View Poll Results: At what level of war do you focus your readings/studies at?

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  • Strategic

    7 53.85%
  • Operational

    7 53.85%
  • Tactical

    4 30.77%
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Thread: Operational Art?

  1. #16
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    great question. Generally speaking, I assume the operational level would be somewhat less known than the other two. The public may not even know it exists.

    Btw, what would you suggest if I want to read about modern operational art of countries? I assume most armies now use the some types of deep operation. But is there any significant difference between let say US and Russian armies? And do they publish official documents about their operational arts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    ah, but would he be proud of Taylor von Swiftwitz?

    https://storify.com/AthertonKD/taylor-swiftewitz
    I bow before such obvious genius.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  3. #18

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    Astralis Reply

    "...ah, but would he be proud of Taylor von Swiftwitz?"

    De-railment with rapier adroitness.

    Nice.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhuy View Post
    great question. Generally speaking, I assume the operational level would be somewhat less known than the other two. The public may not even know it exists.

    Btw, what would you suggest if I want to read about modern operational art of countries? I assume most armies now use the some types of deep operation. But is there any significant difference between let say US and Russian armies? And do they publish official documents about their operational arts?
    drhuy,

    You can start with this video to give you a sense of American modern operational art. It's a revisionist thesis that claims that American operational art developed earlier and in more sophistication than the British and Soviet schools operational art during the interwar period.

    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    drhuy,

    You can start with this video to give you a sense of American modern operational art. It's a revisionist thesis that claims that American operational art developed earlier and in more sophistication than the British and Soviet schools operational art during the interwar period.

    Shek,

    I am glad to see that Mike's great humor and teaching style is not saved purely for Civil War battlefields!

    Afer viewing the video (I missed some of the second half) and skimming his book several years ago I do have this question/proposition...

    So if I get DR Metheny correctly, his premise is that the American Army's professionalism and capabilities in the operational arts was formalized and institutionalized in the Professional Education System in the interwar years. On aaht I concur whole heartedly. In his There's A War To Be Won, Geoffrey Perrett makes that exact same case brilliantly. I think Rick Atkinson also touches on it in his Liberation Trilogoy.

    But what I want to posit is this was not the first time in its history that the United States Army practiced the operational art in warfare. I am firmly convinced this was seen in every major theater of the American Civil War. I happen to be in the midst of a study of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga Campaign (getting ready for a spring tour) and in my reading it has become apparent that when Grant was made commander of the Division of the Mississippi he acted as a Theater Commander. He worked to direct operations of Burnside, Thomas & Sherman as well as integrate Hooker's forces into the OOB. To use Mike's words, he projected, sustained and employed the forces in a series of battles to clear East Tennessee of Confederate forces.

    In 1864, Sherman commanded an Army Group in the Atlanta Campaign while simultaneously reatining theater command over the forces operating all the way back to Memphis. Grant exercised comamnd over the AOP & the AOJ effectively all the way through to Appomattox.

    So while forces this large and spans of control required were never envisioned nor taught by the Army, I do believe it is fair to say that within the hothouse of battle Grant and his fellow Union senior commanders developed and executed operational doctrine in the midst of the war.

    Am I too far off base or do you concur?

    Thoughts?
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Shek,

    I am glad to see that Mike's great humor and teaching style is not saved purely for Civil War battlefields!

    Afer viewing the video (I missed some of the second half) and skimming his book several years ago I do have this question/proposition...

    So if I get DR Metheny correctly, his premise is that the American Army's professionalism and capabilities in the operational arts was formalized and institutionalized in the Professional Education System in the interwar years. On aaht I concur whole heartedly. In his There's A War To Be Won, Geoffrey Perrett makes that exact same case brilliantly. I think Rick Atkinson also touches on it in his Liberation Trilogoy.

    But what I want to posit is this was not the first time in its history that the United States Army practiced the operational art in warfare. I am firmly convinced this was seen in every major theater of the American Civil War. I happen to be in the midst of a study of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga Campaign (getting ready for a spring tour) and in my reading it has become apparent that when Grant was made commander of the Division of the Mississippi he acted as a Theater Commander. He worked to direct operations of Burnside, Thomas & Sherman as well as integrate Hooker's forces into the OOB. To use Mike's words, he projected, sustained and employed the forces in a series of battles to clear East Tennessee of Confederate forces.

    In 1864, Sherman commanded an Army Group in the Atlanta Campaign while simultaneously reatining theater command over the forces operating all the way back to Memphis. Grant exercised comamnd over the AOP & the AOJ effectively all the way through to Appomattox.

    So while forces this large and spans of control required were never envisioned nor taught by the Army, I do believe it is fair to say that within the hothouse of battle Grant and his fellow Union senior commanders developed and executed operational doctrine in the midst of the war.

    Am I too far off base or do you concur?

    Thoughts?
    Buck,

    Mike's book looks at modern operational art, which encompasses the use of land, air, and sea power. Mike would agree with your assessment, but label it pre-modern operational art. One of the key elements of operational design in the practice of operational art is the concept of leverage (the most recent joint pub has dropped this, unfortunately) - using one element of military power to support another. Grant is a key practitioner of this through the use of U.S. seapower, whether it's joint assaults out West or the use of sea LOCs to free up more soldiers to fight rather than guard trains. City Point is the ultimate expression of that in the American Civil War.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  7. #22
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    Thanks

    Thought I was on the right track.

    I will weave that into my talk and tour this Spring.

    Hope you have good weather for this current class on your battlefields!
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  8. #23

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    Great observation.

    Great reply.

    Thank you, gents.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  9. #24
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    I hope I'm conveying this correctly. For current wars, I am more interested in the strategic aspects. That is, the impact or possible impact they will have on the larger region or the world. I tend in those cases to discount day-to-day ops and tactics, although I understand they can be key to the outcome. On the other hand, when reading history where the outcome is known, I am fascinated by ops and tactics and how they led to the outcome.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Thanks

    Thought I was on the right track.

    I will weave that into my talk and tour this Spring.

    Hope you have good weather for this current class on your battlefields!
    His assertion (of which I have been persuaded of as well) is that Okinawa is the pinnacle of the practice of American operational art in World War II. The use of airpower and seapower allowed for an amphibious assault by land power, with the ultimate goal being the developing of bases to support future offensive operations against the home islands. To conduct this, they developed a joint staff that kept true to the strategic objective of Okinawa, oftentimes pi$$ing off the tactical commanders that were still trying to quell the final Japanese troops by prioritizing the movement of supplies and equipment for the development of the B-29 airstrips.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    His assertion (of which I have been persuaded of as well) is that Okinawa is the pinnacle of the practice of American operational art in World War II. The use of airpower and seapower allowed for an amphibious assault by land power, with the ultimate goal being the developing of bases to support future offensive operations against the home islands. To conduct this, they developed a joint staff that kept true to the strategic objective of Okinawa, oftentimes pi$$ing off the tactical commanders that were still trying to quell the final Japanese troops by prioritizing the movement of supplies and equipment for the development of the B-29 airstrips.
    If I recall my readings, that attitude was especially prevalent while Buckner was still alive and the Xth Army in his hands. I believe if I recall correctly that when Roy Geiger took command things worked out better.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  12. #27
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    Had never really been fully aware of the differences, so this thread was enlightening. I, like most civilians I suspect, who possess a polite interest in military history are married to the strategic level.

    Although personally I think I could get into bed with the operational level, even though it's probably considered the least sexy of the three.
    Last edited by tantalus; 20 Jan 15, at 17:38.

  13. #28
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    Tantalus,

    Though the "least sexy" it is quite often the level on which success or failure is predicated. An army can have tactical failure in many places but have spectacular tactical success in one area which makes a success at the operational level possible. See the US v Germany in the openinig week of the Battle of the Bulge. The same can be said that tactical success accross the board is undone by poor choices at the operational level. See the Confederate Army of Tennessee after its victory at Chickamauga.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  14. #29
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    Really? I personally find the operational level the most interesting since it's incredibly complex and often seems that its study is the most illuminating. Operational histories reveal how strategic advantage is translated into victory--or not! It's where things fall together and begin making sense.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Tantalus,
    An army can have tactical failure in many places but have spectacular tactical success in one area which makes a success at the operational level possible. See the US v Germany in the openinig week of the Battle of the Bulge.
    Sidetracking here, but could explain this one in brief?

    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    Really? I personally find the operational level the most interesting since it's incredibly complex and often seems that its study is the most illuminating. Operational histories reveal how strategic advantage is translated into victory--or not! It's where things fall together and begin making sense.
    I would suggest re-reading this again, but this time from the perspective of the masses . But yes, I see where you are going with it.

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