Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm
The Evolution of Operational Warfare
Modern War Studies
Sales Date: May 25, 2022
430 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: May 2022
- Published: April 2004
- Published: September 2017
Winner: Paul Birdsall Prize
Winner: Society for Military History book Award
When Germany launched its blitzkrieg invasion of France in 1940, it forever changed the way the world waged war. Although the Wehrmacht ultimately succumbed to superior Allied firepower in a two-front war, its stunning operational achievement left a lasting impression on military commanders throughout the world, even if their own operations were rarely executed as effectively.
Robert Citino analyzes military campaigns from the second half of the twentieth century to further demonstrate the difficulty of achieving decisive results at the operational level. Offering detailed operational analyses of actual campaigns, Citino describes how UN forces in Korea enjoyed technological and air superiority but found the enemy unbeatable; provides analyses of Israeli operational victories in successive wars until the Arab states finally grasped the realities of operational-level warfare in 1973; and tells how the Vietnam debacle continued to shape U.S. doctrine in surprising ways. Looking beyond major-power conflicts, he also reveals the lessons of India’s blitzkrieg-like drive into Pakistan in 1971 and of the senseless bloodletting of the Iran-Iraq War.
Citino especially considers the evolution of U.S. doctrine and assesses the success of Desert Storm in dismantling an entrenched defending force with virtually no friendly casualties. He also provides one of the first scholarly analyses of Operation Iraqi Freedom, showing that its plan was curiously divorced from the realities of military history, grounded instead on nebulous theories about expected enemy behavior. Throughout Citino points to the importance of mobility—especially mobilized armor—in modern operational warfare and assesses the respective roles of firepower, training, doctrine, and command and control mechanisms.
Brimming with new insights, Citino’s study shows why technical superiority is no guarantee of victory and why a thorough grounding in the history of past campaigns is essential to anyone who wishes to understand modern warfare. Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm provides that grounding as it addresses the future of operational-level warfare in the post–9/11 era.
"An excellent book that should be read and digested by every professional soldier. Works of this nature represent the ‘book’ referred to by the late von Schlieffen, and it is imperative that we all continue to increase our knowledge of the art and science of war."—Armor
"Citino is insightful, provocative, and unstinting in his analysis of doctrine. . . . Soldiers who take the time to read Robert Citino’s book carefully will find themselves sometimes irritated, sometimes embarrassed as they recall their own shortcomings, but always stimulated by Citino’s fast-paced narrative and logical argument."—Parameters
"A superlative and important book, well written, exhaustively researched, and exquisitely balanced. The author is a skilled military historian who brilliantly examines the operational art from its conceptual beginnings through its successes and failures from the 1930s to the 1990s. . . . Citino is unsparingly critical when he needs to be of the U.S. Army. . . . Essential reading at all American war colleges."—Washington Times
"An outstanding scholarly presentation of the issues, challenges, and responses of societies and their military establishments to warfare since 1940. Displaying masterful knowledge of the human, organizational, and technological elements involved in the disposition of military forces in the world's increasingly destructive wars, Citino’s thoughtful, splendidly written study enlightens specialists and generalists alike."—Paul Birdsall Prize committee citation
“Vivid, incisive, laced with trenchant observations, Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm is a remarkable—even brilliant—study of war at the operational level, emphasizing the importance of intangibles and the elusiveness of decisive victory.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of American Empire
“An important addition to the current debate over what direction U.S. military doctrine should take, this book brings back into focus the central role of operational-level warfare in military thought.”—James S. Corum, author of The Roots of Blitzkrieg
“A superb survey by a sophisticated military historian.”—Jonathan M. House, author of Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century
“Interesting, informative and insightful.”—Andrew F. Krepinevich author of The Army and Vietnam
List of Illustrations
1. Toward World War II: The Quest for Decisive Victory
2. In Search of the Impossible: The German Operational Breakdown in World War II, 1940-1942
3. The Allies in Search of Decisive Victory
4. Forgotten No Longer: The War in Korea
5. The Arab-Israeli Wars
6. Operational Success and Failure: The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the Iran-Iraq War
7. The U.S. Army: Collapse and Rebirth
8. The U.S. Army at War: Desert Storm