The U.S. Army Combined Arms Center welcomed guest speaker Evy Tilzer, daughter of Isaac and June Feinsilver, at the Day of Remembrance event April 20 at Grant Auditorium on Fort Leavenworth. Tilzer shared the experiences of her mother and father, who were deported to several concentration camps – among them, Blizyn, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen – during World War II. After being reunited, the couple lived in Bergen-Belsen, now a displaced persons camp. In 1949, they came to the United States, arriving in Boston and then traveling on to Kansas City.
This Week in Combined Arms History! #tbt
Engineers Forward! - General Winfield Scott and the Battle of Cerro Gordo (1847)
After a campaign of hard-fought battles in Northern Mexico in 1846, the U.S. Army sought to achieve final victory by capturing the Mexican capital in 1847. Policymakers decided on an aggressive, risky, amphibious landing on Mexico’s eastern coastline. From the first, Scott’s operation was well-planned, synchronized, and professional. Scott’s units landed unopposed at Veracruz, utilizing specially designed surf boats, and rapidly unloaded troops and supplies. After quickly seizing Veracruz on 29 March 1847, Scott began his advance inland towards Mexico City. He was opposed by General Santa Anna and some 25,000 Mexicans.
Forty miles inland, Santa Anna chose to make a defensive stand with 12,000 troops in a fortified defile just east of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The Mexican defensive lines appeared impregnable, so Scott sent his engineers to find a path around the enemy lines. On 17 April, a detachment led by future Civil War generals (CPT) Robert E. Lee and (LT) P.G.T. Beauregard found and then made a road which would allow the American main body to turn the Mexican left flank. Engineers then guided an American infantry division along the treacherous path, at night, and without pack animals – which could not make the journey. Artillerymen moved cannon up and down the slopes by hand, using ropes and manpower to achieve the formidable task.
By dawn on 18 April, the American artillery was in place and the attack began. Simultaneous with a barrage of cannon fire, the division commander, David Twiggs, sent one brigade to attack the main Mexican position on a hill at El Telegrafo, and another to attack the Mexican camp to the rear. Though outnumbered by some 4,000 men, the ferocity and surprise of the well-coordinated American attacks quickly dislodged the unsuspecting Mexican defenders. The hill fell, Mexican General Vasquez was killed, and U.S. Army Captain John Magruder turned the captured artillery pieces on the fleeing defenders.
Just then, the other brigade fell upon the Mexican camp to the west and cut off the main Jalapa road. Realizing they were surrounded, Mexican troops in the main defensive lines either fled or surrendered. It was all over by 10:00 AM. General Santa Anna was so surprised, that, in danger of being captured, he rode off to the west without his artificial leg. All told, the Americans suffered 600 casualties, but they’d killed 1,000 Mexicans and captured 3,000 others.
The road to Mexico City was now open and the momentum was to remain with Scott’s army. By 22 April, Scott had successfully traversed the Sierra Madre Mountains, the major terrain feature protecting the approach to the capital. Though personnel issues and weather slowed his advance, Scott regrouped and began his final, and ultimately successful, campaign for Mexico City in August. Overall, Scott’s coordination, synchronization, and planning won him a foothold at Veracruz. Then, his aggressive tempo and delegation to trusted subordinates, helped ensure victory at Cerro Gordo. The way to glory, and the Mexican capital, was now open.
"Dr. Richard S. (Shawn) Faulkner, history professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, was named the 2018 Richard W. Leopold Prize winner by the Organization of American Historians during their annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif., April 13, for his book Pershing's Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I... 'I am truly humbled to receive this award,' said Faulkner. 'What the award means the most to me is the recognition that it gives the CGSC Department of Military History as a place devoted to serious scholarship and the teaching of the study of war in all its facets.'" Click below to read more.
Save the date for April 23! The Simons Center Distinguished Speaker Series, co-hosted by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation, will welcome Dr. Lee A. Norman, the State Surgeon of Kansas and former Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at the University of Kansas Hospital, who lead a discussion on the challenges of modern epidemics.
Kirby Brown, deputy to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, led 10 new Fort Leavenworth employees in the Civilian Oath of Office during a swearing-in ceremony at the Adjutant General building today. The new employees were Jeffery Robinson, Mission Command Training Program (MCTP); Donald Matcheck, Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL); Mitchell Hopkins, Munson Army Health Center; Lindsay Aspinwall, Housing Services Office; Luke Billquist, Directorate of Emergency Services; Brian Paxton, US Army Combined Arms Center-Training; Frederick Dickins, Capability Development Integration Directorate (CDID); Adam Keres, Munson; Stan Bennett, The Army University; and Jeffery Schultz, CAC – Logistics Exercise & Simulation Directorate (LESD).
Mr. Kirby Brown, deputy to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, was the guest speaker at the Sexual Assault Awareness Month proclamation signing Friday, April 13. The year's theme is "SHARP: Shaping a Culture of Trust." Brown said he has complete confidence that CAC team members will always report sexual misconduct were it to occur at Fort Leavenworth and that it is vitally important to continue increasing prevention efforts within the organization.
U.S. Army Combined Arms Center Commanding General Lt. Gen Lundy addresses the Special Operations Captains Career Course at Fort Bragg Wednesday, April 11. Lt. Gen. Lundy' s presentation discussed the current shift in Army culture to focus on large-scale ground combat operations versus counterinsurgency threats.
"Approximately 100 U.S. Army Command and General Staff College international military students, family members, and friends representing 65 countries exercised together at Fort Leavenworth's Harney Gym Friday, April 6 in an attempt to set a world record for most countries participating in a CrossFit event." Click below to read more.
Mr. Kirby Brown (front), deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, stands with supervisors and graduates of the Kansas City Leadership Development Program, April 4, 2018. Seven Fort Leavenworth civilians, representing Army University, Mission Command Center of Excellence, and Center for Army Lessons Learned, participated in this six-month U.S. Office of Personnel Management program designed to hone the competencies essential to success in senior-level public sector leadership positions. Brown served as the guest speaker for the ceremony which recognized 40 graduates from a wide range of federal agencies, including the General Services Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Department of Defense.
The Army Leader Exchange (ALx) hosted a presentation by Maj. Gen. James J. Mingus, director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, at the Lewis and Clark Center on Fort Leavenworth Friday, April 6. Mingus discussed the evolution of Missions Command. “With any system that has been in existence as long as Mission Command, definitions tend to get more and more complex to where only a few people truly understand the concepts,” Mingus said. “We are working toward simplifying Mission Command so that it is more easily understood by the Force.” The Army Leader Exchange is a forum that conducts leadership development conversation among professionals and is managed by the Center for Army Leadership (CAL).
The April 2018 edition of The Journal of Military Learning has been published on our website. The Journal of Military Learning is a peer-reviewed semiannual publication that supports efforts to improve education and training for the U.S. Army and the overall Profession of Arms. Click below to read more.
This Week in Combined Arms History! #tbt
The Empire Strikes Back: Great Britain in the Falklands War (1982)
By 1982, most of the old British Empire had been granted independence. Great Britain’s post-imperial military forces were, by then, truncated, though still significant. It was led by the conservative, nationalist Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Nevertheless, the British maintained a few overseas possessions, one of which was the tiny Falkland Islands, 600km off the coast of Argentina and inhabited by some 2,000 mostly British citizens. Though the UK has possessed the islands for 150 years, the military junta regime in Argentina had long claimed the islands as their own.
On April 2, 1982, the Argentinians decided to strike, invading the islands and quickly overcoming the small Royal Marine detachment in the Falklands. The British now faced a difficult choice: accept the Argentine actions or attempt to seize back islands 12,000km from the British Isles in a massive land, sea, and air invasion. The logistical complexity was staggering.
Nonetheless, PM Thatcher quickly demonstrated her resolve and put together a “retrieval force,” the lead elements of which departed the UK on 5 April. This would eventually turn into a massive, joint, combined arms task force replete with 8,000 soldiers and marines. First, the British naval and air elements isolated the area of operations in a 200-nautical mile exclusion zone. Then, the British spent three weeks softening the Argentine defense thru air and sea bombardment. Between 26 April and 15 May, British Special Forces conducted raids on distant South Georgia and Pebble Islands, destroying some Argentine aircraft.
The Argentines, however, fought back and inflicted serious damage on the vulnerable British naval task force. Utilizing conventional bombs and advanced French Exocet missiles, the Argentine Air Force, demonstrated a rather effective anti-access, area denial (A2AD) capability, sinking six British ships and damaging 18 others. On 21 May, however, the British Royal Marines and Army began an amphibious assault on the west side of the main Falkland Island. Despite coming under Argentine aerial bombardment, the 3rd Commando Brigade’s well trained and highly professional forces overwhelmed the poorly trained Argentine conscripts. More than 1200 surrendered on 28 May.
The British ground forces, denied their planned helicopter support due to the Argentine sinking of a vital container ship, trudged 80km on two axes towards the main Argentine defensive lines at Port Stanley. Then, on 5 June, elements of the 5th Infantry brigade conducted another reinforcing amphibious landing south of Port Stanley. The British commander, MG Moore, now decided on a broad, frontal nighttime attack on the 9,000 Argentine defenders. Over the next 9 days, well-coordinated British assaults seized the key high ground west of Port Stanley, rendering the Argentine position untenable. On 14 June, the Argentines surrendered.
The British achievement was remarkable. Outnumbered and 12,000km from home, the professional British troops braved the freezing weather, mountainous terrain, and a numerically superior force to win a solid victory and liberate the islands. Perhaps most importantly for students of military art, the Falklands War demonstrated once again the vital importance of joint operations and coordination. Neither the air, sea, nor land forces could have accomplished the mission alone and independently. Their cooperation and combined effects were the only sure path to victory. The Argentines were much less successful in their application of joint, combined operations. In the end, British professionalism and power projection won the day.
Today is Gold Star Spouses Day, an opportunity for the U.S. Army to honor the surviving husbands and wives of fallen Soldiers.
The Gold Star is a symbol of loss dating back to World War I. In 1947, Congress approved the design, manufacture and distribution of the official Gold Star Lapel Button, a symbol worn by next of kin of service members of the armed forces who lost their lives in war and armed hostilities of the United States.
Today we honor our surviving spouses.
Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, provided opening comments and guidance during the quarterly Army Senior Warrant Officer Council Tuesday, April 3. The purpose of the event is to address CAC commander priorities as they relate to the Warrant Officer Cohort.
"Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth and commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, recognized 33 faculty members with 43 writing awards for their published scholarly works during a ceremony at the Lewis and Clark Center, April 2... Congratulating the award recipients, Brig. Gen. Scott Efflandt, provost of the Army University and deputy commandant of CGSC, said their efforts 'demonstrated three areas we want our students emulate -- technical competence, critical thinking, and the ability to communicate.' Professional writing is the 'benchmark of the health of our profession,' he said." Click below to read more.
This Week in Combined Arms History! #tbt
Tragedy at the Sajo River: Hungary, the Mongols and the Battle of Mohi (1241)
It seemed that nothing could stop the relentless Mongol Hordes. They had already swept through China, Central Asia, the Middle East, and, now, were headed for the heart of Europe. In 1241, the Mongols attacked Eastern Europe with five separate armies, however the main thrust headed for modern-day Hungary. King Bela of Hungary knew the swift-moving Mongols were coming and prepared obstacles tied into natural barriers to slow the Golden Horde’s horsemen. Nevertheless, the Mongols had astutely brought along specialized (engineer-type) units that rapidly cleared the obstacle belt and opened a wide axis of advance. King Bela attempted a massive mobilization of his feudal nobles, but unfortunately he presided over a divided kingdom and many lords failed to heed his call – though some Knights Templar did join his army.
The Hungarian forces had little to no experience fighting the Mongols, who, for their part, practiced a unique and effective brand of mobile warfare. King Bela led his force to the river Sajo and decided to rest his army and await supplies. As a countermeasure against the Mongol brand of nomadic warfare, he ordered the construction of a heavily-fortified camp of wagons. However, unbeknownst to Bela, the Mongols had actually brought along heavy siege equipment. The king, uncertain of the exact location of the Mongol horde, sent his brother and a party of crossbowmen to secure the main bridge over the Sajo River. They did so, and in a nighttime meeting engagement defeated the Mongol advance party. The stage was set for a decisive battle at dawn.
Not expecting the resistance they found at the river, the Mongol commander – utilizing what we’d now call mission command – delegated responsibility for fording operations both north and south of the bridge. When the king’s brother withdrew from the bridge and returned to camp, he was disappointed to find that King Bela had not yet mobilized the main Hungarian force for battle. This allowed the preponderance of the Mongol army to complete their river crossings and concentrate for battle. Nonetheless, for the first few hours the Hungarians inflicted severe losses on the Mongols – whose backs were to the river – at the first crossing site. Just then, however, the Mongols from the other fording site, led by Subutai, attacked the Hungarian rear. The Hungarians immediately withdrew towards the camp and barely avoided total encirclement. Before long, though, the fortified camp was itself surrounded.
Demonstrating an impressive competence in combined arms operations, the Mongols bombarded the camp with stone-throwing siege equipment and, likely, early Chinese firearms, sowing terror in the Hungarian ranks. A large group of nobles and soldiers attempted to flee thru a gap in the Mongol lines, which, in a standard Steppe-warfare deception, had been purposely left open. Nearly all of the fleeing Hungarians were killed by the Mongols’ mounted archers.
With the royal army all but destroyed, the ruthless Mongols wreaked havoc on the Hungarian Plains, killing some 15-20% of the local civilian population. The utter defeat of the Hungarians caused a wave of fear throughout the vulnerable kingdoms of Europe. However, internal divisions and the severe casualties the Hungarians had inflicted on the Mongols at Mohi, slowed the Horde’s advance and likely helped save the rest of Europe.
Bradley Pippin, director of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Analysis Center (TRAC), led 16 new Fort Leavenworth employees in the Civilian Oath of Office during a swearing-in ceremony at the Adjutant General building today. The new employees were Jeffrey Bevington, U.S. Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP Academy); Kyle Davis, Combined Arms Research Library (CARL); Jason Esslinger Jr., Directorate of Emergency Services (DES); Theresa Grenier, Military Correctional Complex (MCC); John Horton, Force Modernization Proponent Center (FMPC); Katy Jones, Munson Army Health Center; Garrett Knapp, Directorate of Public Works (DPW); James Lawrence Jr., U.S. Army Combined Arms Center Executive Services; Sean Madsen, The Army University (Army U); Dustin Parham, MCC; Ross Pollack, Army U; Russell Scott III, Center for Army Leadership (CAL); Frederick St. John, DES; Tad Stephens, Training Management Directorate (TMD); Jason Winters, DES; and Shawn Morrisey, Army U.
Major General Maria R. Gervais, deputy commanding general for the US Army Combined Arms Center-Training, participated in a panel entitled "Soldier Lethality" Wednesday, March 28, at the 2018 AUSA Global Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Ala. Gervais discussed how the U.S. Army is using the latest technology – including One-World Terrain and Synthetic Training Environment (STE) – to better train U.S. Army Soldiers to face emerging near-peer threats. “We are creating promising technology, demonstrating it whenever possible, and finding what works and doesn’t on a timeline that is very aggressive,” Gervais said. “We’ve seen great progress on extremely impressive training technology, and we are working hard to put in the hands of our Soldiers.”