Order of Battle
Order of battle information is crucial to battlefield success: a commander who is unaware of the number, type, and quality of opposing units risks disaster. Attacks are more likely to succeed if they are directed against inexperienced units or units weakened by combat. Movement of experienced units to a given sector can indicate that an attack is imminent.
Because of its importance, operational security and deception often focus on order of battle information. Before the invasion of Normandy, France, in World War II, the Allies staged a massive deception operation, code‐named “Fortitude South,” to confuse German intelligence about the Allied order of battle. A variety of ruses were used—phony bases, rubber tanks, simulated radio traffic—to create evidence that a fictional formation, First United States Army Group (FUSAG), actually existed. Nominally “commanded” by George S. Patton, one of America's best general officers, FUSAG was located in Dover and helped tie down German units in the Pas de Calais as real Allied units stormed ashore 170 miles southwest at Normandy.
Order of battle intelligence also can be controversial. During the Vietnam War, analysts at the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) and the Central Intelligence Agency debated the size and composition of enemy units operating in South Vietnam. The debate continued after the war and was the subject of a federal libel case—Westmoreland V. CBS—in 1985.
[See also Intelligence, Military and Political; Tactics.]
David Eisenhower , Eisenhower at War 1943–1945, 1986.
Renatta Adler , Reckless Disregard, 1986.
James J. Wirtz
"Order of Battle." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/order-battle
"Order of Battle." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved November 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/order-battle
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.