Accession Number : ADA195665

Title :   Operational Reserves - Renewing the Offensive Spirit,

Corporate Author : ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES

Personal Author(s) : Gregory, Charles R

PDF Url : ADA195665

Report Date : 06 Apr 1988

Pagination or Media Count : 52

Abstract : This paper determines if operational commanders should retain reserves during offensive operations. It examines what Clausewitz, Jominl, and other theorists wrote on the subject. Then it looks at three historical examples, the British during the Battle of the Irrawaddy, the Germans during the Battle of Northern Flanders and France, and the Americans during the Battle of the Bulge to discern lessons that can apply to the use of operational reserves in the future. The paper concludes with missions of operational reserves and considerations for employment during offensive operations. Clausewitz recognized the need for tactical reserves, but was concerned that if commanders retained operational reserves they might husband them and lose the battle. Jomini and other theorists studied in the paper were definitely in favor of commanders at all levels retaining reserves. The paper concludes that Clausewitz was not against operational commanders retaining reserves, but he was concerned with how these reserves were employed. From the three cases studies, the paper discerns six lessons: 1) During offensive operations, reserves should be used to reinforce the main effort; 2) An operational commander who has a reserve must not husband that reserve at the expense of the battle; 3) If a commander does not have the forces to form a reserve, a consideration is to pull it from less threatened sectors; 4) Reserves should not be employed piecemeal, they should be concentrated at decisive points; 5) The threat of reserves can cause an opposing force to design its operations to counter the perceived threat; 6) Reserves should not be constituted or reconstituted at the expense of winning the battle. (sdw)

Descriptors :   *MILITARY COMMANDERS, *MILITARY RESERVES, ATTACK, BATTLES, BULGING, COSTS, GERMANY(EAST AND WEST), MILITARY OPERATIONS, PERSONNEL

Subject Categories : Personnel Management and Labor Relations
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE