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USMC Warfighting Manual
Maneuver War’s Brief Shining Camelot
91 pages; 4 chapters
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the US Marine Corps, under its gifted
commandant General A.M. Gray, adopted maneuver warfare as its doctrine of
combat. General Gray also produced the USMC Warfighting Manual to explain
maneuver warfare to US Marine Corps personnel. Thus began the US Marine
Corps’ brief flirtation with maneuver warfare. In effect, the USMC
Warfighting Manual is both a historical artifact, and a guide to maneuver
warfare. Since General Gray has retired, the US Marine Corps has rejected
maneuver warfare, and returned to the conventional attrition mindset that caused
the USMC to be humiliated at Fallujah. General A. M. Gray would be horrified to
see what has happened.
“Maneuver warfare is a warfighting philosophy that seeks to shatter the enemy's cohesion through a series of rapid,
violent, and unexpected actions, which create a turbulent, and rapidly deteriorating situation with which he cannot cope.
From this definition we see that the aim in maneuver warfare is to render the enemy incapable of resisting by shattering
his moral and physical cohesion-his ability to fight as an effective, coordinated whole-rather than to destroy him physically
through incremental attrition, which is generally more costly and time-consuming. Ideally, the components of his physical
strength that remain are irrelevant because we have paralyzed his ability to use them effectively. Even if an
outmaneuvered enemy continues to fight as individuals or small units, we can destroy the remnants with relative ease
because we have eliminated his ability to fight effectively as a force.”
Excerpt from USMC Warfighting Manual
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