Don’t Forget FMFM 1

by Capt Stephen K. Bollinger, USMCR

Maj Szelowski’s article “Iraq’s Defense of Kuwait and the Battle of Kursk” in the January issue of the Gazette was very interesting, informative, and to some extent disturbing.

It is disturbing, of course, to think that many lives could be sacrificed by having Marines strike directly at the heart of Iraqi defenses. But also disturbing is the implication that if we do not apply maneuver warfare concepts at the strategic level, we cannot do so at the tactical level.

If the Marine Corps is called upon to frontally assault Iraq’s defenses in Kuwait, it is important for all of us to remember that maneuver warfare is a way of thinking that looks for and creates gaps and avoids surfaces in enemy defenses. It looks for the most cost-effective way to destroy the enemy. That thinking can and must be applied at the tactical level of warfare, perhaps especially in siege-type situations. To beat trench warfare in World War I, the Germans developed their very successful infiltration tactics. And Rommel as a lieutenant applied it in the Italian Alps with great effect.

In my opinion it is critically important now to remember to apply the tenets of maneuver warfare, to think like a maneuverist wherever possible, no matter how restrictive the tactical challenge presented.