Grant's Final Campaign: A Study of Operational Art
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The attached monograph, Grants Final Campaign A Study in Operational Art, examines General Grants 1864-65 campaign as an example of combat at the operational level. The monograph begins by presenting the strategic setting--international and domestic--within which Grant conducted his campaign. The author analyzes Grants campaign from four perspectives the Generals plan and how that plan was executed, the means with which he had to carry out his campaign plan, the system that he used to command and control his subordinate armies, and how each of these fit together into a synchronized whole. In the conduct of this analysis, the author argues that the two traditional understandings of this campaign are both lacking. Neither those who claim Grants campaign was one designed to exhaust the South thus bringing them to terms, nor those who claim Grant tried to annihilate the South by destroying Lees army in a gigantic concentration of all armies at one decisive point are correct. In developing this argument, the author identifies two important points where General Grants campaign departs from classical military theory. First, from the classic understanding of annihilation solely as destruction of the enemy armed forces to destruction of armed forces and resources--i.e. destruction of an enemys war making capability. Second, from the classic concentration of forces at a single point for a decisive battle to a concentration of effects distributed over time and space for a decisive campaign. The author concludes that Grants campaign of 1864-65 exemplifies a form of warfare at the operational level different from that governed by classic military theory. Thus, to study Grants final campaign is to study modern operational art.
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- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics