AirLand Battle

AirLand Battle

AirLand Battle was first adopted by the US Army in 1982 as Field Manual 100-5, and drove military doctrine until the late 1990s. The AirLand Battle doctrine describes a combined Air and Land force, with emphasis on inter-service cooperation. The emphasis of the AirLand Battle warfare was to counter the Warsaw Pact's numerical superiority with better tactics, with the Central European theater in mind. This represented a significant change of position from the Army's 1976 "Active Defense" doctrine which prescribed purely defensive tactics in response to a Soviet attack on Western Europe. AirLand Battle instead advocated a vigorously offensive response to the invading force.

AirLand Battle doctrine aims to stop second-echelon forces from reinforcing the enemy, by attacking these forces at choke points. The land components fight the first-echelon enemies, and the air units attack the second-echelon forces behind the lines. The enemy is attacked at choke points, because its location is otherwise unpredictable due to his maneuvers. Natural choke points would be bridges and tunnels. In the event of Soviet attack, these choke points could be as far as 150km behind the first-echelon lines.

As an example, during the Gulf War, the road to Basra was turned into a choke point by bombing both ends of the convoys first (thus creating the Highway of Death).

Today, the Pentagon embraces a new doctrine: Network-centric warfare, made possible by the Digital Revolution.

External links

* [ Field Manual 100-5 PDF]
* [ The Evolution of the Airland Battle Concept] "Air University Review", 1984
* [ Partnership and Tension: The Army and Air Force Between Vietnam and Desert Shield] "PARAMETERS", Spring 1996

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