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Soviet military art includes three main components:  strategy, operational art, and tactics.  Each of these components is composed of a group of theories and practical applications to armed struggle at the related level.

Strategy is the highest level of the art of war. It is based on military doctrine and depends on national economic capabilities and potential. Strategy derives directly from national policy and is governed by that policy. It includes the following:
----- - Preparation of the armed forces for war;
----- - Planning and conduct of war;
----- - Employing various services of the armed forces and their troop control.

Operational art is the level intermediate between strategy and tactics. It links the two other levels.  Operational art is concerned with wartime employment of the operational formations (fronts and armies) organic to various services of the armed forces in order to accomplish the missions assigned to it by strategy.

Tactics is concerned with the combat employment of the following to accomplish the missions assigned by operational art:
----- - Large units (divisions, army corps);
----- - Units (brigades, regiments);
----- - Subunits (battalions, companies, platoons, and sections);
----- - Their combat means and weapons.



The subject of operational art contains the following:
----- - Analysis;
----- - Study;
----- - Classification;
----- - Proposing recommendations for the preparation and conduct of operations;
----- - Combat actions by operational formations of the services of the armed forces in a campaign in any TSMA.

Operations, as a category of the application of military science in the context of operational art, is the sum of the two forms of combat, strikes and attacks (udar--fires), by all means of destruction, or only by conventional weapons. It also includes the forms of combat actions by combat and combat support arms organic to operational formations. Operations take place in a specified area, and are coordinated in terms of objectives, time, and space. They are interrelated with each other, and are to accomplish an assigned operational mission within a unified plan and concept.

The principal content of operational art in modern times is the theory and practice of operations/combat actions by the following:
----- - Operational formations (fronts, armies, groups of forces, and naval, air force and air defense operational sized formations);
----- - Airborne assault forces conducted jointly or separately. 

The form of the nature and method for conducting such operations/combat actions will be different in future wars.

The content of operational art also includes the preparation and conduct of marches, and the movement of operational formations over large distances. The subjects of operational art are the following:
----- - The nature and characteristics of operations and the design of the principles that ensure the achievement of the objectives of operations;
----- - The design of forms and methods for the employment of operational formations (obedinenie) in order to accomplish various missions, including working out the main principles and practical recommendations for preparation and conduct of operations (combat actions) by operational formations under various conditions;
----- - Determining the best forms, methods, and formations for the movements of troops over large distances by marching, as well as by various other means of transportation;
----- - Working out measures for all aspects of combat support (obespechenia) of the troops in operations, as well as the measures concerning the organization and conduct of troop control (upravlenia voiska).

Operational art has developed considerably in modern times. It comprises general theoretical concepts and principles concerning the operations (combat actions) of operational formations of each service of the armed forces. It also includes some parts of theories specific to each service which define the particular professional characteristics related to the employment of their operational formations in war.

Operational art is closely connected with the other components of the art of war, i.e., strategy and tactics.  It is obvious that none of the three main components of the art of war can deal thoroughly by itself with all issues concerning the preparation and conduct of war, operations (combat actions) and combat. This is because each component of the art describes specific principles and provides practical recommendations for the preparation and conduct of military actions at a specific level and supplements the other two components.  Therefore, the accomplishment of general and overall missions facing the art of war is achieved through interaction and joint application of all three components.

Among all components of the art of war, the leading role is played by strategy.  Therefore, the accomplishment of operational and tactical missions is connected to, and governed by, the general strategic objective.  Moreover, the introduction of strategic rockets and other strategic forces, the employment of which can help the achievement of great strategic consequences in a short time, widely expands the role of strategy, in the TSMAs and also in the achievement of the overall objective of the war.

This does not mean that the role and importance of other components of the art of war are decreasing.  In modern armies, operational and tactical formations have their organic nuclear missile systems. This provides them with more freedom of action in selecting the forms of combat actions and obliges them to act with more initiative and self-sufficiency.  Consequently, the degree and extent of the dependence of strategic success on operational achievements and the dependence of operational success on tactical gains, as was seen in the past, have changed.  Now the operational level of command not only determines and specifies the mission of large units (soyedinnie), but simultaneously can accomplish, through the employment of its own assets, some operational missions, even before the accomplishment of tactical missions.

Despite expansion of self-sufficiency of each of the components of the art of war, there exists a close inter-relationship between them. This shows that the course and outcome of war are not directly dependent only on the action of strategic nuclear forces, but at the same time depend on the outcome of the accomplishment of operational and tactical missions.  Therefore, strategy in its analysis and study of the laws of war and its working out of the forms for the employment of the armed forces in war considers the status and capability of operational art and tactics as the basis of studies and assessments. 

Operational art, in its turn, closely considers the following in its studies, calculations, and assessments:
----- - Status and capabilities of tactics;
----- - Military equipment organic to large units (soyedinnie), units (chasti), and subunits (podrazdilenie).

Operational art is required to work for the following:
----- - Realization of strategic concepts;
----- - Organization of the combat action of operational formations (obedinenie) of each service of the armed forces;
----- - Supporting the execution of strategic concepts.

The direct execution of combat missions is handled by tactics, but at the same time, the principal initiative in the organization of the combat actions of the troops belongs to operational art.

The preparation and conduct of operations (combat actions) by operational formations (obedinenia) of each service are organized and realized within the framework of strategic operations in the TSMA.



General principles and direction (napravleniya) of development of operational art are determined by a large number of factors. The basic principles causing the development of operational art and generally guiding the development of the art of war are the following:
----- - Leadership of the Communist Party and state guidance;
----- - Essence (principles) of military doctrine;
----- - Scientific and technological progress;
----- - State of technical equipment of forces;
----- - State of combat-readiness and troop training;
----- - Status and direction of development of the potential enemy's armed forces and his theory of the art of war;
----- - Characteristics of the TSMAs;
----- - Experience of war, practice, organization, and structure of the armed forces in peacetime.

The most important factor determining the content and development of operational art are the following:
----- - Leadership of the Communist Party;
----- - Guidance of the state over the organization, armament, and equipment of the armed forces;
----- - Development of military science;
----- - Constant attention to strengthening the defensive power of the nation.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in pursuance of decisions made in Party sessions, determines the tasks and principles of the structure and preparation of the armed forces, which constitute the basis for the development of the art of war in general, and for operational art in particular.  The prime consideration in the structure of the armed forces is the fact that it is governed by Party leadership.

One of the factors determining the content and direction of the development of operational art is the military doctrine of the state.  Based on the instructions of the Party and state and the recommendations of military science, doctrine specifies the reliable means, forms, and methods of safeguarding the homeland against enemy invasion.  Doctrine assesses the total characteristics of future wars, the missions faced by the armed forces and state in the time of war, and also the forms for conducting these missions.  Based on the essence of military doctrine, operational art relies on the assumption that a future war initiated by imperialists will be a general war between the capitalist and socialist systems and will be a decisive confrontation between the systems.

Local wars, or wars between several capitalist and socialist nations may develop into a general war. Depending on the characteristics and form of its execution, the war may be a general nuclear war, or it may begin with conventional means and develop later into a nuclear war.  Local wars may begin and end without the use of nuclear weapons, or war between a number of capitalist and socialist countries may begin with conventional weapons and later develop into a nuclear confrontation.  The imperialist countries prepare for a war beginning with a surprise attack against the USSR and socialist nations.

Therefore, the most important task of operational art is to provide theoretical and practical recommendations and guidelines concerning preparation and conduct of operations by operational formations under different circumstances. Preparations must be made for the initiation and conduct of war with or without the employment of nuclear weapons, and also to deal with a possible surprise enemy invasion.  The methods for foiling enemy surprise invasions and repelling attacks are the launching of devastating blows against the aggressor, followed by decisive attacks against the enemy to achieve total destruction in a short time.

The content and development of operational art are broadly connected with scientific and technological achievements and progress. They are also connected the standards of the technical and combat equipment of the troops. The influence of this science and technology on the characteristics and methods of conducting combat actions are realized primarily through the nature of weapons and combat equipment.  The history of warfare testifies implicitly to the influence of these factors.

Economic conditions, as well as scientific and technological progress, constitute a major factor in the revolution in military affairs.  The Soviet Communist Party and government, utilizing economic, scientific, and technological achievements, constantly seek to promote the combat capabilities of the armed forces by providing them with the newest and best versions of weapons and equipment, continuously produced and modified, such as artillery pieces, antitank weapons, radars, etc.

The progressive nature and development of weapons and combat equipment has caused intensive competition and a constant race between offensive and defensive means.  The introduction of nuclear weapons greatly increased the capabilities of offensive means, but simultaneously, the capabilities of defensive means have also kept pace with such developments, and have been greatly improved.

In modern armies, along with the advances made in the power of strategic offensive means, rapid developments are being made in operational and tactical nuclear weapons as well.  More powerful and improved nuclear weapons and delivery means have been developed. Concurrent with the development of nuclear delivery means, quantitative and qualitative improvements of conventional weapons have also continued.  Significant attention has been paid to the modification and modernization of such weapons in all modern armies. The variety of conventional weapons continues to increase, along with the complexity of their construction.  Modern tanks, aircraft, and ships are becoming more complicated and represent the most complex technological achievements. Such weapons are equipped with a wide range of advanced instrumentation and other equipment.  The destructive capability of weapons, as well as their firing range, accuracy, and effectiveness of fire are rapidly increasing, and, consequently, the firing and striking power of the ground forces, air forces, and navy are constantly improving. The utilization of newly developed conventional weapons enhances the dynamic development of combat actions and in some cases, provides the capability to give the operation a decisive character while avoiding the necessity for the employment of nuclear weapons.

Concurrent development and improvement of nuclear and conventional weapons not only influences the nature and characteristics of operations, but at the same time, changes the composition, structures, and organization of operational formations. It also requires reconsideration and adjustment of many theoretical and practical principles and methods of operational art, as well as the organization of issues concerning the preparation and conduct of operations and the employment of new weapons.  The need to reorganize operational and combat- readiness, training, and the psychological preparation of the armed forces personnel tends to arise and requires the troops to overcome the power of a strong enemy under difficult conditions, with or without the use of nuclear weapons. Commanders and staffs need to learn troop control methods under the most complicated and difficult conditions.

The nature of operations and the theories of operational art are influenced particularly by the employment of electronic warfare means and laser weapons systems with enormous destructive power that have appeared in recent years or are under development.  The theory of operational art is also influenced by the state of combat and operational-readiness, as well as the political and psychological status of the troops.

Operational art relies on the fact that constant high combat-readiness of troops ensures foiling any enemy invasion and guarantees the successful accomplishment of operations (combat actions) at the outbreak of war.

The most important element in combat-readiness of troops is their combat effectiveness. This is determined by the following:
----- - Level of strength of the subunits, units, and large units;
----- - State of their combat-readiness;
----- - Standard of the personnel's morale;
----- - Availability of stores and supplies. 

A significant role in promoting the state of combat-readiness of the troops is played by the status of morale and the psychological-readiness of the personnel. The higher the morale of personnel and the deeper the devotion of the rank and file to their duty, the more the combat-readiness of units and large units is increased and enhanced.

In determining the proper content and course of development of operational art the nature and developmental tendencies of a potential enemy's theory of the art of war must be taken into consideration. Along with its strong and weak points, the enemy's theories on the conduct of combat actions are of particular significance.  These facts help Soviet theoreticians to work out the most effective methods of repelling enemy aggression and ensuring destruction of enemy forces in the course of military actions.

Conditions of military geography in the TSMA should be taken into consideration where combat operations are to be conducted.

Experiences of past and contemporary wars and the actual practice of organization and preparation of the armed forces in peacetime are also taken into account in this process.  Forgetting these experiences can put us in a precarious and risky position and may jeopardize the process of the development of the operational art.  Experiences of past wars should be utilized, and the achievements gained in the development of weapons and combat equipment should be contemplated in the process of reorganization of the troops under new conditions.  Thus, proper determination of the content and development of Soviet operational art is possible only on the basis of Marxist-Leninist methodology in deep and comprehensive analysis and assessment of a wide range of factors.

All aforementioned factors, as a whole, influence the development of operational art.  Through the direct influence of such factors, the prominent features of operational art, in modern times, are illustrated and defined as follows:
----- - First, the theory of operational art, as a whole, is entirely and implicitly distinguished and defined on the basis of Marxist-Leninist teachings and by the laws and principles concerning the preparation and conduct of operations;
----- - Second, modern operational art is complex, with many aspects.  In operations conducted by operational scale formations the process concerning their preparation and execution is conducted by operational art.  Since different arms and services organic to different branches of the armed forces are participating in the conduct of operations, operational art assumes a complex nature with many aspects.  Planning of an operation must cover all aspects, be worked out in detail, and take into consideration coordinated actions of all means and forces participating in the operation;
----- - Third, in operational art the need and capability of utilizing all types of military actions should be taken into account. The requirements of each form should be met in theory and practice;
----- - Considering the expanded capabilities of modern operational formations, as well as the significance of economizing time and seizing and retaining the initiative, the focus of operational art is on working out offensive theories and their practical implementation. But, at the same time, the other forms of combat action are not ignored. Such characteristics of operational art emerge mainly from the dynamism of the development of military affairs along with various forms and methods concerning the conduct of operations.
----- - Fourth, in modern operational art, the role of collective initiative is increased.  The extraordinary dynamic nature of contemporary combat action, as well as the need to make quick decisions about the effective employment of different types of weapons in operations (combat actions), and the need to analyze a broad flow of information during combat, requires that a large number of officers and generals be employed as staff officers in the planning and conduct of combat actions.  The commander needs their contribution in the decision-making process to provide him with timely information, calculations, and suggestions.  This obviously shows the importance and significance of collective actions and concepts.  But still, the basic principle of troop control is always the observance of unified command and leadership;

The aforementioned characteristics, generally pertinent to operational art, are further supplemented by other specific characteristics pertinent to different services of the armed forces in relation to their role, missions, organic assets, and methods of employment in the operation.



The general topics and issues of the theory of Soviet operational art are derived from the laws of armed struggle, and, in fact, they define the principles and methods of the preparation and conduct of operations (combat actions).  They are important to the operational formations of different arms of the services, despite their different and separate professional nature and distinctions.  In order to conceive thoroughly the nature of the general principles and considerations in the theory of operational art, it is necessary to review briefly the types of operational formations and their missions.

Operational formations include the following: 
----- - Fronts;
----- - Military district commands;
----- - Air and air defense district commands;
----- - Naval fleets;
----- - Combined arms armies;
----- - Tank armies;
----- - PVO forces;
----- - Air forces;
----- - Independent army corps operating on independent axes;
----- - Others.

Each one of these formations has specific missions, organizations and assets.  Operational formations do not have permanent organizations.  Their organization and structure are determined in accordance with the nature of the theater military of operations, the number and significance of the missions to be accomplished, the conditions of the operational situation, and the nature of their coordination with other operational formations.

Strategic Rocket Forces Operational Formations

Strategic rocket forces operational formations are tasked to accomplish the following:
----- - Inflict losses and destruction on enemy main groupings of strategic, operational, and tactical nuclear forces;
----- - Destroy enemy aircraft units, ground forces, air defense forces, naval forces and the most important targets in the theater of operations;
----- - Destroy enemy military economic bases;
----- - Interrupt the enemy's societal life.

Operational formations organic to the strategic rocket forces accomplish their missions by launching nuclear strikes against the enemy in the framework of the plans of the supreme commander.  Such formations foil enemy efforts or reduce enemy capabilities to launch strikes and attacks on friendly armed forces and important targets in the country. They provide favorable conditions for the conduct of operations by other operational formations organic to different services of the armed forces. Nuclear strikes are launched by the bulk of the rocket forces or by a number of their operational formations (obidinenie), and large units (soidenenie) on vital areas and targets inside the territory of enemy allied countries. They may consist of a number [series] of nuclear strikes.  However, the initial strike, which is prepared in advance, has significant importance to the successful conduct of future operations.

Ground Forces Operational Formations

Ground forces operational formations, along with their attached troops and the large units of other branches of the armed forces, are tasked to accomplish the following:
----- - Destroy the enemy in the TSMA;
----- - Seize enemy territory;
----- - Repel enemy attacks;
----- - Hold friendly territories. 

Such formations are capable of independently destroying large enemy units of forces with or without the employment of nuclear weapons.

PVO Operational Formations

The missions of PVO operational formations are the following:
----- - Defending against enemy aircraft, rockets, spacecraft;
----- - Covering vital targets and units of friendly armed forces across the country against enemy aircraft, rockets, and military spacecraft.

Since missiles are the principal delivery means of enemy strategic nuclear forces, the most important task of the air defense forces is antimissile defense capable of successfully and effectively defeating enemy nuclear missile attacks. Another important task facing PVO forces, in modern times, will be combating enemy military space-based weapons and spacecraft.  The air defense forces accomplish their missions through combat actions conducted within the framework of a unified plan, either independently or jointly with other services of the armed forces, but primarily with the ground forces.

The operations of PVO forces become significantly important in case of a nuclear war.  In that case, the air defense forces, together with the strategic missile forces, play a vital role in foiling an enemy nuclear attack.

Air Forces Operational Formations

The missions of air forces operational formations are the following:
----- - Destroy enemy missiles and air force units;
----- - Establish air superiority;
----- - Destroy the enemy's economy and communications networks;
----- - Conduct joint actions with the ground forces and the navy;
----- - Conduct air reconnaissance;
----- - Transport airborne troops;
----- - Secure airmobile operations in support of troop movements;
----- - Transport supplies and stores by air.

Air forces operational formations conduct combat actions by carrying out long-range air force operations and combat actions by front air forces.
In air operations to destroy enemy air forces units in the initial phase of war, in addition to long-range aircraft, fronts' air forces, and naval aircraft are called upon as well.

Naval Forces Operational Formations

The missions of naval forces operational formations are the following:
----- - Destroy enemy naval forces;
----- - Destroy primarily enemy aircraft carrier task forces;
----- - Destroy enemy submarines armed with missiles;
----- - Foil or destroy enemy naval movements and transportation;
----- - Destroy enemy coastal targets.

Naval operational formations also safeguard naval supply routes against enemy naval attacks and support the ground forces during their operations on naval axes.

The basis of the naval forces are nuclear missile submarines, which are capable of launching nuclear missile attacks against specified targets in enemy territory in order to:
----- - Destroy his military industrial potential;
----- - Interrupt his governmental and military troop control system;
----- - Inflict damage on other vital targets.

Naval forces operational formations accomplish their missions by conducting naval operations which, in terms of their aims and objectives, are classified as follows:
----- - Operations to destroy enemy naval forces;
----- - Operations to destroy vital targets inside enemy territory;
----- - Operations to foil enemy naval movements;
----- - Operations to secure and defend friendly naval routes;
----- - Operations to achieve all or a number of the above mentioned aims concurrently might also be conducted.

Operational formations of each service of the armed forces accomplish specific missions through different forms of combat actions in a modern war.  However, there are a number of general principles of operational art that govern all. These principles are discussed below.

Decisive Objective, Broad Dimension, and Complicated Nature of the Operation

These characteristics are incorporated into operational art because of broad and profound achievements in modern military weaponry that possesses enormous destructive power and striking force.  Other important factors influencing this process are the following:
----- - Capability to destroy the enemy by mass-employment of nuclear weapons or merely conventional means;
----- - Expand and increase mobility in troop movements;
----- - Considerable effectiveness of troop control;
----- - Higher morale and training standards of armed forces personnel. 

The decisiveness of objectives and increased dimensions of the operations (combat actions), of the operational formations of different services of the armed forces are caused by the use of strategic nuclear forces and the complications of the situation due to the enormous potential capabilities of enemy nuclear weapons.  A most difficult situation will develop if the enemy attacks when operational formations are suffering heavily from enemy nuclear strikes.

During conventional operations (combat actions), the most complicated situation will be faced when friendly forces are forced to repel enemy surprise attacks, and particularly in the course of fierce combat actions to repel an enemy initial attack. In such a situation, it is required that, on some axes, a temporary defensive posture be assumed to repel the attack of superior enemy forces, while attempts are made to bring forward second-echelon forces and reserves, eventually establishing superiority in troops and means.

One of the general principles of operational art in modern times is that the operations of operational formations of different services of the armed forces are conducted within a strategic framework in the TSMA.  Each one of the operational formations will execute its missions in close consideration of the missions of the other formations while closely coordinating with each other.


The meaning and nature of coordination is harmonizing the method of action of the following:
----- - Operational formations (fronts, armies);
----- - Large units (divisions);
----- - Units (brigades, regiments);
----- - Sub-units (battalions and below);
----- - Different services of the armed forces;
----- - Various arms of services.

Objective, time, and space are considered in order to accomplish assigned missions and to achieve the aim of the operation (combat). Depending on the objectives, actions, and size of cooperating groupings of forces, the coordination can be termed strategic, operational, or tactical.

Strategic coordination is concerted action by operational formations of different services of the armed forces to achieve strategic objectives. Such a level of coordination is organized by the supreme high command within the framework of a unified plan and concept.

Operational coordination is concerted action by operational formations to accomplish assigned missions in operations conducted by formations on one or more operational axes.  This level of coordination is usually organized on the basis of instructions of the armed forces general staff and the commanders of operational formations.

Tactical coordination is concerted action by tactical units to accomplish assigned missions. This level of coordination is organized by the following:
----- - Commanders of operational formations (fronts, armies);
----- - Commander of large units (divisions);
----- - Units (brigades, regiments) among combined arms and supporting arms divisions, brigades, and regiments.

The purpose is to conduct concerted actions in combat.

The most important point in operational and tactical coordination is the coordination of the use of nuclear and conventional means of destruction with the action of the troops in support of the most effective employment of all forces and assets.  Each commander organizes the coordination among his subordinates to ensure the most effective use of available troops and means.


One of the general principles of operational art is meeting the requirements of constant and high combat-readiness of the troops. This facilitates timely accomplishment of combat missions and ensures surprise action by the troops. The requirements of constant combat-readiness can be met through the general structure and organization, as well as through the preparation of armed forces.

Constant combat-readiness of the troops requires the following;
----- - Initial nuclear strikes be launched against the enemy;
----- - Surprise action of the friendly forces be ensured;
----- - Enemy surprise attacks be foiled and prevented;
----- - Active combat operation be developed rapidly from the outset of the war, to seize the initiative.

The following levels of combat-readiness are defined in the armed forces: 
----- - Routine combat-readiness;
----- - Higher state of combat-readiness;
----- - Full combat-readiness.

Routine Combat-Readiness

A state in which all armed forces effectively conduct their planned, routine operations, while large units (divisions), units (regiments) and sub-units (battalions and below) at full strength are ready to be employed for conducting combat actions, and all other large units, units, and supporting [service] echelons with reduced strength organization are ready to be mobilized and transformed into full combat-readiness.

Higher Combat-Readiness

This is the state from which the troops can pass to the state of full combat-readiness in the shortest possible time.  In this case, all large units are concentrated in their permanent military garrisons and take measures to upgrade their combat and mobilization-readiness.

Full Combat-Readiness

This is the highest state of combat-readiness to accomplish rapidly combat missions.  In case of parity between the opposing forces, and even when the enemy forces are superior to the friendly troops, full combat-readiness facilitates surprise action against the enemy.  This causes the following:
----- - Heavy enemy losses in a short time;
----- - Rapid changes in the relative balance of forces;
----- - Seizure of initiative;
----- - Provides favorable conditions in which decisive consequences in the operation may be achieved. 

Therefore, the friendly forces should constantly be alert, act with initiative, determination, decisiveness and quickness.

Mass employment of troops and means to accomplish the main missions on the decisive axes

This is one of the important principles of operational art and it has undergone broad changes in form in comparison with past wars.  In modern conditions, due to the risk of heavy casualties likely to be suffered with the use of nuclear weapons, concentration of masses of troops in narrow zones is not allowed and is not acceptable. Nowadays the concentration of force is achieved primarily through the following:
----- - Launching missiles and air strikes;
----- - Mass-employment of nuclear weapons against the enemy, to change rapidly the relative balance of forces in our own favor;
----- - Conducting rapid troop movements. 

In operations conducted without the employment of nuclear weapons, establishing superiority of forces against the enemy on decisive axes, requires strong groupings of forces be concentrated for a limited period of time and, after breaking through the enemy defenses or following the accomplishment of specific missions, dispersed quickly.

Wide maneuver by forces and assets is another important principle of operational art that has acquired more significance now than in WWII.

Comprehensive Support of Operations (Combat Actions)

One of the important conditions to ensure success in the operations of the operational formations of different services of the armed forces is detailed, thorough support of their operations in order to provide favorable conditions for the troops to act and to decrease the effectiveness of enemy nuclear and conventional weapons attacks, as well as enemy forces' combat actions, and also to destroy enemy troop control.

The main types of measures in support of all operational formations are the following:
----- - Reconnaissance
----- - Protection of the troops and rear services' installations against attacks by enemy mass-destruction weapons;
----- - Operational concealment (maskirovka);
----- - Radio-electronic combat;
----- - Engineer, chemical, hydrometeorologic, topogeodesic, and logistic support.

Troop Control

Another important principle of operational art is effective, reliable, and active troop control.  The experience of past wars clearly indicates that success in operations depends on the following:
----- - Availability of weapons;
----- - Method of employment of weapons;
- Status, form, and method of troop control.



The ground forces constitute an important component of the armed forces and play a specific role in operations conducted with or without nuclear weapons employment.  The development of strategic means of war has not decreased the significance of the ground forces in achieving victory; instead their importance has acquired more significance.

Future local wars, as well as general nuclear wars, will be fast paced, longer, and more difficult.  In such wars, final victory can be achieved only through the destruction of enemy armed forces and the seizure of his territory, which would be impossible without the employment of ground forces.

Forms of Operations, Their Objectives, and Dimensions

The ground forces operational formations operating on independent axes include the following:
----- - Combined arms fronts;
----- - Combined arms armies;
----- - Tank armies;
----- - Army corps. 

Their structures and organizations are not permanent or standard but depend on their objectives, the nature of their assigned missions, and the nature of the TSMA where the operations are to be conducted.

The front is the highest operational formation which may be comprised of the following elements:
----- - Three to four combined arms and tank armies;
----- - Air army;
----- - Army corps;
----- - Infantry and tank divisions, and sometimes airborne divisions;
----- - Air assault large units;
----- - Rocket, artillery, surface-to-air missile units, and large units;
----- - Engineer, chemical, other combat supporting units, and large units.

In some situations operational formations and large units of other services of the armed forces may be put under the operational control of the front.

Combined Arms Army

This includes the following large units and units:
----- - Rocket brigade;
----- - Four to six motorized rifle and tank divisions;
----- - Units and large units of surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery;
----- - Army air forces;
------ Combat support arms large units, units and subunits;
----- - In some cases, an artillery corp.

Tank Army

The tank army is usually composed of the following:
----- - Tank divisions;
----- - Motorized rifle divisions (sometimes);
----- - Other combat and combat support arms units;
----- - Large units.

During the conduct of operations, the front, army, and army corps are usually reinforced by additional units and large units attached to them by higher echelons.

The availability of the following ensures their capability to accomplish any type of mission during the conduct of operations in a continental TSMA.
----- - Nuclear missile troops;
----- - Various combat and combat support units;
----- - Large units in the organization of the front and army;
----- - An air army in the structure of the front.

The operations conducted by operational formations of the ground forces are classified in terms of objective, method of execution, and scale.

In terms of objective and form of execution, operations may be offensive or defensive.  On the basis of studies made of the capabilities of different forms of operations and their likely consequences and advantages, operational art establishes principles which recommend that only by the following can the objective of strategic operations in the TSMA and the overall objective of the war be achieved:
----- - Decisive attack;
----- - Utilizing all the weapons and combat capabilities of the troops;
----- - Complete destruction of the enemy.

However, on individual axes, at specific stages of strategic operations, when the circumstances are unfavorable for conducting offensive operations, not only the armies but even the fronts can be forced to take up the defense and conduct defensive operations.  Therefore, while the offensive operation is the basic form of combat action in operational art, the defensive operation is taught as a temporary and forced type of combat action.
When operating on maritime axes, the front and army, in cooperation with large units and operational formations of other services of the armed forces, can conduct seaborne assault operations or establish a coastal defense.  The airborne forces conduct airborne assault operations in which motorized infantry troops can also participate.

In terms of scale and dimension, the operation is divided into front and army operations.  The front operations integrate parts of the strategic operation in the TSMA, while army operations constitute the elements of the front operation.

The front offensive operation is conducted in one strategic axis or on a number of operational axes.  Its objectives can be the following:
----- - Destruction of opposing enemy groupings, including nuclear weapons and deep (strategic) reserves;
----- - Foiling the mobilization and deployment of enemy armed forces in the TSMA across the offensive zone of the front;
----- - Seizing important enemy economic and political areas;
----- - Eliminating nations allied with the enemy from the war.

In any specific situation, the objectives of the operation and the missions of the front are determined and specified by the commander in chief (supreme high commander) within the framework of the concept of the strategic operation and in accordance with the situation.

The scale front operations can be different depending on the following:
----- - Aim of the operation;
----- - Availability of forces and means;
----- - Geographical conditions of the TSMA;
----- - Other factors. 

The scale of the operation is distinguished by the following:
----- - Depth of the operation;
----- - Width of the attack zone;
----- - Average rate of advance;
----- - Duration of the operation. 

In a TSMA where sufficient lines of communications are established and the terrain is favorable for combat actions, the normal depth of the front offensive operation can be 600-800 kms., width of attack zone 300-400 kms., the average rate of advance 40-60 kms. per day, and the duration of the operation l2-l5 days.  In other theaters, particularly in mountainous TSMAs the dimensions of the operation will be wider.

Offensive operations of combined arms and tank armies are part of the front operation and are conducted in one of the operational axes. Normally the army conducts and accomplishes its operations in coordination with the following:
----- - Other armies;
----- - SSM troops;
----- - Front air defense troops;
----- - Airborne assault troops;
----- - Naval forces on naval axes.

A combined arms army can conduct independent offensive operations, separate from the front operation, when acting under special circumstances and on separate axes.  The depth of a combined arms army's operations in normal conditions can be 250-350 kms. or more, while the width of its attack zone can be 60-80 or even l00 kms., and in mountainous terrain it may be greater.

Defensive Operations

A defensive operation is regarded as a temporary, forced type of combat action, particularly in operations conducted with the employment of nuclear weapons.  Defense will normally be conducted in support of a successful attack on the main axes.  However, when nuclear weapons are not employed, the troops may deliberately take up the defense to weaken superior enemy forces, to gain time for the deployment of offensive units, preparing to, and passing over to the offensive operation.

A front defensive operation may be conducted at the beginning of a strategic operation, in case of an enemy invasion of our country, or in the course of a strategic operation in which the enemy manages to establish superiority in forces and means on one of the axes and seize the initiative.  Army defensive operations may become necessary in different stages of a front offensive operation, or it might be an integrated part of a front's offensive operation.

Aims and Objectives of Defensive Operations

Missions are assigned to the front by the supreme high command and to the army by the Front commander within the framework of the general concept of strategic operations in a TSMA. They are also assigned on the basis of the concept of front operations.  Missions are designed to achieve broad objectives in close consideration of the situation in the areas of action of operational formations.

The use of nuclear and chemical weapons in defensive operations, as well as the increased capabilities of the troops in firepower and manuever, require that the defense be conducted decisively and actively, so that assigned missions are accomplished in a much shorter time than in the past.  By effective employment of modern weapons and through better utilization of terrain and engineer obstacles, heavier losses can be inflicted on the enemy more quickly. The aim and missions of defensive operations are the following:
----- - Inflicting decisive casualties and losses on the enemy main grouping of forces;
----- - Foiling its attack;
----- - Holding vital areas and approaches;
----- - Gaining time for the organization of the counterattack.

Defensive operations may also become necessary to ensure economy of force and facilitate the concentration of forces on axes where the offensive operation is to be undertaken. Defensive operations are also conducted to cover the flanks of the main striking groupings conducting offensive operations in the TSMA.

The combined arms army is assigned a defensive zone on the main axes, l00-l50 kms. wide and sometimes wider.  The army corps defends on a front 70 or more kms. wide.  When the front takes up the defense, the width of its defensive zone may reach 500 kms. or more. In TSMAs with special conditions, the operational formations are capable of defending wider frontages.

The defense should be strong and active.  Moreover, it should be established in depth with different patterns--not mono-type.  The troops and means should be dispersed in the defensive area, and the fire plan, particularly the antitank fire system and air defense, should be organized in detail.  In preparing defensive positions and defensive strongholds, extensive use of obstacles should be made and strong reserves (second-echelon troops) should be deployed in depth.

The depth of the army's defensive disposition may reach l00-l50 kms. and that of the front, 250-300 kms.

The operational formations will have a limited number of nuclear weapons in defense, and they will often be forced to attempt to repel the enemy attack by conventional weapons and means.  Sometimes, despite the limited availability of nuclear weapons, the operational formations, counting on nuclear delivery means of higher echelons employed in support of their operations, can act with greater effectiveness to foil the enemy attack. Such a mission can be accomplished nowadays at any stage of the enemy attack.

In the theory of operational art, defensive action on maritime axes is studied and considered as coastal and inland defense, or merely coastal defensive operations conducted by front and army (army corps).  In some cases, the task of defending maritime axes is assigned to naval forces themselves, with naval aircraft and naval infantry.

Seaborne Assault Operations

Seaborne assault operations are conducted to seize the following:
----- - Islands;
----- - Large peninsulas;
----- - Straits;
----- - Vital coastal areas;
----- - Military and naval bases.

Occupation of these areas provides friendly forces with important bases and favorable conditions for better and effective utilization of naval forces, as well as for the destruction of enemy groupings of naval forces.  Such operations are conducted jointly by ground and naval forces supported by strategic rocket troops, air forces, and PVO troops.

Seaborne assault operations are normally organized and conducted under the control of the front commander.  In this particular case, the commander of the naval fleet acts as the assistant commander of the front for the affairs of naval units.  Sometimes, seaborne assault operations can also be conducted under the control of the naval commander.

Airborne Assault Operations

Airborne assault operations are normally organized and conducted on the basis of the supreme high commander's instructions, to exploit the consequences of nuclear strikes of the strategic rocket forces and to accomplish operational and strategic missions in the rear of the enemy.  In some cases, airborne assault operations may be conducted within the framework of the front offensive operation.  The missions of airborne assault operations are the following:
----- - Seizing of vital objectives and areas in the enemy's rear;
----- - Destruction of enemy nuclear weapons and command posts;
----- - Assisting friendly forces attacking from the front in destroying enemy main groupings of forces and to facilitate a rapid advance into the depth of his territory.

The composition of troops and means assigned to conduct airborne assault operations depends on the objectives of the operation and the missions to be accomplished.  The basis of the group conducting airborne assault operations are the following:
----- - Airborne large units and units; 
----- - Motorized rifle units (brigades, regiments);
----- - Large units (divisions), specifically trained and prepared for the purpose.

The distance of drop/landing of an airborne assault force may reach 500-600 km from the front lines.  But if the airborne assault operation is conducted in the interest of front objectives, the distance of drop/landing of the airborne assault force may be l50-300 km. The airborne force and its combat actions are supported by those front elements, in whose areas the airborne assault force is flown or in which it is employed on ground.

Airborne units and large units landings in the rear of the enemy come under front control after linking up or constitute the supreme high command's reserve.

Operational art, considering the conditions of different TSMAs, provides theoretical principles and practical recommendations concerning the employment of operational formations in mountains, deserts, northern areas (extreme cold), and also in operations to seize and hold large built-up areas and cities, meeting engagements, and pursuit of a retreating enemy.

Operational art also provides guidelines for the preparation and conduct of combat actions in special conditions, the most significant of which are the following:
----- - Conduct of the attack on independent axes widely apart from each other;
----- - Determining wider areas of action for operational formations and large units;
----- - Establishment of very deep dispositions by the troops.

Such guidelines cover the following:
----- - Methods of employing nuclear weapons;
----- - Use of combat arms and air forces;
----- - Methods and forms of combat actions;
----- - Nature and characteristics of troop control;
----- - Support of combat actions.



The main characteristic of an operation is the term used to illustrate the nature and characteristics of various operations reflecting the following:
----- - Their nature,
----- - Characteristics;
----- - Method of their preparation and conduct. 

The principles are the general guidelines envisaging the following:
----- - Fundamentals of operations;
----- - Preparatory measures;
----- - Methods and forms of conducting the operations;
----- - Organization of supporting measures;
----- - Troop control.

The main characteristics and the principles of preparation and conduct of operations are not fixed rules.  They change continually with developments in the following:
----- - Weapons and military equipment;
----- - Structure and organization of troops;
----- - Adjustments in military doctrine;
----- - Progress of the theory of the art of war;
----- - Preparation and training of troops.

The introduction of new and more effective weapons, primarily nuclear weapons and missiles, along with their inclusion in military organizations, the full motorization and mechanization of ground forces, and the development of their structure, has caused changes in the characteristics of operations and in the principles of their preparation and conduct.

The main characteristics and principles of modern operations conducted by ground forces operational formations are the following:
----- - Decisiveness of objectives and large-scale dimensions of the operations;
----- - Achievements of the operational objectives through joint coordinated action of different combat arms, front air forces in close coordination with the operational formations, and large units of other services of the armed forces;
----- - Unified type of preparation of modern operations to accomplish assigned missions in different likely conditions of the outbreak of future wars with or without the employment of nuclear weapons;
----- - Surprise action and intensive struggle to seize the initiative. Conduct of combat action across a broken front line, simultaneously on separate axes and in different depths;
----- - Mass-employment of troops and means on decisive axes;
----- - Wide maneuvers and accomplishment of combat missions by different methods;
----- - Rapid and significant changes in the situation;
----- - Large expenditure of stores and supplies in the operation;
----- - Considerable difficulties in the areas of support measures and troop control.

The objective and scale of modern operations, compared with those conducted in WWII, have developed and increased rapidly and profoundly. For example, the depth of the front's offensive operation reached 250-300 kms. and on some individual axes only up to 500 kms. in the closing phase of WWII, while the depth of army offensive operations reached 200 kms.  In modern conditions, as mentioned above, the depth of a front offensive operation reaches 600-800 kms. and more. That of an army offensive operation reaches up to 350 kms. and more.  Defensive operations are also conducted with decisive aims.  The reason behind these developments are the following:
----- - Decisiveness of the political objective of war and its requirements;
----- - Mass-employment of nuclear weapons and other mass-destructive means;
----- - Extensive motorization and mechanization of the troops and an increased number of combat vehicles;
----- - Great increases in the combat capability of troops and in the effectiveness of combat support means;
----- - Upgrading of the morale of Soviet armed forces personnel.

In operations conducted by operational formations of ground forces, a wide range of combat and combat support arms, as well as the troops and means of other services of the armed forces take part. This represents an enormous number and variety of weapons and combat equipment.  Each of these arms and means accomplishes specific and particular combat missions.  The following are called to take part in operations:
----- - Combat and combat support arms of the ground forces;
----- - Front aircraft;
----- - Long-range air forces large units;
----- - Naval elements;
----- - PVO troops.

Success in accomplishment of operational missions is achieved only by joint action of all combat arms and Front aircraft in close cooperation with the operational formations and large units of other services of the armed forces operating on the same axis.  Therefore, operational art concentrates on, studies, and provides the rules concerning the methods and forms of coordination (interaction) among the troops and means participating.
Since the likely conditions and circumstances under which future wars are to break out might be very different, it is vital that operations should be prepared in advance in such a way that they can be conducted with or without the employment of nuclear weapons under any initial circumstances, including situations in which the enemy launches a surprise invasion.

The main characteristic of modern operations is the fact that combat actions are conducted across a broken front line, on widely separate axes, and simultaneously to different depths of enemy territory. This does not apply only to operations conducted with the employment of nuclear weapons, but applies also to operations conducted with only conventional weapons in all modern circumstances. Combat actions are carried out in widely separated areas due to the constant risk that the enemy might employ mass-destruction weapons. We should also be familiar with and observe the old rule, "The brave man conquers the cities." Therefore, we should note that a commander who attempts bold maneuvers to smash enemy flanks, to envelop him, and destroy his forces piecemeal, can achieve victory.

In modern operations, surprise and efforts to seize the initiative in action have decisive significance. Surprise action may enable friendly forces to inflict heavy casualties on equal or even superior enemy forces in a short time and rapidly to change the relative balance of troops and means to their favor. It also enables them to destroy the enemy's will to resist and to seize and retain the initiative.

Surprise and seizure of the initiative are achieved through the following measures:
----- - Secrecy (Keeping own aims, intentions, and actions secret from the enemy);
----- - Understanding the aims, intentions, and nature of likely enemy actions;
----- - Conducting quick, concealed maneuvers;
----- - Striking at the enemy, particularly with nuclear and other powerful weapons in areas not expected by the enemy;
----- - Effective application of operational concealment;
----- - Strict observance of signal discipline and the rules of secret troop control;
----- - Employment of new weapons and methods of combat action not expected by the enemy;
----- - Outmaneuvering the enemy in use of troops and means.

The principle of mass employment of men and material to accomplish vital missions on the decisive axis has kept its significance in modern war. This principle is obviously not new. It was important in past wars, however, it is applicable also in modern times, but with a different pattern. Nowadays, the conditions and practical methods of mass-employment of troops and means on decisive axes are profoundly different from past wars.

In operations conducted in a nuclear war significant importance is given to mass-employment of nuclear weapons and other mass-destruction means on vital axes in order to inflict heavy casualties and damage on the enemy main groupings of forces and other vital targets. Under such circumstances, the mass and concentrated employment of conventional weapons to a large extent is not required, as in the past. But in operations conducted without the use of nuclear weapons, it will be required in order to establish decisive superiority over the enemy. In the latter case, rapid concentration of striking units at the decisive place and quick dispersion after the accomplishment of the mission are of significant.

Modern operations are characterized by high speed movement in action and the different forms of the accomplishment of operational missions. High maneuverability in action is achieved through the following:
----- - Quick preparation;
----- - Launching of surprise mass-nuclear and fire strikes on the enemy on each axis and in depth;
----- - Rapid and frequent use of envelopments;
----- - Turning movements to outflank enemy units;
----- - Exploitation and rapid changes of the axes of attack in the depth of the enemy position area.

Another characteristic of modern operations is frequent and rapid changes in the situation during the course of the operation. Troops should constantly be prepared to deal with tasks emerging from unfavorable or unforseen conditions during operations.

Depending on the situation and nature of the missions in operations, the troops can apply different and various forms of combat actions and accomplish their missions through the use of different methods.

In modern operations the troops may conduct the following variations of combat actions in the course of the operation: 
----- - Tactical and operational meeting engagements;
----- - Breakthrough of the enemy defense;
----- - Passage through wide radioactive contaminated areas and heavy destruction;
----- - River crossings;
----- - Pursuit of the retreating enemy.

In the meantime, large units (divisions), units (brigades, regiments) and subunits may conduct airborne or seaborne assault operations. Some operational formations (fronts, armies) and large units (divisions) may assume the defensive simultaneously and sometimes they might have to maneuver to withdraw from combat.

One of the characteristics of modern operations is the increased difficulty and complication of combat support measures and meeting new requirements for troop control. The following combat support measures have acquired more significance:
----- - Reconnaissance (intelligence), operational concealment;
----- - Engineer and chemical support.

New types of combat support measures such as the following have been introduced:
----- - Protection against mass-destructive means;
----- - Radio-electronic combat;
----- - Hydrometeorological support;
----- - Topogeodesic support;
----- - Others.

The conduct of complicated and exhaustive combat actions and maneuvers in great depth with the participation of an enormous number of different combat, combat support, and specialized vehicles and equipment, the expenditure of a huge amount of supplies and stores is inevitable. In modern operations, heavy personnel casualties and losses in weapons and other combat equipment are inevitable. Therefore, the success in operations will depend more and more on wide, effective, and calculated organization of material, technical, and medical support.

In operational art, significant and decisive importance is given to troop control in an operation. Troop control is the process of constant and steady guidance and leadership of the commander and staff of operational formations (fronts, armies) over actions of subordinate troops to direct their efforts for the accomplishment of assigned missions and the achievement of the aim of the operation. The specific contents of troop control tasks will be determined in each operation in accordance with the conditions and characteristics of the situation.

Compared with past wars, troop control in modern operations has become complicated and the number of tasks to be accomplished have increased.

The development of broad mobility and maneuverability in combat action, as well as frequent and rapid changes in the situation, require that troop control elements promptly react at any given moment.

Time has become a decisive factor in the process of troop control. It must be noted that the process of troop control and the process of weapons control and means are to operate under conditions of active employment of radio-electronic jamming and the use of listening means by the enemy. It should not be forgotten that the enemy will attempt to destroy our command posts and our troop control means.

For the purpose of troop control during preparation and in the course of the operation, a continuously operating command post system is established.

At the front and army level the following command posts are set up:
----- - Main command posts;
----- - Forward command posts;
----- - Rear command posts.

In defensive operations, reserve command posts can be established instead of a forward command post.  In some situations, for the purpose of troop control of elements operating on separate axes that cannot be controlled from the main or reserve command posts, auxiliary command posts are set up.

In modern conditions, the following points acquire significant importance:
----- - Availability of such effective signal communications means which may enable the command to maintain continuous and reliable communications with his subordinates;
----- - Activity and mobility of command posts;
----- - Timely and organized manning of command posts by personnel prior to the outbreak of war and systematic relocation of command posts during the operations.