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Risk in Large-Scale Combat Operations: Finding Balance in Bold Action

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Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph seeks to study how risk links the operational and tactical levels of war together, and how risk decisions at one level impact the other. Specifically, how bold action and risk decisions at the tactical level can have a positive or negative effect at the operational level. It will examine these linkages through a historical analysis of the decisions to use heavy bombers in support of ground forces in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. Comparing unsuccessful bombings at Cassino and the Normandy Beach landings with the successful employment of heavy bombers during Operation Cobra demonstrates the importance of finding the proper balance between risk mitigation and mission effectiveness. By studying how commanders in World War II considered risk, and how their risk decisions affected the outcome of their operations, lessons can be gleaned for future large-scale combat operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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