Centers of Gravity, Lines of Operations, and the Normandy Campaign
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The purpose of this paper is to employ an historical analysis of a campaign as a case study in order to examine the utility of military theory as a guide to decision making and campaign planning. Specifically, the paper uses the Normandy Campaign to explore the usefulness of two theoretical concepts -- the Clausewitzian idea of centers of gravity, and the Jominian theory of lines of operations. While it treats the entire campaign, the analysis focuses in detail upon the campaign plans of both sides, and the major operation which led to the Allied breakout from Normandy and the defeat of the German army in France. The conclusion explores the utility of the two addressed theoretical concepts as an aid in campaign planning. it does this by first examining how hindsight suggests that each side should have planned and executed the campaign. It then compares what history seems to have suggested the proper courses of action should have been, with what a purely theoretical analysis of the situation would prescribe. The paper finds that while military is an excellent analytical tool, it is an uncertain guide. It can eliminate inappropriate solutions and help show the way to best plan, but it cannot do the planners thinking for him.
- Operations Research
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics