B. H. Liddell Hart - Wikipedia
Get this from a library! Strategy the indirect approach. [Basil Henry Liddell Hart, Sir]. Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (31 October – 29 January ), commonly known . As Prime Minister in , Chamberlain placed Liddell Hart in a position of influence behind British grand strategy of the late thirties. . ; The strategy of indirect approach (, reprinted in under the title: The way to win wars). A second important feature of Liddell Hart's indirect approach is how it . up-to- date information, which may cause tactical and/or strategic mistakes. .. Basil Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (New York: Putnam, ),
If Yamamoto's powerful battleships had been there, then they could have screened Nagumo's carriers from American attacks and destroyed many of the American planes with their immense firepower. There would have been no strong rationale for dispersion, as the benefits of surprise would have been devalued. The final consequential mistake made by the Japanese was the Aleutian diversion. Seeing that the Americans knew the main target of the Japanese operation was not the Aleutian Islands, the Americans did not let the attack distract their attention from where the true battle would be.
While the two carriers sent to the Aleutians did not have the capability to launch torpedo attack planes, they would have brought more Zeros a powerful type of long-range fighter plane to the battle, which would have enhanced Nagumo's ability to fend off American attack planes and provided his own attack planes with valuable escorts. There would have been no strong logic for diversion, as the benefits of surprise would have been devalued and more force would have been wanted for the main attack on Midway.
When all was said and done, in just over a day, the Japanese lost all four of Nagumo's carriers, while the Americans lost only one carrier, the Yorktown. The Battle of Midway was not just a failure for the Japanese; it was a catastrophe that probably sealed their fate. In fact, it can end in humiliating defeat. However, it did not have to be that way for the Japanese. According to naval intelligence officer and WWII historian Dallas Woodbury Isom, if they had concentrated their strength and kept their eye on the real prize, which was the American carrier fleet, they most likely would have won the battle, albeit by a small margin.
The result was that the American forces were able to physically dislocate Japan by positioning themselves against a vulnerable point of the Japanese fleet, and psychologically dislocate them by achieving surprise. The indirect approach failed the Japanese at Midway, and they paid dearly for it. Alternative Explanations While I have argued that Japan utilized an indirect approach at the Battle of Midway, that this strategy failed miserably to achieve victory, and that Japan would have been better off adopting a more direct approach, it is essential to consider alternative explanations to my argument.
One such alternative explanation could be that Japan did not actually adopt a "true" indirect approach at Midway, as Liddell Hart has asserted. Nevertheless, I believe there are at least two convincing reasons to reject this potential criticism. The first is that even if the Japanese did not follow the exact letter of the indirect approach if such a thing can even be ascertainedit clearly adhered to the essential spirit of the indirect approach and embraced many of its preferred tactics.
This should be clear from the discussion above. The second reason to reject this criticism is that, if taken too far, it can bring us perilously close to circular reasoning: For example, a critic might argue that Japan should have better secured their communications to prevent the Americans from intercepting them. Or, perhaps the Japanese should have developed an enhanced intelligence-gathering system that would have revealed that the U.
The problem with these arguments is that the fog of war, combined with general human limitations, means that lack of good information is ubiquitous in conflict. In other words, this problem is not just limited to the Japanese during WWII, but is a more general issue with the logic of the indirect approach. Consequently, the indirect approach's assumption that actors can find the path of least expectation can be wildly optimistic in many cases.
In line with this second alternative explanation, a critic might argue that the indirect approach only failed in this case because of the mental mistakes made by Yamamoto and Nagumo after the plan had been set in motion. There is certainly some evidence for this criticism, as the mental errors made by Yamamoto and Nagumo were undoubtedly an important factor in the Battle. Furthermore, in hindsight there were warning signs that Yamamoto and Nagumo could have recognized.
Strategy the indirect approach (eBook, ) [negeriku.info]
If not for human error, then Yamamoto would have alerted Nagumo that the operation was no longer a surprise and Nagumo would never have refitted his planes with land bombs. However, it is important to remember that the argument in the theoretical section regarding secrecy is about how employing an indirect approach can increase the likelihood of human error! In the case of Midway, Japan's adoption of the indirect approach meant that Yamamoto and Nagumo were so focused on achieving surprise that they were willing to overlook the warning signs in order to maintain it.
The need for secrecy led to a lack of coordination, which then caused an increase in the likelihood and incidence of human error. If they had instead adopted a direct approach that put little value on surprise, then the need for secrecy would have been diminished and the human error associated with a lack of coordination would have been lessened.
A fourth alternative explanation is that the Japanese did employ an indirect approach and it did fail to lead to victory, but that the Japanese also would have failed if they used a direct approach.
The main piece of evidence for this argument likely would be that whether or not the Japanese had chosen to use an indirect approach, the Americans probably would have intercepted their communications and roughly known their plans.
While it is impossible to know exactly how this counter-factual situation would have played out, there are several advantages the Japanese would have obtained from adopting an optimal direct approach. First, they would not have had to prioritize secrecy, and so they could have avoided Nagumo's decision to re-arm his planes with land bombs. Second, there would have been no need to disperse the fleet, and thus Yamamoto would have been able to bring his powerful battleships into the fight.
The third reason is that there would have been no need for the Aleutian diversion, and therefore the Japanese would have had those carriers and their planes available for the Battle as well. Though it is possible the U. The final alternative explanation that will be explored here relates to the external validity of the Battle of Midway.
Since this is only one case, we cannot learn from it whether most attempts at the indirect approach lead to victory or defeat, or whether for most battles, adopting a direct approach is preferable to other strategies. It may be that this case is an extreme outlier and that in almost all other cases the indirect approach is the optimal military strategy and leads to victory.
It may also be possible that Midway is a mild outlier and that the indirect approach is the optimal military strategy and leads to victory a majority of the time, but there is a significant minority of instances where it is unsuccessful. We cannot really know unless additional cases are examined in-depth.
Furthermore, this potential weakness of the paper is bolstered by the many notable historical cases where surprise was utilized to great effect e.
However, this limitation should not significantly diminish the results of this paper for a few reasons. First, this paper only makes limited claims, and thus its internal argument would not be invalidated even if Midway is a mild or extreme outlier.
Second, we should probably expect to see lots of cases of successful surprise in the historical record, as indirect approach strategies are more likely to be adopted when the problems described in the previous section are less severe i. Conclusion The purpose of this paper has not been to argue that the indirect approach is a terrible strategy that never leads to victory.
The indirect approach provides many valuable insights, and there are certainly many historical cases that demonstrate its utility. In fact, one might even consider the American strategy at Midway a kind of indirect approach.
The real aim of this paper has been to demonstrate that the indirect approach does not always succeed on the battlefield, and to point out that it can fail due to its assumption that actors have accurate and ample information, and that the benefits of surprise outweigh the costs of the methods used to achieve it.
Therefore, in deciding whether or not to utilize surprise, truly great military strategists carefully weigh its advantages and disadvantages in each case. In some situations, the disadvantages may surpass the advantages, and a more direct approach may lead to better results. He recently graduated from The George Washington University, where he conducted this research as a student majoring in Economics and Political Science.
References Biddle, Stephen A Study of Men, Weapons and Theories. A Study of his Military Thought. World War II at Sea. Clausewitz, Carl von Fuchida, Mitsuo and Masatake Okumiya Isom, Dallas Woodbury Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway.
Toward a Broader Definition.
Strategy the indirect approach
Liddell Hart, Basil History of the Second World War. The Logic of War and Peace. The Battle of Midway. The Art of War. Translated by Samuel B. Endnotes Joshua Schwartz is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Political Science.
Brian Bond, Liddell Hart: A Study of his Military Thought London: Paul Kennedy New Haven: Yale University Press, Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans.
In he became a lawn tennis correspondent and assistant military correspondent for the Morning Post covering Wimbledon and in publishing a collection of his tennis writings as The Lawn Tennis Masters Unveiled. In the mid to late twenties Liddell Hart wrote a series of histories of major military figures, through which he advanced his ideas that the frontal assault was a strategy that was bound to fail at great cost in lives.
He argued that the tremendous losses Britain suffered in the Great War were due to her commanding officers not appreciating this fact of history. He believed the British decision in to directly intervene on the Continent with a great army was a mistake. He claimed that historically "the British way in warfare" was to leave Continental land battles to her allies, intervening only through naval power, with the army fighting the enemy away from its principal front in a "limited liability".
He described them as "tank marines" like the soldiers the Royal Navy carried with their ships. He proposed they be carried along in their own tracked vehicles and dismount to help take better-defended positions that otherwise would hold up the armoured units. This contrasted with Fuller's ideas of a tank army, which put heavy emphasis on massed armoured formations.
Liddell Hart foresaw the need for a combined arms force with mobile infantry and artillery, which was similar but not identical to the make-up of the panzer divisions that Guderian developed in Germany. He further theorised that Britain could pursue to defeat her enemies while avoiding the high casualties and limited influence that Britain could impart by placing a large conscript army on the Continent.
Through July the two had an unofficial, close advisory relationship. Liddell Hart provided Hore-Belisha with ideas that he would argue for in Cabinet or committees. Hore-Belisha wrote in reply: I am impressed by his general theories". With Europe on the brink of war and Germany threatening an invasion of Poland, the cabinet chose instead to advocate a British and Imperial army of 55 divisions, for intervention on the Continent to come to the aid of Poland, Norway and France.
Liddell Hart provided commentary on their outlook. A few years later Liddell Hart had the opportunity to review the notes that Erwin Rommel had kept during the war.
Rommel had kept these notes with the intention of writing of his experiences after the war; the Rommel family had previously published these notes in German as War without Hate in Some of the notes had been destroyed by Rommel and the rest including Rommel's letters to his wife had been confiscated by the American authorities.
With Liddell Hart's help, these were later returned to Rommel's widow. Liddell Hart then edited and condensed the book and helped integrate the new material.
The writings, along with notes and commentary by former general Fritz Bayerlein and Liddell Hart were published in as The Rommel Papers. Fuller and from his own, and that it used them against the United Kingdom and its allies — with the practice of what became known as Blitzkrieg warfare.
During the post-war debriefs of the former Wehrmacht generals, Liddell Hart attempted to tease out his influence on their war practices. Following these interviews, many of the generals claimed that Liddell Hart had been an influence on their strategies, something that had not been claimed previously nor has any contemporary, pre-war, documentation been found to support their claims.
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