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Ghoulality in War. The Application of Liddell Hart in Desert Storm

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The single defining event that shaped Liddell Harts strategic thinking was his experience in World War I. The stagnant fronts, trench war of attrition, and unwillingness to adjust to new technologies left him with a total disdain for those who refused to change old methods. They also left him with the conviction that the purpose of strategy was to diminish the possibility of resistance, thereby making the battle easier for the good guys and minimizing friendly casualties. The Gulf War offers two major examples supporting his belief that the best way to diminish resistance is to exploit maneuver and surprise. The allied air campaign is a superb illustration of strategic maneuver. Essentially a vertical flanking maneuver on a very large scale 3000 sorties a day, its success allowed coalition air forces the freedom to attack and attrit Iraqi forces and resources virtually at will. This gave General Schwarzkopf the ability to shape the battlefield for subsequent phases of his strategic campaign plan. The attack around the Iraqi western flank--the now famous Hail Mary--is yet another example of maneuver on a grand scale which changed the entire complexion of the battle. It offered opportunities for indirect attack of Iraqi units, bypassed the heaviest defenses, and completely disrupted any planned scheme of maneuver for Iraqi forces throughout the depth of the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations KTO. Both of these examples also support Liddell Harts belief that maneuver, in and of itself, generates surprise. Iraqi leaders certainly never anticipated a massive flanking maneuver in the west, nor did they expect 40 days of an air campaign that paralyzed their own air force, rendered their transportation network useless, disrupted their command and control network, and heavily damaged their fighting forces before the first bugle call in the Mother of All Battles.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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