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Field Marshal Slim -- Theoretical Thinking and the Impact of Theory on Campaign Planning
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Field Marshall Viscount Slim holds a special place in modern military history. He soundly defeated the Imperial Japanese Army in Burma in 1945, retaking the strategically important Burma Road, and safeguarding the Chinese Theater from sure culmination. By all accounts, Slim was a military genius, having achieved this notable victory even after the Japanese 15th Army pushed Allied troops all the way back to India. The historical records attribute Slims success to his superior ability to lead soldiers in combat, but they tell only half the story. By tracing Slims implicit process of theoretical thinking, using an observe, interpret, hypothesize, test, and prescribe action framework, this monograph demonstrates that Slims genius came from a combination of his abilities to lead and think theoretically. Specifically, his ability to think theoretically afforded him the opportunity to develop a new operational approach -- a paradigm shift of sorts -- and his leadership made it possible to motivate his men to employ that approach. The author asserts that it was the presence of these two abilities in a single man that made him a superior military commander.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE