Counterblitz: Conditions for a Successful Counteroffensive
Monograph rept. AY89/90
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This study seeks to identify the conditions necessary for a successful counteroffensive through historical analyses of four of the greatest counteroffensives of modern military history Mansteins counterstroke at Kharkov 1943, the Battle of the Bulge 1944, MacArthurs Inchon Landing 1950, and the Israeli counteroffensive in the Sinai 1973. Elements of operational design which facilitates the analysis include the center of gravity, lines of operation, the culminating point, and decisive points. Analysis of these great counteroffensives suggests six conditions necessary for a successful counteroffensive. 1 The defender should force the attackers offensive to culminate before launching the counteroffensive. 2 Operational reserves must be constituted from forces previously used in the defense. 3 Air superiority needs to be established in the counteroffensive sector. 4 The counteroffensive should seek to cut across the enemys line of operation to deprive him of sustainment and block his retreat. 5 Use deception to confuse the enemy, and agility to exploit his mistakes, thus avoiding his strength and maneuvering into his rear to cut across his line of communication. Finally, a bold counteroffensive will be more decisive. Its execution requires a commander with determination to overcome not only the enemy, but also political and organizational resistance on his own side. These insights can assist operational planners in applying sound judgement to future challenges of the future.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics