Accession Number:

ADA158354

Title:

Coping with the Unexpected: Great Britain and the War in the South Atlantic

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1985-04-01

Pagination or Media Count:

24.0

Abstract:

Soldiers, sailors, and airmen must always think, plan, and practice for the unknown. No matter how realistic the conduct of exercises and training, it is impossible to simulate combat. Wars invariably expose deficiencies in peacetime planning. Before World War I, most soldiers planned and practiced for a war of maneuver and the offensive, yet the Western Front rapidly evolved into a static battle of attrition. Prior to 1914, admirals planned and trained to fight massive and decisive fleet actions on the model of Trafalgar and Tsushima four years of conflict witnessed only one such action--the Battle of Jutland-- and it did not prove decisive. New weapons systems--aircraft, warships, and fighting vehicles--continually enter inventories. Escalating costs have led to the extensive modification of weapons systems to maintain fighting effectiveness. Sometimes peacetime fixes can be found in innovative tactics and operational concepts. Actual combat compresses the adaptive process. Britains experience during the South Atlantic War perhaps illustrates this process at its most extreme. Literally overnight, Britain was faced with a war for which it had no plans. Failures in the British intelligence community had led to a total lack of strategic warning. Britains military forces were mainly configured to fight in Europe in conjunction with powerful allies.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE