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Divisions in Large-Scale Urban Battles: The Essential Headquarters

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Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019

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U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The 2017 National Security Strategy and the US Armys FM 3-0 Operations formally directed the US Army to prepare for large scale combat operations LSCO against adversaries with peer military capabilities. LSCO campaigns in this context will likely center on controlling a globally-connected, regionally-dominant large city population two hundred thousand to two million people, where the possibility of high casualties and collateral destruction pose a strategic risk to US legitimacy and a tactical challenge to employing joint firepower. US task forces will overcome these challenges and mitigate the risks of LSCO urban battles by assigning an Army division to both defeat the peer adversary and seize control of the city without destroying it. Case studies of the Russian Army in Grozny 1994 and the US Army in Baghdad 2003 indicate that divisional roles in planning, commanding, and controlling LSCO are essential to winning urban battles. With the right operational approach, a US division can avoid the high casualties and physical destruction that historically characterized urban combat, and convert tactical control of the campaigns decisive city into strategic success.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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