The ideological impasse of the Russian fleet? No, the Russian society!
American ideological crisis as an example
In the late forties - early fifties of the last century, the US Navy was in a serious crisis: they could not justify their need for the country and people. And indeed, in the world there was not one fleet, which could even be compared with the American. Moreover, all the fleets in the world combined, if they were under the same command, could not be compared with the American fleet in the same way. The US Navy simply did not have an adversary. Question: “Why do we need a fleet if the Russians don’t have one?” wondered more and more often.
In the late forties, one of the people who asked him was US President Harry Truman.
Truman's logic, inspired by Defense Secretary Louis Johnson, was as follows.
The main force necessary to crush the only potential enemy of the United States, the Soviet Union, is the strategic aviationarmed with nuclear bombs. The main theater of war is Europe, where the US army and allies will have to stop the Soviet Army. What does the fleet and marines have to do with it? Nothing to do with, and this "liability" must be eliminated. The fleet should be reduced to the level of escort forces capable of ensuring the transfer of the army to Europe and its supply. Everything else is redundant.
This position was supported by the army, which is interested in a larger share of the budget, and the Air Force, which already thought of themselves as a global geopolitical factor.
However, in the US one cannot simply take something and dissolve it or liquidate it. On the path of such reforms is usually the Congress, which is quite right to stop them. For this, however, it was necessary to stir up the attention of the public. The events that followed are known in the American stories as an "admiral revolt."
We must pay tribute to the then American sailors - they did it. The controversy about the future of the US Navy was quite deliberately made open to print. It cost the quarry to very many, including very high-ranking military men, for example, Rear Admiral Daniel Galerie, author of a series of articles on the inadmissibility of the defeat of the Navy, only miraculously avoided a military court and never received a Vice Admiral. Even the command of the 6 Division of aircraft carriers during the Korean War did not help. However, the sailors conspiracy was a success. Thanks to the started hearings in Congress, the pogrom was able to slow down and in essence reduce to the refusal to build new ships and reduce the number of available ships.
And then the war began in Korea, where 41% of all percussion tasks were fulfilled by deck aircraft, and which without it would have been completely lost even during the battles for the Busan bridgehead. And incheon-vonsansky landing. The Marines, by the way, had already been seriously degraded by that time due to chronic underfunding, which is why it “performed” at first so badly. This became an insight - the Americans mostly realized that without the Navy they would at least not retain global influence. However, more was needed - the fleet had to prove to society that it was needed not only in relation to the Korean war, which soon ended.
And this, too, was done.
In 1954, the young but already well-known Ph.D. Samuel Huntington published an article "National Policy and Transoceanic Navy", in which everything was laid out on shelves. Huntington rightly pointed out that any service, such as a fleet, consumes the resources of society. In order for society to allocate these resources with confidence, it must have an understanding of why this service is needed and how it is in the interests of national security.
With regard to the Navy, Huntington justified this by the following considerations.
The stage when the US Navy was supposed to provide security for the US in the oceans was over — enemy fleets were destroyed. Now the fleet is dealing with a new threat - the continental mass of Eurasia. Previously, the task of the fleet was to fight with the ships, now the fight against the shore - and Korea is proof of that. The fleet has achieved what the Anglo-Saxons call command of the sea - command on the seas, and now must ensure the achievement of US strategic goals on the ground. Factors such as the ability to concentrate aviation on an enormous scale against any point of the coast, the possibility (just appeared) of delivering nuclear strikes by the forces of carrier-based aviation, the planned mass appearance of heavy carrier-based bombers with a combat radius of thousands of kilometers capable of carrying nuclear weapon (A3D Skywarrior has already been tested), gave such opportunities. Dominance in the Mediterranean allowed such a blow to the very "heart" of the USSR through the territory of Turkey. Huntington also predicted that the early appearance of guided missiles would allow strikes against targets very far from the coastline. At the same time, there was simply no one to dispute the deployment of the US Navy anywhere in the world - the whole World Ocean was their “lake”.
Huntington and the admirals were right - although not the Navy, but the US Air Force carried the main shock in all American wars, and on the ground the main contribution was made by the army, not the marines, the role of the Navy in combat was always vital, but in terms of showing strength and like the means of force diplomacy, the US Navy, in principle, has no competitors.
If, then, in the 1948-1955 years, the Americans would have taken a different path, we might now live in a different world.
This is an example of how the right strategy not only saved the view of the Armed Forces from defeat (which in itself has no value for society), but also brought inconceivable benefits to the society itself, many years of negative trade balance - only a small part of which. Americans could never have their current standard of living without America’s military dominance in the world, and it would have been unthinkable without a fleet.
Well, a little later, the era of ballistic missiles on submarines began, which further consolidated this state of affairs.
And today - we have
At present, Russia is experiencing the same in nature mental naval crisis. The fleet exists rather by inertia. Even at the level of the supreme commander there is no understanding of what can be achieved, having a well-trained and well-equipped fleet, moreover, it is not even among some sailors. As a result, the experiment of Truman, who did not pass in the United States, passed quite by himself with us.
When we still knew how to "strategy", albeit badly. The mother ship "Magomed Gadzhiyev", the cruiser of the command "Zhdanov" and the shipyard "Selfless" are moored to each other in a combat campaign
Currently, the fleet is controlled by the naval section of the General Staff; as far as possible, and tasks for the Navy are formed by such people completely.
The Main Board has become a management department with very limited functionality, and the commander in chief has become a “wedding general.” A significant part of the problems experienced by the fleet is from this.
How did that happen? As it was shown earlier in the article "What is more important for Russia: fleet or army", the fault is the essential cognitive distortion, generated by the Great Patriotic War, and the previous history. People instinctively feel (without thinking) that the future will be the same as it was in the past, and yet the nature of the threats and potential tasks for Russia is radically different today than in the first half of the forties and earlier. Rather, we ourselves will start wars on land. But we will get a slap in the face where we are weak - no one will put a hand into the bear’s mouth and start a land war against us, the whole world knows how these things end. And the sea is another matter, and it is not difficult to understand, just thinking a little.
But, unfortunately, the average person does not think. He operates with cliché sets, once driven into his head, shuffling these clichés like a deck of cards. This is a big stretch of thinking, but nothing can be done - the adult psyche, already formed, is extremely difficult to “remake”. With regard to the Russians, this is further aggravated by the merely chronic wishful thinking, when a person does not understand the difference between reality and his own ideas about it and sincerely believes that if he defends some point with a hoarse, a real factor that will influence something. So, for example, are born supercrafts and boats capable of sinking an aircraft carrier. People just want to believe in them, and do not understand that the material world does not depend on their faith. You can calmly sleep with this faith, but only until someone’s bombs are awakened, and then it will be too late, but, alas, the average person cannot understand the cause-effect relationship between his actions and their postponed consequences, which gives rise to a certain form of stagnation. in public thought in our country, including in the military sphere, which is also repeated time after time. We already had “little poppies” and “little blood on foreign territory”, and “two regiments in two hours,” but, as an unintelligent observer obviously, our people still do not learn anything - at no cost.
As one of the intermediate results: a clear understanding of why we need a fleet, society does not have, does not have it, and power, which is a continuation of this society (no matter who thought about it).
At the moment, there are two open (unclassified) documents that describe the priorities of naval construction in Russia. The first one "Maritime policy of the Russian Federation". In general, this is a serious concept paper, and it remains only to wish that the goals stated in it would be achieved. However, about the navy there quite a bit.
In theory, the doctrinal document was supposed to be "Basics of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of naval activities for the period up to 2030 year". We state - this is not a doctrine. Yes, it is correct (although it is streamlined, no potential rival other than the United States is named by its name) threats are identified. Well, that's it. In fact, the entire document consists of good wishes, many of which are no longer simply not fulfilled, but are fundamentally impossible to fulfill. Fleet tasks are generally formulated in paragraph 13.
13. The Navy creates and maintains the conditions necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime activities of the Russian Federation, ensures its naval presence, demonstrates the flag of the Russian Federation and the military strength of the state in the oceans, participates in the fight against piracy, in the military carried out by the world community, peacekeeping and humanitarian actions that meet the interests of the Russian Federation, makes calls of warships (ships) of the Russian Federation to ports of foreign states, protect near the state border of the Russian Federation in the underwater environment, including anti-submarine, anti-submarine defense in the interests of the security of the Russian Federation.
With the same success, the authors of the document could not write anything about the tasks. From 2012, the Navy (what was left of it) was engaged in military transportation under special risk conditions (Syrian Express, transporting detachments of MTR to the Crimea in 2014), striking cruise missiles on coastal infrastructure, participated in ground combat operations Marine Corps (Syria), together with the FSB led the quasi-blockade actions against the ports of Ukraine on the Sea of Azov, and effectively demonstrated strength to the Americans in the Mediterranean a couple of times.
But with the PLO we have a failure, with anti-subversive defense - it is not known how, the enemy has a water contingent much better trained. In any case, the author is also aware of reports about the landing of foreign combat swimmers on the territory of the country, and about the casualties of PDSS in underwater skirmishes with “seals”. But the opposite is completely unknown. True, it was all very long.
As you can see, the theory is seriously at odds with practice. Moreover, this discrepancy is actually even deeper. There is not a word about the interaction with the ground forces and the VKS. This is just a paradox, given the previous historical experience and the current state of naval aviation. There is not a word about the fight against terrorism - and this task today is more relevant than the fight against piracy. There is not a word about the mine threat, which again speaks of a complete disregard for historical experience.
The "foundations" are imbued with a defensive spirit - we are defending, defending and restraining, there is not a word about sometimes undertaking offensive military operations. But the ability to attack any point on the planet - "the fad" of the fleet.
There is nothing that would somehow be limited by the timeframe, the order of adaptation of the Navy from peacetime to the military ...
It is not clear why the authors of the document do not stipulate such things as the geographical fragmentation of the fleet and the inability to ensure numerical superiority in forces over potential opponents in most theaters. It is not known why there is not a word about naval aviation - namely, it is the only force that is guaranteed to be able to carry out a fast inter-theater maneuver. But there is a fantasy about such a maneuver submarines - whoever would just let it do.
In general, it is necessary to read this document, but with a clear understanding that this is a profanation.
And now - as it should
For comparison, it is worth looking out over the American side Maritime strategy - The “maritime strategy” of the eighties, which was the basis of American naval activity against the USSR in the 80s, and was extremely successful.
Everything is completely different there. The main adversary is defined - the USSR and the "merged" with it until the country of the Warsaw Pact is inseparable. Potential allies of the USSR outside Europe — Libya, the DPRK, Cuba, and Vietnam — have been identified. Revealed their real possibilities in a naval war. The main features of the strategy of the Navy of the USSR, its goals and objectives, which the political leadership of the USSR sets before it, its advantages and weaknesses are listed. The order of conflict escalation has been determined in stages - from peacetime to global thermonuclear war with the use of strategic nuclear weapons. The specific objectives of the US Navy are listed - from keeping communications with Europe and “offensive mining” at the beginning of the conflict, to landing on Kamchatka, the Kola Peninsula and Sakhalin at the end (provided that the situation allows).
The role of the allies, the order of defeating the forces of the USSR and its allies, the role of other types of armed forces in joint operations with the fleet — for example, Cuba and Vietnam — were to be “neutralized” by the Navy and Air Force bombers, and the beginning of the war in the North Pacific was to be accompanied by defensive army units on the Aleutian Islands, in order to prevent the Soviet landing force to capture them.
The US Navy’s approach to the use of nuclear weapons and a possible reaction to such from the Soviet side was voiced. A reservation was made about the undesirability of strikes against the Soviet strategic potential on the ground so as not to force the Russians to use their ICBMs. Defined measures to protect shipping. The strategy was drawn up for each year, and was reviewed annually, and in order for the US Navy to be ready to act on these plans, highly dangerous provocative exercises were held annually, during which the attack on Soviet cities was decked out (see NorPacFleetExOps'82, he the same “Kamchatka Pearl Harbor”), and special forces on Soviet territory was bombarded. These exercises were used as a tool of military-political pressure on the leadership of the USSR - and successfully.
It was a coherent strategy with goals, forces, means, plans, a vision of what should be done. Are we able to give birth to something like that?
Someone may argue that there are still closed documents, and there, like, everything is there. Unfortunately, although these closed orders from the General Staff and Defense Ministry do exist, but the level of these documents does not allow us to believe that the Navy will be reborn as an effective combat force. If without “entering the red zone”, then these are just short-term solutions like “and now we are preparing to attack coastal targets with cruise missiles, and that is inexpensive; and now we need to set up anti-piracy patrols — and also inexpensively. ” Something global and deeply developed is not there, simply because our General Staff is predominantly military, and they know little about the operational and strategic capabilities of the Navy.
The USSR, by the way, “gave birth” to a sane strategy, even if not formalized - Kotkov's “direct tracking” was quite a strategy, and worked for some time — in any case, the peak of Soviet power in the world was due precisely to this concept. Americans sometimes sweat with fear. But only when they changed the rules of the game for their part, everything changed for the worse for us, but I could not give an adequate answer to the Soviet Navy.
In fact, trained and equipped naval forces are able to bring enormous benefits to any country. Up to financial. This is a self-evident fact. But in order for this to be the case, the society must understand WHAT IT WANTS TO GET from the fleet.
Do not invent an answer to the question: why do we need the Navy? This is absolutely counterproductive. No, our people must answer a completely different question for themselves: WHAT COUNTRY WANTS TO GET FROM THE GUYS IN A BLACK FORM SUCH, WHICH CAN BE GIVEN ONLY BY THEY?
And then everything will begin to improve. But not before.
- Alexander Timokhin
- Navy CIF / Wikipedia
- What is more necessary for Russia: fleet or army?
The Navy: Choosing a Balance Between Preparations for Hostilities and Peacetime Tasks
Offensive or defense? There are enough resources for one thing.
Real contribution. What role did the Navy play in World War II??
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