New PDF release: Air power and maneuver warfare

By Martin van Creveld, Kenneth S Brower, Steven L Canby, Air University Press

ISBN-10: 1585660507

ISBN-13: 9781585660506

268 pages - Manneuver war in motion - Germany - Russia - pictures - Israel - Air strength in Nineteen Nineties

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In fact, it is nothing of the kind; rather, following ideas familiar to all great commanders (though most clearly expressed by the Chinese writer Sun Tzu), it is based on the way we perceive the enemy and, by implication, the nature of our duel with him. Its starting premise is that the enemy resembles us . Therefore, he needs to be approached not as an assembly of "targets" to be destroyed one by one but as a living, intelligent entity capable of acting and reacting. Simple as that idea may be, we have seen how, in the field of operations and logistics alike, this way of looking at the enemy leads to concepts and methods that are radically different from those of attrition warfare and, in some cases, counterintuitive .

In essence, the problem consists not so much of gaining a battle as turning a victory into a decisive one by preventing the enemy from making good his retreat. Thus, the use of space and time in order to bring about not just a battle but a decisive battle stood at the heart of the German method of making war . In modern English, the system of movements that this involves is known as maneuver; the Germans themselves called it operieren. This is not to say that it was original with them. Like everybody else, they received the idea of war as a series of operations directed into the enemy's rear from Napoleon by way of Antoine Jomini and Clausewitz and, after them, a whole bevy of lesser luminaries .

Luftflotte 3 under General Sperrle was detailed to support the critical Army Group A. In numbers of combat aircraft (fighters, bombers, and ground support), the two forces together outnumbered the Allies 2,474 to 2,196 (another 850 first-line combat aircraft, including all of the excellent Spitfire squadrons, were kept back in England). 59 The quality of the bombers on both sides was roughly equal ; however, the German Me-109 fighter enjoyed a clear edge over all but the relatively few French Dewoitine 520s and British Hurricanes that were available.

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Air power and maneuver warfare by Martin van Creveld, Kenneth S Brower, Steven L Canby, Air University Press


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