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

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

Norman Schwarzkopf - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


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

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

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

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

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

The Center of Gravity:

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

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

Battle of Ulm - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia


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

Batalla de Ulm - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


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

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

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

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

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


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

Land transitability will be neutral or favorable to the operation.

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de MILITAR traveling grounds

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

Resultado de imagen de MILITAR river fording

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

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

Resultado de imagen de Military airborne falling

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de battle of ulm 1805

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de senate of the us

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

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

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


The Principle of the Objective, Today.

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de frederick the great

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

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

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

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

The Pernicious Interference of the Politicians in the Military Actions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.



The last tens of meters up to reaching a determined enemy or gullible in his positions, form the fighting zone of the infantry. And she has yet major validity and importance in the actual wars. With the approximation to the combat from the brigade, the last global direct human possible vision of the units and resources, and the division, the western doctrines tend to be fixed in the dominant characteristics of the area and of his transitability or ground ongoing throughout the day and of the years seasons and according to the climate, to realize his plans.

But they neglect the use of the microarea at the levels of squads, teams, companions pairs and weapon servants. In the microarea, by means of the cover, the patience, the secrecy and the concealment, those «combats groups» might use against the enemy, his capacities of resistance (to the surprise), of mobility or concealed tactical «activity» (in the defense), of initiative and of freedom of action. Operating over him in minuscule «action interphases» (or microsectors). This is specially actual and necessary in the fight against regular and irregular «nobody» enemy, which lack the modern military technological advances and the economic resources to provide them. And that search for need and/or idiosyncrasy, to compensate his asymmetries with the domain of this infantry fight, seeking to see this way the white of the eyes of the enemy.

The military American Doctrine for the modern Wars.

The news that are received since years from the war operations zones in the countries in conflict, proceeding from the journalists inserted in the fighting forces, of the correspondents detached in the different populations of those (Kabul, Baghdad, Saigon, Hue) and those that the armies in presence issue, are revealing a series of characteristics that are common to the forces of the different western modern armies. They all are following the trend initiated by the Americans of having the enemy less nearby, more seen and observed and more beaten by the heavy air and artillery fire. It is not looked with this, in increasing effects order, to blind it, to disturb it, or to neutralize it, but to destroy it. That is the costliest and improbabliest of his effects and that demands an increased and deficient expense of the resources. And the worse thing is that does not always exist his direct connection with the offensive maneuvers of the ground forces. That often do not come to beating the broken enemy after the fires blows. The ground deployments are «secondary» and, therefore, also are his movements, dispersions and concentrations. The heavy fire has turned into a «economic and industrial» substitute (it changes military effort into dollars) of the maneuvers and the assaults of the ground forces. And the reason of all that is known by the poor and asymmetric enemies of West: the horror to the risk in combat and to assuming falls.


The massive employment of the heavy fire is the principal «argument» of the Pentagon. His doctrine (Field Manual of the US Army 100-5, Operations) does not emphasize the initiative and rests in enemy reacts to the «real or potential action» from protected positions in the whole operations zone. The USA has created a ground forces with few capacity and skill in his small units for the combat in the infantry fighting zone, where more risk take the men. The trend of the doctrine looks for a formation (knowledge, education and command) and an intelligence (as elaborated, sufficient and constant information) excellent and abundant for the chiefs and officials. They are the managers of conceptualize the combat and the persons in charge of the fulfillment of the mission of his units and small units. It is supposed that the soldiers will do well and will work well, being able to use his sophisticated equipments and those of his companions of unit and fulfilling the orders of his subofficials and officials. These are supposed elaborated at the sufficient level, to give them perspective and cohesion with the intention of the high controls.


One of the operation principles that gathers strength in this renewed doctrine is that of the simultaneity. This establishes to beat at the same time, with heavy fire of artillery and aviation, the first and second enemy attack echelons and even his reserve, using against her the aviation and the tactical rocketry. The infantry and tanks forces are designed to attack or to counter-attack this now beaten enemy in all his depth and to assure the battle decision. Here does not exist the detection and the assault to the enemy weak points. Nor the «general saving» (an essential, universal and original principle of the war, according to Fuller) of means and of human lives. Nor the skilful, risky and fruitful maneuvers of functional and/or positional dislocation of the enemy. In opened area, the infantry cannot attack without indirect and/or direct heavy fire support and without concealment (night, fogs, smokes, draggings). But this complementary support has been hypertrophying, up to turning into a «weapon» for itself (as decades ago it was tried to do with the tanks) in the mix of the military resources and in one supposedly «maneuvers warfare». About which speak, but not well applied, the updates of the FM 100-5 from 1985. The such promising, already omnipresent and wished “not driven planes” of exploration and/or bombardment or «drones» are not more than the global projection in scope, safety of employment for the user and game of possibilities of the heavy fire, about which we speak. The marshall von Hindenburg designed the adage: «A battle without Schwerpunkt (the place where or the unit that applies our “principal effort”) is like a man without character». The North American army acts generally evoking a heavy, forceful mace, hammering and excessive. The Afrika Korps, by the contrary, reminded us an elegant, agile, unforseeable, (almost) sufficient and effective foil.

The Employment of a IIIrd Generation Army in the “military asymmetric” Enviroment.

The wars of fourth generation are the counterinsurgency wars or guerrilla wars or irregular wars or armed revolts or national liberation wars or organized banditry, which always have existed, coexisting with the conventional variants where only regular forces combat. They are those that the USA has lost or not won lately: Vietnam, The Lebanon (Marines’ peace disembarkation, then demolished in his barrack), Somalia (the uncontrollable and unforseeable wasp’s nest of «all against all» of the tribal masters of the war and the militias of the Islamic Courts, now of al-Shabab), Iraq and Afghanistan. They are very unequal wars against an enemy of lower technological military level man relative to the own regular forces, taken root almost always in the own or occupied civil population, militarily low intense and extensive or long in the space and the time. With awkward frequency, when the human (own or local agents) or technological Americans «sensors» detect some probable rebel activity of the yellow ones, muhaydins or hostile foreigners, they first devastate the building, the «block», the zone. What for them is really a surface target. And then they are going to wipe off and to do the corpses inventory, the «body count». Sometimes between the rubbles they can meet the corpses of a yellow, blackish or innocent and numerous Muslim family. It abuses of the attrition, when the enemy fuses with the civilians. It is careless the active, unexpected patrolling work, who needs proportionally less material and human means. But that bases In the military trade, the physical and moral courage, the freedom of action and the creativity in the low and intermediate commands and in the men.


The western soldiers have exchanged or forgotten the «principles» or rules of the good to do in the war, for the simultaneity and the depth of the distant fire, covering the whole enemy highly probable zone. With it there is neither means economy, nor principal effort, nor the necessary discrimination between soldiers and the potentially enemy civilians. The armies look eagerly for the safety and the confidence in his decisions and missions. Precisely when the environment in which they are and act in the last 5-years periods, the guerrilla or asymmetric wars, is variable, fleeting, without definite limits, confused and hard to grasp. The uncertainty, the chaos, the mistakes, the friction and the failures, the scanty means and the partially fulfilled plans, the weariness and the fear are the «omnipresent demons», that characterize and concern this neutral «magma» of the war. And it is neutral because it leaves being drive and guide largely by the human superior «plans and actions». That are stimulated by the «correct sense» of the commands, the determination, the will, the physical and moral courage, the motivations (ideological, religious, ethnic, social…), the suitable training, the sufficient equipment, the commitment with the tasks and missions and the respectable and respected commands.

Resultado de imagen de obama got away from iraq and afghanistan SOME DEADLY RECORDS.

George Bush’s strategic national doctrine established, but without being due explained, not tacitly accepted by both American parties, that the «asymmetrical wars» (irregular and with low level of military equipment) were supported and necessary, to remove of the American territories and those of his allies, the threats of the fundamentalist foreign terrorism of any origin, religion or ideology. It justified the ill-fated post war bad oriented occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. But, with a fiscal and exterior deficits ran away and with a Democrat Administration, it is necessary for the USA to save in military resources. To dedicate them «to construct a nation here, at home», as defined Obama. This way, the USA lowered qualitatively the bar of the exterior terror, putting al-Qaeda as almost the only one violent not national enemy. This internationalist salafist terrorist «network», with delirious and impossible ideas, without own territory, with his operational chiefs known, fled and not wished as guests in a normal country, is a more attainable, adaptable and manageable aim for his forces and means of «rapid punctual incursions». This justifies the increase of the use of the drones, spy satellites, own or local agents in the hostile areas, operations of assaults by elite units and small expeditionary forces and of Marines amphibious assault. These transported by «ships of control and transport» of strategic projection with his naval escort. The deployments of tens of thousands of military men and his luggage and specific equipment for several years in an operations theatre, they are indefinitely rejected by the new «doctrine» of the «diminishing defense».



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.





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.



Then, the dragoons of the right British flank ran in a “beheading charge”, to ruin the militiamen’s rush, pushing them up. And that in their flight, already in panic, run over and dissolve the formations of the line of regulars. Morgan sent his orders to Washington with an assistant. The American dragoons advanced from their waiting positions near the right hill and, forming two shock lines, charged on the right flank of Tarleton’s dragoons, destroying their formation. Her troopers turned into a fugitives’ tumult, escaping individually from the rebel sabers. The sight of the British dragoons altered the militiamen. And Pickens and Morgan had to use thoroughly to retain their officials. And in order that them achieve that the militiamen were calming down, were recovering and forming in their companies and battalions in the rear slope. While this happened, the British line was coming at the close distance of combat with the last rebel line. This developed with an fire exchange. The British line hesitated and descended to reform. They had successively charge against 3 rebel lines… Then, Tarleton insisted with his infantry reserve: the Highlanders’s battalion initiated his march to attack the enemy right flank, trying to run over from there all his line. Little later, a militia’s company of Virginia at the end of this line was moving back and turning towards right, seeking to refuse his flank to the Highlanders and to receive them abreast. Morgan received then messengers of Pickens from the rear slope, indicating him that his militiamen were ready. Morgan ordered them to go round the defense position towards his right and attack the British who were in front to the Continentals right flank.

The British line was advancing, for the fourth time and without any rest, already unconnected and turned in a crowd. Though the men were attacking, they were physic and mentally exhausted and had lost a too big number of officials and NCO. Without realizing it, the British were beaten and mature for a forceful counterattack. The cavalry of Washington prepared to charge on their right flank, from his waiting position. Meanwhile, the rebel regular infantry was receiving the British with another volley from approximately 27 ms. of distance. It was a devastating blow for the British, who stopped dead, stunned. The lieutenant colonel Howard gave his order to the men: «bayonet charge». The American dragoons also were charging with their sabers over the units of the right British flank. In this occasion, the British dragoons, placed behind, did not intervene, simply they dispersed and fled towards the forest. The remains of the British light infantry, the line infantry of the Legion and of the 7th regiment moved back dispersed and running, and were stopped and got prisoners by the Washington’s dragoons. In turn, in the rebel right flank, the militias of Virginia and the regular were facing the Scotch battalion of the Highlanders. For their part, Pickens’s militias in closed formation appeared surpassing this position and attacked them on flank and rear. Overwhelmed by this ungrateful surprise, the Scots hesitated in their lines, but continued the fight. The British cavalry reserve, the dragoons of the Legion, commanded by Tarleton in person, came in aid of the Highlanders. But, a volley from the militiamen of Pickens, took away the spirits from them and, already without expectations, they turned round and fled. The Highlanders were surrounded, except for their right flank, and to avoid destruction, mayor Mc Arthur gave up his sword. Only remained useful and in their positions the British gunners. Then, Howard’s infantry assaulted the pieces and beat them. Washington tried Tarleton’s pursuit, without result. Everything was finished.

Analysis and Lessons from Cowpens’s Battle.

Morgan’s falls were 12 dead and 61 injured men, equivalent to 7% of his force. The British had 110 dead and 830 prisoners, of which around 200 were injured, that supposed 85% of their force. And they also lost 2 regimental flags, 2 artillery pieces, 800 muskets, 35 load wagons, all the instruments of their music band and approximately 60 black slaves. Tarleton in his later memories declared: «some unforeseen fact (happened), that could throw the terror between the most disciplined troops and to resist the better thought plans». To this the experts call “surprise” and is an effective multiplier of the combat capacity applied.

In a small battle and of little more than one hour of duration, we see how a commander, at 24 days of his definitive fall because of rheumatism, could extract from the weakness and the lacks of his troops, renewed «forces», successive useful «combat capacities». And he recreates at his insignificant measures a small Cannas, without been he an Aníbal… Without the characteristics of his men had changed nothing at all. And so well he does it and so brave, direct, obstinate and sure is his arrogant enemy, that the results overcome his expectations and the orders received from General Greene. As Morgan was only trying to reject the intense pursuit that the impulsive British was submitting him.

In Cowpens, Morgan used the successive retreat of his slightly effective forces of free shooters and of the militiamen’s first line. It was logical and expected. Nevertheless, a regular force that moves back, without coming to the close fire or to the near threat of the bayonets, appears as a trick. The militiamen were stimulated in their moral and in their survival instinct. And no impossible emotional or an effort over their training and aptitudes were asked them, which generate some strong mental tension and enervation. This is going to be sufficient to seriously harm the assault and shock capacities of Tarleton’s regular infantry. And, in addition, without his «epaulettes» and NCOs noted it, since the regular troops were advancing on militiamen’s lines, which were behaving as was expected from them, that is to say, avoiding the shock and moving back. Tarleton launches, sure of possessing a remaining potential, being based on his comparison man to man. His linear logic is crushing. Nevertheless, after the second or third successive assaults, the best men suffer a general weariness: they get careless, their combat moral becomes neutral, have fallen too much officials and NCOs and their vulnerability is at maximum. The attackers have exhausted their combat capacity, though they continue instructively advancing.

Of this phenomenon also Sun Tzu treats. «He chooses his men and they take advantage the better possible of the situation«. Li Ch’uang comments this way: «The brave can fight; the prudent, defend itself; the wise person, advise. The talent of anyone is not wasted» and Chang Yu says: «Then the real method, when it is necessary to give orders to men, consists of using the greedy and the idiot, the wise person and the brave and in giving everyone the responsibility that are convenient for them in the situations. Do not entrust to the people tasks that cannot fulfill. Do a selection and give everyone responsibilities adapted to his qualities». «The one that bears in mind the situation, uses his men in the combat like who makes roll trunks or stones. Since it is in the nature of the trunks and of the stones to be in balance in a firm soil and to roll in an unstable soil. And if they are squared, they stop and if they are round, roll «.

After using them successively, without exhausting or allow that they are swept or come in panic, Morgan does not reject his men. He is incorporating them in reserves, with the moral grown by the effort supported over the regular British. he does not exhaust their potentials, but preserves and recovers them, recreating reserves. Though it is a question of little trained troops, they have a combat capacity applicable and operable on the enemy. The brigadier prevents that the shock or the depletion affect the inferior capacity of his men. Morgan avoids the wear, but uses it to the maximum against his enemy. The result would be less manifest and showy, if Tarleton had given rest and rotation to his different battalions. With it he would compensate very much it and might act more effectively on his opposite, using his reserves. This possibility presents a wealth-producing perspective of the holistic, global vision, of the treated phenomenon.



On January 17, 1781, the American brigadier 45-year-old Daniel Morgan, faced in Cowpens, in a small battle without operational transcendence, with the British regular forces of the lieutenant colonel 27-year-old Banastre Tarleton. Both were possessing similar forces. But half of the large thousand men of Morgan were territorial militias. The shock with the regular British would ruin them, as the fixed bayonets in closed formation terrify the militiamen. These, nevertheless, were good shooters, accustomed hunt, having a great personal initiative. Only the 200 militiamen of Virginia had received training of regular. And together with the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Continentals, might form part of an infantry line, to resist the assault of the more than 1000 regular British. Morgan neither came to a very reflexive deduction, nor planned too much. He simply guided by his instinct and experience and used his men successively, according to their qualities. And he bore in mind Tarleton’s behavior with the rebels in other occasions, thinking in slowly wearing out the British. In Cowpens acted a capable, impulsive and haughty enemy. That was an example of the arrogance of the command. This is one of the best characters to face him in a dialectic of wills. Showing convincingly him a fodder and a weakness, these «invincible controls» grow bolder and thoroughly insist, mentally and tactically, up to the sink.

Precedents of Cowpens’s Battle.

The mission given to Daniel Morgan by the general Nathanael Greene, commander of the South Department of the Continental Army, was as simple as wide and vague. And had a high degree of interpretation, of adjustment and of possibilities of use of his scanty and unlike resources. «Your force and all those who could join you, will operate at the west of the Catawba river, as much defensive as offensively, according to your prudence and discretion, acting with all care and precaution to avoid surprises and stumbles with the enemy. Your aim is to protect this zone of the country, to raise the spirit of her inhabitants and to be a nuisance (to scourge) in it to the enemy». Morgan, who already had fought in the Indian and French wars of last times of the Colonies, was put by George Washington in 1777 in charge of a select light force of 500 infantrymen with rifles, which were known as «Morgan’s Shooters». This unit played a principal role in Saratoga’s American victory, which was an inflexion point of the Independence War. The post of the brigadier general Morgan was Commander of the Southwest Department. Though his initial forces were only approximately 300 regular infantrymen from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, under the control of the lieutenant colonel John Howard, approximately 200 militiamen of Virginia, commanded by the major Frank Triplett and around 80 dragoons commanded by the lieutenant colonel William Washington (second cousin of George Washington).

From his part, the British commander of the territory, Lord Cornwallis, was planning to return to North Carolina and lead the invasion postponed after his defeat in King’s Mountain. And the force of Morgan was a vague threat on his left flank. To defeat her and protect the British fort in Ninety Six, that his intelligence indicated erroneously him that Morgan was going to attack, Corwallis called lieutenant colonel Banastre Tarleton to the west of the Catawba. Tarleton’s troops were the «taskforce» called the British Legion, a combined unit of infantry and cavalry formed by some of the best British troops in the Carolinas. The Legion had gained important victories in Monck’s Corner and in Fishing Creek. But Tarleton had acquired an odious and irrevocable reputation of cruelly and merciless among the «patriots» after Waxhaws’s battle, when he allowed his men to massacre the rebellious soldiers who had given up. Tarleton asked Cornwallis more regular and went after Morgan with a reinforced force, trying to corner him in the Broad river.

The Preparations for the Battle.

In the cold and moist morning of Friday, the 16th of January, 1781, the Morgan’s regular went out of his night camp in Burrs Mill towards the Broad river. The rebels were in South Carolina, near her border with North Carolina. In both Carolinas, the Americans had suffered several reverses the previous year: In the siege of Charleston they had to surrender an «army» and lost another one in Camden’s battle. And great part of South Carolina was in British hands, commanded by Lord Cornwallis. The column was advancing following paths and gullies, framed by low still defoliated bushes, at the west of the Catawba river. Daniel Morgan known be followed by the British forces of Tarleton, placed behind at only 4 hours of march. The successive reports of his cavalry explorers, who were keeping visual contact with the enemy explorers and vanguard, were confirming that this distance in time» was not changing. But brigadier Morgan was thinking that it might diminish very much this night, if Tarleton, as it was his custom, was deciding to continue the pursuit during part of it, to fall at the dawn over the «rebels». The principal danger was to be reached by 300 Tarleton’s dragoons during the crossing of the Broad, which was flowing then in flood and was impeding furthermore its passage. At middle of the evening, the Americans were approximately 16 km to the river and only were remaining 4 hours of the languid winter daylight. Already they could not realize the passage this day. Morgan knew about the existence of an opened area of pastures, sprinkled with trees, at half way to the river. It was the Hannah’s Pasture (Cowpens), where the local farmers give up freely their cattle. Furthermore, this night he would receive the support requested to colonel Andrew Pickens, chief of Carolina and Georgia‘s militias, which also were at south of the Broad and which were directing to their meeting. Morgan decided to go toward him and take his decision, after realizing a visual reconnaissance and know his chiefs‘ opinion.

At the end of the evening, the regular rebel forces reached the pasture, placed 8 km south of the river, by its southwest side. It was a softly rolling or flat ground, provided with small dispersed spots of walnuts, pines or oaks. On having lacked low bushes, the high natural grass provided good pastures to the cattle. Morgan and his chiefs could estimate this way their defense area from the sights that the British would have. The ground opposite to them was ascending up to a long ridge that closed it, placed at 375 ms. of distance and with not more than 20 ms of high with this base. Beyond that, partially covered by the rear slope, 2 nearby hills were outlined at the right. It was a favorable area for the cavalry, where Tarleton might move at pleasure his dragoons, maneuvering, threatening, attacking or finishing off the task of his regular infantry. For it, it was of hoping that the British would not avoid a combat presented on it. Morgan decided to face the British there. Establishing in this great meadow chunk a defense in depth position, reserving his dragoons to reject assaults at his exposed flanks and using his men according to his qualities and real possibilities.

One of the means of the command to conquer the «combat laziness» of the men, is to use always the forces according to their real capacities. And allowing that the phases of the «cycles of action and recovery» are always fulfilled. As example, «national militias» could neither be the advance point in an assault or breaking through, nor permanently and aggressively operate far from their support bases. But they could defend established positions, «redoubts», against professional units and even come to locally countershocking them successfully, if they were well directed. Their aims had to be simple, easy and, even, staggered. In such way that they were not swept by an enemy higher combat capacity and could fulfill them. And that the gratifications for the successive obtained stages, supported them and were reinforcing their moral and confidence in themselves.

This night Morgan was joined by 600 state and local militiamen of Colonel Pickens. Morgan establishes with the militias a dispersed first line of expert shooters for the harassment, placed at the beginning of the gentle slope. And another second line, in closed formation, at 135 ms. behind, to receive the first one. He only asks the men of both lines to realize two deliberate aimed shots. Allowing them then to retreat at rearward, close to both nearby hills, slipping through the left flank, without waiting the close combat with the British. Morgan removes them from the bayonets and takes advantage of their attrition capacity by the fire at many dozens of yards of targets, even small. Neither he forgets to stimulate their survival instinct. He remembers them that if the enemy infantry charges triumph, the pursuit and their annihilation will be almost inevitable: they have at their back the Broad and the British possess a majority of regular cavalry of 3 to 1. Morgan’s third line, his only regulars line, is deployed a bit below of the military ridge. His right side is formed by the Virginia militiamen of Triplett and the center and the left side is formed by the Continental infantry, with Howard in command of the whole line. The Americans rested this night near their positions. And their direct commands and Daniel Morgan approached them with interest, to encourage and to clear them the doubts. At dawn, they took there the breakfast.

The Battle of Cowpens.

At sunrise and beyond the rebels positions, the first British dragoons were outlined between the line of trees that was framing the horizon. As Morgan thought, the British had use several night hours to continue the march to reach them at the first morning. The dragoons advanced at front, forming a clumsy vanguard, and were surprised by the running fire of the riflemen of the first enemy line, concealed between the trees. Morgan and Howard, observed the result from the height: 15 dragoons had fallen from their mounts. The rest went back and urgently penetrated between the trees. Very soon, all the units of the combined force of Tarleton went out the forest and began to form their assault line. In each end placed a dragoons company (<50 men). Together with that in the left side, as her a little behind, deployed the Scottish Highlanders' 71 battalion (the infantry reserve).

The principal British line was formed, from left to right, by the 7 infantry regiment (of recruitment), the regular infantry of the Legion, and her light infantry in compact guerrilla line. Inserted between these 3 units, were two small artillery pieces of 3 pounds, transported on horse and known as «grasshopper», due to the typical jump that they gave on having shot. Behind the Legion deployed her two dragoons companies (> 250 riders), forming the mobile reserve of the British detachment.

The British line began to advance at the pace of his drums. Little later, could be observed the smoke puffs from the rifles of the rebel free shooters. These got up and ran towards the line commanded by Pickens, retreating through the spaces between the formed companies. The British leveled muskets to bayonet charge. When his line was less than 40 ms. to the militias, his officials gave the order of open fire. The volley struck the British, whose discipline allowed them to rapidly close rows and to answer in turn with a volley. But, instead of continuing a determined advance, the British lost their impetus, on having decided to recharge the weapons. It was an opportunity for the rebels: the enemy was detained inside the range of their muskets. And another volley went out of their line, beating the whole British line and knocking down many «epaulettes». Again the British recovered and arranged to a bayonet charge. Fulfilled their orders, the militiamen broke formations and ran towards the left flank, looking for theit rear.


The Western Defense and the Great Strategy of his Nations II.


This way, for us, to cut away in our National Defense is to damage, hurt or mutilate, according to the cases, the solidity, conviction, credibility and continuity of the internal and external projection of the Spain “seal». It is not a question of having up to an elite unit of «infantry on donkeys» (as «mountain dragoons»). To be able to clean an affront in Bolivia or in the Central African Republic. As the one that had needed Great Britain, when she wanted to avenge in the 19th century an offense from the Bolivians. That showed off her Ambassador mounted in a donkey. And found that neither the Royal Navy, nor her embarked infantry could coming up to lands so deep inland. But it is a theme that our Smart Defense, praised already by the NATO, supports and balanced and adequately distributes her budgets and means. In order that she can face the three mentioned kinds of wars, in the framework of the European and Western Joint Defense.

The modern units must be adapted for every type of fight and, at the same time, be bivalent or polyvalent. For example, the small elite units are suitable for their employment in the three types of wars. Their tasks are to attack diverse enemy’s critical vulnerabilities, using assaults with limited aims in his tactical or operative depth. Realizing always a study, the exposition and very rigorous tests of their insertion and extraction, which are their tactical weaknesses. The artillery units and the nuclear tactical missiles units are useful in the first phases of a nuclear conflict. And when the conventional war enters a serious conflict, which cannot get lost. Using them as part of a flexible response operational strategy and by successive steps. The modern anti ballistic missiles of the system AEGIS and the Patriots can serve to collaborate destroying the enemy missiles of any origin and in the three types of conflicts. Let’s remember that Saddam Hussein provoked repeatedly the Israelis in the War of the Gulf of 1991 (a regular war), using his different types of SCUD (ballistic antiquated missiles of calculable paths) with conventional heads. And that Hamas, in the totally asymmetric conflict at ends of 2012, was throwing with great profusion and diffusion theirs over Israel’s south and center. Managing to reach without any precision Tel Aviv’s beaches and the suburbs of Jerusalem, using the missiles facilitated by Iran. That is to say, almost all the types of existing units are necessary, incorporating them In a balanced and sufficient combination, to attend to the challenges of the different armed conflicts.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (not driven planes of exploration and of bombardment) also has content and usefulness here. But always operating as part of the «combined weapon sets». The planes without crew can substitute profitably one «reconnaissance long range patrol» (exploration patrol in the operational enemy zone). To confirm with the sights the presence of an eminent enemy chief, hidden between the walls and courts of his shelter residence, placed in a cultural and ethnically related to him country. An exploration patrol would assume undue risks in the deep interior of an hostile territory. And even they might precisely and cleanly execute him with the AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles. If it was not because the most probably of doing it (that belongs to God!), which is looked for by the «overkilling», «over liquidating» the enemy. In spite of the «dead and injured men and collateral property damages», that grow this way lateral and exponently. And the almost neurotic «body count» or checking the corpse or the remains, to properly value the mission. Both are «appearances» (or spiderwebs, as is preferred) taken root in the mind and know how of the commands and military doctrines of the USA.

For example, when they tried, with only a pure attrition action, to operationally destroy the long distance and distribution transports and the logistic support structures (stores and distribution centers towards the different enemy supply areas of its tour, sections with hard surfaces roads, vehicles repair centers, etc.) of the Route Ho Chi Minh. Using the «saturation bombardments» of the B-52 (a strategic bomber in constant tactical missions!) and the most precise attacks of their ground support bombers. These were principally the AC-130, with diverse variants, and the light bomber B-576, a highly improved device, designed from the British Canberra of the 50s of the 20th century. The Route allowed enough abaster to the Vietcong and the regular North Vietnamese forces in the «demilitarized zone», between both Vietnamese republics, and at the south of that. And it was thinking up from North Vietnam across this of Laos. The support bombers were attacking in the night the trucks’ rest parks and the trucks marching groups. And, following came the “body count”, using airplanes with cameras. Looking to measure and quantify the success of the missions of the Command Hunt (or Command for the Route). The problem was that, the following day, the whole attacked section of the route was turning out to be unpolluted, without debris, not even any residue. The junior Americans officials explained ironically it, speaking about the effective action of a «Great Laotian Truck Eater Monster». That was taking charge at dawn, stubbornly cleaning the route for the North Vietnamese. For 1972, the total of enemy vehicles destroyed in the Uncle Ho’s Route, according to the most rigorous body count, was overcoming in more than 50% the calculated by the Military Intelligence in the total North Vietnamese park.

And this has continued happening in the «stage» of the War called of the Information. Whose paradigm or principal metaphor, is the computer and its derivatives. It was supposed that, after the «dispersion» created by the introduction of the internal combustion engine in the operations, it should turn to give a major sensation of control and security in the area of their direction and control. And allow to automate many of the of the military operations’ phases. But, during the so called Kosovo’s War, the Serbian were high capable of teasing the ultramodern sensors of the NATO’s airplanes. Using for it cheap artifices of elementary technology: as were the diverse camouflages, the decoys or false targets and the fleeting emission of their machines. When the «fog» in the air operations vanished, their inefficiency, after 78 days of bombardments, was evident. And in this period, the NATO was encouraged by a false sensation of success. «Newsweek» published an article in the year 2000, where appeared an investigation realized by USA Air Force years ago, to «measure» the results of those air raids. So, they detected the rests of 14 tanks (of the 120 initially «targets reached»), of 18 armored infantry transport vehicles (for 220 «targets reached» declared) and of 20 towed or self-propelled artillery pieces, while they confirmed in its moment up to 450 «struck» pieces. More things of the electronics, optics and the great distance to the enemy…