25 April 2009

Military term of the day: LGOP

Well, with another sandstorm blocking us in for most of the day, it was time for another philosophical discussion. Today, everyone's favorite 82nd Airborne Division Alumnus (me), discussed the concept of "Little Groups of Paratroops", or LGOPs.

During the Normandy Invasion, German Soldiers were stymied by the tactics of the American paratroopers. The paratroopers appeared to be everywhere, striking from all directions--their ultimate objective and strategy absolutely baffled the Germans, who attempted to make sense of the American tactics.

Anyone who's ever been on a parachute jump will realize what really happened. The American transports, driven in all directions by flak and night-time navigation, dropped their paratroopers all over the French countryside. Most of the paratroopers were miles from their intended drop zones. The Americans began to slowly merge into small groups and started attacking German positions wherever they saw them. The Germans had every reason to be confused--the Americans were just as confused and disordered as they were.

We talk a lot in the military about unity of command and effort--noting that the lack of synchronization between forces often led to defeat. But the extreme opposite can often be effective as well, as shown by the LGOPs in France. Their small size and disorder proved absolutely baffling to the German forces, just as small insurgent and terror networks also seem to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"In a very real sense, maximum disorder was our equilibrium"--Thomas Edward Lawrence, referring to the propensity of numerous Bedouin tribes to attack the Ottoman Turks, with little regard to any unity of effort. The Turks could never discern a pattern to the attacks--largely because there was none.


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder I forget sometimes

Mike Martel said...

Just stumbled on your post. I talk about LGOPs and the Commander's Intent in my book - Get ER Done - The Green Beret Guide to Productivity. The Commander's Intent was the key to success. http://AchieveTheGreenBeretWay.com/get-the-get-er-done-book-now/

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