March 27, 2004

My "grain of salt" standard

When the subject is failures of military planning (and this would apply both to Mr Kerry's voting against this or that weapons system, and planning failures in the invasion of Iraq) I always think about what must have been the most thoroughly-planned military operation in history—the Normandy Invasion.

Whole buildings full of experts worked for a year on nothing else. The beaches were mapped by frogmen and aerial photography. The one D-Day catastrophe, Omaha Beach, was just sheer bad luck; multiple messages from the French Resistance didn't get through.

BUT, when the Allies got past the beaches, they were utterly flummoxed to discover the bocage. A natural fortress of hedges of a thickness and density they had never encountered before—not really hedges, but earth and stone banks covered with a dense mat of ancient vegetation. New tactics and equipment had to be improvised in a bloody learning-environment. Our timing was thrown off by months, with lethal effects later in the year.

No one had given the matter any thought...

Posted by John Weidner at March 27, 2004 10:28 AM
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