Soviet operational art and the airland battle : the influence of Soviet operational warfare on American doctrine : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies at Massey University
This thesis examines the development of Soviet and American operational thought. It investigates the development of the Soviet operational paradigm during the early 1920s and follows further Soviet development into the 1980s. It then studies the US Army's development of the operational level and suggests reasons for the relatively late development of American operational thought. It goes on to establish the influence of Red Army operational thought and practice on the development, and nature of US Army doctrine. It does this by comparative analysis of the Soviet 1936 Provisional Field Regulations for the Red Army and the American 1993 Field Manual (FM) 100-5 Operations. The thesis concludes that the strategically defensive nature of American doctrine and the historically tactical emphasis of the US Army slowed American recognition of the operational level, and its application, operational art. American recent historical experience also played a large part in this. A more significant conclusion is that Soviet, and especially Red Army doctrine and practice had a large impact on the formulation and eventual nature of American operational doctrine. American operational thought crystallised due to the threat of a major conflict against the Soviet Union and its allies in Europe during the Cold War. This was helped by the thorough study of Soviet historical and contemporary operational thought, by organisations and individuals both within and without the US Army.