Extending the Battlefield

The second oldest article in this box I was about to throw away is called “Extending the Battlefield” by General Donn A. Starry, US Army. It is dated March 1981 from the Military Review. It is 20 pages long.

Its primary focus is on deep strike. It states 1) First, deep strike is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity to winning, 2) Second, deep strike, particular in an environment of scarce acquisition and strike assets, must be tightly coordinated over time with the decisive close-in battle…3) Third, it is important to consider now the number of systems entering the force in the near and middle-term future….4) Finally, the concept is designed to be the unifying idea which pulled all these emerging capabilities together so that, together, they can allow us to realize their full combined potential for winning.

This was an approach specifically oriented towards engaging the Soviet second echelon. I was never much of a fan of deep strike, as I sort of felt you probably wanted to engage the first echelon first….and could worry about the second echelon later. A reading of my Kursk book (in case you have the time) clearly shows the limitations of the Soviet two-echelon system of fighting. It did tend to lead to piecemeal attacks.

I met General Starry once. My father worked for him in the Pentagon and during a family visit during the Christmas party, he came down to say Merry Christmas to all the people working in the basement of the building. I happened to be there, and was applying to West Point (U.S. Military Academy) at the time. He sat down and had a half-hour talk with me about why someone should or should not attend West Point. It was nice gesture on his part.

I guess I will keep this article also.

 

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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