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Breaking the Phalanx: A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century (Bibliographies and Indexes in American) Third Printing Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0275957940
ISBN-10: 0275957942
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Thank God someone is thinking about the dangerous future we are lurching toward, and how the United States military must change and adapt to deal with the untidy realities of the new century. The old ways and the old force, what's left of it, just won't cut it. Macgregor, in Breaking the Phalanx, offers us cutting-edge analysis of what's wrong, suggestions of how to fix it, and a great place to begin the debate."-Joseph L. Galloway, Senior Writer, U.S. News and World Report co-author of Triumph Without Victory

Book Description

Macgregor's study economically and convincingly makes the case for the inescapable importance of land forces in wars of the future and, no less important, in the deterrence of such wars.

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Product Details

  • Series: Bibliographies and Indexes in American
  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; Third Printing edition (January 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275957942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275957940
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on January 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent work and ranks among the best military theory I have read. Macgregor systematically presents the history of American combineds arms, tears apart the current structure, and rebuilds it into lethal, 21st century fighting force.
Unlike many professional military men who take up the pen, Macgregor is an excellent writer, who justifies ever proposal he makes, but avoids bogging down the work in mountains of detail.
I do not agree wholesale with all of Macgregor's points, particularly in regards to naval expeditionary forces, but the overall rigor of the book more than compensates for that fact. Macgregor has clearly grasped the premise that elite institutions (such as the American military) can only improve through the most rigorous process of self criticism and innovation.
"Breaking the Phalanx" is an innovative, outstanding work, and if there is any justice the Army will give him a medal for his brilliant contribution to American arms.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "timdavin" on August 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Future historians of American military doctrine may well identify this book as the fulcrum point of American military thought and force structure at the turn of the 21st Century. This is not a collection of war stories or a diatribe against what is wrong with the "system" today. This book looks at the future, and offers a plan. It is easy to be a naysayer, but Colonel MacGregor, to his great credit, did not take the easy way. Readers should be warned that there is some effort required to read and digest this important work. I would guess that the price would come first. However, if the value of a book is measured by the time required to read and understand it, then I would suggest that this is well worth the price.
In a very few pages, MacGregor advocates a total redesign of American land-based forces. His vision is an Army without divisions, one with tailored "groups" such as an air assault group and a heavy combat group. These "groups" consist of several (5-7) battalions of the required type, and could deploy more rapidly than current U.S. divisions. MacGregor's vision of the future suggests as many as 18 of these groups, mostly based inside the United States. Based primarily upon this he has been labeled as a "Regimentalist," a term that he explicitly denies as applicable to his ideas. (Note: For those unfamiliar with the U.S. Army, there is a long raging debate regarding force structure. A U.S. "Regiment"would be 2-3 battalions, akin to the "traditional" American regimental structure. Not to be confused with the current British system and nomenclature. In opposition are those that favor the current U.S. Division/Brigade structure. Careers have been lost in the course of this fight.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By cromanglin@yahoo.com on January 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book received a lot of attention in the Army when it was published, and for good reason; it attacked the Army's organization that had existed since the second world war. Interestingly, the Army's new chief of staff, General Eric Shinseki, has begun changing the Army in ways first outlined in this book over two years ago. Among the changes: the adoption of more rapidly-deployable forces, "medium weight" forces, Light Armored Vehicles, such as those used by the USMC, and a squadron/battalion sized reconaissance element for greater intelligence. The Army has also modified the Officer Personal Management System, a move MacGregor advocated. Sadly, MacGregor himself is a full-bird colonel right now assigned to the National Defense University. Essentially, Macgragor has been put out to academic pasture. He will not get to command a brigade, and consequently will probably not be promoted again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Damon Jr. on August 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Col MacGregor was first seen as the S-3 along with (both were then Majors) LTC H.R. McMaster fighting the Battle of 73 Easting described in Tom Clancy's Armored Cav. After battling the Iraqis, both of these brilliant tacticians went to work to better America's Army taking their experiences of combining arms in the Cav to heart. LTC McMaster focused in his book on the geo/domestic politics that led our nation into war in Vietnam and Col MacGregor looks into U.S. Army force structure/design.
MacGregor begins by showing that in WWII, the U.S. Army created Regimental Combat Teams combining-arms to defeat the German mechanized armies long before the marines (who never had to fight a mechanized 1st world enemy in WWII or ever for that matter) created their smaller battalion-sized imitation brand. MacGregor shows that the Regiment/Brigade size is just the right size to combine arms (armor, infantry, artillery, engineers, aviation) as the Division is larger and harder to fight as an entity. My only regret is that he then proposes we get "break" the Divisional phalanxes to create Brigade Combat Teams where young one-star generals can command units fully equipped for modern warfare at all times and not assembled ad hoc. This is not necessary since you can create BCTs within existing Divisions, maintaining the honor/fighting traditions/identity of these legendary formations. The idea that by making the Army smaller we will be rewarded by the same amount of money that was for the larger force then being transferred to new equipment---is doubtful with America's anti-military spending mindset. Less is rewarded with less.
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