CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY-
MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence
MILITARY THOUGHT: "Some Probleme of Modern
y Lieutenant-General I. Tolkonyuk
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Followingerbatim translation of an article titled "Some Problems of Moderny Lieutonant--General I. Tolkonyuk.
This article appeared in0 First Issuepecial version of Voyennaya Mysl (Military Thought) which is classified TOP SECRET"by the Soviets' and is issued irregularly. It is distributed only within the Ministry of Defense down to the level of Army Commander.0 First Issue was the initial issue of this publication.
by Lieutenant-General I. Tolkonyuk
The problems of conducting military operations when both sides use nuclear weapons have already been under study in our system of operational training for several year*.
A good deal Is being written on these problems in our military press. However, in practical operational preparation, in the pages of the press and in military-scientific work, these Questions are examined very timidly, which is out of keeping with tbe conditions of nuclear warfare. The matter is not taken beyond the adaptation of old forme and methods to nev conditions, although the discuss Ion should be concerned with essentially nev categories of militaryeems that the time baa come to sacrifice boldly many of tbe theses from which tho basic principles of operational art and tactics have developed.
Military art Is confronted with the fact tbat nuclear/mleslla weapons bring strategic Significance to tbe fire: strike (ognevoyhere ara many reasons for supposing that lt will often be possible -to crush the enemy's will to resist only by the strikes of nuclear/ sisslie weapons. This phenomenon, vhlch the nuclear age has brought to mankind, confronts states sod their armed forceaeries of the gravest problems in tho realm of military activity.
For this reason, our military thinking must work deeply on all tha problems connected with the preparation and conduct of modern nuclear worfare. Once ve have fully resolved these problems ve can discuss forms and methods of conducting military operations. First of all, our nuclear/missile strategy must be worked out most precisely, since it la the strategic nuclear/mlsslla weapon which will be decisive In the achievement of victory. Then, on tho basis of tbe strategic requirements for tbe accomplishment of strategic tasks, and for the exploitation of the results of the nuclear /missile strategic operations being conducted, It will be necessary to work out tbe methods and forme of conducting combined operations with the types of armed forces which are the subject of examination in the field of operational art.
Along with ths study of the problems of nuclear/missile operations and the use of weapons of mass destruction In zones of military operation, it is necessery toadical reexamination of the
connected with the use of ground troops and naval forces, whose utilization and operations mist correspond to the conditions created by tho use of weapons of bobs deatruction.
The resolution of questions of operational art and of questions on the preparation and conduct of DOdern operations la possible only on the foundation of solutions to the problems indicated above.
The absence of even slight experience In nuclear/missile warfare demands the ability to foresee end to analyze; lt deaands deep and logical thinking. To glance unerringly into the future, making realistic allowance for the prospects of development of thef armedhis, in our opinion, is the urgent task of our military theory.
In this article it is our aim to raise only certain problems of modern operations and to express our views on these problems briefly.
Nuclear/Missile Operations. The important otrateglc missions, which, in tbe previous ware of our times, were accomplished by the conducteries of strategic offensive operationa by ground, air, and naval forces, and vhlch usuallyonth or more, can now bo accomplishedery short period of time with the massed use of nuclear/misslla weapons. Such an objective asostile state or coalition of states of the capability to resist can be achieved, it would seem, in the courseew hours or, at the outside,ew days.
Of course, we do not consider that it is possible to capture the enemy's territory with nuclear/missile weapons. Por this we will need mobile, well-trained ground troops with modern equipment, transport aviation, airborne troops, and troops supporting their operations.
It is possible, however, to deprive the enemy of the means of conducting war by nuclear/missile weapons alone if oneufficient quantity of the latter and knows how to use them to the greatest advantage.
The accumulationufficient quantity of nucleer/mlsslle weapons permits tbe conduct of so-called nuclear/miss lie operations for the performance of strategic tasks.
In our opinion, atrategic nuclear/missile operations mean operations conducted by the missile troops at tbe decision and plan of the Supreme High Command, by the delivery of nuclear strikes aimed at depriving the enemy of the most Important means of conducting war, at disrupting his civil and military administration and his national economy, and at breaking his ability and will to offer further resistance.
The execution of such operations will probably be theand tbe most crucial actuture war. This is whyof preparing, supporting, and executing such operationsof sentonce mlssingT'"
To learn how to prepare and conduct such operations la clearly the most vital task of our highest military echelons today; but thisairly complicated matter, not tested by experience, and entailing greet responsibility. Here we have to dealery expensive means of warfare, which la used uphort period of time, and which may not be available for repeating the operation in the event that tbe first attempt was unsuccessful.
The preparationuclear/missile strategic operation and tbe attainment of ita goals require first ofood knowledge of the enemy's territory and of the geographical distribution and points of concentration of: modern means of warfare, primarily nuclear and missile industry; the storage points for nuclear ammunition (bcyeprlpas) and missiles and the baseB for their assembly and preparation; the main branches of industry; tbe launching sites of missile weapons and their control systems; the system of antimissile defense; transportation Junctions; the most important points of concentration of manpower; sources of electrical power; tbe communication centers of state snd military control, etc. On the basis of tbese data it is necessary to select targets in the enemy's territory whose destruction by nuclear strikes would paralyze tbe country and ita military capabilities. It would Been that lt is aufflcient to destroy the most important points on the enemy's territory in order to place himituation in which it is impossible or senseless for him to undertake any measures whatsoever for continuing tha war.
In planning auch operations we should not scatter our resources, even If we are forced to dealowerful coalition of enemy states. It is necessary first of all to put out of commission the main partner
who represents the basic and directing force of the enemy camp; having lost the combat capability of their main partner, the satellite countries will be feced with the impossibility of starting or cor.tir.uing
To find the enemy's min linkshose destruction will paralyze bis power this is the cost important task to be perforateduclear/missile operation.
Thus, for the preparation and effective conduct of etrategic nuclear/missile operations, lt is necessary:
know ln detail and to evaluate correctly the capabilities and the viability of tbe opposing sldej
select tbe most vulnerable targetstrike; of these, to take only the minimum necessary to accomplish the objective of the operation;
to determine the amount and yield of nuclear charges needed to ensure tbe destruction of the targets selected;
to determine the number of missile installations necessary for the delivery of the nuclear charges to the targets selected, taking into account accuracy (tochnoet poptdaniya);
choose the moat suitable time for delivery of tbe strike;
organise control of the miasile troops participating in the operation.
IB the preparation of tbeery important place ia occupied by tbe reconnaissance of tbe strike targets. An incorrect picture of tbe enemy, of his vitally important centers, or Ignorance of the location of hie most important means of varfare, can result ln the etrike being delivered against secondary targets, which will not achieve the objectives of the operation.
Ho less important la,the proper selection and preparation of the misslis launching sites to ensure tbe greatest effectiveness and convenience In launching. Ine stockpiling of nuclear charges,their delivery to the launching altes, and their mountingn the missilesarge volume of work of primary importance, requiring the expenditure of much time and effort.
Finally, there lo the very complex question of organizing the control of the missile troops snd of the launching and guidance systems of the missiles.
It is quite obvious that the preparationsuclear/missile operation are very complicated and demand veil-trainedreat deal of painstaking work, large numbers of qualified people, ond the expenditure of colossal material means. Hovever, the resultsuccessfully performed operation can bring are such that no means or efforts should be spared to achieve them.
The actual execution of such an operation willery short time. It appears that It vlll takeev hoursev days. In one Instance, if sufficient means ere applied, the strike mayev minutes and will take the form of tbe launcharticular series of missiles, in the form of an Immense volley (zalp). In another instance, several series of tinsilea msy be launched in tbe courseew hours orev days, and the situation may then take on the formort of missile duel.
It le quite possible that during tbe course of the war It will be possible to conduct only one strategic nuclear/missile operation which should determine the outcome of tbe vur. If tbe enemytrong coalition, possessing powerful nuclear/missile weapons, ve may landituation in vhlch it will be impossible to carryubsequent nuclear/missile operation.
In any case, nuclear/missile operatlona must be carried out simultaneously ln all, or at leaat in several, decisive theaters of military operations.
In presenting this question, ve do not think that strategic nuclear/missile operations will have to be conducted with the sin of destroying ell tbe hostile states composing the enemy coalition. This will be neither possible nor necessary. The operatlona must be directed at the main link of the enemy coalition, at his backbone. Once tbe enemy'a back is broken he can be finished off by other means and methods.
trategic nuclear/misslie operation has beenit will be imperative to know the results of theto know to what degree the mission bos beenhow for tbe objective of tbe operation has been attained. the resultstrike and of the legreethe
enemyhort tin* is aa important job far the Supremo Command. It la needed so that the methods of carrying out further actions to exploit the results of the operation vhlch has been performed may be determined and final victory may be achieved. To achieve final victory, it vlll be necessary to conduct offensive operations with ground troops, using mobile large unite, airborne troops, naval forces and naval landing forcea to crush the enemy troopa who have survived or who have retained tbelr combat capability, and to occupy the key positions in enemy territory. It follows, therefore, that nuclear/misalle strategic operations will probably be the main link in the overall plan forar. They must be conducted In close conjunction with the Above-mentioned operations by ground and airborne troops aad naval forcea, who. In carrying out their teaks,must take maximum advantage of the effect of nuclear/missile strategic ope ratiocs.
Modern Offensive Operations; Tho conduct of nuclear/missileords mlesing7 acalee of aggressive operations by the ground troops. Ho matter what the effect ofnuclear/missile strategic operation may be, final victory can only be won by the occupation of the enemy's territory, or at least of the key positions.
Consequently, la order to attain final victory It ie necessary for ground troops to carry out offensive operetlona. Thla le explained, first of all, by the fact that far from all the Important targets and groupings of troopa on tho territory of the enemy will be destroyed by the strikesuclear/missile operation, since to neutralize or to destroy everything with sufficient certalnty would be practically Impossible, and not even desirable. Whole areas, even
vary important ones, will remain untouched by strikes In these
Even In those areas or In those theaters of military operetlona where the main targets and groupings of troops will be subjected to overwhelming blowsuclear/misalle strategic operation, not everything will be destroyed, and lt is mainly here that operations by ground troops are needed to exploit the results of tbe nuclear/ missile strategic operation and to achieve final victory over the enemy.
In some theaters cf military operations or in one section or another of these theaters and In one or another of tbe atrategic or operational directions, nuclear/misalle strategic operations will not
ba carried out, because it will be either impossible or inexpedient. In all auch instances, it will be necessary for offensive operatlona to be carried on by ground troops. These con take the fora of offensive operationsroup of fronts or of an offensiveront or by an army, carried out either within the franevork of front operatlona or independently. In addition, combined operations may be carried out by missile and ground troops and by the navy.
Similar operatlona (without the use of nuclear /missile weapons) were carried cut during tbe Second World War. Mow, however, they will be of an entirely different character.
In the first place, for the performance of the tasks with which they are confronted in operations, ground troops now have at their disposal, In their missile equipment, tbe means for tbe use of high-yield nuclear weapons. .This allows them, in the shortest poeslble amount of time, to inflict overwhelming blows against tbe enemy's weapons of mass destruction, agslnat his basic groupings ln tbe entire depth of their deployment, which can lead to the disorganisation of the opponent's troops snd deprive them of the ability to put up any serious resistance.
These blows can deprive tbe enecy of his adssile installations, of the aircraft at hla airfields, destroy bis supplies of nuclear end missile weapons, put tbe airfields themselves out of conmUalon, annihilate the besic groupings of the enemy's ground troops, and disrupt maneuver and controlheater of military operations. In addition, this weapon makes it possible not only to inflict losses upon the troops of tbe enemy, but to destroy them completely, or at leaet to subject them to such strikes that they will lose their combat effectiveness completely.
In the second plsee, possessing weapons of mass destruction, ground troops will beosition to crush the enemy's reserves ln their mobilization deployment or buildup srees, preventing them from approaching the battlefield. Tbie situation impose* entirely new conditions far combat with the reserves, end poses the question of the repulse of tbe counterstrikes and counterattacks of the enemyew fore.
It seests that ln future battles counterstrikes may be ruled out entirely, if the attacking force la able to organize the reconnaissance
and destruction of the enemy's reserves correctly.
In the third place, the defensive maneuver of bringing upand materiel to the field of battle ceo be prevented from the very outset of combat operations.
In the fourth place, the first nuclear/missile strike can, practically speaking, knock out of commission tbe basic elements in the enemy's system of troop control, which makes the unified and firm direction of the troops impossible.
In performing en offenolvsront must, above all, exploit to the maximum tbe resultsreviously executed strategiciles well as the results of their own nuclear/ missile strikes. Thus, the goal of an offensive operationront must be the quick seizure of the key positions on the enemy territory so that he has no opportunity to recover from the blow and to carry out substantial counteraction. Tbe most important task of the troops of the front will be tbe annihilation of those groupings of troops and weapons of mass destruction which have survived tbe nuclear/ missile strike or have retained their combat effectlveneee.
The depth of front operations In the recent pest was primarily determined by tbe front's sbllity to suppress the enemyarge degree of consistency in the given depth, by the depth of the operational formation of the enemy, by tbe permissible elongation of the reer areas (rsstyazhka tylov),by the lag In the baaing of airfields, and by tbe degree of effort and exhaustion which the troops were permitted to sustain. For the successive execution of intermediate tasks the front was allotted definite boundaries for the immediate aod follow-up missions. Within the frameworkront operation several successive offensive operatlona by armies were carried out.
The most imports nt form of operation wes the encirclement of the basic grouping of tbe enemy and bis subsequent snnibilatlon. This was done in order not to give thehance to withdraw his grouping to the resr area, put it in order, reinforce it with reserves, and tourthero make lt impossible for bin to escape destruction or annihilation. The most important phase of tbe operation was breaking through the enemy's defense.
How do these questions appear in modern operationsT Since modern weaponaonsistent degree of annihilation (and not Just suppression) of the groupings of the enemy in the entire depth
of his deployment, the offensive must encompass the entire depth st once. For this purpose, the nob lie groupings of the front must follow the nuclear /ml ssile strikes and proceed in tbe most advantageous directions Into the depth of tbe enemy's deployment to chosen objectives or to selected areas. Landings of airborne troopa must be made Immediately to capture objectives located deep in tbe interior, andoastal area amphibious landings must take place, pert of the troopa must be moved by air. Inituation combat focal points will form in the entire depth of the operational direction along which tho offensive operation is being carried out. Only In this case can the results of nuclear/missile strikes be exploited effectively and in good time.
From this, it seems to us that the principles forront offensive operation which we accept at present ara outdated and no longer correspond to modern demands.
The division of the overall taskront into Immediate and follov-up territorialo be carried out In sequence, does not permit the fullest and moat'effective exploitation of the capabilities of todays new means of combat. In planning an operation, lt would appear to be more expedient to envisage two goalsthe immediate and the final goal of the operation.
The Immediate goalront offensive operation should be tbe destruction by nuclear/missila weapons (and other weapons of mass destruction) of the enemy's weapons of mass destruction, the annihilation of the basic groupings of his troops, the destruction of bis ccemiunlcatloa lines and radiotechnlcal systems, disruption of his government and military controls, the liquidation of his supplies of materiel, and therganization of thehe liquidation of the enemy's ability for organized resistance.
The final goal of the operation must be the capture of key positions or vitally Important areas on the enemy's, tbe occupation of his territory.
In order to reach these goals the main operational problems for resolution by the commander of the front must be; to definebjectives whose destruction by nuclear/mlapile weapons should deprive tbe enemy of tbe capability to resist or counterattack and to determine the yield, typea, means, timing, and. method of these strikes. The resolution of these problems will inoo resolve the main strike In the operation.
this, the commander of the troops of the front should determine the areas or objectives which oust be captured by ground or airborne troops, or by troops carried by aircraft and helicopters, or.oastal area, by amphibious landing forces, In order to .envelop the entire depth of the enemy's territory In the shortest possible time. He must determine the initial (iokhodnyy) grouping of the ground troops and the direction of movement of the mobile groupings for the capture of selected areas or objectives, and for the annihilation of surviving groupings of enemy troops, or of those which retain their combat effectiveneea. Further, he must coordinate the timing and the tasks to be performed by all arms of-troops, and resolve all the remaining questions connected with the preparation, organization, and execution of the offensive operation.
Tn this connection ve must bear in mind that there is no longer any need to establish solid groupings of troopsarrow front, as was the case in the past,ront was forced to do thla in order to penetrate the enemy's defense, since it Is unthinkable that the enemy, under modern conditions, will establish any harmonious (fltroynyy) system of defease with the continuous front and boundary lines typical of the last war. Supposing that auch an attempt were to be made, it would lead to the annihilation of the defenses by nuclear weapons, and the entire front would In any case be destroyed.
On the whole, however, there will be no continuous fronts, and consequently the penetration of the enemy's defenses on an operational scale has already passed into history. It is possible tbat in isolated cases there willenetration of the enemy's defenses, but this can happen onlyactical sense.
Proceeding from what has been said above, it is also necessary to review the matter of army offenaive operations. It seems to us that there is no need for the combined-armo and tank armies operating within the compositionront to execute several army operations In the framework of an offensive by the front. The tank army must penetrate to the entire depth of the front operation, and occupy that part of the opponent's territory which is farthest from tbe line of departure. The combined-arms armies should be given the task of operations throughout the depth of the front operation, or be assigned topecific portion of territory within tho boundaries of tho front operation. Airborne and amphibious landing forces, as well as troopa being moved by air, must also occupy specific centers or areas in the Interior of the enemy's territory.
The tempo of the operationifferent natter. Measuring the tempoodern offensive operation hy the daily advance of the ground troops is senseless, in our opinion, because thie will not be in accordance vith the decisive conduct of the operation, and will not allow the timely and effective exploitation of the results of the strikes of nuclear/missile weapons in the entire depth vof the operation . The duration and procedure of conducting tbe operationthese are the main Issues In the calculations, rather than the tempo. In its former meaning. attle will split into separate focal points of combat, dispersedarge area, and therefore the planned advanceress of ground troopsontinuous front is unthinkable.
The most Important and perhaps the moat complicated element of modern offensive operations will be, it would seem, the preparation of the operation. It will Include an entire set of complicated measures, large in scope, and labor-consuming, which willefinite, and probably lengthy, period of time. Therefore, in studying modern operations, our operational art must pay special, attention to the problems of the detailed preparation of an operation, because its successful execution and the resulta obtained will depend entirely upon its preparation. Hence, in our view,modern offensive operation should consist of two phases; the preparatory phase and the phase of execution of the operation. These periods must be determined by the General Headquarters (Stsvka) of the Supreme; High Command, in close coordination with the strategic nuclear/missile operation being prepared, in order to coordinate and unite the efforts of the forces and means of those participating In the nuclear/missile strategic operation, and of tbe ground troops operating in one or another strategic direction, ddition, it appears that the nuclear/ missile means of fronts will often be detailed for participation in and executionuclear/missile strategic operation being carried out by the General Headquarters with the forces of missile troops of strategic designation.
It is plain that the preparation of such sn operationomplicated and crucial process which should start at the moment tbe front receives sn assignment to carry out an offensive operation and end st the moment the signs! is given to deliver the nuclear/ missile strike. This phase will probable take longer than the actual phase of execution of the operation.
The phase of execution of the operation should begin at the moment the signal Is given to begin the nuclear /missile strike, and end at
Koneot tbe final gcal of the operation la reached. Nov, when nuclear /miss lie weapons have become the basic means of destruction of the enemy and the decisive factor in achieving victory over him, it would be Incorrect, to say the least, to call the beginning of the activities of tbe ground troops the beginning cf the operation, because the start of artillery preparation, or the shift to tbe offensive of the ground groupings, does not represent the main phase of the operation; these activities will beubordinate nature in comparison with the operations of the missile troops by whom the destructive missile strikes will be inflicted on the enemy.
The first operationsuture war will beecisive nature, and the ultimate outcome of the war will probably depend on their successful execution. Therefore, the primary and urgent /one or two wordsof military thinking is the most thorough elaboration and the theoretical solution of all the problems connected with their preparation and execution.
The Hiterlel and Technical Support of Modern Offonaive Operations. The advance cf ground troops in an operation will undoubtedly be carried out under difficult circumstances. Supply bases, depots, communication lines, and other targets in the rear area may be subjected to heavy nuclear strikes by the enemy; the operation of railroads may be disrupted and delivery of materiel and technical supplies by air may be impeded. Thus, one can not count upon being able to supply troops with materiel according to plan during an operation which has already started, his connection, both missile troops and ground groupings must have all the necessary materiel supplies at their disposalthe start of combat operations. These supplies must be dispersed, well concealed, and camouflaged, in areas which would be convenient, and from which Issue to the troops at any time can be ensured. As much of this material should be stockpiled before the start of the operation as would be needed to carry the entire operation through to its ultimate goal. In addition, provision must be madepecific reserve of these supplies, also concentrated in convenient areas, from which they could be delivered to tbe troops by motor transport and by helicopter. Fuel should be supplied mainly by pipeline in order not to burden other, more vulnerable, means of transport with its delivery.Original document.