Academic journal article Military Review

Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam

Academic journal article Military Review

Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam

Article excerpt

STORMING THE CITY U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam Alec Wahlman, University of North Texas Press, Denton, Texas, 2015, 368 pages

The title of this worthwhile book, Storming the City, may be misunderstood to mean it is a catalog of twentieth-century U.S. urban warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures. Similar misunderstanding abounded regarding John Nagls Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. Despite the title, that book was not about counterinsurgency lessons learned so much as it was about characteristics of adaptive, learning organizations, using two counterinsurgency case studies as contrasting illustrations. So it is here that Alec Wahlman focuses on the two major reasons for U.S. success as seen in four urban warfare case studies. The first reason for success is what he calls transferable competence--aggressive tactical initiative to try new things, coupled with rapid proliferation of lessons learned and doctrine. The second is battlefield adaptation. One can argue these same two characteristics contributed to U.S. tactical military successes overall in these wars. However, the urban operational environment most effectively showcases both in action, given city fighting's unique and formidable difficulties.

Wahlman, a veteran analyst of fourteen years at the Institute for Defense Analyses, examines U.S. military ground force performance in taking Aachen (European Theater of Operations in October 1944), Manila (Pacific Theater of Operations in February 1945), Seoul (mobile phase of the Korean War, September 1950), and Hue (Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, February 1968). Each battle earns its own chapter that begins with a short historical orientation. The analytical treatment then divides into six categories: (1) command, control, and communications; (2) intelligence and reconnaissance; (3) firepower and survivability; (4) mobility and counter mobility; (5) logistics; and (6) dealing with the population. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.