering only the military factors, the aims must be defined from the beginning and select them in agreement with the available means. And this way, appears the paradox which we nowadays live in many cases. There exist political, economic and still strategic factors, which conspire to delay and still gets dark the definition of the aims in the war, as the case of Lybia. And, on the other hand, with the forces already displaced there, before the friends, neutral and enemy’s look, existed the urgent need to clearly define them. With it is achieved a “joint effort” (today baptized synergy) for the best utilization of the resources on the enemy.

From middle of the 19th century, appear and are consolidated the rapid globalization of the interests of the States and the scopes and powers of their military, political, economic and diplomatic means. With them, the military principles of tactical origin fullly reached the area of the national and military strategy.

The Pernicious Interference of the Politicians in the Military Actions.

Also there always was coming a moment in which the politician had to be quiet and not to intermittently meddle in the military specific occupation. Sun Tzu is the real or supposed name of a Chinese author, who wrote The Thirteen Chapters of the Art of the War. The unit of style of the work and his originality allow to affirm that it is neither a collective work nor a summary of preexisting works. His work is dated between 400 and 320 B.C. In effect, the use of the cross-bow did not generalize until 400 and the cavalry was not incorporated into the army before 320. What Sun Tzu said on the military missions and the spurious interferences, more than 2 thousand years ago?

Resultado de imagen de Sun TzuThe Statue of Sun Tzu in Enchoen, Yurihama, Japan.

«Normally, when the armed forces are in use, the general receives, first, the general orders of the sovereign. Then he assembles the troops, makes the army an homogeneous and harmonious set and installs it in his cam «. Chapter 7, verse 1.

«It is necessary to know that for the sovereign there exist three ways of taking his army to the disaster. They consist of proceeding as follows:

To ignore that the army must not advance and order that it should advance, or, to ignore that it must not move back and arrange a retreat. This is what calls «to put the army in a difficulty». Chia Lin’s comment: «there is no major calamity that the orders of the sovereign that resides in the court «.

To ignore all the military matters and to take part in his administration. This disorients the officials. To ignore all the problems of the command and to take part in the exercise of the responsibilities. This destroys the spirit of the officials». Chapter 3, verses 19 to 22.

«The one that has competent general and protects them from the (solvent) interferences of the sovereign, will be the victor». Ibid, verse 29. Ho Yen Hsi’s comment: «In the war hundreds of changes take place in every stage. To say that a general must wait for all the orders of his Superiors, is like to have to inform a Superior of that you want to extinguish a fire. Before the orders come, the ashes will be cold. And it has been said that in such circumstances it is necessary to consult the general inspector of the army! To shortly tie a competent general, while he is asked to suppress a crafty enemy, is as holding the Black Greyhound of Han and then give him the order to catch unattainable hares».


THE MILITARY SURPRISE: concepts, effects, realization and types. 2nd. Part.


The three cavalry regiments of the brigade had a total of 27 officers, 228 N.C.O.s and 1,740 soldiers mounted on German horses. All those who could, carried sub-machine guns –either the MP-38 or MP-40- instead of the 7.92 mm K98 carbines. They were supported by 30 heavy machine guns (MG-34 on tripods) and 72 light machine guns (MG-34 with bipods). Their heavy support fire was provided by a battery of 6 light howitzers of 75 mm for each of three hippomobile regiments. As external support they would have artillery fire, either centralized or from the divisions placed in its flanks, for the attached observers and officers were accompanying it.

Resultado de imagen de carretas del país soviéticos Country wagons moving forward in a huge Russian plain…

They were also supported by an engineers company (pioneers) and a sanitary company. By means of a park of Russian country wagons, each dragged by a pair of native horses, the supplies, replacements, ammunitions, medical forces, etc. of the brigade would be carried to them. They also had a motorized supply column.

The nature, the structure of the brigade and its support were perfectly adapted to the mission and contributed to its simplicity. It even received the support of a tanks company (14 tanks) for the attack, when the reconnaissance saw the possibility for use it.

Another key aspect of the mission was intelligence, acting already before the conception of the operation. This provided the most complete knowledge of the enemy and operations zone. Intelligence was a combination of information acquired by all the units, that was continually updated. It allowed better definition of the mission, assignment of the means and units, and training preparation. It also allowed for more appropriate adjustments or changes in plans, etc.

Another indispensable factor in this extraordinary or heterodox operation was the training and trial of the mission. The brigade trained for 4 to 6 weeks before its activation, in areas similar to the future operations zone; this fulfilled the security factor.

The training with tanks was not done, because its employment was not foreseen. And one of the problems that arose during the operation was that communication between the cavalry and tanks was poor. In the thick wild forests the wireless radios did not work well and it was necessary to use the existing wire telephony. But these were not enough for adequate communications between all the small units.

Resultado de imagen de frente del este 1942

A characteristic of the training in these special missions is that that it must be as complete as possible, in agreement to its peculiarities. And a full trial, including the total foreseen time, is always necessary. For example, to verify the resistance of certain equipments and not only its good functioning, as would happen in a partial or incomplete test.

The brigade and 5th panzer division were in their departure positions 10 days before the start of the march towards the contact. The Soviets were not capable of detecting the activation of this unit, so the security factor remained fulfilled.

Immediately, the brigade, with the help of the tanks troops, carried out an intense reconnaisance of the intermediate area and the enemy positions (advanced combat troops and the forward limit of the defense). It was deduced that the tanks’ support in the attack was possible (in a narrow sector), if a necessary adaptation was effected in the tracks accessing the area. This innovation would add an important shock capacity and heavy direct fire to the assault, especially in the irruption, in the struggle for enemy fighting positions and in the interior of the defense zone (artillery, units in disorder or in retreat, transport, supplies, etc.)

The factor surprise was going to be achieved by the tactical innovation and the unexpected action in «field of action» chosen for the attack. It is important to remember that the Soviets were prepared and fortified against an attack that they knew was coming. In addition, since the beginning of the war the Soviets had shown themselves to be masters of defense and in disguising positions. Still, the Germans hoped that a strong attack on an unexpected place would dislocate the enemy’s combat capacity and means of defense. The German plan allowed no practical reaction time to the enemy.

Resultado de imagen de frente del este 1942

With this, the speed of action factor is obtained by the attacker. This allowed the Germans to overcome rapidly their principal vulnerability: the initial contact with the enemy in the decided «interface of action«, in which always can be produced unexpected setbacks in the face of potentially bigger forces, until the law of the action is imposed on the enemy.

As the mission begins, there is uncertainty or friction, due to the enormous number of individuals and units involved; mistakes, that are a function of the small failures that happen inevitably in all the human actions that comprise a mission; enemy action, until the fire supremacy and maneuver deprive him of initiative; opportunities, in the shape of favorable situations not foreseen by the Germans and which the commands of the small units must exploit in order to fulfill the mission.

To be able to act this way, the extraordinary or special troops must possess the commitment factor, which involves the acceptance and recognition of the entrusted mission, its important consequences and its real possibilities of success in these conditions.

A couple of days before the assault, the engineers were making progress through the forest boundaries with mechanical saws. They constructed a reinforced path and carpeted it with middle logs cut up “in situ” and arranged about a meter apart. This was to give sufficient firmness to a route up to the Soviet minefields which would support the tanks added to the hippomobile brigade in tactical subordination, which slowly initiated its advance a little later. The noise of the saws and the engines of the vehicles was drowned by the flight of reconnaisance planes at low level and sporadic harassment fire.

The joint assault began on July 2, 1942.

The hippomobile brigade had to cross 15 kilometers of forests and marshes to reach the Soviet positions. At its right was the 5th panzer division attacking, which acted as the normal force or mass of support for the assault. Its left flank was supported on this area of difficult ongoing, covered by weak infantry forces (about a company). Until, on the 3rd day, a German infantry division began its assault through this sector.

At 3 a.m. the tanks advanced close to the cavalry troops, taking advantage of the general artillery preparations. They were accompanied by engineers’ troops. The minefields were immediately detected and the engineers cleaned the area around the passing paths to extend its width. Suddenly, the forwards tanks and cavalry reached the limit of the Soviet position of defense in this decided «field of action» over them.

Resultado de imagen de 9º ejército alemán Rzhev Model saves the day for the 9th German Army.  Column of Soviet military prisioners.

In a single thrust they burst in, breaking the Soviets’ first lines of defense. After this, the tanks were kept in reserve, since the enemy position stretched through an unknown wooded area. That morning the cavalry managed to penetrate 6.5 kilometers inside the Soviet position.

The whole time the train of country wagons was capable of advancing supplies, replacements and munitions to the tired men.

For its part, the 5th panzer division could not advance despite its superior capacity of shock and means, and suffered heavy losses by very well camouflaged Soviet forces in depth.

Around midday, a hippomobile regiment turned to attack the principal enemy positions from the east. To reach them, it had to cross a swampy forests zone where the water was knee-high. At dusk, the brigade had control of a sector of the principal road inside the Soviet position, breaking the Soviets’ tactical cohesion and turned it untenable.

Just after midnight on the 4th, Soviet resistance was collapsing in the area of assault of the 5th panzer division and hippomobile brigade. This crossed another swampy forest area of 10 kilometers depth and emerged at the operational enemy rear. Here was a scene of chaos filled with abandoned vehicles and stroked columns and groups of troops and soldiers. Arrival of the panzer forces accelerated the decline of the 39th Soviet infantry army as an organized and effective force.

That same day the whole sector of this army collapsed and the German infantry divisions of Walter Model’s 9th army converged on its interior by all its assault sectors.

In the 11 days that the operation lasted, the Germans captured 50,000 Soviet prisoners, and around 230 tanks and 760 artillery pieces.



Military surprise is more a part of the art of war and its creation, than of military science, the doctrine, its regulations and the principles or «good-doing» rules of war. Of course, its scope and instruments are taken from military science. Military science has its logic and practice oriented towards applied theory.

Military doctrine forms the framework, the structure, the heart of all development and the wisdom that military science has been developing so far. The military doctrine of each state incorporates the idiosyncracy, history and civilization of the corresponding nation. The permanent virtues and the more temporary values of the former are also reflected in its military doctrine. All this channels it in one direction and one sense.

War art has in its conception and execution the characteristics of: variability; the unusual and singular conception; the different, unexpected and novel application and the relative ingenuity (naturalness and freshness) and freedom in its facts.

Resultado de imagen de general hermann balck General Hermann Balck, one of the finest German armored tactical Command.

If we are guided mainly by military science, which the enemy also knows, the results of the war dialectic will be obtained by maintaining a superiority in men and means, marches and maneuvers. And the cost will be the attrition of means and human wear in a greater proportion, and always undue, than with the use of surprise.

Thus, a defence deployed in depth and with sufficient reserves, probably deprives us of many opportunities for effective surprise. But, almost always, acting in the microfield, as using a tactical zoom, we can apply the tactical or operational surprise, unusual and unexpected.


The surprise becomes specify and materializes in an unexpected action on the enemy by fire and/or shock. That, taking advantage of the enemy’s habitual lack of combat availability, makes him the victim of an attack that he is not in a position to successfully reject.

Obviously, the units in charge of surprise must avoid enemy’s reconnaissance, advanced combat units and security. In charge of giving the units that detached them, enough time to get the combative disposition that allows the rejection of their attacker.

But, the mental surprise must not only be unexpected for the enemy. But, in order to be able to take full advantage of its potential and effects, it must also be unusual, special, infrequent. With an unquestionable tendency to be «unusual», as never seen. This unusual character, never occurred, extraordinarily reinforces the quality of unexpected and sudden use of surprise.

Imagen relacionada Soviet  T-34 /76 tank.

We don’t always have the unusual at hand. And surprise often favors, by employing the law of action, the most mobile and even only active rival.

Then, the use and manipulation of the “appearances”, the appreciated characteristics of the events and their circumstance, will allow us to establish and develop a new tactical or operational situation. Which will be surprising and unusual for the enemy. And it will give us an unexpected victory, at the beginning of the faced dialectic situation.

A Tactical example with Operational Trascendence.

Here is an example of an extraordinary force acting as a normal force and, in so doing, completely deceiving the enemy by manipulating appearances of the events.

In January 1943, with the Soviet advance threatening Rostov, the 4th Panzer Army of colonel general Hoth moved back from its positions on the banks of the Sal and established a defensive line south of the river Manich. Passing through that area were the supply and retreat routes of the 1st Panzer Army. Routes that had been kept open, if a disaster like that of Stalingrad was to be avoid. In Stalingrad, the Sixth German Army, the Army unit more powerful of the Wehrmatch, was caught. The 4th Panzer Army was assigned to protect this bottle neck in the communications of the Armies Groups Don.

Soon the Soviets reached the confluence of the Manich and Don rivers, took control of the small city of Manutchskaya that was only 30 kilometers from the mouth of the Don on the south bank, and sent advanced detachments in this direction. On January 23, the 11th panzer division and 16th infantry division counterattacked the Soviet advance spears and pushed them back to Manutchskaya.

Then, it was vital to restore the south front of the Don and Manich and to expel the Soviets from the city. Which was one of their bridgeheads (which, with much skill, could be rapidly reinforces once constituted).

The Germans made a direct assault from the southwest on the 24th, seeking to surprise the Soviets with the operation continuity. Instead, they found that the Soviets had created an antitank front in this entry to the city. Using tanks with their hulls partly buried and distributed between the buildings, along the streets, and in other difficult to see locations.

The 11th panzer division, a crack division with a magnificent tactician as chief, quickly stopped the assault when it detected the importance of defenses.

Imagen relacionada A Panther from the 11th panzer division circa summer 1943

On the 25th, the general Hermann Balck initiated an assault on the northeast sector of the city, which the Soviets identified as a main assault, similar to the previous one and following the orthodox criterion of «not insist on unsuccessful or frontal assaults» (not profitable). For it, they moved rapidly theirs antitank means (tanks are the most mobile) to the new threatened sector.

To make credible this assault (manipulation of the appearances), at the beginning the whole divisional artillery was used in its support. It was also the more dangerous direction of assault for the Soviets. Since that part of the city was nearest to the principal bridge over the Manich and its occupation would isolate the Soviet bridgehead on the south bank. These factors constituted the «primary evidences«.

The assault on the north-east sector was probably already considered by the Soviet defense as a German probably alternative assault and, because of this, they reacted rapidly to what happened.

Infantry half-track vehicles and reconnaissance light tanks executed the principal «virtual» assault, simulating the march of mechanized vehicles, concealed by smoke curtains. And seeking more to hide them from the enemy than to protect their advance. This gave a «secondary evidence» to the credibility of the «appearances«.

When the Soviet’s determination in the new defense was estimated, which confirmed the alteration of its original deployment and the attraction made by the normal «apparent» attack. The bulk of the divisional artillery threw a powerful fire blow on a sector of the southwest zone of the town. A single battery continued to support the ongoing false principal assault.

Most of the tanks of 15th panzer regiment immediately attacked the forward limit of the defense, entering the town and advancing on its interior. To attack from the rear the new defensive Soviet deployment, especially its tanks. The mechanized German infantry then closed in behind them.

The Soviet resistance crumbled. Its infantry ran to the bridge over the Manich river. But was chased by the 61th motorists battalion.

German casualties in liquidating Manutchskaya’s stronghold were, according to its own sources, one man dead and fourteen injured men. The Soviets had between 500 and 600 casualties and 20 destroyed tanks.

I believe, it is all clear and simple. Which are the characteristics of the practical and real ways to do.

THE MILITARY SURPRISE: concepts, effects, realization and types.

The common or general tactical surprise is that which is normally or frequently used and that is known and expected. There is one case we take as example, which is to ambush or hostilize enemy forces who come to help or rescue a group of their own immobilized and/or besieged by us. This attack is logical to do so, because the forces in march, and especially when the urgency drives them, are especially vulnerable: because of the weakness of their flanks, for their scant reconnaisance and greater ignorance of their marching grund to combat, and for their deployment or marching column more or less frayed.

The attack is to be made using sequential or simultaneously different techniques: ambushes, even employing small units; free shooters lines; shutts of the advance routes and his wings with mines; bombardments of the artillery and the unit’s organic mortars, using registered fire on the routes or its singular points; attacks of the own or allied aviation; appearances and assaults by an our «combat group» (of combined arms?) in his immediate rear or covering it in a flank of the itinerary that is favorable for our protection (heights line, edge of forests, industrial and urban areas).

It is necessary to use necessarily this common surprise. But, the attacker must not repeat his set of tactics and military technics during short periods of time. In order that our attack is not so predictable, also in the details and manners, which facilitates his rejection to the enemy. Since with our routine, we are announcing the enemy which is our game, showing him the cards. And, let’s know that, even with these precautions, we are teaching him to fight.

With the mentioned variety, his combinations and the opportunity of use, the enemy will not be able to take sufficient measurements for the rejection. Since the variants of action that we can use are sufficiently different and numerous.

This is a tactical surprise, in the same level in which we are unrolling ourselves. That will allow us to increase the attrition (on the means) and the wear (of the men) of the enemy. And, even, to place and move more favorably with regard to him. But the total results will depend on the development of the set of the raised operations. Based on the forms of fight, the movements and the involved men and means.

Resultado de imagen de walther model Colonel General Walther Model.

This way, this surprise less elaborated conceptually produces fewer fruits that have operational or decisive transcendency. Everything indicates that, in order that it should take place and increases qualitatively the transcendent efficiency in our actions, it is necessary that the quality of the surprise reaches another dimension in his action.

It is necessary, so, in the operational level of the surprise, that this would be an «ungrateful surprise» for the enemy. That has catastrophic effects, though they are local, on him, at the beginning. And that the «commotion waves» in the area or the affected sections, propagate for the enemy military system attacked. Damaging his capacities, his general and grupal moral (a section, the fighters of a weapon) and his intentions and perspectives. It would be equivalent, in the raised scene, to an «exploitation of the success» of our actions. That are encouraged and perfected by the operational surprise obtained.

The following battle during World War II illustrates the use of unexpected «field of action» on the enemy, and the use of ordinary and heterodox forces. That allowed General Walther Model to take the initiative and destroy a Soviet army inserted in his operational rear.

During the winter counter-offensive of 1941-1942, the Soviet Union military had penetrated the operational rear of the 9th German army of Colonel General Model. It was integrated in the Central Armies Group, under the command of Fieldmarshal von Kluge. The Germans withdrew to positions near populated areas, tacked between them by its artillery fire and keeping open a few, precarious communications lines between the units. Thus helping maintain the operational stability of the army’s defensive area.

The Soviets had crossed the lines of the semi-continuous front, crushing weak German positions and setting up in the german rearwarsd the 39th infantry army and the XI cavalry corps (mobile forces for areas of difficult ongoing), a total of 60,000 men. Their deployment was protected in the semi wild forests and marshes between Boly and Rzhev, the principal regional city, and was supplied by a route that edged by Boly and continued to Nelidovo at the north of the zone. These Soviet forces were also in operational hibernation, waiting for the late thaw of the Russian spring.

This powerful enemy nucleus, in coordinated action with Soviet forces at the front, could compromise the German summer offensive (1942) by cutting the supply lines of the 9th army. For this reason, it was necessary to liquidate it before tackling a new campaign.

Under the instructions of General Model, a movil force was put together. This formed a hippomobile brigade with the reconnaisssance forces (a reduced battalion) of each eight divisions of infantry of 9th army, all of which had all ground transit capacity.

Resultado de imagen de batalla Rzhev The Rzhev’s projection was formed after the Soviet counter-offensive in defense of Moscow.

The mission of this brigade was to slip through enemy flanking sectors not covered by the security and principal positions of the enemy. Once in enemy territory, they were to wait for a principal important attack, to begin fighting in the enemy’s interior with the hope of occupying defense nucleus positions. The German aim was to severely unsettle the Soviets’ deployment and the conduction of their defense plan.

By using its forces in the unexpected «field of action«, the Germans hoped to recover the freedom of action to impose on the enemy the law of the action. The objective was simple, but its attainment was difficult.

The brigade, which was to penetrate the Soviet zone, was led by the 5th panzer division of Major General Gustav Fehn. That were the principal interarms forces and the mass of support or normal forces. They were to proceed following the principal reinforced surface road of the zone. Which passed from Olenino in the north and followed the western slope of the Luchesa river.

Soviet troops (39th infantry army), inside its defense zone clung to this road and had an antitank deployment (obstacles and guns). The Soviet flanks were thin but protected on each side by extensive minefields. Its right flank rested on the inhospitable and impassable woods and swamp lands of the deep valley of the Luchesa which, in the Soviets’ thinking, protected them against serious attack. The Soviet command foresaw what must be the German’s principal effort against them and deployed their forces with creativity and inventiveness.

Only healthy, strong, veteran soldiers who worked well together and whose units had cohesion could be used in this mission. It was not work for garrison troops brought from the German rear or the occupied countries. Because of this, Walther Model did not hesitate to deprive his infantry divisions of its only mobile units of maneuver to use in this battle.




The Mongol Army Attacks Hungary.

Subodai concentrated his army in 3 groups of march. Each one would enter Hungary by a different route, across the mountain passes and valleys of the Carpathians. This deployment was given to the Mongols more resistance to the enemy surprises. And gave them an initial unfolding for the maneuvers of their 3 mobile corps, facilitating them to face the enemy. The Hungarians, for their part, did not dare to attack any of them, for fear of an advance of the other corps on their rear or to occupy anyone of their cities. The central column, which was under the command of the prince Batu, crossed Ruske’s mountain pass on March 12 and continued his advance for the valley of the Tisza. His vanguard with combat capacity came to the Danube on the 15th and 2 days later the principal corps did it. The vanguard had realized a march of 290 km in 3 days, crossing an hostile area and still covered by high snow.

On April 3, Subodai formed his 3 columns in front to Pest, in the east bank of the Danube. In Pest the king Bela had assembled his army of 100 thousand men. At another side of the river, joined both cities by bridges, was Buda. Subodai knew they were overcome in number by the Hungarians. Having also detached a tumen in Transylvania the left column of march, to assure that the Christians were not receiving reinforcements from Romania, the Mongols were now 70 thousand. Also, it was very dangerous for them to force a crossing of the Danube at the sights of the Hungarian deployed army.

On the other hand, the more time Subodai was taking in his calculations, decisions and preparations, the more time was giving to other European leaders to decide and to come to support the king Bela. The Mongol general applied then at strategic scale one of his tactic stratagems: his army moved back towards the East. The Hungarian chiefs supposed that the Mongols were not daring to fight against their army. And, spurred by their stagnation before the not hindered advance of the Mongols 3 marching columns, asked to initiate his pursuit. The Hungarians did not notice that Subodai was attracting them out of the protection of the Danube and of the support between detachments and the army corps.

The king Bela, commanded the great majority of the army, directed the pursuit. The Mongol retreat was calculately slow. They took 6 days in reaching the Sajo river, at 160 km at the North-East of Buda and Pest. And, at the west of the river, near its mouth in the Tiszna and in the plain in front of Mohi, the principal city of the zone, Batu and Subodai decided to confront their «persecutors». On April 9, the Mongols crossed a broad gorge, advanced by a heath, crossed a stone bridge and continued 16 km up to the bushes placed at the west of the hills and vineyards of Tokay. In them, they had numerous places where to camouflage or to hide. In effect, when a Hungarian reconnoissance detachment followed them that evening and came up to Tokay’s west, it did not find absolutely nothing. The Hungarian army, who realized a frontal pursuit, encamped in the heath, arranging his cars, joined by chains and ropes, closing a circle, where installed his tents and mounts. At the right of the camp, were the marshes of the bank of the Tisza, at his front, the heath of the Sajo was spreading and forests and hills were covering his left side.

Resultado de imagen de BATTLE of buda and pest 1241 FIGHTING ON THE BRIDGE.

At dawn of Wednesday, the 10th of April, 1241, Batu and 40 thousand men threw towards the stone bridge by its east side. The Hungarians defended it with all energy, until they had to withdraw for the fire bombs of that the Mongols catapults threw them, on having been in a very narrow fighting sector. The Mongols went on to the west side, but during more than 2 hours, were terribly pressed by the Hungarians charges and only the shots of their archers briefly restored their defense line. Little by little, the Hungarian army deployed to liquidate the Mongol bridgehead. Suddenly, the general Subodai, who also had crossed to the west side by a circumstances bridge stretched downstream of the Sajo, while the Hungarians were distracting with the threat in the bridgehead, appeared with 30 thousand Mongols on the Hungarian rear. Struck and stunned, but with guts and experience not to fall down in the panic, the Hungarians moved back in good order to their camp. But the Mongols threw to it, surrounding almost totally the camp and covering it with incendiary bombs and arrows. Which were burning the load coaches and the tents and frightened away the beasts, spreading chaos between their enemies and undoing the autoconfidence of the Hungarians.

The Mongols prepared to throw a charge on the uncohesioned groups of the Hungarian army. But they continued without finishing to cover with any detachment, the siege to the camp by the access gorge to the heath. The Hungarian knights with enough moral courage yet formed a wedge, to resist the charge; it was the last firm resistance of the Hungarian army. But the majority of them moved back by the existing «gap» in the siege, fleeing in small groups towards what they were thinking that would be their salvation. And really falling down In a mortal trap, which was spreading over the whole route of their flight towards Pest.

The Mongol light cavalry, without risking anything, softened from a distant with his arrows the driven to despair deployment of the knights and, later, taking his opportunity, the heavy cavalry charged to squash them. Numerous Mongol light detachments went out in pursuit of the fled ones. A part them was pressing on their rear, to increase their commotion, their chaos and their fear. While, other detachments realized the overflowing pursuit, reaching them from the sides and spearing them or throwing their arrows to them with their small and most powerful compound arches, which shot from the mounts. Along 50 km, in the way of return to Pest, spread the remains of the Hungarians, their mounts and their equipments. More than 70 thousand Hungarians knights and auxiliary died in the battlefield, in the camp and in the escape towards the southwest. After the battle of the Sajo, the Hungarian resistance collapsed.

The Mongols immediately attacked Pest and burned it. But they did not dare to cross to the west side of the Danube in the exploitation of the success. In spite of the moral and numerical supremacies that they enjoyed in these moments. Batu and Subodai gave rest to their army and consolidated the positions at the east of the great river. And so more than half a year passed, where the principal related event was a slightly spirited declaration of Crusade against them from the Pope, of which it was obtained little in the practice. In December, 1241 the Danube froze in this great region.

Resultado de imagen de king bela IV of hungary  MONGOL’S LIGHT AND HEAVY CAVALRIES.

The Mongols made good use of their time to plunder Buda, realized a reconnaissance in force in Austria and sent a detachment to the South, towards Zagreb, in pursuit of the king Bela. And on the 25th they assaulted Gran, the Hungarian capital and See of his archbishop, taking with them everything of value and antiquity they could.

A marvellous End for Europe. Who, What for?

Central and Western Europe were mature for a Mongol invasion. The Europeans did not have an army capable of facing this threat, which already was throwing them the breath in his napes. The strategic plan explained by Subodai to the Khan and to his generals seemed to be faithfully fulfilled up to his last parts. But, this was already only an illusion, the impossible one. An «appearance», which Sun Tzu would say. On December 11, 1241 they had received in the headquarters of Batu and Subodai an escorted messenger from Karakorum, the Mongol capital in the Eastern Asia. He was bringing the news that Ogadai, the Great Khan, had died and that his widow was acting as regent, until a new Mongol emperor was elected and promoting to the throne. The Mongol present princes were anxious to make worth their rights for the succession and decided to return to their capital, taking with them the imperial tumens.

Batu knew that without these select troops, he could not keep Hungary in his power. But he thought that with the Turkoman recruits, who already were experienced and taken part in combats, he might keep most of his territories. This way, the Mongols evacuated Hungary, without being hindered, harassed or pusued by their enemies. Though behind they left the land that was theirs. This was a symbol of their idiosyncrasy and exploiter character up to the extinguishment, land bandit and absolute predator. And without the minor aptitude to create, to keep, to develop, to extend and bequeath his successors, a civilization that was deserving this name. And not only to leave them the accumulated results of his outrages, bails, taxes, plunders and booties and the military educations to obtain them.

Batu returned to his departure field base, in Sarai, near the Volga and at scanty 100 km north of Astrakhan. And there established a Mongol subsidiary empire, which was known as the Golden Horde. The Mongols would not have another equal opportunity to invade Europe. After this aberrant nightmare suffered by the Europeans, these invented all kind of stories and myths, in which they narrated how they had defeated the «Tartar» invaders (this way they in general knew the Mongols) and had forced them to return to their lands.

This unthinkable, sudden and happened, in the last possible moments resulted… marvellous, Was it a matter of Destinity and of Europa’s Karma and his privileged Civilization? ¿Or was it the result of a Divine Intervention by the intercession of the Holy Virgin Mary? Certainly, humanly was an excessive and incredible chance. But the faith can never give some «evidences», because it would stop of being and would turn into the verifiable reality. The Divine effective intervention, in favor of Europe and his civilization, which without the Christianity operating from his marrow, would never look alike to what it went and to what is. But It is probable, because That is never thundering or overwhelming. God did not visit Elias in the beams storm or in the hurricane-force wind, but using a tenuous and soft breeze. And, to the esoteric and sincretists, the explanation might be «a cosmic action of the astral and akasic forces, in favor of the Light, the Peace and the human Civilization, towards the top levels of the Universal Conscience «.

Also, there exists a «rational» and common explanation of what happened, but that cannot specify the moment to begin this opportune retreat. The Mongols and the central Asiatic associate tribes were creating an Euro-Asian empire in the first half of the 13th century. But their material capacities and their ideological and religious resources were not corresponding with such important aim. As already we saw, for the peoples of the occupied countries, they did not have anything satisfactory and lasting to offer them. The Mongols were kept in these foreign lands by the threat of the known terror. As it would happen with other tyrants, that tried to become «worldwides», their necessary collaborators were ethnic or ideologically similar. But the Mongol etnia and his related ones were demographically insignificant, to be able to monitor and defend alone such vast empire. All this, in the decades of the invasion of Eastern Europe, had tightened up to the point of break their military capacities. This way, more early that late, the Mongols had to realize that retrograde general march, to assure and consolidate their lands in the East of Eurasia. Moving away from the contact with dynamic, Ideological and expansive civilizations, as the European. With whom the relations of vicinity and the first exchanges of merchants, explorers and adventurers would been solved by the military clash.



After the death of Gengis Khan in 1227 his the second surviving son, Ogadai, succeeded him in the Mongol throne. The Mongol expansion eastward was limited by the Pacific Ocean and scarcely were staying free enclaves in China and Persia. But, towards the West, the great steppes of Russia were offering to the Mongols an enormous opportunity of conquests. Using these extensive areas, which were favorable to the advance and the maintenance of his rapid hippomoviles armies. These steppes had been awarded to the grandson of Gengis, Batu. The great Mongol general Subodai urged his conquest, to strategically protect the west flank of the Empire and as possible operational headquarters for the invasion of the green plains of Hungary. These natural plains might serve in its moment for the advance in north and west directions of the Mongols tumens («divisions»), towards the conquest of the core heart of the Christian Europe.

The Prolegomenons of Europe’s Invasion.

This «strategic panoramic» insight of Subodai filled with enthusiasm the court and the Mongolian chiefs. And, this way, Ogadai provided the general with around 50 thousand veteran men, under Batu’s nominal control, to conquer the steppes of the west Russia. In the winter of 1237, the Mongols crossed the frozen Volga and penetrated in Russia. The Mongol army was reaching 120 thousand light and heavy riders, with auxiliaries and luggages. Including their catapults for the heavy fire and the means of siege and to construct these. And it had increased with the recruitments of Turkoman realized in the advance route and authorized by Ogadai. The quality of this reinforcement for the Batu and Subodai’s army was deficient and variable, in comparison with the Imperial tumens.

During the following 3 years, the Mongols systematicly destroyed the feudal Russian kingdoms of the west. Using the frozen rivers as broad and long routes without obstacles to deeply penetrate in them and to positionally dislocate the enemy defenders forces. With the capture of Kiev in December, 1240, the rest of the Russian organized resistance disappeared. And the Mongols were reaching in force the Carpathians mounts, the natural obstacle that was protecting Hungary.

Resultado de imagen de BATTLE of buda and pest 1241

Though in this epoch, in the beginning of the Low Middle Ages, the European leaders did not know practically anything on the Mongols, both the general Subodai and the prince Batu were regularly informed about the difficult political European situation. In effect, in February, 122, Subodai and Jebe, at the command a corps army of 20 thousand Mongols initiated a reconnaissance in force of two years in the western Russian steppes, looking for advance routes for the Mongol armies towards Europe. There they recruited a permanent and well paid spies’ network in different nations. And they realized a secret alliance with Venice, for which, in exchange for relevant information about the geography and the always changeable politics of the European states, Venice would get a trade monopoly in the Mongol conquered territories.

In January, 1241, Subodai concentrated the army around Lvov and Przemysl, close to the river San, tributary of the Vístula. This «strategic departure base» was at the north of the Carpathians and at a distance of 300 km to the Hungarian Danube. To realize the invasion, the army only was possessing then 100 thousand men. The reason was that it had to keep occupation detachments in the Russian west and to protect its communications towards his base. The operational gravity center of these were the mountain passes of the Carpathians towards the south, towards Hungary.

That were defined by the Tisza and his tributaries network, which were forming the Carpathians valleys. But the advance of the Mongols towards Gran, the great capital at that time, at 40 km to the northwest of Buda and Pest, all on the Danube, would leave the invading army exposed to an operational counterattack of the Germans, Austrians, Bohemians or Poles. That might fall down on his right flank and eastward communications. Threatening them, this way, with serious losses or isolating them from their base, being able to surround some Mongol detachments.

The Mongol worry towards the enemy was generally strategic, thinking about their exposed flanks at the level of the occupied countries. This worry was originated in his always exiguous number of riders for the entrusted or looked aims. And also in the not tactical invincibility of his forces, if were meeting an organized, skilful enemy, who was using opportunely and effectively his heavy and light cavalries, and calm to resist their tricks and feints. The Europeans only were possessing the heavy cavalry. Where his nobles and chiefs fighted and around which, as main weapon, his infantry armed retinues and armies were articulated. This way, Gengis Khan, in 1221, after the conquest of the Moslem empire of Samarqand, placed approximately between the Sir Daria and the Amur Daria, systematicly plundered Afghanistan. And his son Tului killed most of the inhabitants of the north of Persia (Khorasan). With it they were protecting the south flank of the brand-new empire.

The Beginnings of the Invasion of 1241.

To defend this flank of the mentioned assaults, Subodai divided his army in 2 «very asymmetric army corps». The principal corps would carry out the invasion of Hungary and the auxiliary, small corps, would fulfill the double mission of clear the European threats to his advance on those Hungarian cities and his communications with the Carpathians. The auxiliary army, at the orders of the princes Baidar and Kadan and formed by 2 tumens, advanced first, in March, 1241 and, crossing the Vistula by Sandomir, surprised the Poles. But, to separate them from Hungary, «they» had «to allow» his mobilization and later concentration. This way, dividing his meager forces, Kadan advanced through Poland in northwest direction. Seeking to extend the alarm and the consternation for all his interior and «to threaten» the German States placed at the west of the Oder.

Resultado de imagen de Mongolians attack Pest

For his part, Baidar went in southwest direction, directly towards Cracow, the capital, burning and plundering everything what could at his passage, to attract on his detachment the enemy attention. And, suddenly, close to Cracow, the Mongols stopped and initiated in a short time their retreat, following the opposite direction to the previous advance. They were simulating this way to be a small incursion force, possibly explorer, already moving back to his base. The Polish cavalry forces, concentrated for the defense of Cracow, did not recognize the rapid retrograde enemy march as a tactical trick. And, filled of a warlike ardor that was inflaming their senses, they were thrown after what they thought that it was a great victory already in their hands. This way, they left their positions under the protection of the infantry and the walls of Cracow, to realize a frontal warm pursuit. Without before having really beaten their enemy and leaving in hands of the wind all the due precautions. On having seen them, the Mongols accelerated their march and even left their prisoners, with what the Poles saw insured the «reality» of his conjectures. But in Chmielnik, at 18 km from the capital, a very ungrateful surprise was waiting for them. The whole Mongol light cavalry, conceal for the distant sights and deployed forming a half moon with his checkered detachments, began to throw clouds of arrows with piercing punch arrowtips, that easily penetrated in the armors and protections of the Polish mounts and riders. The majority of these simply died. The inhabitants of Cracow, when the news came, terrified fled in mass, and the Mongols, reaching the Polish capital, set it on fire.

Baidar continued up to Breslau, the Silesia’s capital, where found that the population had lit fire to the city and sheltered in the citadel. There he knew that in Liegnitz, at 65 km to the west, Henry, the king of Silesia, had formed a very heterogeneous army of 25 thousand men to attack them. He also knew that the king Wenceslao of Bohemia was going with his army of 50 thousand men to meet Henry. Baidar decided to rapidly go to Liegnitz, to prevent the meeting of both enemy armies. In the way, Kadan and his mobile detachment, which already had completed his mission of general grieve the Poles and Eastern Germans, joined him. Both tumens reached Liegnitz on April 8, 1241. The 9th, the king Henry went immediately to facing them. He did not know that Wenceslao and his army were situated at only a day of march. In times of difficult and precarious communications, the ignorance, which is rash for its simplification, was replacing the lacks of information with own elaborations, based on the greed and the dread. His army deployed near the city in a plain.

Resultado de imagen de Mongolians attack Pest BATTLE OF LIEGNITZ

When the Mongol vanguard appeared in the horizon, Henry sent a small detachment to reject it. But a rain of arrows made it to move back to his rows. The king counter-attacked with all his cavalry. The Mongol vanguard, saw threatened, avoided the immediate contact and moved back. In what looked like to the knights an escape, after having kept the calm opposite to minor forces. The charge of the Silesian cavalry transformed in a career at full gallop, being disorganized and dispersed, looking for his prey. The Mongol archers were waiting for them in calmness, provided with their perforating cuirasses arrows. When the Silesian riders were inside their effective range, the Mongol archers covered them with arrows, knocking down many people and pulliing up sharply their clumsy assault. Already beaten the knights, the Mongol heavy cavalry charged against them and dissolved them. In turn, the light cavalry, screened by smoke bombs in his sector of advance, threw against the Silesian infantry, that were waiting at the end of the deployment. Behind, the Mongol heavy riders also charged, knocking down everything at their steps and killing the king Henry of Silesia.

When Wenceslao known about the disaster of the Silesians, stopped his march and moved back to protect Bohemia. Receiving for it reinforcements of the kingdoms of Saxony and Thuringia. The allied army formed in Klodzko, close to the gorges of the river Glatz, at 100 km to the south-east of Liegnitz. But, the Mongol reconnaissance detachments warned their princes of the dangers of those. In addition, the Mongol army corps had suffered enough losses in his raids and previous battles. In that moments, in less than one month of operations, 20 thousand Mongols had crossed around 650 km in enemy territory and gained 2 decisive battles. Poland was beaten and shocked and the Germans at the west of the Oder were moving back and preparing to defend their kingdoms.

The Bohemians, still intact, were at 400 km from the Hungarian defensive positions in the Danube. For what their army was operationally ineffective to achieve the decision in the Mongol attack to Hungary. To make sure of Wenceslao’s «intention», the Mongols realized a demonstration towards the west, inside Germany. Wenceslao pursued them. At a decided moment, the tumens deployed in small and slippery detachments. And, forming an almost invisible cloud for the enemy, they slipped for both sides of the Bohemian army and moved away from this.

In his retreat to meet Subodai, the Mongols crossed for Moravia, destroying his settlements, stores and fields. This way, they created a wide desert plateau, which would protect furthermore the right flank of the principal Mongol corps. On having left these lands unable to support for a time an army crossing it. In this secondary campaign Baidar and Kadan managed to eliminate any possibility that the Czechs, the Germans, the Poles and the Austrians were sending their troops in aid of the Hungarians. And they did it taking and keeping the initiative against a very numerous enemy, who was acting unco-ordinated. Whose principal weapon was the heavy cavalry, that acted only by the shock. And operating with a greater operational movement capacity, protected by the secrecy and the concealment, supported by a sufficient and constant information. And using in the combats decided by them the whole repertory of the tactics and technics of their cavalry, which were almost incomprehensible for the Europeans. And they could come in time of rejoining with Subodai’s corps at almost the end of the Hungarian campaign.




The near future of tactical reconnaissance.

Major tactical reconnaissance weapons, tanks and low level flying aircraft tend to be vulnerable to modern infantry antiaircraft and antitank missiles. They appeared on the battlefield in the 1970s and have become more effective since then. Since the mid 1990s, these rockets have been incorporating various technologies such as double active heads, multiple search engines, which allow them to discriminate against enemy decoys and secure the target, and those that allow them to use variable flying heights. For example, upcoming infantry tank rockets will be able to locate, define and confirm their target by magnetic distortions of the environment (generated by the relatively large metal mass of the tank), acoustic signals, heat emissions (human and motor and weapons) and short wave emissions. Their way to the target will oscillate to circumvent possible weapons deployed against them.

Resultado de imagen de deep range combat and reconnaissance patrols NEW ZEALAND’S LONG RANGE RECON PATROL.

All this will tend to give greater importance in the reconnaissance of to the deep range combat and/or reconnaissance patrols. They are inserted by air or river means, as close as possible to its operations area and designed to stay longer in it.

Combat reconnaissance: The immediate and continuous contact with the enemy and determination of the capabilities of the fighting ground.

Combat reconnaissance conducts ground reconnaissance, the relation of his own army’s adjacent units in established contact points and the location of the enemy to help determine the enemy’s intentions and characteristics. This latter mission is subordinate to the goal of obtaining intelligence. Every unit must establish it always, without need for specific orders. It is important to advance the subunits as rapidly as possible; if only is conducted by infantry, it may be necessary use vehicles to transport troops, who can then continue on foot.

In open flanks and exposed wings, its range must be adequately extensive. By means of anticipated patrols, combat reconnaissance constitutes in its actuation a real security for units in the front.

 Its organs are armored reconnaissance companies and platoons, reconnaissance patrols of units in the different sectors, observatories and forward platoons of artillery, etc. The platoon at disposal of the H. Q. and services company can be useful in the battalion area for rapid action.

Combat reconnaissance has a basic function to detect resistances and weaknesses in the enemy deployment and weapons, and in the “interfaces of action” created on him. It needs to use tested skill, sufficiently intense and never superficial, that is knowledge about the weaknesses of tactical units and the fortresses of opposing deployments, as well as its efforts to present the illusion of such deployments. It is important to act according to the mission and the gravity center of the effort ordered by the high command. Colonel Tor made this point in his book “Infantry” (page 31 Madrid, 1943), “…advance through the enemy weak points and fight from one’s own strong points».

Resultado de imagen de soldiers on patrol  A PATROL…

Information collected from various sources, becomes available intelligence and is transmitted to those interested.

The reconnaissance generates information on the different action levels and the ground, which it also recognizes. That must be converted into intelligence. This is the reasonably reliable and sufficient knowledge (never excessive or intoxicating) of the enemy, of his intentions and possibilities and of the terrain, in its possibilities of struggle, transitability (more than ground ongoing), etc. Received updated and without continuity solution.

The elaborating organs of intelligence are different for operational and combat reconnaissances, since also they both generate different types of information. The principal difference are their qualitatively different levels of actuation, in which they must give the set vision: enemy, area and possibilities. And that the need for combat intelligence is urgent and more continuous, and its transcendence, very fleeting, so it is much less elaborate and more direct to fighting units, from its reconnaissance.

Once intelligence is created, it is integrated by the superior command, G-2. It will then be transmitted to units and interested commanders. Transmission must be protected by all existing means, guaranteeing secrecy and its arrival to the addresses by means of double couriers, coding, etc.

Transmitted intelligence must assemble the suitable characteristics of the moment and ensure reliability, continuity, transmission security, and the wealth of content and its sufficiency. It must also be opportune and continuous. The security of transmission of intelligence affects plans and decisions that based on it. It must be sufficient, rich and trustworthy enough to give command, within a reasonable amount of time, as complete idea as possible of a situation and to plan for its possible evolution and factors that will affect that evolution. Sufficiency drastically limits the excesses of unnecessary information which disorients and tires those in command that try to use them.

G-2 is converted this way into the penetrating and lucid eyes of the operative command.

The security as “opposed complementary” of the reconnaissance.

The reverse of the own reconnaissance is the fight against the enemy reconnaissance and the intelligence. She has as purpose to blind the enemy about our intentions and deployments, depriving him of operational information on us or misleading them. Security is the “opposite” (complementary, not antagonistic) of our reconnaissance.

Resultado de imagen de soldiers on patrol   COVERING A SECTOR…

One of the active ways of fighting enemy reconnaissance is employing our operations security. Other is to employ advanced detachments, type reinforced platoons, to push back the enemy’s reconnaissance by means of mobile fighting with its center of gravity” focused on where his reconnaissance have to operate. A pushed back reconnaissance can give erroneous information to its intelligence on the actual possibilities of possible axes of advance towards us, our real capacities or our defensive intentions.

One purpose of security is the immediate protection of units against surprises and the unforeseen, by keeping a sufficient “combat readiness” for such situations. Units must also keep necessary forces alert as part of maintaining a practical reaction time. The tasks of security are to protect units from direct fire of infantry heavy weapons, to detect and avoid surprises, ambushes and enemy incursions and to detect and reject enemy reconnaissance. Every unit establishes at all times the security sector, zone (brigade or regiment) and area (division), according to its size. Between 1/3 and 1/6 of the unit, according to the situation, carry out security functions; the organs of which are the different sub units of the branches employed.

For camping units or in assembly areas of different classes, a safety line is established to delimit the protected units and at suitable points (accesses, etc.) double sentries are placed. At difficult to secure places (gorges, etc.) rapid mine barriers are placed. From this line, security units advance fixed and mobile patrols. Fixed patrols monitor critical security points (dominating points, enemy possible observatories, inevitable passing points, etc), relying on the mobile units to achieve always an active security.

Resultado de imagen de campos de minas militares  MINES BARRIER.

And, this so useful and simple, is always done? No, sir, not always.

«On June 10, 1944, soon after the midnight, the second battalion of the 29th division of infantry of U.S.A. was prepared to pass the night. The men had traveled approximately 25 kilometers over the last 20 hours. The official in charge of the battalion, Commander Maurice Clift, chose a zone of two meadows so that the troops were to spend the night in the open. The men entered the zone and set themselves up for sleep along terraced hedges. They were so tired that no one bothered to untie their rucksacks and personal equipment. The majority fell asleep at once. Some heard the noise of approaching engines but thought they were American vehicles.

However, the vehicles were actually German tanks and trucks belonging to the 352nd infantry division. Unknown to each side, the Germans had been withdrawing along the same route that the American battalion followed in its advance. When they stopped, the German explorers detected the North American movements encamped in the meadows. They quietly advanced and surrounded the meadows.

Suddenly, the Germans threw flares. Under the sinister light, almost as brilliant as the midday light, its assault cannons opened fire on the hedges against the Americans. Along one of the hedges a platoon got up and was cut down by the German machine guns. Many Americans, scared and disoriented, were running in search of a way out of the meadow while the German infantries continued knocking them down them with repetitive fire. The shells of the German mortars were falling all over the meadows. The Americans responded with weak rifle fire, directed at the opposite hedges, which ran the risk of hitting either the Germans or their own men.

«It was terrible”, a survivor told General Cota. «We crawled more than 90 meters out of the field when we heard from behind the shouts of our men. I thought that the Germans were launching a bayonet charge against them».

The commander of second battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Warfield had his command post in a farm close to the highway. Warfield tried in vain to establish a defense. Those officials who ran from the house towards the field were brought down rapidly. A German shouted in English to the command group: «Give up, give up!». «We will certainly not give up!”, roared Warfield. He tried to lead a small group towards meadow where the rest of his men were, but was killed instantly.

The battle lasted around 20 minutes. The battalion had 150 casualties with some 50 dead, slightly more than one third of its effective force. Just before dawn a gravely injured young lieutenant who was reporting to his division commander, General Charles Gerhardt, fell down suddenly on his knees and struck the soil with his fists, sobbing that he was sorry that all his men were dead and that he had left them where they had fallen.

General Gerhardt was angry. “Without regard for safety, he shouted, The battalion simply came to the field to fall asleep».


The reconnaissance generates information of the different operational levels of military action. This must be turned into intelligence. That is the reasonably trustworthy and sufficient knowledge of the enemy, his intentions and capacities and the fighting possibilities and transitability of fields, etc. To enable us to take a “founded resolution”, based on the use of our means and fighting forms, in accordance with our objectives.

Concepts y Principles of the Reconnaissance.

Reconnaissance is one of the most important functions to be fulfilled by units during operations. The information it provides, how it is elaborated and transmitted and to whom is a fundamental part of intelligence. This, finally, is one of the key factors of decisive command.

Resultado de imagen de SDKFZ 263.    SDKFZ 263.

Reconnaissance can be divided into strategic, operational or tactical and combat, according to its mission and the area it encompasses. The strategic one seeks to uncover key information about the enemy in the operations deep theater: his concentrations of forces, his great movements, his important defensive lines and possible surface targets, etc. A surface target becomes a “destruction zone” by the effective action of heavy weapons of destruction, for example, reactive artillery or tactical nuclear devices.

The operational or tactical reconnaissance tries to define the situation and the intentions of the enemy in the operations area of the great units, type division, corps or army. It determines the movements of the enemy in the border zone between forces, his formations and deployments, his defense lines and possible surface targets. This reconnaissance is carried out by aviation, drones, specific reconnaissance units and the reinforced reconnaissance armored battalion of the corps. In this respect, a total connection and complement must exist in the missions of aviation and ground reconnaissance and keeping in mind that its task is never of fighting.  

The reinforced reconnaissance battalion operates in a sector of up to 60 kilometers wide and 100 kilometers deep. Its advance over the parent unit must be at least 6 hours in order to utilize gathered information. On the basis of its reconnaissance order, battalion commander, keeping his companies always under control, can send up to 16 patrols of 3 vehicles to covering his sector, looking always for a gravitational center of the deployment. Having done this, he can send on the concentric center of the effort up to 2 patrols’ echelons, being relieved or being inserted, according to the used method. Finally, if the area to reconnoiter is occupied by the enemy, he can advance his companies as attack spears, under the screen of advance patrols. The battalion must not infiltrate very deeply inside the enemy deployment, if there exists a serious risk of being isolated.

Resultado de imagen de Panhard AML-245    PANHARD AML 245.

Not all Armies have given or given sufficient value to this last reconnaissance type, which depends on their military doctrine.

All the operational principles of reconnaissance could be summarized as follows: Always focus on the objective received from the command (its mission is to generate information, the combat will be done by others), seeking the maximum use of time and its means, getting and maintaining contact with the enemy and never losing the freedom of action. It will allow him to perform and to escape, without being caught by ever higher forces.

The tactical reconnaissance is also needed in the urban combats. Not always the tactical reconnaissance penetrates too much in the disputed or enemy area. The industrial or populated zones, full of «concealing relative heights» and staggered in depth, which offer protection from the enemy sights, even nearby, and covers against the light and heavy fire, «thicken» considerably the tactical maneuver of the contenders. Reducing this way, the depth of the fighting zone of the infantry. So, masses of the artillery, as batteries and medium groups of it, are deployed at very short distance to his enemy. In a artillery fighting zone then very next to the forward limit of the own defense position.

On October 9, 1942 a patrol of Soviet reconnaissance entered behind the German lines in Stalingrad, seeking to detect the enemy movements in his rear. The 4 men sheltered in an auxiliary railroad coach, torn and left, placed in a railroad between the workshops of the Red October factory (where before were made metallic pieces and small weapon), at North-East of the city. And the disputed Mamaiev hill, towards the geographical center of Stalingrad, which was offering grand sights on most of the city.

Resultado de imagen de Engesa EE-9 Cascavel brasileño. ENGESA EE-9 CASCAVEL.

During almost the whole day they remained in that hiding place, communicating by radio to his lines the German activity. They had located several dozens of German mortars and howitzers, accompanied by the trucks which were moving his ammunition, by the rear roads to some emplacements placed in the suburbs of Stalingrad’s west. Also they located numerous mortars and pieces placed in a glen at the north of the Mamaiev hill, doing fire against the Soviet positions in the city.

On having got dark, the explorers broke a telephonic cable of the fixed enemy network of communications and hoped that the Germans were coming to repair it. Very soon they observed the light of a lantern and when the soldier came closer, killed him to shots. One of the Soviets disguised himself with his uniform and placed close to the route of the railroad, hoping that another German came closer the cut cable. Soon another lantern started approaching by the way. The soldier fell in the ambush and the explorers made it unconscious. On having recovered, he met 4 Soviets of foot together near him. Pulled down the soldier Willy Brandt gave his name, range and unit of belonging. Psychologically they had already gained the hand on him.

Resultado de imagen de drones guerra Vietnam   DRONE AQM-34 Ryan Firebee, IN VIETNAM.

Immediately afterwards, the German told to the explorers that 94th German infantry division had come to the factories zone from the south of the city, that 24th panzer division was going towards there and that the Fuehrer had ordered that Stalingrad should be totally taken by October, 15. This confirmed to them the reason of the extensive movements estimated by them in the German operational zone.

For the small reconnaissance patrol, to take with it after his lines, a prisoner already interrogated, was more a nuisance and a danger that a minimal success. And, in spite of the hardness, even the brutality, of the combats in the city, they neither killed, nor mutilated him. The Soviets reported to Brandt that had revealed military secrets, took him to the railroad line and indicated the direction that he had to continue to reach his comrades and left him free”.

But, what is this of speaking about operational reconnaissance in the age of the electronics, the robotics and the computer science?

Almost 50 years ago, the North Americans had developed an arsenal of electronic devices, directed to the vigilance (surveillance) of his enemies in Vietnam. Already they had reconnaissance drones to monitor «from above» their guerrilla slippery enemy. That transmitted his images by television to the planes of detection and transmission, placed at dozens of km from the observed zone.

Resultado de imagen de sensor ADSID   ADSID SENSORS .

The principal sensor used in the remote vigilance was the ADSID (Air Delivered Seismic Intruder Device). It was thrown principally from the F-4 Phantom, following guidelines of navigation by radar, in order to cover adequately the observing zone, as a traffic route of men and vehicles, a parking or store. The device measured 91 cm. of length and 15 cm. of diameter. And on having fallen down was remaining almost buried, opening then a transmitting aerial of 120 cm. height, camouflaged as if it was a defoliated bush. His battery allowed it to issue during a month and half.

With these sophisticated artifices they were trying to observe the traffic of goods and men by the Ho Chi Minh Route, the route of supplies of the Popular Army of North Vietnam and the Vietcong in South Vietnam. It was a highly branched out and protected route that, departing from North Vietnam penetrated in Laos and crossed it. And then, detached diverse routes towards the different communist operations zones in South Vietnam.

The program «White Igloo» destined 1,7 thousands of million dollars between 1966 and 1971, for these tasks of compilation of information with the ADSID. With the information gathered from the traffic in the routes, the Americans were deciding the interdiction bombardment actions, using his different air devices, including the invisible and inaudible (with his cruise height) B-52 strategic bombardiers. At the beginning of 1971, the information of the aerial photos after the bombardments, taken by planes that were flying after the assault formations, allowed the analysts to suppose that the «war of trucks» was causing a very severe effort to the industrial capacity of the suppliers of North Vietnam (the USSR and China).

Resultado de imagen de Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System  A BOEING OF THE JSTARS SYSTEM.

But, if it was true that were destroying so many trucks and equipment, how was possible that the communists were keeping the tactical initiative in South Vietnam? On the other hand, where were the tens of thousands of remains of trucks that literally had to cover many of the ways and parks of the Route? Who were bothering to remove them? The response was given soon by the American junior officers: they were ate by a monster called the «Great Laotian Truck Eater»; a horrible rotten that was getting up towards the dawn and was devouring the vehicles destroyed by the aviation during the night, after the photography for «wreck count». Because the Americans are very scrupulous with the statistics and consider the lie an almost inexcusable social sin for his civil servants.

Up to today, almost 50 years later, the electronics, the robotics and the computer science have continued improving. But it does not seem that they are useful in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, to detect a “donkey bomb”; to avoid that group of cruel fanatics without God («as Allah does the Good, make you also the Good and do not promote the corruption (the “evil», the Noble Koran orders them), destroys great part of one of the principal mosques sanctuaries of the chiism in Samarra; to know if in an Iraqi or Syrian house are terrorists or only a terrified Arabic family, before demolishing her with heavy fire from a distance and extremely, according to his military operational doctrine.

In addition, during enough time still the air and spatial American means, as spy satellites, drones or not crewed planes and planes of the system Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), will have serious limitations for the detection and check of small ground, even regular, forces. In the areas of difficult transitability and with possibilities of concealment, as mountains, jungles and forests, marshes and urbanized zones (industrial, of logistics, and of housings). Those not only offer concealment, but also coverings from the fire up to the near combat distances.

The Americans do not use the tactical reconnaissance, which demands some tactical characteristics of semi independent elite forces and a specific moral courage. And that is one of the most difficult tasks of the infantry. They use the combat reconnaissance and call her, expressively, reconnaissance.




The author realizes a methodical and deep critique of the different fighting forms in each of the historical epochs.

It is specially hard and mordant with the form of fight of the Germans during the World War II. His aim is to degrade and minimize it, to reduce it importance and validity in the history of the ground operations. Depriving this way the evolution of the American theory on the those operations, of any intellectual influence or debt with the doctrine of the German war.

The one that the author considers to be more opportunist and tactics, that complete and scientific. And he thinks that it was favored in its results by the lacks and the mistakes of its enemies. It is possible that an academic analysis of the form of German fight, approaches to give this verdict.

But, the evidence is the touchstone of the reality without appearances. And the case is that the Germans triumphed widely and extensively with that one, during the first stage of the World War II in Europe: 1939 1942. During which, his enemies could learn of the tactics, technologies and the German operational strategy. Since it extended too much in the time, on having multiplied the theatres of the war.

Imagen relacionada

And that, in the last phase of the war: 1943-1945, the Germans were exceeded, overwhelmed and, finally, defeated. To what contributed the qualitative and quantitative differences in the logistic flows, which supported both armed rivals; the enormous bleeding of the German commands and cadres, which turned out to be irrecoverable and reduced the qualities of his units; and the quantitative demography of the Allies.

Naveh grants wide quality and esteem to the military doctrine of the Soviets. That he considers to be scientific, because it was following a linear process of arguments, logic and results (that for a long time, were only longed for or foreseen). And that was adapting and guiding specifically and really, to an army of slightly educated masses and nourished by a resounding demography. That always had an insufficient logistic support, when it was not precarious. The mechanization of the infantry to collaborate with the tanks, was always a longing and a hope, more than an average real capacity.

Resultado de imagen de germany military power ww2

At the first times after the Bolshevik revolution, even directed by the young theorist of the deep maneuver, general Mikhail Tujachevski, the Russian armies remembered «slow and exhausting hordes» in their marches. That were living for the sustenance from the own or strangly territory where they were advancing. The men more relatively educated, always scanty, were enlisted in the technical weapons: artillery, engineers, aviation. Or in the most effective and necessary branches for the penetration and the exploitation of the enemy operational rear: tanks, Guard infantry.

Finally, Shimon Naveh concentrates his efforts, summary and praises in the long process of development of the American AirLand Battle doctrine and his following updates. Whose kindness and efficiency got reality in the air and ground offensive against the Iraqi regime in the War of the Gulf of 1991, looking for the liberation of Kuwait from the power of Saddam Hussein. War that was the touchstone of that doctrine supposedly culminada.

Initiated the ground offensive, the American forces and his allies rapidity faced to practically all the Iraqi forces that were occupying and defending Kuwait. From the Persian Gulf operated the naval forces, that threatening with an amphibious disembarkation on the narrow coasts of the emirate. From the south, the American marines took charge in fixing the Iraqi forces of the south flank of the defense. Confirming this way, for the Iraqis, that the assault front of the allies would be the south and east.

Resultado de imagen de soviet polish war THE SOVIET POLISH WAR OF 1920.

But, at the south of Iraq / Kuwait, the bulk of the Allies mechanized forces penetrated in whirlwind along the western front of the Iraqi deployment, blind and static. Immediately afterwards to be divided this allied deployment in several advance spears, over all the Iraqi units of this flank.

The campaign was a great atrition operation: of the strongest against the strong, for the major technological means and capacities of the Allies. Where a simultaneous assault was looked, to the Soviet style, to all the steps of the enemy order of battle and in the depth of his defensive rigid deployment. In the south of this one there existed armored or motorized Iraqi divisions, ready to counter-attack any allied penetration. Towards the center and north, there was the thickness of the Republican Guard, ready to counter-attack any operational Allied action.

Where a simultaneous attack was looked for, of the Soviet style, to all the levels of the enemy order of battle and in the depth of his defensive rigid deployment. In the south of this existed armored or motorized Iraqi divisions, ready to counter-attack any Allied penetration. Towards the center and north, was the bulk of the Republican Guard, ready to counter-attack any Allied operational action.

The concentrations, maneuvers and actions neither were searching, nor had, a gravity center of the efforts. That was successively defined and applied as the campaign was developing. But, using the already mentioned advantages, the allied forces were seeking to fix and crush the enemy units at their range, by a direct and almost joint form. Creating really this way, a battle of encircle and annihilation, of the family of Cannas and Tannenberg, where the liquidation of the siege was done by parts and was uniformly accelerated in the time.

Resultado de imagen de soviet polish war SWEEPING THE RUSSIAN HORDES.

The Iraqi divisions at the east were submitted to the central and direct control of Saddam Hussein and his Central Staff. That depriving them of initiative, flexibility and freedom of action. If not, some Allies’s corps or divisions could have been put in difficulties by the action of some great Iraqi unit. After the beginning of the ground attack and having the Allies the air supremacy in the campaign, the Iraqis were deprived of the operational exploration. So, the surrounding maneuver of the Allies by the east and towards their rearward, was concealed to them.



The operational Strategy in the Irregular War.

Naveh, nevertheless, does not approach, far from it penetrates and analyzes, a type of war that already existed from a lot of time ago. Before the genesis and ripeness of the American operational strategy. And that is the guerrilla warfare, word taken from the Spanish by all the languages. The one that, pompously, the Anglo-Saxons called war of IVth generation. Though it is almost as ancient as the human conflict. The modern technological armies find difficulties to face this form of fight. Using the means, the doctrine and his regulations, the order of battle and the trainings with which they are provided.

The guerrilla war is synonymous of long and deeply rooted conflict in the civil society, where it appears and develops. It is of low military intensity, except in its last stage (if she reaches it) and of great ideological politicization and polarization of the rivals. These characteristics do that inevitably the civilians are involved in her and that the military conflict is arbitrary, hard and cruel. There face positions and antagonistic interests, which, in the use of the violence, derive towards her limits and that of the suffering of whom involve her.

The author might speak about the application of the operational strategy in the guerrilla warfare. Or used in the direction and the operations of the elite units (marines, rangers, SEALs, etc.), that realize counterinsurgency missions. Here, the gravit centers of the efforts, globally coordinated, include the economic, military, political and social areas. And will exist in these fields and will be applied in a harmonic, joint and coordinated way. Working for a common and convergent effort, using different combinations of means in the different cases that appear.

A central counterinsurgency command will exist, that must bring together and direct the efforts, means and actions. In agreement with the specialization of the means that act and the actions and the aims that are looked for in each of the mentioned levels or fields of action. A characteristic of the acts and their effects is that they must be convergent. Looking for the multiplication and increase of these and the synergy of the first ones. This way, in any action, from a level of forces, budget or looked for results, will act the Counterinsurgency Command.

As examples, in the military area will be gravity centers the semipermanent bases, the communications between the bands and with the countrymen, including the logistics, and the movements of the rebels groups. The static defense will be kept in the centers and means necessary for the effort of war. Others will have to defend by a system of garrisons for the defense of the territory. That will be supported by a military system of mobile patrols and of reconnaissance and of ground attack aviation. The special units will realize deep incursions of attack, exploration and harassment in the areas in dispute with the guerrillas or in power of these.

The Tactical or Operational Military Success. Its Signs.


It is not a question of defining how to act, thing that already we try to do in other published articles or that they will be in a future. But that, perceiving in the operations development certain facts, guidelines or behaviors of the conflicting parts and of the objective conditions (of the ground, etc.), we will be able to diagnose a very probable forecast for the culmination of those operations.

This way, we will be able to trust in and to rest on these favorable forecasts. And to reinforce mental and physically our signs of the Tactical and Operational Military Success. To control better the fears, worries, assignments of the scanty forces, uncertainties, endless lacks, unexpected bad understanding, recoverable frustrations and the partial crises. Which will arise inevitably during the operations development.

The main Signs of the Tactical or Operational Military Success to look for:

The Signs of Tactical or Operational Success about Us:

The operational military plans will be simple, flexible and with capacities of alternative developments. They must be capable of adjusting to the unforeseen and the contingencies. And endlessly incorporating intelligence updates about the intentions and possibilities of the enemy and ground reconnaissance. This is specially important in maneuver operations.

There will exist an operational own initiative, that will allow us to develop our plans. Always using us the activity, even in the defense. And keeping endlessly the action freedom and given priority to its recovery, in case of its loss.

The own exploration and intelligence are fundamental, the more creative and risky is the operation to realizing. Reciprocally, the enemy exploration and his perceptions will be pushed back and/or be disturbed systematically. Will be included in this repulse and mixtify, the security of the units, false positions, advanced detachments and combat patrols, fogs and smokes, the combat for the wireless communications, etc.

The knowledge of the enemy and his actions will be always incomplete and imperfect. And will be extended with the evolution of the situation in relation to him. They will not be known temporarily, even positions, movements, combat readiness, deployments or fundamental units. But not those that affect us direct and tactically in our operation under way. On those we will place the gravity center of our exploration. That will be even “in force” against certain enemy hard objectives.

The own combat capacity for the propose operation will be sufficient and will be equipped, distributed and protected. Considering the friction and inevitable minor errors, derivatives of our own military activity in the hyperfunctional chaotic environment, and the necessary reserves. Our security will inexorably be kept during the operation and in the consolidation of occupied terrain. And specially defending, with combat detachments, the advance sectors of our “mobile groups” operating in the enemy operational rear.

Decisions on which tactical battle areas will be engaged, will consider: accessibility (whether they offer neutral or favorable transitability); vulnerability, whether one’s forces can apply sufficient combat capacity against an enemy, in an area that had not attracted much of his attention; transcendent, the action will produce the decision or will contribute decisively to her and the tactical result will have operational efficiency.

One example is the operational counterattack of the German Armies Group Don of Marshal Von Manstein. That was carried out between February and March of 1943 in the Donbass river basin and around the city of Kharkov. Let us remember the development of this counterattack, its tactical combats and their effect on the “sui generis” Tanks Army of General Lieutenant Popov (Group Popov), the Infantry Armies and both Tank Corps as the mobile reserve of the Southwest Front of General Vatutin and, apart and also, the 3rd Tanks Army of Lieutenant General Ribalko.

The logistics is an essential piece of the victory. When the armies are modern, mechanized and technical. And they are, this way, highly dependent on the fuels, the spares, the supplies of all kinds and on the rotation or reinstatement of units. It is supposed tactic and operationally that the means of all kinds are available and more or less nearby. To support the impulse, the fire and the operative efficiency of all the “units of action”, it is necessary to guarantee them a constant and sufficient flow of the mentioned means. Therefore, the commands must take the actions to defend the «physical support» of the logistic structure. Specially against assaults from the enemy depth or in sensitive and critical points or in the routes most far from our units. Constituted by all the “supplying routes”, from the units up to our operational rear. And that are still more important that the so called “retreat routes”. Though they could coincide in some sections. Among other things, because the modern forces must count with remaining isolated for a certain time. And keeping in this period their tasks, in agreement with the entrusted missions.

The Signs of our Tactical or Operational Military Success about the Enemy:

There will be a passiveness or operational delay in the enemy. Generally he will act with an intention that is not convergent with our own. And, at least, not harmful for our operation, especially in the first stages of the process. When she develops her impetus or push or movement quantity (combat capacity X average sustainable speed, in every stage). This sign of the tactical or operative success is a «pear in sweet», that not always will give itself so clearly, as in the following example.

It is worth to remember the development of the Blitzkrieg in the West and invasion of France by Germany in the spring of 1940. The main part of the French maneuver troops, their three more modern armies, and the British Expeditionary Force rushed toward Holland and Belgium to stop the German scythe-like advance. That was supposed directed at the interior of France and the rear of her Maginot line. The Allied High Commands, whose doctrine had not evolved, were thinking that in May 1940 Germany would repeat their “Schlieffen modified plan” of 1914 in their new invasion of France.

Resultado de imagen de INVASION francia 1940 THE OPERATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

Resultado de imagen de INVASION francia 1940 ITS RESULT

In agreement with the new plan of General Erich Von Manstein, really the “blow of scythe” was given by the Armies Group A of colonel general Von Rundstedt. Which was possessing as spear lance the Panzer Group of general Von Kleist. His five Panzer and five Motorized divisions, integrated in three Panzer Corps, were going to cross the Ardennes and to carry on a wide break in the French line around Sedan. Turning then rapidly towards the west and pressing finally on the flank and the rear of the Allied forces in Belgium. Which would find operationally isolated, with their line of communications, support of their logistics of supply, cut off.

The tactical enemy activity is inevitable. It will be permanent, harmful and even it will be unexpected and will partially affect us. But it will not be fundamental for our plans. Remember that we are looking for signs of our success, not those of the enemy. The best sign of maturity will be that it does not worry excessively to our tactical or operational commands. If this activity did not exist, it would be because the enemy was not there. To overcome and to get used to these tactical accessory crises and not be left to drag by them, harming our principal operation, is the touchstone of the serenity of the commands. Always we must bear in mind the possibility that the enemy appears tactically in «the moment and in the zone» more inconvenient and difficult for us. If it does it operatively it is that we have incurred a mistake of intelligence or of the valuation of the correlation of forces and of the enemy capacities or intentions.

Napoleon, without getting to exhaust the reserves, but without they were exceeding, attended to the different local tactical crises that appeared in Austerlitz’s battle. After the occupation of Pratzen’s heights by two infantry divisions of the Army Corp of marshal Soult. This sealed the destruction of the joint Russian Austrian army and his Austerlitz’s victory.


Let’s see the process of development of the tactical containment of the Allied enemy. With the enemy forces concentration attacking the supposed tactical and operative (without protecting the line of retreat towards Vienna) Frenchmen deployment weakness. The grenadiers of Oudinot were sent from the Zurland hill to support the south flank, where the principal battle was getting away. Bernadotte advanced up to Blaswitz village, to cover the Soult’s north flank. The Murat’s cavalry reserve, in the Santon hill, the left flank (at north) of the French deployment, had to fight against Liechtenstein’s cavalry, to support the novices of Lannes’s Corp who were defending it. Kutusov managed to bring towards Pratzen part of the forces of his left wing (at south). And Soult, attacked by three sides, had to employ part of the general artillery reserve to contain the enemy with its wearing fire. Around 1 p. m. Constantine and the imperial Russian Guard counter-attacked the already tired Frenchmen in Pratzen. Their first line yielded. The cavalry of the French Imperial Guard, who had been advanced by Napoleon, supervised by marshal Béssiers and general Rapp, attacked the Russians and put them in escape. And Bernadotte, from Blauswitz, sent a division in support of the center of the punished French deployment.