Block by Block: The Challenges of Urban Operations
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST
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It is axiomatic in the military community that operations in an urban environment should be avoided if at all possible, given the costs they exact in time, personnel, casualties, and materiel. Yet, throughout history, cities have continuously been at the center of a variety of military undertakings sieges, street fighting, coups de main, peacekeeping and peace enforcement, stability operations and support operations, and disaster and humanitarian relief. Moreover, this trend continues through the recent past and up to the present as headlines concerning Beirut, Sarajevo, Mogadishu, Grozny, Kabul, and Baghdad indicate. Recognizing that armies cannot always bypass cities, the U.S. military since the mid-1990s has experienced a resurgence of interest in urban operations. As one indication of this renewed attention, the Commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command TRADOC, tasked the Combat Studies Institute CSI, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to research and write several in-depth case studies that would provide historical perspectives on the subject. The case studies were to be used for professional development and coursework in all TRADOC schools. The resulting anthology begins with a general overview of urban operations from ancient times to the midpoint of the twentieth century. It then details ten specific case studies of U.S., German, and Japanese operations in cities during World War II and ends with more recent Russian attempts to subdue Chechen fighters in Grozny and the Serbian siege of Sarajevo. Operations range across the spectrum from combat to humanitarian and disaster relief. Each chapter contains a narrative account of a designated operation, identifying and analyzing the lessons that remain relevant today.
- Unconventional Warfare