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The Rise and Decline of Mobility Doctrine in the U.S Army, 1922-1940: Unleashing the Mechanized Warfare Thunderbolt

The Rise and Decline of Mobility Doctrine in the U.S Army, 1922-1940: Unleashing the Mechanized Warfare Thunderbolt (Hardback)

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This study examines the development of mobility doctrine in the United States compared with other European nations, particularly the purveyor of the blitzkrieg phenomenon, Germany. This work assesses how the two worldviews of mobility and position impacted doctrine, tank development, and leadership. 'As a man thinks in his heart, so is he'. This passage from the Book of Proverbs highlights the importance of a person's worldview and how they wage war. Combat commanders are typically divided between the Apostles of Mobility and Prophets of Position, with the latter the most dominant in the armies of the world. Prior to World War II, a number of western nations engaged in doctrinal disputes in an effort to develop a decisive combat doctrine that could break the stalemate of trench warfare. "The Apostles of Mobility" sought for this decision at the operational level, preferring to develop a highly mobile force centered on the tank to quickly concentrate firepower at the critical infrastructure of an enemy through rapid and deep penetrations of their entire defensive zone of operations.

With their focus on time rather than space, the risk was great but the payoff of success even greater. In contrast, the Prophets of Position pursued their solution at the tactical level, massing firepower by aligning their forces for broad front advances to reduce the risk of decisive enemy counterstrikes. As they focused on space rather than time, the risk was far less, but the payoff for success involved more static operations that consumed time and lives. This monograph breaks new ground in that it makes a significant departure from the 'maneuver vs. firepower' thesis taken by previous researchers. Nor is it a conflict of maneuver vs. attrition, or tanks vs. infantry. All forces use maneuver and firepower, and attrition can be inflicted on an enemy through mobility as much as through artillery bombardments. The key instead is at which level an army seeks to achieve a decision on the battlefield and how this is prepared and planned.

Mobility thinkers sought for this decision at the operational level, using an accelerated tempo of a combined arms force to confuse and dislocate an enemy, while positional thinkers preferred to focus on methodical tactics to gradually pound their way to victory.

History & PoliticsMilitary HistoryHistory & PoliticsMilitary StudiesLand forces & warfare Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd Publication Date: 01/05/2010 ISBN-13: 9780773412880  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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