Wednesday 28 February 2018

Soviet Military Doctrine : Under Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev

Khrushchev's Era (1954-64)
Freed from the stupefying control of Stalin, military doctrine changed significantly under Khrushchev. The major doctrinal trend was to adopt the new nuclear weapons, missile technology, and means of conflict to the old views and concepts of future war. Khrushchev dropped the idea of the inevitability of war between socialism and capitalism. He did not see war as a protracted affair between massed conventional ground forces in Europe. 

Instead, the war would result from the inevitable escalation of a small conventional war into a nuclear one. Short, intense, massive exchange of nuclear weapons delivered by rockets and aircraft dominated this view of war. Because of this outlook, Khrushchev downgraded and partially demobilized ground forces and tactical air forces. Conventional options were rendered obsolescent, and the Strategic Rocket Forces emerged as preeminent receiving the lions share of the Soviet defense budget.

The new doctrine connoted that enemy forces would be dealt a nuclear strike to weaken them, and then they would be attacked by tanks and mechanized forces at a high tempo. Nuclear weapons became the means of establishing favorable conditions for the rapid advance of the ground forces. With the defense weakened, the ground forces would break through, avoid a frontal assault on strong points, and carry out flexible maneuvers to deal decisive blows to the enemy's flanks and rear.

This view of the future battlefield led to the offense becoming the dominant form of battle to the Soviets. Such a doctrine accordingly emphasized the role of surprise. War was not likely to last long so the initial period would be the most important. Both sides would try to achieve the initiative at the start. This doctrine created a different set of contributions for airpower. Instead of being viewed as long-range artillery in support of the ground forces, it became a prime instrument to deliver the nuclear blows. Additionally, it was the force of choice preventing an enemy from delivering his nuclear response to the Soviet offense.

Other factors influenced doctrine evolution. The U. S. strategic nuclear superiority and cold war challenge led to the Soviet policy of preemption. On the domestic side, populist reforms and advances in technology emphasized modernity and international competition, especially with the United States. By not stressing the inevitability of idealistic war, the Marxist-Leninist dialectic had less impact on the military doctrine than under Stalin. The experience of World War II continued in its influence on doctrine; however, Soviets began to analyze the failures in the 1941-42 operations to prevent their recurrence.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Evolution of Soviet Military Doctrine: Under Stalin

Joseph Stalin

Soviet military doctrine changed because of changes in the same complex interrelationships that formed it international political and military environments, foreign military doctrines, history, technology, ideology, and internal political, social moral, and economic constraints. The perceived strategic imbalance has been the prime motivator in the Soviets doctrinal evolution. 

Michael MccGwire notes:
"The Soviet military doctrine has evolved in response to what has been seen as a series of direct threats to the existence of the state; Nuclear testing aside, Soviet actions and the doctrines behind them must be seen as responses to the perceived threat posed by American decisions."
Military doctrine evolution in the former Soviet Union and Russia today, therefore represents an amalgam of many factors. The effect of the international political environment and an assessment of the probability of war, over time, forms the political component of doctrine. The evolution of Soviet military doctrine reflected foreign doctrines, especially that of Clausewitz and German "blitzkrieg." Past Soviet experience and history formed the Soviet perspective of the war. World War II, with its ten million Soviet deaths, had a profound effect. Internal political, economic, and social constraints, as well as the nature of Soviet decision making, greatly affected the nature of doctrine. Technological innovation also had a key role. The military doctrine of the former Soviet Union arose from the interaction of this multitude of often conflicting factors.

Post World War II Stalin's Era (1945-53)

The effect of World War II marks this period. The formative impact of the war led military doctrine to cast all future war in the mold of that experience protracted land war, with ground troops directly supported by tanks, artillery, and aircraft. Soviet leaders believed surprise attack would characterize this period. Although the war laid the foundation of military doctrine, there was a little critical examination of Soviet major failures in 1941 and 1942. Furthermore, Stalin placed great importance on atomic weapons and rocketry for the international prestige. Despite Stalin's xenophobic reaction to the West, the NATO military environment influenced Soviet military doctrine. U.S. superiority in strategic nuclear weapons and airpower prompted a Soviet emphasis on strong conventional forces and offensive counterattack into Europe from Soviet bases in Eastern Europe.

Shaping the military doctrine was also the international political environment and Marxist -Leninist ideology. The Soviets saw capitalism encircling them, with the United States as its superpower. Marxist idealism included the concept of the inevitable violent clash between capitalism and socialism. This shaped the objective constraints and historical experiences that reinforced the Soviets view of the world and their military doctrine. More than any other factor was the role played by the nature of the internal Soviet political system. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union became even more authoritarian. He elevated to doctrinal status those factors he believed were responsible for winning the war. Stalin ignored developments in conventional weapons, the role of surprise on the battlefield, foreign developments, and any failures the Soviets may have had during the German push to Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad. He regarded these all as irrelevant to victory.

If conventional warfare occurred, both defense and offense played major roles. The victory resulted from accumulating successful battles fought along slowly moving continuous Fronts. Frontal breakthroughs occurred by deliberating massing forces on a main axis of attack. Men, tanks, artillery, and aircraft were concentrated in the strike sectors for speed, firepower and shock to penetrate, envelop, and thrust into the enemy's rear areas. Combined arms, with preeminent ground forces in a European environment, was the primary vision of future war.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Soviet Military Doctrine

Soviet Military Doctrine
Military doctrine is the system of views that a state holds at a given time on the purpose and character of war, on the preparation of the country and the armed forces for it, and also on the methods of waging it. Military doctrine has two aspects: the political and the military-technical. The former sets out the political purposes and character of war and the way in which these affect the development of the armed forces and the preparation of the country for war. The military-technical aspect deals with the methods of waging war, an organization of the armed forces, their technical equipment, and combat readiness.

The Soviet concept of military doctrine cannot be properly understood without reference to the concepts of military science and military art. Military science is defined as the system of knowledge about the character and laws of war, the preparation of the armed forces and the country for war, and the methods of waging it. Military art is the theory and practice of preparing and conducting military operations, and thus embraces strategy, operational art, and tactics.

Sokolovsky, Soviet Military Strategy (1962):
One of the important position of Soviet military doctrine is that a world war, if unleashed by the imperialists, will inevitably assume the nature of a nuclear-rocket war, i.e., a war in which the main means of destruction will be nuclear weapons, while the main means of delivering them to the target will be rockets...
It should be emphasized that, with the international relations existing under present-day conditions and the present level of development of military equipment, any armed conflict will inevitably escalate into a general nuclear war if the nuclear powers are drawn into this conflict.
The logic of war is such that if a war is unleashed by the aggressive circle of the United States, it will ultimately be transferred to the territory of the United States of America. All weapons—ICBMs, missiles from submarines, and other strategic weapons—will be used in this military conflict. ..
In order to achieve these decisive political and military goals with which the socialist coalition will be confronted in a future war, it is not nearly enough to destroy the enemy’s means of nuclear attack, to defeat his main forces by nuclear-rocket attacks, and to disorganize the interior. For final victory in this clearly-expressed class war, it will be absolutely necessary to bring about the complete defeat of the enemy’s armed forces, to deprive him of strategic bridgeheads, to liquidate his military bases, and to seize strategically important regions. Moreover, we must not allow enemy ground armies, air, and naval landing forces to invade the territories of the socialist countries; we must hold these territories; the internal security of the socialist countries must be protected from subversive actions of the aggressor. All these and a number of other problems can be solved only by the Ground Troops in cooperation with the other services of the Armed Forces.

Georgi Arbatov:
D├ętente is not a continuation of Cold War by other, more cautious and safer, means. It is a policy that, by its nature and objectives, as opposed to Cold War, and is aimed not at gaining victory in conflicts by means short of nuclear war, but at the settlement and prevention of conflicts, at lowering the level of military confrontation, and at the development of international cooperation

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Sleep of the Saved

Winston Churchill

While the United States was still reeling over the growing number of casualties and the destruction some of its mightiest battleships, Churchill saw an opportunity. The early years of World War II had been incredibly difficult for England, as Germany proved to be a brutal foe. The Nazis seemed unstoppable and the British forces weren’t far from defeat.

When news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor reached Churchill, he immediately realized what that meant; the United States would now have to take up arms. In his own words, written in a history of World War II, Churchill said he “went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved” that night.

All of the time he had spent trying to convince the United States into joining forces with the British against Germany finally looked like it would pay off. With a declaration of war on Japan, it was only a matter of time before the Axis powers forced the Americans into fighting in the European Theater as well. Per the terms of the Tripartite Pact, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States on December 11th, 1941. Thanks to the Japanese, the British finally got the powerful ally it had so desperately needed since the war first broke out.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Clausewitz: On War (Part-2)

Clausewitz: On War

The political object of war
The political object of the war had been rather overshadowed by the law of extremes, the will to overcome the enemy and make him powerless. But as this law begins to lose its force and as this determination wanes, the political aim will reassert itself. If it is all a calculation of probabilities based on given individuals and conditions, the political object, which was the original motive, must become an essential factor in the equation. The smaller the penalty

The political object-the original motive for the war-will thus determine both the military objective to be reached and the amount of effort it requires. The political object cannot, however, in itself provide the standard of measurement. Since we are dealing with realities, not with abstractions, it can do so only in the context of the two states at war. The same political object can elicit differing reactions from different peoples and even from the same people at different times. We can, therefore, take the political object as a standard only if we think of the influence it can exert upon the forces it is meant to move. The nature of those forces, therefore, calls for a study. Depending on whether their characteristics increase or diminish the drive toward a particular action, the outcome will vary. Between two peoples and two states, there can be such tensions, such a mass of inflammable material, that the slightest quarrel can produce a wholly disproportionate effect-a real explosion.

This is equally true of the efforts a political object is expected to arouse in either state and of the military objectives which their policies require. Sometimes the political and military objective is the same for example, the conquest of a province. In other cases, the political object will not provide a suitable military objective. In that event, another military objective must be adopted that will serve the political purpose and symbolize it in the peace negotiations. But here, too, attention must be paid to the character of each state involved. There are times when, if the political object is to be achieved, the substitute must be a good deal more important. The less involved the population and the less serious the strains within states and between them, the more political requirements in themselves will dominate and tend to be decisive. Situations can thus exist in which the political object will almost be the sole determinant.

Generally speaking, a military objective that matches the political object in scale will, if the latter is reduced, be reduced in proportion; this will be all the more so as the political object increases its predominance. Thus it follows that without any inconsistency wars can have all degrees of importance and intensity, ranging from a war of extermination down to simple armed observation. This brings us to a different question, which now needs to be analyzed and answered.

Only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble and that element is never absent
It is now quite clear how greatly the objective nature of war makes it a matter of assessing probabilities. Only one more element is needed to make war a gamble-chance: the very last thing that war lacks. No other human activity is so continuously or universally bound up with a chance. And through the element of chance, guesswork, and luck come to play a great part in the war. If we now consider briefly the subjective nature of war-the means by which war has to be fought-it will look more than ever like a gamble. The element in which war exists is the danger. The highest of all moral qualities in time of danger

Not only its objective but also its subjective nature makes war a gamble
If we now consider briefly the subjective nature of war-the means by which war has to be fought-it will look more than ever like a gamble. The element in which war exists is a danger. The highest of all moral qualities in time of danger is certainly courage. Now courage is perfectly compatible with prudent calculation but the two differ nonetheless and pertain to different If we now consider briefly the subjective nature of war-the means by which war has to be fought-it will look more than ever like a gamble. The element in which war exists is a danger. The highest of all moral qualities in time of danger is certainly courage. Now courage is perfectly compatible with prudent calculation but the two differ nonetheless and pertain to different psychological forces. Daring, on the other hand, boldness, rashness, trusting in luck is only variants of courage, and all these traits of character seek their proper element-chance.

In short, absolute, so-called mathematical, factors never find a firm basis in military calculations. From the very start, there is an interplay of possibilities, probabilities, good luck and bad that weaves its way throughout the length and breadth of the tapestry. In the whole range of human activities, a war most closely resembles a game of cards.

War is serious means to serious ends
Such is war; such is the commander who directs it, and such the theory that governs it. War is no pastime; it is no mere joy in daring and winning, no place for irresponsible enthusiasts. It is a serious means to a serious end, and all its colorful resemblance to a game of chance, all the vicissitudes of passion, courage, imagination, and enthusiasm it includes are merely its special characteristics.

When whole communities go to war-whole peoples, and especially civilized peoples-the reason always lies in some political situation, and the occasion is always due to some political object. War, therefore, is an act of policy. Were it a complete, untrammeled, absolute manifestation of violence (as the pure concept would require), war would of its own independent will usurp the place of policy the moment policy had brought it into being; it would then drive policy out of office and rule by the laws of its own nature, very much like a mine that can explode only in the manner or direction predetermined by the setting. This, in fact, is the view that has been taken of the matter whenever some discord between policy and the conduct of the war has stimulated theoretical distinctions of this kind. But in reality things are different, and this view is thoroughly mistaken. In reality, war, as has been shown, is not like that. Its violence is not of the kind that explodes in a single discharge but is the effect of forces that do not always develop in exactly the same manner or to the same degree. At times they will expand sufficiently to overcome the resistance of inertia or friction; at others, they are too weak to have any effect. War is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges its energy. War moves on its goal with varying speeds; but it always lasts long enough for influence to be exerted on the goal and for its own course to be changed in one way or another long enough, in other words, to remain subject to the action of a superior intelligence. If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.

That, however, does not imply that the political aim is a tyrant. It must adapt itself to its chosen means, a process which can radically change it; yet the political aim remains the first consideration. Policy, then, will permeate all military operations, and, in so far as their violent nature will admit, it will have a continuous influence on them.
We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy 

War is merely the continuation of policy by other means
We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means. The war in general, and the commander in any specific instance is entitled to require that the trend and designs of a policy shall not be inconsistent with these means. That, of course, is no small demand; but however much it may affect political aims in a given case, it will never do more than modify them. The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose.

Diverse nature of war

The more powerful and inspiring the motives for war, the more they affect the belligerent nations and the fiercer the tensions that precede the outbreak, the closer will war approach its abstract concept, the more important will be the destruction of the enemy, the more closely will the military aims and the political objects of war coincide, and the more military and less political will war appear to be. On the other hand, the less intense the motives, the less will the military element's natural tendency to violence coincide with political directives. As a result, war will be driven further from its natural course, the political object will be more and more at variance with the aim of ideal war, and the conflict will seem increasingly political in character.

At this point, to prevent the reader from going astray, it must be observed that the phrase, the natural tendency of war, is used in its philosophical, strictly logical sense alone and does not refer to the tendencies of the forces that are actually engaged in fighting-including, for instance, the moral and emotions of the combatants. At times, it is true, there might be so aroused that the political factor would be hard put to control them. Yet such a conflict will not occur very often, for if the motivations are so powerful there must be a policy of proportionate magnitude. On the other hand, if a policy is directed only toward minor objectives, the emotions of the masses will be little stirred and they will have to be stimulated rather than held back.

All wars can be considered as policy
It is time to return to the main theme and observe that while a policy is apparently effaced in the one kind of war and yet is strongly evident in the other, both kinds are equally political. If the state is thought of as a person, and policy as the product of its brain, then among the contingencies for which the state must be prepared is a war in which every element calls for policy to be eclipsed by violence. Only if politics is regarded not as resulting from a just appreciation of affairs, but as it conventionally is-as cautious, devious, even dishonest, shying away from force, could the second type of war appear to be more "political" than the first.

Clausewitz: On War (Part-1)

If one looks closely he will find that War is nothing but a duel on a larger scale. Countless duels go to make up war, but a picture of it as a whole can be formed by imagining a pair of wrestlers. Each tries through physical force to compel the other to do his will; his immediate aim is to throw his opponent in order to make him incapable of further resistance.

Clausewitz definition of warWar is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.
Force, to counter opposing force, equips itself with the inventions of art and science. Attached to force are certain self-imposed, imperceptible limitations hardly worth mentioning, known as international law and custom, but they scarcely weaken it. 

Force-that is, physical force, for moral force, has no existence save as expressed in the state and the law is thus the means of war; to impose your will on the enemy is its object. To secure that object we must render the enemy powerless; and that, in theory, is the true aim of warfare. That aim takes the place of the object, discarding it as something not actually part of war itself. 

The maximum use of force

Kind-hearted people might, of course, think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds; it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst. The maximum use of force is in no way incompatible with the simultaneous use of the intellect. If one side uses force without compunction, undeterred by the bloodshed it involves, while the other side refrains, the first will gain the upper hand. That side will force the other to follow suit; each will drive its opponent toward extremes, and the only limiting factors are the counterpoises inherent in war

This is how the matter must be seen. It would be futile-even wrong to try and shut one's eyes to what war really is from sheer distress at its brutality. 

If wars between civilized nations are far less cruel and destructive than wars between savages, the reason lies in the social conditions of the states themselves and in their relationships to one another. These are the forces that give rise to war; the same forces circumscribe and moderate it. They themselves, however, are not part of the war; they already exist before the fighting starts. To introduce the principle of moderation into the theory of war it would always lead to logical absurdity. 

Two different motives make men fight one another: hostile feelings and hostile intentions. Our defi
nition is based on the latter since it is the universal element. Even the most savage, almost instinctive, a passion of hatred cannot be conceived as existing without hostile intent; but hostile intentions are often unaccompanied by any sort of hostile feelings-at least by none that predominate. Savage peoples are ruled by passion, civilized peoples of the mind. The difference, however, lies not in the respective natures of savagery and civilization, but in their attendant circumstances, institutions, and so forth. The difference, therefore, does not operate in every case, but it does in most of them. Even the most civilized of peoples, in short, can be fired with a passionate hatred for each other. 

The aim is to disarm the enemy
The aim of warfare is to disarm the enemy and it is time to show that, at least in theory, this is bound to be so. If the enemy is to be coerced you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of that situation must not, of course, be merely transient-at least not in appearance. Otherwise, the enemy would not give in but would wait for things to improve. Any change that might be brought about by continuing hostilities must then, at least in theory, is of a kind to bring the enemy still greater disadvantages. The worst of all conditions in which a belligerent can find himself is to be utterly defenseless. Consequently, if you are to force the enemy, by making war on him, to do your bidding, you must either make him literally defenseless or at least put him in a position that makes this danger probable. It follows, then, that to overcome the enemy, or disarm him--call it what you will-must always be the aim of warfare.

The maximum exertion on strength
If you want to overcome your enemy you must match your effort against his power of resistance, which can be expressed as the product of two inseparable factors, viz. the total means at his disposal and the strength of his will. The extent of the means at his disposal is a matter-though not exclusively—of figures, and should be measurable. But the strength of his will is much less easy to determine and can only be gauged approximately by the strength of the motive animating it. Assuming you arrive in this way at a reasonably accurate estimate of the enemy's power of resistance, you can adjust your own efforts accordingly; that is, you can either increase them until they surpass the enemy's or, if this is beyond your means, you can make your efforts as great as possible. But the enemy will do the same; competition will again result and, in pure theory, it must again force you both to extremes.

War is never an isolated event
As to the first of these conditions, it must be remembered that neither opponent is an abstract person to the other, not even to the extent of that factor in the power of resistance, namely the will, which is dependent on externals. The will is not a wholly unknown factor; we can base a forecast of its state tomorrow on what it is today. War never breaks out wholly unexpectedly, nor can it be spread instantaneously. Each side can, therefore, gauge the other to a large extent by what he is and instead of judging him by what he, strictly speaking, ought to be or do. Man and his affairs. however, are always something short of perfect and will never quite achieve the absolute best. Such shortcomings affect both sides alike and therefore constitute a moderating force.

War does not consist of a single short blow
The second condition calls for the following remarks: If war consisted of one decisive act, or of a set of simultaneous decisions, preparations would tend toward totality, for no omission could ever be rectified. The sole criterion for preparations which the world of reality could provide would be the measures taken by the adversary-so far as they are known; the rest would once more be reduced to abstract calculations. But if the decision in war consists of several successive acts, then each of them, seen in context, will provide a gauge for those that follow. Here again, the abstract world is ousted by the real one and the trend to the extreme is thereby moderated.

But, of course, if all the means available were, or could be, simultaneously employed, all wars would automatically be confined to a single decisive act or a set of simultaneous ones-the reason being that any adverse decision must reduce the sum of the means available, and if all had been committed in the first act there could really be no question of a second. Any subsequent military operation would virtually be part of the first-in other words, merely
an extension of it.

Yet, as I showed above, as soon as preparations for a war begin, the world of reality takes over from the world of abstract thought; material calculations take the place of hypothetical extremes and if for no other reason, the interaction of the two sides tends to fall short of maximum effort. Their full resources will therefore not be mobilized immediately.

Besides, the very nature of those resources and of their employment means they cannot all be deployed at the same moment. The resources in question are the fighting forces proper, the country, with its physical features and population, and its allies.

The country-its physical features and population-is more than just the source of all armed forces proper; it is in itself an integral element among the factors at work in war-though only that part which is the actual theater of operations or has a notable influence on it.

It is possible, no doubt, to use all mobile fighting forces simultaneously; but with fortresses, rivers, mountains, inhabitants, and so forth, that cannot be done; not, in short, with the country as a whole, unless it is so small that the opening act of the war completely engulfs it. Furthermore, allies do not cooperate at the mere desire of those who are actively engaged in fighting; international relations being what they are, such cooperation is often furnished only at some later stage or increased only when a balance has been disturbed and needs correction.

In many cases, the proportion of the means of resistance that cannot immediately be brought to bear is much higher than might at first be thought. Even when great strength has been expended on the first decision and the balance has been badly upset, equilibrium can be restored. The point will be more fully treated in due course. At this stage it is enough to show that the very nature of war impedes the simultaneous concentration of all forces, To be sure, that fact in itself cannot be grounds for making any but a maximum effort to obtain the first decision, for a defeat is always a disadvantage no one would deliberately risk. And even if the first clash is not the only one, the influence it has on subsequent actions will be on a scale proportionate to its own. But it is contrary to human nature to make an extreme effort, and the tendency, therefore, is always to plead that a decision may be possible later on. As a result, for the first decision, effort and concentration of forces are not all they might be. Anything omitted out of weakness by one side becomes a real, objective reason for the other to reduce its efforts, and the tendency toward extremes is once again reduced by this interaction.

Therefore only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble and that element is never absent

It is now quite clear how greatly the objective nature of war makes it a matter of assessing probabilities. Only one more element is needed to make war a gamble-chance: the very last thing that war lacks. No other human activity is so continuously or universally bound up with a chance. And through the element of chance, guesswork, and luck come to play a great part in the war.

In war, the result is never final

Lastly, even the ultimate outcome of a war is not always to be regarded as final. The defeated state often considers the outcome merely as a transitory evil, for which a remedy may still be found in political conditions at some later date. It is obvious how this, too, can slacken tension and reduce the vigor of the effort.


Following article is the excerpt from Clausewitz's ON WAR

Rise Of Air Power

In a world, wherein human strides and conflicts continue to endure, it has only been natural that most of man's otherwise innocuous inve...