THE NAVAL BATTLE OF LEPANTO (1571) 2nd Part

SPAIN AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Military clash of the two Mediterranean Empires of the Modern Age

The tense firing infantry weapons.

As shooting weapons, the Christians used arquebuses and the Turks, mostly, the compound bow.

This was used since many centuries ago by the Asian, Chinese, Hun, Mongol, and Turkmen peoples. The bow was short and sinuous in shape. When drawn by the archer, it took the shape of the convex arc with which is familiar to us. The increased tension produced by forcing back both ends of the bow, which were previously facing forwards, propelled the arrow with precision, power and a longer range of more than 130 ms.

The arcabusses and this was the same until the post-Napoleonic era with the muskets, had an efective range of less than 80 or 90 ms. So that in shooting the Turks had a qualitative and quantitative advantage. In addition, due to its shooting speed and the possibility of using piercing or poisoned arrows.

The only reason that justified the use of the arquebus, as a modern weapon, was that the archer’s training was constant, almost daily and intense. Asian nomads, tending their herds, had a lot of free time. And that the learning of the charge and the aim of the arquebus was much easier and permanent.

The deployments of the fleets.

The allied fleet occupied a linear front of more than 4 nautical miles. As usual, it had a main, central body, two wings and a reserve.

In the central body was the Royal, flanked to starboard by the pontifical captain, commanded by Marco Antonio Colonna and to port by the Venetian captain of Sebastián Veniero. At their sides sailed the other 61 galleys of the main body. This meant that there was no depth in his formation and that he could not, by himself, reiterate his effort against the enemy, being the main body of battle.

To starboard of the center sailed Juan Andrea Doria in command of 54 galleys and to his port side, the wing of Agustín Barbarigo, with 53 galleys.

The reserve, commanded by the Spaniard Álvaro de Bazán, sailed astern of the center and numbered 30 galleys. She will have a decisive role in the crises of the battle. The Christians, unlike the Turks, maintained a strong reserve in the hands of a capable and determined leader. Which is advisable, since it can resolve compromising situations and is one of the means of command to achieve the decision.

The 6 Venetian galleasses sailed ahead of the galley line, two for each corps.

La Real raised the blue banner of the Holy League, decorated with the crucified Christ, the Virgin of Guadalupe and the coats of arms of Spain, Venice and the Pope.

For the purposes of combat capability deployed at Lepanto, the two fleets were nearly evenly matched.

The Turks had 275 ships, including galleys and auxiliary galliots, compared to 208 Christian galleys. That difference was made up for by the larger Alliance artillery, with 1,215 guns compared to 750 Turkish pieces. And, the human forces were almost the same: 34 thousand Turkish soldiers and 31 thousand of the League; and 13,000 sailors and 45,000 Turkish rowers and 12,000 and 43,000, respectively, from the Alliance.

Of Spain’s 20,000 soldiers, just over 8,000 were native Spaniards and the others were Germans and Italians in the service of Spain.

The Turkish fleet had the same layout as the allied one. At first, she sailed in a crescent formation, bringing her wings forward for a threatening and unlikely overrun from the Christian wings. But, they rectified and adopted the linear deployment.

The Turkish center was directed by the Sultana of Ali Pachá and had another 87 galleys. Its port wing was led by Uluch Ali and had 61 galleys and 32 galliots. The starboard wing, commanded by Mohamed Sirocco, had 55 galleys. And, the reserve, weaker than the Christian one, led by Amarat Dragut, had only 8 galleys and 23 galliots. Her insignificance made her ineffective for solo action, and she would likely be incorporated into the main body.

The fight.

Around 11, the wind changed and began to blow from the west. The Turks had to lower sail and row their ships. The Christians hoisted sails and let their oarsmen rest.

The galleasses were advanced, aided by some galleys, and deployed half a nautical mile ahead of their fleet.

Around noon, the Turkish fleet reached the line of galleasses, which opened fire on it with their various guns. The Turks sailed undaunted towards the Christian galley line, unaffected by the fire directed at them. And, they were right in their tactic.

They were soon out of reach of the galleasses. With their fire they managed to sink two Turkish galleys. And they caused damage to still others, slightly disturbed the deployment of the Turkish line and supposedly caused more damage to Turkish morale. Some beautiful and unverifiable conjectures!

But, more than a fifth of the allied artillery remained stopped and useless for combat, there in the line of galleasses.

Already the fleets were facing each other, both sailing rapidly towards the encounter. The Turks opened fire somewhat early with their cannons, with the Christians out of range. And these waited until the Ottomans were within range and caused them unspecified damage.

Finally, both fleets rammed each other. The rams stuck into the enemy ships, the artillery shelled at point-blank range and the marksmen of both sides fired on their embarked enemies.

The spur of the Sultana penetrated to the fourth row of rowers of the Real. Both ships being hooked and forming a floating combat platform of more than 100 ms long and about 10 ms wide. At first, the Real received partial support from the two allied captains located on her sides. But, the Sultana received it from 6 galleys from her combat group. In this, the tactics of the Turk worked better.

For the rest of the line of fleets, the battle scheme was the same. The shooters caused casualties to their enemies and the infantry tried again and again to board and conquer the ship of their immediate rival.

A crisis.

Mohamed Sirocco managed to outrun Barbarigo‘s wing. Thanks to the greater expertise of its pilots, familiar with those Turkish coasts. So they girded to the maximum, to those, sliding.

A hard and bloody fight ensued. Barbarigo received an arrow in the eye, from which he would die shortly after. And, he relinquished command of the ship to his nephew, who would also pass away.

AGUSTÍN BARBARIGO

Álvaro de Bazán‘s reserve then intervened, cornered the Turks and attacked them convergently. Thus, he the decided partial combat for the Christians. Mohamed Sirocco was found dying in a corner of his galley and, to spare him suffering, he was finished off.

Second crisis.

Álvaro de Bazán, true fixer and achiever of the glorious day, regrouped his force and went to support the main body, where the fight was at its peak.

ÁLVARO DE BÁZAN

And, he attacked the Sultana and his combat group from the starboard side. The Partau Pachá galley and 2 more galleys also intervened at that time.

The soldiers of the embarked Tercios then launched into the third and final assault of the Sultana. And they snatched the green and embroidered banner of Ali Pachá. He himself perished fighting with his bow against the assailants. It was said that as a result of several shots from an arquebus.

The powerful and long cry of «Victoriaaa» (Victory) in the Sultana and the death of the admiral of the fleet, acted by spreading «shock waves» throughout the Turkish main body. With the cohesion, motivation and command of the central flotilla undone, it was time for the captains of their galleys.

Many captains tried to flee to Lepanto, to save what could be saved. Some were cut short by the Christian galleys. The rest gradually surrendered throughout the central body.

It was the exploitation of success.

Third crisis.

In the Christian right sector, Uluch Ali had managed to envelop Juan Andrea Doria‘s flotilla. He had tried to refuse his flank to the Turks. But, he only managed to isolate himself from the main battle.

Several Turkish galleys attacked him from the rear. Ten Venetian galleys, two of the Pope and two of auxiliary minions, were stormed and taken by the Turks. They put all the combatants and sailors to the sword, freeing the Turkish galley slaves.

In that, Álvaro de Bazán appeared to help Doria. Uluch Ali was now, in turn, surrounded by the remaining ships of Doria and by the mass of galleys from the Christian reserve. In addition, in the distance appeared a reinforcement of the central body, which had already defeated the Turks in its sector and which came to the aid.

Uluch Ali chose to cast off the 8 captured galleys, which he had in tow, and flee to Lepanto. Bazán tried direct pursuit, without the overflowing, but gave up. Because his rowers, sailors and his soldiers were exhausted with the interventions made that day.

By 4 in the afternoon it was all over.

Results.

The victorious Christian fleet had captured 130 enemy ships in different states of preservation (117 galleys and 13 galliots). Another 94 Turkish galleys had sunk and 33 ships managed to escape to Lepanto. Here, Uluch Ali set them on fire, to prevent them from being captured by the Christians.

Of Juan de Austria‘s fleet, 12 or 15 galleys had sunk and almost twice as many were so damaged (including the Royal one), that they were scrapped when they reached a safe port.

The resulting casualties were very high, as was normal in combat between galleys. Where, once started, it was almost impossible to get away and retire. And, between Christians and Turks, mercy did not exist.

The Christians had 10,000 dead, of which 2,500 were later as a result of wounds and many by poisoned arrows and 21,000 wounded.

The Turks had 30 thousand dead and 8 thousand prisoners. There is talk of drowning, without more. And 15,000 Christian galley slaves were freed.

It gives an idea of ​​the precision of the data that we use the unit of thousands.

That night, with their most damaged prizes and own ships in tow, the Allied fleet docked at Petala.

Significance of the battle.

The Christians won a major tactical and operational victory at Lepanto. The dissolution of the Holy League in 1573 left strategic victory in Turkish hands. Because they ran out of explicit and determined rivals.

On March 7, 1573, the Venetians made a separate peace with the Turks, without considering their allies. Just a month later, the deal was made public.

Don Juan de Austria

In Naples, where he was then, Don Juan of Austria lowered the blue banner of the League and hoisted the flag of Spain.

Cyprus was not recaptured by the Venetians. A nation formed by a group of merchants, whose interest was material gain.

The Turks did not take long to recover from the blow received. Around 2 years after Lepanto, the fleet had been remade. A previous attempt, in a hurry and with little sense, using green wood, failed miserably.

4 years latter, they invaded and occupied Tunisia. By 10 years latter, they were already at war against Persia, at the other end of the Ottoman Empire. The interest of the Sublime Porte was no longer in the Mediterranean.

But, they continued their insidious work by land, to occupy territories in the southeast of the Germanic Roman Empire. Stopped only for their two failed attacks on Vienna.

It is worth by now, assessing the effort of Spain in the triumph of the Holy League. We saw that Spain contributed 80% of the men. The ability and skill of Álvaro de Bazán and his flotilla of Spanish galleys changed the fighting fortunes of both christians wings in the battle.

And, his intervention in the central body led to the final stake of the Tercios. That they were supported by Bazán’s flank attack on the Sultana’s combat group. And the infantry of the Tercios was the elite force of the League.

For all these reasons, we can give at least 90% to Spain’s contribution to the League’s military effort.

Spanish Intention.

As always, «our thoughts went to the destruction of Ottoman pride and arrogance», according to Cervantes.

THE NAVAL BATTLE OF LEPANTO (1571)

SPAIN AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Military clash of the two Mediterranean Empires of the Modern Age

Introduction.

December 7th marked the 450th anniversary of the triumph of the Holy League (Spain, Venice and the civil Holy See and some minor minions) in the naval battle of Levanto against the Sublime Porte.

The Turks, since before Mehmet II (Mohamed, in Turkish) al-Fatih (the Conqueror) of Constantinople and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire, were advancing overland (the Balkans and Hungary) into the heart of Central and Eastern Europe, like a river of overwhelming lava, burning and unstoppable. The Germanic Roman Empire, up to its border with France, and Poland were threatened.

MEHMET II al-FATIH

By sea, the Turks ruled North Africa, from Egypt to Ifrigia and the lands south of Gibraltar, through franchises and letters of marque to Arab and Barbary pirate colonies. They pillaged and harassed Christian trade and navigation in the north of the Mediterranean and plundered its islands (Balearic Islands, Sardinia and Sicily).

SELIM II

Seriously threatening, at the time of Selim II, to occupy Cyprus (see its insulting proximity to Anatolia on a map).

Prolegomena.

Only Pope St. Pius V had the correct and astute strategic sense to assess the Ottoman danger to Europe and Christianity. And he put all his efforts into achieving a firm alliance of European countries, to confront him decisively now.

Immediately, Pius V entrusted the realization and success of the mundane enterprise, intertwined like a nail to the flesh with the spiritual, to the Mediatrix of All Graces, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Throughout Catholic Christianity, in all dioceses and monasteries, the recitation of the Rosary began to be promoted with that special and particular intention. Then, the hundreds of thousands of rosaries prayed and committed were reported to Rome. This is a fact that I knew as a child and that I think has been forgotten in public memory.

France did not want to participate in the Holy Alliance because of the envy and resentment she felt for Spain and her Empire.

To England everything seemed very distant. And Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, that is, was the daughter of Henry VIII, the recent founder of the schismatic Church of England.

Spain was very busy with its immense possessions in America and Western Europe. And the Muslim pirates were not much more to her than an annoying horsefly. Cyprus, the main Venetian colony, was at the other end of the Mediterranean.

FELIPE II of Spain

And the pope had to insist a lot to convince Felipe II of Spain where the main threat for everyone was.

Venice joined the Holy Alliance because of the imminent threat of the Turks on Cyprus, but also negotiated a solution with them. It only cared about their sovereignty and their trade, also threatened by the Portuguese route from the Indian Ocean to Europe, bordering Africa.

In that, then, only Spain, Venice and the Pontifical Civil State participated.

The means of intervention and fight.

The galleys, the Mediterranean ships, were long and narrow like a dragonfly. Those of commerce, which had to defend themselves, were not very different from those of war, also sailed by pirates. The height of the mainsail above the sea was about a meter and a half. It is clear that they were only usable in calm seas. And so they were first designed by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans.

At the bow and stern they had a combat tower, which was communicated by a long central platform. They could embark several pieces of light artillery, placed on the wings and bow. And they carried infantry armed with pikes, swords and harquebuses, which belonged to the Tercios, in the case of the Spanish.

ROYAL GALLEY, FLYING THE STANDARD OF THE HOLY ALLIANCE

With the bow spur they immobilized the opposing ship, causing serious damage in the crash. In general, locked and stopped as the galleys were, the main form of fighting was infantry. This was protected from enemy projectiles (bullets and arrows, sometimes poisoned) under the protection of the bands and the mastheads of the ships. The Spanish also used the «empavesadas» or «defenses made with canvas and thick nets.»

The development of military action.

The Holy League was established in 1571 for a period of three years.

The allied fleet began to concentrate on Messina. The warships were 208 galleys: 90 Spanish, 106 Venetian and 12 Pontifical. And they were supported by 8 Venetian galleasses, heavy and not very seaworthy, almost floating castles, endowed: each one with more than 30 cannons and also reinforced by several hundred (sic) Spanish arquebusiers! When they could not use their single sail, each had to be towed by several galleys, which took turns, so as not to quickly exhaust the galleass’ oarsmen.

Galleass

Spanish naval engineering marked a category and distance with the Venetian galleys, some almost unserviceable, broken. And, although the artillery of the Lordship was very good, their crews were few and had to be completed by Spaniards.

The hard core of the combined Fleet were the Spanish (80% of the men). And the different flotillas or combat groups were made up of ships from the three origins, to avoid indecision and suspicion among the “allies”.

A papal legate arrived in Messina carrying relics of the True Cross. Delivering one to each flotilla or division of the allied Fleet.

The ship of Ali Pasha, the great admiral of the Turks, received a large sanyak or green silk banner made in Mecca, with the Crescent Moon and verses of the Noble Qur’an embroidered on it. Surely there would be the shasada or Muslim profession of faith, the recitation of which is equivalent to baptism, and some bellicose ayah like «Persecute the infidels until all worship on earth is given to Allah.»

For everyone it was a complete, total, military and civilizational confrontation.

On September 16, 1571, the allied fleet left Messina in search of the Turkish fleet. In his course or journey he made successive stops in Corfu, Gomeniza, Cephalonia and Famagusta.

The Turks found out from their spies the enemy concentration in Messina and concentrated their war fleet in the port of Lepanto, in the Gulf of Patras. Ali Pachá claimed for the fleet all the janissaries that the nearby garrisons could provide. It was an elite infantry, similar in capacity to the Tercios of Spain, proud of its status and privileges and fanatical of its religion and the favor of the Sultan.

JANISSARIES FIGHTING

In Ottoman battles, when a stage of indecision about the outcome or the dominance of the enemy appeared, it was time to employ the janissaries. They attacked accompanied by their fifes and loud drums, uttering their war cries and, generally, obtaining the decision.

At this stage of the confrontation, in the march to combat, the entire possible repertoire of espionage and counterintelligence on both sides was deployed. That it was necessarily done by lookouts on land and coastal fishermen, who would soon be only Turks, and, more effectively, by reconnaissance light and sailors ships. Capable of approaching and even, exceptionally, penetrating the enemy deployment.

While the fleet was in Famagusta, the Turkish privateer Kara Kodja infiltrated at night with two black-painted “fustas” or light ships into the bay, among the Christian warships and auxiliaries. And so, he returned to Lepanto with «reliable news» that the number of Christian galleys was considerably less than the real one. And mistaking the galleasses for potbellied support transport ships. Upon withdrawing from the bay, he captured some Christian soldiers who, duly interrogated, corroborated his idea that the number of enemy troops was half the real one.

On board the Royal galley, Don Juan de Austria held a council of war with his flotillas chiefs, to decide the next actions in view of the proximity of the Turk. Luis de Requesens and Juan Andrea Doria were in favor of avoiding combat at that time. Álvaro de Bazán and Alejandro Farnesio were of the opinion that they should go to meet the Turks. Finally, don Juan decided, saying: «Gentlemen, this is not the time for deliberations, but for fighting.»

In turn, the Turkish chiefs held their council of war. The allied fleet cut off their access to the open sea, located at the entrance to the gulf, and, on the other hand, they already knew their enemy actual strength. That distressed some secondary Turkish commanders. For his part, also Uluch Ali, the lieutenant general, and the commander of the embarked troops, Pertau Pacha, preferred to remain in Lepanto, protected by the land fortifications. However, Sultan Selim II demanded that they attack. Thus, Ali Pacha decided to attack.

At dawn on Sunday, October 7, 1571, the Christian fleet departed for combat. The Turkish lookouts on the coast immediately reported the maneuver to their light reconnaissance ships, which sailed to report to Lepanto. There the Turks weighed anchor and headed under full sail, downwind, with their oarsmen fresh for combat, to meet the enemy.

Around 7 in the morning, when the allies entered the Gulf of Patras, their horizon was filled with Turkish sails. However, the enemy was more than 15 nautical miles away and there was time to complete the deployment of the flotillas.

The rival fleets spent the rest of the morning spreading out and closing in on each other.

On each ship, each one attended to their last-minute business.

Christian carpenters strove to saw off the remains of the spurs. Don Juan had ordered them to be sawn only partially, so that his technique would not be detected by the enemy and copied. Thus, the forward drum was left free, at the end of the fore deck, so that its battery could gain more sector of fire.

The priests and friars (Augustinians, Franciscans and Jesuits) who were on board attended and gave absolution to the combatants, sailors and rowers.

How will they fight?

The Turkish commander entrusted everything to the «breakthrough clash» of his «group head» galleys with a Christian secondary captain. Leaving this broken and fixed. Then, the Turkish leading galley and its subordinate ships would attack her with their onboard infantry. Forming a large «floating combat platform«.

The Turkish artillery had a secondary supporting task to infantry combat. It will take a long time for the cannons of an age to be able to sink a warship.

Their decisive force in combat were the bow rams, the embarked infantry and the Janissaries.

He also counted on the maneuvers of his flanks flotillas and the reserve of the Sultan’s fleet, to position himself more favorably against a Christian flotilla and proceed to the final clash.

The operational strategy and tactics of the Christians were similar to those of the Turks. They couldn’t differentiate much when both were based on the direct clash in view of the rivals.

The Christians were ahead of the times than the Turks, since they did not trust so much in the sheer importance of the ram and the interlocking of the opposing galleys. Rather, they were already using artillery fire at short ranges to break the embarked Turks and break the alignment of their deployment.

This in preparation for the entry into combat of the rival embarked infantry, when the galleys touched.

(To be continued)

The Tactical Maneuver in the Defense.

Introduction.

The spirit of mobile defense is ingrained in forward detachments. They fight the enemy using mobility, surprise, harassment, opportunity and local and punctual superiority, depending on the case. And, whose fight is always framed in the probable transfer of space to the enemy. Maneuver always presides over his tactical behavior.

This “active spirit” that animates and inspires the units that fight in front of the defense positions, must animate, or, at least, not be neglected or forgotten by the units that occupy them.

The defense must not only cling to its fortified or improved positions, to carry out the effective rejection of the enemy attack, through its precise, decisive and opportune fire.

Development of the Fight.

At least part of the defense forces, depending on the missions, the possible opportunities, the battlefields, their own capabilities and that of the enemy, must be trained and emotionally prepared to carry out tactical movements, to more effective and timely defense positions.

For example, carrying out from another support point, with part of its garrison, a local counter-shock against a partial penetration, not yet consolidated, achieved by part of the attacker. Enemy break-in that closely threatens another support point, preferably in the same defense sector.

If we make a delay defense, staffs from other delay points will make larger and more definitive tactical maneuvers. In the former, when a delay point is in danger of being surpassed or overwhelmed by an enemy attack, it must release and withdraw. Generally, by successive jumps, to the rear or to another delay point in the mobile defense by forward detachments. Where they should be received, to facilitate their new deployment in the location.

These delay points would be supported by a natural obstacle, a height, a river, etc. Delay points should never be deployed on the forward slope; seeking, for example, to open fire on the enemy at maximum distances. On the other hand, observatories and resistance nests should be placed on the forward slope or on the military ridge. The delay point will be deployed well down the back slope.

Use of tactical reserves.

Own reserves, concentrated at the end of the infantry zone or at the front of the artillery zone, as part of the defense, will also carry out marches and attacks, that is, maneuvers, in their tactical zone. That they will be, perhaps, more complicated in their deployments, unfolding and opportunities. To attack, from starting points in one’s own depth, the enemy forces that have broken through. Or, that are stopped in front of the defense zone.

The critical moment for the reserve counter-attack will be: when the enemy has passed the “culminating point” of his attack; is quite weak and is disorganized (loss of cohesion). The fire of the own artillery and of the nearby support points, those affected by the enemy attack, must also harass, neutralize the attacker.

These attacks by a combined arms reserve from depth, taking advantage of their mechanical mobility, and attacking on the enemy’s flanks and/or rearguard, are very effective for active tactical defense of friendly forces.

Heterodox applications of good working in Defense. And, if you want to be perfect…

Even, many times, with an unexpected Maneuver and, better yet, if it is also unusual, an enemy can be upset, confused and frightened. If he is governed by military more orthodox and serious canons and norms.

A premature withdrawal and, obviously, with cession of space, can mislead and disturb the enemy. Or, boost his self-esteem and greed and lure him into a dangerous chase.

A favorite Tactic of the Mongols, especially effective when their enemy was longing for the encounter or more confident of success, for reasons of sheer initial numerical superiority, was the «mangudai«. It consisted in the fact that an «army» corps of the Mongols, inferior to the enemy, seriously engaged in the fight. Its size was large enough for the Mongol effort to be considered significant.

With this, they were going to mentally attract the enemy and separate him from any other thought.

BATTLE OF LIEGNITZ, SILESIA, POLAND

After a hard battle, the sheer weight of the enemy forced the Mongol corps back. What was a tactical withdrawal, never disorderly, was taken by the enemy for an exploitable defeat, a rout.

His total and permanent ignorance of the Mongols did not make him suspect anything. And his desire for victory, increased by the real effort made in combat, did not let him see beyond.

The promising pursuit ended by scattering the close and solid formations of the enemy horsemen. At one point in the pursuit, always far from the rest of the waiting enemy forces, the bulk of the Mongol heavy cavalry emerged, hidden, fresh, and thrown into the shock. Which ended up breaking up the disjointed cavalry groups, into which the pursuers had scattered. After a real hunt, the enemy forces remaining in the initial positions in the battle either dispersed or were in turn attacked by the whole Mongol force.

We will now quote a special case of how the mental and moral dialectic of the two opposing commands, the given circumstances and the development of defense and attack, led to an incredible result of the faced battle.

Chu Ko Liang ordered Wei Yen and other generals to gather their forces and march east. He, waiting for news, stayed in Yanh Ping with 10 thousand men to defend the city.

His rival Ssu Ma I said to himself: «Chu Ko Liang is in the city, his forces are small, his position is weak, his generals and officers have lost courage.»

For his part, Chu Ko Liang was calm and confident. He ordered to remove the army banners and silence the drums. He forbade the soldiers to leave the city. And then, opening its four gates, he spread out his men in small groups through the streets of Yanh Ping.

20 "Chino Kongming Chu ko Tres Reinos Zhuge Liang Zhu ge Sabiduría  Estatua|statue| - AliExpress
Chu Ko Liang idealized

Informed Ssu Ma I of the existing situation, he feared a prepared ambush. The «appearances» had done damage to his courage, discernment and reason. And hastily he retreated with his larger army to the northern mountains.

Chu Ko Liang explained to his commanding general, «Ssu Ma I believed that I was laying a trap for him and fled to the foot of the mountain range.»

When Ssu Ma I learned later all that had happened, he was overwhelmed with disappointment and disgust.

An opera has even been written about this Chinese war episode.

Well, but what you are telling us seems to be something very special and very difficult to repeat. And, as if from other times of fear and superstition.

Now see you an almost similar case. Only more modern. And, where all the maneuvers and combats are in sight. But, its result is just as spectacular, unexpected and incredible. Than the previous one, taken as «unusual and difficult to repeat».

Battle of Cowpens
(Washington’s cavalry attacked on the other flank.)

On January 17, 1781, the 45 year old American General Daniel Morgan engaged in a small battle in Cowpens the English regular forces of 27 year old Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Both had similar contingents but 2/3 of Morgan’s around 1,000 men belonged to American territorial militias.

These troops were at risk of shock in face of the force of the regular troops, whose use of bayonets in close combat would terrify them. The militia men were better than normal shooters, being hunters, and had great personal initiative, but they lacked training in close fighting.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Hamas attacks Israel in 2023.

General introduction.

Hamas commandos knew they would fight deep in Israeli territory. Very far from their supports, supplies and other Hamas units. Their targets were there: Israeli civilians and military personnel killed or taken hostage. And they knew that once 2 or 3 days had passed, the Israeli forces, superior in human and material resources, would attack, pursue, and ambush them. Their end, in general, was death. Since the Israelis would in this case still have a surplus of captured enemies. To interrogate and learn the parameters that Hamas used, to surpass them for a time: surprise them and establish combat superiority over their troops in many parts of Israel.

The various attackers carried out a “swarm attack” on positions in central and southern Israel. Several of the principles or norms of military forces in a conventional attack were disregarded. For example, the unity of the objective and the unity of command of the forces and the maintenance of a structure, of a deployment for all attacking forces. Here, each small Islamist “unit of action” had its own leader and its own objective. And, it is the set of actions of the “attacking swarm” that defines the strategy and complex real objective of Hamas.

YAHYA SINVAR, PALESTINIAN MILITARY CHIEF OF THE GAZA STRIP.

Here, Hamas forces attacked divided into a multitude of independent groups, small and sufficient, in charge of striking and/or destroying. Or occupy the Israeli military post, kibbutz or cooperative, and take Israeli or Western foreign hostages to send them to Gaza.

All of this reveals and shows us that the military effect sought by Hamas‘s multi-objective attack is an Internal Moral Shock, increased by the surprise factor of the action, already installed in the military establishment and in the populations of Israel. The aura of invincibility of the Israeli Armed Forces and the effectiveness attributed to Mossad and other affected security agencies, not so conspicuous, have been broken.

It is the set of «action units» of the militias, composed of variable weapons or branches of the FA: infantry, airborne, anti-tank, light armor, health, military police, which carries out, through these multiple and quasi-simultaneous actions on the Israeli Nation: The effect of shock, shattering, heartbreaking material and moral.

SEMI IRREGULAR HAMAS TROOPS PARADING

This multiple and general effect is inexorably transmitted to Israelis in arms through social mechanisms. The effects of damage to people and property not protected by the army, the invasion of cruel and vengeful Palestinian forces, which occupy and destroy different points in Israel, commotion and produce shock and disorientation of the troops.

Israel says it has mobilized almost 300,000 reservists to attack the Gaza Strip. They are not the best troops to maintain combat readiness and combat alert.

The geographical and military social scenario of the Islamist radicals.

The so-called Gaza Strip is a narrow, flat and small coastal corridor next to the Mediterranean Sea, located south of Israel. More than one and a half million people live crowded together in its approximately 363 km2 of surface. 99% of the inhabitants are Muslims and Christians number between 15 and 20 thousand souls. The strip reaches a demographic concentration of around 4,150 people per km2, which is one of the highest in the world. Its shape is that of an elongated rectangle, about 45 km long, measuring 12 km at its widest part. At the south is its border with Egypt of about 11 km, around the strategic city of Rafah.

To the east and north the Gaza border with Israel extends for about 51 km. The most important population of the strip is the one that gives it its name, Gaza, located in its northern third. The other prominent towns in the strip actually constitute “districts”, “peripheral neighborhoods” or “satellite towns” of the “ecumene” of Gaza. Among those not yet mentioned we will highlight Beit Hanoun (in the extreme north), Beit Layla, Sheikh Zaid, Dayral Balah (in the center), Jabalia and Kan Yunis (in the south, but not on the border with Egypt).

The unemployment rate of the population is between 35-40%. This makes it very dependent on external aid. And, furthermore, it excites their identity and social demands and defines as “solely” responsible for their evils the most visible, socially and culturally different, and close enemy, Israel. The search for a quick and utopian solution for this population necessarily requires a sufficient defeat of Israel, the oppressive and imperialist power. This makes its population very inclined to embrace “radical Islamist militants” doctrines and parties (the RIM). They allow them to glimpse and evaluate a solution, even in an indefinite and imprecise future. And at least they give them the hope they all need. Islamic Jihad and Hamas are the two main Islamist organizations with implant in Gaza.

Ideology of radical Islamist Palestinians.

Hamas, as a totalitarian socio-political-religious organization, exercises extensive power in all areas of civil coexistence of the inhabitants of Gaza. This power is also conditioned by the nature of the struggle in conditions of isolation, encirclement and hardship. This allows Hamas to invoke in its “general defense” the oppression to which the entire Palestinian population of Gaza is subjected, whether real, felt and/or magnified. Without, in practice, the tremendous suffering of the Palestinians being clearly distinguished from the victimhood wielded by Hamas or the Islamic Jihad. Between 100 and 200 thousand are the actual active militants of both radical organizations. In addition, there are their sympathizers and collaborators, with different degrees of involvement in the services and time dedicated to supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

ISRAELI SOLDIERS DISCOVER FIRST HAMAS TUNNEL SINCE 2014 WAR

Hamas mesmerizes, tenses and grows due to the prospects of a more or less close confrontation with Israel. A people cannot be kept permanently in arms, much less in “combat readiness.” But, the reason for being of Hamas is to recover and imitate doctrinally, socially and militarily the epic and glorious times of the first century of Islam, which approximately coincides with our 7th century and the first part of the 8th. It was the era, after the death of Muhammad, extended in time beyond the first 4 caliphs, from Abu Baker to Ali, called by the Sunnis the Rashidun, the “rightly guided (by God)”.

Because its radical totalitarian ideologists have decided that, when Islam practiced armed Jihad and was rigorous in its faith and customs, Islam convinced, overwhelmed, spread prodigiously across three continents and was almost invincible… And they believe that by reproducing the “basic conditions” of that social context, of that booming civilization, today’s Muslims will once again be great, feared, respected and accepted. There is nothing more and nothing less.

We verify that every few years a “casus belli” occurs or is caused, worthy of its name and with its pernicious effects for the corresponding populations. Thus, there are not many possibilities of being able to truly dialogue with this, to reach common ground and reach peace agreements that are consistent and acceptable to all.

Operational considerations of the Defense of Gaza against Israel.

The land defense of Gaza is very difficult to sustain over time. The strip lacks geographical space to establish a flexible, mobile and echelon in depth defense. This is necessary to give power, solidity, continuity and support to the rejection struggle.

Furthermore, the external supply of weapons, ammunition and military equipment to Hamas would be strangled by Israel. To ensure the sealing of Gaza, the Tsahal could establish “locks”, located transversely in the strip and occupied with reinforced mechanized infantry. They would prevent the transit of military equipment from Egypt. Iran‘s weapons and equipment have their hub or logistics center in Yemen. From here they are transported across the Red Sea to northern Sudan, from where they depart in caravans of trucks. They cross into Egypt halfway along its southern border and head to Rafah.

The Israelis sporadically carry out bombing raids on this “evil route”, concentrating on the intermediate depots along the route and on cargo vehicles. In October 2012, an unexpected explosion destroyed a weapons factory near Khartoum, the capital, and other times, truck convoys are destroyed. The naval persecution of this smuggling flow, through detection and exploration drone flights over the Red Sea, is carried out by the USA. And it is the scarce and reluctant collaboration of the three countries involved, Yemen, Sudan and Egypt, which does not allow the transit (traffic is merchandising) of heavy reactive artillery weapons to be made excessively burdensome for intermediaries and with little return for the end user.

(to be continued)

Valery Gerasimov, Russian military commander in Ukraine. 2nd. Part.

(continuation)

The mercenary and rapacious Wagner Group.

A minor issue arises, but of great importance due to the disagreements it creates in Moscow and with the troops in the campaign. It is the growing presence of the Wagner Group as a Russian fire extinguisher in the war in Ukraine.

WAGNER RECRUITS RUSSIAN CONVICTS.

It includes convicted criminals, Syrian and Libyan mercenaries «among other elements of bad living» and Russian volunteers. In general, they enjoy disparate salaries, depending on their experience, origin and life path; a convict is basically paid with his freedom, more or less garnished with a clean record.

Their boss is Prigozhin, a Russian plutocrat and Putin henchman. This man is in conflict with part of the Kremlin and with senior military leaders over the permanence of his «private mercenary armed group» in the Russian ranks in the campaign.

The implicit tolerance of the Russian military commands in Ukraine with the men of the Wagner Group generates enormous discomfort among the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers stationed there. And it greatly lowers their combat morale and their «esprit de corps«.

If Gerasimov comes with full powers as commander of the campaign and considers the previous arguments, in relation to the motivation and combative disposition of his Russian regular forces, he has to recompose the situation of the forces, in relation to the presence of the Wagner Group in the Russian ranks.

Unity of Action and Concentration of Efforts in the Campaign.

Another of the capital problems that Gerasimov will have to solve is the strategic and operational Integration of all the active Fronts of the Russian forces in presence.

To establish a strategic «Superior Effort Unit» that is coordinated, proportional and synergistic. To optimize in «effective times«, according to the «superior universal saving means» principle and the «military principle of the Objective», the distribution and coordinated use over time of the human and material capacities assigned to the different Fronts.

Thus, the Russians have several Fronts with different importance and presenting different opportunities.

The Kiev Northern Front is inactive. Lukashenko is Putin‘s due ally and with his bravado and maneuvers he causes uncertainty in Kiev. It offers an opportunity to drain mobile Ukrainian troops, to fix and protect the Front from possible Russian rapid raids.

Here the presence in Belarus of a mechanized Russian “task force” would suffice. Counting on tanks and infantry combat and transport vehicles, with support from artillery, engineers, defense against aircraft and ground support aviation and its escort. And integrating a couple of divisions. That moved around the south of Belarus, prowling.

The Crimean Front is active towards Kherson, Mariupol and Zaporiya and creates uncertainty towards Odessa. It allows the defense of the 4 territories annexed by Putin.

The Donbass Front, in southeastern Ukraine, is active in the oblasts or provinces of Lugansk, to the north, along the border with Russia, and Donetz, to the south. The Northeast Front, towards Kharkov is in hibernation. Both hold promise in theory in this new phase of the war.

The joint and coordinated action from both Russian Fronts, of «breaking shock forces» of the Ukrainian Tactical defense. Followed, after the irruption, by «armored mobile groups» with air support, advancing in the Ukrainian operational rear towards a town or small area. Forming a wide and double enveloping movement around the enemy. It can create a “pocket” of it or, at least, a serious threat of cutting off communications for the most active Ukrainian forces, and therefore equipped with heavy equipment, deployed in the east of the country. Russia has more than enough regular mobile forces for this.

The Ukrainian Counterattack.

The Ukrainians can counterattack by employing armored forces with sufficient punch, such as the more modern Main Battle Tanks. The “heavy” tanks that Zelensky claims from the US and Europe now. The Challengers (with their Chobham armor); Leopards 2 A5, of German engineering; Leclercs, the first type built of this new generation of tanks and the Americans Abrams.

Advancing rapidly from the depth of the Ukrainian deployment, on one flank of the Russian advancing points. Let’s remember that this territory is favorable ground for armored vehicles.

For this, Ukraine will need to have several battalions of such tanks. Distributed by their most important concentrations, each with about 50 tanks. Distributing or employing it by isolated companies is to waste its special and unique off-road forward speed, shock and firepower, protected by effective armor. Which is completely decisive in modern combat.

In all this theoretical filigree of maneuvers and combats, the most capable, equipped, motivated and prepared will win.

The denatured current Russian air front.

The goal of the current Russian air front is the weakening of Ukrainian morale. Through the successive attack on civilian facilities (energy, water and communications) and urban centers of some importance in Ukraine.

It should be noted that this rather criminal objective does not target the enemy military forces, but their unarmed rearguard populations. For more INRI, it began to be used shamelessly when Putin and his Kremlin bosses and henchmen realized that his “special military action” in Ukraine was a “bluff”. And that the Ukraine was a tough nut to crack for the Russian forces employed in it.

MASTER SUN.

Almost 2,500 years ago, Master Sun (Sun Tzu), in the Warring States Era, already warned that «when the general is already appointed by the sovereign, he should not interfere in his affairs» and «when the courtiers and ministers interfere in his command, they bring misfortune to the Kingdom”.

In addition, this objective has already been used in other cases and with zero effectiveness, by the way.

Japan was mercilessly bombarded by the US, when it had already managed to occupy the Japanese islands (e.g., Okinawa) close enough to insular Japan. The Japanese were already preparing their civilian population for a Numantine resistance to the invader. Creating an immense natural fortress on its islands, where each one was a fortified redoubt of it.

They were the two atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which represented an «ascent to the upper limits» in the fight against civilian rearguards. Because they were much more than a very large cannon shot. The ones that forced Japan to surrender unconditionally to the Americans. Because they threatened (although they didn’t have any more artifacts at the time), to destroy the essence and Japanese national identity.

In general, the use of the «indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian rearguards», what it achieves is to galvanize them around their government and their armed forces. Because they perceive from the enemy a demonic, fierce hatred towards them, which would seek the destruction of their identity, culture and idiosyncrasy.

Modernly, such bombing type was used by the US in North Vietnam. They left South Vietnam in 1973 and in 1975 the communist forces occupied it, almost without resistance.

Russia’s Air Support to its Ground Forces.

The Russian air front in Ukraine must be directed against enemy troop concentrations (reserves, attack preparations, marching forces), their ground communications and logistics network, command posts and communications centers, attack points of their forces, artillery and rocket and drones launch positions.

FINAL.

Valery Gerasimov, Russian military commander in Ukraine.

Introduction.

With all the accumulated defeats suffered by the Army of the Russian Federation in its «special military operation» in Ukraine from February 24, 2022 until now, Vladimir Putin does not rest, he is irritated and has no peace.

The latest «ace up his sleeve» is Army General Valery Gerasimov, born in the Russian city of Kazan, 67 years ago and Chief of the General Staff since 2012.

An almost ideal age for the work that is coming up. Defined by organization, structural changes, discipline, sufficient flow of means and a strong hand.

Almost as USSR Marshal Georgi Zhukov had it. When he went to important battle places to preside, on behalf of STAVKA, the General Staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, the main offensives of his Front Groups against the Germans, A Front was the Western equivalent of Army Group, although the Red Armies were smaller in men and means than the Western ones.

MARSHAL OF THE SOVIET UNION GEORGI ZHUKOV, WITH ALL HIS AWARDS.

When Putin appears with his senior military commanders in the photos, his Defense Minister Shoigu is to his right and Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of all the Armed Forces, is to his left.

As Assistants at his Main Command Post, probably in Crimea, Gerasimov will have the Chief of the Land Forces of the Russian Federation, to which the vast majority of the troops present in that theater of operations belong, and the current deputy chief of his General Staff (his G-1, in our nomenclature).

At first there was talk that the appointment of Gerasimov was a maneuver by the top Russian military commanders. To see how an intellectual general, a modern hybrid warfare theorist, performed in the field. But, it is not true that he has no combat experience. He has enough of her.

Gerasimov already participated in his day in the two «anti-banditry wars» or counterinsurgency (Russian name) in Chechnya. That was fighting hard for his independence from Russia, as the heir of the USSR, the former imperialist oppressor. In the second, in 1999, he was the deputy head of the Russian armed forces in the campaign. He is accused of war crimes against Chechen populations for his direct action.

He also acted, already as Chief of the General Staff of the Russian forces, during Russia’s campaign in direct support for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, since 2015, making frequent trips to the Syrian theater of operations.

Based on his direct experiences and his ability to analyze and synthesize the issues of his profession, Valery Gerasimov developed his Theory of Military Doctrine, currently in force in Russia. It’s his Hybrid War Theory.

Although it is nothing more than a Compilation of diplomatic, heterodox foreign, economic and military action policies and their trends. In short, what Gerasimov advocates is to use against the enemy all the means of a modern State in a great centripetous and synergistic action: diplomats, heterodox exteriors (various support for internal enemy dissidents, including armed forces, boycotts, promotion of popular discontent), economic, military

Thus, Putin decided with his military leadership to replace the «butcher of Syria» Colonel General Surovikin, as military chief of the Ukrainian campaign, appointed just a few months ago. He was the fourth replacement for the Russian campaign manager in Ukraine.

The general of ideas and methods with a strong and intransigent hand and centralized orders, which were given from top to bottom, by a general with more flexible and fresh training and ideas.

Based on his direct experiences and his capacity for analysis and synthesis of the issues of his profession, Valery Gerasimov developed his Theory of Military Doctrine, currently in force in Russia. It’s his Hybrid War Theory.

Although it is nothing more than a Compilation of diplomatic, heterodox foreign issues, economic and military action policies and their trends. In short, what Gerasimov advocates is to use against the enemy all the means of a modern State in a great centripetous and synergistic action: diplomats, heterodox exteriors (various support for internal enemy dissidents, including armed forces, boycotts, promotion of popular discontent), economic, military

Thus, Putin decided with his military leadership to replace the «butcher of Syria» Colonel General Surovikin, as military commander of the Ukrainian campaign, appointed just a few months ago. It was the fourth replacement of the Russian campaign commander in Ukraine.

The general of ideas and methods with a strong and intransigent hand and centralized orders, which were given from top to bottom, by a general with more flexible and fresh training and ideas.

That adapted the stagnant and heavy working of the Russian Army to a war of IV (guerrillas) and V (hybrid) generations.

Fighting against a very well equipped enemy (with better equipment and materials than theirs, for a conventional war, in general), committed and determined in their fight, with highly trained officers and cadres, tremendously motivated.

And, educated, trained and mentalized for a modern war, both of «operational movement and combat» and of «guerrillas and counterguerrillas».

Some Problems for Gerasimov.

Many are the problems accumulated by the Army of the Russian Federation and not all of them are solvable in the short term. Probably because they are already structural.

Continuous, effective and sufficient military logistics.

One of the star, creaking, problems of the Russian military is to establish a modern and effective comprehensive military logistics. Even defining it is quite simple for a professional.

INDOCTRINATION IN A SOVIET STATE AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE.

But, in the USSR and now in the Russian Federation, they have not been able to or did not know how to do it well.

In the USSR it was a classic that the potatoes collected in a kolkhoz or sovkhoz rotted in the field. Meanwhile, a few tens of km away, the urban people suffered from hunger or a nearby alcohol manufacturing industry did not receive the potatoes to produce it, from the starch of them.

Probably, the seminal error comes from the Marxist-Leninist economic doctrines, far from reality even in theory. In this case, the economy.

Where logistics is not considered, nor is «added value» attributed to it in the economy. Therefore, in the Budgets and the theoretical Soviet Five-Year Plans it was not taken into account.

The “total value” of a good comes from the “labor of the workers” and, later, of the peasants as well. And, amen.

As all the value of the good is attributed to the producers, the difference between the sale price and the production cost of the workers, the famous surplus value, is accused of being Appropriated (Stealed) by the bloody capitalists.

Capitalist production is not simply the production of commodities; it is essentially the production of surplus value.

This is one more theoretical fallacy of communism, with disastrous economic and military consequences for the country.

Although communism has already disappeared from Russia as a theoretical ruling force, many of its styles, ideas and methods, applied for 70 years, have penetrated and endured in the idiosyncrasies of society and its culture.

(To be continued)

The Opportunity as Command’s Instrument for Victory

Introduction.

The opportunity arises from the play of dialectical actions between the opposing units. Opportunity is the tactical, even operational, weakness that arises in an enemy sector or is about to do so. We can act on it and even precipitate it with our combined weapons system in an «action interface» especially favorable to us. In opportunity always underlies an enemy error. If this was insurmountable for him, it would be due to the unforeseen, surprising circumstances that concurred. Opportunities are a useful and advantageous feature provided by the dialectic of actions in the chaos of war.

The intermediate objectives foreseen in the plans are not opportunities. They are forecasts derived from the planning and the well-founded resolution of the command. When contacts with the enemy begin, its achievement begins to be tested, as Moltke said, in the dialectics play.

Functioning.

Of this play in a chaotic environment, independently of the greater or smaller deviations from plans, will arise the opportunities and the dangers. The dangers would be the enemy opportunities on us. Both are unexpected, but accessible and exploitable during a certain time. The reason of the unpredictably of the opportunities in the time is in the number almost infinite of variables and individual and collective actions that concur to define asituation” and the successive cycles of action in which it develops.

The opportunity arises when the enemy fails to use his forces and means of support. It can originate in differences in the qualities of enemy forces and in the transitability of a given terrain, that debilitates a defense or the momentum of an attack. It also appears in the negligence of the enemy in presenting an exposed flank, that is, an interface of action real or potential favorable with us, not properly taken care of by him to face our available combined arms system. The opportunity is an emptiness in combat capacity that arises in a cycle of action for a unit, or a sector, that is unprotected and neglected for long enough allowing it to be detected and exploited by the enemy.

It is necessary to take advantage of opportunities quickly. The dynamics of interaction in a chaotic environment makes opportunities unattainable after a short time. The succession of cycles of action continually modify circumstances.

Developing.

To detect opportunities at any level of military activity, intelligence is necessary (elaborated the exploration and reconnaissance and converted into useful, continuous, sufficient knowledge) and the sufficient presence of the corresponding command. To take advantage of them, simple and vertical communication is necessary, supported by implicit communication between subordinate leaders and mobility, flexibility and combat capacity available in the units and commands involved. If the opportunity is transcendental, the tactical or operational center of gravity of the military means is transferred to it by the command. If it is important, their use must contribute concentrically to its creation and development.

The same characteristics just mentioned, but focused on ourselves, are the ones that, in turn, will protect us from enemy dangers or opportunities. This will prevent its appearance, compensate for the danger or mitigate its presence and reduce our time of vulnerability. If despite foresight and care, surprising or unexpected circumstances concur in its appearance, even due to a mistake on our part, the means to be used are the last two actions mentioned for its detection and use.

What is that sufficient presence of the commander? The one that allows him to take advantage of the opportunities that arise at his level of activity. All of this is directly related to the two different command styles or forms for carrying out the tasks of the different levels of command.

Tactical command must be exercised bySensing the “action interface” with the enemy, exchanging actions with him on the ground. The limit of tactical command is clearly in the brigade. And, in large operations or in the attack or in the armored forces, it probably reaches in greater or lesser degree to the division, whose commander must drive forward the march or the attack behind the first important marching force of the bulk of the unit.

The command of the army corps is clearly an corps’ operational management and must have a broader perspective of the whole. As well as a greater distance from direct contact with the enemy, which overcomes the interface of action and its immediate rear. This gives the command breadth, vision, serenity and security.

In the immense chaos that is created in a combat, the foresight of the command can impose and outline its evolution in a direction and sense.

Like the effective command, is capable of «searching» and «feeling» the enemy’s signs of weakness and discouragement. And then he prepares the forces that he will use in the persecution and the support that he will give them. Putting them under the command of an energetic, spirited, leading and lucid commander.

The command must prepare «rapidly available forces» in the units under its command. For example, a mixed company in the battalion; a combined arms battalion in the brigade. In such a way that the appearance of the opportunity, close and surprising, allows him to take advantage of it. Since the surprise will help the opportunity to be seized at first by a relatively small force of their own. And that may soon be reinforced by the bulk.

Example of the effective, non-physical presence of a High Command.

Erich von Manstein directed the counterattack operation of the German Armies Group Don, mainly against the Soviet Southwestern Front of General Vatutin, from his headquarters in Zaporiya. By mid-March1943, the Germans had eliminated six tank corps in the order of battle of Vatutin, recovered Kharkov and settled a resistant defense front from Tangarov to Belgorod, supported in the Mius and the Donetz. They also had enough mobile reserves in the south of Russia to reject possible soviet operational ruptures in the zone. And, after the setback of Stalingrad, they had recovered the strategic initiative, at least in the southern theater of operations.

HITLER, WORRIED, VISIT MARSHAL VON MANSTEIN AT ZAPORIYA, UKRAINE.

An attack against the Kursk salient, completed its formation by von Manstein‘s advance on Belgorod, which would have begun in April, then had a chance of success due to the lack of Soviet preparation.

This same offensive, which began in July 1943, determined that no more mistakes by the German High Command (Hitler) were of any importance: then, the subjet of total strategy or state strategy was no longer who would win the war, but how long it would take to do so.

A Failure in the effective presence of command.

Let’s see an example of an inadequate presence of the commander, in relation to the echelon that he is supposed to command. It starred Rommel in North Africa in November 1941.

Rommel’s advanced command post in the desert.

Mistakenly believing that the British armor was dispersed after some fighting, Rommel ordered to concentrate his Panzers on the Libyan-Egyptian border. Directly dedicated to it, acting as a regimental commander, he was involved in the repulse of a British attack. He was even isolated with his command vehicle, due to a mechanical problem, for half a day at the front.

This temporarily deprived him of control of operations in Tobruk. This was Rommel’s main operational objective, while resisting the German siege was the main objective of the English. Due to this unjustified distraction, Rommel had to abandon the attempt to take that fortified port, located in his operational rear, which he could have consolidated for his defense of his won territory.

In less than a month, the advances of the English tanks and infantry forced him into a long retreat towards Tunisia. He had to give up almost all the ground he had gained since March, when he arrived in Africa, until he recovered and was able to fight back, as British pressure lightened.

The Russian-Ukrainian War six months later.

Situation.

Everywhere we get news of:

Missiles carrier ships, corvette, frigate, destroyer, light cruiser type, of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, sunk from the ground by Ukrainian guided missiles.

Moskvá (2000) - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Black Sea Fleet flagship «Moskva», sunk at beginning of the war.

Groups of Russian tanks, interspersed with fuel or ammunition logistics vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles, (where is their marching column or attack deployment or their security against the enemy?), that roam the combat zone erratically and disjointed.

Así es el T-90M, la joya de los tanques rusos también cae en Ucrania:  misiles a 10 km y armadura reactiva
Russian Main Battle Tank T-90

And that are destroyed by the Ukrainians, using personal anti-tank rocket launchers and artillery with very modern fire direction, of American or European manufacture. German 155mm self-propelled guns are especially good. Their entire direction of fire is automatic and the Ukrainians did not get used to it well.

Russian planes and helicopters are shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft positions on the ground, fixed or mobile, including personal manned.

🥇 Avión Sukhoi Su-57 (T-50 PAK FA) -【AvionesdeCombate.org】
Russian Fighter Sukhoi SU-57, but not shipped to Ukraine.

Putin continuously threatens his potential enemies, in short, the liberal West, with intercontinental ballistic missiles of hypersonic speeds and each carrying several warheads. They separate in the last phase of flight towards the target area, from the carrier missile.

They are the MIRV or multiple independent reentry vehicles.

Putin, de emperador romano

With all the hilarious and ineffective «destructive defensive potential» (DDP) of its weapons of ultramodern technology and extremely poor results. Why doesn’t Putin establish a modern, effective, Motivated and smaller army? Following the fashion of the Israeli army, as example, and of dimensions according to Russia’s own needs.

And, he abandons his echelons and his massive advance and attack tips. Where its deployment hinders itself. To move and to attack or retreat with agility, precision and effectiveness.

Results.

According to a summary of prestigious foreign journalistic media (The Economist, Forbes, The Washington Post) and the newspaper El Mundo, the Confirmed Casualties in this conflict by August 24 would be:

Tanks

Ukrainians 240

Russians 967

Aircraft and helicopters

Ukrainians 74

Russians 213

Ships of all kinds

Ukrainians 19

Russians 11

That number of Russian tanks would be the equipment of four tank divisions or five or six mechanized or motorized divisions, according to nomenclature, with their full order of battle. Also, in its war in Afghanistan, the USSR lost 147 tanks. And, furthermore, the number of Russian tanks lost so far is higher than the active tanks of Germany, France and the United Kingdom, combined.

If Russia cannot deal with Ukraine, which is much weaker militarily, how is it going to deal with a certain probability of success with the USA or the UK or France?

Promising Background.

Mijaíl Tujachevski – Edad, Muerte, Cumpleaños, Biografía, Hechos y Más –  Muertes Famosos del 12 junio - CalendarZ
Mikhail Tujachevski

Russia, formerly the USSR, was in the years 22 to 37 of the last century, an advanced power in military philosophy or «modern theory of military art and science«. Marshal Mikhail Tujachevski, Lieutenant General Vladimir R. Triandafillov and Brigadier Georgy S. Isserson shone there with their own light… with their teams of auxiliaries and collaborators. All scholars and advanced in the theory of the Deep Maneuver in the enemy tactical, operational and, even, strategic rearguard of modern armies.

Georgii Isserson (1898–1976) | Weapons and Warfare
Georgy S. Isserson

Which I believe was more solidly reasoned and argued than the German mechanized warfare theory. Which was more like “practical”.

Germany, with excellent commanders and officers, cadres (unparalleled in the world) and soldiers, some of the best in the world; and, for the moment, in 1939, all highly trained and motivated.

By the way, they call Blitzkrieg the German way of fighting. Name given by a journalist. And people think it’s because of the speed of their maneuvers.

Триандафиллов, Владимир Кириакович — Википедия
Vladimir R. Triandafillov

But, the specialists called it blitzkrieg, because of the continuous changes of direction of the tactical movements of the main forces. Following the weakest or least protected points or positions of the enemy. Changes tracing the paths of the beam on the surface of the combat area.

Only Triandafillov died peacefully and recognized, in 1931. Isserson was in jail when the Great Purge and his merits or contributions were not recognized. Tukhachevsky was shot in the 1937 great purge of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. To eliminate the military cadres that could overshadow the power of the Party, the excuse (or Stalin).

This sterilized the creativity and freshness of the surviving military commanders. Surveillance and denunciation among peers increased. The military ideas and concepts of those purged acquired their infamy and vituperation; this was fatal for the USSR and its military forces 4 years later in a foreign invasion. The commands and officers only cared about carrying out the orders without errors; so as not to be victims of purges or dismissals or transfers; which leads in war to not doing anything effective, forceful or decisive.

And it led the Army to assume the old doctrines of the Russian Civil War against the White armies. When the mechanization of the forces was still a desideratum, the Red army logistics used to survive the dispossession of the trodden territory, the sole command of the military chief was shared with the political commissar in the unit and the Red armies were hordes.

And this is how the USSR faced the German invasion of June 22, 1941, without able and trained senior officers, officers and non-commissioned officers and without adequate doctrine.

Are we now in a similar Stage or Phase of Decline in Putin‘s Russian Army, which has more than a million people enrolled at arms?

DEVELOPMENT OF THE MILITARY SUPERIOR THOUGHT

The formation.

A quick glance and intuition must be developed so that, following a series of accepted techniques, they help those in command to control and direct the operations.

Studiousness and reasoning are used to know the best techniques and how to apply them. Once learned by experience and reflection, these must open the way to governance by intuition. This prevails in a global, holistic sense – in an internal processing of the spirit – that settles down a pace and gives proportion and adjustment to the given situation. Which is much more rapid and effective, that the continuous resource to the analysis, the feedback and the check list of things to do.

Aníbal - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Hannibal Barca

The possibilities, advice and techniques that follow one from another in a given and changing situation, grow in exponential form. Knowing all of them at any given moment is impossible. And it can be source of errors, since that stance does not allow readily for feedback, verification, and adaptation. That stance is not very useful either, because it slows deliberation and because possibilities, techniques, and advice are sometimes contradictory, in light of all the conditions that define a situation.

Vasilevski, Aleksandr: biografía y la posición
Alexander Vasilevsky

Thus, once formed, an officer must trust his military sense, that is, the specific intuition on how to act in all occasions. Excessive emotion, especially fear and hatred (negative ones), block the intuitive management and the agility of the mind, reducing its effectiveness to that of fallible reasoning. Serenity and discipline are the best assistants of intuition.

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (Reichsheer) | Cronología de la Primera Guerra  Mundial - WWI
Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck

An anonymous sage said that «reasoning was a way to err with conviction». The cause or reason of this is nothing more than «we do not have at hand all the conditions or parameters that define a complex situation».

The practice application.

The search for a solution for an operational or tactical mission happens through a mental process of investigation, information and deliberation. The results of intelligence and exploration must also inform and be rooted in the command’s mind. According to the western psychology, these mental processes give rise to intuition.

Erich Von Manstein | Eurasia1945
Erich von Manstein

In this process it is not absolutely clear the nexus between deliberation and solution, since these cases have numerous “variants” and diverse possibilities for reality or certainty. The solution does not arise by accumulating data and its ruminating,

But by a “qualitative leap”, after which the essential concept of the situation or its total conceptual apprehension is clearly contemplated.

Dos siglos de la muerte de Napoleón, el emperador que temía a los gatos
Napoleon Bonaparte

These “leaps” take place in unconscious mental elaboration by a mind trained to discern these essential concepts. That can be absolute or referred to the mind in itself, or relative, referred to situations or external facts to it, as parcels of the knowledge. After information is considered, the analytical mind verifies it and validates the correctness of one or two “special” solutions (better than “ideals”) available.

Georgios Grivas - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia
Georgios Grivas

This apparent incoherence between the Solution which we postulated, and the branched solution that is obtained, arises as a result of the natural indetermination that exists in defining and considering all the variables in any given phenomenon or situation. Mental courage is the best aid of wisdom, enabling one to overcome doubt in a situation and take hold of creative opportunities.

Daniel Morgan - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Daniel Morgan

This is even more important in a military action, surrounded as they are by the “smoke or fog of war”, and being affected by friction and the errors ofoperatingmen and units. Part of that “smoke” is generated by our own knowledge, that is incomplete, erroneous, and only partially correct, about the “enemy at the other side of the hill”.

Some practitioners of theory.

All the examples we present are characterized by having repeatedly overcome their enemies in their confrontations. And, maintaining a striking creativity and freshness in their use of the «art science of war».

Although, at times, an operational strategy of hammering, on the part of an enemy with more means and resources, has finally deprived some of the victory.

The Gravity Center of the Effort of the Joint Means

An Instrument of the Command.

Introduction.

The center of gravity is not an own physical unit, nor is its mission, neither a point in space or one with a predominant physical characteristic or an enemy unit.

The center of gravity is a coordinated flow of ideas of variable application, that generate original actions for fulfilling the mission and objectives. Originality, flexibility, variability, consistency, difficulty to predict by the enemy and effectiveness are essential to its establishment. Actually, the center of gravity is the instrument of direction, distribution and concentration, impulse and work. That the command has to focus on and unify, with the goal of accomplishing objectives and missions, and employing the efforts of his subordinate units and supports.

The chief is centered in his objectives and missions by means of the created center of gravity and follows a methodology for applying the operational systems.

The Efforts Concentration.

As far as concentration goes, the so called “principal effort” expresses an effect of penetration in a given direction and a sense of being able to arrive at the rupture and exploit it. The combined-arms and aerial efforts of the units are concentrated on this.

The center of gravity has a more spatial and temporal sense, looking for an “operational convergence” of “related efforts” towards an objective. Those are not necessarily contiguous, simultaneous or sequential, but are synergic and result in outcomes based on consideration of the optimal form (means 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 main effort is exemplified by the hammering strategy of French Marshal Foch on the European western front beginning in the summer of 1918. This strategy was used to overcome the Germans purely by eroding their battle capacity in the theater of operations. And only shifting its direction when German resistance was excessive.

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 main effort is an instrument of the tactical level and is not necessarily generalized to the other levels. The center of gravity can be used in all dialectical activity where several means (either in number or in nature, near or distant) can be used. Within each level of military activity, beginning with the superior one, the center of gravity brings together and harmonizes all activities to obtain the most important effect or objective of that level.

Developing.

At the strategic level, these would be the critical vulnerabilities of the enemy within the theater of operations. The nature of these would be informed by an important political component. At operational level the center of gravity would be created over the critical vulnerabilities of the campaign. At tactical level it would be the objective that would make operational transcendental the battle. If this was correctly addressed, as necessary for the operational direction, the objective would be that which would be decisive in the battle and get the exploitation of victory.

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 in their efficiency and result.

Following the communications ramified lines, we take advantage of the departure situation of each force and the transitability of the land, looking for the optimal use of the combined-arms set, reserves and logistics. By means of the different lines of attack or action we induce uncertainty in the enemy, we disperse his defensive capacity and disturb his plans for, and execution of, defense.

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, narrowing the sector or providing greater fire support) the effort, is peculiar to the concept of the main effort.

Strategy: Does the Center of Gravity Have Value? - War on the Rocks
ALLEGORY OF THE WORKING OF THE CENTER OF GRAVITY OF THE MEANS

An example of the use of the center of gravity following those ramified lines at the strategic level, is found in Napoleon’s operations to secure the surrender of Ulm held by the Austrian army of General Mack and Archduke Ferdinand.

In an ample advance of its independent army corps, the Great Armée (about 210,000 men) crossed the center of Germany, from the Rhein to the Danube. With this it operationally interposed between the Austrians (about 40,000 men) and the allied Russian forces that went to help them. The French initiated the crossing of the Danube on October 7, 1805 and, during the following week, Napoleon converge most of his army corps in an enormous spiral on Ulm. While a sufficient force watched the arrival from the east of Russian General Kutuzov.

Batalla de Ulm - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
THE SURRENDER OF MACK AT ULM’S OUTSKIRTS

General Mack made, in vain, several attempts at rupturing through Napoleon’s forces, applying his greatest efforts in Haslach and Elchingen. Both Austrian commanders quarreled among themselves and Archduke Ferdinand, with his 6,000 riders, separated from the main force and tried to escape to the northeast.

On the other hand, General Mack and the rest of his men (about 27,000, after the mentioned battles) met Napoleon’s overwhelming numbers at the doors to the city of Ulm since October, 14 and laid down their weapons at the feet of the Michelsberg mount. The capitulation was signed by General Mack on the 20th. The forces of Archduke Fernando were surrounded and won by the cavalry corps of Murat near Trochtelfingen. Another 12,000 Austrians surrendered in Neustadt. The campaign, without properly battles, cost Austria more than 50,000 men of her initial forces of about 70,000 troops.

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 aims.

The center of gravity has as effective factors the speed of operations and logistics. The first allows optimal actuation of the combat capacity of forces and the second diminishes or compensates for the inevitable wearing down of the mobility capacity of troops and posible combat capacity during operations.

Its negative factors are poor transitability, including caused by obstacles, cuts and minefields, and battles command did not wish to engage in. The first “wears away” the operational mobility of the troops and the second “exhausts” their potential combat capacity.

Without those capacities, the fluidity, synergy and the ramified activity of thecenter of gravity tends to revert in a main effort in an operational direction that is quickly known by the enemy. So, the “stunning waves” that are generated on the enemy, cross-sectional to our advance in his operational zone, diminish with it in intensity and frequency, perhaps in the end, even disappear.

The direct elements of performance in the center of gravity are the combined-arms sets, the own and superior level of reserves (even including those in the mass of support or operational rearguard) and logistics. Once the center of gravity is conceived, it is applied and developed by means of the operational systems.

The Development and the Future.

The Hybrid War, a scolium?

Well, but this concept for command can be useful for the wars of I, II, III and IV generation (according to the US denomination, widely «accepted»). But, now we approach the era of the war of V generation: the hybrid or miltifacetic or multifunctional war.

Employing, in addition, digital, computer methods, using the precision and discrimination that allow mathematical algorithms and the technology of radiations and electromagnetic pulses.

NATO Pushed to Upgrade Romania to 'Center of Gravity' for Russian  Deterrence by DC Think Tank - Sputnik International
NATO UPGRADING ROMANIA TO GRAVITY CENTER IN THE DEFENSE OF EUROPE

But it is just that this model of dialectical confrontation with its variable component of physical strength, needs a harmonious and holistic integration of the available multidisciplinary means. By focusing them on achieving different objectives simultaneously or successively, that we want to achieve. And preserving the universal principle of optimization and saving means.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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

(FINAL)

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

Mangudai - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
MANGUDAI

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

The modern working of the combat and operational movement binomial.

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

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

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

FDRA - Historia de la Defensa: SGM: El frente oriental y la Operación  Barbarossa
GERMAN TANKS, ICV AND RECONNAISSANCE VEHICLES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The relative characteristics of combat are:

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

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

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

The relative characteristics of operational movements are:

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

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

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

THE END.

ALLEGORIES ON THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY

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

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

Una lectura del Zhuangzi | Diletante
MASTER CHUANG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basil Liddell Hart - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
CAPTAIN BASIL HENRY LIDDEL HART

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

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

Commentary.

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

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

File:FallGelb Manstein.svg - Wikimedia Commons
DIVISION GENERAL VON MANSTEIN GENIUS’: BEGIUM AND FRANCE, MAY 1940

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction.

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

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

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

Maurici de Saxònia - Wikiwand
THE MARSHAL OF SAXE.

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

John Churchill, I duque de Marlborough - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
THE FIRST DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH

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

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

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

What was the operational zone of the Mongols?

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

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

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

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

En busca de la tumba de Gengis Khan
GENGIS KHAN

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

Subuday-Bagatur.Mongolia | Монголия, Скульптура, Доспехи
MONGOL GENERAL SUBUDAI

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

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

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

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

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

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

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUATION)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de frente del este 1942

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de frente del este 1942

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

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

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

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

The joint assault began on July 2, 1942.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE CREATION OF THE TACTICAL AND OPERATIONAL SURPRISES.

Prolegomenon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Development.

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

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

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

Imagen relacionada Soviet  T-34 /76 tank.

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

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

A Tactical example with Operational Trascendence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resultado de imagen de walther model Colonel General Walther Model.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Will of Defense of a Society. 2nd Part.

(FINAL)

And the Strategy, the Operational Strategy and the Tactics, as Levels of its Military Actuation.

 

The Levels of Military Actuation.

The first level of activity in the defense of a society is called national strategy or, also, in a some antiquated form, great strategy. In it are included the economic and diplomatic resources of the State. As part of the resources of a nation to get his great strategics aims in a war.

Resultado de imagen de montesquieu  THE BARON OF MONTESQUIEU.

 

Military Strategy, or simply Strategy, in a great second level of activity, refers to the definition of the larger aims of a war, of an operations theater or of a campaign, including the distribution of the generally scanty military resources used to fulfill them.

Tactics refers to the ideal execution of the combats with an enemy, who opposes with armaments, to the achievement of our strategic aims.

Between strategy and tactics exists an essentially practical space of prominent activity, called the operational level or operational strategy. Its mission is to optimize tactics and the means available in a campaign and in the theater of operations. As such, it defines and conceptualizes the battles, marches, etc., both the military operations and its correct succession, according to those decisive aims. It provides the tactics and the decision, a transcendence far beyond of the pursuit and the tactical exploitation of success. That is to say, operational strategy employs tactics as an essential instrument, combining them to achieve the ultimate objectives to which they are orientated and dedicated to achieving, forming then part of its strategic nature.

 

Thus, the operational strategy defines its own aims in the theater or in the campaign of action, which are the incapacity and disorganization of the enemy by exploiting his strategic and operational vulnerabilities. The first is orientated to reducing the enemy’s combat capacity, seeking to functionally or positionaly disable it, while protecting own’s combat capacity. The second is get by occupying or destroying the enemy’s critical vulnerabilities in the operations zone.

Resultado de imagen de refinería de petróleo OIL REFINERY: SYMBOL OF THE ECONOMIC STRENGTH OF A MODERN SOCIETY.

 

The critics vulnerabilities of the enemy are those whose occupation or destruction produces his serious disorganization and/or the loss of his will of defense. They are those elements, characteristics, possessions that give sense to the fight that he maintains. Its loss instills inevitably in the enemy a sensation of hopelessness and a sense of uselessness in continuing the fight at those moments, except for accumulating more losses.

The critics vulnerabilities are different in each one of the levels of military action, although the effects produced in the superior levels are transmitted to the inferior ones.

A strategic critical vulnerability, handled capably by the Spaniards in century XVI during the conquest of America, was the capture of the great chief or emperor of the indigenous confederations of the great invaded countries (Moctezuma in Mexico, Atahualpa in Peru). But, once turned hostage, the symbolic representation of a leader of this type plummeted, because the social vitality of the community which he directed, demands his renovation, as if he had died.

In II World War, the occupation of the capital and the fall of the government were strategic critics vulnerabilities, to which was acceded through an operational strategy of mobile warfare: spring campaign of 1,940 in the Western Front. The same tried Hitler in 1941 in relation with Moscow in the East front. Probably in that total war, almost of extermination, its fall had not the political importance that was attributed to it. But Moscow constituted a great hub, a railway communications center vital for all the U.R.S.S. at the west of the Urales and, in this sense, it had been a critical operational vulnerability.

To achieve these strategic intermediate aims, the operational level has some specific operational means that are the intelligence, the imbalance and the incapacity of the enemy, the time or speed of the operations and combats, the logistic organization and his physical support or line of supplies and the correct sense of the own command.

It uses these means to drive and to use ideally (and without squandering) the tactical-operational means at his disposition.

Resultado de imagen de reuniones sindicales grandes  THE NATIONAL MORAL FLOURISHES IN ALL THE PLACES OF SOCIAL COEXISTENCE.

These are:

The ground transitability (in the whole geographical dimension of the nature of the areas, climate, station and hour of the day),

the combat capacity (military means made concrete in men, equipment, supports and combat vehicles) and the capacity of operational movement (transport of great and small tonnage, the supplies of all kinds and combustibles and the warehouses and accessible parks in the zone) owns available,

the freedom of action and the «favorable interfaces of action» with the enemy (that exist and that they can also be created always, by means of the extension or decrease of the «field of action» on that, as a tactical operational zoom, or by means of his change to another front sector or in the depth of the enemy zone). With these last 2 «systems» we can act always according to our criterion and interest and not simply react to the actions of the enemy.

This way, the mentioned «operational systems» realize the employment and the functioning of all the levels of the national defense. And they go from the conception and the great creation of aims, interests and available resources, received from the command and the nation, up to its practical final accomplishment. Involving in this also the necessary and the inevitable and imposed by the enemy, tactical employments of the military means, as stages for the ideal achievement of those commended aims.

THE END.

IN PURSUIT OF THE MILITARY EXCELENCE.

THE INCOMPLETE AND SLANTED THEORY OF SHIMON NAVEH

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

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

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

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

Imagen relacionada

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

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

Resultado de imagen de germany military power ww2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The operational Strategy in the Irregular War.

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

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

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

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

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