Climax or Conclusion: Culmination in the Defense,
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES
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This monograph examines the definition of the term culmination for the tactical defense as defined by the 1993 edition of FM 100-5, OPERATIONS. The term entered US Army doctrine in the 1986 edition of FM 100-5 and was defined as a concept for an attacking force. The 1993 edition now defines culmination equally for the defender. The monograph begins with an investigation of the original concept defined by Carl von Clausewitz in his book, On War. It then explores US Army doctrine along with the changes that have occurred between 1986 and 1993. Three historical case studies of defending units that reached their point of culmination are assessed along with four criteria which assist the examination. The four criteria are the benefits of terrain the defender has over the attacker the principle of surprise and how it changes hands quickly from the attacker to the defender the tenet of initiative which is a balance of equilibrium constantly shifting in the tide of tactical engagements and the combat power dynamic of leadership. It is leadership, above all else, that provides the intuitive creative ability to a defending force commander to continue fighting beyond what is now defined as culmination in the defense. This monograph concludes that, in tactics, culmination results in a change or transition from one form of warfare to another.
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