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


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

Mangudai - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

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

The modern working of the combat and operational movement binomial.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The relative characteristics of combat are:

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

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

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

The relative characteristics of operational movements are:

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

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

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



«When Prince Wenhui’s butcher was carving up an ox, he seized the animal with his hands, forced it to its knees and his knife, upon being sunk into the animal, produced a pure musical sound.

Seeing his butcher working one day, Prince Wenhui said: –Ah!, Excellent! How have you reached such perfection with your art?

Una lectura del Zhuangzi | Diletante

Leaving aside his knife, the butcher answered, «At first, when I, your servant, began butchering oxen, I only saw the ox before me; after three years I still did not see the ox itself. Now I use my spirit to truly know the ox, not my eyes to merely see it. Once the senses are restrained, it is the spirit that acts.

Following the natural lines of the ox, I cut between the joints until I reach the bones between the bones and the tendons. In this way, the knife accommodates the natural lines of the ox and, in this way, encounters not even the merest hindrance from the veins or tendons, much less from the animal’s big bones!

A good butcher changes knife once a year, since that it is used to cut the meat; a common butcher changes it once a month, as he uses to cut bones. Nineteen years has passed that I, your servant, have used the same knife. With it I have butchered thousands of oxen, yet it remains as sharp as if it had recently been forged at the millstone. The joints of the ox have hollows and the blade of the knife is not thick. Sinking the blade of the knife into the softness of the ox is done comfortably and easily. Because of this, even after so many years my knife appears as new as when it was just came off the millstone.

When I sometimes run across a knot, I probe the difficulty and proceed with the greatest care. I regard the ox intently, move slowly, handle the knife very carefully and, there!, the ox is quartered and reduced to flesh. At that time I stand up, knife in hand, and look around feeling pleased. I clean the knife and put it away.

Excellent!–exclaimed Prince Wenhui. Hearing your reasoning I have come to understand the work necessary to nurture life.

However it is true, Sir, remarked the butcher, this virtue is acquired neither from erudition nor from books. It is the fruit of observation and reflection and, because of that, it cannot be passed on if not learned first-hand. (1)

The effect of a torrent of water in his way (2):

«If we observe a torrent descending on successive banks of land or dams that lie in its way, we see that it first thrusts against the obstacle, probing and testing all its surfaces.

Opportunely, once finding a small break or weakness, the water gathers and its first trickles begin to rush over the obstacle.

Basil Liddell Hart - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Contained on all sides, the water rushes through the gap and, by eroding the earth it comes into contact with, widens the gap. Whirling through and around the edges of the gap, the water washes away soil and expands the gap.

As this happens, a current of water flows directly through the gap; on each side of the current, whirlpools of water continue to circulate. Having crossed the gap, the water gathers and expands, to become once again a torrential onslaught. As it flows, the water increases constantly its volume until the torrent has reached again its original proportions, leaving in ruins all obstacles that it encountered.”


The butcher, his knife and his art, non-reflective in action, represent the specific aim of the operative strategy in war: disorganize the enemy with the least possible cost to one’s own means (combat capacity, operational mobility and supplies).

The work of the butcher is to cut up beast; to convert it from a beinginto a set of pieces and wreckage that is ready to be prepared for consumption. To prepare the pieces of the ox for later consumption, further work of cutting, portioning and reducing is required by other butchers and cooks at the palace. This work is equivalent to battles of encirclement and annihilation, where the overwhelming superiority of a local operative strips its enemies of resources and strength.

File:FallGelb Manstein.svg - Wikimedia Commons

The metaphor of flowing water is akin to the flexibility and adjustments necessary to tactical actions carried out by units and small combined arms units against an enemy.

But the breach in an obstacle encountered by water is neither enlarged, nor does it expand without erosion. Not even water, the embodiment of docility and smoothness, vanquishes, per se, soil.

Each drop of water that flows through the breach, erodes soil through its “minimal gravitational force”, especially during the turbulent movement of the liquid, whose force is tangential to the obstacle.

The water in a torrent or river flows continuously, seemingly inexhaustibly, due to the gravitational energy of the Earth, which pulls it to the lowest level in a riverbed.

The waters of the sea and of the rivers win over gravity and the forces of Van der Waals, which join by covalent bonds its molecules, thanks to thermal solar energy that provides to them the «specific heat of evaporation«. Water is condensed into drops by superficial tension, giving them their size and shape. They are then gathered into clouds, from which water falls as droplets again to the Earth, feeding the «constant torrent «.

(1) Master Chuang. Barcelona, 1996. Pages 54, 55, 146 and 147.

(2) B. H. Liddell Hart. “The man in the dark” Theory of Infantry Tactics and the “Expanding Torrent System of Attack”. Journal of the R.U.S.I. February, 1921. Page 13.

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

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


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

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

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

Maurici de Saxònia - Wikiwand

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

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

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

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

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

What was the operational zone of the Mongols?

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

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

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

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

En busca de la tumba de Gengis Khan

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

Subuday-Bagatur.Mongolia | Монголия, Скульптура, Доспехи

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

Norman Schwarzkopf - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


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

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

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

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

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

The Center of Gravity:

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

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

Battle of Ulm - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia


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

Batalla de Ulm - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


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

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

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

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

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


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

Land transitability will be neutral or favorable to the operation.

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de MILITAR traveling grounds

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

Resultado de imagen de MILITAR river fording

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

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

Resultado de imagen de Military airborne falling

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

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

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

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


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.


Genesis and practice of the Russian strategy of deep operation.

Incursion to Tatsinskaya’s airport in the Christmas of 1942


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.


The Tactical or Operational Military Success. Its Signs.


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

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

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

The Signs of Tactical or Operational Success about Us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de INVASION francia 1940 THE OPERATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

Resultado de imagen de INVASION francia 1940 ITS RESULT

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

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

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


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



Almost all the technologies, tactics and operations directed to obtaining the tactical or operational surprise over the enemy, can be benevolent considered at the edge of the regulations and existing procedure. That are practised in the different countries and groups of them or supranational alliances.

Between other reasons, to fight only according to the «book» is usually too much acquaintance and predictable. In addition, many of the general «knowledge» gathered in them are shared by different blocs and nations, even antagonistic. And it is necessary, to respect the regulations and ordinances and to look for the aim indicated by the command, as the goal to obtaining.

But the creative and decisive action must follow the one that we call the «way of the surprise«. As guide, compass, of our decisions and actions. Looking for that fleeting and juicy opportunity that arises in the development of the mutual actions between the armed rivals; those careless or vulnerable enemy weaknesses, in conditions that we can create sometimes, equally more unforeseen and unusual. To obtain our goals with more forcefulness, efficiency, elegance and rapidity. Achieving it with fewer loss of time, of men and of means. Let’s remember the basic and universal principle of the economy of the means.

Sure that following always the «book» they will be able to approach and to take to good term the common operations. But, apart from the fact that the enemy has an essentially equal doctrine and regulations, a way of fighting will be first known and then learned or dominated and, probably, up to overcome finally by the enemy. The triumphant Germans in the first period 1939-1941, with the extension of the war, allowed the knowledge and the learning of his war of combined weapon by his enemies. That finally overcame them in technologies, tactics and operations and drove them to their thunderous defeat in 1945.

And this «guide» is of special need and affection in the bureaucratized and crystallized armies. Where the unforseeable, not guilty failures, are not only a contingency to be overcame by the set. But they can be also an administrative or political weapon against the persons in charge. And where the follow-up of the «book» and the superiors orders to the letter, armour and protect the low commands of the responsibility of their acts and results.

Martin Van Creveld said that was the anteroom, before the final unworkability and prostration, of «the military organizations that were not getting up-to-date and renewing». Martin Van Creveld was expelled as lecturer, many years ago, from Israel’s Military High College.

Then, the results will be obtained increasingly at the cost of the wear and the men means and materials losses. Tending to triumph then the rival that more demographic and economic capacity has.

There arises then a corollary of this way of thinking the military thing. The zeal to avoid human falls, extended to all the modern armies or of IIIrd generation, will lead to the preventive, protective and therapeutic employment of the own heavy fire. Looking that the own forces do not have to fight at close ranges. This is called military modern technology and is highly regarded by the national armament industries. This is not more than the perversion and trick of the heavy fire. Whose functions or tasks, in increasing order of action and efficiency, are: to blind, to disturb, to neutralize or cover and to destroy the enemy in the different fighting forms and situations.

And the action over the aim will tend to the physical destruction, as guarantee of the security of the men. In the actual civil wars in Iraq and Syria, we have the examples in the exagerate and methodical bombardments on the enemies. Armed and civilians; real and suspects.

The Military surprise, looking for the enemy dislocation and shock

During his operations, the enemy deployment is conforming in the direction and with the intention that he has decided and determined, for his military echeloned means and for his logistic routes. This way, he is showing his «cards» to his rival, depending on his action tempo and he is commiting, according to those.

Our surprise can create «per se» a new «exposed flank«, another more or less critical «vulnerability» in the enemy. That he was not considering yet, that he was not waiting, nor was prepared to defend her by some of the fighting forms. That are the attack and the defense, in their varieties and combinations.

Our surprise «penetrates» in the enemy deployment, seeking to shock and dislocate functionally or positionally it. And, at least, to cause him losses, to occupy profitable positions for our operational development, to diminish his tempo or operational pace and to confuse, delay and disturb him in his plans and deployments. Using for it, by our part, the minimal means expense and seeking to achieve the maximum possible effect on the enemy. With which we optimize the effort of our actions, following the general principle of the economy of the available means.

When the enemy reacts, to offset and overcome the effect of our surprising action, he is adapting necessarily to our intention. And, if that one is serious, he moves away more or less from his interests and plans. With his reacting movements for the rejection and the attack to our forces, the enemy is disregarding his intention and his mission. In relation to these, the enemy is removed from them and also unbalanced. This way, a right conceived, planned and realized surprise can «prepare» the enemy for us. So, he face in disadvantage, with fewer available resources and a worse deployment, our offensive principal action. That would be already more direct, massive and orthodox.

In such a way that exist a whole range of possible effects to obtaining over the enemy with our surprising actions. That will change also according to the means destined to obtain our surprise, the conception, the preparation and the accomplishment of it and the available time, considering also the set of our operations.






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.


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.


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.


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






A little known example illustrates the omnipresent transcendence of logistics and the line of communication (more or less branched out) in operations and their final results. Between January 29 and mid-March 1943, the Soviets developed an operation called Donbass at the southwest of the Donetz. This operation forms part of what the Germans called the battle of the Donetz. And was Marschal von Manstein’s last strategic success. Which wasted by Hitler in Kursk.


General Nikolai Fiodorovich Vatutin, commander of the Southwest Front, created a mobile corp (under the command of general Markian Mijailovich Popov) in the Soviet Front, to exploit the break its armies had achieved at the south-east of Kharkov. The Corp was like an Army of tanks (the Soviets had five Armies of tanks in their battle order). It was integrated by 4 tanks Corps of limited capacity (3rd, 10th, 18th and 4th of the Guard), each of which was reinforced by an infantry mobile division (in trucks). For support it had the mobile Front reserve, the tanks Corps (full up) 25th and 1st of the Guard. These reserves would, at the beginning of February, pursue a exploitation direction different from that of the Popov Group. Assimilating those tactical subordination divisions into the mechanized Corps, thus making them stronger in men and heavy equipment, was hoped to compensate for the specific lack of infantry and artillery of the Soviet tanks Corps.


Popov Group initially crossed the Donetz from a southwest direction. Its 4th Guard tanks Corp reached Krasnoarmeiskaia on the morning of February 12, after a night march of 60 kilometers from Kramatorsk. During this march, the Corp used one of its tanks brigades, the 14ª of the Guard, as anadvanced detachment”, to eliminate the tactical rubbing” in its advance sector and thus maximize its speed of advance.


On February 15, General Vatutin employed his two reserve Corps in the Pavlograd-Zaporozhe direction, towards the mouth of the river Dnepr on the Black Sea. Zaporozhe was the Headquarters for the Don German Group of Armies (this Group had been called South until February 1, 1943) and the 4th Air Fleet (led by Marshal Von Manstein and General Von Richtofen, respectively) which were located in the low Dnepr.

The efforts of the Russians were aimed at trying to reach the coast and to cut the Germansland communications. But the Russians also stubbornly insisted on boasting. Their supporting forces (the rest of the Armies of the southwest Front, especially the 6th infantry and 1st infantry of the Guard) were not defending the advance sectors of their mobile forces. And these forces, advancing as fast as they could toward their ideal operational-strategic aim, stretched their communications lines to the maximum. And made them increasingly vulnerable by extending its length and, thus, the coverage required by antitank and anti-aircraft weapons supported with infantry.

The Soviets acted as if the speed of reaching the objective could, by itself, unhinge the German deployment, by cutting it off from its general Order of Battle and lines of communications towards the West. In reality, they were not given full credit to their enemys maneuver capacity, his ability to create and improvise resources and his still relatively powerful combat capacities, especially among his mobile and crack forces, in the operational zone.


Yet much of the pressure for a rapid advance came from Stalin. Probably through the Stavka, Stalin incited Vatutin to spur on Popov and the other mobile corps. Ultimately, this led to Stalins disenchantment (to the point of leading him to request a peace through Swedish diplomats) when the planned operations concluded. See Gerhard L. Weinburg. A World at Arms. Cambridge, 1944.

For their part, the Germans had difficulties in containing the Soviets winter offensive concentrated at the south of Belgorod. In the operational strategic zone of the Don Group of Armies, the Soviet forces overcame the Germans at a proportion of 8 to 1, whereas, in the case of the German Center and North Groups of Armies, that ratio was only 4 to 1.

Von Manstein maintained a front that was 750 kilometers long with 30 divisions. This left him vulnerable to envelopment on the north flank, in a maneuver that could reverse his front or turn his forces back in his operational or strategic rear. Or his forces could be broken through by a forceful action in any zone and he would be left without sufficient available mobile forces to launch an operational strategic counterattack. It was necessary to readjust the front, anchoring it on natural obstacles; and to push back the Soviet offensives toward Kiev (north flank) and the Black Sea or the Azov Sea, creating for it the necessary mobile reserves. Hitler, probably affected by the fall of 6th Army at the end of January in Stalingrad, compromised with Manstein’s requests to yield land in order to gain safety and mobility.


Thus, during the first fortnight of February, the Hollidt Army moved back from the low Donetz, following the Rostov and Tangarov route and dug in again along the river Mius, approximately 80 kilometers to the west of Rostov. The 48 panzer Corps that were in action at the east of Rostov, moved to the north of Stalino, to join the 4th panzer Army of General Hoth and to form part of the mobile counterattack force.

In the middle of February, despite Hitler’s orders to resist at any price, the SS Army Kempf (formerly Lanz) evacuated Kharkov, when its north flank was enveloped by the Soviets from the direction of Belgorod. Meanwhile, the 4th panzer Army was moving back from the low Don toward positions to Stalino’s northwest. This was a difficult march of more than fifteen days over poor road conditions and railroad connections and lines. For its part, the 1st panzer Army, formerly part of the A Group of Armies in the Caucasus, could have moved back through Rostov, thanks 4th panzer Army hold on the front in the low Donetz area. And was taking positions in a front from north-east of Stalino up to the north of the Mius river.


With these maneuvers the Germans left the projecting in their front formed by the Don and Donetz rivers, readjusted their defensive front and managed to create an important operational maneuver force, formed by all three mentioned armies. It is important to emphasize that the Germans were not reacting to the Russians; they were adapting to the general conditions and the forces relations existing, with the expectation that they would act positively when the opportunity arose. This is probably the secret behind their operational blow (like a scythe blow) and the operational and strategicstunning waves” that they were to unleash on the Soviet Armies, which reached the enemys Supreme Commander.

On February 22, the two armored Corps (48 at the right side and the SS panzer at the left side) of the 4th panzer Army of Hoth initiated an offensive movement in the northwest direction on the communications lines of Popov Group and both independent Soviet tanks Corps of the southwest Front.

The terrain was highly favorable for using armored vehicles. Its surface was slightly wavy, allowing for extensive sight control. The narrow creeks that interlaced it were frozen.

Simultaneously there was a convergent attack by the SS Army Kempf from the west, completing the operation of the other five panzer divisions (reduced). This Army also had to prevent the advance on the Dnepr of forces from other Soviet Fronts, either around Krasnograd and Dnepropetrovsk or around Poltava and Kremenchug. This soviet attack, that was aimed at Kiev, was of a larger scope and, therefore, had scantier prospects for success before the spring thaw. The army SS Kempf had limited capacity to reject it.

It is worth emphasizing that, at the time, the 4th Air Fleet of General Richtofen enjoyed air supremacy over the operations zone and his aircraft could support the objective of cutting the enemys communications with up to 1,000 daily sorties.


The Russian armored vehicles and truck columns were moving back toward the north and north-east at a distance of between 15 and 20 kilometers from the Germans, making them prey to the German divisional and army Corps artillery and aviation.

It was not a question of thesurrounded bag”-style operations that the Germans had carried out in 1941. The area being covered was larger, the German combat capacity (mainly based on infantry forces with artillery and antitank weapons) was scanty and the Soviet forces were elite mobile units with great fire and shock capacities. And knew the danger presented by the loss of its logistical support, at least their commands.

On February 23 both armored army Corps (the SS and 48th) of the 4th panzer Army were converging on Pavlograd. They cut the communications line of the Popov group, which was situated around Grishino, and of the 25th and 1st of the Guard tanks Corps (the mobile reserve of the Southwest Front) which were already approaching Zaporozhe, although not yet in full force. Likewise, the Germans severely struck the 6th infantry Army (at the west of Isyum), following the Front’s mobile reserve, and the 1st infantry Guard Army, which was behind the Popov group, before they cross the Donetz, moving back to their rearguard.

This temporarily liquidated the combat capacity of the Southwest front (General Vatutin). Unless that front focused on reorganizing and re-equipping itself and covering its casualties. And also tried to revive its combat morale by encouraging cohesion and retraining its units and small units.





A process that we will call of «cascade surprise» was created at the south of the operations theater of the Far East by the British general Orde Wingate at the beginning of 1.944. For it he used the deep incursion force, type light reinforced division, called the Chindits. This name is taken from the Burman god Chinthe, the protective god of the religion (or of the State), that could attack the enemies from nine different directions… His principal mission was to cut the internal communications of units (advance and retreat) and supplies (supports, substitutions and replacements) of the Japanese forces, that were opposed to the advance, at the north of Burma, of the Americans Chinese forces of general Stilwell. These were advancing from China towards the south, with the aim to conquer the Burman populations of Mogaung and Myitkyina and also to occupy and assure the zone at the south of these railway knots, so creating for them an area of stable rear. With it, they were seeking to be able to permanently open and extend a road and a pipeline from the north of Assam, in India, to Yunan, in China.


This would allow to supply a fleet of American bombardiers and their fighters escorts with base in Yunan. That would be destined to reinforce the effort of war of the wrecked Chinese, who were fighting from 1.937 their own war, against the Japanese expansionism in the continental Asia. And that were now unmotivated up to a point, that Chiang Kai Check wanted to go out of the war. This hypothetical armistice would liberate around 25 Japanese divisions, that were situated in China, operating and placed, to be destined where the Imperial High Staff considers to be suitable. For example, to accelerate the invasion of India, to include it in the «Co prosperity’s Asian Zone» that the Empire of the Japan was praising for the “Oriental and the Pacific Asia”. Under his politician and economic influence, opposite to the Western alien Powers.


A conventional advance from India, by the Fourteen British Indian Army of the general Slim against this deep Japanese rear and from an expected and protected flank, was impracticable. Due to the distance to cross; to the area to winning and assuring; to the tenacity of the Japanese infantry soldiers; to the number of the Japanese deployed forces «in the same way and opposed direction”, as the Nippon were trying to reach the already nearby border of India with Burma, and to the difficulty of the the jungle fighting. That was a «thick» enviroment for the movements of the ground forces of both rivals, with obstructed and very nearby sights and where were abounding the tropical diseases.


The Development of the Operations.

The «second Chindit expedition» was inserted in March of 1.944, on the basis of the operational experience acquired the previous year with the first one. Where Wingate verified two essential parameters for the foreseen operations: that British Indian «line forces”, specifically trained for these tasks of deep incursion, could fight the Japanese in the jungle; and that these forces could indefinitely be supplied by air, as the Allies had the air supremacy in his operations zone and possessed enough air transport capacity for the task. They took part as incursion forces, the brigades 16, that from the first of February advanced afoot around 1.000 km towards Indaw, 77 and 111 of the British Indian Army, strong in more than 12 thousand men. That were joining in the 3th British Indian Division, of his «battle order». In April of 1.944 the 14 brigade joined it, landing in Aberdeen’s base, close to the way obstruction of White City, and immediately attacked several Japanese supplies depots. Wingate always thought in the employment of regular units, not about elite troops. And that their replacements were coming from the different units of the Army, specially the Fourteen Army of Slim. But did not count with the «perverse» trend of the units commands, of preferably being doing without the idlers and the problematic men, handing them over to other units. This way, the Chindits’ recruitment units had to reject at part of the candidates, as well as also those that were overcoming 40 years. Which is really an age very advanced to begin in the difficulties of the war in the jungles.


The gliders, freight planes and light aircrafts, due escorted, began to come to Broadway, in the north, and to Picadilly, in the south, of the chosen landing zone. It was a question of establishing a “fortified bolt” over the railroad and the road between Indaw, at the south, and Mohyen, towards the north, in the rear of the Japanese forces that were advancing towards the north, to China, and eastward, to India. The location of the place of the promising operational obstruction was discovered in the air reconnaissance done by Wingate, which chose her opposite to another alternative, because in the small valleys included in his perimeter, could be established, cover from the sights, all the auxiliary services of the defensive zone, as the mules, the health, the exterior communications, the stores, etc. White City, the defensive position, was due fortified by the engineers and equipped with 40 mm. anti-aircraft Bofors cannons, 75 mm. mortars and 25 pounds cannons (> 11 Kg and > 90 mm.) and Vickers 7, 7 mm. heavy machine guns. Between the hills that were framing the enclosure and that were integrating it, was installed even a runway for small airplanes.


For the transport in broken and jungle ground, the Chindits were using packs of mules in all his marching columns. Each animal was in charge of a given muleteer, entrusted of his guide, care and subsistence. And not always, specially at the end of their operations, the muleteers were due trained for his trade. The packs were transporting the ammunitions, the provisioning, the heavy weapons, the supplies, the radio devices and other equipments and consumables. The train of mules of every unit was very vulnerable to a Japanese assault. Also, the animals of the redoubts, where it was difficult to bury them or to due protect them under covers, were vulnerable to the Japanese heavy fire. With it, the mules trains was turning into a serious vulnerability of the units. Since without it the operations of march and attack, consubstantial with the Chindits ethos, were impossible in this fighting ground of so difficult transitability. Bad going is not as precise definition and concept.

In the operations zone, the climate was hard, the comfort, which relieves the efforts of the war, was scanty, the life was rough and the woodland diseases seriously and repeatedly affected the men and the beasts, in high percentage and intensity, during the few months of operations in the Burma jungles. And the general task of harassment and weakening of the Japanese forces in their communication and supplies lines of towards Chinese and Indian fronts was carried out. The strategic operational concept that sublied was the exploitation of the Japanese deep rear, where were abounding his tactical and operational vulnerabilities and the absence of combat availability or readiness, on having been removed his forces from the combats fronts. The Chindits managed to fix indefinitely in this rear around two and half Japanese divisions, dedicated to their control and pursuit, or, around 2,5 times their own combat capacity.

Analysis and Interpretation of the Chindit Second Campaign.

The Chindits operations are exploitation actions in the enemy rear by enough and mobile forces. These are inserted deeply in it by their own aviation. This is not the usual case of the attack and breakthrough of a sector or strip of the enemy front. And then the irruption of “mobile corp”. That advances within the enemy rear to exploit his vulnerabilities; to destroy his units in reform or in march to their initial bases; to turn up the fighting fronts of his units at the defensive, so collaborating in annihilating them; to capture or destroy all kinds of logistic enemy means; to attack his valuable and vulnerable units (artillery, engineers, command and control, communications); to temporarily occupy ground communications hubs, defiles, mountain ports and riverheads and lakeheads, etc.

The necessary coordination of the “mobile corp” with his «support mass” or “immediate supporting rear”, is realized in this campaign by a stable, sufficient and not bothered airway. Whose link of union with the Chindits operational brigades (-) and battalions (+) are the fortified blocking bases (White City, Broadway, Aberdeen, Blackpool) established within the Japanese zone. And that were acting as “initial bases of depart” of their attack operations.

It was calculated that the Chindits caused more than 12 thousand losses to the Japanese forces, with their loss in combat of only a few hundreds of men. But the Chindits neither defeated decisively any Japanese great unit, nor conquered any relevant enemy position. So his transcendence, for the Allied military plans and the importance of the actions against the enemy, remained dispersed, appeased and darkened by the great maneuvers of the war in this South Asian theater and for the strategic and operational interests of the three great actors in it: British and Indians, American and Chinese.


After Wingate’s unexpected death in a plane crash, his successor, general Lentaigne, established in Blackpool, at around 100 km at north of White City, another fortified obstructionist position, as alternative and reinforcement of this. And since the Chindits operations and the interest of the war was moving more towards the border with China, the Chindits stayed already under the command of the Americans. And Stilwell, gave to them the task of a “great light conventional unit”, coordinated with the effort towards Birmania of the American Chinese forces. With the missions to attack in force from the south the positions over which those were advancing. It is of indicating that the same Lentaigne, which did not have the creativity, the ancestry, the respect between his equals and the will of Wingate, managed to partly accepted Stilwell’s conventional and orthodox points of view, in relation to the operational employment of the Chindits.

At the beginning of 1.944 Stiwell had one unit of «deep raiders”, the so called «Merrill’s Marauders». But they did not have the scope, the projection, the capacity and the operational conception that the Chindits had from the beginning, in his second incursion of this year. In addition, without the substitutions and replacements needed, used as another American Chinese advance spear in the Burma campaign and plagued by the infectious diseases, the combative efficiency of the Chindits plummeted very soon. And, a few months later, in 1.945, they were already totally demobilized.




Its structure, its operational characteristics and its performance according to the Soviet military Theory and in the practice. The practical failures of the Soviet deployments.

His tactical and operative employ in the marches and combats.

Once inserted the tanks army inside the enemy operational zone, his employ was generally much separating of the Soviet theory of the mechanized modern war of «maneuvers». The mechanized or tanks brigades were often used in untidy or even rash form. They were separated and simultaneously looked for many aims, using the maximum possible operating speed: To displace towards the west, pushing them, the major possible number of enemy units or other times, to cut off them. To liberate many populations, villas and places. And to attack in a too much broad sector, all the enemy units that were occupying defensive positions in it.

The logistics left a lot to be desired even for these elite units, as they were moving away from his lines and were consuming his initial resources. The units and small units were lacking equipments, armament, supplies, ammunitions and food. And the scanty and late restoration of the long-suffering falls, dead, injured and sick men, had very soon and almost permanently the units below his maximum authorized endowment. This tightened to the maximum the resources and men was leading to the units to a chronic lack of sufficient combat and operational movement capacities, in the spears of advance detached by the battalions, in the way of companies and even platoons. And without these combined joint capacities it is not possible to exercise a real, solvent and devastating “influence” on the enemy. That would move towards the units and their commands in the shape of “waves of commotion”, through the enemy rear. Except that, during a time, the enemy believes it or is in worse operational conditions that the attacker.

Frequently the offensive operations were realized without operational exploration, not even of combat, lacking the small attacking unit of information or intelligence about the enemy, his means and supports and his positions, and let’s not say on his intention. The formation of assault, even in these elite infantry units was usually the more or less thin line of advance (in «guerrilla»), formed transversely in the direction indicated by the chief of company command to the platoons chiefs, without any intentional deployment in depth and with scanty support of organic heavy machine guns or mortars. It is worth indicate that in last 2 complete years of war (spring, 1943 to spring, 1945) it was very normal, according to the above mentioned thing, that the endowment of a company was from 20 or 30 to 50 men, as the maximum.

When the aim was important or extensive, 2 companies were deployed by wings, serving the rough direction given as limit between their advance strips, to prevent them from intermingling the platoons. It was then very possible to count with artillery support from the brigade. For example, a battery of reactive artillery of 132 mm., the Katiuskhas, with 4 rockets launchers with 16 tubes each one on Zil 6X6 trucks, that were shooting more or less simultaneously, turning the surface target into a destruction zone. Or, in case of see or be waited enemy tanks, they were receiving the support of a 2 or 3 tanks T-34-85 platoon. Or, later, type JS-2 with the 122 mm. cannon, with a much slower shooting speed. Since, for industrial difficulties, it had the projection load separated from the perforation or explosive round. Already in 1944, with the foreign territory occupied by Germany very restricted, it was frequent to see the Tigers or Panthers or the assault or antitank cannons, supporting German small and fixed defense positions.

The German fortification works, in the great majority of his fixed rejection positions, were scanty and of circumstances, except in the big occupied populations. They consisted in more or less long trenches, infantry foxholes and shooting positions of the heavy weapons, and vertical cuts and reinforcements of the natural obstacles. Generally, they had too much reinforced and hided points, which could be used then as alternative positions, and they were lacking men to manned these. The usual ignorance of their enemy, was often leading that the attacking Soviet line, without noticing, was left to approach up to the last tens of ms. of the supposed defensive occupied positions. Then, it was counter-attacked from flank or reverse by one or two of German infantry platoons, commanded by an energetic official, that had slipped out of the defensive perimeter and were remaining hidden. The security lack to the flanks and of proper depth deployment of the attacking forces, as well as battalion reserves, provoked that the attacking unit was destroyed and repelled, with more or less falls. The Germans did not usually pursue. And sometimes, taking advantage of his enemy reverse, they get from their positions at full light and without major measures. And to retreat. And even, without being received, to move to another defense support point more in their rear.

Neither the Soviet tanks units were enduring too much better. They were using in their marches or even in the assaults, too much known and stereotyped deployments, and without taken care habitually of the exposed flanks. This could be taken advantage by some German veteran tanks unit. The count Hyazinth Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche and Camminetz is almost not known in West. For the simple reason he fought during almost 4 years of war in the East front. He managed to be rewarded with the Gentleman’s Cross of the Iron Cross (that was hung of the neck). And that he was successively adorning it with the Oak Leaves and the Diamond swords for her. He was one of the best commanders of a panzer regiment. And his successes might assume at equal parts, to a good tactical sense and a particular knowledge of the Russian idiosyncrasy. He gave his better tactical blow being already major general and commander of the panzers of the North armies group, in the autumn of 1944. His front sector was in calmness, being reorganized the Soviets, and Hyazinth Strachwitz sensed beforehand where they would attack on having renewed the offensive. With only 4 tanks he deeply penetrated behind the enemy lines and established an ambush over the supposed approximation zone of to the front. In its moment appeared at full speed a small Soviet tanks unit, completely ignorant of the presence of the German tanks, that was destroyed. More tank units were approaching and followed the same luck. Incredibly, the Soviet commanders allowed that the massacre should continue, without establishing the combat exploration or the march security or, at least, verify the origin of the enemy so precise fire. After about an hour of the first shot of German cannon, in the ambush zone (killing zone) were lying the smoking and deformed remains of 105 Soviet tanks. Almost equal of inexplicable was that the count returned behind his lines with his 4 intact tanks.

The Soviet great combats in the German rear.

When the Soviets were waiting the presence of the panzer corps or divisions, that were the only enemy great units that could attack their mobile corps with profit, the tanks army was advancing in the German operational zone with more prudence. His marching groups were forming a deployment that was guaranteeing tactical cohesion, protection against surprises and combat capacity.

The fuels supply was the first Achilles’ heel of the Soviet great mobile units. Though the infantry divisions of the Fronts were always continuing after their mobile corps, to support them, consolidate the enemies’ clear regions and garrison the populations, their pedestrian speed was insufficient to reach them rapidly. This way, sometimes a mechanized or tanks corps could remain aground and isolated. And on him were falling rapidly all the mobile reserves that the Germans could have to hand in the zone and which employment was not unprotecting other sector. On having known their near forced detention, the mobile corps were immediately going on to the defensive action and were establishing their campaign fortifications. The mechanized corps resisted well, in spite of the falls. But the tanks corps, smaller and less complete, were swept off easier by the panzer and their mechanized infantry. These cases happened even in 1944.

In these cases, always came a moment in which it was supposed that the Soviets had fought well and that already they could not win, nor get out of the combat and move back. Then, the crews and the soldiers of these elite units were dispersing in small groups, leaving behind their valuable heavy equipments and were trying to infiltrate up to their lines. And this was very difficult to get. But this was a war for the survival and mercilessly. And already Stalin had indicated the luck of the Soviet prisoners of war, if they were managing to survive the captivity in the deep rears of the Reich, his allies and the occupy countries. And that had surrendered too soon to the Germans, specially at the beginning of the war. Charging the enormous military national effort in their following comrades and the people. «Nothing will be forgotten, nobody will be forgotten”.

When the situation was difficult, the Soviets were not hesitating to spend an Army of tanks to stop the enemy by pure attrition.

In the tanks battle of for Prokhorsvka’s villa on July 12, 1943, as part of so called Kursk’s battle, faced the 5º tanks army of the Guard of the general Romistrov against 2º panzer army corps of the SS, commanded by general Hausser. The Soviets were counting with approximately 900 tanks and assault cannons, but were not joining any of the modern SU-152 assault cannons, the so called «beasts killer» (Tigers, Panthers) and the majority (around 500) of their tanks were T-34 76,2 mm, which could not distantly perforate the Tigers’ frontal shielding. The Germans had around 600 tanks (of them, approximately 100 were Tigers) and assault cannons. But none of these were of the Ferdinand or Elephant model. These only were used in the north attack on Kursk’s salient.

The Germans advanced towards the village with the Tigers forming the top of a great blunt wedge, with the Panzer IV and III covering the flanks and the assault cannons in its interior. The Soviets went to get them. The shock of the armored masses of both armies transformed in a fierce and chaotic whirlwind. The speed and the great maneuverability of the T-34 allowed them to very rapidly advance to reach the nearby fighting distances. Which would allow them to attack the Tigers with fruit and preferably at the flank. These would lose this way their advantage of being able to do effective fire at long distances and keeping the invulnerability of his frontal shield. The combat developed in multitude of small actions between 2 or 3 tanks.

The result of the battle was undecided. The Germans lost approximately 300 vehicles, including numerous Tigers, and the Soviets suffered the fall of approximately 450 vehicles. Though initially the Soviets moved back, remaining the Germans in control of the area, the Soviets recovered it little later. With what the Germans could not recover all their damaged or broken down tanks, which were total falls in their units.

The modern evolution lines of the Soviet operational strategy until 1989.

After the irruption of the Fronts or Soviet groups of armies in Eastern Europe and all the broad of the front of the East, the Soviet theoretics and the high commanders realized the need to change the structure of their tanks armies and corps. In effect, the urban, industrial and semi urban areas of the European East were demanding a major employment of the infantry support for the fight in them. They were new types of areas, full of obstacles to the advance and innumerable covers and/or «concealing relative heights», highly suitable to the active defense in depth. Here, the mechanized infantry (it was begun to call also motorized, though it was using the «combat» armored vehicles) was the principal weapon of the fighting. Also in the predictable future, a possible tactical nuclear war or not towards the Western Europe, would even accentuate this need of the motorized infantry.

It is not until 1965, 12 years after Stalin’s death, in which are started recognizing the contributions and the works of the mentioned theoretical purged military men. Assuming already to each person theirs ones and not as part of an ambiguous and impersonal Soviet military collective popular thinking school.

In turn the tanks armies and theirs corps and divisions units were adapting and changing. This way were created the so called «operational maneuver groups» (O.M.G.), destined to the exploitation in the lands of West Germany and Benelux in the decided operational directions. They could be formed by one or two tanks armies, reinforced in infantry and artillery. But their battle orders changed with the time and with the appearance of the atomic tactical weapon (missile, air and artillery). This brought the dispersion of the deployment after the irruption in several tanks and mechanized corps. That would advance very unfolded by all the attainable ground routes of the enemy area, to avoid to turn into an eligible target for the atomic fire. Also for they would have to approach with rapidity and unfolded to the “forward limit of the enemy positions”. The speed of march and the precision and range of the heavy direct fire would compensate their dispersion and the loss of shock. So achieving an effect of «crumbling of the enemy rear» thanks to the higher number of insertions and exploitations in the Western Front and its depth rear.



Its structure, its operational characteristics and its performance according to the Soviet military Theory and in the practice. The practical failures of the Soviet deployments.

From 1943, after the breakthrough of the German semi continuous fronts by the shock or infantry armies of the Soviet Fronts or «armies groups», these sent their more mobile great forces, the tank armies, to the interior of the enemy operational zone. To keep intact their combat and of operational movement capacities, it was tried that they were not taking part in the previous irruption, breakthrough and securing operations in the passing sector, at charge of the mentioned infantry or shock armies.


Everything approximately begins with Tujachevski’s «bad» experiences, as commander of the Western Front in the war of 1920 of the USSR against Poland. This way, inferred «the inability to destroy the enemy army in a wide modern front, with an alone blow, in a great battle. What was forcing to achieve this strategic goal by means of a series of battles». The guide of this battles succession would be the operational strategy. So giving coherence, strategic sense and joint in the time and space to the military efforts and decisions. Before the «costly» successes of industrialization of the Five-year Soviet Plans, until the 30s of the 20th century, the operational level remained limited to this successive series of battles. Because the Red forces were integrated essentially by infantry, artillery and cavalry. Weapons restrained, by their essential limitation in the advance speed, to always using this string of victorious battles towards his strategic goals in the military theaters.

Parallel, other Soviets theoretics were working on a new, «more «scientific» strategy, as would correspond with the country «new order», for the employment of the Red Army. So, V. K Triandafillov published in 1929 the book «The nature of the operations of the modern armies». And in the Field Manual (ustav) of the Red Army of 1929, coordinated by A. A. Svechin, many of his ideas were included. In February, 1933, the army issued his Provisional Instructions to organize the battle in depth, which were extended in March, 1935. And the Field Manual of 1936, prepared with Tujachevski’s supervision, which already had 44 years, and Yegorov, was establishing the basic principles for the deep battle and the variants of the operations in the enemy rear. Triandafillov died prematurely on July 12, 1931 in an aviation accident near Moscow. This saved probably him of suffered a few years later the politician paranoiac pursuit of Stalin. The Stalinist purge of the 37s and 38s materially liquidated a generation of high commanders and officials, that had devoted themselves to the study, definition and development of the military operational art. This way, Egorov, Kamenev, Svechin, Tujachevski, Uborovich and others less out-standing, were purged and executed. Their ideas and theories in development turned pale and were guarded, up to well entered the Great Patriotic War. The great units necessary for the employment of operational theory were dismembered in their basic components or units of every Arm, for their easier conduction and employment. And the frightened surviving commanders became much more conservative, stick on to the received orders as limpets, and unwilling to assume even the calculated risks. These insanities inconstancies and caprices of the envy and the poor self-esteem of a predator and distrustfully Red Fuehrer, incapable of the minor empathy, cost more than million casualties to the Red Army, in the first months of the war in the East.


The tanks armies, which only reached the number of sixIn the whole immense Soviet Order of Battle, were using principally in the most promising strategic or operational and even political directions, of the whole extensive war front in the European East. And according to the criteria of the Stavka or High Staff of the Soviet armed forces, under the direct control of the comrade Stalin. Therefore, many groups of Soviet armies or Fronts were not possessing them. They were the elite of the elite of the great Soviet units. And for their men’s endowment and equipments it was tried that were the best available ones and to full theoretical endowment, at least before their insertion in the enemy rear. This way, at the end of 1943, when the Soviet war machinery was acting in full sweeping offensive, only 320.000 men belonged to the mechanized or motorized forces, from the total of more than 4 million men of the Soviet Ground Forces. The need to provide them those, like the aviation, the navy and the artillery with the better educated and trained troops, was letting the infantry numerous forces (around 490 divisions, which were in stable number from 1943) with the most awkward men and the worse formed and equipped. Though the Red Army of the Workers and Peasants (RKKA, the Russian Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия, Raboche-Krestianskaya Krasnaya Armia) was not called officially Soviet Army until 1946, for practical reasons we prefer calling him this way in this work.

The development of the mobile forces and their aims in the Soviet military doctrine.

When one speaks about the massive assaults, by successive big waves, of the Soviets, it is necessary to look for the tactical and human explanation of in the iteration of efforts that marks their doctrine. And in the military and yet imperfect school formation of their men, specially the infantries. Nevertheless, to the favorable and unfavorable characteristics of his national fighting for the survival, in the so called «Great Patriotic War», they could adapt all their social, economic and military efforts. Creating, for example, a number very limited of tanks and cannons of assault models, sobers, easy to handle, hard, rapid, with fuels more advantageous in their combustion Carnot’s cycle and with great fire power, already from the beginning. And that then made for many tens of thousands of units. Delivering a sub-machine gun to many infantries, forcing them this way to assault the enemy, to make him to feel the neutralization massive fire at their shooting effective distance (not more than 70 meters), to have some opportunity to live then. Towards the half of the war, the Soviets had working the incredible number of 310 officials’ schools, with more than 350.000 cadets, which formed during the war approximately 2.000.000 new officials. These were in charge, in their small units, together with the NCO, of giving a more or less military formation to the replacements that in them were received, proceeding from the successive levies of men and women of any age and condition.

The high Soviet commanders knew that, on an equal footing, their men were more worse soldiers than the Germans, especially in the offensive operations. Therefore, they had to win at least all the battles that were turning out to be transcendental in their effort of war. First to survive and, then, to conquer Germany and extend their recently established «political social order» in the Eastern Europe. The secret was residing in the exploitation of the enemy operational zone. That was badly defended by a first line without operational depth, chronically scanty of sufficient and effective antitank weapons, and, especially, chained to a rigid repulse, without transfer of space, by the myopic and distrustful top Nazi directives. And the designed weapon, from the doctrine of the deep penetration, developed by the ill-fared marshall Mikhail Tujachevski and others until 1936, and desperate taken again after the first great reverses in the war, was the top use of the select and scanty armies. That theoretically might reasonably penetrate several hundreds of km in the enemy rear.

In the rest of the large sectors of the front, the Soviets either were kept in the defense. And they were masters in the establishment and functioning of strengthened, almost impenetrable areas, zones and even «regions». Or their infantry divisions, with the support of their very scanty organic tanks or that assigned in tactical subordination and reinforced or not with some Katiuskas’s brigade and some heavy artillery regiment, to realize secondary assaults with limited aims. If the operation was more promising, the Stavka could assign to them some mechanized corps, the mobile more important great unit, always centralize controlled, or, at least, a tanks corps. Though during 1941 and 1942, 80 % of the heavy and campaign artillery was divisional, already at the beginning of 1944, 65 % was not divisional and was integrated to great independent units, the artillery divisions, formed by regiments. This organization was serving to concentrate it crushingly and very effectively in the most promising directions, decided by Stalin and his Stavka, and to facilitate and assure the break in.

The operational zone, its functions and weaknesses.

The operational zone, with a depth in this epoch from 18-20 km to 75-80 km from the front, is the geographical space where develops the process of turning the «mass of support» from the strategic rear (forces, supports, communications, logistic organization and HHQQ) into «units of action», specialized and qualified for their employment against the enemy, with the type of fight decided or imposed by him.

The critical elements of this zone, which is the physical support of that military activity, are: the communications of all kinds: the spaces of maneuvers and operations (zones of units unfolding, waiting, reorganization, re equipment, preparation, advance, provided with covers or non enfilade towards the enemy); the units of engineers and of operational reconnaissance (I include both them for their shortage, importance and universality of employment); the logistic means (centers of data processing and of operations control, warehouses and manipulation means, long distance and delivery transport and delivery areas); and the intelligence centers and those of the operational controls.

The operational zone must have the sufficient depth to be able to contain, deploy, drive, supply and direct the sufficient number of units close to the front, following the necessary spears of advance or attack. To repeat the efforts against the enemy and to obtain the tactical aim that raises or are decided. One differs very marked in the real depth (used) between the zones of the two antagonistic or enemy rivals, indicates a latent tactical weakness of one of them. Either for less military resources or for a slower advance or deployment for the combat of his strategic reservations, from his deep rear. This can be detected by the aviation of exploration. Deprived the active forces of a front of their operational zone, which makes able, supports and stimulates them, the survival of the whole front sector affected is impossible after a short time, for depletion or consumption. The moral effects of the loss of the positive expectations help to precipitate the collapse of this front. The forces will tend to move back or to be called towards the rear, to treat to protect the functional elements that allow them to operate tactically. In effect, for the defense of the operational zone, given the combative defenselessness of her “functional elements” and the scanty combat readiness and the lack of cohesion of the units that wait, reform and are re-equipped there, only we can possess in general the operational already prepared reserves, preferably mobile, and with the deepest and slower reserves of this sector or of the contiguous ones.

The presence in force of a tanks army, deployed in numerous more or less parallel routes of march, fulling all the available roads and paths, generates a great threatening «sector» and always unforeseen in the enemy rear. With an «operational efficiency» extended to his right, to his left side and towards the front. The «real threat» exercised by the mobile groups is a direct function of the distance to their possible aims, measure in «reaching times»; of their «operational movement capacity» to approach them and of their «combat capacity» to damage or occupy them. This creates an «influence», a gigantic «leverage» on the enemy affected zone, altering, dismantling, breaking it and, even, making it prematurely collapse, and without great attrition combats.




About the «Muslim Brothers» (MB) as political modern «organization» there is profusion of available information, which is constantly updated. But the MB are different from a «political association», according with our Western use and understanding. Their function is eminently social in a wide and deep sense. Like is the Islam as religion. That is based on five props represented by a «opened hand». The jihad is added to those, as a collective blood effort in Al-lâh’s path, for the defense and extension of the lands of Dar-al-Islam. The Islam expresses by sacred actions (rites), necessary to be imbued and blooms in the personal and collective soul of the believers. And these «acts and ritual actions», from the Salat (his daily prayers, which re-join the whole present group), passing for the Roza or fasting in the Ramadan month and the Hajj or multitudinous peregrination to the Mecca, to the Zakat or charity (expressed as canonical alms for the Umma, administered by the ulemas, imams or sheiks). They are collective and highly composing the local or regional Muslim community. The MB are like a legal «confraternity», with the due distances, of the Islam. And with the Zakat they support services of social attention of all kinds (schools and madrasas, clinics, hospitals, help to persons and families). These forge the community in a «unit of general action» effective and resistant. That is of very difficult repetition or reply for the laymen, the atheists and other potential enemies.

On February 4, 1982, after a time of pacific active opposition, the Syrian MB Sunnis, tried an armed revolt in Hama’s city against Hafez al-Assad. His brother Rifaat al-Assad directed the military repression. Surrounded, isolated, without heavy armament, or supplies, the uprising MB were squashed by February 28. It is calculated in more than 20 thousand the rebels dead men during in the combats and in the later pursuit and mopping up. The consulted values range between 10 thousand and 40 thousand. Which indicates that they neither are checked, are not even trustworthy, coming from antagonists sources or fickle authors.

It was the epoch in which these mobs were not constituting a part of a social extensive, deep and determined action. But rather an activate «rebel military area». That was seeking to attract, after his first armed successes, wide sectors of the Sunnis Syrian population. Then, they were seditious without sufficient popular support. Not all the MB were even revolted. And that, therefore, could and must be submitted or swept by the established authorities, as irretrievable and odious rebels.

The dynastic government of the Assad and his political equipment have stopped forming a socialist and national regime a lot of time ago. As they neither represent or defend, nor integrate, the particular and collective interests of their nation. Now only support and protect the members of the social religious oligarchy. That monopolizes and distributes in different degrees the institutional, social and economic power of Syria. The Syrian regime is crystallized, without fluency, so much socially, as ideologically and administratively. And is turning into the shell of a «social political fruit», shriveled, sterile and empty.

A Panorama of national and military Strategy of the Civil War in Syria.

Strategically and in the medium term, the regime of the Assad and his institutional skeleton of the Baaz lay party and their supporters of the Republican Guard and the Air Force, the chiefs and many officials of the Army and the high ranking posts in the Administration, is finished.

Their outrages, the social fractures and the grinding time applied and caused to their heterogeneous people are too much. In order that the beginning revolutionary process (of abrupt change of regime and of political structures) has an acceptable and permanent “reverse” in Syria.

Operatively and in the medium term also, the SNA «monitored and encouraged» by the Republican Guard and the Military Security, has a wide operational movement capacity; a consistent logistic network of stores, warehouses, long distance transport and distribution transport and an IT system, that allows the control and direction of her; a sure flow of armament and equipments for replacement and a simply resounding combat capacity, against their armed semi regular and irregular enemies.

In this level of activity, it is of emphasizing the absence of the Syrian Air Force, in the combats, harassments and skirmishes that take place. It is an Army branch, technical, minority and loyal to the al-Assad, where came from daddy Hafez. That would act as air support, rebel movements interdiction and bombardment of their volatile and slightly definite “support rears” and bases of all kinds. She does not have counterinsurgency specific planes. That allow, flying at low speed, to fix the target and concentrate in it the fire, minimizing his action over not belligerent. As those of the Bronco and his derivatives family and even the old Mig-17.

Then, her employment in a revolt against poorly armed rebels and with diffuse and intermingled “fronts” with populations and neighborhoods of cities. It might give place, though more remotely that in the Lybian case, to the decision of a “military foreign intervention” of variable implications against the regime. The intervention, in this case, with the thorny and difficult political and geostrategic exposition that imply: the reluctance to her of China and Russia; the frontier nearness of The Lebanon and Iran;the natural and inconvenient allies of the regime alauí (chii) and the considerable major population of Syria, in comparison with Lybia. So, she Is stopped by the lack of direction, leadership and moral courage and of ideological and political definition of the so called Western «powers». The artillery, which is less visible and spectacular for the present and absent public, is freely used by the SNA, including the heavy organic tubes of the infantry. It is of emphasizing that in the Eastern Front war, the campaign, heavy and reactive artillery caused up to 45 % of the total losses of both rivals, against to 5 % attributed to the assault artillery and other 5 %, to the aviation. And 35 % of the losses assumed by the heavy organic weapons of both infantries. And this, taking apart that other tasks of the artillery also were to disorganize the enemy movements, to destroy equipments and fortifications and the harassment.

Tactically, the Syrian regime supported by the SNA is in conditions to defeat indefinite but not perpetually all his armed opponents. Any rebel armed force that faces him directly or that tries to defend her positions in a rigid defense without yielding space will be annihilated. The only opportunity that the armed opponents have is precisely not to be drawn by the Army to a lost combat in advance. His technologies and tactics must be the constant and far-sighted mobility; the dispersion and the infiltration, for the moment, in the urban fighting; the small, dispersed and more or less simultaneous or sequential actions in a sensible area; the echeloned escape; the fight with very limited goals and with advantageous temporary conditions; the systematic giving up of positions, forcing the enemy to deploy and prepare again. They can win for the rebel armed forces the necessary time to survive. And to manage to glimpse the victory, against the brutal national and international, political and social wear, which will suffer Bachar al-Assad’s regime, in exponential proportion to the repression time he exercises.


The Syrian troops cause hundreds of dead and injured civilians in their attack to Homs’ city since Friday, 3rd of February. Justifying themselves with making “hot pursuit” of a group of supposed regular rebels in retreat. These actions in force spread already to other cities and small populations of the west of the country. This would be the summary of the news that are received from Syria during February. And with them an important qualitative change has taken place in this masked war. That is increasingly near to burst out and to develop and spread, with the typical characteristics of an armed sustained internal conflict.

Geographical Conditionings of the military Theater of Syria. His operational Characteristics in the Modern War.

Syria is fundamentally a flat country. The life and activity of his inhabitants is assembled and supported by 2 great rivers, the Orontes, which flows from north to south, and the high section of the Euphrates, which crosses his extensive and desert plains of the East, in south-east direction. A thin heights chain, the Ansariyya, which extends in its southern part in the Antilibano and Hermon mountain ranges, now close to Damascus, limits his narrow coastal plain, with Mediterranean crops. At the east of this heights succession, the Orontes, which feeds the irrigation of different crops from the Gab natural depression, allows different urban emplacements, principally Hama and Homs, from north to south. Around the Euphrates, the life sustains, thanks to the irrigations from the river and Tabqa’s dam, in the cities of Raqqa and Day the-Zawr and other minor populations.

As we have seen, the Syrian territory offers a favorable area for the operational movement and marches of the mechanized and motorized units and small units. That are capable of rapidly crossing large and surprising distances for their enemy. Using for it departure bases in their operational rear. This allows also that, any semipermanent concentration of the Syrian Free Army (SFA) could be easily reached, isolated and annihilated by the National Syrian Army (NSA) of Bashar al-Assad.

The Prolegomena of the Civil War in Syria.

Till now the combats between the rebels and the NSA were harassments, skirmishes, ambushes and small assaults to populations, which did not have the character of a «circle and siege», even partially and temporarily. All those had two key characteristics: they were very limited in time and did not have any operational projection. The falls of both «rivals», compared with those of any armed conflict that boasts, were ridiculous. On the other hand, many «minishocks» were not even detected by the normal observers or the international press.

The NSA has made one more step towards the crushing of the revolt, still in his tender buds. But already armed and spreading in «spots» over the whole west of the country. Using also in his «task», the artillery, the infantry heavy weapon and the heavy direct fire of the tanks. Heavy fire that, till now, seeks to sow the panic between the enemy soldiers and his civil supporters and the neighbors of the redoubts and strong temporary rebel points. Without that, with the direct and indirect support of their fires, take place military ground actions of operational transcendence. Only there happens the employment of «groups» of snipers by both parts. The select military men infiltrate and establish themselves, forming a short, discontinuous and broken front line, that covers a sector or strip of great frequency of movements in the population or city. And the rebels realize the neutralization action of the military snipers. And, while the panic produces the people’s move out, but rarely the flanks overflow, the soldiers advance, rolling in the created «emptiness». But without penetrating in it in force and decisively, to dismantle the rebel defense. Or to divide in sectors the enemy enclaves, as maneuver before their mop up by parts.

The self named Syrian Free Army in the Syrian Civil War.

It is a conglomerate of dispersed and unlike forces. That come from the intermittent desertion of small groups of members of the different forces of the NSA. There do not exist elements of the Air Force, which we know, between the rebels. The SFA is far from constituting an organic stable and consolidated structure. His order of battle is constituted, in his pinnacle, by the regional «brigades». These operate tactically in the “urban bed” of the Orontes. Looking only for limited goals of harassment or sudden attacks against the security forces and local important authorities. They do not have intention of defending the goals that are occupied. And they shelter at once, more or less deployed, in the nearby mountain chains. Or, forming small but integrated units, in some neighborhoods of the turbulent cities of Homs, Hama and other populations.

This rebel Syrian army, is better qualified and trained that the local «brigades» (hundreds of Lybian improvised «qatibas», in the style of «sans cullottes» or of the Iranian «basijs») of the questionable Libyan National Counsel of Transition. At least, his men possess a unit of doctrine, regulations and armaments. They have plenty of the varied personnel weapons, including the RPG family and her improved HEAT rockets of hollow lcharge and free flight and some heavy infantry armament (mortars and machine guns). His great weakness is his penury of armored vehicles, of artillery and of the antitank organic weapons of the companies and the specific battalions for antitank fighting. And the lack of a logistic stable network, sufficient and provided regularly.

Here also exists the social psychological phenomenon of raising in 2 or 3 degrees the category, the real size and the capacity of the real deployed and operative units. And that, for stale, does not cheat anybody.

Other active Protagonists of the Civil War in Syria.

The Syrian Army is the army of the nation. And it is formed proportionally as her, by a majority of sunnies recruits. That is which feeds, together with NCO s and junior officials of same origin, as an exuberant nursery, the ranks of the FSA. The Army is formed by approximately 200 thousand persons, most of recruit. The potential of the nation for a supported annual recruitment is around 220 thousand men. And it can reach even more than 320 thousand persons, with the first mobilization. Army is integrated by 3 army corps and varied and numerous independent units, with all the branches and available services. Within his upbringing is included a «political indoctrination». Not as severe, extensive and constant as that in the Communist armies, that look to imbue them with hatred towards the Zionist enemy and with loyalty to the Government and the Party.

The Army is «observed and controlled» by a younger brother of Bashar, Mahir, from his headquarters of the Republican Guard (the Haras al-Jumhuriyya). And by his brother-in-law Asef Shawkat, who directs the whole State Security, through his different institutional branches. In all the military «units» are «observers» of the Military Intelligence. Also there are several «Special Forces»units, formed exclusively by alauits volunteers, that nowadays received the joint name of «Force of Rapid Deployment», at the usage of other national armies. They are light infantry reinforced units, with the highest level in motivation, training and combat readiness.

If we want to speak about the combative efficiency of the Syrian Army, we have to depart from his specific “combat capacities». Definite and calculated by colonel Trevor Dupuy. And that refer to real values exhibited in conflicts. The last ones, calculated from the Yom Kippur’s War, were giving a value of 2,54 Syrian soldiers for one of the Tsahal. This was placing them over Jordanians and Egyptians, with values below 2. For more than 20 years, an improvement is perceived in the quality of the military personnel. And the junior officials receive now more tasks and are promoted also by his value, within the habitual parameters of the Arabic armies.

In this multicolored social military scene, are also present a few purely local autonomous militias, without operative connection between them. They do not exist in all the places and neighborhoods. There are out of the Baaz and his politician paramilitary militias that, for the moment, are inactive. Those try to keep a minimum of social internal order and the safety and the movement of the citizens and goods in the different enclaves, small populations and slums where they act. Their armament is merely the infantry personnel weapons and hunting firearms, in very varied number and composition depending on their location and contacts. Both the «task groups» of the SNA and the rebel bands keep, in this period of development of the fighting, a tolerant status quo with these civil militias. Which realize a suitable civil police labor for all.

In many alauits neighborhoods operates a paramilitary governmental militia (the «habiha»), formed by select militants of the Baaz. In different Sunnis neighborhoods act irregular armed rebels from the Muslim Brothers. It is very scanty the presence of radical religious Salafists and his furthermore exiguous local appendices. The past suicide attacks in Damascus were ascribed to them. This introduces a “social instability factor” in the “real parameters” of this war. That performs major effect and importance, that would correspond to it by the number and aggressiveness efficiency of these social religious radical Islamic. Finally, there also are «Sunnis irregular volunteers» from Iraq, without pays since the retreat of the USA. That would be crossing the Syrian border and her Eastern desert, to join the armed fight against the regime of the Baaz.

(to be continued)