Military Review

Undersea Warfighting. Code Submariner US Navy. Part of 2


Part 1

Part of 2. Military advantages of covert action from under water

Submariners should be grateful to the water depths that make them invisible for many military advantages. The use of these advantages is an inextricable link that connects modern submariners with submariners from World War I, World War II and the Cold War. The naval forces use submarine forces so that these advantages can be used to achieve the larger military and geostrategic goals of the Armed Forces and the American people.

Whether we are talking about submarines today, consisting mainly of submarines, or about forces in the future with special emphasis on UUVs and other systems, submarine forces should always be able to take advantage of a set of unique military advantages. All of them are the result of stealth. These advantages, in accordance with the approved "Commander-in-Chief" Concept of Combat Activity in the Underwater Environment ", include:

  • the ability to penetrate the depths;
  • ability to act unnoticed;
  • ability to penetrate the enemy's defenses;
  • the ability to suddenly attack, independently choosing the time and place of attack;
  • ability to survive without significant defense costs;
  • opportunity to use the uncertainty and ambiguity of the underwater environment.

These benefits can be illustrated by various historical and modern examples.

Ability to penetrate the depths: One of the most sought-after benefits, which is often achievable without submarines and vehicles. Underwater reach may simply mean the ability to install the system in an underwater environment, possibly without the need for any further maintenance and maintaining its detection or concealment conditions. Such a system can be a sensor installed underwater for the most efficient operation, or it can be a search engine designed to collect something, or an oil production or oil exploration system, a fishing system or even a dredge for dredging the shipping channel.

Some tasks requiring seabed reach are best performed by submarines. For example, after the crash of the Challenger space shuttle off the coast of Florida, the submarine NR-1 and various remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were involved in the search and lifting of its parts. Stealth is not needed here, but the ability to deliver high-resolution sensors to depth and to perform search and lifting works directly at the bottom next to the object of search is important. Another common example of underwater reach is to place a sonar complex at a predetermined depth, determined by the physics of propagation of acoustic oscillations, in order to ensure high efficiency of acoustic search. Similarly, surface ships apply their sonar systems at maximum distances, adjusting the depth of the sonar. The submarine uses its ability to dive to bring the onboard and towed gas to the depths of the best acoustic search.

Covert operations: Submarines allow you to perform tasks, the maximum effect of which is observed if they were not detected. These are the tasks of intelligence gathering and observation, which by their very nature are of particular importance if the enemy does not know that information about the presence and location of their forces has become known. If intelligence is detected, then the enemy has many options that can reduce the value of the data obtained. These include changes to plans that have been compromised, a review of methods of action or methods of using forces. Most importantly, if the adversary knows that certain information is available to the enemy, he can use this fact to supply misinformation or deliberate deception. Finally, an adversary can simply limit his activities and minimize losses. Operations can be canceled or postponed, actions can be changed, systems can work in unprotected modes. These steps are costly and not always effective. The enemy loses the ability to selectively use intelligence protection tools when surveillance is carried out by underwater forces.

In addition to intelligence and observation, there are other operations, the success of which depends on the degree of secrecy. Building up submarine forces by moving more submarines to areas of potential conflict should go unnoticed. This allows the command to "deploy forces to the line of attack" covertly, preventing mass leakage of information about the location and nature of the operations performed. Another example of tasks when stealth is needed is to support special operations forces. Such forces, if found, may be at great risk, and the success of their mission may be questionable without support operations.

Penetration through the enemy defenses: Movement under the water significantly expands the capabilities of the forces to penetrate the enemy's defenses and take up positions in its rear. This internal situation provides access to the most important targets, which are less protected than when they are outside the defensive perimeter of the submarine. The position "inside the safe harbor" allows you to increase the potential for destruction. The fact that penetration was performed covertly without a breakthrough provides several short-lived benefits: (1) there is more ammunition left on board for use on the enemy immediately after taking a position; (2) more objects are not ready to attack, therefore more vulnerable; (3) more flexibility for the political leadership of the United States, who does not need to take urgent measures in advance and who can expect more and speedy effect from submarines that have already overcome the enemy defenses.

Undersea Warfighting. Code Submariner US Navy. Part of 2As an illustration of penetrating deep into the enemy’s defenses during World War II, one can cite the bold maneuver of Mush Morton in Vivak Bay in January 1943. In the operation, which became a legend and inscribed in the history of underwater fleet USA, Morton unexpectedly interpreted the intelligence order b. Vivak. Lieutenant George Grider, a boat officer, recalls that when he asked Morton what he understood by the term “intelligence,” he replied that, in his opinion, this was an observation through a periscope from an underwater position from the sea. To which Morton replied: "Damn, no. The only way you can explore the harbor, if you go right into it and see what is there."

Grider later wrote: "... a submarine, as you know, is a deep-sea ship that needs spacious oceans and a large supply of depth under the keel to act. And ports are often dangerous, at best, unpredictable, even if experienced pilotage is carried out by ships pilots equipped with the most up-to-date information on the situation. For Wahoo, it was utterly insane to dive in and enter the enemy's harbor, even the location of which on the map was unknown to us. " When they were inside, and suddenly the destroyer was discovered, one sailor joked: "You have explored the harbor like that! Let's get out of here." To which Morton replied: "God, no. We are going to go and blow it up. We will take it by surprise. He does not expect submarine attacks here." As a result, Wahoo sank the Japanese destroyer Harusame and left the harbor. The next day, Wahoo sank all four ships of the convoy bound for Vivac. Clay Blair, in the book about the history of the war of American submarines in the Pacific Ocean, "Silent Victory" writes that "this campaign, one of the most famous in the history of the war, became the entire submarine fleet with a new example - kick in the ass."

In the Atlantic in September of the same year, the United Kingdom provided another example of covert penetration through defenses to very important goals. Three X-Craft mini-submarines were delivered by submarines to Northern Norway in order to penetrate the fjord and attack in September 1943 of the German battleship Tirpitz at the “waiting point”. Mini submarines penetrated minefields and anti-submarine networks and for a long time avoided detecting the anti-submarine forces of the Kaafjord fjord in Norway in order to manage to put at least four two-tonne charges under the Tirpitz hull, the explosion of which formed a hole that caused 1400 to receive tons of water into the hull, taking the battleship out of action for six months. X5 died with the entire crew, and X6 and X7 were attacked and their crews were captured.

In a similar operation on the night of 6 December 1941, the Japanese prepared five ultra-small submarines, which were towed to Hawaii to participate in the attack on Pearl Harbor. At least one of these submarines managed to penetrate the inner harbor and launch two 2100-pound torpedoes into the battleships Oklahoma and West Virginia. Oklahoma turned over. After the message "task completed" was transmitted on the night from 7 to December 8, the super-small submarine was flooded by its crew in West Loch Bay and was not detected until 1944, when the US Navy rescuers cleared the shipping canal from debris, but even then the fragments were quietly disposed of. to the mouth of the channel, where they would be completely lost until they were re-discovered in the 2009 year.

These examples emphasize that success depends on the courage of seafarers who are able to penetrate the enemy’s defenses in order to gain access to the most important targets. In addition, the examples given indicate other characteristics, such as suddenness and vitality.

Suddenness: Suddenness - the ability to attack the enemy of his choice, independently choosing the time and place, which provides a number of enormous advantages, each of which enhances the effect of the attack. First, the attacker from under the water can choose the conditions of attack, the most appropriate circumstances. The attack can be executed immediately or it can be delayed for various reasons.

During the Falkland campaign, the Conqueror's boat secretly maneuvered not far from the Argentine cruiser "General Belgrano" all day long awaiting permission from the British headquarters to attack. In contrast, during the same campaign, when the detected target was classified as a submarine, the attack was carried out immediately, because the contact with the submarine is so uncertain and fleeting that time cannot be wasted. None of these urgent attacks against alleged submarines reached the target. The attack can be postponed by the submarine to maneuver in order to take an optimal position to inflict maximum damage to the enemy and minimize the probability of a counterattack.

The second advantage of a surprise attack is that attacks can be launched at a time when the target is not fully operational, which gives a greater chance of causing maximum damage. The sudden attack on Pearl Harbor was timed to the period of the lowest combat readiness of the US Navy, which increased the likelihood of causing more damage to the object of attack with less military casualties of the attackers.

The third advantage of surprise is that it creates chaos, an effect that can lead to second-order damage, such as collisions, a decrease in the effectiveness of defense. It is difficult to expect an orderly and systematic response, when the threat of continued attack remains, and thereby the effectiveness of the counterattack is reduced. Suddenness is one of the best tools for underwater warfare.

Vitality: Underwater position allows submarines to move undetected, while maintaining the uncertainty of being in large areas and significantly complicating the task of the enemy, who seeks to detect them. Underwater position creates the effect of "protection" of submarines from attacks without the need for any significant degree of application of defensive weapons. That allows you to place more offensive weapons on board. In addition, the depth greatly complicates the assessment of combat damage caused by the enemy. For example, an attack can be carried out on an intended submarine and, when the submarine is not detected later, the attack is considered successful. An intact, but still vulnerable to attack, boat can leave, and the fact that its location and condition is unknown will protect it from a subsequent attack.

Our SSBNs rely on the protection of the depths and on their survivability, which allows them to provide a “guaranteed response” even after the enemy’s first strike. Vitality is the cumulative result of stealth and the use of vast expanses of the ocean to make the search forces as difficult as possible.

In addition to stealth and a constant change of position, providing the enemy to search throughout the ocean, the submarine forces use defense systems, take countermeasures to reduce the likelihood of damage from an enemy attack. Protection from shock, repair and restoration work, redundancy mechanisms and durable design make the submar more tenacious.

Uncertainty of what is happening: The latter advantage provided by depth, although not widely recognized, is in many ways one of the most important advantages. The fact that the ocean is an opaque environment makes it difficult to understand what is happening under the water; This obvious fact has far-reaching consequences that distinguish the aquatic environment from the air, or even from what happens on the surface of the sea. In the air and on the surface with the naked eye, a person is able to detect remote targets, which means that even inexperienced opponents can control these spaces. Moreover, targets are visible, they can be quickly identified and monitored with sufficient accuracy to make the right decisions. The contrast with the underwater environment is simply depressing.

Under the water, only those can detect the enemy, who are able to skillfully use the most high-tech, specialized and expensive devices. Even in the case of detection, they often have vague, fuzzy data that do not allow to classify the target, only giving a vague idea of ​​its direction or place, which does not allow for immediate action.

Even when it is clear that “something” has happened or is happening, it is not easy to say with certainty what it is, because the reason is hidden in depth. This complexity and ambiguity has a significant impact on those who depend on the underwater environment. It complicates the work of fishermen, who must decide where to throw the nets. The depth hides what happened to the submarine Scorpion and Air France Airbus. It allows drug smugglers in the face of the threat of being caught to flood the cargo in full confidence that they will not be drowned and that no evidence of their guilt will be found. The uncertainty of the underwater environment led to a significant consumption of anti-submarine ammunition used by the British Armed Forces for undetermined underwater targets during the Falkland War.

26 March 2010, a super-small North Korean submarine torpedoed the South Korean frigate Cheonan in the Yellow Sea, which split into two parts and sank, taking the sailors to 46. North Korea denied the attack. During the rescue, which lasted several weeks, the ship and the tail section of a torpedo of the type used by North Korea were discovered and brought to the surface. The multinational group of technical experts processed all available information and provided an official report, concluding with certainty that the North Korean torpedo attack was the cause of the frigate's death. Due to the uncertainty of the underwater environment, despite all the technical analysis and the week of dozens of experts, the media in the United States and other countries still do not claim about the attack.

Uncertainty of what is happening can be used to create the impression that submarine forces are not where they really are, to present catastrophes as a result of accidents or natural factors, and not hostile actions to divert, thwart or delay the actions of the enemy. Each of these actions leads to the dispersion or distraction of the enemy's attention, reducing the effectiveness of his actions and causing anxiety.

Scapa Flow, October 1939: The first months of the war give us an example illustrating all the advantages of submarine operations used in a single operation, which is sometimes called the most famous attack of German submarines.

In an effort to confirm confidence that Germany will be able to prevail over the Royal Navy and ease the British blockade, Karl Doenitz and his headquarters have developed a bold attack plan, involving the penetration of the German submarine into the main port of the British fleet Scapa Flow and any attack that may be on raid. (During the First World War, two German submarines were lost while attempting to perform such an operation). Thorough work of the headquarters and reconnaissance revealed potential vulnerabilities in the defense: fifty-foot wide gaps between the airborne wreck and submarine networks guarding all approaches to the anchorage sites. The favorable phase of the moon and tidal cycle created a narrow “window” on the night from 13 to October 14.

Gunter Prien, a former merchant seaman and the best commander of Doenitz, was selected to perform this task and summoned to headquarters so that he could study the plan on Saturday and Sunday and tell Doenitz whether he could do it. When the commander confirmed the possibility of execution, the plan was called "Operation P". By updating the encryption machine codes, in complete secrecy from all those not connected with the operation, U-47 plunged into Kiel on October 8, heading for the northern tip of Scotland. U-47 crossed the North Sea on the surface at night, lying on the bottom during the day (unnoticed operations). After the U-47 transition remained unnoticed, it surfaced on the night of October 13 on 23.31 with the goal of entering the Kirk Channel. After one unsuccessful attempt, Prien nevertheless penetrated the gap of the defense watch barrier and entered unnoticed in Scapa Flow (penetration through defense).

Prin discovered the Royal Oak battleship Pegasus at anchor and attacked each ship from a distance of 3500 meters with two torpedoes. The attack was carried out completely suddenly on an unprotected target (surprise attack). One torpedo did not come out, two passed by, and one exploded in the nose of the Oak Royal. The crew of the battleship and the admiral could not even think that the cause of the explosion was a torpedo attack, and that they were all under threat. The order was not given to include GUS or to seal the compartments of the ship (ambiguity and uncertainty). Prien took advantage of this uncertainty and, seeing no signs of detection, used the time taken to reload the torpedo tubes to take up a position to make another attack. He fired three torpedoes from the nose torpedo tubes at Oak Royal. All three torpedoes hit the starboard side of the battleship, causing him to tip over to 13 minutes later, taking the lives of more than 800 from the crew members 1200 aboard. Undetected due to the chaos of U-47 left Scapa Flow at 02.15 and headed back to Wilhelmshaven, where heroes waited for fame.

Clay Blair in Hitler’s “Underwater War” wrote that “the feat in Scapa Flow certainly attracted Hitler’s attention and firmly implanted in his mind and in all German minds the fact that one cheap submarine with a crew of only forty-four people was able to drown a huge battleship with a team of 1200 people. From this it was not difficult to conclude what kind of slaughter a huge fleet of submarines could do to the lightly armed ships of the UK merchant fleet. Thus, the idea that Germany could defeat Britain at sea using submarines It received a “green light.” The long “echo” of Scapa Flow was undoubtedly on hand to the underwater forces.

Depth provides a wide range of military advantages that can be used by underwater forces. These advantages can be realized in separate operations, as in the example of Wahoo penetration into Vivac harbor, or they can be combined with the activities of other types and kinds of forces for maximum success, as was the case of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Failure to properly integrate with the actions of other forces can reduce the effectiveness of underwater operations. October 8, on the day Prina left the base, the British fleet left Scapa Flow to intercept the heavy cruiser Gneisenau, which was seen in the North Sea, heading for a raid on the Atlantic. Gneisenau did not break through and returned to Kiel, and the fleet of the metropolis began for a short time on the anchorage near the coast of Scotland in Lough Ives. The Luftwaffe, not knowing about Prien’s mission, made the 12 of October low Scapa Flow intelligence two days before the arrival of U-47, and this was perceived by the British as a prelude to the bombing. As a result, most of the royal fleet remained in Scotland, and only the flagship of Royal Oak returned to Scapa Flow. If this error in planning had not occurred, Scapa Flow would most likely be overflowing with ships (at least four battleships and aircraft carriers) and the damage caused by Priom could have been even worse.

Collaborative strategy

In general, the role of our submarine forces is to gain advantages over the enemy using depth. These benefits can be used in the general interests of the operating forces to achieve any specific operational and strategic goals.

Our joint maritime strategy emphasizes the six “key conditions” that the US Navy must jointly provide: advanced presence, maritime security, maritime control, projection of force, deterrence, and humanitarian aid / disaster relief. Although the Joint Maritime Strategy is a relatively new idea, these key points are well known and for the most part the same as they were at the end of 1970, when the ideas about "result-based" operations were first developed. Submarine forces make a valuable contribution to each of these key naval positions.

* Forward presence: Refers to the constant presence of US Navy in remote operational areas, the speed with which they can be involved in emergency situations. An advanced presence allows you to participate in exercises and operations with US allies, which contributes to American interests in the regions. If the US Navy does not ensure the constant presence of significant contingents of our troops on the front lines, the huge distances that must be covered if necessary will delay the arrival of our troops. This delay can be easily exploited by a potential adversary, so the need for an advanced presence becomes an important element of our security guarantees. As it will be said below, the submarine forces, in particular, use the advanced presence to confidently take key positions, perform tasks unnoticed and with the aim of intimidation.

* Marine safety: These are the steps necessary to ensure the daily security of the current maritime trade of the United States and its allies on a daily basis. Security is the result of the collective efforts of naval forces, intelligence organizations, law enforcement, allies and government. Protection against terrorism and against the use of ships used in the system to ensure terrorism are key elements of maritime security, anti-drug operations and other areas of assistance to law enforcement. Submarine forces provide a significant contribution to reconnaissance and surveillance, which help the main activities of other maritime security forces of the US government, our allies and friends.

* "Marine control": The ability of one state to use the sea for its own purposes, limiting opponents to the ability to do the same. The "sea restriction" is a subspecies of sea control, when the ability of the enemy to use the sea is usually limited, but it is not possible to make full use of the sea. “Maritime dominance” is a broader term than maritime control, and implies reliable and stable control over the sea over large areas. “Maritime supremacy” is maritime control over a specific geographical area of ​​the sea for a certain period of time. Submarine forces are fundamental in ensuring the "Maritime limitation", but since submarine forces themselves have limited capabilities, it is generally understood that the provision of such a restriction is that the General-Purpose Naval Forces provide an opportunity to further maintain and develop positive effect of the "Sea restrictions".

* Force projection: Refers to the use of naval forces to provide shore support, including offensive operations (for example, participation in an air missile attack) or landing operations. Submarine forces carry about a third of Navy strike missiles on board, but their strike power is limited compared to aviation or marine expeditionary force application. The real significance of an underwater strike lies in its suddenness from the position optimal for one or another priority task. This “small or without prior notice” context significantly increases the importance of the military force used and can play a role in achieving the goals of the general forces, providing them with subsequent access to the theater of operations.

* Containment: Deterrence includes not only nuclear deterrence, which is ensured in the Navy only by submarines with ballistic missiles. Deterrence operates day after day, forcing other states not to take actions that are contrary to US interests in connection with a clear threat. The retaliation extends far beyond the use of military force. Submarine forces significantly increase the threat of the use of force by the United States, because the US Navy does not necessarily have to be visible in order to keep the enemy on target. This creates the effect of deterrence, even if there is no open demonstration of power. Below, we note that combat readiness is a key element of effective deterrence.

* Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) Usually it conjures up images of helicopters assisting earthquake victims and saving sailors in distress. Indeed, this is the most significant and well-known part of the naval efforts at HADR. The contribution of the submarine forces of the United States to HADR is much narrower, it is a highly specialized contribution, but quite sufficient when submarine rescue or underwater search is necessary. The submarine forces of the United States contribute their share to the image of the United States as the "global force of good" by providing specialized rescue submarines and underwater search capabilities. Other countries do not need to develop their own capabilities in this direction, because they can rely on us if necessary. The international cooperation that we practice, working with other countries to be prepared for potential underwater emergencies, also serves as the basis for other areas of cooperation.
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  1. Keeper
    Keeper 26 November 2013 09: 10 New
    the usual praise of the navy ...
    They don’t write about our submariners!

    the ability to penetrate the depths;
    ability to act unnoticed;
    ability to penetrate the enemy's defenses;
    the ability to suddenly attack, independently choosing the time and place of attack;
    ability to survive without significant defense costs;
    the ability to use the uncertainty and ambiguity of the underwater environment

    About patrolling the borders of the state - not a word! And why?! Yes, because the Americans climb into all holes ... even under water))
    1. Arberes
      Arberes 26 November 2013 10: 08 New
      Quote: Keeper
      the usual praise of the navy ...
      They don’t write about our submariners!

      So the article underlines everything with its headline!
      About our glorious submariners on this interesting site (God forbid him many years of life), too much material has been published! And how many more will be printed! hi
    2. Delta
      Delta 26 November 2013 11: 21 New
      Quote: Keeper
      About patrolling the borders of the state - not a word!

      Nuclear submarines were not designed to patrol borders.
  2. Marconi41
    Marconi41 26 November 2013 12: 32 New
    Strategists - NO. But the tacticians are successfully doing this, and not only diesel-electric submarines. The Americans use Virginia for this, and we have everything that goes from Baton to Barça. Maybe soon they will build diesel-electric submarines again and then they will again delimit the "powers")
  3. Keeper
    Keeper 26 November 2013 17: 57 New
    Let them rejoice that we did not arrange for them for the Kursk ... (((
    Too me, submariners are bad! No matter what boats and what problems they solve! It is important that they do not create problems for other states. IMHO
  4. Vladimir 23rus
    Vladimir 23rus 16 December 2013 03: 30 New
    s-s-s-s-s-s-s-k-y-unami were them and remained. article minus
    (or plus purely for trying).