Sustaining Distributed Operations -- Throughput Requirements and Solutions
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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In the winter of 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland expecting a quick and easy victory as they were highly numerically superior. Realizing that the Soviets had far greater numbers of personnel and equipment, the Finns employed a simple form of distributed operations. They utilized company and battalion-size units spread across the battlefield and successfully attacked the Soviet Unions less mobile columns and inflicted disproportionate casualties upon a larger force. Although initially successful, the Finns lacked the throughput of supplies and logistical capabilities to maintain their effort. Even though the Soviets suffered tremendous losses in personnel and equipment, they were able to re-establish their assets. On the other hand, the Finns were unable to replace their losses and were eventually attrited by the sheer numbers of the Soviet Union. Because the Finns were not able to sustain their campaign, they were unable to continue combat operations. Similarly, as the Marines Corps faces adversaries that are ever-changing and creative, the Marine Corps staying true to its maneuver warfare philosophy has adopted distributed operations DO as a conceptual answer to the emerging threat. The DO concept employs small, highly capable units spread across a large area of operations that will provide the spatial advantage commonly sought in maneuver warfare, in that they will be able to sense an expanded battle space, and can use close combat or supporting arms, including joint fires, to disrupt the enemys access to key terrain and avenue of approach. As with the Finns however, DO presents logistical problems. For DO to be successful, the Marine Corps must take significant steps to sustain combat forces, specifically in the throughput of supplies and casualty evacuation.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics