Small Wars Journal

A 2024 Large-Scale Combat Operations (LSCO) Professional Reading List for Junior Officers and NCOs

Sun, 01/07/2024 - 2:07pm

A 2024 Large-Scale Combat Operations (LSCO) Professional Reading List for Junior Officers and NCOs

By Justin Baumann


Into the New Year

If you’re looking for something new to read in 2024, this article provides a list of resources that junior officers and NCOs might find informative when trying to understand potential Large-Scale Combat Operations in the future.

As a newly minted butter bar deploying to Afghanistan once upon a time, I was faced with a plethora of books to read including, The Bear Went Over the Mountain, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency, and many others recommended to me, but not enough time to properly digest and apply them due to the training and operational cycle. As the Army shifts focus from Counter Insurgency (COIN) to LSCO, insightful reflection and pragmatic debate on the future of land warfare doctrine will pay dividends on future battlefields.

This list is aimed at Infantry Lieutenants, Captains, and NCOs but officers and NCOs of all ranks and branches can hopefully find value in these 17 books. If you don’t know what to read in 2024, try some of the books here and I hope you’ll find them as engaging, informative, and enlightening as I did.





Ranger Handbook  

By The US Army


Key topics: Patrolling, OPORDs, Leadership

The gold standard for light infantry. Could use an update with a section on UAS and UAS related tactics.  




A person in military uniform

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Changing an Army: An Oral History of General William E. DePuy, USA Retired

By Romie L. Brownlee and William J. Mullen III

ISBN: 9781516973521

Key Topics: Leadership, Maneuver Warfare, Training, Small Unit Tactics





A book cover with a picture of soldiers lying on the snow

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When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign, October 1944-January 1945

By Keith Bonn

ISBN: 978-0345476111

Key Topics: Large-Scale Tactics and Doctrine, Campaign Planning









The Anatomy of Courage: The Classic WWI Study of the Psychological Effects of War

by John Moran

ISBN: 978-0-7867-1899-3

Key Topics: Psychological Effects of War, Leadership, Trench Warfare

Summary (Written by Google AI): Dive into the trenches of World War I alongside Lord Moran, a doctor who witnessed firsthand the psychological toll of combat. "The Anatomy of Courage" isn't just a historical account; it's a groundbreaking exploration of fear, anxiety, and the resilience of the human spirit. Moran doesn't shy away from the gruesome realities of war, but instead shines a light on the inner struggles of soldiers facing unimaginable pressure.

Expect a mix of insightful observations, vivid anecdotes, and practical solutions as Moran dissects the breakdown and preservation of courage. He challenges the stigma of "shell-shock" as weakness, advocating for empathy and understanding towards those grappling with the invisible wounds of war. This isn't just a dusty relic of the past; Moran's insights remain eerily relevant today, offering valuable lessons for anyone navigating the psychological complexities of conflict, both external and internal.









Tape to Space: Redefining Modern Hockey Tactics

By Ryan Stimson

ISBN: 9781790480494

Key Topics: Neutral Zone Play, Puck Possession, Defensive Formations, Tactical Adjustments

Summary (Written by Google AI): For coaches and die-hard fans, "Tape to Space" rewrites the rulebook on puck movement and offensive strategy. Ditch the static cycle and embrace dynamic spacing, creative rotations, and attacking every inch of the ice. Stimson blends cutting-edge analytics with practical drills, transforming your team into a fluid, unpredictable force. Buckle up for a fast-paced read that'll have you rethinking everything you know about the beautiful game. Bonus: Check out Stimson's YouTube channel for video breakdowns of the systems he outlines in the book!








FM 3-0 Operations

By The US Army


Key Topics: Applying Combat Power, Warfighting, Offensive Operations, Defensive Operations









The Defense of Hill 781

By James R. McDonough

ISBN: 978-0613998123

Key Topics: Training, Leadership, Tactics, Doctrine










The Manga Guide to Physics

By Hideo Nitta, Keita Takatsu, and Trend-Pro Co., LTD.

ISBN: 978-1-59327-196-1

Key topics: Newton’s Laws of Motion, Force and Motion, Momentum, Work and Energy

Physics plays an extremely important role in the knowledge of mortars, artillery, ballistics, rockets, explosives, and drone operations, and every infantry soldier should know its basics. Knowing how physics works may save your life on the battlefield one day.









Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities

A Small Wars Journal Anthology: Edited by Dave Dilegge, Robert J. Bunker, John P. Sullivan, and Alma Keshavarz

ISBN: 978-1-9845-7375-9

Key Topics: Urban Warfare, Population-Centric Warfare, Mega-Cities








Four Ball One Tracer: Commanding Executive Outcomes

By Roelf van Heerden as told to Andrew Hudson

ISBN: 978-1-9102294-71-0

Key Topics:  Chaotic Environments, Fog-of-War, METT-TC