When to Pull the Trigger for the Counterattack: Simplicity versus Sophistication.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This study is a comparative analysis of current US Army doctrine at the division-level with the historical experience of the German Army in World War II on the Eastern Front, specifically that of the 48th Panzer Corps in battles along the Chir River during the period 6 - 22 December 1942, to determine key considerations in assessing the right time to execute tactical-level counterattacks against Soviet-style offensive operations. It identifies the specific factors that the 48th Panzer Corps considered, assesses how they affected the outcome of the battles, describes current doctrine, and examines the adequacy and implications of current doctrine in light of the German experience. The study suggests that counterattacks can be on time or late, but rarely will they be early at the tactical-level. The conclusion of the study is that timing tactical-level counterattacks depends not on some mythical or sophisticated determination of the right time, but rather on more fundamental precepts embodied in the principles of war. Deciding when to counterattack is a problem of making the decision within the context of the battle itself, consistent with the generally accepted principles of surprise and mass.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics