Deep operation (Russian: Глубокая операция, glubokaya operatsiya), also known as Soviet Deep Battle, was a military theory developed by the Soviet Union for its armed forces during the 1920s and 1930s. It was a tenet that emphasized destroying, suppressing or disorganizing enemy forces not only at the line of contact but also throughout the depth of the battlefield.
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The term comes from Vladimir Triandafillov, an influential military writer, who worked with others to create a military strategy with its own specialized operational art and tactics. The concept of deep operations was a national strategy, tailored to the economic, cultural and geopolitical position of the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of several failures or defeats in the Russo-Japanese War, First World War and Polish–Soviet War, the Soviet High Command (Stavka) focused on developing new methods for the conduct of war. This new approach considered military strategy and tactics, but also introduced a new intermediate level of military art: operations. The Soviet Union was the first country to officially distinguish the third level of military thinking which occupied the position between strategy and tactics.
Using theoe templates, the Soviets developed the concept of deep battle, and by 1936, it had become part of the Red Army Field Regulations. Deep operations had two phases: the tactical deep battle, followed by the exploitation of tactical success, known as the conduct of deep battle operations. Deep battle envisaged the breaking of the enemy's forward defenses, or tactical zones, through combined arms assaults, which would be followed up by fresh uncommitted mobile operational reserves sent to exploit the strategic depth of an enemy front. The goal of a deep operation was to inflict a decisive strategic defeat on the enemy's logistical abilities and render the defence of their front more difficult, impossible—or, indeed, irrelevant. Unlike most other doctrines, deep battle stressed combined arms cooperation at all levels: strategic, operational, and tactical.