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

(CONTINUATION)

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 END.

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

(CONTINUATION)

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.

THE MONGOLS INVADE EASTERN EUROPE (1238-1241). 2nd. PART.

(CONTINUATION)

 

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.

THE END.

THE MONGOLS INVADE EASTERN EUROPE (1238-1241).

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.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Genesis and practice of the Russian strategy of deep incursion. 2nd Part.

Incursion to Tatsinskaya’s airport in the Christmas of 1942

The Deep Incursion to Tatsinskaya.

In the exploitation of the break success, Vatutin threw on December 18, the 24 Corps of Tanks (Badanov) to attack and occupy Tatsinskaya and the 25 Corps of Tanks (Pavlov), against Morozovskaya‘s airport. Behind them, advanced the 1st. Mechanized Corps of the Guard, following their moving directions, to support and stimulate it and to eliminate the resistances of the enemy units remains in his deep rear. Badanov had 5 thousand men, 300 trucks, 90 tanks T-34 and 55 light tanks T-70. These, for his characteristics of fire, armour, mobility and with 2 crew members for the multiple tasks, were not suitable companions of the first ones. The infantry brigade of the Corps had the task of the occupation the aims captured by the tanks.

Resultado de imagen de soviet infantry over tanks Soviet infantry tanks riders.

Resultado de imagen de nikolai vatutinLieutenant General Nikolai Vatutin, chief of the Southwest Front.

The orders were not right and both Corps should go on eliminating the enemy resistances in his advance sectors, distracting from his main goal. Badanov also received orders to facilitate the advance of the I Guard Army, on which he was depending and that followed him at distance, increasing the exploitation. The radio communications with Vatutin and the I Guard Army were insufficient and spasmodic, due to the increasing distance and the characteristics of his only transmitter RSB-F. That, for example, had in march 30 Km of range.

From the second day of march, the support to both mobile groups by the 17º Soviet Air Army was diminishing drastically. In a winter hard environment, with a poor road network, the armoured vehicles and the trucks of troops and supplies were advancing slow and dificultly. This did that the ground support planes of both rivals could attack, without risk, the enemy vehicles and was favoring the Germans.

Resultado de imagen de general Vasily Badanov Major General Vasily Badanov.

Both Corps of Tanks were advancing towards his aims with great effort from the drivers and deployed in brigades, forming 2 or 3 echelons of march. Seeking to save fuel and to keep controlled the almost 500 vehicles of a Corps. Only there was daylight between 7 and 15:30 hours. Though on the paper, Vatutin was waiting for an advance of 50 km per day and calculated 5 days of march to reach both aims, placed at 240-250 Km, the results were of scarcely 25 Km per day.

At 25 Km from Tatsinskaya and 30 Km from Morozovskaya the Bystraya river was traversing. The Germans placed to the south of this natural without reinforcing obstacle, several Kampfgruppen or Task Forces, created ad hoc to prevent the enemy advance and to exhaust it. Von Manstein knew this incursion and wanted to protect, by all means, the airports. This way, he withdrew 6ª Panzer Division from Hoth, to create a mobile reserve for the Group of Armies Don

Resultado de imagen de field marshal von manstein Fieldmarshall Erich von Manstein.

Against 24 Corps faced 4 small Kampfgruppen, which eroded it. The Gruppe Spang designated with the name of his command, faced in a difficult fight the 25 Corps of Tanks. Pavlov thought that it was a German small resistance and, forgetting his strategic aim and instead of flanking it cleanly, he attacked it. The Gruppe received the air support of a dozen of the dive bombers JU-87, that were returning quickly to his base to refuel, and that teared to pieces Pavlov’s unarmed tanks. The arrival of 1er. Mechanized Corps of the Guard allowed Pavlov to get out of the combat and to continue his march to Morozovskaya, though his Corps was exhausted in his combat capacity and with its fuel spoiled.

Pavlov came up to Uryupin, at 25 Km from Morozovskaya. But, the bombers placed in this airport submitted it to hard attacks, that reduced his combat capacity to 25 tanks with scantiest fuel. The Mechanized Corps, after a day of combat with the Gruppe Spang, was also very reduced and was not in conditions to support it. With which, were eliminated the possibilities of an assault to Morozovskaya.

Resultado de imagen de Kampfgruppe Spang 1942 Karl Spang, as German general.

One of the great disadvantages of these operations of deep incursion was also the absence of the logistic support to the operational units. This required them to advance, attack and occupy up to the exhaustion of his available resources. But, they did not have another option.

Tatsinskaya’s Defense.

The commaner of the airport was the lieutenant general Fiebig, commander of the VIII Air Corps of the Luftwaffe. On November, 30 he was nominated Chief of the Air Supply to Stalingrado. And he established his H.Q. in Tatsinskaya, which was occupied by the Germans on July, 21. Fiebig was a good organizer, so his appointment was justified, but he did not rise to the occasion, as tactical commander, neither in the defense, nor in the evacuation of the airport before the Soviet assault.

From the safety of Berlin and already failing the ground rescue, Goering ordered Fiebig that his men should resist in Tatsinskaya. And only will evacuate it when the Soviets already were firing in his runway. This did that Fiebig was late beyond the prudence in giving the evacuation order. And only the fogs, the enemy weariness, and the exiguous Soviet forces, 20 tanks and 55 infantrymen, who assaulted Tatsinskaya, allowed to evacuate the majority of the parked planes.

Resultado de imagen de general Martin Fiebig Luftwaffe Lieutenant General Martin Fiebig

The base force were 1800 men, without counted the crews and mechanics of the planes. They had, at the moment of the assault, 2 88 mm cannons and 4 cannons of rapid shot of 20 mm, since great part of the artillery was tranfered to the Kampgruppen entrusted to block the Soviet advances. The Germans did not organize any defense in Tatsinskaya. When the explorers of 24 Corps approached the airport in the night of 23, observed that the anti-aircraft positions were not occupied and that did not exist ground defenses.

The assault to Tatsinskaya.

Finally, at 8:30 of December 24, tanks of the 130 Brigade of tanks (Nestorov) assaulted Tatsinskaya’s airport from the east and some tanks of 54 Brigade of Tanks (in reserve) penetrated by the northwest at the end of the operation.

Until that evening, Badanov did not give for finished Tatsinskaya’s and his surroundings capture. Near 125 planes of the Luftwaffe escaped and came to other airports of the Axis. The Soviet mediocre gun fire and the impacts between planes at the takeoff destroyed 50 planes. But, the Lufwaffe already had lost 250 airplanes between November and December, 1942 during Stalingrado’s air supply, due to breakdowns, the weather and the enemy action. The Germans had 100 fallen, between dead and wounded, and 350 men were captured.

The 24 Corps still had 39 T-34 and 19 T-70. And each tank had less than 40 rounds for the principal weapon and its remaining fuel allowed it to cover 50 km. Badanov transmitted to Vatutin that he was assuming the defense of his positions.

Resultado de imagen de T-70 light tank T-70 Russian light tank.

Similar to what happened with the VI Army of the Wehrmatch, at 7:30 of the 26th, Badanov received a Vatutin’s message: «His Corps has been transformed into a unit of the Guard. You has granted Suvorov’s Order of 2º degree». But, the happiness never lasts very much in house of the poor man. The situation was indefensible and, four days later, Badanov broke, slipping, the functional, not physical siege. To which he was submitted by the different German units that were coming on the 24 Corps of Tanks of the Guard. At the end of the operation Small Saturn and by indication of Stalin, Badanov was nominated commander of the remains of the three Corps Mechanized and of Tanks that took part in this deep incursion. But, possessing each one less than 20 tanks, they were too weak to carry out a joint operational action.

THE END

Genesis and practice of the Russian strategy of deep operation.

Incursion to Tatsinskaya’s airport in the Christmas of 1942

Introduction.

After the invasion of the USSR by the 3 Groups of Armies of the Wehrmatch (North, C; Center, B; South, A) on June 22, 1941, remained clear the higher capacity and efficiency of these, opposite to the Soviet armies deployed in the border and in the strategic rear. The disorder was general in the Red Army, as evidence of his demoralization and lack of a military modern doctrine, after Stalin‘s purges of 1937. That was worried that the force and capacity of the Red Army, could turn it into a rival of the Party and of himself in the distribution of the State powers. In addition, the social characteristics of the Soviets were making them more inclined to the obedience, the resistance and the sobriety and less towards the originality, the assumption of responsibilities and the take of decisions of the commands and his men. Then, the Red Army only had some real capacity of fight in the artillery and in the almost inexahustible demography of the Sovíet country.

This prompt did that the strategists and planners of the Red Army realized that, if they wanted to survive, stabilize his nation and the army and begin to gain the war, they had to start gaining all the battles that were turning out to be strategic for this social military effort. This way, on one hand, they began to deepen and develop the operational and strategic defense, connecting her with the operational counter-offensive, establishing fortified in depth zones, areas and regions, and creating mobile reserves in the different steps of fight.

Resultado de imagen de ROTMISTROV Colonel General Pavel Romistrov, commander of the 5º Tank Army of the Guard.

For the great positive actions, of assault or counterattack and victory, of exploitation and consolidation, the high commands of the Stavka or Central High Staff of the Red Army, presided by Stalin, developed throughout several years the Tanks Armies. By 1944, in the order of battle of the Red Army existed up to six of the above mentioned strategic Armies. They were destined to operate independently in the operational (up to 80 Km in the depth) and, even, strategic rear (up to 200-250 Km) of the Wehrmatch and his allies.

His tasks were to attack, occupy, consolidate and defend some area or important city, which was not capable of offering an effective defense; to spread the destruction, the disorganization and the panic in his «zone of advance» in the enemy rear, using also the «tactical influence» that was generating on the enemy, at both flanks of it and in function to his distance to it, measure in time of arrival. Behind this great strategic unit, would advance the «mass of support» of the armies of the Soviet Front at which the Army of Tanks was subordinated. That would initiate his exploitation operations, after concluding the irruption and break of the defensive enemy front by the infantry or shock Armies of the Front or Soviet Group of Armies, due supported by the heavy fire, the engineers and the supporting tanks.

Resultado de imagen de task force baum Telegram of condolence of the General Assistant of the Secretary of the War to the family of one of the «missing persons» of the «Task Force Baum». 

This is theoretically easy and simple. But it is necessary to count for his accomplishment with the almost innumerable collective (small units, units and great units) and personnels actions, that are the source of mistakes, failures and diversions, in relation with the foreseen in the calculations and plans. It is necessary to have, to put it into practice, a military well trained organization, which guarantees the constant and sufficient flow of communications, updated intelligence and logistic. It is needed the appropriate, coordinated and convergent action of the units used in the complex and successive operations. It is necessary to count with the transitability characteristics of the areas of operations, influenced not only by his orography, but also by the network ways, the waterways that should cut more or less perpendicularly the ways, the climate, the seasons, the moments of the day. In March, 1945, the general George Patton arranged a deep incursion, not authorized by his superiors, using the Taskforce Baum (integrated by approximately 314 soldiers and 16 tanks) to 80 Km behind the German lines and at few days of the capitulation of the IIIrd Reich. His mission was to rescue a group of American prisoners, who were in Hammalburg. The result was disillusioning and the action, for painful, was not too much spread to know. The attackers were surrounded by the German forces and destroyed by his counterattacks. Only 11 % of the men returned to the lines of the famous Army III of the U.S. Army.

Antecedents and Introductions.

On November 23, 1942 at 2 p.m., the VI German Army, the most powerful great military unit of the Wehrmatch, got definitively surrounded in Stalingrad by several Soviet Fronts. The Operation Uranus was creating a strategic siege. And the contact of the VI Army and other units of the IIIrd Reich or of his allies, 267.000 soldiers of the Axis, with other units of this one by land, already did not exist. In Stalingrad, the Germans did not have the shuttle of ferries crossing the Volga, to supply the city and to re-equip and re-put the sieged mlitary units, as the Soviets had.

Resultado de imagen de friedrich von paulus Recent Marshal von Paulus surrenders his Staff in Stalingrad.

The nearest airports in hands of the Germans were those of Tatsinskaya and Morozovskaya, at west of Stalingrad. In them, the colonel general Wolfram von Richtofen, command of 4 ª Air Fleet of the Wehrmatch, placed rapidly a tasks group of transport, bombardiers and fighters, with the mission to move the military and material supplies to all the sieged ones. Von Paulus, command of the surrounded forces, was promised to deliver 500 Tm daily of supplies. But, the daily average delivered during the siege was 100 Tm. And only one day, the German aviation could deliver 500 Tm. And, in those moments, the rejection capacity of the besieged to the Soviet assaults, to break by parts the defensive zone or to reduce his area, was depending on the number and the quality of the supplies that were receiving by air.

Resultado de imagen de wolfram von richthofen  Colonel General of the Luftwaffe Wolfram von Richthofen.

On December 10, the IV Panzer Army of the colonel general Hoth initiated from Kotelnikorski, 100 Km at east of the edge of the siege, an attack to establish a ground link corridor with the defense zone of Stalingrad and to relieve the besieged. It was the operation Wintergewitter or Winter Storm. The VI Army would initiate the break of the Soviet ring, towards the helping forces, which was the most predictable direction and which did not possess the surprise factor, when these were at 30 Km of distance. The vanguard of the German forces corresponded to the reduced 57º Panzer Corps. In this operation the Soviets counter-attacked with mastery and continuously and the principal weapon of both sides were the tanks. Finally, on the 26th, this Panzer Corps was depleted and the Wintergewitter was stopping, at 46 Km from the Stalingrad’s siege.

But the Soviets, who had prepared themselves well for his winter offensive, were still keeping another disagreeable surprise to the Germans. In the Stavka, the colonel general Aleksander Vasilievsky, among other Soviet high commands, was thinking and controlling her, seeking to complete in it the German defeat in the south of Russia. Vasilievsky gave, as chief of the Central Staff, rationality and patience to the «interchanges of impressions» with Stalin.

Resultado de imagen de Aleksandr Vasilievsky  The Marshal of the USSR Aleksander Vasilievsky.

On December 16, lieutenant general Vatutin threw a strategic blow with his Front of the Southwest (the Operation Small Saturn) against the VIII Italian Army, deployed in the left flank of the Group of Armies of the Don (marshall von Manstein). In the breaking forces of the Italian front were the 1st. and 3er. Armies of the Guard, who moved forward three Corps of Tanks (one was the 25º, of the major general Pavlov) and a Mechanized Corps (bigger and more balanced in combined arms) and 9 infantry divisions. That already on the 17th had achieved diverse irruptions and breaks in the Italian front.

The crumbling of the Don’s front, at north of Stalingrad, opened several possibilities to the Soviets: a) To consolidate Stalingrad’s siege, being able to operate in the whole deep rear of the Axis, dismantling its defense capacity and pursuing the support units (logistics, aviation and artillery) and the remains and reserves of the Armies who were spreading out in her. b) To make move back the Group of Armies of the Don towards the Donetz, as a new sustainable line of his defensive front, forcing him to a rapid retreat. This forced the forces of von Manstein to shorten his lines, for, in the new front that they presented to the Soviets, to be able to have not only first line forces, but mobile armoured forces, to counter-attack the Soviet onslaughts. c) To force the Germans to keep in Rostov, near the river mouth of the Donetz, an opened corridor with his south rear, to avoid that the Group of Armies of the Caucasus (marshall von Kleist) could get cut off, as it happened with the VI Army. And could go out by it towards the new German rear at the west. d) To facilitate the final push of all the Soviet Fronts towards the Donetz and to consolidate this way all the strategic earnings obtained in his complex and extensive winter offensive of 1942.

The Intellectual Baggage of the Deep Insertions.

The theoretics of the Soviet deep operation (glubokaya operatsiya) in the period between 1928 and 1936 were the lieutenant general Triandafilov, the brigadier Isserson and the marshall Tujachevsky. This one established the Instructions for the Deep Battle (glubokiy boy) in 1935. That then incorporated into the Regulations of the Service of 1936, as military official doctrine, PU-36.

The preexisting concepts were based on the good results of the cavalry operations, singularly Cossak, on high fluid situations of fight and movement, on the operational enemy rear. And acting against small enemy detachments and the communication lines. But, the armies based on the employment of the fuel engine, to develop an operational or strategic penetration the enemy rear, and in the armored moving platforms for direct fire cannons (tanks) and trucks (infantry and artillery), had logistic needs (maintenance, rotation of crews in long marches, supplies) that were not even glimpsed by the ancient commands.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

The Tactical or Operational Military Success. Its Signs.

Introduction.

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.

Resultado de imagen de Napoleon Austerlitz CREATED THE CONDITIONS FOR THE MILITARY DECISION: AUSTERLITZ.

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.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Modern Allied Urban Warfare against the Insurgency.

Introduction.

The American and European troops are prepared to fight against a regular military enemy provided with a masses army. Or even more modern, of the IIIrd generation, with more elaborated technologically means and better trained men, to support the lonelinesses and tensions of the awaited current battlefields. Definitively, his «way», his action space, is the direct and opened clash in presence of a great profusion of probable enemy targets. His instrument is the attrition, the destruction of the aims that the enemy presents and could be detected and acquired in all the depth of his march or assault deployment. The last two enemy echelons, nowadays increasingly remote or deep, are reached by the longe range support aviation or with the ballistic or autonomous missiles of medium range.

Resultado de imagen de Russian Ordnance fire in Middle East

Which is here the role of the man? To detect and confirm the enemy targets, to try to fix them, if it is about a patrol or a small combat unit and to call his «ordnance» in order that it devastates them. Only his elite units, always scanty and, therefore, exceptional and precious, are formed in the nearby infantry fight using only his organic means.

In Iraq and in Syria the islamist bases are always in the cities and populations more favorable for the activity of his different bands. And they are surrounded or permeated by military local and foreign forces. Already initiated the war, the North American intelligence intercepted a memorandum of 17 pages written by Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, former chief of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, to Osama bin Laden. In it he was expressing his worry for his survival: «In Iraq there are not mountains where we could shelter, nor forests in whose thickness we could hide. There are spies eyes everywhere. Our backs are exposed and our movements are realized in view of all». And this geographical military space is similar in Syria.

The Action of the military Forces against the current Insurgency.

In the books on the guerrilla warfare, it is discused of the tactics of the siege to the military fixed or semipermanent positions. The guerrillas, deprived in the first phases of an ideological armed revolution (communists, of fight against the foreign occupant) of enough military capacity, have their guidelines to attack the mentioned military positions.

Resultado de imagen de Russian Ordnance fire in Middle East RUSSIAN REACTIVE ARTILLERY IN SYRIA

In the zones not dominated by the guerrillas, but bordering the areas under his control, it is where develops the fight of those for removing the military enemy. Seeking to also control these areas and to realize in them his ideological indoctrination of the populations. The guerrilla bases only can grow in space or increase his number, when the military enemy moves back. Or when his positions (advanced positions, barracks) are submitted to a more or less nearby and ferreous siege. That must be continuous in his effects: that is to say, controlling the approximation and exit routes of those. To threaten, harass, check and to attack in its moment the surrounded forces. And the reinforcement and supply columns of that come to help. Using limited attacks, ambushes and traps and registered fire bags.

In the regions infected by the guerrillas, not necessarily occupied by them, the military positions are protective, extensive and few fortress. His garrison is high. The military set evokes there a blind, awkward and low mobile bunker. The military men realize from them special forces operations of reconaissance and against guerrilla positions and of march to the combat on targets of zone, at charge of strong columns. To occupy and then defend them, according to the capacities of the military forces. In this, the commitment and moral of them is decisive.

Resultado de imagen de Bombing in Middle East GOVERNMENT CARPET BOMBING IN SYRIA.

In the irregular war against the bands of the Islamic State, the armed forces and his auxiliary ones use in his operational strategy, some of Mao Ze Dong’s 10 military principles to direct the tactics of the Chinese guerrillas and semi regulars. Those were enunciated by Mao on December 25, 1947 in his speech before the Central Committee of the PCC. Let’s see, in not necessarily original order: 1) To attack first the isolated and spread enemies and later the stronger enemy forces. 2) To take first the small villages and, finally, the big populations. 3) Not to fight combats, if you are little prepared for, nor present combats in which the victory is not sure. 4) To concentrate always for each combat forces absolutely superior to those of the enemy. 5) To destroy the enemy while it moves and is more vulnerable. 6) To use the intervals between campaigns to rest and to regroup and to train the troops…but not allow that the enemy have a pause, not even a breather. 7) Take first the populations low defended. And, when the conditions are favorable to us, those with medium defenses. And wait to increase our advantages, to assault the better defended cities.

This operational strategy outlined by Mao, using simple, didactic and efective procedure, is of a low military level. As corresponds to an insurrection that had to grow, to develop and to spread. And that was employing rural uncultured forces and was arming itself principally with the enemy captured weapon. Mao said that he «had a call option in the weapon of the British arsenals».

Resultado de imagen de ejercito iraquí chií IRAQI TANK WITH SHIA BANNER…

But this same orthodox operational strategy of the weak rebel against the strong military, is that are going to use the Allied forces, agglutinate and supported by the USA and Russia (in Syria), to attack an islamist insurgency, entrenched in his urban bases. And keeping the massive, repeated and overwhelming employment of the modern air and ground heavy fire on the rebels. So much in the battles and combats that appear, as for the wear and interdiction of the islamist positions, his facilities and movements.

Seeking as strategic aims to defeat the rebels and to occupy his bases or positions. That would be finally select for a policeman’s labor. Bases that are the only hard, definite and static aims, which the guerrillas have. With a qualitative difference with the diffuse, evasive, fleeting and slippery aims that the guerrillas offer in movement. Bases that are directly attacked, using the military forces (to those that is supposed better trained and equipped and, at least, equally motivated, that the rebels) and his enormous power of direct and indirect fire.

Resultado de imagen de german anti partisan operations RUSSIAN PARTISANS.

The military and social problem that exists here is that the Allied rebel Arabic groups, the Kurdish peshmergas and the Iraqi military men and his loyal militias, lack the military virtues of the National complete armies. And they have acquired not military habits on the preservation of his men in combat. Avoiding them at any price the mutilation and the death. In It have influenced decisively the religious and social origins of the different «allied» soldiers groups and his interests and divergent aims, at times even antagonistic, within these two civil wars. Social elements and parameters contaminated, spurious and, even strange, before the concept of the Umma or community of faithfuls of the same god, Allah.

Resultado de imagen de shia tanks against isis IRAQI SHIA MECHANIZED ARTILLERY AGAINST ISIS

They follow for it this operational strategy of going very little by little, first occupying the weakest islamist positions that surround and defend the biggest. Devastating with the heavy fire from the distance the islamist disclosed positions, which are intermingled with with the houses and refuges of the civilians. Because the war they do, so much the Americans as the Russians and all his allies, in the urban fighting areas that are the islamist occupied populations of Iraq and Syria. And the prolongation of the war, the major time that they will use to obtain his military aims, preserving his men in the combat, the civilians will pay it. With his blood, with the destruction of his material means and buildings and with his massive displacements, seeking to save already only the life and without knowing who will receive and help them.

Let’s see a historical example of the action of counterinsurgents forces, in high unfavorable conditions for them. The German forces antipartisans in the USSR always tried not to be forced by the guerrillas to the passiveness of the garrison or the escort. In his manual of «War against the Bands» they were establishing that “the initiative must be always ours. Even if the commander only has a small force at his disposition, he must not show failures in his resolution. If it is possible, every action of the bands must be answered».

The Germans not only were prevented in his operations against guerrillas by a men’s habitual inferiority. But, also, for the heterogeneous quality that they were having. His antipartisans troops were consisting always of variable combination of forces of diverse origins and qualities: borders troops and German troops of security and policemen; security troops of his Allies in the front of the East, specially Italians and Rumanians; and a high-colored mixture of Allied «Russian» forces of security and of self-defense, sometimes, insafe. The hard core of the units were the Germans. The posts did not have homogeneous troops. In them, the men’s qualities were intermingled, in order that mop or novice was encouraging by the presence of the strong, and in him was removed the thoughts of weakness or desertion.

Resultado de imagen de german anti partisan operations LIGHT ARMORED VEHICLES GIVING SUPPORT TO AN ANTIPARTISAN OPERATION IN RUSSIA.

Before the inability to provide troops and security to his rearguard in the whole territory conquered to the USSR, at the west of an imaginary laid out between Leningrad and Stalingrado, the Germans had to select very well the points of garrison. These rarely had more than one platoon of counterguerrilla forces. In addition, it was thinking that with 4 or 5 men, the post could be defended for a time. While, others, in 1 or 2 patrols, were going out to chase the partisans in the nearby villages, to monitor the vital line of communications or to support other positions. When new units were created or if there was a temporary «surplus» of antipartisans forces, there were formed reconnaissance and combat patrols. Something like reconnaissance in force patrols, to locate and harass the guerrillas. When it was necessary to realize an offensive major action, against a guerrilla threat or the location of an important bands concentration, even there were temporarily brought troops from the forward line (of the operational zone), for the assault and destruction of that one, generally looking for his siege and annihilation.

It is true that the German results were limited. And also it is true that the principal operational aim of his antipartisans forces was fulfilled. The lines of supplies were kept reasonably opened from Germany, Poland and Romania up to the rears of the German forces and his allies in the East. And the flow of men, armaments, equipments, supplies and goods that received was constant. To allow the gigantic effort of war against the almost inexhaustible resources of the USSR. Millions Soviet prisoners were sent to the Reich and towards there there came back countless units and men of the Wehrmatch, in his continuous rotations.

THE TACTICAL FACTORS AND THE MILITARY SURPRISE.

THE TACTICAL FACTORS METT-TC OF THE RECEIVED MISSION FROM THE DIRECT COMMAND.

The Mission (M) determines the employ of the surprise, because it defines the «tactical environment«, over the merely spatial component, in which this one can apply and where it will be developed. The fulfillment of the received mission will determine decisively the possibilities of conception and application of the surprise. On having defined and express that one, the goal of the multiple and convergent actions of the efforts and means assigned by the superior command to a tactical chief. The detection by the exploration or the advanced “units of action” of a possible «interface of action» favorable over the enemy, does not authorize “per se” to a command to separate from the fulfillment of the mission of the top command.

The Enemy (E) is the essential and principal aim of a command. And the surprise is a multiplier essential factor of his potentials and means, to fulfill the received mission and to contribute to it. Surprise must then to look for: the spatial or functional dislocation of the enemy; or the economic wastage of his capacities; or a more rapid and effective fulfillment of the entrusted mission; or a positional advantage for the own deployment, for own immediate maneuvers; or the decisive assault or the counterattack to the critical or secondary vulnerabilities of the enemy, according to the plan of the top command.

The Terrain (T) and, for extension, the space is the essential support of the «tactical area» of the military action. This must use it always in its own profit, both in the assault and in the defense. In the rapid maneuvers, typical of the surprises, one will prefer using the favorable area for the employed weapon, in order that it favors the pace or tempo and the impulse or moment of them.

This way, the tanks (which fighting way is the attack) will use favorably in lightly wavy grounds and with great domain by the sights, without perpendicular cuts or water currents or rocky important outcrops. Nevertheless, the complete surprise can need the employment of tanks in difficult, not impossible ground, for them, so they are not waited by the enemy. Even, using in the spear of advance fewer armored units than the usual ones, which, with the surprise, would make feel with his presence equal fire power and shock.

The grounds provided with covers and/or concealments and the night and the atmospheric phenomena or meteors (rain, snow, hail), that reduce visibility and combative disposition in the defenders, favor the movement to the combat of the units and means of the surprise. Also, they allow their temporal concealment in the decided rest and departure zones. The inconvinient and/or disagreeable grounds facilitate the final approximation of the means of the surprise: gutters, edges of the streets close to the sidewalks, vertical walls that are practicable, cultivated fields, bushes, wetlands. In exchange for inconveniences and of time in the advance, we will win in the effective employ of the surprise.

In the defense, we will use the broken ground, with concealment relative heights (CRH) and covers for the small units (urban and industrial zones); partly resting on the rear slope and in natural obstacles (rivers, trees spots, etc.) that run parallel to the tracing of the defensive position; that impede or reveal the enemy movements, breaking his impulse, and facilitate the rejection from our own favorable positions. The counterattack from the depth of our tactical zone on the reverse or the flank of the enemy spears of advance, preferably after his determination, will be a very effective employ of the surprise. The fire traps (fire bags), the dispersed and small minefields, the fire blows from the defense points and resistance nests, retained up to the close distances with the enemy, are defensive surprises, but more waited by the enemy.

Being based on the ground characteristics and paying attention to the particularities of some part of the tactical area (enemy, mission, area, opportunity) the surprise will be planned and decided. And it will implement his assembly, deployment, support and unfolding, following a sufficient, protected and constant flow.

The Troops (T) necessary to execute and fulfill the conceived and decided surprise, must be adapted for the mission by his characteristics. The surprise is an offensive action over the enemy, developed unexpected, rapid and thougtlessly, in general. The equipment of the men and the air and artillery support must be the necessary and sufficient, in conformity with the determined plan. Besides his general training, the men must receive the specific training, depending on the characteristics of the mission and the actions to develop. The characteristics of obedience and initiative, patience, resistance and sobriety, physical qualities, enthusiasm and spirit of group, commitment with the mission, must be the best in the men. As they will be an important part of the actions. And they will act as chiefs and persons in charge of themselves and of his mission companions, in certain moments.

It is important a complete real time training of the mission. There are devices that fail at the X hours of use. The tension on the men and his sustained efforts affect their comfort and their efficiency and rapidity of action. With repercussions in his combative disposition, his alert and the precision of answers.

Often the heavy fire will be used to conceal the enemy from our surprise. The coordination of different weapon in the same mission or sector, is a critical point of it. For example, units of infantry, reinforced by some squads of engineers and supported by a few tanks sections, crossing a thick forest to surprisingly reach an enemy important position in the depth of his deployment. Acting in the same sector of advance or assault, the coordination between the small units must be tested and confirmed.

The Time (T) of the mission is a decisive factor of his success. On one hand, it must be the opportune one. For other part, the time must be enough and accelerated uniformly in the «successive cycles of action» of the development of the mission. In order that the concentration, the sequence or the simultaneity of employs and the forcefulness of our actions demolish the enemy human aim at which they are applied, once gotten the surprise.

It is necessary to consider always that all the actions need to happen an estimated planned time plus a complementary corrector time. This will depend on the degree of complexity of the mission: units, logistic support, demonstrative helping actions, crossing distances, passage difficulties, presence and intention of the enemy, simultaneity or sequence of employs, coordination. And it originates in the failures that arise in all the human activities and in the small and medium mistakes that are committed by the commands and men. Some call these the tactical friction of war. A serious mistake would suppose that the surprise was badly calculated or executed and it is an operational serious mistake.

The civilians (C) must not be damaged in a surprising mission. Even when the enemy mixes and protects in a civil area, it is possible to define and to make concrete a purely military aim. To isolate, attack and extirpate it with military accurate and mopping-up. Here is necessary the employ of the organic weapon of the ground attacking unit, which limit the not wished hurts and make concrete his effects in the selected targets.

The heavy indiscriminate air and artillery fire is a weapon of merciless and spread results for the employ in urban areas. His aim is not to blind, to disturb or to neutralize the enemy. The excessive and insistent heavy fire seek to destroy it. That is the more uncertain and less economic goal of all. Both the Soviets and the western allieds have used it with profusion in the civil wars of the Southwest of Asia. His use has as goal to destroy from far off and before to the assault, the enemy positions in the villages. Avoiding as much as possible that the own ground forces fight at close distances with the islamist rebels.

THE MANEUVER WARFARE. THE CONCEPT OF THE MODERN AIRLAND BATTLE. (SECOND PART).

AN INTERPRETATION BY FIELDMARSCHAL ERICH VON MANSTEIN.

 

(CONTINUATION)

 

Results of the German counterattack and its trascendence.

Nevertheless, the booty gained was scanty. Von Manstein declared that there were approximately 23,000 dead Soviet soldiers and 9,000 captured Soviet soldiers. The materiel captured were approximately 615 tanks (probably largely recovered), 354 campaign guns, 69 anti-aircraft pieces and more than 600 machine guns and mortars. It was not possible to encircle the enemy and Soviet soldiers took advantage of this by leaving the heavy equipment and retreating. Von Manstein said that, because the extreme cold, his soldiers were bunched into small, tight groups, leaving wide spaces and lines in his rearguard, without effective cover. This partly happened because they were elite troops and because the war was without mercy.

COLONEL JOHN BOYD, AN AMERICAN TEORIST OF ITS MANEUVER THEORY.

At the beginning of March, 48th panzer Corps pressed toward the east of Kharkov and the SS panzer corps of General Halder was entrusted with recovering the long-suffering city for the Germans.

At the middle of the month, the Germans had a defensive resistant front from Tangarov to Belgorod, supported on the Mius and the Donetz. They also possessed in the south of Russia sufficient mobile reserves to push back possible Soviet operational breaks in the zone.

As late as 1944, the Soviets had 26 tanks Corps and 11 mechanized Corps. Part of them joined together to form 6 tanks Armies. Each of which had two tanks corps and a mechanized corps (bigger and more balanced inn infantry and artillery). Some mechanized Corps joined a cavalry Corps, forming a great unit similar in capacity to the tanks Army but with fewer armored vehicles and more mobility in areas of difficult transitability (marshes, mountains, woods). These were used to exploit the break in the swampy areas of the south of the Soviet Union, as that of the Pripet river in the north of Ucrania. Although never coexisted more than two or three in the order of battle of the Soviet Army.

WILLIAM LIND, A CIVIL TEORIST.

The destruction of 6 tanks Corps of the Southwest Front (especially equipped with mobile forces) and dismantled them from their “support masses, was an especially prominent, profitable and low cost operation for the Germans.

In addition, in its advance toward Kharkov between March 1st and 5th, the SS and 48º panzer Corps smashed from its flank and rearguard the Soviet 3rd tanks Army, led by general Pavel Semjonovic Ribalko. This Army was launched to relieve the forces of 6th infantry Army and had continued advancing toward Kharkov. This city that was by then, attracting all the attention and efforts from both sides.

As poor results and large losses mounted for the mobile Soviet forces, pessimism also grew in Stalin, who asked Sweden to mediate in seeking a solution to the war with Germany.

Nevertheless, the advance on Belgorod, outlining Kursk’s projection inside the territory occupied by Germany, sealed the aim for Germanys strategic summer Campaign. After all these events had passed, the strategic initiative returned to the Germans at the level of the theatre of operations.

But, beginning on July 5, delayed in relation with the victories of Von Manstein, their action gave the Soviets time to extensively strengthen themselves, to establishfortified regions” at the front level, and to assemble and organize a powerful counterattack force in the north and south of the projection. The allied landing in Sicily on the 10th of July, aborted the Wehrmachts already disastrous Operation Citadel. The Germans would never recover the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front.

GENERAL DONN STARRY, HIGH COMMAND OF THE U.S. ARMY’S TRADOC.

Was it possible to avoid what happened to the Popov group and, thus, to the Soviets strategic plans for its 1942 winter campaign and to the Soviets strategic initiative, at least in the Southern theatre of the Soviet Union?

It was possible.

We have observed, in parallel and in a very second plane with some key facts, the getting absorbed (to get very much in), the delight (to be delighted with) and the fixation (to do without other rational arguments) of Stalin, in relation with the results that he promised himself with the impelled operations by the mobile corps of the Southwest Front of general Vatutin.

General Vatutin, one of the best field chiefs of the Soviet army, died before his time at hands of Ukrainian (anti-Soviet) guerrillas, only participated in this in a minor degree. Still, the delegate of the Stavka in charge of these crucial operations (Zhukov, Vasilevsky?) remembered him the transcendence that for the Supreme Commander and for the Soviet people they had.

A little time ago, Hitler also fixated on Stalingrad. This fixation led him to squander the capacity of his best Great Unit (the 6th infantry Army of general Paulus—yes, without the aristocratic Von) in a street struggle and a force-to-force confrontation. Their enemies were arranged on a static defense. A position that they were better able to defend and maintain than were the Germans, in the gigantic steel and cement fortress that was Stalingrad.Fight in which was not counting the German superb capacity of operational movement, which reduced the effort done to a confrontation between man vs. man and machine against machine. And, thus, causing a terrible attrition to the combat and movement capacities.

We can discuss about the strategic mistakes of high chiefs. As the line of communications (branched out) is so crucial, it is necessary to protect it adequately. But this fact is obscured and blurred by the desires of commanders.

What are the possibilities of defense for the advance sector that contains the communications line?

Independently of the advance deployment of mobile groups and their support mass (which must include the securities elements adapted for marches in enemy areas), «advanced detachments» must be brought forward.

These will be integrated by 15-30 % of the forces that bring them forward and will possess sufficient operational movement and combat capacities. The time it takes for the main group to join them is a function of the transitability of the terrain and of the capacities and intentions of the enemy in the operations zone. Its mission in defensive operations is to be used asstable hinges” between the deployments of Great units, facilitating and protecting the movement of forces and supplies between them.

If the mass of support is too slow for the mobile group to continue advancing at a reasonable rate, it will end up lengthening dangerously the distance between the units and their support. This situation is very vulnerable to a mobile assault by the enemy from the depth of his zone and the sector of advance would be under threat of being cut, depending on the means and intentions of the enemy. This probability would require that amechanized group” be placed between the mass of support and the mobile group to reduce the distance between all three deployments and reducing reaction times to respond to a crisis. This would reasonably stabilize the sector of advance after the mobile group.

The mission of the mechanized group, which has less capacity for operational movement than the mobile group, will be to carried out thesector mobile defense”. And will last until the forces of the mass of support arrive to relieve it. The anti-aircraft and antitank defense plan, the centralization of reserves and the defense of key points of the area, by means ofdelay positions” and together with necessary heavy fire support, will be characteristic of the fight to stabilize the sector.

That is to say, it is necessary to sacrifice speed for safety to consolidate the stability of the sector of advance in enemy territory. A territory that does not need to be all occupied in force. Because would be defended by a mobile defense for a limited period of time. Taking disproportionate risks would be reckless and would put men, materiel and the operation in danger.

But, men (in this case, Hitler and Stalin are two examples) continue to make mistakes when faced with such circumstances

THE END.

THE ARMED DEFENSE OF THE ISLAMIC STATE OR DAESH.

Introduction.

The Islamic State has the strategic advantage of his territorial unity, which allows him to support the fights following his interior communication lines. His enemies are dispersed by his borders and operate in multitude of combats sectors or strips. This advantage can be used to fix and keep his enemies, dispersed and operationally unconnected for the different countries and zones. This way, IS preventing them any concentration to attack him.

So, in his Mosul’s operational center, with approximately 2 million habitants, the major city under his power, and the third of Iraq, he keeps the Erbil’s peshmergas fixed, the capital of the Iraqi autonomous Khurdistan. These are not capable of throwing an individual offensive, to go snatching cities and zones from the ISIL and are kept at the defensive. They are Sunnis Kurds, that do not want to coordinate with the army of Iraq and the sectarian Shiites militias.

 ABU BAKER AL-BAGDADI.

In Anbar, the ISIL occupied al-Ramadi, its capital, where the Iraqi army went out, here also, at the disbandment, in an unforeseen and accelerated retrograde march. Los iraquíes culparon de sus desventuras operativas a una gran tormenta de arena, que facilitó la “marcha al combate” de los muyahidines del DAESH. And he threatens the western flank of Baghdad, which says to be training and concentrating forces to recover her, departing from the new base in Taqaddum, at 25 km from al-Ramadi, where are a reinforce of 450 new American soldiers of the four stars American general James Terry. Which acts as a bolt, a ground perpendicular obstruction, against the projection of the ISIL over Baghdad.

The Islamic State has now three great operational areas.

The first great zone includes all the south of the Caliphate, from Aleppo’s south-east up to al-Ramadi, following the course of the high Euphrates. In her, the ISIL is spreading and being consolidated, occupying Palmyra city, finishing the expelling of the National Syrian Army from Dar-ez-Zour’s province (his last troops in her are surrounded at the west of the capital) and the Iraqi soldiers and the Shiites militias from Anbar’s province. At the west of Palmyra are Tiyas and the military airports of the Shayrat, occupied by the NSA, which are vulnerable targets for the ISIL, capable of attacking them from two marching directions. With it, a western defensive flank, directed to Damascus, might be established.

In the north of Iraq, the ISIL keeps his positions in Nínive’s province and part of Saladin’s province, so being consolidated also in the high Tigris.

In Syria, at Aleppo’s north and north-east, along around 400 Kms. of the border with Turkey, up to Hasaka’s frontier province, the ISIL keeps a strategic base, using small offensives and tactical retreats, in a zone of great operational instability. Trying to debilitate the Front al-Nusrah (near the frontier Azaz), the Syrian peshmergas (in Kobani) and other opponents groups and to keep open the narrow frontier sectors, Ras al-Ayn, between others, where he realizes his exchanges of crude oil and derivatives, seized goods, armaments and new supporters. Also he wants to stop the offensive of the opposition in Aleppo, since the ISIL does not have now free means to exploit any destabilization in Aleppo, that would be produced this way. But in Hasaka he wants to be consolidated, to increase his geographical continuity, to protect his frontier passages with Iraq and Turkey, here is Tel Abyad, and to increase his strategic rear, reinforcing this way the Palmyra’s projection over Damascus.

 AN EXECUTION IN PALMIRA.

Turkey, which wants to keep in his south border a difficult military politic balance of power, suspects so much of the (Syrian) Kurds of the YPG and of the ISIL, both approaching in force to his territory. And Erdogan is considering to establish a safety zone of 10 Km. in depth in Syrian territory from the common border, occupying her with around 12 thousand Turkish soldiers. From her, the Turks might also partially control other more 25 or 30 Km. in depth, using his heavy artillery. It is a thorny and controversial topic, of international indefinite transcendence, so the command of the Turkish AA.FF. has asked Erdogan for a formal wrote order, that the President still has not granted.

The air bombardments of the Coalition of the 60 nations, assigned to the Operation «Inherent Resolve», erode and cause casualties to the Islamic State during almost one year. But they do not stop his military principal operations of fixation of his enemies and of increasing the territory of the Islamic State. At less that the western countries, including the USA, the NATO and the European Union, in any degree and practical necessary national combination, are ready and resolve to put on the Syrian and/or Iraqi territories a “sufficient investment of their own soldiers”, in the form of combined ground forces, distributed in the combinations adapted for the tasks that they will assume, the ISIL will not be beaten by his enemies of these Arabic infected countries. And it seems that the ISIL will possible be indefinitely defend from his frontier enemies. In the air raids in Syria take part Arabia, the USA, Bahrain, Canada, the Arab United Emirates and Jordan. In Iraq, asking for the authorities permission attack Australia, Belgium, Denmark, the USA and Great Britain.

The Geographical Scene of the Islamic State (ISIL).

This organization acts in a diffuse, not occupied, but controlled strip, of 300 thousand Km2., that spreads over Iraq and Syria, from Baghdad up to Aleppo and the mountains of the center west of Syria. The width changes along the route. The pillaged territory begins in Faluya, at 60 km to the west of Baghdad, and includes the nearby cities of Habbaniya and al-Ramadi and and Anbar’s extensive and desert province. And, following the Euphrates towards the northwest, it reaches the riverside cities of Haditha and Âna, before penetrating in Syria by Abu Kemal, leaving behind Níniveh and part of Saladin provinces. In the middle of the south and eastern desert of Syria, only relieved by the river, is Dayr al-Zawr. And continuing by the river, we come first to Raqqa, close to the river mouth of the river Belikh in the Euphrates. And then to the artificial lake al-Assad in the great meander of the Euphrates, to continue up to Aleppo and the Kurdish mountains of the center west, in the border with Turkey. Up to 10 million persons might be controlled by the ISIL in this territory.

EXECUTIONS OF ENEMIES OF THE DAESH

It is not easy to move by these lands, which are infertile, beyond the irrigations of the Euphrates and of the artificial lake of al-Assad, without leaving a «tactical fingerprint» of the march. The lands of this great strip lack concealments and natural covers, in the shape of forests, extensive bushes and mountains. This does that the most frequent refuges and stays for the yihadists groups are the villages and populations along his backbone: the Euphrates, his aluentes, as the Jaipur in Hanaka’s province, and his banks. For his defense and more lasting cover they have to disperse by them, forming one or several «muyahidins squads» of not more than 40 men each one.

Operational decisive possibilities.

In any case, the fight in the occupied territories by the Islamic State is an urban fight. It is not an area for a movements warfare. It was so in June, 2014, when the Islamic State spread out, uncontrollably and overwhelming, by the north and north-east of Iraq. And the 30 thousand Iraqi soldiers of the Niniveh and Saladin provinces, went out, afflicted and in stampede, towards Baghdad. Looking for protection and refuge between the walls of the gigantic city and his al-Sadr shii neighborhood, at the east of the Tigris (known as al-Sadr city). And it before the simple «march to the combat» of several hundreds muyahidins. Mounted in Toyotas pick-ups, half “roof opened”, without any armoured and armed with light cannons and heavy machine guns. Certainly, who does facilitate the always present Toyota vehicles to the muyahidines? Some neoconverted concessionaire to al-Bagdadi?

THEY LOVE TOYOTAS, WHOSE PAY IT?

The operational strategy of the irregular bands of the Islamic State centres on never let been got in combat by the Armies or other great forces in «lost in advance» combats. His technics and tactics are the constant and far-sighted mobility; the dispersion and the infiltration in the urban fight, going forward in a flexible and wearing out defense, with space cession; the small, dispersed and more or less simultaneous or sequential actions in an area; the flight by covered bounds; the fight with limited goals and in profitable temporaral conditions; the systematic giving up of positions, forcing the enemy to redeploy and to be prepared every time. They can win to the ISIL the necessary time to survive.

In the temporaral occupations of great populations, they extend his defensive positions beyond what it is necessary in the conventional defense. Covering this way a major surface. His «delaying points» are diffuse, secret and imperceptible to the strangers. It is necessary to enter the houses to detect perforated walls and to find alleys under a furniture or a carpet. The destruction that generates the vague heavy fire, reinforces his combat positions, surrounding them with debris that divide and impede the accesses of the enemy. Except when they are reached by one direct impact. The “resistance nests” have more importance in this fighting form. Because the occupation of the defense zone is more tenuous, they cannot strengthen too much the positions, the sights are more short and there exist numerous approximation routes. They depend on the delaying points, to which they return if they are invaded or destroyed. Numerous “alternative positions” exist. This “resistance structure” allows to deceive the enemy, who attacks and burst, on the forward limit of the defense position: about his real extension, the limits of the sectors that form her and the interest of the rebel commands in the defense of the zone; and manages to disperse the heavy fire of the attacker.