Mission Command Analysis Essay

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In late June 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia passed through western Maryland and invaded Pennsylvania. General Lee believed that by invading the North, he could draw the Union Army of the Potomac away from their defenses and force them to come after him. He also assumed the people of the North would be so demoralized if the Union were to lose another major battle, especially if it was fought on Northern soil, that President Abraham Lincoln would be forced to negotiate a settlement of the Civil War. On 01 July 1863, then Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, and his 20th Maine received word to begin movement to
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COL Chamberlain continued to improve his understanding of the situation throughout the battle. He understood that he had to trust his men and rely on his experiences, along with his critical and creative thinking, to devise a plan to hold the Unions far left flank on Little Round Top and defeat the Confederates. As commanders understand the operational environment and the problem, they can begin visualizing the desired end state and solutions to solving the problem.6 After noticing that Confederate artillery fire had slackened, COL Chamberlain’s experience told him that Confederate troops were coming and quickly began to envision an operational approach that would achieve his desired end state to hold his position on the far left of Little Round Top. Through his critical and creative thinking, COL Chamberlain showed a skill common within good tactical leaders. He mentally visualized possible countermoves against imagined threats to his unit. While analyzing the terrain he could see that the 83rd Pennsylvania was forming on his right but there was nothing at all on his left. COL Chamberlain could see a dark bulk of a larger hill to the left of his men and determined that if the Confederates got an artillery battery on its crest the Confederates could take Little Round Top and subsequently drive off the Union Army. Visualizing how this could affect his desired end state, COL Chamberlain decided that he would send a company to the 20th Maine’s
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