In recent weeks I have been providing my readers a modest tutorial on the operational art, with an eye toward determining what makes an effective operational level military leader. Let's finish with a final look at those factors that go into determining what makes a particular commander a good one. My hope is that this discussion will further enable the casual military history enthusiast to feel more confident in evaluating for themselves which of their favorite commanders really stack up against the competition.
Though there are many great qualities that are essential in terms of being a
Last week I discussed the operational level of war. To summarize, the operational level links strategic objectives to the tactical deployment of military assets. The operational level of war is often referred to as an art, and for good reason. Nevertheless, before we can discuss what makes planning and leading military operations on a large scale an art form we must first start with the set of rules that gives commanders from the same army a common basis of action: that being doctrine. From there we can examine some key metrics for defining sound generalship.
War fighting has long been dominated by concepts of strategy and tactics. However, in the period between the World Wars a newer concept in military thought fully matured as it's own level of war: the operational art. This vital element of war making was perhaps been best described by one of the pioneers in bringing the operational art to life: Soviet military theorist and strategist Alexander Andreyevich Svechin who nearly a century ago wrote, "tactics makes the steps from which operational leaps are assembled; strategy points out the path" (quoted from David Glantz's book Soviet Military