Encircled Forces: The Neglected Phenomenon of Warfare.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Throughout history, a common phenomenon of warfare has been the encirclement of the forces of one or both warring factions. The nature of future war -- taking place in a battlefield that will be characterized by fluid activities, greater confusion, and indistinct battle lines -- suggests an increasing likelihood that ones force, or a part thereof, will become encircled at some stage of the conflict. This thesis reviews the nature of encirclements and tests the hypothesis that there exists a set of historically-justifiable principles that are common to the successful employment of encircled forces at the operational level of war. Three case studies are analyzed from an operational perspective. The substance of these assessments provides some tentative principles which are then tested against other historical examples, reflecting different environmental factors, different antagonists, and different outcomes. The author concludes that the hypothesis is substantiated by nine principles which are considered common to the successful employment of encircled forces at the operational level of war. The author suggests that these principles should be examined further and considered during future reviews of U.S. Army doctrine. He also proposes that the subjet be included in the main curriculum of each of the staff colleges.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics