TACTICAL DOCTRINE (PART 1)
IN0821, Edition A
TACTICAL DOCTRINE (PART I)
Subcouse Number IN0821
United States Army Infantry School
Fort Benning, Georgia 31905-5593
Five Credit Hours
Edition Date: June 1995
Of the two forms of war, the offensive and the defensive, the offensive is the decisive form. It is only through offensive operations that an enemy can be subdued.
Defensive operations are of great importance, but it must never be overlooked that the most important part of defense is seizure of the initiative from the enemy and the shift in your own operations over to the offense.
Successful offensive operations are characterized by aggressive initiatives on the part of bold commanders. Rapid shifts are made in the main effort by these commanders who are quick to take advantage of each opportunity as it presents itself. It must be kept in mind that a major objective of the offense is to destroy the enemy's defenses as quickly as possible.
As the noted British military writer Lidell Hart described it, the ideal attack should be like an "expanding torrent." The ideal attack should move fast, follow reconnaissance units or successful probes through gaps in enemy defenses, and shift its strength quickly to widen penetrations and to reinforce its successes. Through this means, the battle can be brought deep into the enemy's rear. In the process, areas that are vital to the enemy can be seized and many of his forces destroyed before he can take countermeasures. The ideal attack will so reduce enemy capabilities that he will no longer be able to resist; he will then be forced to seek accommodation.
The battlefield of the future will probably be more fluid than in past conflicts and will place great emphasis on seizing and maintaining the initiative. Commanders of the future will be able to prevail in this environment if they have mastered the fundamentals and techniques of offensive tactical operations and have the force of will to apply them.
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