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An offensive is a military operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to occupy territory, gain an objective or achieve some larger strategic, operational, or tactical goal. Another term for an offensive often used by the media is 'invasion', or the more general 'attack'.
A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor. Operations may be of a combat or non-combat nature and may be referred to by a code name for the purpose of national security. Military operations are often known for their more generally accepted common usage names than their actual operational objectives.
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek word strategos, the term strategy, when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", or "'the art of arrangement" of troops. Military strategy deals with the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement and disposition of forces, and the deception of the enemy.
Military tactics encompasses the art of organising and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield. They involve the application of four battlefield functions which are closely related – kinetic or firepower, mobility, protection or security, and shock action. Tactics are a separate function from command and control and logistics. In contemporary military science, tactics are the lowest of three levels of warfighting, the higher levels being the strategic and operational levels. Throughout history, there has been a shifting balance between the four tactical functions, generally based on the application of military technology, which has led to one or more of the tactical functions being dominant for a period of time, usually accompanied by the dominance of an associated fighting arm deployed on the battlefield, such as infantry, artillery, cavalry or tanks.
The offensive was considered a pre-eminent means of producing victory, although with the recognition of a defensive phase at some stage of the execution.
A quick guide to the size or scope of the offensive is to consider the number of troops involved in the side initiating the offensive.
Offensives are largely conducted as a means to secure initiative in a confrontation between opponents. They can be waged on land, at seaor in the air.
A naval offensive is the aggressive deployment of naval forces during a military campaign to strategically, operationally or tactically provide secure use of shipping routes, or coastal regions for friendly shipping, or deny them to enemy shipping.
An air offensive is a type of military operation conducted using aircrew, airborne and strategic missile troops to allow securing of war, campaign or operational initiative, air-space superiority or ensure defeat of enemy forces through use of air-delivered ordnance, or destruction of enemy air, ground and naval forces.
Naval offensives, such as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, can have wide-ranging implications for national strategies, and require significant logistical commitment to destroy enemy naval capabilities. It can also be used to interdict enemy shipping, such as World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. Naval offensives can also be tactical in nature, such as Operation Coronado IXconducted by the United States Navy's Mobile Riverine Force during the Vietnam War.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.
Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with:
Maritime interdiction operations (MIOs) are naval operations, that aim to delay, disrupt, or destroy enemy forces or supplies en route to the battle area before they do any harm against friendly forces, similar to air interdiction.
An air offensive is an operation that can describe any number of different types of operations, usually restricted to specific types of aircraft. The offensives conducted with use of fighter aircraft are predominantly concerned with establishing air superiority in a given air space, or over a given territory. A bomber offensive is sometimes also known as a strategic bombing offensive and was prominently used by the Allies on a large scale during World War II.Use of ground attack aircraft in support of ground offensives can be said to be an air offensive, such as that performed in the opening phase of the Red Army's Operations Kutuzov and Rumyantsev, when hundreds of Il-2 aircraft were used en masse to overwhelm the Wehrmacht's ground troops.
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat against other aircraft, as opposed to bombers and attack aircraft, whose main mission is to attack ground targets. The hallmarks of a fighter are its speed, maneuverability, and small size relative to other combat aircraft.
A bomber is a combat aircraft designed to attack ground and naval targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry, firing torpedoes and bullets, or deploying air-launched cruise missiles.
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in total war with the goal of defeating the enemy by destroying its morale or its economic ability to produce and transport materiel to the theatres of military operations, or both. It is a systematically organized and executed attack from the air which can utilize strategic bombers, long- or medium-range missiles, or nuclear-armed fighter-bomber aircraft to attack targets deemed vital to the enemy's war-making capability.
A theatre offensive can be a war and a dominant feature of a national security policy, or one of several components of a war if a country is involved in several theatres such as the United Kingdom in 1941. In general theatre offensives require over 250,000 troops to be committed to combat operations, including combined planning for different arms and services of the armed forces, such as for example air defence troops integrated into the overall plan for ground operations.
In warfare, a theater or theatre is an area in which important military events occur or are progressing. A theater can include the entirety of the airspace, land and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations.
War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.
The United Kingdom, along with most of its Dominions and Crown colonies declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939, after the German invasion of Poland. War with Japan began in December 1941, after it attacked British colonies in Asia. The Axis powers were defeated by the Allies in 1945.
A strategic offensive is often a campaign, and would involve use of over 100,000 troops as part of a general Strategy of the conflict in a given theatre. For example, the Operation Barbarossa was a theatre offensive composed of three distinct and inter-related campaigns in the Southern, Central and Northern parts of USSR territory. Soviet strategic offensive operations during World War II often involved multi-front coordinated operations. Along with the Wehrmacht operations on the Eastern Front of World War II, these were the largest military operations of the twentieth century. Strategic operations of the Red Army in World War II provides a listing of large-scale Soviet operations.
A strategic offensive is the aggressive expression of war planning and use of strategic forces as a whole, combining all resources available for achieving defined and definitive goals that would fundamentally alter the balance of power between belligerents.However, the planning and execution of strategic offensives are always based on theoretical considerations because it is impractical, uneconomic and difficult to hide a full-scale rehearsal of large-scale operations.
A strategic offensive consists of simultaneous, tandem or phased operational offensives that seek to achieve specific operational objectives that eventually lead to the achievement of a strategic goal, usually a complete defeat of the opposition, but also destruction of a significant enemy force or occupation of strategically significant territory, such as the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
Any given strategic offensive is a derivative of a combination of factors such as national military doctrine, past military experience, and analysis of socio-political, economic and military circumstances.
An offensive is a conduct of combat operations that seek to achieve only some of the objectives of the strategy being pursued in the theatre as a whole. Commonly an offensive is carried out by one or more divisions, numbering between 10–30,000 troops as part of a combined arms manoeuvre.
A battle is a combat in warfare between two or more armed forces. A war usually consists of multiple battles. Battles generally are well defined in duration, area, and force commitment. A battle with only limited engagement between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish.
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans (Lebensraum), to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, and to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.
Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.
Aerial warfare is the battlespace use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy installations or a concentration of enemy troops or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel. Historically, military aircraft have included lighter-than-air balloons carrying artillery observers; lighter-than-air airships for bombing cities; various sorts of reconnaissance, surveillance and early warning aircraft carrying observers, cameras and radar equipment; torpedo bombers to attack enemy shipping; and military air-sea rescue aircraft for saving downed airmen. Modern aerial warfare includes missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Surface forces are likely to respond to enemy air activity with anti-aircraft warfare.
Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and completely shattered the German front line.
The Second Battle of Kharkov or Operation Fredericus was an Axis counter-offensive in the region around Kharkov against the Red Army Izium bridgehead offensive conducted 12–28 May 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. Its objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead over Seversky Donets or the "Barvenkovo bulge" which was one of the Soviet offensive's staging areas. After a winter counter-offensive that drove German troops away from Moscow but depleted the Red Army's reserves, the Kharkov offensive was a new Soviet attempt to expand upon their strategic initiative, although it failed to secure a significant element of surprise.
In current military use, combined operations are operations conducted by forces of two or more allied nations acting together for the accomplishment of a common strategy, a strategic and operational and sometimes tactical cooperation. Interaction between units and formations of the land, naval and air forces, or the cooperation between military and civilian authorities in peacekeeping or disaster relief operations is known as joint operations or interoperability capability.
Case Blue was the German Armed Forces' name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942, during World War II.
In the field of military theory, the operational level of war represents the level of command that connects the details of tactics with the goals of strategy.
Deep operation, also known as Soviet Deep Battle, was a military theory developed by the Soviet Union for its armed forces during the 1920s and 1930s. It was a tenet that emphasized destroying, suppressing or disorganizing enemy forces not only at the line of contact, but throughout the depth of the battlefield.
A counter-offensive is the term used by the military to describe large-scale, usually strategic offensive operations by forces that had successfully halted the enemy's offensive, while occupying defensive positions.
David M. Glantz is an American military historian known for his books on the Red Army during World War II, and the chief editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.
The Soviet–Japanese War was a military conflict within World War II beginning soon after midnight on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Soviets and Mongolians terminated Japanese control of Manchukuo, Mengjiang, northern Korea, Karafuto, and the Chishima Islands. The defeat of Japan's Kwantung Army helped in the Japanese surrender and the termination of World War II. The Soviet entry into the war was a significant factor in the Japanese government's decision to surrender unconditionally, as it made apparent the Soviet Union would no longer be willing to act as a third party in negotiating an end to hostilities on conditional terms.
A decisive victory is a military victory in battle that definitively resolves the objective being fought over, ending one stage of the conflict and beginning another stage. Until a decisive victory is achieved, conflict over the competing objectives will continue. Like all concepts of warfare, a decisive battle can take place from the tactical or unit level, the operational level, all the way up to the strategic level or battles that bring an end to hostilities, such as the Battle of Hastings, or the Battle of Waterloo.
Russian military deception, sometimes known as maskirovka, is a military doctrine developed from the start of the twentieth century. The doctrine covers a broad range of measures for military deception, from camouflage to denial and deception.
Expeditionary warfare is the deployment of a state's military to fight abroad, especially away from established bases. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of rapid deployment forces. Traditionally, expeditionary forces were essentially self-sustaining with an organic logistics capability and with a full array of supporting arms.
Military art is a field of theoretical research and training methodology in military science used in the conduct of military operations on land, in the maritime or air environments. Military art includes the study and application of the principles of warfare and laws of war that apply equally to the closely interrelated military strategy, operational art and tactics. Exercise of military art is highly dependent on the economics and logistics supporting the armed forces, their military technology and equipment, and reflects the social influences on the military organisation exercising military art. Often misunderstood due to its 19th-century perception as generally "including the entire subject of war", it is primarily, as the term implies, the expression of creative thinking on the part of the decision-makers in employing their forces, with the map of the area of operations as a veritable canvas, and the movement of forces commonly marked on the map with arrows, as brush strokes. Less imaginatively it was defined in France during the 19th century as
The art of war is the art of concentrating and employing, at the opportune moment, a superior force of troops upon the decisive point.