One problem that was noted soon after the introduction of the Operations was the problem of how to deal with the enemy's reserve forces in the rear. There was the possibility that the US could win the first battle, only to meet a second unattrited reserve force soon after.
A solution to this problem was not immediately forthcoming. In Colonel John Boyd presented Patterns of Conflict , a study outlining a number of historical matchups in which the victor was able to disrupt the "observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop" of their enemy. This, he stated, made them "appear ambiguous unpredictable thereby generate confusion and disorder".
His primary example of such action was the Blitzkrieg, where highly mobile forces were quickly concentrated at small points and then used to force a number of simultaneous thrusts through the front. In order to guarantee supply movement and avoid being encircled, the enemy is forced to retreat in an attempt to reform continuous defensive lines. The traditional method of dealing with an armored breakthrough was to pick away at its sides, forcing it to maneuver away in order to find less-defended areas of advance.
If these spoiling attacks can be set up on both sides of the route of attack, the armored spearhead is forced into an ever-decreasing frontage, eventually being pinched off and losing the ability to maneuver. The classic example of a successful anti-Blitzkrieg was during the Battle of the Bulge , where US units repeatedly forced the German spearhead inward, eventually pinching it off just short of the Meuse River.
However, this approach required the forces to be deployed in depth, and the massive numerical superiority of the Warsaw Pact was the reverse of the numbers during the Bulge. Additionally, the concentration of low-mobility forces that formed the channelizing groups would invite nuclear strikes. Instead of meeting the Blitzkrieg head-on, Boyd suggested what he called the "counter-blitz", where small groups of equally mobile forces would pick away at the lines of thrust and then move on to the next in a series of hit-and-run attacks. There was no necessity to retain any sort of front line, and the attacks deliberately moved from point to point in order to avoid being bogged down or getting trapped.
The idea was not to force the blitz to lose its ability to maneuver, but instead upset its ability to understand where it should be maneuvering to—the attacker would have no idea which of these counteroffensives represented a real threat, and would have to respond to all of them. Whereas Active Defense envisioned the Army units moving from one blocking position to another in a series of largely static defenses, in the counter-blitz they would be far more mobile, conducting a series of limited offensives instead.
Another difference was the role of the reserves; under Active Defense their role was very limited and even battlefield reserves were expected to be placed directly in the front, but under Patterns the reserves could be introduced where and when they became available, and be just as effective as the troops that had been there from the start. Boyd felt that the continual pattern of harassment and shifting positions could continue throughout a conflict, as opposed to attempting to win the entire war at the front in a single battle.
When Boyd introduced the concept, the Pentagon was being led by power groups that new inductees considered hidebound and moribund. As illustrated in The Pentagon Wars , Boyd and like-minded up-and-comers formed the "Reform Movement" and sought to overturn existing chains of command and introduce new weapons and tactics across the entire armed forces. Since its introduction Starry had been attempting to find solutions to the problems of the enemy's reserves, and had been developing the concept of the "extended battlefield".
Army values form the very identity of the Army, the solid rock upon which everything else stands, especially in combat. These chapters introduce direct leaders to the concerns faced by leaders and staffs operating at the organizational and strategic levels. Therefore, the public affairs officer PAO monitors public perceptions and develops and disseminates clear and objective messages about military operations. Information collection can be degraded by destroying collection means, by influencing the information the adversary gets, or by causing the adversary not to collect at all. To blind or deafen an adversary requires that most of his major surveillance and reconnaissance systems be influenced or engaged.
The extended battlefield noted that different commanders had different views of the battlefield in geographical terms. Starry introduced the idea that there was not only a geographical dimension to the battlefield organization, but a time dimension as well; the brigade had perhaps 12 hours to respond to actions, while the division had 24 and the corps It was this coordination both in space and time that defined the extended battlefield. The reason that the time dimension was important was the result of studies in nuclear weapon employment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in December These studies demonstrated that interdiction in the enemy's rear could seriously delay the movements of the rear echelon forces and create "time windows" during which the US would have the tactical advantage.
Prior to the s the air forces had been seen primarily as for strategic bombing, delivery of tactical nuclear weapons, or for attacks on enemy air forces. Their counterpart to FM listed only eight missions, only one of which required direct interaction with the Army forces in the field. During the Vietnam War much of the US air power had been directed against supply buildup and movement points; roads, bridges, supply depots and the like.
Attacking these targets with conventional weapons was an expensive process, requiring considerable amounts of ordnance to be expended to guarantee a "hit".
In the late s and early s the introduction of smart weapons allowed conventional forces to directly attack point targets like bridges and roads, dramatically improving the ability to interdict the enemy, while at the same time allowing the aircraft to operate from safer, higher altitudes. These had little real impact during Vietnam when they were still very new, but their potential was obvious. Starting in the early s the Air Force took its first steps at looking at a conventional war in Europe.
In late , RAND Corporation completed a study that examined the merits of additional manned aircraft, remotely piloted vehicles, and stand-off munitions for improving air-ground capability in NATO. Air planners were beginning to look for ways to best employ these new weapons at the same time Starry was working on the extended battlefield concepts. Starry emphasized the close coordination between the Army and Air Force to produce an integrated attack plan that would use the land forces in a counter-blitz while air power, artillery and special operation forces stopped the movement of the reserves toward the front line.
The result would stretch out the Warsaw Pact's advance in time, allowing the smaller NATO forces to continually attrit the enemy all along the battlefield while the reinforcements arrived piecemeal. The result was a single AirLand Battle. Although the focus of AirLand Battle was on conventional warfare, it did not ignore the threat of nuclear or chemical warfare.
It suggested planning for nuclear strikes or chemical weapons use from the beginning of combat, using them as a threat from the start that would force the enemy to disperse his forces or run the risk of a nuclear strike as they concentrated. The plans did, however, suggest they only be used if first attacked in kind. RIFLE, 5.
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