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Operational Art or War Doctrine

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Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2017 07:57

The Soviets formulated the concept of Operational Art which is the doctrine to conduct war. This was done during the period of 1924 after Soviet Union consolidation to 1937 when Stalin in a fit of insecurity purged the Red Army of its leadership. This led to the vast defeat and retreats after the Nazi invasion of July 1941. To their credit the Red Army recovered by strategic defense and in Belarus went on the strategic offense which eventually ended up by conquering Berlin in a years time.
Many scholars have studied the Soviet Operational Art and will post some links for study so we can have an informed discussion.
We keep hearing the idea of Deep Battle and it was first created here.

Wiki to start light:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operational_level_of_war

In the field of military theory, the operational level of war (also called the operational art, as derived from Russian: оперативное искусство, or the operational warfare) represents the level of command that connects the details of tactics with the goals of strategy.[1]

In Joint U.S. military doctrine, operational art is "the cognitive approach by commanders and staffs—supported by their skill, knowledge, experience, creativity, and judgment—to develop strategies, campaigns, and operations to organize and employ military forces by integrating ends, ways, and means."[2] It correlates political needs and military power.[clarification needed] Operational art is defined by its military-political scope, not by force size, scale of operations or degree of effort.[clarification needed] Likewise, operational art provides theory and skills, and the operational level permits doctrinal structure and process.[3




One book in English from US Army Historical Perspectives of Operational Art

This is a very good book and am grateful to RoyG who mentioned this to me.

A Norwegian masters Thesis on Op Art theory and practice. This is a short 37 page thesis and gives a good understanding. I suggest read this to get quickly upto speed. After that we should read the Historical Perspectives which is more extensive and covers recent wars upto Desert Shield.

www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA601678


Rommel Myth

FIELD MARSHAL Erwin Rommel rode across North Africa onto the pages of history. His legend secure, Rommel will be forever thought of as a military genius who, but for bad fortune and the faults of others, might have changed the course of World War II. His noble nature was crowned tragically by his involvement in the failed attempt on Adolf Hitler's life and his subsequent forced suicide. Legends, however, offer little in the way of direction for students of operational art. Those students must learn, directly or indirectly, from lessons locked in plans, maps, technical comparisons and analyses of others. It is through the disciplined application of critical analysis that campaigns of the past are transmuted into lessons for the future.

What did Rommel accomplish in North Africa, and how should those accomplishments be judged? Is he one of the "Great Captains," or is he more legend than genius, more image than substance? Exploring these issues is germane to future strategists, as it illuminates the tasks, skills and responsibilities at the heart of the operational level of war. Examining Rommel's North African campaigns under the scope of operational art requires not just revisiting battles, but identifying and analyzing the critical elements that constitute campaigns. Of particular importance to current operational-level thinking are lessons that teach us the oft-hidden effects of political, psychological and social factors on a campaign 's purpose and execution.

Analyzing Operational Art

The renaissance in US military thought about the operational level of war provides an enhanced means to examine military efforts-past, present and future -that pursue political or strategic goals. Operational art is the planning and execution of military efforts to achieve political aims. It correlates political needs and military power. Operational art should be defined by its military-political scope, not by force size, scale of operations or degree of effort. Likewise, operational art provides theory and skills, and the operational level permits doctrinal structure and process.

While the emerging corpus of operational art and the establishment of an operational level of war are relatively new, operational art has existed throughout recorded history. Nations have long pursued political goals through military actions, and campaigns of any period can be examined from the existential perspective of operational art. Although a broadly accepted primer of operational art is yet to be written, current schools of thought share the fundamental view that military success can be measured only in the attainment of political-strategic aims. This is, in its broadest sense, a truism, valid for all wars in all times.

Operational art comprises four essential elements: time, space, means and purpose. Each element is found in greater complexity at the operational level than at the tactical or strategic level. This is true, in part, because operational art must consider and incorporate more of the strategic and tactical levels than those levels must absorb from the operational level. Although much can be gained by examining the four elements independently, it is only when they are viewed together that operational art reveals its intricate fabric.

The challenge of operational art is to establish a four-element equilibrium that permits the optimal generation and application of military power in achieving the political goal. Viewing time, space, means and purpose as a whole requires great skill in organizing, weighing and envisioning masses of complex, often contradictory factors. These factors often exist for extended periods, over great distances and with churning mixes of players, systems and beliefs, pursuing political goals which may or may not be clear, cogent or settled. Meanwhile, an enemy seeks to create options beyond our thoughts. Compounding factors from other dimensions of power create further, and inestimable, ambiguity and chance


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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2017 08:12

On Operational Level of War and Operational Art



The Operational Level of War and the Operational Art


by DR HUW J. DAVIES and DR ROBERT T. FOLEY

In recent years, particularly since difficulties have been encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq, military thinkers and practitioners have begun questioning the existence of the operational level of war. Some argue that the articulation of the concept was a distraction from adequate attention to the tactical and strategic levels of war.

Here, two historians, with interests in different periods of military history, outline the relevance of the concept to the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and the Second World War.

The Operational Level During the Napoleonic Wars


The ‘operational level’ was first articulated as a level of war by Alexander Svechin, and conceptually employed by the Soviets during the war on the Eastern Front in 1944-5. This commonly leads to an assumption that the operational level didn’t exist before then. But that’s a bit like arguing the Earth really was at the centre of the Universe until Galileo and Copernicus theorised otherwise. The Earth always orbited the Sun, and the Operational Level of War has always existed.

As a nineteenth century military historian, the way in which Napoleon planned operations, utilising comparatively vast spaces, and articulating complex manoeuvres was a clear example of operational level planning: that is to say, planning that was somewhere between strategic and tactical in nature. Take the Ulm Campaign of 15-20 October 1805. Napoleon deployed his Grande Armée for the first time in a corps-level organisation.

Each Corps was able to operate independently, whilst a strong centralised General Staff orchestrated swift communications between each corps. When one of Napoleon’s corps found the Austrian Army near the southern German town of Ulm, it fixed the enemy in place, whilst the remaining corps manoeuvred to encircle the Austrians. In the subsequent battle on 19 October 1805, the Austrians were completely enveloped and forced to surrender.

Napoleon’s success lay at least in part in his ability to delegate command to his marshals and their ability to understand his intent. The operation itself saw nearly 120,000 French soldiers utilise both time (the campaign lasted six days) and space (Napoleon’s army was deployed across several hundred miles) to achieve a decisive tactical result.

Over the course of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria followed Napoleon’s lead and developed variants that played to national strengths. British operational art depended on its mastery of the seas and its superior ability to bring global resources to bear. When Wellington was fighting in the Iberian Peninsula, he was able to plan operations on multiple fronts, directing and redirecting naval assets as required.

Small wonder, that this period spawned two of the greatest military thinkers: Baron Antoine de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, both of whom, in different ways described war in terms that were similar to what Svechin would later articulate as the ‘operational level of war’.

The Operational Level of War and German Military Thought, 1866-1918

As the previous section has mentioned, the ‘operational level’ and the ‘operational art’ as we understand the terms today did not exist in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, this does not mean that military theorists of the period did not grapple to come to terms with the same problems that led to the articulation of operational art in the Interwar period, namely the rise of mass armies and the resultant geographical expansion of the ‘battlefield.’ In particular, German military writers and planners developed new concepts to address the challenges of modern war.

Indeed, the Imperial German army was the first to use the term ‘operativ’ in a military context, and some have argued that the Soviets derived much of their understanding of the concept from the works of Sigismund von Schlichting, which were used as textbooks in the Imperial Russian staff colleges. For the Germans of this time, however, the adjective operativ was used to denote movement off the battlefield. Increasingly, though, this movement off the battlefield was recognized as important to what happened on the battlefield. Authors, such as Rudoph von Caemmerer (a protégé of Schlichting), argued that the successes of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder in the German Wars of Unification (1864-1871) were the result of maneuvering German forces, usually by the new technology railways, to enable battle under the most favorable conditions for the German force and the least favorable conditions for the enemy force.

At the same time that there was a growing appreciation within the German army of the importance of maneuver in modern battle, there was also recognition that the size of modern armies created new problems in command. The largest army commanded by Moltke was about 550,000 men. By the early twentieth century, the German army was intending to deploy more than two million men across several hundred miles of separate fronts in the west and the east. Although emerging radio and telegraph technology might assist the ‘modern Alexander’ to conduct wars of the future, two new important concepts of warfare emerged to address the problems of the burgeoning size of armies and scale of combat.


The first of these put the army and the army corps at the heart of future battlefield action. Between 1892 and 1914, the German army trained extensively in what it termed Truppenführung, a new level of combat and command between the low-level tactics of division and below (Gefechtsführung) and the higher level of strategy (Kriegführung). They put this training to good use in the early stages of the First World War, particularly in the battles of Tannenberg and the Frontiers.

The second important concept to emerge in German military thought before 1914 was Alfred von Schlieffen’s idea of a Gesamtschlacht. While better known today for his eponymous plan, this plan was really designed to tie together a series of battles fought over different spaces and at different times, a point generally lost in recent analysis. These Teilschlachten, as Schlieffen termed them, would be welded together into something more than the sum of the parts by the commander’s plan. This plan would give meaning to the disparate battles sometimes fought by independent armies and victory in the war would be assured by victory in the Gesamtschlacht.

Although Schlieffen’s plan failed in 1914, the concepts of Truppenführung and Gesamtschlacht were at the heart of the much more successful German invasion of France in 1940 and Russia in 1941. Indeed, what later historians have termed ‘Blitzkrieg’ and have attributed to the Interwar Reichswehr or the Second World War Wehrmacht was, in fact, simply a mechanized and motorized version of what the Kaiserheer attempted over the same ground in 1914.

Operational Art and Russian/Soviet Military Thought, 1918-1945

It is perhaps unsurprising that what we understand today as the ‘operational level’ and the ‘operational art’ had their direct origins in Russia. In common with their western neighbours, Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union wrestled with the expansion of warfare driven by modern mass armies. The scale of the issue, however, was all the greater for this great eastern empire. In the big western powers – France and Germany – each mobilized around 4 million men at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Russia, on the other hand, mobilized some 9 million. On top of this, the Eastern Front stretched for some 1,000 miles from north to south.


The size of forces mobilized combined with the vast scale of the area over which the war was fought pushed the Russian army to develop a new level of command – the army group or front, as it was known to the Imperial and later Red armies – comprised of numerous distinct armies. Each front was expected to fight within its own resources battles that were usually distant from each other in space and time.

The experience of the First World War and the subsequent wars of the Russian revolution heavily influenced Red Army theorists in the Interwar period. Indeed, the Soviet theorists of the Interwar period were drawing upon their own considerable practical experience of warfare between 1914 and 1939. Alexander Svechin has already been mentioned, but other experienced officers, such as Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Vladimir Triandafilov, and Nikolai Varfolomeev, devised a workable doctrine for combat at the operational level.

Indeed, by the early 1930s, the concept of glubokaya operatsiya, or deep operations, had become enshrined in Soviet doctrine and training. Tying new emerging technologies of aircraft, tanks, and motorization together with the idea of using large-scale mobile forces (Fronts) on separate axes of operations in the enemy’s rear, deep operations looked to disrupt rather than simply destroy the enemy’s defence. The Soviets put this doctrine to good use, particularly in 1944 and 1945. Faced with large-scale offensives on widely separated fronts, the Germans were unable to be strong at every point, and the cohesion of the overall German defence broke down.


The Operational Level in the Age of Mass Armies

What ties these different periods of history together is the nature of their armies. With the levée en masse of the August 1793, Revolutionary France began a period in which armies increasingly drew upon the growing populations of their nation states to form large armies comprised of citizen soldiers. These mass armies created problems of size and scale unseen by previous generations of military commanders. How would these large armies be commanded and controlled? How could the results of disparate battles be combined to achieve political goals?

The answers to these questions were found in the creation of new levels of command (army corps, armies, and army groups); in creating a plan that gave focus to battles separated in space and time; in the increasing importance of disruption of an enemy’s cohesion over his physical destruction; and in operating independently over even greater areas. In other words, this period of mass armies gave rise to the development of the ‘operational level’ and the ‘operational art.’




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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2017 08:19

Obviously I have a deeper reason to start this topic no?
It is to discuss India's war from Operational Art concept point ofview and see where it applied and where it did not and why?

Short answer 1948 Kashmir was a theater battle field and op art was not employed.
However Operation Polo at same time was a multiple fronts police action and had rudimentary op art employed to bring about collapse in 48 hours.

In 1965 the same general who led Op Polo was in charge and yet he failed to employ his own lessons learned.

In 1971, Operational Art was employed with full success in East Pakistan leading to Pak Army surrender in 13 days.
Yet it was not employed on Western Front and led to stale mate.

Gen Sunderji had started the process of employing Operational Art in full form in Indian army with Operation Brasstacks, Checkerboard and Falcon.


Kargil was not even a theater conflict and hence Op art was not employed.

Operation Parakram was the first time a full-scale Operational art was employed on Western front and led to the suing for peace without firing shot by Pakistan.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2017 08:44

There are several related issues that I will post here for want of a better thread.

Let me start with a cross post from the mijjiles thread

Rakesh wrote:So for example, Pakistan via terrorists does another Mumbai style attack (but much larger casualties and significant damage to infrastructure...basically a reason to execute such a plan) then an option would be to take out much of Pakistan's offensive military capability in a retaliatory and quick strike. You need a signficant amount of stand-off weaponry on standby (launched simultaneously) for such a scenario. Destroy a large chunk of their offensive capability and they will be reeling. Their three Agosta boats, their Erieye airborne early warning aircraft, their P-3 Orions are some of the offensive military equipment that come to mind. But these are all mobile targets and difficult to track. Advantages of such a strike is no loss of Indian military personnel and no tactical nuclear attacks on Indian Strike Corps. The main disadvantage of such a plan, is if the strike fails. This is not a trial-and-error process. To maintain H&D, they might launch military offensives into Indian territory which our Holding Corps is more than a match.


The problem I have is with the words highlighted in red. They are perfectly true but are subject to many conditions:

1. Every armed force knows what its important assets are and keep them protected from sudden attacks.
2. Expressions like "Shock & Awe" and "Rolling thunder" are pure propaganda. There in no guarantee that enemy assets will actually be destroyed in the early hours even with a massive strike

For example - in 1967 the Israelis destroyed Arab air forces on the ground in a surprise attack. In 1971 the Pakis tried that against India and failed because India was prepared. Staying on the subject - even East Pakistan where the PAF had small numbers had to be subjected to repeat attacks time and again to ensure that assets were actually destroyed.


We can send out 1000 cruise missiles but we can never be sure that the targets have actually been destroyed. That means rapid follow up with reconnaissance flights and repeat attacks and repeat repeat attacks

The questions are
a. How much attrition can we afford to take in the initial attacks and the repeat attacks. If we assume that targets are destroyed - the first attackers that follow the initial cruise attacks will get shot down and retaliatory attacks on our assets will blunt our edge.
b. How long can we allow for this phase of taking out well guarded but major enemy assets. 1 day. 2 days 3 days? When does a surprise "lightning war" change into a slow grinding stalemate?

Despite the most powerful forces - Iraq turned into a slow grinding stalemate. Why is that war being used as a template for future wars?
Last edited by shiv on 10 Nov 2017 09:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2017 09:02

I must (and I do) respect Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, but in an article in the latest issue of Vayu about jointness he argues that
  • intense missile attacks on the enemy would be a valid starting point in a war because of the risks faced by manned aircraft
  • The soldier on the ground appreciates and gains morale seeing air power (attack helos and planes) adding to the destruction of the enemy in front - because these assets can lay on more bombs in minutes than a regiment of artillery
  • Contrary to the Air Force view about the Air Force role in helping clearing of heights - the Brigadier argues that Kargil was won because of artillery destroying sangars

Clearly the good Brigadier is making an army argument and not looking at the air force argument so well enunciated by late Jasjit Singh. Jasjit Singh acknowledges that the soldier would be happier to see enemy assets being destroyed by close air support (CAS) but he says that no air force (and definitely not the IAF) can be present at every single difficult point where the soldier needs help. He points out that the right way to use air power is to let the air force do what it knows best - and that is to penetrate and destroy C&C centers, air bases and enemy logistics. The soldier does not see this. It will not help him immediately, but the war will be shortened and victory aided by invisible deep penetration air force action

Clearly there is an army air-force divide here and as far as I can tell this army air force divide has an effect on jointness and the question of "theater commands". The air force has pointed out that in theater commands the air force assets of the western theater cannot be moved to the eastern theater. The air force rightly argues that in past wars and in future wars - air forces assets can be moved from east to west at will as long as they are not restricted by paralysing rules of theater commands. Even in 1971 aircraft were used over East Pakistan one day and attacked targets in the west another day. This will be even more feasible with Su-30 and Rafale and restricting them to one area is wrong

But I write all this to say that the army and air force requirements cannot be fully made to meet. For this reason I am putting forward the argumen that the army gets a small air force of its own that it can use for CAS. Attack helos and Hawk-I perhaps. The airforce does not like duplication - but there is no duplication here. The air force will be left free to hit targets at depth and maintain air defence cover.

I know this is easier said than done. But I do think that if the Army needs an air arm to do air work the way they want - they must have access to separate if small air arm.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Karthik S » 10 Nov 2017 10:32

shiv wrote:The problem I have is with the words highlighted in red. They are perfectly true but are subject to many conditions:

1. Every armed force knows what its important assets are and keep them protected from sudden attacks.
2. Expressions like "Shock & Awe" and "Rolling thunder" are pure propaganda. There in no guarantee that enemy assets will actually be destroyed in the early hours even with a massive strike

For example - in 1967 the Israelis destroyed Arab air forces on the ground in a surprise attack. In 1971 the Pakis tried that against India and failed because India was prepared. Staying on the subject - even East Pakistan where the PAF had small numbers had to be subjected to repeat attacks time and again to ensure that assets were actually destroyed.


Shiv ji, pakis couldn't do an Israel of 1967 on us because our intelligence picked up their plans to do a preemptive strike. The report was very accurate to 48 to 72 hours from a particular date. We were actually waiting for their strike as it will be a good excuse to retaliate on west paki. All this was possible because we had our assets inside their air force headquarters and even planning room.

Been looking few videos of mossad, from osiraq to orchard. Despite all their fancy tech equipment, they still rely on good old human intelligence. We've seen so many scenarios in BRF, but rarely talk about the importance of having spies on the ground. Even during op osirak, there is a strong belief that a French engineer placed beacon that helped guide the Israeli pilots.

Do you believe that having human int at places where our stand off strike happens will help in reducing attrition and the surprise 'lightning war' war will be a success.

BTW, I read how our assets will removed from pak thanks to a past PM, but with former spy as NSA, I'd presume that we building that crucial capability.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2017 10:46

Karthik S wrote:
Do you believe that having human int at places where our stand off strike happens will help in reducing attrition and the surprise 'lightning war' war will be a success.

Of course HumInt is important but the question is like "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

In war there will be attrition. One must prepare for that . Having the goal of avoiding all war attrition is to simply keep out of fighting. I will post,for the third time, "recommended reading"

How Desert Storm Destroyed the US Military
The day Desert Storm ended, the death of the US military commenced.

The Pentagon, basking in glory and bowing to pressure from the public and crackpot feminists like Patricia Schroeder, started drinking the Kool Aid and they’ve never stopped. The war was a video game, a clean, quick rout. Modern war was now sanitized, where the bad guys would die at stand-off ranges of a mile or two and explode in little black and white pixels on Pentagon TV screens.
Last edited by shiv on 10 Nov 2017 10:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2017 10:50

Folks one request. There is a specific reason I started this thread. Please at a minimum read the 37 page pdf if you are going to post here.

Shiv I will rebut Brig. Kanwal tomorrow.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Deans » 12 Nov 2017 11:05

Shiv, Slightly OT, but the concern I have with the IAF's reluctance to embrace theatre commands, is in my view, more to do with protecting
their turf. The IAF rightly argues that aircraft have mobility across commands. In that case, why have multiple commands for the IAF ?
I see merit in the Army having 4 operational commands - North, West and East with 3-4 corps each and a Reserve, or Southern command.
The IAF would correspondingly have a West, East and South (Reserve) command and the Navy - West and East. That can ensure a lot more
integration and rationalisation of higher level staff positions.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Deans » 12 Nov 2017 12:02

Ramana ji, the pdf is an interesting read. I've studied Operation Bagrathon in detail (I had a working knowledge of Russian). I would argue that the Red army also had 2 other campaigns in WW2, where they demonstrated a equally high standard of operational warfare. These are:

1. Operations Mars, Uranus, Saturn - The destruction of the German 6th Army in Stalingrad (and parts of the 4th Pz army) and the subsequent
advance to the West, while pinning down Army group centre. Here the balance of forces was far closer to parity than in Operation Bagrathon and
Soviet commanders less experienced, so it was better operational art that made the difference. The author was mistaken w.r.t. German
casualties in Stalingrad. After the main battle for the city- which claimed closed to 100,000 German and allied lives, there were over 300,000
Germans & allied trapped in the encirclement and all but a handful died.

2. Operation August storm - Red army attack & liberation of Manchuria,in 1945. This was conducted over a far larger front than Bagrathon.
Armies were in different time zones ! Supply lines stretching back far further than was the case with Bagrathon. The Red army had a 2:1 manpower advantage over the Japanese (the same as Bagrathon), but the Japanese defenders did not believe in surrender and had years to prepare defenses.
The rate of advance achieved by the Red army was only beaten in Operation desert storm and the extend of ground covered was greater than in
Operation Bagrathon. The Red army suffered 11,000 KIA for a death or surrender of approx 730,000 Japanese.
One of the most successful, but, in IMO least studied offensives in modern military history.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 12 Nov 2017 22:23

Exactly. I want to study India's wars from that perspective and see what we can learn.

The key to Op Art is Politico-Military goals. Rest is force size, the scale of operations or degree of effort.
1965 had politico-military goals and the usage of the newly formed Ist Corps.
This one had many battles but no decisive outcome.
Why?
Whereas Asal Uttar had a decisive outcome but was not followed up.

I think the problem was the British training of the higher officers as British had Op Art strategy for the Navy but not the Army.
In 1971 on Easter Front, Op Art was fully practiced and resulted in victory.
So something changed in the art of generalship between 1965 and 1971.

And this was down to the level of Brigadiers.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Deans » 13 Nov 2017 09:32

I think the main difference between 1965 and 71, was that 1965 was thrust on us, while 71 was planned for. The planning process in the lead up to the 71 war, allowed us to develop politico-military goals. '65 did not, because we did very little scenario planning in the run up to Pakistan's operation Gibraltar, which led to war. I doubt we had a doctrine for the use of our 1 Corps - we didn't know that Pakistan had a 2nd armored division (a pre-requisite for properly deploying that Corps).

The leadership in 1971 was free of the 1962 taint, unlike in 1965 - for e.g Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad, GOC of 4th Inf division, which disintegrated in
1962, was again too cautious with his division in front of Lahore. Dograi village on the Ichogil canal which had been captured at the start of his
division's advance, was given up and had to be recaptured in a celebrated (but inconsequential) battle at the end of the war.

Perhaps as a consequence, one difference, IMO, between the leadership in 71 vs. 65, was that in 1971 opportunities were exploited. It was not originally envisaged that Lt Gen Sagat Singh's corps would reach Dhaka, or that 101 Communications zone, would be the first to do so.
Last edited by Deans on 13 Nov 2017 10:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby shiv » 13 Nov 2017 10:01

Deans wrote:Shiv, Slightly OT, but the concern I have with the IAF's reluctance to embrace theatre commands, is in my view, more to do with protecting
their turf. The IAF rightly argues that aircraft have mobility across commands. In that case, why have multiple commands for the IAF ?
I see merit in the Army having 4 operational commands - North, West and East with 3-4 corps each and a Reserve, or Southern command.
The IAF would correspondingly have a West, East and South (Reserve) command and the Navy - West and East. That can ensure a lot more
integration and rationalisation of higher level staff positions.

Unfortunately the army too is protecting its turf and sometimes tries to show its primacy over other armed forces like AF/Navy. But I think the the army should be given a little air force of its own to do what it wants. OT

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Kashi » 13 Nov 2017 10:05

Deans, what were the plans in the Western Sector? Was it only about denting TSPA's belief that "The defence of the East lies in the West" or was it aimed at striking deep within W. Pak and use the gains as bargaining chips?

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Karthik S » 13 Nov 2017 10:06

Deans wrote:I think the main difference between 1965 and 71, was that 1965 was thrust on us, while 71 was planned for. The planning process in the lead up to the 71 war, allowed us to develop politico-military goals, while 65 did not, because we did very little scenario planning in the run up to Pakistan's operation Gibraltar. I doubt we had a doctrine for the use of our 1 Corps - we didn't know that Pakistan had a 2nd armored division (a pre-requisite for properly deploying that Corps).

The leadership in 1971 was free of the 1962 taint, unlike in 1965 - for e.g Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad, GOC of 4th Inf division, which disintegrated in
1962, was again too cautious with his division in front of Lahore. Dograi village on the Ichogil canal which had been captured at the start of his
division's advance, was given up and had to be recaptured in a celebrated (but inconsequential) battle at the end of the war.

Perhaps as a consequence, one difference, IMO, between the leadership in 71 vs. 65, was that in 1971 opportunities were exploited. It was not originally envisaged that Lt Gen Sagat Singh's corps would reach Dhaka, or that 101 Communications zone, would be the first to do so.


1971 was a politico disaster. Yes BD was born, but what came of it to us? 93k PoWs, territorial victory, all gone to dogs on the table.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby deejay » 13 Nov 2017 10:17

The discussions above are probably veering from "Operational Art of War Doctrine" to "Art of War". A Tsun Tsu'isk take on the wars will retain a political analysis.

I think the Operational Art of War Doctrine is just the military generals using all resources into a conflict. The gains / losses caused by political decision is outside the purview of such a war doctrine. Plus it also a doctrine to be implemented before or during a war and not after a war.

The '71 war on the eastern front is definitely a classic example where weather conditions, terrain, assets, local population, surprise and jointness all come into force with respective battle commanders taking the decisions while using all the above.

On the other hand the western theater lacked ingenuity and full spectrum usage as part of its war doctrine. Probably the entire plan was concentrated on the eastern front and only a holding effort on the western front.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Deans » 13 Nov 2017 10:47

Kashi wrote:Deans, what were the plans in the Western Sector? Was it only about denting TSPA's belief that "The defence of the East lies in the West" or was it aimed at striking deep within W. Pak and use the gains as bargaining chips?


The plans in the West in 1971 were largely defensive. In 1965 we advanced in corps strength, both in the Lahore sector and into the Sakargarh bulge. This forced Pakistan on the defensive and relieved pressure on Akhnoor. In 1971, the advance was only into the Sakargarh bulge. We did not use our 2nd armored division (neither did Pakistan use its reserve 2 Corps). We did capture territory in the desert, but it was relatively unimportant. While we could have been more aggressive in the West, the onus was really on Pakistan to attack us, since that was the only way they could (in theory) compensate for setbacks in the East. Their pre-war planning probably assumed they would lose territory there, but not the whole country. So, at a strategic level, I believe we were correct in assuming a defensive posture in the West, while also ensuring most of the fighting was on Pakistani soil.
Last edited by Deans on 14 Nov 2017 08:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ParGha » 13 Nov 2017 11:11

The Soviets had done a ton of very detailed work around force-sizes, scale and level of effort at operational level — so to talk about operational art without appreciating the work put into the operational science opens up the discussion to a lot of hand-waving and hot-air.

You have to understand that the scientific models were continually updated and enhanced with advent of computers, satellite reconnaissance, sensor networks, etc. in the 1950-90 period. The first two enabled the effective addition of a fourth dimension -time- to operational planning, and resulted in development of the AirLand Battle doctrine in th US.

In the Indian context, the Sundarji Doctrine -though supposedly inspired by AirLand Battle Doctrine he was exposed at Carlisle Barracks- did not take into account the time dimension. It was apparent as early as 1997/98 in EX TriShakti, and reportedly gave birth to the Cold Start Doctrine. The newer technologies can enable Cold Start to better address the four dimensional problem, it also introduces a new dimension of warfare — i.e the virtual/cyberspace. Interesting times ahead.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 01 Dec 2017 23:07

Coming back to this thread.
Again the emphasis or focus in on military leaders translating politico-military goals to bring about rapid defeat of the opposing forces(Not I didn't call them enemy :))
Karthik S did you read the pdf or not?

Thanks to rohitvats I found Lt Gen Hasnian analysis of the 1965 war in his own words.
X-Posting from the 1965 War thread....

Two great blog articles from higher direction of war by Lt. Gen Hasnian courtesy Rohitvats:


1) India Pakistan Conflict 1965 Focused Recall Part I


India-Pakistan conflict 1965 : Focused recall (Part 1)



Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain
Updated: September 13, 2015, 1:10 PM IST

.

Fifty years to the date and India was into the 14th day of what is commonly called the 22 Day War. I have been attending functions related to the events, speaking at most of them and writing a great deal too. However, at the beginning and even well before, I concentrated on the sequence of the war of which most people in India were blissfully ignorant. Thereafter, I fell into the temptation of justifying how exactly India was the true and only winner. That too was necessary. As we progress into September find that many people all over the nation are much better informed about the War and are increasingly asking searching questions which should inevitably have been asked many years ago. This is the awakening about military affairs that I always dreamt of and I am extremely thrilled to witness it. The next few essays are all about a few of those questions and some attempted answers. But to set the record right is also important. This was no 22 day war; that comes from the presumption that transgression of the LoC on 01 September 1965 was the commencement of the war. Actually we were at war all of August 1965, in J&K and the most stupendous success of the entire war came our way at Hajipir in end August 1965.

Two weeks ago, Shekhar Gupta wrote a short post on Facebook on Late Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, the iconic Army Commander Western Command, who single handedly, commanded the entire war front in 1965. He implored everyone to read the General’s book ‘War Despatches’ which is perhaps the most brilliant and brutally frank account of the entire build up, the war itself and the post conflict aspects. A television show featured his family too. I am glad that the right attention is being given to one of India’s greatest soldiers. I was fortunate that my family enjoyed a personal relationship with the great General as my father was Gen Harbaksh’s Brigade Major (BM) in Damana (Jammu) when the General was a Brigadier in mid 1950s. Military personnel are usually aware of the intimacy in such relationships between commanders and principal staff. From my parents I only heard deep praise for the Harbaksh family and for the General’s military prowess; his insistence on being given information and advice in very few words was his forte. This last quality must surely have helped him tremendously in directing and leading the war effort. He had a responsibility on his shoulders far in excess of what should have been placed and in many ways this was one of the reasons why the Indian pick up of intelligence and response may have been less than what it could and should have been. Let me justify this statement.

In 1965, neither was the state of telecommunication reliable nor were there enough air transportation resources to allow senior commanders the liberty of frequent and easy visits to lower headquarters and to battle zones. HQ Western Command was initially located at Shimla, its peacetime station and later moved to the plains to control the operations. From Ladakh to Bikaner is a vast distance and to be responsible for the entire front which included the Chinese threat from Aksai Chin, was downright impractical. It took another war in 1971 to realize this resulting in the creation of HQ Northern Command, the move of HQ 15 Corps from Udhampur to Srinagar and the raising of HQ 16 Corps at Nagrota for the command and control of formations from the PirPanjal till Pathankot.

Image

Further, it took yet another war in 1999 to detach responsibility of HQ16 Corps from the broad area of the Chenab-Ravi Corridor, merge that area with Western Command and raise HQ South Western Command to take charge of Southern Punjab and Northern Rajasthan.

So, effectively Gen Harbaksh Singh had the command of an area of responsibility (AOR) which is today looked after by three Field Armies (Commands). This too was in an era when technical intelligence sources were extremely limited. Perhaps India just could not afford to have more HQ or there were insufficient troops to be placed under smaller Field Armies or most importantly the Government just did not care nor listened to military advice. Whatever be the reasons it is clear that sitting in Shimla, Ambala, Chandigarh or Jalandhar it was not possible for an Army Commander or his HQ staff to get a feel of the situation in Jammu & Kashmir before Operation Gibraltar was launched on 05 August 1965. Gen Harbaksh, in his excellent book, does mention that operational plans for an offensive into Pakistan Punjab were prepared as early as Apr 1965 after receiving directions from the Chief.

Yet, through August 1965 even as Op Gibraltar was in full swing he was visiting Kashmir very frequently, especially during the early part of the Battle of Hajipir, 26-31 August 1965. It is more than likely that there was insufficient attention paid to the reports of activities across Akhnoor in the Chenab-Jhelum Corridor (CJC) and even in the Shakargarh Bulge (Northern part of the Chenab-Ravi Corridor CRC) ). Even one glance at a map can give a surmise that it is these sub sectors which were and are most vulnerable to possible Pakistani incursions to sever the road communications between Pathankot and J&K or between Jammu and Poonch/Rajouri sector. That Akhnoor sector was defended by a weak squadron of tanks of 20 Lancers and effectively three of the five battalions of 191 Infantry Brigade with nothing in depth, was taking of risk beyond any sense of prudence. On the part of Pakistan it cannot be denied that Operation Grand Slam, the operation planned and executed in the Akhnoor sector was designed to cement a victory which it thought it would achieve in J&K. Two brigades of Pakistan 7 Division were specifically earmarked for the task and two regiments (11 Cavalry and 13 Lancers) from the newly raised 6 Armoured Division were part of the force. The area selected for the attack afforded a short distance for concentration from Kharian. Although the Samba-Kathua area could easily have been accessed the distance for concentration meant a move parallel to the border through Sialkot; the pickup of intelligence by India would have been much quicker. Pakistan’s early planning and prudent selection of Akhnoor sector for attack after the setback at Hajipir ensured that it caught India by surprise.

In 1999 during the Kargil War, over stretch of AOR for a single HQ resulted once again in our inability to keep the focus on terrain vulnerabilities. 15 Corps (Chinar Corps) was handling Kashmir and Ladakh, from Demchok in East to Gulmarg in the West. It was responsible for Eastern Ladakh, Siachen, Kargil, the Kashmir LoC in Kupwara and Baramula sectors and the raging militancy at its height aided by foreign terrorists. It had staff as much as any other Corps HQ but with a minor increment. It failed to read the indicators about the potential Kargil intrusion because its focus was elsewhere and rightfully so. No HQ can be focused with equal priority to each sub sector for which it is responsible unless it has a compact area well within its capability of focus. The Kargil experience led to the splitting of 15 Corps AOR with HQ 14 Corps being raised for Ladakh. Each time splitting of AOR has happened after a negative event which essentially reflects that military appreciation in matching resources to an AOR has never really been our forte.


{Why? This would be third time after 1965, 1971 and 1999. Was it because of the old British Indian Army formations that Kitchener created?

In one of the ongoing seminars of the 1965 Indo-Pak war a seasoned veteran who writes on strategic issues raised a very pertinent question. It alluded to the reasons why in the Akhnoor sector we have twice been surprised (1971 too) and whether our posture today caters for surprise factor in the future. Even the thinking public, which is reading and listening about military affairs with much greater interest than ever before, deserves to be given an answer to this. Three things the reader must know about this sector. First, the Chenab Jhelum Corridor (CJC) where it hugs the LoC is a short distance from the debouching areas from where an offensive force can be launched by Pakistan. Concentration can be done by the Pakistan Army in a very quick time frame which means the chances of being surprised are very high. Secondly, the River Tawi and the artificial obstacle of the ditch cum bund (DCB)can effectively check the initial offensive. Thirdly the distance being short from the LoC to Akhnoor there is always a need to have defences in depth and sufficient armour to respond with. Both in 1965 and 1971 these criteria were not there but today Akhnoor has all this and more. The CJC is excellent territory for us to commence a pre-emptive offensive so that the battle is fought in Pakistan territory with enough threat to his nearby cantonments.


The major tank battles of the 1965 War were fought once the Indian Army launched its offensive on 06 Sep 1965 taking the Pakistan Lahore sector completely by surprise; so we weren’t the only ones to be surprised through the war. The Lahore and the Sialkot sectors where the credentials of India’s tankmen were tested will be the focus of Part II of this essay.



2)1965 India- Pak War How the armed forces fought in the plains


1965 India-Pakistan War: How the Armed Forces fought in the plains



Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain
Updated: September 21, 2015, 11:31 AM IST

By now readers all over India must be having the 1965 Indo-Pak war coming out of their ears, so much has been the splurge by the media and the efforts of the armed forces themselves have been appreciable. The Forgotten War has just about become the most Remembered War and we have made good much of the neglect, the reasons for which were never very clear. However, I do subscribe the prime reason as the lack of a strategic culture in India. It seems to be making a dent somewhere now and that is a very positive sign. Common people are discussing and evincing interest and the generation born in the 1970s and thereafter in particular appears to be realizing the value of military heritage and sacrifice.

Last week I promised to continue the analysis of the War by addressing the events which took place from 06 Sep 65 onwards. Gen Harbaksh Singh wrote of his dilemma in deciding the date of the launch across the IB in Punjab. The plans were broadly in place in Apr 65 itself and deliberations about the contingency of having to open the Punjab front had taken place well before; it was not a spur of the moment decision as has been made out in some analyses but a well-planned and thought out military action.

The dilemma was the need for simultaneity in launch of 11 Corps with its three formations – 15, 7 and 4 Infantry Divisions, through what is broadly called the Amritsar sector and of the newly raised 1 Corps (the HQ was effective on 3 Apr 65) hastily orbatted with 26 Inf Div (holding formation), 6 Mountain Division (raised for the Central Sector on the Sino Indian border and equipped for mountain warfare), the recently raised 14 Infantry Division and finally the pride of India’s Armoured Corps, the 1st Armoured Division (Black Elephant). To today’s observers this would seem a perfectly formed order of battle for a Strike Corps; a holding/pivot formation deployed at the firm base, two division sized forces for two thrust lines and a sizeable armored component.

{So Lt Gen. Harbaksh Singh was launching a two corps simultaneous attack. This is a major deep battle strike formation. Let us see what happened?}


Image

Yet, the situation wasn’t what meets the eye and appears on paper. 6 Mountain Division had never trained with armor or even exercised in the plains. 14 Infantry Division had just about completed its raising and had not fetched up into the battle zone even by the launch date, 6 Sep 65. 1 Armored Division had just the 1st Armored Brigade and 43rd Lorried Brigade with just four armored regiments; it had to borrow an armored regiment to have matching capability with Pakistan’s known armored formation.


Today’s Strike Corps are well oiled war machines, the pride of the Army, trained and fully aware of their tasks. They go into battle as they arrive, completely confident that the pivot formations are there to assist even before they launch. In 1965, 1 Corps was just a loosely hinged strike force not even aware of the opposition it would face. The possibility of meeting Pakistan’s 1st Armored Division in battle was live but the delay in launch occurred due to the inability of 14 Infantry Division fetching up to its concentration area.


{however plans were in place since April 1965, yet 14 Div was not raised nor in its launch point nor trained for plains warfare. 1st Armored was not equipped at all. So Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh didn't have the resources for such a major attack./}

Pakistan’s key formation had already shown its hand at Khem Karan on 6/7 Sep 65. [b]The task of 1 Corps (Sialkot sector – through Samba-Vijaypur) was supposedly made easy but little was known about the existence of a second armor formation in the form of Pakistan’s 6th Armored Division in the Sialkot sector. Whether the staggered launch of 11 and 1 Corps on 6 Sep and 9 Sep respectively was beneficial or would a simultaneous launch have achieved more is difficult to say but there can be no doubt that the dilemma for the man in charge of it all, Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, was real.


With his typical offensive spirit and facing two crumbling fronts in Akhnur (North) and Khem Karan (South) one would not have liked to be in his shoes. He chose the ideal solution copy book style, borrowing from the age old saying – attack is the best form of defence. He chose to open Western Command’s third front, in the Sialkot sector. I admit that if I was in command I may have chickened at this stage of the war and may have employed elements of 1 Corps to reinforce the emerging failure in 11 Corps southern flank; those kinds of decisions give temporary solace to senior commanders.

Two things stand out from 11 Corps operations in the Amritsar sector. The inability to exploit the initial success which brought it to the doorstep of Lahore with the Bata shoe factory in its lap, may be rationally explained by saying that there was never an intent to get into Lahore’s labyrinth lanes and roads. However, the maintenance of a credible threat across the obstacle would have caused more caution in the Pakistan Army and perhaps prevented the launch of full weight operations in the south against Khem Karan. In after thought this is easy to surmise but the grave danger of keeping an unprotected bridgehead on the west of the Ichogil canal may have worked against prudence. There was a general shortage of armor and the quality of tanks left few options to play with.[/u]

[b]{This was the danger that Nehruvian cutting down the Army weapons procurement led to.}


Many have criticized the Indian Army’s reluctance to go for Lahore. Besides the reasons already brought out, it is forgotten that by the evening of 6 Sep 65, the very day that the Punjab front was activated, Gen Harbaksh had a crisis situation on his hands in the south. 4 Mountain Division’s advance had been halted by the unrevealed Pakistan 11 Infantry Division and the Pakistan 1st Armored Division was raring to get into Indian territory. The latter had been well camouflaged in the Changa Manga forest further south and its exact position was not known when the Punjab front was activated. That was a blunder of sorts. In my discussion with Pakistani Army officers I learnt that Pakistan 1st Armored Division’s emphasis on camouflage and concealment has always been intense and the same is treated as a mantra even today. The reason why the Indian Army could not pick its location in Sep 65 was also because no air recce was permitted and the IAF remained restricted to the Chamb-Akhnur sector to defeat Op Grand Slam launched by Pakistan.

Quite obviously if your southern thrust has crumbled a senior commander will look at restoration before strengthening the northern arm heading into a built up area. But the question is why the southern thrust should have crumbled so quickly. When you have long stand offs between India and Pakistan, of the Op Parakaram kind in 2002, there is enough time to lay mines and reinforce obstacles. Here the offensive went in without commensurate defensive preparations. When Pakistan 1st Armored Division revealed its hand and launched the offensive it sliced through Indian defences; infantry units were revealed naked and unprotected without obstacles, without mines and with very little armor in support.

{So Maj. Gen Niranjan Prasad was only one cause. The root cause was inadequate armor. And thus structural. I think the mountain division structure was not for the plains.}

Lesser men than General Harbaksh would have wilted. And this is where we await Captain Amrinder’s forthcoming book. I am convinced that senior leadership at Delhi would have been worried sick when news of the Pakistani breakthrough at Khem Karan was revealed. Another disaster in the making so soon after 1962; it would have been the end of a nation. Harike and Beas Bridge lay open although our 2 (I) Armored Brigade and 3 Cavalry would have contested in the rolling plain of Valtoha to Taran Taran, the Pakistani armor’s push towards the River Beas would have meant the forced retraction of both 7 and 15 Infantry Division. Not to forget that 1 Corps had yet to be launched. The dilemma for Gen Harbaksh was real and intense. If it was the desert with no built up areas the obvious thing would have been to push 15 and 7 Infantry Division further west to reach Pakistan’s innards, into its centre of gravity, the food belt of the Chenab-Ravi corridor.

But this was no desert and further advance of these divisions would have only embroiled them into the built up areas. General Harbaksh did what really was the only option to execute – create a pivot at Asal Uttar and contest. Although credit has been given to the rear guard action of 4 Mountain Division at Asal Uttar, details of the decision to lay thousands of mines and blast the canal bunds to create a quagmire of boggy ground in such a quick time frame have been less spoken of. In the melee of tank versus tank battles and the virtually merging fronts at Asal Uttar the integrated effort of Indian armor, infantry, artillery and engineers, not to forget the stupendous staff work involved with logistics of movement was nothing short of a miracle. It was truly professionalism of the highest order.



{And extreme valor to face down the Pattons and destroy them.}

1965war_tank

Just a word on terrain which we must not forgot. Punjab’s battles are restricted by the river corridors. Pakistan had the option to swing south from Khem Karan or go east into uncontested territory but the presence of the River Sutlej forced it to advance along the grain towards the Beas Bridge.


As far as 1 Corps operations are concerned, some of the big landmarks with battles attached to them emerged on the Sialkot front. Chawinda, Philora, Buttur Dograndi etc require reams to write about. While armored formations as entities may not have achieved the desired degree of domination or achieved the larger aim of cutting off Sialkot, the performance of armored units was outstanding. The spirit and professionalism of units such as Poona Horse (Lt Col Tarapore, PVC), Hodson’s Horse, 7 Cavalry and 16 Cavalry was admirable. Just as almost six Pakistani armored regiments contested India’s 3 Cavalry, 8 Cavalry and Deccan Horse at Asal Uttar and failed to make a breakthrough a larger Indian armored component fought in the Sialkot sector but against a progressively enhancing strength of Pakistan’s 6 Armored Division. The details of armored battles make interesting stories of individual valor but what is more important is that by launching 1 Corps even in its weaker form a potential desperate attempt by Pakistan to try and address the Pathankot-Jammu highway was offset and real estate captured for the eventual tradeoff. It is in this sector that the potential for a deeper thrust existed even after 22 Sep 65. The ceasefire based on erroneous data of ammunition holding if avoided for another three or four days, may have resulted in the isolation of Sialkot and forced withdrawal of Pakistan from Akhnur. That was not to be.

This piece cannot be complete without the mention of two units of my own Regiment. 8 Garhwal Rifles under the command of Late Lt Col Jerry Jirad fought alongside Poona Horse at Buttur Dograndi, winning a battle honor of the same name. It is one of the rare units of the Indian Army in which both the CO and the Second in Command (2IC) were killed in a single battle. Late Maj Abdul Rafey Khan, VrC (P) of the Rampur family was the 2IC. Ist Garhwal Rifles fought in an unsung theatre in the desert but achieved tremendous results at Gadra Road near Barmer, capturing the redoubtable Pakistani defences, under the leadership of Late Lt Col (later Brig) Krish Lahiri, VrC. The unit received the battle honor – Gadra Road. Brig Lahiri passed away a few weeks before the golden jubilee of the battle.

It has been a pleasure recounting and analyzing the events of the 1965 Indo Pak Conflict. It has left me richer in my faculties. I hope you, the reader can say the same.



Rohitvats has sent me screenshots of Capt's book which I plan to purchase. It recounts the big plan was to create 4th battle of Panipat. I think the 1 Corps attack which stymied the 6th Armoured Div saved it.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Prem » 01 Dec 2017 23:17


ramana
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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 01 Dec 2017 23:23

So a few quick comments.

Lt. Gen Harbaksh Singh's two corps attack on West Pakistan was an example of Operational Art.
It succeeded in that it stopped the bigger Pakistan and their backers plan to recreate Panipat.
Yes it did give impression of stalemate for no decisive victory was presented.*
However the early ceasefire on misperception prevented a decisive victory.
The Indian formations were understrength, under armed, and under trained to achieve the objective.
The opposing forces had larger formations than expected.
The major takeaway is that by opposing and defeating the Pak 1st Armored at Asal Uttar, Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh and his commanders retrieved the situation from major disaster. The real war to save India was over by 10 September.
There were insufficient follow-on forces to chase the defeated Pakis and have a decisive victory.


* I also think that:
Firstly, this victory was not played up as it was a narrow call had Asal Uttar been the other way.
Secondly, LBS died and there was no desire to burnish the image of a non-Nehru dynasty PM.
Thirdly the giving up Haji Pir pass on the negotiating table snatched even the idea of victory.
Fourthly the difference of opinion between Gen J.N. Chaudhari and Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh on retreat to Beas with the latter ultimately proving correct has its shadow on the assessment of 1965 war.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Karthik S » 01 Dec 2017 23:56

ramana wrote:Coming back to this thread.
Again the emphasis or focus in on military leaders translating politico-military goals to bring about rapid defeat of the opposing forces(Not I didn't call them enemy :))
Karthik S did you read the pdf or not?


Yes, I've read it. Also, I saw this documentary long time, if it's fine by you, can we add Sun Tzu's art of war principles to evaluate our conflicts.


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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 02 Dec 2017 03:24

In that case add Arthasashtra. Sun Tzu is not about Op art


Please read deejay caution above.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 13 Dec 2017 05:34

Two Part Articles on Operational Art from a US perspective:
1) Operational Art of War: Part I Why?

...Definition
To begin, let’s define operational art. We will utilize the US Army’s latest definition from Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-0 – Unified Land Operations. It states:

“Operational Art is the pursuit of strategic objectives, in whole or in part, through the arrangement of tactical actions in time, space, and purpose. This approach enables commanders and staffs to use skill, knowledge, experience, and judgment to overcome the ambiguity and intricacies of a complex, ever changing, and uncertain operational environment to better understand the problem or problems at hand. Operational art applies to all aspects of operations and integrates ends, ways, and means, while accounting for risk.”

The big takeaway here is it is the link between strategic objectives and tactical action.

....

SUMMARY
Operational art evolved from the late 1790’s through the mid 1920’s. The French Revolution caused the massification of the armies making decisive battle less and less possible. Napoleon temporarily overcame this setback by reorganizing his forces into and Army of Armies. The combination of machineguns and trench warfare made the tactical realm almost irrelevant during WWI until 1918. The Germans introduced theater- wide infiltration tactics during Operation Michael. Decentralized groups of storm troopers found gaps in the lines, opened them, and pulled follow on forces through. Although they lacked the mobility to exploit their penetrations; this was the first whiff of operational maneuver. It all came to a head in the Russian Civil War where the Red Army had to face mass and maneuver on multiple fronts against multiple threats, simultaneously. The resulting Red Army victory gave impetus to the formal recognition of the operational level of war and the development of operational art.


2) The Operational Art of War, Part 2 – What?


....
Instruments of National Power.
An overarching concept of operational warfare has to include a discussion of the instruments of national power. These are the tools the state brings to bear in global relations every day. They include national culture, industry, technology, academia, political influence, and national will. The ability of any state to advance its national interests depends on how well they employ their instruments of national power. The shorthand version is dubbed the DIME:
•Diplomacy—political discourse and influence
•Information—communications and knowledge
•Military—armed forces
•Economics—goods, services, and finance

When a state is at relative peace; diplomacy and economics are normally in the lead — DimE. During all-out war, the military is in the lead; diMe. In the life of a counterinsurgency; you will find many shifts in focus. These could include:
•diMe when the military is stabilizing the environment
•DiMe when political engagement with insurgents becomes possible
•DIME when establishing security for the neutral majority
•DimE when the conflict is winding down and transitioning to peace
....

Major Operations and Campaigns. Engagements and battles are the planning events at the tactical level while major operations and campaigns are the planning events at the operational level. They connect the tactics to the strategy (national aim and objectives).

- Major operations and campaigns are extended, large-scale, military activities that normally include combat.

- A major operation is a series of related tactical actions that are executed independently or as part of a larger campaign.

- Therefore, a campaign is a series of related military operations aimed at accomplishing a military strategic or operational objective within a given time and space. A campaign is planned when the anticipated military actions exceed the scope of a single operation (i.e. The Vicksburg Campaign). Campaigns are extensive in terms of time and resources and typically consider all instruments of national power and how they are integrated to achieve the strategic objective. Below are the three types of campaigns:
•A global campaign is one that requires the accomplishment of military strategic objectives within multiple theaters such as was executed in WWII with the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) and the European Theater of Operations (ETO).
•A theater campaign encompasses the activities designed to accomplish specific objectives within a theater of war or operations such as MacArthur’s island hopping campaign in the Pacific.
•A subordinate campaign accomplishes or contributes to the objectives of a global or theater campaign such as Operation Torch—the seizure of North Africa in preparation for the invasion of Sicily and Ital

- Both operations and campaigns are designed and executed in pursuit of operational or strategic goals and objectives. Pearl Harbor was a major operation for the Japanese in WWII while China-Burma-India was a series of campaigns pursuant to the strategic objective of creating a Japanese-led Co-Prosperity Sphere.

...
Levels of War.
The discussion above introduces the concept of the three levels of war; strategic, operational, and tactical. Strategy begins at the top where national leadership determines why we will go to war, what we will fight for, and how we will prepare—national strategic aim. Tactics is where small unit commanders, usually division and below, close with the enemy and engage them by fire and maneuver. Operations involve the detailed planning and selection of which battles to fight, when, and where. There are no discreet boundaries between levels. A battle may become a campaign as happened in Stalingrad and at the end of every successful campaign; a battle will achieve a strategic objective like the seizure of Berlin. The levels of war help national leaders and commanders visualize and arrange military actions, resources, and tasks at the appropriate unit level. You wouldn’t assign a brigade to liberate Paris overnight or assign an Army to destroy the guns at Pointe du Hoc! Let’s go into a little more detail on each below:

Strategic Level. Strategy conceptualizes the integrated use of DIME to achieve national objectives. The development and refinement of strategy outlines national objectives and leads to guidance to achieve them. In the US, the President, with the National Security Staff, establishes policy and strategic objectives. The Secretary of Defense, with the Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, translates the strategic aim into strategic military objectives that drive theater strategic planning. The Combatant Commander (CCDR) nests his theater strategy with the national strategy thus, providing the framework for operations.

Operational Level. The operational level links tactical missions to national strategic objectives. This level focuses on the designing, planning, and executing of military operations using operational art. Operational art is the convergence of imagination, knowledge, and experience to organize and employ military forces to carry out campaigns and major operations. Operational art determines the deployment of forces and the arrangement of battlefield activities over time in order to attain operational and strategic objectives.

Tactical Level. Tactics includes the arrangement and use of forces in relation to each other and the enemy. It is the planning and execution of engagements and battles to achieve discreet objectives. Tactics includes moving, shooting, and communicating in order to close with the enemy.

An engagement is normally is short-duration combat between opposing forces. Little Round Top and Pickets Charge were engagements. A battle is of a series of related engagements that are longer in duration and usually involve larger forces. Battles normally affect the course of a campaign. Gettysburg was a battle that resulted in the cancellation of Lee’s campaign to invade the north and threaten the capital.
....
Operational art requires a vision, anticipation, and skillful planning, preparation, and execution. It provides a conceptual framework for the commander and his staff to organize their thoughts and define the conditions for victory sought through battle. Lacking operational art, campaigns and operations would degenerate into a hyperactive series of disconnected and non-mutually reinforcing events – in other words, chaos.

Operational art provides a broader planning perspective that informs understanding and visualization. Commanders study the existing situation using their experience to distinguish the unique features that require innovative or adaptive solutions. Operational art demands that each situation be viewed as unique, requiring a unique tailored solution. Operational art integrates ends, ways, and means, while accounting for risk, across the levels of war. Operational art requires commanders to answer the following questions.
•Ends–the objectives and desired end state.
•Ways—the sequence of actions that will most likely achieve the ends.
•Means—the resources needed to accomplish the ends.

Operational art includes operational design which is the conception and construction of the intellectual framework that informs planning and execution. Operational design provides a general methodology for: defining the problem, visualizing a solution, and describing the campaign.

Linear vs NonLinear Operations

In linear operations, commanders direct combat power in concert with adjacent units. Linear operations have clearly identified battle lines where emphasis is placed on maintaining the position of friendly forces in relation to each other. This relative positioning enhances security and the ability to mass. In linear operations there are rear areas, lines of communication, logistical bases, and fighting forces at ‘the front’. WWI is an excellent example of linear operations.

In nonlinear operations, forces orient on objectives without reference to adjacent forces. Nonlinear operations focus on creating specific effects on multiple decisive points and though simultaneous activities along multiple lines of operations. Situational awareness and precision fires allow the commander to pursue multiple objectives at one time. Swift maneuver against several decisive points is used to induce shock and paralysis among enemy formations. Just Cause (Panama) was a non-linear operation.


Read on...



ramana
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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 01:31


Akshay Kapoor
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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Dec 2017 13:26

ramana wrote:So a few quick comments.

Lt. Gen Harbaksh Singh's two corps attack on West Pakistan was an example of Operational Art.
It succeeded in that it stopped the bigger Pakistan and their backers plan to recreate Panipat.
Yes it did give impression of stalemate for no decisive victory was presented.*
However the early ceasefire on misperception prevented a decisive victory.
The Indian formations were understrength, under armed, and under trained to achieve the objective.
The opposing forces had larger formations than expected.
The major takeaway is that by opposing and defeating the Pak 1st Armored at Asal Uttar, Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh and his commanders retrieved the situation from major disaster. The real war to save India was over by 10 September.
There were insufficient follow-on forces to chase the defeated Pakis and have a decisive victory.


* I also think that:
Firstly, this victory was not played up as it was a narrow call had Asal Uttar been the other way.
Secondly, LBS died and there was no desire to burnish the image of a non-Nehru dynasty PM.
Thirdly the giving up Haji Pir pass on the negotiating table snatched even the idea of victory.
Fourthly the difference of opinion between Gen J.N. Chaudhari and Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh on retreat to Beas with the latter ultimately proving correct has its shadow on the assessment of 1965 war.


Sir Assal Uttar was an absolutely brilliant concept and brilliantly executed. The severe disadvantages with respect to equipment (Pak had much better tanks), numbers and surprise (they attacked as part of pretty clever plan as usual) were countered by brilliant tactics by the Indian commanders on ground because they understood the terrian, used it brilliantly and our gunnery was excellent. They fell back to AU , formed up in a horse shoe, flooded the sugarcane fields, laid thousands of mines and let the enemy come in. Point to be noted - it is not easy to flood a large area almost over night. Canals had to be demolished in a set pattern, thousands of mines laid, arty, armour and engrs co-ordinated and sighted. A supreme example of combined arms work. The Pakis got bogged down literally their tanks couldn't move and we smashed them. It was the biggest tank battle after WW2 I think. It had many other superlatives. When I first heard about it I was stunned and wondered why history doesn't talk about it enough. This will form part of the tactics thread soon.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Dec 2017 13:26

1965 was NOT a stalemate. It was an Indian Victory by any standards of the definition of victory.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Dec 2017 13:47

Its a tragedy that the brits convert the narrative of an evacuation after a serious defeat ie Dunkrik into a mythical victory and we let a great victory be called a stalemate. Of such things are empires built and civilisations lost.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 18 Dec 2017 22:26

Exactly. That is why I persist in studying the 1965 war for that saved India.

BTW I read AVM Arjun Subramaniam book/ India's Wars since 1947. It is still not comprehensive. Even about the air attacks.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby VKumar » 18 Dec 2017 22:51

Bollywood should make movies about battles like Assal Uttar

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 19 Dec 2017 01:04

VKumar wrote:Bollywood should make movies about battles like Assal Uttar


It would be a fantastic movie.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 19 Dec 2017 01:05

Read Op Kartikeya sir. A brilliant book. Great battle concept and Heartwarming.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby RoyG » 19 Dec 2017 03:50

Clausewitz and other western military thinkers were brilliant, and have helped Europe and US dominate the conventional theatre. However, there are a few deficiencies I see in their 'operational art'.

-'Happiness' as the goal of the populace.
-They simply don't define any form of diplomacy as a war fighting tactic (including peacetime), especially as the initial rung of the escalation chain.
-After establishing springboard, they fail to exercise a graduated conventional response while fighting alongside local ally to subjugate/destroy their adversary (Iraq-Iran).
-I'll defined bridge goal to connect tactical gains to strategic vision (AF-PAK = FAK-AP).

-Disregard for adversary ally commitment (Syria).

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ArjunPandit » 19 Dec 2017 04:23

Poof self deleted because OT
Last edited by ArjunPandit on 19 Dec 2017 08:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby RoyG » 19 Dec 2017 04:32

Ashokji,

'Cunning Brahmin' is the correct word.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 19 Dec 2017 04:34

Ok. Enough OT here.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 20 Dec 2017 04:29

OK. Here are 4th Corps operations in East Pakistan that led to the surrender of Dacca. Now that you all understand Operational Art see how it was done in East Pakistan by Lt Gen Sagat Singh.

Link: http://veekay-militaryhistory.blogspot. ... 4.html?m=1

The task of liberating Bangla Desh, then called East Pakistan, was given to Lieut General Jagjit Singh Aurora, GOC-in-C Eastern Command. Under him, he had 2 Corps, commanded by Lieut General (later General) T.N. Raina; 33 Corps, commanded by Lieut General M.L. Thapan; 4 Corps, commanded by Lieut General Sagat Singh; and 101 Communication Zone Area, commanded by Major General G.S. Gill. The terrain in Bangla Desh was riverine, which favours the defender. The rivers were interspersed with rice fields and marshes, which made cross country movement very difficult, especially after the monsoons. Major troop movements had to be confined to the roads, and ferries or bridges over the rivers, if defended, or destroyed, could hold up advancing columns for long periods. Inland water transport was also used, for transportation of goods. Pakistan had three infantry divisions, comprising about 42 battalions of regular troops, and five squadrons of armour, for the defence of the region, and more than 2000 kilometres of border. Lieut General A.A.K. Niazi, who was commanding the Eastern Command of the Pakistan Army, had appreciated that the Indian advance would have to be along the major road axes, and had deployed his troops accordingly. Strong points had been created along the likely axes, and it was visualised that unless these were cleared, the advancing enemy could make little headway. This proved to be a costly mistake.

The territory in East Pakistan is divided by major riverine obstacles into four distinct parts. The first part comprised all territory East of the Meghna river, including Sylhet, Brahman Baria, Comilla , Noakhali, Chittagong and Cox's Bazaar; the second comprised the territory between the rivers Jamuna (Brahmputra) to the East and Padma (Ganges) to the West, including Rangpur, Bogra and Rajashahi; the third comprised territory West of the Padma, including Kushtia, Jessore and Khulna; and the fourth was the Dacca Bowl, surrounded by rivers on all sides - the mighty Meghna and Lakhaya to the East, the confluence of Meghna and Padma to the South, Padma and Burhi Ganga to the West, and a branch of the Jamuna, which joins the Meghna, to the North. Due to its geostrategic importance, Dacca had always been chosen as the capital by successive kingdoms.


The task allotted to Eastern Command by Army HQ was to destroy the bulk of Pakistani forces in the theatre, and occupy the major portion of East Pakistan. The capture of Dacca was not included in these instructions. Based on this, Eastern Command evolved its operational plan, and allotted tasks to its subordinate formations. 2 Corps was given the task of advancing from the West and capturing all territory West of the river Padma; 33 Corps was to advance from the North West and capture all territory upto the confluence of the Padma and the Jamuna; and 4 Corps was to advance from the East, and capture all territory East of the river Meghna. The task of capturing the area of Mymensingh, between the Meghna and Jamuna rivers, was allotted to 101 Communication Zone Area.



Though this had not been spelt out in the instructions issued by Army HQ, Sam Manekshaw had visualised that after all three corps had achieved their tasks, re-grouping would be carried out, and forces launched for the capture of Dacca from the West, after crossing the Padma at Golundo Ghat. For this re-grouping, 4 Corps was to shed 23 Mountain Division, all its medium artillery, and two squadrons of PT-76 tanks. In the event, 2 Corps could not cross the Madhumati, and 33 Corps could only reach Bogra. As a result, the re-grouping did not take place. Dacca was captured purely by chance, by forces which had never been intended to reach there.




The operation commenced on 4 December 1971, after Pakistan launched air strikes on a number of Indian airfields, in the early hours of the morning of the previous day. According to plan, 2 Corps entered East Pakistan from the West, 33 Corps from the North, and 4 Corps from the East. Under Sagat's command in 4 Corps were three mountain divisions, with their normal complement of supporting arms and services. In addition, he had been allotted two ad hoc squadrons of light PT-76 tanks, and a medium battery of 5.5 inch guns. The divisional commanders were Major General (later General) K.V. Krishna Rao (8 Mountain Division); Major General R.D. 'Rocky' Hira (23 Mountain Division); and Major General B.F. Gonsalves (57 Mountain Division). The main task given to 4 Corps was to destroy Pakistani forces East of rivers Meghna and Bulai.



Sagat decided to send in three divisional thrusts, across the 250 kilometre stretch of border on which his Corps was deployed. In the North, 8 Mountain Division was to advance along the line Dharmanagar-Kulaura-Maulvi Bazar, and head for Sylhet; 57 Mountain Division was to advance along the axis Akhaura-Ashuganj, and capture Daudakandi; and 23 Mountain Division, in the South, was to capture Maynamati, Comilla and the major river port of Chandpur. Subsidiary tasks were allotted to 61 Mountain Brigade Group and Kilo Force, to assist the Corps operations. There was a rail bridge over the Meghna at Ashuganj, but the road alignment did not follow the railway. Though not spelt out in the Corps Operation Orders, Sagat was determined to 'bounce' the river, in case the opportunity presented itself, and race for Dacca.



In November, a number of preliminary operations had been carried out, with the aim of removing Pakistani elements which could interfere with the advance, once it began. A Pakistani post at Dhalai was cleared by 61 Brigade, after two attempts, and some casualties. The Belonia bulge, a tongue of Pakistani territory which jutted about 10 kilometres into Tripura, and was a constant irritant, was cleared by 23 Mountain Division. A Pakistani post at Atgram, on the North East approach to Sylhet, had to be eliminated by 59 Brigade, after heavy fighting.



Operations started on night 3/4 December 1971. In the North, 81 Mountain Brigade secured Shamshernagar, and 59 Mountain Brigade captured Ghazipur, followed by Kulaura, on 6 December. The same day, 81 Brigade captured Munshi Bazar. In this sector, Maulvi Bazar was held by a Pak brigade, which was occupying a strong defended position on a prominent high ground. From the very beginning, Sagat tasked the Hunter aircraft, operating from Kumbhigram airfield, to constantly bomb Maulvi Bazar with napalm. He appreciated that this would prove very costly to the Pak brigade, in terms of casualties, and break their morale. At this stage, Sagat was informed by intelligence sources that the Pakistanis were pulling out of Sylhet, in a bid to reinforce Ashuganj. Sagat saw in this an opportunity to seize Sylhet, and decided to do so by a heli-borne operation. On 7 December, 4/5 Gorkha Rifles were landed South East of Sylhet, by a special heli-borne operation. This so unnerved the Pakistani Command that the Maulvi Bazar brigade group was moved away to Sylhet, which already had a brigade group, of four battalions. This was reported by the Air Force, which flew a tactical reconnaissance mission over Maulvi Bazar next day. Sagat immediately ordered Krishna Rao to occupy Maulvi Bazar, which he did. In a Pakistani officers mess, they found lunch laid on the table, uneaten.



This was the first time an 'air bridge' had been employed by the Indian Army. Being a paratrooper, Sagat knew the potential of a heli-borne force, and could appreciate the immense advantages that accrued from its employment, at the opportune moment. The enemy was demoralised, and made no efforts to attack 4/5 Gorkha Rifles. As he had visualised, the noise of the helicopters misled the Pakistanis, and they over estimated the strength of the troops who had landed by helicopter. By resorting to a clever, unorthodox ploy, Sagat was able to capture Maulvi Bazar without a shot being fired.



In the Central Sector of 4 Corps, 57 Mountain Division commenced its advance with two brigades. 73 Mountain Brigade, under Brigadier M.L. Tuli, went for Gangasagar, while 311 Mountain Brigade, under Brigadier Misra attacked Akhaura. It was during the battle for Gangasagar, which was captured after a stiff fight, that the only PVC of the Bangla Desh campaign was won by Lance Naik (a naik is the Indian equivalent of a corporal) Albert Ekka, of 14 Guards. Akhaura also fell on 5 December, to 4 Guards and 18 Rajput, of 311 Mountain Brigade. At this stage, it was reported by patrols that one pair of lines of the double track railway line running to Brahmanbaria had been removed, making it usable by vehicles, and that the captured bridge over the Titas was intact. Sagat promptly changed the task of 57 Mountain Division, and ordered it to make for Ashuganj, by way of Brahmanbaria, instead of going for Daudkandi. This was a crucial decision, and led to a quickening of the operations of 4 Corps, and its crossing of the Meghna.



Brahmanbaria, in the loop formed by the river Titas, was strongly defended. However, the Pakistani troops holding it were expecting a frontal assault, from the South East, and when 73 Brigade sent columns to the West and South, they evacuated the town, and began to withdraw towards Ashuganj. 311 Brigade of 57 Division pursued the withdrawing enemy, upto the East bank of the Meghna, and the leading elements of 57 Division contacted Ashuganj on December 9. At Ashuganj, the Pakistanis were well dug in, and not prepared to give up without a fight. They let the Indian troops enter the built up area, and then opened up. The Indians were taken by surprise, and had to fall back, after suffering heavy casualties, and losing four tanks. The Pakistanis also blew up the bridge over the Meghna, leaving the Pakistani brigade commander and some troops on the East bank of the river.



At this stage, it was clear to Sagat that the enemy was in desperate straits. Having blown up the Ashuganj bridge, he intended to fall back across the river, and hold Bhairab Bazar, with whatever little he had left. Chandpur and Daudkandi had also fallen, and Pakistani resistance in the Eastern Sector had almost ceased to exist. Sagat flew over Daudkandi, Chandpur and Ashuganj in a helicopter on 9 December, and discussed the situation with the local commanders. He then decided to heli-lift his troops across the Meghna, and make for Dacca. He appreciated that the capture of Dacca would end the war, and the only way to achieve this was to contain Bhairab Bazar, and cross the Meghna further to the South, where no opposition was expected. He had twelve MI-4 helicopters, and he reckoned that the element of surprise would more than make up for the deficiency in numbers, that he would be able to get across. He had used helicopters in Mizo Hills for the last three years, and knew their worth. He had planned for such a contingency, if the opportunity presented itself, and had practised his troops and helicopter pilots for night landings, using torches. Fortunately, Gonsalves, who was commanding 57 Mountain Division, was also a pilot, and well versed in their use, in Mizo Hills, where his division had been deployed. Sagat had also commandeered several steamers from the river port at Chandpur and the Titas river, and these had been fuelled and positioned, for the crossing.



The air lift began on the afternoon of December 9, and continued for the next 36 hours. A total of 110 sorties were flown, from the Brahmanbaria stadium, and crossed the Meghna, which was 4,000 yards wide, to land at helipads which had been marked by torches, with their reflectors removed. During day, the troops were landed in paddy fields, with helicopters hovering low above the ground. The first battalion of 311 Mountain Brigade, 4 Guards, was landed in Raipura. while 9 Punjab crossed the river using country boats. Next day, the troops were landed directly at Narsingdi. Meanwhile, 73 Brigade had started to cross, using boats, which had been rounded up. The ferrying of artillery and tanks was a serious problem, and required considerable ingenuity on the part of the Engineers. By 11 December, both 311 and 73 Mountain Brigade had crossed the Meghna, and were ordered to advance to Dacca, on different axes. Using all modes of transport, including bullock carts and cycle rickshaws, both brigades advanced rapidly, and on December 14, the first artillery shell was fired on Dacca. On 15 December, 311 Mountain Brigade was poised to enter Dacca, when orders were received from HQ Eastern Command to halt further advance. Tactical HQ 101 Communication Zone Area, 95 and 167 Mountain Brigade Groups, and 2 Para were placed under command 4 Corps the same day. On night 15/16 December, Dacca was subjected to shelling by Sagat's artillery, and this hastened the surrender. On December 16, the cease fire was declared.




In the Southern sector of the Corps, 23 Mountain Division commenced its advance towards Comilla, and the Lalmai Hills. On December 4, 301 Brigade captured over two hundred prisoners of the 25 Frontier Force, including the battalion commander, near Comilla. Simultaneously, 181 Brigade cut the road and rail line between Laksham and Lalmai, enabling 301 Brigade to capture Mudfarganj, on December 5. The Pakistanis made an attempt to re-capture the town on December 7, but failed. Comilla was taken on December 8, and so were Daudkandi ferry site and the major river port of Chandpur. The brigade group garrison at Laksham, comprising four battalions, had been encircled by December 8. It disintegrated and headed for Maynamati on 9 December. Almost a thousand of these were captured, before they could reach the brigade group defences based on Maynamati, which was heavily defended, and defied capture, till the cease fire, and surrender on December 16.




As had happened in the operations for the liberation of Goa, it was not the main column, but a subsidiary thrust which claimed the final prize. In Goa, Sagat's 50 Para Brigade had a secondary role, but he managed to reach Panjim before the troops of 17 Mountain Division. In the Bangla Desh operations, 2 , 4 and 33 Corps constituted the main thrusts, while 101 Communication Zone Area had been assigned a complementary role, in the Mymensingh-Tangail area. Ultimately, it was this column which managed to reach Dacca first, and won the race. However, this was made possible only by the operations of 4 Corps, in crossing the Meghna, and the minor rivers of Balu and Satlakhya, and its imminent entry into Dacca. 120 Pak Brigade, which was facing 101 Communication Zone Area, was hurriedly withdrawn for the defence of Dacca, after the crossing of the Meghna. The Pakistanis had prepared defences around Dacca which had been christened 'Fortress Dacca'. Pak 120 Brigade disintegrated after occupation of Tungi by 73 Mountain Brigade of 57 Mountain Division. Niazi's predicament can be gauged from the fact that he had to employ 'walking wounded' from military hospitals, to occupy positions on the perimeter of 'Fortress Dacca'.




The rapid advance of 101 Communication Zone Area, under the command of Major General G.S. Nagra, who had replaced Major General G.S. Gill, after the latter was wounded, was also facilitated by the para drop at Tangail, on 11 December. On that day, 4 Corps was in Narsingdi, 35 Km from Dacca, while the leading elements of 95 Infantry Brigade, commanded by Brigadier H.S. Kler, were in Jamalpur, 160 Km from Dacca. Two days later, on 13 December, 95 Infantry Brigade and 2 Para were still at Tangail, almost 100 Km from Dacca, while Sagat's troops had reached the Satlakhya river, and were just 10 Km from Dacca. Nagra was lucky to find a tarmac road running South, a few miles West of Safipur, which led to Dacca via Sabhar, without having to cross the water obstacles of Turag and Dhaleshwari. Even at midnight on 14 December, when 95 Infantry Brigade was still on the Turag river, elements of 57 Infantry Division of 4 Corps had crossed the Satlakhya, and had started shelling Dacca. Sagat would have reached Dacca first, but this honour went to Nagra, though the latter had been placed under Sagat's command on 15 December, and hence technically was part of 4 Corps when he entered Dacca. Though Nagra was the first across the finish line, in the race for Dacca, the real winner was undoubtedly Sagat. If the Pakistanis had not surrendered, there is no way 101 Communication Zone could have taken Dacca earlier, since it would have required a major assault. Since Sagat had firmed in at Narsingdi, and already planned the attack for December 16, in all likelihood the honour of taking the city would have gone to him. That he lost the chance does not in any way detract from his brilliant performance. Sagat was also anxious to avoid entering the built up area of the city, where the Pakistanis would have an advantage.





Sagat's decision to cross the Meghna proved to be crucial to the entire operation. This was also the first instance in military history of an 'air bridge' being used for crossing a major water obstacle, by a brigade group. In his book, 'Victory in Bangla Desh', Major General Lachhman Singh, who commanded 20 Mountain Division, which was part of 33 Corps during the campaign, writes, "It was here that Sagat Singh exhibited the genius and initiative of a field commander. It was this decision which finally and decisively tilted the scale in our favour and led to the early surrender of the Pakistani forces at Dacca." It was a bold decision, fraught with risk, and if he had failed, the responsibility would have been entirely his. However, battles are not won by those with weak hearts, as military history as proved, time and again. Every military operation is a gamble, and stakes are invariably high. Sagat was one of those who played for the jackpot, and won.

After the war, B.B. Lal, who was the Defence Secretary, told Sagat an interesting story. On 10 December 1971, at 1300 hours, there was a meeting being held in South Block, chaired by Sardar Swaran Singh, the Minister of External Affairs. Attending the meeting were the Defence, Home and Foreign Secretaries, the Director of the IB, and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The meeting had just commenced when the message arrived that Sagat had crossed the Meghna. The Defence Minister, Babu Jagjiwan Ram, rushed in soon afterwards, while the Prime Minister's Principal Private Secretary ran to her office to inform her. According to Lal, very soon afterwards, Indira Gandhi was seen running down the corridor, her hair and saree flying. They were all surprised, to see the Prime Minister, bubbling with joy, and for him, this was the most unforgettable moment of the 1971 war. This was also the one day that Sam Manekshaw could not take credit for having ordered the operation, quipped Lal.

Sagat's contribution in the liberation of Bangla Desh was recognised by the award of a Padma Bhushan, a non gallantry award which is normally given to civilians. (The three awards in the Padma series are Padma Vibhushan, which ranks just below the Bharat Ratna, the highest in the land; the Padma Bhushan; and the Padma Shri). The majority of awardees are artists, writers, scientists, bureaucrats and politicians. Soldiers are rarely given the award, and that too for contributions in non-military fields. Thimayya was awarded the Padma Bhushan, and Thorat the Padma Shri, for their performance in United Nations assignments in Korea. Sagat's sterling performance in 1971 was in military operations, against the enemy, and a gallantry award would have been more appropriate. Perhaps the military hierarchy did not recommend him for a gallantry award, and as a compromise, the political leadership decided to compensate him by giving him a civilian award, since he had already been awarded the PVSM, just two years earlier. It was ironical that the most successful Corps Commander in the 1971 War had to be content with a civilian award, while several others, whose performance was much below par were decorated for gallantry, and became war heroes.

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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 31 Dec 2017 23:20

Very insightful article by Captain Jawahar Bhagwat on Decline of Royal Navy by WWI

CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF BRITISH NAVAL LEADERSHIP DURING WWI – NEED FOR GREATER STRATEGIC ORIENTATION

Now try to look at the various naval battles of WWI in new light.

So strategy was lost and rest is tactical naval battles.


Assessment of British Naval
Leadership
There were few Admirals in the RN at
the commencement of war who
understood the nature of modern war.
The British approach to World War I
veered to over confidence. David
Divine in his book ‘The Blunted
Sword’ concluded “the Admiralty
discouraged, delayed, obstructed or
positively delayed significant
technological developments ever since
the first marine engine and that the
inertia and stubborn resistance to
change resulted in stupendous waste,
inefficiency and consequential losses
27
including in WWI.” Except for
Churchill, the politicians tended to
accede to the advice of the Generals
and the Admirals on the premise they
were the experts and knew best, when,
in fact, as the war progressed the lack of
strategic orientation would become
apparent. However, Churchill was also
guilty and did not keep himself abreast
of operational infirmities which
resulted in the failed Dardanelles and
Gallipoli campaigns. The failure of
these campaigns (at the Dardanelles
and at Gallipoli) resulted in substantial
casualties and was a serious setback to
the Allied war command, including
that of Churchill. He resigned his
position with the Admiralty after being
demoted, and headed to the Western
Front to command a battalion.
The ineffective political leadership was
a lesson Churchill would learn well and
not to repeat during World War II.
Some of the reasons for the lack of
strategic naval leadership were as
follows:-
• Lack of opportunistic training in the
hard school of war and their seeming
continued association with the days of
sail.
• Changes at the Admiralty just before
the commencement of the War. In
military matters Prime Minister
Herbert Asquith was unsuited to the
role of wartime leader. He ceded
control and decision-making to the two
strong-willed men in his government:
Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, the
Secretary of State for War, and
Churchill, the First Lord of the
Admiralty. At times, they did not
comprehend operational constraints.
• The lack of joint planning between
the naval and the military staff. Neither
armed force had given much thought
on how decisive fleet action would
28 support the armies’strategies on land.
• Over reliance on the concentrated
fleet concept and the big battle, a
legacy of Mahan. This resulted in
battles of attrition and static warfare,
and the British fleet failed to deliver the
expected Nelsonic victory of total
29 annihilation.
• The British Admiralty, therefore,
looked to comparative battleship
strength and losses as the primary
30 means of strategic advantage, and
this was their indication as to which
side had command of the seas.
• The Admiralty war plans envisaged
blockade of the enemy coast. However
the primary reason was to entice the
High Sea Fleet to come out and give
battle and not bringing economic
31
pressure to bear.
• The Admiralty reiterated that the big
battle would protect one’s shipping
ignoring the historical experience of
the aftermath of Trafalgar. Thus, the
Admiralty made an ambiguous
connection between the tactical means
of battle and the strategic objective of
the safety of the Sea lanes of
32 communication.
•In addition to the above, they were
also influenced by Julian’s Corbett
derision of convoying resulting in
significant losses against unrestricted
submarine warfare.
• The British Navy did not take
advantage of communications thirteen
years after the first wireless signal had
been transmitted across the Atlantic
and superior intelligence was not
exploited sufficiently.
• Failed to perceive the impact of the
submarine that had been proclaimed as
an un-English weapon.
• The role of the airplane in a versatile
use was neither envisaged nor
33 realised.
• Poor operational execution of the
otherwise clear strategic plan of
Winston Churchill at Gallipoli due to
lack of operational experience coupled
with lack of surprise, not factoring for
mines, and also deficiency of shells.
• Less importance to professional
military education, a vital necessity to
developing a strategic orientation and
gain the intellectual credentials to
interact at par with power structures
and civilian authorities in the national
34 and international arena.


ramana
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Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby ramana » 02 Jan 2018 00:23

ramana wrote:In that case add Arthasashtra. Sun Tzu is not about Op art


Please read deejay caution above.


AVM Arjun Subramaniam assess India's wars through Arfhashastra in the last chapter of he book. Not very detailed but he does examine under that microscope.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 34902
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Operational Art or War Doctrine

Postby shiv » 13 Jan 2018 07:48

Here is a great article brought to my attention by Rohit Vats, ex BRFite. I suspect this must be the right thread for this but I apologise because I am unable to understand this thread and have too much other reading to do to read the "recommended reading" for this thread

Meet France’s War Philosophers :)
The third concern is the Americanization of the French military. Anyone familiar with NATO militaries can testify to the spread of the U.S. military’s profound influence. Take, for example, the wide use of American military definitions, terms (buzzwords), tactics, and doctrines. Any force operating in a coalition with Americans must follow American norms, and even without Americans present, NATO militaries often fall back on those norms as a common reference.

Desportes disapproves for a number of reasons, among them his distaste for the American way of war and American strategic culture, which, he argues, fetishizes technology and prevents strategists from grasping the fundamentally political nature of most conflicts. Americans, he says, confuse war with a technological duel. They build weapons for weapons’ sake. A case in point he offers is the so-called “transformation” or the “revolution in military affairs,” the American idea that digital networking technology matched with precision munitions was revolutionizing warfare and offered the United States a major advantage over its opponents. He cites the U.S. military publication Joint Vision 2010, which is shot through with enthusiasm for high technology, as a prime example of the U.S. military’s religious “credo.”

Desportes regards the American way of war as intrinsically flawed and, in any case, too expensive for France to follow. It necessitates equipment so costly that those without America’s deep pockets are forced to slash their forces to pay for new, up-to-date items, creating something of a death spiral for militaries that already are cutting their size because of budget cuts. French and other allied forces are becoming exquisite — meaning, in this case, highly capable and very expensive — but rare. This is a problem because, Desportes insists, numbers matter and most conflicts require controlling space rather than simply locating and attacking the enemy. Controlling space requires “volume.” The result is a French military that can prevail in a battle but cannot win a war.

Cutting budgets to finance “American-style” fighting is also problematic because it results in gaps in French capabilities, which oblige France to rely even more on American help. Indeed, France’s reliance on the United States to conduct its military operations (the United States routinely provides aerial refueling, heavy airlift, and intelligence) gives Washington a de facto veto power over many French military activities. There is plenty of precedent: The United States used its ability to throttle back support to the French military to limit French action in Indochina, Sinai, and Algeria as well as on a number of occasions in Africa. Diminished capabilities also translate into diminished resiliency and overall operational coherence. Desportes compares “transformation” with the Maginot Line, the cost of which, he says, forced France to cut back on a number of capabilities that reduced the force’s “operational coherence” and gravely weakened the whole. For Desportes it is clear that the American way of war does not work for Americans, either: They lose their wars.


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