Combat Power in the Rear: Balancing Economy of Force and Risk
ISBN: 1249919738
EAN13: 9781249919735
Language: English
Pages: 56
Format: Paperback

Combat Power in the Rear: Balancing Economy of Force and Risk

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Book Overview
This paper challenges the capstone principle of US doctrine for rear battle, economy of force. The paper also seeks to determine if the doctrine accurately reflects the tactics key to successful defense of rear areas in modern war. Case studies from the German Army's defense of its rear areas on the Eastern Front in World War II, refined to consider changes in the modern conditions of war and current Soviet capabilities, are the primary source for successful rear battle tactics. The study suggests that several issues governing the proper use of economy of force are not well expressed in FM 90-14. Most important among these is that the desire to concentrate combat power forward must be carefully balanced with the need to avoid defeat in the rear. In the study vignettes, contrary to US doctrine, this required some measure of permanent commitment of combat units to the rear to protect critical terrain, or conduct critical operations. Further, while passive security as envisioned in US doctrine was essential to protect key terrain and units, launching aggressive offensive action as often as possible was also necessary to rob the initiative from the forces attacking in the rear. Finally, the case studies disclose that fire support must be integrated throughout the depth of the defense. In some cases, artillery was placed in direct support of the defense of selected critical points. In every case, highly mobile fire support systems were at least in general support, and capable of responding in a rapid, efficient manner. The study concludes that US doctrine for rear defense would not defeat or significantly delay a modern Soviet attack to our deep rear. Nevertheless, the basic principles of the doctrine are sound, simply out of balance. The principle of economy of force turns on two subordinate tenets. The first, that providing the minimum force in the area of risk necessary to stave off defeat is no less important than the second, concentrating the maximum combat power i

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