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The Evolution of Operational ArtFrom Napoleon to the Present$
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John Andreas Olsen and Martin van Creveld

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599486.001.0001

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Operational Art and Britain, 1909–2009

Operational Art and Britain, 1909–2009

(p.96) 4 Operational Art and Britain, 1909–2009
The Evolution of Operational Art

Hew Strachan

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the origins, development, and implications of operational art in the British armed forces. The Field Service Regulations of 1909 represented the first official attempt to encapsulate this approach within operational art. Nonetheless, establishment of doctrine remained an anathema, and without it operational art was driven by tactics rather than by strategy. This, according to the author, was a key reason why the British army tended to perform poorly at the operational level in the Second World War. When the operational level of war re-emerged in Great Britain during the 1980s, it was accompanied by doctrine for the first time. The linkage between doctrine and operational art was inspired less by the US army's response to Vietnam than by responses to Soviet and German practice and theory going back to lessons from the First and Second World Wars.

Keywords:   British, policy, strategy, tactics, operational art, doctrine, principles of war, J. F. C. Fuller, Basil Liddell Hart, First World War, Second World War

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