Maneuver Warfare: German Experiences in WWII


In the mid 1970s, Military Reformers, led by the American strategist Colonel John R. Boyd (US Air Force Ret.) and Pierre M. Sprey, became interested in the ideas of maneuver warfare and particularly the question of how to use airpower in close air support of ground forces as part of a combined arms maneuver team.  Background information on the reform movement and a compendium of Boyd's work can be found at this link.

As part of this work, the reformers began a series of occasional interviews with a number of very prominent German officers who had practiced maneuver warfare and close air support in World War II.  Credit for this idea must go to Captain Lon Ratley (now a retired AF colonel) who contacted Colonel Hans Rudel as part of a research program for his masters degree at the the Naval Postgraduate School.  Ratley, together with his boss, Colonel Robert Dilger, Pierre Sprey, Colonel John Boyd, and senior pentagon civilians Charles E. Myers (Director of Air Warfare, DDR&E) and Thomas P. Christie (Director of Tac Air, PA&E, and William Lind (staff aide to Senator Gary Hart) then informally evolved the idea of expanding Ratley's idea into two seminars centered around Col. Rudel and close air support as an integral part of maneuver warfare. The two Rudel interviews listed below are the transcripts of these seminars conducted in 1976 and 1978.

Expanding beyond the close support theme, the remainder of this series of very important historical interviews was conceived and organized by Captain Ratley and Col. Dilger, then executed by the team of Col. Richard Hallock and Pierre Sprey.  

The following reports list of reports are links to the cumulative product of their efforts.  Special thanks goes to LTC Greg Wilcox (U.S. Army Ret.), also a reformer, for making these unique historical documents widely accessible in electronic format.

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Maneuver Warfare in WW II from a German perspective with emphasis on operational and tactical employment levels on the Eastern Front.





Anti-Tank and Close Air Support in WWII from a German Perspective with emphasis on air to ground tactics on the Eastern Front.




Also included is this report sponsored by Andrew Marshall in which Generals Balck and von Mellenthin were interviewed and participated in a war game with senior American Army officers, held at the BDM corporation