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.
Last month I began an in-depth look at what was happening outside Stalingrad while what has become one of the most remembered battles of the Second World War was waged in the streets and ruins of the city. I started with a look at the Soviet Stalingrad Front's First Kotluban Offensive during the first week of September 1942. This offensive was directed against the German Sixth Army's VIII Army Corps (384th and 76th Infantry Divisions) and XIV Panzer Corps (the 16th Panzer Division and 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions) .
Most commentators like to point out that the attack failed miserably.
As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising I thought it would be appropriate to set the stage for the brave but doomed efforts of the Polish Resistance to free their city from Nazi occupation. Late in July of 1944 and as the Red Army approached Warsaw's outskirts it must have seemed as if the Soviet war machine was unstoppable. Alas, this would prove not to be true.
Even though much of the blame for the failure of the Polish Resistance to overcome their Nazi overlords must be placed at Stalin's feet (with his decision to not raise a finger to help the courageous resistance
In mid-November 1941 Field Marshal Fedor von Bock's Army Group Center began the final phase of the German assault on Moscow spearheaded by the Third Panzer Army and Fourth Panzer Army. Some 233,000 men, 1,300 tanks, 1,880 guns and 800 aircraft efficiently split Rokossovsky's 16th Army and Leliushenko's 30th Army as the Germans hammered away at a similar number of Russian men and aircraft but far less guns and tanks; the Russian defenders could only put 1,254 guns and 502 tanks into the field.