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Title: Aachen to Hue : the evolution of U.S. military capabilities in the urban environment from World War Two to Vietnam
Author: Wahlmann , Alec
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 759X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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For the last several centuries, the twentieth in particular, two historical trends have been on conflicting paths. In an increasingly urbanized world urban terrain has become a greater factor in military operations. Simultaneously, advances in military technology have given military forces sharply increased capabilities. The conflict comes from how urban terrain can negate or degrade many of those increased capabilities.: This study explores that intersection of urbanization and improving military capabilities by analyzing the performance of the US Army and US Marine Corps in urban combat in the mid-twentieth century. The American military makes a useful study subject because of its aggressive adoption of advanced military technology. American tactical performance is analyzed in four major urban battles (Aachen 1944, Manila 1945, Seoul 1950, Hue 1968), providing a sample set across three wars and two decades. Each battle is assessed using a similar framework of capability categories, and separate chapters address urban warfare in American military thought. A central three- part question is asked. When the need arose to fight in urban terrain in the mid- twentieth century, how effective were US forces, why, and how did that performance changefrom World War Two to Vietnam? In the four battles, across 'a wide range of conditions, American forces were ultimately successful in capturing each city. Despite an overall lack of preparation for or experience in urban warfare, that performance can be traced back to two key factors: transferable competence and battlefield adaptation. The preparations US forces made for warfare writ large proved generally applicable to urban warfare. Battlefield adaptation, a strong suit of American forces, filled in where those overall preparations for combat needed fine tuning. From World War Two to Vietnam, however, there was a gradual reduction in tactical performance in the four battles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available