The Loose Marble -- and the Origins of Operational Art
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
The purpose of this paper is to determine those unique and essential characteristics of operational art that distinguish it from classical military strategy and to establish roughly that point in history -- the American Civil War -- when the sum of these operational characteristics coalesced to give rise to this qualitatively distinct style of military art. Strictly speaking it would, of course, be anachronistic to apply the term operational art to the style of warfare conducted by certain commanders during the Civil War. The evidence strongly suggests, however, that from a functional standpoint, the style of military art practiced was different in both kind and degree from the classical style. This quasi-operational art can be clearly distinguished from the earlier style by several chief discriminating characteristics. These characteristics closely parallel those of modern operational art. Briefly the emergent characteristics are as follows 1 The employment of several independent field armies distributed in the same theater of operations, 2 The employment of quasi-army group headquarters to control them, 3 A logistical structure to support distributed operations, 4 The integrated design of a distributed campaign plan, 5 The conduct of distributed operations, 6 The strategic employment of cavalry, 7 The deep strike, 8 The conduct of joint operations, 9 The execution of distributed free maneuver, 10 The continuous front, 11 The distributed battlefield, and 12 The exercise of field command by officers of operational vision. By the end of the 19th century the great concentrated army, a dominating force for over 2000 years of military history, had clearly ceased to exist. With the shattering of the Napoleonic icon, classical military strategy became a historic artifact, to be supplanted over time by operational art.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics