Accession Number:

ADA463987

Title:

The Three Critical Steps of Operational Art Every Commander Should Know - An Analysis of the German Defeat at Stalingrad

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2006-02-13

Pagination or Media Count:

21.0

Abstract:

The application of operational art in the regressive planning process is a vital aspect of any successful operation. Three crucial steps of its methodology should provide the foundation for a plan to achieve the desired end state through economy of effort and minimal loss of life. The first step is to clearly define the objective. Since the objective is the starting point for regressive planning, it will be the cornerstone of this foundation and must be unambiguous. The second step is to identify and appoint an operational commander and establish a command and control structure. It must be appropriate in depth and scope for the given size of the operation and account for transition to post-conflict operations. It should ensure unity of effort, provide for centralized direction and decentralized execution, provide an environment for applying common doctrine, and ensure interoperability. The third step is to analyze and understand the operational factors of force, space, and time, for these will determine whether or not the objective is attainable within the limits of the available support and force structure. The German invasion of southern Russia in 1942 is an example of an operation that failed to follow these guidelines. For todays operational commander, the abject failure of the invasion provides relevant lessons on the consequences of a breakdown in these critical areas. This paper will analyze the objectives and guidance Hitler gave his staffs, the command and control structure he ultimately forced upon his military professionals, and the key operational factors that impacted the operation. Additionally, the execution of the plan will be discussed to provide the reader with the results of the planning failures.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE