The Evolution of Operational Warfare
This book completes the set started by The Quest for Decisive Victory, tracin operational warfare during the 20th Century. Like the first, it hits the major wars but adds in some new examples that may perhaps be less well known – like the Indo-Pakistan War in 1971.
It also showcases the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s as an example of operational failure. Interestingly Vietnam gets mixed reviews. The set-piece battles show that the US could still match up in conventional battle, but the rest of the war shows deficiencies in the strategic goals and tactical methods in play. In a way it was similar to the Germans in the USSR in World War II – the operational wins couldn’t save the situation that the lack of planning put the troops into. In the case of Vietnam winning the guerrilla war would have taken more intensive use forces on the ground and thus more losses and likely even extending the conflict beyond the borders of South Vietnam. This was something that the country wasn’t willing to do.
There’s even a quick overview of the war that never happened – a Soviet offensive in Germany in the 70s or 80s. Missing that one was a good thing for both sides.
Together, the two books make a great survey of the conflicts of the century and where things went right or wrong and why.