The First Battle of the Marne paper

I have attached the Rubric, examples and beginning of the bibliography.For this assignment you will conduct a battle analysis of a World War I battle; “The First Battle of the Marne” It should be 7-10 pages long not including the title page and bibliography and you should have at least five primary or secondary sources. The paper as a word document ending in .doc or .docx.
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sequence weak
Quality and
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Quality and
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20
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Very good
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Adequate
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consistent with
some key facts
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Introduction and
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Introduction
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Historical
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thesis statement or
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Conclusion
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Todd Lance Pait
MILS303-Maneuver Warfare
Professor Carl J. Bradshaw
January 29, 2012
The early days of the American Civil War were bleak times for the Confederacy; morale
was low and the initial surge of new found nationalism had worn off. The South was reeling and
the wolf was at their door in the form of Northern troops sweeping into southern lands and
threatening the Confederate capital. The south needed, if not a miracle, then at least a morale
booster of some sort. This is exactly the sort of situation where legends arise to take their place
in history. Luckily, for the South they had such a legend in General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
and it was his mission to preserve the precious Shenandoah Valley where he and many of his
men made their homes. Jackson was not only an accomplished military tactician, but also a man
of the valley, knowing every nook and cranny of the terrain in which he was ordered to hold.
General Jackson successfully defended the Shenandoah and his ten week Valley
Campaign has since become one of the most studied military campaigns in history. Jackson’s
army marched the length of the Shenandoah Valley, won four major battles, and kept 70,000
Union troops occupied.1 Many historians believe the campaign actually started with a defeat at
Kernstown, the only defeat of Jackson’s career, but this battle analysis will focus on the first
victory of Jacksons at the Battle of McDowell. This battle set the tone for the rest of the
campaign by demonstrating not only the tactical genius of General Jackson but also the difficulty
Northern forces would face fighting in their enemy’s back yard.
The opening phase of the Battle of McDowell began with General Jackson approaching
Union forces occupying Shenandoah Mountain. Along the route, General Jackson joined forces
with General Edward “Allegheny” Johnson, which brought his overall combat strength to 10,000
troops.2 The two commanders would eventually split their forces to envelope the occupying
1
2
David Martin, Jackson’s Valley Campaign (United States: De Capo Press, 1994), 12.
Ibid., 84.
Union force under the command of General Robert Milroy. Milroy hastily retreated to the town
of McDowell to meet reinforcements; essentially giving up the strategic high ground.3 This
retrograde was necessary for the survival of Milroy’s force although it allowed the Confederate
forces to assume the high ground. The seizure of Sitlington’s Hill, the highest vantage point, by
Jackson’s forces would become Phase II in the Battle of McDowell.
The hilltop was of great importance since it offered a grand view of the valley and
allowed General Jackson a perfect placement for command and control purposes. The hilltop was
also strategic in the classical military sense, which dictates that the high ground is always
superior. The only disadvantage was the fact that the occupying force was silhouetted on the
horizon, making them an easy target for enemy sharpshooters. General Jackson occupied the hill,
allowed his forces to rest and consolidate while he and his trusted mapmaker Jebediah Hotchkiss
conducted a leader’s recon of the terrain.4 General Milroy deployed scouts that confirmed his
fears that Confederate cavalry was attempting to flank his position. His position was becoming
tenable and he desperately awaited the arrival of reinforcements. General Schenck and his
brigade reinforced the Union forces at McDowell by conducting a forced march from Franklin,
West Virginia.5 They arrived just in time to participate in the assault on Sitlington Hill, which is
Phase III of the Battle of McDowell.
General Schenck assumed command of the Union forces prior to the assault but kept the
majority of his exhausted men in reserve, allowing General Milroy to press the attack. The Union
forces crossed the Bullpasture River under a heavy artillery barrage and began to attack uphill
3
National Park Service, “Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia,”
http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/shenandoah/svs3-2.html, (accessed January 27, 2012).
4
Peter Cozzens, Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 2008), 154.
5
National Park Service, “Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.”
toward the entrenched Confederate forces.6 The assault by the Northern infantry caught General
Jackson by surprise since the move went against established military doctrine. Nevertheless, the
Union attackers began to inflict heavy casualties on the entrenched Confederates. This was due
in large part to the over exuberance of southern fighting men who were ill suited to fight a
defensive action. The mobile foot cavalry of General Jackson army was an aggressive, attacking
force whose defensive tactics were severely lacking. They silhouetted themselves against the
horizon, a huge tactical error in mountain warfare, and expelled ammunition at a rapid pace.7 The
opening stages of the battle were going against the numerically superior Confederates but their
dynamic leader was about to insert himself and his fellow Virginians in the battle during Phase
IV of the battle.
General Jackson’s knowledge of the terrain allowed the commander to place himself in
the perfect position for command and control. From the highest vantage point, Jackson was able
to insert reinforcements as needed and commit his reserves at exactly the right moment.
Jackson’s command of his forces during the Battle of McDowell is a lesson in itself on
battlefield command and situational awareness. Each time the Union forces began to make
ground, they were immediately beaten back with fresh combat troops. The withering fire proved
to be too much for the Union attackers and General Schenck signaled a full retreat back to
McDowell.8 The tactical gamble by Schenck and Milroy had not paid off and their combined
forces were now rendered combat ineffective. They had actually suffered fewer casualties than
the defending southern force but to press the attack further would have resulted in complete
6
Martin, Jackson’s Valley Campaign, 84.
Ibid., 86.
8
National Park Service, “Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.”
7
annihilation of their forces. The Confederate force was stung by the fierce assault on Sitlington
Hill and took almost 24 hours to gather themselves before pursuing the wounded Union forces.
The brave Union commanders would have one more surprise for their southern foes during the
pursuit. They ordered their men to start forest fires, which allowed them to obscure their
movements with dense smoke.9 This unorthodox maneuver allowed the Union forces to make it
back to Franklin while Jackson turned his forces back to the south to resume his Valley
campaign against General Banks. The Battle of McDowell was over but the Valley Campaign
was just beginning and General Jackson would march his men to glory and into the annals of
military history.
The military lessons learned from the Battle of McDowell are numerous, but there are
two principles of warfare that are truly noteworthy. The first principle that was extremely
effective during the Battle of McDowell was economy of force. General Jackson absolutely
employed all of his available combat power in the most effective way possible. Jackson laid out
a solid defense while maintaining a large concentration of troops as a rapid reserve. This allowed
for the reinforcement of any breaking point along his lines. His most trustworthy brigade, the
Stonewall Brigade, actually entered the fray late in the day, which may have possibly been the
breaking point for the attackers. General Jackson committed all 6,000 troops under his
immediate command in a masterful demonstration of economy of force and command and
control.10
The second principle of warfare that deserves attention during the Battle of McDowell
was surprise. This principle was actually initiated by the Union forces, which ultimately lost the
9
Martin, Jackson’s Valley Campaign, 88.
Cozzens, Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign, 162.
10
battle. Despite their defeat at McDowell, the surprise assault on Sitlington Hill was a brilliant
tactical maneuver. The attack caught one of the greatest military commanders of all time by
surprise and inflicted numerous casualties to the Confederate fighting force. The highly mobile
southern force would have run the Northern army down eventually so taking the offensive was
the preferred method for General’s Milroy and Schenck. If only they had faced any other
Southern commander, with the exception of General Lee, their bold attack may have had a far
different outcome. The Battle of McDowell was not lost because of tactical error on the Union
commander’s part; in fact, their tactics were quite outstanding and deserving of General Jacksons
begrudging respect. The surprise attack arguably saved lives in the end, since their fierce assault
forced the Confederates to tend to their wounded and dead before pursuing the retreating Union
army.
The Battle of McDowell was not an extremely important battle of the Civil War. It will
never be mentioned along such hallowed battlefields as Gettysburg or Manassas. While it may
not be a famous battle, it was the beginning of a campaign, which would not only illustrate the
military genius of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson but also reinvigorate the South’s will to
fight. Both sides of this battle, and this war, really have nothing to be ashamed of in terms of
military doctrine. The Battle of McDowell should ultimately be remembered as the point of the
Civil War where the South began to truly assert themselves militarily. From this point on the
carnage and horror of war would increase exponentially.
Bibliography
Cozzens, Peter. Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
Martin, David. Jackson’s Valley Campaign. United States: De Capo Press, 1994.
National Park Service, “Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia,”
http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/shenandoah/svs3-2.html, (accessed January 27,
2012).
MODIFIED BATTLE ANALYSIS FORMAT
Adaptation and Expansion by Professor Carl J. Bradshaw
from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
Study Guide for Battle Analysis
Overview:
1. General: The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College developed the battle analysis methodology to help its students structure their
studies of battles and campaigns. The format can be easily applied by any military professional seeking insight from historical battles and
campaigns to help deepen his/her understanding of warfare and the profession of arms. In this course we will use it as a structure for the final
paper.
a. The battle analysis methodology is a process for systematic study of a battle or campaign.
b. This process takes the form of a checklist that ensures completeness in examining the critical aspects of the chosen subject.
c. This is a modification and simplified format adapted from CGSC.
2. Format: The checklist is divided into four steps, each of which builds on the previous one(s) to provide a logical order for the study.
a. The three steps are:
(1) Review the Setting (Set the Stage).
(2) Describe the Action.
(3) Assess the Significance of the Action.
b. In the first step, you put the battle or campaign in its overall context to the war and explain why it is important, particularly for the study of
maneuver warfare. In the second, you provide a succinct description of the maneuver, battle, or campaign. In the last step, which is the most
important, you analyze the information to derive “lessons learned.”
3. Purpose: The battle analysis methodology is a guide to help ensure that important aspects of the study of a historical battle or campaign are
not forgotten. It is not a rigid checklist that must be followed to the letter. You do not have to use every part of it in your study, but all of the
elements of battle analysis should be considered. Do not let the flow of your study be disrupted by the format’s order.
Annotated Basic Battle Analysis Methodology:
0. DEFINE THE SUBJECT/EVALUATE THE SOURCES: Just like a military operation, a successful study of military history requires a clear,
obtainable objective. The battle analysis format begins with the definition of the study.
a. Define the Battle to be Analyzed. This will become your introduction
(1) Where did it take place?
(2) Who were principle adversaries?
(3) When did the battle occur?
b. Determine the research sources: Once you have chosen a subject, decide what sources you will need to make a systematic and
balanced study. Books and articles will make up the majority of your sources, but other media—such as video, audio, and electronic ones—can
also contribute to the study.
(1) Books: Look for a variety of sources to get a balanced account of the battle. Memoirs, biographies, operational histories, and
institutional histories should all be consulted for information on your subject. Do not overlook general histories, which can help provide the
strategic setting.
(2) Articles: Articles from professional military publications and historical journals can be excellent sources of information.
(3) Other: Documentaries containing film footage of actual events or interviews with people who took part in a battle can add to your
understanding of the events. Transcribed oral history interviews with battle participants may also be available. In addition, check the Internet for
electronic documents on more recent military operations.
c. Evaluate the research sources: Finding good sources to support your study is not easy, despite the large volume of published material.
As you gather the research material, evaluate each in terms of its content and bias.
(1) Content: Determine what information the source can give you. Is it relevant to your subject? Will it help you complete your study?
(2) Bias: Decide to what extent the author is subjective or objective in his/her work. Is there a clear bias? If so, what is it? Does the bias
make a difference in your use of the work?
1. REVIEW THE SETTING (Set the Stage
): This is the first part of your paper (hence the word
“modified”). This portion of the battle analysis format establishes the setting for the study.
You must have a good understanding of the
strategic, operational, and tactical situations before you can analyze the battle. If the causes of the war and the opponents are well known, there
is little reason to go into great detail. You should focus on the operational or tactical levels of the topic.
a. Strategic/Operational Overview:
(1) Identify the war this Battle is fought in to include the time frame and locations.
(2) Identify the war aims of the principle adversaries.
(3) Identify and briefly describe the campaign this battle was part of, if any. Wha …
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