Lessons of the Great Patriotic War, local wars and prospects of developing modern military science and military art
Victory: Importance and Results
As time goes by, the tremendous universal and historic importance of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 is growing more obvious. Our nation appreciates at its true value the great contribution to the victory by the United States, Great Britain, France, China and the other nations of the anti-Hitler coalition and all participants in the anti-Nazi struggle. This is a good example of cooperation in our day and age. It is absolutely obvious at the same time that the Soviet people and its Armed Forces bore the brunt of the war.
The victory in the Great Patriotic War predetermined the world’s future and removed for many nations the threat of Nazi enslavement. Our country and the other states of Europe and Asia, which fought against Nazism, won their independence and many countries embarked on the road of independent development. The victory in the Great Patriotic War enabled many other positive changes that took place after the war, including the future of the peoples of Germany and Japan.
The tremendous historic significance of the victory scored in the Great Patriotic War and the decisive contribution of our people to making it possible has been recognized not only in this country but also abroad.
Contrary to all that, a campaign to distort the history of the war has been on in recent years. Voices are already being heard accusing the USSR of “unleashing the war” and even maintaining that resistance to the Nazi onslaught was in vain and that the Western countries made a mistake siding with the Soviet Union. They maintain that the war waged by us was pointless and there was no victory at all, instead, there was a shameful war which we lost. They at the same time forget about the plans the Nazis had and what a calamity we saved our country and the peoples of Europe from.
Thousands of books like Ledokol (Icebreaker), many films like Shtrafbat (Penal Battalion) or Posledniy Mif (The Last Myth) spread lies about the war, our generals and frontline soldiers. No effort is spared to allege that we were fighting incompetently. No hard facts or errors that one can argue about are cited. All that is depicted in these compositions is alien to what we were fighting for and how we were fighting in actual fact. Unfortunately, some civil servants are taking part in this unseemly business. Relevant pressure on the military press is already in effect. How can one send greetings to war veterans on Victory Day and in the same breath publish articles in support of mendacious books, show films on government TV channels humiliating our people and insulting war veterans?!
All those things are, of course, side effects of the information war on the international arena and inside this country. But regardless of some or other differences, one should also consider the future of today’s Russia.
It is impossible to build any durable future from scratch having distorted and drugged through the mud the country’s past. It is also impossible to raise a dignified new generation let alone indoctrinate Russian soldiers using the example of penal battalions.
Most important, one should understand that the lies and slanders that are being peddled about the war are disproved by the actual results of the war and the very logic of history. A common-sense approach suggests that it is impossible that the Nazi forces did everything beyond reproach and then suffered defeat while our generals and soldiers fought incompetently and suddenly and by some miracle won a victory. Irrefutable facts of history are there: The Soviet Union and other countries of the anti-Hitler coalition smashed the aggressors in the West and East and liberated territories occupied by the enemy. It is not the Nazis who came to Moscow, London and Washington as they had planned, but it is the allied forces that entered Berlin, Rome and Tokyo as victors.
Since it is impossible to deny the fait accompli, the denigrators zeroed in on the argument that our country suffered extremely big losses for which reason victory is tantamount to defeat. True, our country suffered big losses during the war (26.6 million lives, including 18 million civilian lives). Our irrecoverable military losses amounted to 8,6 million lives, Germany and its satellites lost 7.2 million lives. But the difference is mainly due to the destruction of 2 million of our prisoners of war in Nazi death camps.
In estimating the results of the war and losses one should keep in mind that the main battles of World War II were taking place along the Soviet-German front and fighting was especially relentless and fierce. Operating there were up to 70 percent of the divisions of the Nazi army and the longest and intensive combat operations were taking place there.
Taking advantage of the fact that German forces were tied up in the eastern front, the Allied commanders kept postponing every year the opening of the second front. U.S. Ambassador to the USSR Averell Harriman wrote that Roosevelt hoped the Red Army would smash Hitler’s forces and his people would not have to do that dirty work.
On the whole, despite the big losses, we won a dignified victory and have the right to be proud of it. Undoubtedly, the victory was won through selfless efforts of the entire people. Of tremendous role was the nationwide support to the armies in the field and the smoothly running work behind the lines to provide the troops with weapons, ammunition and other materiel.
Of enormous help in realization on the battlefields of the state’s potentials and efforts of the people were Soviet military science and military art that had a very hard going.
Most certainly, 1941 proved the hardest for us when we lost the main part of the cadre armed forces and weapons; 1942 was equally a hard year when we had to retreat all the way to the Volga. We faced desperate situations, suffered disappointing setbacks in Crimea and at Kharkov. Those developments had their imprint on the rest of the war. We were obliged subsequently to fight with combined units hastily brought to prescribed strength and newly organized. There were many failures, especially in terms of reconnaissance, cooperation between combat arms and command and control of troops. Throughout the war, the personnel, from the Supreme High Command to General Staff to commanders of subunits to ordinary soldiers, were learning how to fight and improve their military skills.
Even so, there were not only defeats and setbacks during the first half of the war. There were victories in the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and in other battles. In the 1944-1945 Belorussian, Lvov-Sandomierz, Vistula-Oder, Berlin, Manchurian and other operations the Soviet Armed Forces were so superior to the enemy in weapons, equipment, the ability to fight and high morale that they broke through its defense lines in short order, crossed the water obstacles without a halt, encircled and destroyed major force groupings demonstrating fine examples of military art despite the fact that success also in these operations was achieved as a result of tremendous efforts of the army and naval forces and workers on the home front. It is those brilliant offensive operations, which some people now choose to gloss over, which finally led to the much-desired victory.
As for the country’s top leaders and Joseph Stalin as president of the State Defense Council and Supreme Armed Forces Commander, the main result of their activities was that they had managed to mobilize all resources of the country to achieve victory. Even before the war, the industrialization of the country, the raising of the people’s standard of culture laid the economic and cultural foundations of the country’s defense. Activities of the top leadership were less successful shortly before and early on in the war. But during the course of the war, beginning with Stalingrad, strategic-level command and control of the Armed Forces was up to the mark.
Such are, in a nutshell, some of the overall results of the Great Patriotic War that will provide the basis for drawing conclusions at the conference, point out the lessons and regularities for further development of military science and military art under today’s conditions.
Some Conclusions and Lessons of War Experience
To begin with, we should answer the question: Is there something else in the war experience that is valuable and applicable today?
The U.S. Strategic Studies Institute that studies the nature of long-term strategic operations has issued a book on strategy of control from Clausewitz’s perspective which is studied in many countries (mostly at higher schools of business, management and geopolitics). If strategic ideas expressed 200 years ago are relevant today for business people and other civilian specialists, the combat experience gained 60 years ago, the heritage of Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Vassilevsky and other generals cannot lose its importance for us, military people either. Incidentally, Clausewitz’s ideas took time to become recognized in his home country. They were of no need to the Prussian army that became Napoleon’s auxiliary force. The country that had lost its independence needed no military science. When Prussia embarked on an independent road of development Clausewitz’s book On War proved useful.
The saying about generals always preparing for the last war became popular in the 1920s. Seriously speaking it is practically impossible to prepare for any “last war” first of all because every war and battle is unique.
Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the RF Armed Forces Vladimir Putin calls upon us not to forget Russia’s military traditions: “In them,” he stresses, “lies the experience of many generations of officers who devoted themselves to military service. Turning to these sources helps us solve also military problems of today.” (1)
Let us analyze this using contrasting examples and problems, first of all some of those problems which we could not solve in the past.
First, let us take such old hackneyed question pertaining to correlation between politics and military strategy. It has been generally thought that politics is more important than military strategy. It has been always obvious that politics cannot be turned into an end in itself; politics in pure form does not exist, it is vital when it takes into account all the important factors, including military-strategic factors. One should also be cognizant of the influence of strategy upon politics. Stalin’s unwillingness to take into account this objective law aggravated by Hitler’s ingenious disinformation led to the 1941 catastrophe. Several hours before the war, the western military districts were assigned the task: to put the troops in combat readiness but “not to respond to provocations.”
So, who is supposed to decide whether to fight or not?
When the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee was discussing the question of bringing troops in Afghanistan, Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff N.V. Ogarkov courageously opposed the idea. Yu. V. Andropov responded: “We have people whose job is politics, and you should take care of the assigned task.” The troops were assigned the task “to fulfil an international duty.” Big chiefs are still arguing about the meaning of this phrase. The same thing repeated itself in Chechnya in 1994. In light of all this you can judge whether lessons have been learned from the 1941 experience and to what extent this experience is relevant today. The conclusion is obvious: the state authority is obliged to create favorable legitimate conditions for operations of the Armed Forces and assign clear and definite tasks. It should impose martial law or state of emergency in the zones of armed conflicts and antiterrorism operations.
Second, there is the question of defense. The experience of the Great Patriotic War proved conclusively that, objectively speaking, the only main method of combat operations can be offensive. However, to ensure successful conduct of war one should competently combine offensive and defensive operations. We had to pay a heavy price for underestimating the importance of defense at the start of the war.
In practical terms, most of the first-echelon divisions generally failed to reach their defense lines by the start of the war. But should they have reached them, our rifle divisions inadequately equipped with antitank weapons and were unable to hold out against the fire of the artillery, tanks and infantry of the enemy which created five- or six-fold superiority in strength and weapons. A good example is the Battle of Kursk. There, we deliberately went over to the defensive in good time having an overall numerical superiority over the enemy and created defenses 150 km to 200 km in depth with a high density of artillery and antitank weapons. Despite all that the Nazi forces breached the Voronezh Front to the depth of 30-35 kilometers. Had it not been for the Stepnoy Front forces–Headquarters of the Supreme High Command reserve–they would not have been able to push forward. Our military encyclopedias and some theoretical papers still define defense as a type of combat action used for the purposes of repulsing offensives by superior enemy forces. This means that defense is deliberately intended for missions involving smaller forces. But the experience of both world wars does not confirm this premise. During the last war, there was not a single successful defensive operation involving considerably smaller forces than those of the advancing enemy. It proved possible in 1941-1942 to stop the enemy offensive only after a long retreat of hundreds of kilometers and by committing to action reserves that were numerically several times bigger than the troops available before launching the operation. It is possible to repulse in defense superior enemy forces in the tactical echelon. But on an operational-strategic scale and in the presence of powerful weapons, high maneuverability of troops and aviation, the advancing force holding the initiative can create overwhelming superiority in selected sectors and it would take forces large enough to parry its deep penetrations.
If, in light of this, you will look at today’s theoretical premises, field manuals and academic textbooks, you will see that the organization and disposition of the defense is far from taking into account the whole bitter experience gained not only in the Great Patriotic War but also in the defense of Jelalabad and Khost in Afghanistan and in the heroic fighting of the 6th Airborne Assault Company in Chechnya. Hence, it is necessary to take a closer look at the war experience with regard to this question.
Third, it is necessary to learn lessons from combat experience in command and control of troops (forces) primarily from the point of view of methods of work of commands and staffs.
We talk in particular about the extremely intricate and cumbersome combat documents. Many of such bureaucratic documents were discarded during the Great Patriotic War and that made combat documents more compact and to the point.
But today, there are too many documents recommended by current manuals and regulations. Some of them are unlikely and repeat each other on many points; they include many absolutely nonsensical and abstract propositions of no consequence and of no relation to the matter in hand. Production of such documents wastes much of the command and control time to the detriment of the main activities which are to organize the performance of missions assigned. Furthermore, they are hard to use and especially to timely transmit through communications facilities and communicate to the executing entities; they also are an obstacle to automating command and control. After field exercises, many such documents linger at the communications centers because they cannot be sent to the subordinated staffs right away.
I would also like to point out such needless formality as long-winded reports during exercises, estimates of the situation and suggested commander’s decisions, and the hearing of decisions and instructions related to cooperation and support of operations. They, as a rule are long on general theory but short on pertinent things. Our field manuals do not focus on recommendations to commanders and staffs regarding the organization of engagements, they mainly detail the structure and rough outlines of main combat documents. It never happened either during the Great Patriotic War or in Afghanistan or Chechnya. No big groups of generals and officers appeared there on the forward edge of the battle area in full sight of the enemy to give battle orders or organize cooperation for hours. This is simply impossible in combat environment. But whence these practices and why should we continue to teach them to our officers?
When commands and staffs use these bureaucratic methods, command and control becomes one separate thing and operations of the troop become another separate thing. In the final analysis, the command and control process becomes an empty exercise.
Any seasoned commander during the war knew that he would not be judged on the manner in which he reported his decisions and outwardly “correctly” organized engagements, but solely on the basis of how he performed combat missions. It was therefore absurd for him to care for the outward aspects of what he was doing. But this should be borne in mind in time of peace during training sessions and exercises, teach officers to be specific and efficient. The mine of Great Patriotic War experience has to offer even more useful things like that.
Understandably, the contents of military training should be geared to future achievements in military art. But what cannot become obsolete is the very approach to solving operational-tactical tasks, a broad and imaginative approach and methods of concrete organizational work that emerge in the process, painstaking study together with the subordinated commanders and troops of all preparatory activities, the ability to train troops in what they should need in combat environment, and many other things that define the spirit of military art, which offers durable, if not “eternal” principles and provisions.
At the same time, it is desirable to discard some of the last war’s canons. You will know that strategic initiative was on our side in the latter part of the war and we could afford to begin every offensive operation only after careful preparations lasting between one and a half and two months. It was the time when it became the rule for the commanding general or commander to decide on everything on his own and nothing could be done without his approval. This rule is still applies and it is found in all of the methods of work of our commanders and staffs and it is included not only in field manuals but also in general military regulations. But today, conditions of conducting military operations are not what they used to be, and preparations for and conduct of combat operations should take less time and even extremely short time in the zones of armed conflicts and even more so during antiterrorist operations. In addition, according to latest research findings, a command and control system can generally be effective if it develops not only a vertical chain of command but also a horizontal chain of command. This in particular means that, while adhering to the centralization and the one-man command principle, it is important to expand in every way the spread of work and to grant wider rights to staffs, chiefs of combat arms and services. They should independently solve many questions and agree them with combined-arms staffs and between themselves because when timeframes are extremely limited and events develop rapidly, the commanding general is no longer in a position to personally consider and solve all the crucial questions of preparing and conducting operations, as was the case in the past. There should be a much greater initiative and independence in all the echelons. But all these qualities should be developed in peacetime and incorporated in general military regulations. The entire structure of our military environment should be altered in this context. Generally speaking, it is necessary to harmonize as best as possible the field manuals and general military regulations.
Thus, the Great Patriotic War is a vast depository of combat experience. Every time we turn to it, we find valuable grains that are very seminal and lead to conclusions of great theoretical and practical significance. It is simply irrational to ignore all this.
New Threats and Ways to Protect Defense Security Under Modern Conditions
Based on the foregoing, let us discuss some of the problems of today’s military science and military art. President Vladimir Putin said in one of his addresses “… We must make our country safe from any forms of military-political pressure and potential outside aggression.”
Now that the leading powers on the international arena are laying an ever greater stress on achieving political ends through the use of new sophisticated forms of struggle whereas Russia does not have even minimal forces and assets to oppose a large-scale aggression by conventional means, we think it is necessary to use to a greater extent potentials of political-diplomatic, economic and information means to protect the country.
In light of what happened in Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine, the sole reliance on non-military forms of protecting our national interests is not enough. We should develop appropriate and well-coordinated reactions, major government decisions with respect to such questions, appropriate degree of responsibility for prevention and neutralization of threats and conflicts using political-diplomatic, economic and informational means.
In particular, it would be advisable if the Russian Security Council secretary and his staff focus on coordinating efforts of different agencies to protect the country’s security precisely by non-military means. It is advisable that coordination of efforts of the entire RF military organization involving military means for the benefit of the country’s defense should be tasked to the minister of defense who should be made deputy to the Supreme Commander not only in peacetime but also in wartime.
But the most important thing is: it is necessary to expand the country’s economy and appropriate in the coming 10-12 years at least 3.5 percent of GDP for defense. Failing this, it is impossible to equip the army and navy with modern weaponry. Two or two and a half percent of GDP normally appropriated in most Western countries for defense is unacceptable to our country because, in the wake of the USSR’s disintegration, Russia has to rebuild its defense system and the entire necessary infrastructure from bottom up. There exists something like “division of labor” in NATO countries where some of them take care of aviation, others take care of engineer or chemical units, and each individual country has no defense capability. Russia, if it wants to preserve independence and protect its security, cannot embark of this road. The Academy of Military Sciences is going to submit separate proposals with regard to these questions to the Security Council and the defense minister.
In addition to the above threats, Russia faces serious military threats and the directions of organizational development and training of the Armed Forces change substantially. The gist of these changes was set forth by RF President V.V. Putin and Defense Minister S.B. Ivanov on 2 October 2003. Alongside this, it is necessary to make clear-cut decisions on the following vital questions.
First, it is necessary to decide, for the waging of what wars and for solving what defense tasks it is necessary to organize and train the Armed Forces and other troops. Based on the foregoing, the emerging top priority for the Armed Forces and other troops is readiness for combat missions in local wars, armed conflicts and antiterrorist operations. But, under certain circumstances, a large-scale regional war is a possibility the immediate threat of which does not exist so far, but it cannot be completely ruled out, and it is necessary to ensure at least mobilization readiness of the Armed Forces for such wars.
RF Minister of Defense S.B. Ivanov said he could not “rule out the emergence at a certain stage of a state, or a group of states, which would make claims against our territorial integrity, lay some or other claims or, taking advantage of Russia’s weakness, try to blackmail us using military might, among other things.” But we should get prepared for such a contingency well in advance. It is impossible, having adapted the Armed Forces to operations in small conflicts alone, to adapt them in a hurry to fighting a serious war. In addition, latest developments are graphic evidence that terrorists are unlikely to always operate in small bands. They can invade entire countries, as they did in Afghanistan and Kosovo, with the use of big numbers of armored vehicles, artillery and aircraft. Antiterrorist operations under such circumstances would call for organized action of regular troops. The Armed Forces should by all means master methods of combating terrorism rather than take a simplistic view of this difficult problem.
Second, let’s talk about the role of nuclear and conventional weapons. Wars of the future will be fought, as a rule, with the use of only conventional weapons, mainly precision weapons, with the ever-present threat of using nuclear weapons. Given the extremely unfavorable balance of forces in all the strategic sectors, nuclear weapons remain Russia’s most important and most reliable means of strategic deterrent to aggression from without and protecting its security. But some of the above threats cannot be neutralized even with the use of nuclear weapons.
Considering this, it would be appropriate to also pay due attention to developing the general-purpose forces–Air Force, Navy, and Ground Troops. The ideas that the Ground Troops are obsolete are false information in today’s conditions. In order to occupy a comparatively small country like Iraq, the United States is obliged to gather forces from every corner of the world (35 countries). Given Russia’s vast territory and possible appearance in the future of potential adversaries in the east and south gambling mainly on the land-based component of the military force, our country cannot do without sufficiently strong general-purpose force groupings. It is impossible, without border troops and the “minimum necessary” number of Ground Troops force groupings in important strategic sectors, to ensure stable basing of air force, air defense, naval and other troops and the functioning of the country’s entire infrastructure. Absolutely untenable are the proposals to make ground troops part of the border service.
Third, the aerospace theater of operations is acquiring a decisive importance. It is becoming necessary to build a single system of aerospace defense and include in it all forces and assets of the Air Force, Air Defense, ABM Defense and ASAT Defense. Since hostile aerospace missiles would be launched from hundreds and thousands of kilometers away from their targets, it is necessary first of all to create aviation and anti-air systems that can intercept hostile weapons at far approaches to our targets. Only thus is it possible to ensure reliable defense of the country.
Fourth, the modes of military operations change substantially. We should first of all bear in mind that the operations by armed forces of the United States and other NATO countries in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan were unilateral in effect. Military operations may take on a totally different aspect with the use of higher-level technology and more active operations of the opposing side. For example, one in two antiradiation Shrike missiles initially launched in Vietnam homed in on the targets; later it was one in three or four. On 18 April 1971, in the Suez Canal zone of 120 km in length, there were more than 100 antiaircraft radars and only one out of the 72 missiles launched by the Israelis hit the target.
In our opinion it is desirable, in research and combat training of officers, to more realistically study these new developments and, without going to extremes, look for sound answers to a number of very challenging questions, teach officers how to oppose the adversary with the forces and assets available to them.
In this context, there are two courses of action that we should obviously take:
To work persistently for the passing of radical decisions on the governmental scale aimed at creating and developing our own long-range precision types of weapons in the Ground Troops, Air Force and Navy.
To develop and adopt more active and decisive methods of strategic and operational-tactical action, force on the adversary such type of action, including contact action, the adversary tries to avoid most of all. Suffice it to recall that despite the loss of a considerable proportion of aircraft and the forced retreat into the interior, the Soviet command managed to bomb Berlin and Konigsberg in 1941. It is important not to cave in and be firmly resolved to resist the aggressor to the last.
What forms future operations can take? Some ultrafashionable books and articles contend that there will be no strategic operations, no operations mounted by fronts, no fleet or army operations in the future. The whole things will boil down to massive strikes of long-range precision weapons at energy and industrial centers and vital installations of the lines of supply and communication.
I recall in this connection a command and staff exercise in the Soviet Far East in the 1960s when General V.F. Margelov was reporting a plan to land his airborne assault corps. He was asked: “When will it be possible to send your corps on another landing mission?” Margelov answered: “In 1941, we landed the 4th Airborne Assault Corps near Vyazma and it is still struggling to get together …” We can theorize and dream as much as we like, but it is important for a scholar to vividly imagine the way it is going to happen in reality. There will be operations, of course, but the forms and methods of conducting them will change substantially. Their main distinction in the future will consist in the fact that action of all components of the armed forces will be planned and carried out in the form of single general strategic operations.
Fifth, one of the regularities in developing military art and first and foremost the system of military control in the 20th century consisted in a steady growth of strategic-level factors, the objective necessity to pool the efforts of troops on a strategic scale. World War I gave rise to the idea of fronts, the Great Patriotic War had given rise to operations by groups of fronts as the main form of strategic operations. In this connection, there existed various forms of creating strategic commands in theaters of military operations. But strategic commands could not take root as intermediate echelons in the command and control system. Because any intermediate echelon slows down command and control. In the future, strategic commands will prove their value only as component parts of strategic echelons of control, as forward control centers of the Hq SHC controlling the forces and assets of all agencies, which are called upon to the country’s defense, and organizing the performance of tasks assigned by the SHC. Under modern conditions, even if warfare would be limited to local armed conflicts and antiterrorist operations, the most important decisions will be made by the top political and strategic leadership, and all control echelons will be pressed into service in all security, defense and law-enforcement agencies. When conflicts tend to drag out or widen, it becomes necessary to reinforce the troops by bringing in troops of the other sectors or central reserves, as it was in Chechnya, Dagestan, etc. All these things can only be done by strategic echelon agencies, not to mention the fact that decisive weapons (both nuclear and long-range and precision conventional weapons) in a large-scale war will be concentrated in the hands of the strategic leadership.
Strategic reserves constitute the most important condition of the really leading role of the strategic echelon of control and its decisive influence on the course of events. During the last war the Hq SHC showed constant care of them and these reserves in the final analysis predetermined the outcome of the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad. Kursk and other battles. And they are not only combined-arms, but also artillery, engineer, and materiel reserves. For example, every German division had more artillery pieces than Soviet divisions, but the presence of artillery in the SHC reserve made it possible to achieve a situation where the Germans constantly used nearly 40 percent of their artillery while we used 60 percent. Such reserves are even more important today because the less forces you have, the more important the reserves are.
In winding up it is necessary to draw certain conclusions concerning the direction and methods of operational and combat training of the Armed Forces. As for the principal conclusion regarding the last war’s experience, the nature of warfare and military control is so exceptionally complex that it calls for preparing in advance all command and control agencies and troops. In the past we could learn as we were fighting the war. Such an opportunity is unlikely in future wars. Therefore, all command and control agencies, all agencies of the state’s military organization, from the strategic level to tactical should get systematic training in fulfilling their wartime or emergency-situation duties. Whereas a company or battalion commander is required to constantly engage in combat training, top-level persons in authority perform much more complex functions and they should master them. In 1941, the strategic and front-level echelons proved to be the least prepared for the war. Despite this, even after the war there was not a single exercise or training drill with the strategic echelon organs where they should have been asked to function as they would in actual combat environments. It is therefore advisable to firmly adhere to the principle of holding exercises and training drills supervised by senior-level commanders. Such exercises offer opportunities to actually see whether the accepted system of military control is viable and effective.
In order to instruct the command and control organs and troops in what will be required in future wars, it is necessary that all exercise methods guides and actual exercises should reflect what we expect to happen in such wars: the employment of precision weapons and mobility of combat action, acts of terror, the main processes of information and electronic warfare and many other things we usually discuss during lectures but which are not sufficiently studied in practice.
I would like to stress in conclusion: Most certainly, the experience of the Great Patriotic War and the local wars, where the older generation of veterans was taking part, should be studied and put to use especially critically and imaginatively. Errors of the past should also be found and objectively discussed. Without this, it is impossible to learn the necessary lessons of the past wars.
1. Krasnaya zvezda, 26 June 2004.
Army Gen. M.A. GAREEV
Doctor of Military Sciences and Doctor of Historical Sciences
Academy of Military Sciences President
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