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COMBINED ARMS OPERATIONS
US Air-Land Battle Concept
1
Q. 1
What are the principal characteristics of Air-
Land Battle concept?
2
Introduction
 In the aftermath of Vietnam War, the US army was decisively defeated, and badly
shaken, both physically and...
Principle Characteristics
 Principal Characteristics
 The ‘Air - Land Battle concept’ had the following principal charac...
Principle Characteristics
 Principal Characteristics
 Operational Art and Manoeuvre Warfare
• Operational Art is the emp...
Principle Characteristics
 Principal Characteristics
 Operational Art and Manoeuvre Warfare
• Manoeuvre is the movement ...
Principle Characteristics
Principal Characteristics
 Decentralized Execution of Mission Type Orders.
Centralized command...
Principle Characteristics
Principal Characteristics
 Extended Battlefield
• The nexus of the Air Land “war- fighting par...
Principle Characteristics
 Principal Characteristics
 Reliance on New Technology. One of the objectives of Air
Land Batt...
Q-2
Discuss the concept of the ‘extended battlefield’.
What do you understand by the geographical and
time dimensions of t...
The Concept-Extended Battlefield
 Extended Battlefield
 There are contain features which are common to ‘extended battlef...
The Concept-Extended Battlefield
 Extended Battlefield
 Battlefield Organization
 Geographical Dimension
 Air Land doc...
The Concept-Extended Battlefield
 Extended Battlefield
 Battlefield Organization
 Geographical Dimension
 Responsibili...
Q-3
What is meant by ‘integrated battle’? How does the
US Air -Land Battle concept envisage
synchronization?
14
The Concept-Integrated Battlefield
 Integrated Battle
 The term ‘Integrated Battle’ suggests a unified approach to battl...
The Concept-Integrated Battlefield
 Integrated Battle
 Synchronization
 The importance of ‘synchronization’ for the suc...
Q – 4
What is the German concept of Auftragstaktik and
how does the US ‘Air-Land Battle concept’ adopt it?
17
The German Concept-Auftragstaktik
 Auftragstaktik
 The German concept of Auftragstaktik (A concept having a good or deta...
The German Concept-Auftragstaktik
 Auftragstaktik in US Air Land Battle Concept
 It is amplified for the consumption of ...
Q-5
What is the relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’
to Pakistan? How can our armed forces benefit from
it in the rea...
Relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan
 General
 The US Air Land Battle concept was developed in the peri...
Relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan
 For drawing our lessons correctly following points merit attention...
Relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan
Conclusion
 One point which may be made while concluding would
be ...
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Us air land battle concept

  1. 1. COMBINED ARMS OPERATIONS US Air-Land Battle Concept 1
  2. 2. Q. 1 What are the principal characteristics of Air- Land Battle concept? 2
  3. 3. Introduction  In the aftermath of Vietnam War, the US army was decisively defeated, and badly shaken, both physically and psychologically. It took them some time and efforts to get out of that state of affairs. Due to its subdued state of thinking, the US army found itself saddled with a doctrine of ‘active defence’ promulgated in 1976. This doctrine offered the bleak notion of fighting to win a draw. However, with the passage of time, things changed for better. By 1982, the US army formulated and presented its new doctrine called the ‘Air-Land Battle’. The credit for formulating this concept goes to General Donn A. Starry, the Head of TRADOC (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command) 1977- 81.  The concept in essence was a total departure from previous thinking and offensive in nature employing air and land to the full depth of enemy formations to defeat an enemy attack- extended both in space and time.  The ‘Air-Land Battle concept’ as formalized into a proper war fighting doctrine, laid down four basic tenets of fighting: initiative, agility, depth and synchronization. Emphasis was on swift action, better coord, flawless comm., engaging enemy at various tiers simultaneously. Very high qualities of leadership, realistic and hard training were essential to achieve the desired results. 3
  4. 4. Principle Characteristics  Principal Characteristics  The ‘Air - Land Battle concept’ had the following principal characteristics: • Corps perspective. • Operational art and manoeuvre warfare. • Decentralized execution of mission orders. • Integrated battle. • Extended battlefield (both in space and time). • Reliance on new technology.  Corps Perspective. Corps was the minimum level at which the Air Land Battle doctrine was devised as the principal echelon for fighting campaigns. Previously, it was divisional level which was unable to prevent or delay Soviet breakthrough. Corps level was sufficiently strong to provide a counterforce to face the Warsaw Pact’s initial assaulting forces, consisting of combined arms team. 4
  5. 5. Principle Characteristics  Principal Characteristics  Operational Art and Manoeuvre Warfare • Operational Art is the employment of military forces to attain strategic goals in a theatre of war or theatre of operations through the design, organization and conduct of campaigns and major operations. Operational art thus involves fundamental decisions about when and where to fight and whether to accept or decline battle. Its essence is the identification of the enemy’s operational centre of gravity – his source of strength or balance – and the concentration of superior combat power against that point to achieve decisive success. Reduced to its essentials, operational art requires the commander to answer three questions: o What military conditions must be produced in the theatre of war or operations to achieve the strategic goal? o What sequence of actions is most likely to produce that condition? o How should the resources of the force be applied to accomplish that sequence of actions? 5
  6. 6. Principle Characteristics  Principal Characteristics  Operational Art and Manoeuvre Warfare • Manoeuvre is the movement of forces in a planned fashion in relation to the enemy locations, intentions and capabilities to secure or retain positional advantage. It is the dynamic element of combat – the means of concentrating forces at the critical point, which enable smaller forces to defeat larger ones. The effects of manoeuvre may also be achieved without movement by allowing the enemy himself to move into a disadvantageous position as in an ambush or with stay behind forces. In either case, manoeuvre will rarely be possible without firepower and protection. • Manoeuvre occurs both at the operational and tactical levels. Operational manoeuvre seeks a decisive impact on the conduct of a campaign. Tactical manoeuvre is the means of gaining and sustaining the initiative, exploiting success, preserving freedom of action and reducing the vulnerability of friendly forces. At both levels, effective manoeuvre is vital to achieving superior combat power. • Air Land Battle concept brought back both the operational art and manoeuvre warfare forcefully into the American war fighting doctrine. 6
  7. 7. Principle Characteristics Principal Characteristics  Decentralized Execution of Mission Type Orders. Centralized command, decentralized execution. While maintaining chain of command, each commander is expected to act somewhat independently of the higher levels of commands.  Integrated Battle. ‘Integrated battle’, integrating all possible war winning concepts and tools including joint operations, combined arms (air-ground resources), unity of effort, and a possible use of tactical nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. 7
  8. 8. Principle Characteristics Principal Characteristics  Extended Battlefield • The nexus of the Air Land “war- fighting paradigm” was the extended battlefield. It included the notion of deep attack. The concept of “extended battlefield” had been viewed by NATO as a concept which was offensive in nature vis a vis that of Warsaw Pact concept that had defensive character. • The extended battlefield embraced the “deep battle” concept and introduced the extra dimension of time, that is, not only was the battlefield to be extended far beyond the forward line of troops (FLOT) but extended in time as well. • Hence, commanders must anticipate the enemy move(s) / actions up to next 96 hours at the operational level and above (Corps/Army). 8
  9. 9. Principle Characteristics  Principal Characteristics  Reliance on New Technology. One of the objectives of Air Land Battle was to widen the technological gap between NATO and Warsaw Pact and exploit Soviet weakness in this area vantages of the flexibility that NATO had enjoyed vis a vis Warsaw.  Some important programs initiated to achieve technology supremacy over Warsaw Pact forces were: High Technology Motorised Division; Command, Control and Communication; the Joint Fusion Program (JTFP), Target Acquisition and Guidance, Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs), Sub munitions, Standoff Technology, Advanced aircraft, The Joint Surveillance and Target Acquisition (JSTARS). Advanced computer technology, both in software and hardware. 9
  10. 10. Q-2 Discuss the concept of the ‘extended battlefield’. What do you understand by the geographical and time dimensions of the battlefield organization? 10
  11. 11. The Concept-Extended Battlefield  Extended Battlefield  There are contain features which are common to ‘extended battlefield’ and ‘integrated battle’. Air-land war fighting paradigm is extended battlefield however the same can also be termed as integrated battle because there are more than one factors which are involved in conducting the war.  Extended battlefield could be in term of “Time-Space/geography- and resources”.  Extended battlefield is primarily aimed at destroying and disrupting enemy’s second tiers of forces, command and control system including its reserves which are placed well in depth which if not engaged timely could play a decisive role in the final outcome of the battle/operations. So time and space both are very important for you to cause decisive blow to the adversary’s defensive as well as offensive forces. 11
  12. 12. The Concept-Extended Battlefield  Extended Battlefield  Battlefield Organization  Geographical Dimension  Air Land doctrine envisions the battlefield to be principally divided into four areas: • Close Battle Area- Extended up to 20 km from Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) . At this level, integrated operations involving air and ground elements in support of the objectives of the ground commander would be carried out. • Rear Battle Area. Area beyond 20 kms and goes up to 50 kms. The enemy rear areas are engaged by long range arty, helicopters and air. Enemy rear areas may include supplies, ammo dumps, reserves etc. • Deep Battle Area. Outside this zone would be the deep battle area, an area extending 500 to 1000 kms beyond the FLOT • Strategic Area. Beyond 1000 kms, it becomes the sole responsibility of the Air Force. 12
  13. 13. The Concept-Extended Battlefield  Extended Battlefield  Battlefield Organization  Geographical Dimension  Responsibility of various ground force commanders • Bde Comd: Up to 15 kms into the enemy’s rear where his artillery was operating. • Div Comd: Up to 70 kms • Corps Comd: Up to 150 kms. • Thratre Comd/Army Comd : Beyond 150 kms, the role of theatre/ army commander. Comes in.  Time Dimension  Bde Level: 12 hrs away.  Div Level: 24 hrs away.  Corps Level: 72 hrs.  To meet the req, the US land and air forces had to coord their activities. 13
  14. 14. Q-3 What is meant by ‘integrated battle’? How does the US Air -Land Battle concept envisage synchronization? 14
  15. 15. The Concept-Integrated Battlefield  Integrated Battle  The term ‘Integrated Battle’ suggests a unified approach to battle that involves several concepts, including joint operations, combined arms, unity of effort, and a possible use of tactical nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In the integrated battle every asset at the commander’s disposal in employed to achieve defeat of the enemy.  The term ‘integrated battle’ is a useful term to denote the concept of a unified war with unified goals.  In this sense, integrated battle is just the principle of synchronization - “the concentration of action in time”.  Implicit in the ‘integrated battle’ is the concept that winning separate sub- engagements, even though they may involve the defeat of large combat units (such as an army), will not guarantee the ultimate victory that is being sought.  The concept that winning separate sub-engagements, even though they may involve the defeat of large combat units (such as an army), will not guarantee the ultimate victory that is being sought. 15
  16. 16. The Concept-Integrated Battlefield  Integrated Battle  Synchronization  The importance of ‘synchronization’ for the success of military operations cannot be over emphasized. “Synchronization is the arrangement of battlefield activities in time, space and purpose to produce maximum relative combat power at the decisive point. Synchronization is both a process and a result. Commanders synchronize activities; they thereby produce synchronized operations.  Synchronization thus takes place first in the mind of the commander and then in the actual planning and coordination of movements, fires and supporting activities.  In the end, the product of effective synchronization is maximum economy of force, with every resource used where and when it will make the greatest contribution to success and nothing wasted or overlooked.  Most of all, it requires unambiguous unity of purpose throughout the force.” 16
  17. 17. Q – 4 What is the German concept of Auftragstaktik and how does the US ‘Air-Land Battle concept’ adopt it? 17
  18. 18. The German Concept-Auftragstaktik  Auftragstaktik  The German concept of Auftragstaktik (A concept having a good or detailed knowledge about the event- (Mission tactics)) was adopted, during WW-II for their leadership to be able to execute ‘blitzkrieg’ or “lightning war” successfully. The units are assigned missions and local commanders decide how to achieve those missions.  The need for prompt decision making is central to such warfare as blitzkrieg. The Germans having realised this need well, adopted the system called Augftragstaktik (“mission tactics”) for their leadership, also called the ‘directive control’. In this, the subordinate comd would receive superior’s intent and the overall mission to be achieved. How to execute the plan, was left to lower comds’ judgment (More flexibility available to the subordinate commander- time management- competency would play a vital role in the outcome of the battles). 18
  19. 19. The German Concept-Auftragstaktik  Auftragstaktik in US Air Land Battle Concept  It is amplified for the consumption of all concerned by the authors of US Air Land Battle concept that modern electronic counter measures could disrupt effective command and control severely, placing a premium on the initiative of subordinate commanders. It is because of this very reason that the US adopted the German concept of Auftragstaktik, the ability of subordinate leaders in combat to act independently in the changing battle environment within the context of the overall plan.  It would not be accurate to interpret this to mean that the chain of command has been broken down rather, each commander is expected to continually monitor his sector of the battle area for possibilities that can be exploited. It is recognized that in a chaotic situation such as war, orders from above may not always be available, therefore, each commander is expected to act somewhat independently of the higher levels of commands. 19
  20. 20. Q-5 What is the relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan? How can our armed forces benefit from it in the realm of combined service operations? 20
  21. 21. Relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan  General  The US Air Land Battle concept was developed in the period 1977-81 and formalized into a proper doctrine by 1982 aimed at fighting numerically superior enemy that had tremendous in terms of advancement in weapon systems and firepower. During 1960s/1970s, the US was stuck up in Vietnam which compelled her to bring changes in its war fighting strategy/concept/ based on German’s concept of Blitzkrieg.  Relevance to Pakistan  The concept is very mush relevant to Pakistan. Faced with a numerically superior enemy, we need to understand the four tenets for fighting as laid down by the authors of Air Land Battle doctrine viz initiative, agility, depth and synchronisation. Because of India’s conventional superiority, Pakistan would need to evolve a strategy where Pakistan is able to concentrate at the point of impact and achieve a breakthrough with an ability to exploit enemy’s weaknesses and force him on the back foot.  Owing to the shortage of resources, an excellent coordination among various arms more so with PAF, synchronous execution and effective communication with a very high class leadership and good training remain pre-requisites to conducting these operations successfully and make up for the deficiencies. 21
  22. 22. Relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan  For drawing our lessons correctly following points merit attention:  The concept was practically employed in the Ist Gulf War (1990-91).  The Air Land Battle Doctrine was Warsaw Pact centric, which is no more valid. However, the concept remains and is still followed.  Due to its meagre resources, it is difficult for Pakistan to apply this doctrine in letter and spirit.  PAF provides limited air efforts which are likely to be employed Battlefield Air Interdiction and strategic interdiction missions to obtain greater advantage. PAF can provide limited close air support.  To face India’s ‘cold start doctrine’ Pakistan Army will have to cope with the situation by forming rightly sized combat groups, stationed at appropriate locations to fight the enemy with limited but effective air support.  In the arena of non conventional operations and LIC environment the importance of air support is critical to gaining decisive victory over the ‘terrorists’. Hence, the need to utilise PAF for close support / neutralisation of specific targets with lot of deliberation and forward planning.  Good and effective/reliable communication would play a vital during such operations. 22
  23. 23. Relevance of US ‘Air Land Battle concept’ to Pakistan Conclusion  One point which may be made while concluding would be that in order to benefit from the concept of Air-Land Battle Pakistan will have to organise and train her armed forces on correct lines i.e. lean, smart and effective. By training our Armed Forces well in joint operations we can benefit greatly in making optimal use of our meagre resources. 23

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