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This article describes three distinct, but related terms: military operations, Operations as military events, and operational level of war.

Contents

Military operations

Military operations are the coordinated military actions of a state in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state's favour. Operations may be of combat or non-combat types, and are referred to by a code name for the purpose of security. Military operations are often known for their more generally accepted common usage names then their actual operational objectives.

Parallel to and reflecting this framework for operations are organized elements within the armed forces which prepare for and conduct operations at various levels of war. While there is a general correlation between the size of units, the area within which they operate, and the scope of mission they perform, the correlation is not absolute. In fact, it is ultimately the mission that a unit performs that determines the level of war within which it operates.[1]

Military operations can be classified by the scale and scope of force employment, and their impact on the wider conflict. The scope of military operations can be:

  • Theatre: this describes an operation over a large, often continental area of operation and represents a strategic national commitment to the conflict such as Operation Barbarossa, with general goals that encompass areas of consideration outside of the military such as the economic and political impacts.
  • Campaign: this describes either a subset of the theatre operation, or a more limited geographic and operational strategic commitment such as Battle of Britain, and need not represent total national commitment to a conflict, or have broader goals outside of the military impacts.
  • Operational battle: this describes a subset of a campaign that will have specific military goals and geographic objectives, as well as clearly defined use of forces such as the Battle of Gallipoli, which operationally was a combined arms operation originally known as the "Dardanelles landings" as part of the Dardanelles Campaign, where about 480,000 Allied troops took part.
  • Engagement: this describes a tactical combat event of contest for specific area or objective by actions of distinct units. For example the Battle of Kursk, also known from its German designation as Operation Citadel, included many separate engagements, several of which were combined into the Battle of Prokhorovka. The "Battle of Kursk" in addition to describing the initial German offensive operation (or simply an offensive), also included two Soviet counter-offensive operations Operation Kutuzov and Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev.

Operational level of war

The operational level of war occupies roughly the middle ground between the campaign's strategic focus and the tactics of an engagement. It describes "a distinct intermediate level of war between military strategy, governing war in general, and tactics, involving individual battles."[2] For example during World War II the concept applied to use of Soviet Tank Armies.[3]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Glantz, Soviet Military Operational Art, p.46.
  2. ^ Glantz, Soviet Military Operational Art, p.10.
  3. ^ Armstrong, Red Army Tank Commanders, p.13.

References

  • Armstrong, Richard N. Red Army Tank Commanders: The Armored Guards. Atglen, Penn.: Schiffer Military History, 1994. ISBN 0887405819.
  • Glantz, David M. Soviet Military Operational Art: In Pursuit of Deep Battle. London; Portland, Or.: Frank Cass, 1991. ISBN 0714633623, ISBN 0714640778.
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