Friday, March 16, 2012

Megiddo III.

This is coolbert:

Coup de main.

"A coup de main . . . is a swift attack that relies on speed and surprise to accomplish its objectives in a single blow."

A very rare event in warfare period and even more so during the Great War [WW1] was the killing or capture of the most senior military commander as part of an overt and thought through mission.

Either eliminate or neutralize the enemy commander and render those subordinate forces leaderless from the top-most-level, and do so at the most critical juncture of the battle.

"neutralize . . . As pertains to military operations, to render ineffective or unusable."

And idea worthy in theory but hard to do in reality, and not often contemplated much less attempted.

Becoming reality at Megiddo, the British with purposeful intent "in the hunt" for Liman von Sanders. Von Sanders not only having his reliable communications disrupted but the man having to flee for his life. The Turkish army group for a full day THE COMMAND STRUCTURE POWERLESS TO INITIATE COUNTER-MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO THE BRITISH ONSLAUGHT!!

Thanks to the book by Bryan Perrett:

"Von Sanders from Nazareth, 20 September 1918."

"The 5th Cavalry Division . . . was to continue northwards . . . where it was to send a detachment to Nazareth with the object of capturing Sanders' GHQ and if possible Sanders himself, The Gloucestershire Yeomany came very close to capturing Sanders."

"The 13th Cavalry Brigade's attempt to capture General Liman von Sanders by coup de main failed narrowly. Sanders evacuated the town later the same day."

"At 13:15 Sanders abandoned Nazareth and, accompanied by only three staff officers, drove to Tiberias then to Samakh at the southern end of Lake Tiberias [Galilee], where he established a temporary GHQ during the evening. Thus the [Turkish] Yilderim Army Group was effectively deprived of it's commander for the entire day."

Von Sanders while not killed or captured the man and his staff paralyzed and neutralized at that most critical moment. Vital decisions regarding the battle NOT BEING MADE AND NOT CAPABLE OF BEING MADE.

[merely neutralizing the enemy commander is adequate? That commander out of touch with his subordinates, unable to communicate or issue reasoned orders based upon hard and accurate information is impotent at best! Killing or capturing of course is much more dramatic but not absolutely necessary to battlefield success!!]

Other than this attempt by the British during the Great War to either kill or capture von Sanders, NO OTHER such coup de main of such a nature was attempted during that conflict? I think not!


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