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Operational Art in Operation Dragoon and the Relief of Bastogne

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2018,31 May 2019

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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During WWII, the United States conducted large-scale combat operations in its fight against Nazi Germany. On August 15th, 1944, the Allies initiated Operation Dragoon in southern France and within a day ad hoc formation known as Task Force TF Butler conducted a 300-mile pursuit of fleeing Nazi forces. Within three months, Allied forces once again reacted quickly to defeat the unexpected German Ardennes Offensive with the 4th Armored Division AD relieving the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne. Most historical studies of these operations focus on either the tactical or strategic decisions and actions made by the United States and the Allies. This monograph contributes to the analysis of WWII by focusing on the operational level by exploring the actions through the lens of operational art. This study conducts a structured, focused comparison of Operation Dragoon and the relief of Bastogne by asking eight research questions related to operational art. These questions focus on testing three hypotheses concerning the military leaderships understanding of the strategic environment and its efforts to combine and arrange tactical actions by accounting for tempo, operational reach, culmination, and risk. The empirical evidence examined supports this monographs thesis that 4th AD and TF Butler employed operational art to achieve the stated strategic objectives during the planning and execution of the Relief of Bastogne and Operation Dragoon. The commanders and staffs ensured the plans were flexible, maintained a higher operational tempo in relation to the enemy, extended operational reach, prevented culmination, and mitigated operational risk.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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