At The Limit of Complexity-British Military Operations in North Persia and the Caucasus 1918
Technical Report,10 Aug 2015,10 Jun 2016
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
Pagination or Media Count:
In a largely forgotten chapter of the First World War, Britain sent a small task force to Northern Persia and the Caucasus in 1918. This group, named Dunsterforce, attempted to organize indigenous forces to defeat an Ottoman Empire offensive to seize the southern Caucasus. A comprehensive campaign study of Dunsterforce and an analysis of its successes and failures provide insights into the complexities of modern armed conflict. An understanding of the strategic environment in which Dunsterforce operated, the interests of the various actors in the region, and the lines of operation that Dunsterville chose to accomplish his objectives may enable practitioners of the art of war to face the difficulties inherent in such operations. Dunsterforces successes were due to the coordinated and skillful use of all elements of British military and national power, no matter how inadequate that actual power was. Yet there are limits to what skill alone can achieve and those limits were revealed during the operation. The scant troops available, conflicting guidance from higher headquarters, lackluster will of indigenous forces, and immense complexity of the operating environment ensured that Dunsterforce did not achieve all the lofty goals envisioned by British political leaders.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics