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The Soviet Airborne Experience

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The Soviet Airborne Experience
  • by Lt.Col. David M. Glantz
    • Combat Studies Institute Research Survey No. 4
      • U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, November 1984
        • 320 pages
        • 36 maps
        • 10 tables
Deep battle, a major element in both U.S. and Soviet doctrine, is a tenet that emphasizes destroying, suppressing, or disorganizing enemy forces not only at the line of contact, but through¬out the depth of the battlefield. Airborne forces are a primary instrument to accomplish this type of operation. While the exploits of German. British, and American paratroops since 1940 are well known to most professional soldiers, the equivalent experience of the Soviet Union has been largely ignored—except in the Soviet Union. There, the Red Army’s airborne operations have become the focus of many recent studies by military theorists.
     Lieutenant Colonel David M. Glantz has done much to remedy this gap in our historical literature. The Soviet Airborne Experience examines the experiences of the Red Army in World War II and traces Soviet airborne theory and practice both before and since the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. Airborne warfare emerges as an essential part of the high-speed offensive operations planned by Soviet commanders.
     Because Lieutenant Colonel Glantz examines airborne operations within the larger context of Soviet unconventional warfare, the implications of this study reach beyond one specialized form of maneuver. This study, in demonstrating the ability of Russian airborne and partisan forces to survive and fight behind German lines for months at a time, provides us with an instructive example of how Soviet special operations troops probably plan to operate in future wars. The Soviet Airborne Experience is an important reference for anyone concerned with planning and conducting operations.

Contents
  • THE PREWAR EXPERIENCE
    • Genesis of the Airborne Concept
    • Early Experimentation
    • Formation of an Airborne Force
    • On the Eve of War
  • EVOLUTION OF AIRBORNE FORCES DURING WORLD WAR II
    • Initial Airborne Involvement
    • Organization and Employment
  • OPERATIONAL EMPLOYMENT: VYAZ'MA, JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1942
    • Strategic Context
    • Operational Planning
    • 8th Airborne Brigade Assault
    • 8th Airborne Brigade Operations
    • Conclusions
  • OPERATIONAL EMPLOYMENT: VYAZ'MA, FEBRUARY-JUNE 1942
    • Operational Planning
    • 4th Airborne Corps Assault
    • February Offensive
    • March Offensive
    • April Offensive
    • Encirclement and Breakout, 1 May-23 June 1942 Conclusions
  • OPERATIONAL EMPLOYMENT: ON THE DNEPR, SEPTEMBER 1943
    • Operational Planning
    • Airborne Assault
    • 5th Airborne Brigade Operations
    • Conclusions
  • TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT
    • General
    • Teryaeva Sloboda, December 1941
    • Medyn, January 1942
    • Zhelan'ye, January 1942
    • Rzhev, February 1942
    • Kerch-Feodosiya, December 1941-January 1942
    • Diversionary Operations
  • THE POSTWAR YEARS
    • The Intellectual Context
    • The Stalinist Years: 1946-53
    • The Nuclear Era: 1953-68
    • Contemporary Airborne Operations
  • CONCLUSIONS
  • Notes
  • Bibliography

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