Non-Fiction Books:

In Pursuit of Military Excellence

The Evolution of Operational Theory



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In Pursuit of Military Excellence by Shimon Naveh
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How did the obsession with offensive develop prior to the First World War? How did manoeuvre thinking become dominated by linear patterns? Why, while possessing ample mechanized assets, did the European armies fail to develop operational patterns of manoeuvre in the course of the First World War? Why, in spite of the Wehrmacht's unique tactical excellence, was the Blitzkrieg method defeated? What were the operational factors that generated the succession of Soviet victories after the summer of 1943? This work offers an 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 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 of the American Airland Battle theory - a doctrine successfully implemented in the Gulf War.
Release date NZ
March 31st, 1997
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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