Command problems at Goose Green

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by sarnian, Mar 22, 2006.

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  1. I'm trying to sort out a paper on the above topic - my starting point so far is the concept of mission oriented orders, and micromanagement. Unfortunately, I can't remember what the damn system is called - all I remember is that a Boxhead thought it up, and it groups orders into two categories. Can anyone help jog my memory on this one, and point me to any resources on this available in the public domain? I would get myself down to the RMAS library, but I've deadlined again (Personally I blame Catterick) so I don't have the time.
    If anyone has done similar work on the command lessons learned from Goose Green, I'd be most grateful to hear from you. Ta.

    Many thanks in advance, Sarnian.
  2. Auftragstaktik is the German word for mission command you are looking for and is generally compared with the restrictive control school of thought.

    Auftragstaktik will say B Coy will attack and take hill A and surpress the bridge to allow B coy to fight through and take it.

    Restrictive control will say B Coy will attack the hill and take it. When this has happened covering fire to A coy is to be provided who will fight through and take the Bridge.

    The problem is if B coy don't take the hill in restrictive control everything stops and a sub plan doesn't develop that would allow for taking the bridge despite the hill not being taken. The bridge is the objective, not the hill.

    Let the doctrine wars begin.
  3. Auftragstaktik or Führung durch Aufträge

    Carl Von Clausewitz
  4. That's the badger. Ta.
  5. As opposed to 'Befehlstaktik' which is where the commander must comply with and execute an order given him by others, with no chance for him to fall back on his own initiative and skill, either in adapting himself, or in exploiting situations as they come up.
  6. I know Jones' command is a veritable quagmire of debate, but I've not been exposed to it nearly enough to know what I'm talking about. Could you attribute Jones' complicated, six-phase plan for the taking of GG maily to his character, or to the orders and control processes of the British Army of 1982?

    I'm guessing this gets covered at length at the Factory, but seeing as this essay is part of my effort to get there, I haven't got a decent knowledge of these command issues yet. Cheers again, Sarnian.
  7. "Could you attribute Jones' complicated, six-phase plan for the taking of GG maily to his character, or to the orders and control processes of the British Army of 1982?"

    Is that the title of the essay?

    Now I may be wrong but my understanding is the restrictive control was the model used up to the FW but soon thereafter changed to mission command.

    As for the man's character I have no idea and have done no reading him (so that mon ami - we have in common - ahem).

    I remember seeing an interview with his 2I/C Chris Keeble who said this of him "whatever may be said of H, on that day at that time he was the man in the task force furthest forward"
  8. No, the title is

    "To what extent did the Battle for Goose Green reveal comand problems in the British Army of the period?"

    Im just tring to find the best angle on it at the moment, and I thought Jones' plan would be a good start. Cheers for the bit on restrictive control - I'll try to sniff out when it changed and if GG was the event that did it.
  9. The essense of you thesis has already been done as this book:-

    Not Mentioned in Despatches: The History and Mythology of the Battle of Goose Green. (ISBN: 0718829336) Fitz-Gibbon, Spencer. 1995 Lutterworth Press.
  10. A whole series of fcuk ups could be blamed:
    Crap Int on Argentine posns and strengths
    The lack of Arty Fire Sp
    The BBC World Service blowing his cover

    Its easy to criticise him for issuing an attack order calling for "a six-phase night-day, silent-noisy battalion attack to capture Darwin and Goose Green."

    Here is one interesting overview of the battle

  11. Pterandon - cheers. Am on my way to Amazon as we speak. Thanks Ozgerbobble for the overviews - I'll probably use those variables as my antithesis to the issue of a 'command problems,' to avoid paraphrasing Fitzgibbon.
  12. Just a quick one and I admit I might be completly wrong and thinking of something totally different, but I thought one of the lessons learnt from GG was that when it all went to ratpoo the lads on the ground in their individual sub units, either plt or smaller, were able to conduct the battle anyway due to the orders he had given. Even when Col "H" Jones VC was killed, the battle continued unchecked, and I vaguely remember some sort of problems with comms in the midst of it all.
  13. On reflection I think you might be looking at an innapropriate analogy.

    "Auftragstaktik" and "Befehlstaktik" certainly became buzz words during the 1980s. (I spent many months listening to everyone being in "each other's minds") However I doubt whether H Jones or Chris Keeble thought about things in those terms in 2 Para in 1982! Their differences in approach were probably more matters of personal styles and the degree they trusted their subordinates. There was no centralised army doctrine and no one was taught to do any kind of Mission analysis. As far as squaddies were concerned Auftragstaktik" and "Befehlstaktik" might have been Verder Bremen's strikers.

    Spencer Fitgibbon's book uses Goose Green to contrast two doctrineal approaches. In 1995 it was clever to look at Goose Green as a clash of docrtinal approaches -biut in 2006 you have other issues.

    A more contemporary relevance might be to consider Goose Green in terms of micro management v trust as leadership styles. Despite you having principles of mission analysis, I suspect that you have commanders who prefer to jump in and do their subordinates jobs for them. ;)

    Was Jones right to micro manage A company?
    Is there a role for a leader to assume command of a subordinate's command?
    What was the impact of Jones' actions on A Company's actions?. Did they follow Jones into his charge?

    BTW you won't find the book on Amazon. Its out of print. Use instead.
  14. Thanks pterandon - that's just what I'm looking for. One of the main questions for me was Keeble's role after the gorse gully - wether his command changed the pace and broke the deadlock, or wether that had already happened by the time he got the call 'Sunray is down.' As you can see, I was wondering how far it Jones' command was a matter of doctrine, and how far a matter of personality.

    Has there been a tangible change in the teaching of tactics since the FW, and has the Army been conscious that GG brought it about?
  15. Also some others have tried to argue that as Jones had been a senior DS at the School of Infantry and held a series of staff apointments prior to commanding 2 Para his plan was perhaps doctrinally sound but in practice was too complex and difficult to understand and that the attack began to lose momentum as a result of this and other factors