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Title: Operational art and the Narva Front 1944, Sinimäed and campaign planning
Author: Del Gaudio, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 1434
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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There is much written history for the military professional to read, but little is of value to his education. While many works are often wonderful reading, they are too broad or narrow in scope, often lacking the context to be used for serious study by professional soldiers. This work was written with two audiences in mind; my colleagues in the academic world, along with my many comrades who are professional soldiers. The present work was originally conceived as a contribution to historical literature on the subject of military education. More specifically, it was to be an exploration of the concept of operational art and the manner in which planning was doctrinally conducted to articulate battle on the Eastern Front in the Second World War. Any study of war devoid of the theory and doctrine of the period would be of little use to academics and military professionals alike. By the same token, it is often necessary for an author to relate the unfamiliar feelings of combat to a reader in order to give the perspective needed to understand war. Military professionals should study history to become better decision makers. Peter Paret best explained the role of history in relation to military professionals or historians when he said, “ By opening up the past for us, history added to the fund of knowledge that we can acquire directly and also made possible universal concepts and generalizations across time. To enable history to do this, the historian must be objective or as Clausewitz would have said- "as scientific or philosophical as possible.” Decision making must be looked at through the lens of what Clausewitz called “critical analysis." Clausewitz sought to answer the question of “why” something happened in terms of cause and effect. A decisions being examined can only be understood if we know something of the character of the man who made it. These thoughts together provide the foundation on which greater understanding of the art and science of war is built, thus giving the military professional the tools to deconstruct a decision in terms of the problem historically in time and space. This facilitates a greater appreciation and understanding of his trade. The “reenacting process” allows scholars and professional soldiers to reconstruct problems in terms of the terrain and material used during the period; giving a clearer view into the heart of the problem. As students of the art and science of war, we must make every effort to morally, mentally and physically put ourselves in a position to understand why leaders made the decisions they did. While the sheer terror of combat can never be properly replicated, our studies must find a way to understand them. The English language, or any language for that matter has a poor ability to explain in words, written or spoken, the horror of war. War is not just the extension of policy by other means, it is a societal interaction where human beings struggle within the phenomenon called war. We must understand war to be a human activity, thus a social affair. Grasping human emotions, we see events capable of motivating or terrifying combatants in the lonely hours with the extreme violence typical of combat. In this light, we correctly educate ourselves about the true nature of war. War studied at the strategic, operational or tactical-levels should always consider decisions made, particularly in terms of their moral, mental and physical properties. Common elements to the offense or defense are the weather and terrain being fought on. While the weather will ultimately affect each differently, weather has the ability to complicate terrain in ways man to this day cannot conquer. The following pages reflect a military professional’s understanding of the events at Leningrad, Narva and Sinimäed from 68 years ago. Understanding of these events was achieved through German plan for Operation BLAU. An examination of this and other operational-level documents has yielded a tremendous understanding of how the Germans envisioned the retrograde of their forces into the Baltic states. It brings the author joy to know this work can be used to explain the monumental events and sacrifices of others. To this end, I have made my finest attempt.
Supervisor: Foley, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D History (General)