Maneuvers & Sanctuaries

by Gen Raymond G. Davis

I read with great personal interest the piece by William S. Lind and note with pleasure that his judgment on Marines and maneuver warfare has matured. A few short years back he castigated us unmercifully in The Washington Post.

It now appears that, as we suggested, he educated himself on the facts about our mobility and maneuver in Korea and in Vietnam. The early years in Korea and late in the Vietnam War saw maneuver used as strategic and tactical innovations with unparalleled success. Success, that is, up to the point where political decisions gave sanctuary to enemy forces behind arbitrarily drawn lines.

Once the enemy gained protection in sanctuaries he had all the choices-when and where to attack us. We could only react to push him back. Then when he was hurt he fled back into safe areas.

Rarely could enemy forces be decisively defeated and destroyed because political lines prevented our deep penetration into his rear or on his flanks.

In Vietnam our “high mobility” innovations gained success in trapping enemy outside their safe areas, but only because our small stealth patrols could provide concise information on enemy movements.

Possibly Mr. Lind could “run interference” for the military in efforts to limit the adverse and costly effects of sanctuaries. Documentation of the extreme costs to us in Korea and Vietnam could be most helpful.

by 1stLt John R. Studt

I especially enjoyed reading Mr. Lind’s Misconceptions of Maneuver Warfare. He seems to have addressed many of the most common arguments that are heard concerning “maneuver warfare.” Whether Mr. Lind’s ideas and words will ever be completely accepted by the Marine Corps remains to be seen. But, as a junior officer, I find his articles thought provoking and fascinating. It’s too bad that the Corps doesn’t utilize him more fully.