Maneuver Warfare

By Capt G.I. Wilson, USMCR

MajGen Trainer’s remarks on modern warfare (GAZETTE, Dec80/ Apr81) are convincing, a movement in the right direction, and basically in concert with Bill Lind’s maneuver warfare thinking (GAZETTE, Mar80/ Apr81). . . However, Lind does point out a very basic flaw in the [Trainor] approach to C^sup 3^. Higher level of commands must relinquish subordinate combat commanders from the micromanagement grip of high technology C^sup 3^. We don’t need generals or presidents talking to squad leaders which sophisticated electronics allows us to do with high technology C^sup 3^.

Unless there is an increased reliance on mission order tactics and enhanced trust in subordinates at all levels, the high technology C^sup 3^ will serve only to unwittingly strangle the initiative of combat commanders and subordinates. This is not to say that combat elements will be allowed to run wildly over the battlefield-a true understanding of mission order tactics clearly precludes this. A balance needs to be struck between high technology C^sup 3^ and combat effective C^sup 3^. This can be accomplished by keeping in mind that initiative and maneuverability will be a premium on any battlefield and essential to maneuver warfare. This is a sharp departure from MajGen Trainor’s handling of C^sup 3^, but it is a necessary one. Bill Lind appears to be correct in his approach to C^sup 3^ advocating combat effective C^sup 3^ in contrast to high technology C^sup 3^. . . .

Effective employment of maneuver warfare will depend primarily on the interaction of several factors: (1) reconnaissance/counterreconnaissance effort, (2) mission order tactics, (3) Schwerpunct, (4) extensive training, (5) reliance upon and trust in subordinates, (6) maximum and effective use of artillery, and (7) flexible logistic systems with a fuel-it-fix-itforward thinking. It must be emphasized, however, that these are only factors requiring interaction, not a cookbook formula for maneuver warfare.