In Pursuit of Military Excellence: The Evolution of Operational Theory

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Taylor & Francis, 1997 - 398 pages
This work offers and interpretation of the intermediate field of military knowledge situated between strategy and tactics-better known as 'operational art'-and traces the evolution of operational awareness and its culmination in a full-fledged theory. Shimon Naveh identifies four key landmarks in the evolution of operational theory: nineteenth-century military thought and the roots of operational ignorance; the emergence of the Blitzkrieg concept; the evolution of the Soviet Deep Operation theory during the 1920s and the 1930s; the crystallization of the American Airland Battle theory fifty years later. The profound conceptual developments associated with the Soviet Deep Operation and Strike Manoeuvre theories are used as a yardstick for critically assessing German military theory, from Clausewitz's 'battle of destruction' to the Blitzkrieg. Naveh concludes that the Blitzkrieg lacked any solid conceptual basis and constituted a manipulation of tactical patterns, and hence the German defeat by the Russian Army in the Second World War amounted to the victory of a superior culture of military thinking over an inferior one. Furthermore, it was the Soviet conceptual breakthrough which, in fact, permitted the crystallization in the 1970s of the American Airland Battle theory-a doctrine successfully implemented in the Gulf War. -- From back cover.
 

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Contents

Operational Art and the General Theory of Systems
1
Mass and Operational
30
Destruction and Operational
70
The Blitzkrieg Concept
105
Reflections
128
The Evolution of Soviet Operational Thought
164
School of Operational Thought
177
Paradigm
191
The Deep Operation Theory Glubokaia operatsiia
209
Operational Synergy
221
From Tactical Destruction to Operational Manoeuvre
250
From Central Battle to Airland Battle
287
Bibliography
332
Index
393
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