Amphibious operations and the extensive use of marines continue to be an important element of US offensive policy today. Photo from www.navy.mil
Among Western experts in the field of military construction there is an opinion that the period between the two world wars was the richest in terms of the creation of numerous revolutionary military technologies, the formulation and running-in of new strategies and doctrines. However, innovations were not always quickly and successfully implemented, and some of them, before being realized, were going through a rather thorny path from formulating a concept to adopting it. The latter directly relates to amphibious operations, the skillful conduct of which, according to Western experts, largely determined the outcome of the Second World War in favor of the allies in the anti-Hitler coalition.
Amphibious landing in Anglo-Saxon terminology, or landing troops on the coast from the sea, has a rather long history. Many theorists of military affairs, and above all such authority as the Franco-Swiss-Russian General Antoine-Henri Jomini, devoted their research to the questions of the landing from the sea, who, as early as 1838, proposed principles on which all phases of such operations should be built: introduction confusing the enemy when unloading troops to the coast; selection of convenient points for landing and hydrographic conditions favorable for the attackers; applying the appropriate weapons to support the landing, including artillery and its primary unloading; capture team heights; uninterrupted and fast organization of assault landing and transfer of the landing phase to a normal ground battle.
However, according to some modern researchers, such ideas, being ahead of their time, were not properly appreciated by the military leadership of the leading countries of the world. In particular, the lack of attention to such operations during the First World War led to negative consequences during the battle for Gallipoli.
In 1915, the leadership of Great Britain and France agreed that to neutralize the Ottoman (Ottoman) Empire, to ensure uninterrupted communication with allied Russia, and after the victory, the latter could not be fixed at the crossroads of Europe and Asia only if the Dardanelles and Bosphorus were to be seized , the key to which was the Gallipoli peninsula. The British and French developed a plan for landing in two points in order to then surround the Turkish troops and force them to surrender. Allied intelligence did not work satisfactorily: instead of the expected weak resistance, they were met by perhaps the most combat-ready Turkish units. Three attempts to implement their plans from April to June 1915, the year ended in failure. In August of the same year, the Franco-British attempted to parachute again, but again failed, abandoned their plans and retreated. It is noteworthy that the arrogant British were so confident in their superiority over the “Asians-Turks” that, for example, one of the leaders of the landing operation, General Sir Ian Hamilton, reporting to the leadership on the readiness of the Allied grouping for landing, stressed - or a special strategy of action, but only the presence of the determination and courage of the troops! ”
In a detailed analysis of these operations, the main reasons for their failure were the misunderstanding by the Allied leadership of the entire complexity of the landing operation itself; inadequacy of preparatory measures, including poor intelligence; a clear lack of weapons and the number of allocated formations; ignoring expert advice on the development of special means for landing and ensuring its fire cover; complete oblivion of the postulate about the organization of close interaction between various types of armed forces and combat arms, not only within the framework of the allied group, but also within national contingents, as well as some others. But these conclusions were already made in the 1920s and 1930s, and immediately after the failure, in hot pursuit, the British experts came to the conclusion that in the conditions of the development of industrial infrastructure and the communications network on European theater, it is impossible to carry out a successful amphibious operation. And such an authority on military affairs as Basil Liddell-Garth, and did argue that the rapidly developing aviation power generally excludes this type of military activity from military art.
UNDERESTIMATED "MYSTERY TIME"
In Great Britain, before World War I, they did not pay enough attention to the development of the theory of landing from the sea and preparing troops for this task, and even more so the development of a special kind of troops, the main function of which is landing from the sea, that is, marines. With the beginning of the war in Albion, the so-called Royal Naval Division was deployed as a temporary unit, consisting of three brigades, only one of which was essentially a real brigade of marines. After the end of hostilities, the division was disbanded, and as a result of this “short-sighted step,” as experts note, the experience was lost, though not always positive, in the participation of marines in combat operations.
The pacifist sentiments that engulfed world public opinion as a reaction to the millions of victims, suffered by the conquered and victorious and resulted in the desire to prevent such things in the future, have naturally been widely developed in the UK, initially in the British military-political establishment. However, the most far-sighted British military leaders were not "relaxed" by the general "euphoria of peace" and did not stop working to learn lessons from the recently ended battles on the vast plains and the coast and at sea.
Already in the autumn of 1919, the so-called joint (interspecific) conference was convened by the military leadership of the country on an initiative basis with the participation of more than 150 officers from all branches and arms of service in order to analyze the recent hostilities from the point of view of solving the problems of interaction on the battlefield. Its result was a recommendation to revise the “Charter of joint (joint) operations” from 1913. At the initiative of seafarers in 1920, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Joint (United) Operations was formed, the task of which was charged with the development of documents regulating all the nuances of interaction between the British Navy, Air Force and Land Forces. During the period of 1922 – 1925, several versions were prepared that regulate interspecific interaction of documents, including the revision of the charters and manuals within the framework of aircraft types, with the inclusion of agreed provisions on this kind of interaction.
It should also be noted that a very significant role in the disorientation of the marines as a branch of the British Navy was played by the confidential report of a special Admiralty commission headed by Admiral Sir Charles Madden, submitted to the leadership of August 1924, which convincingly justified the role of the MP as an integral part of the crew a ship that solves especially limited tasks, in particular, servicing ship weapons and carrying out ship service. The same marines, on the recommendations of the report, who serve ashore, should allegedly concentrate on preparing for the seizure and defense of bases on the coast and on conducting raids on “enemy targets” limited in scale and time.
According to a number of specialists, the “accelerated” and “not fully thought out” development of recommendations at the beginning of 1920 in the armed forces of Great Britain, as reflected in the regulatory documents on the interaction of the Armed Forces, was more advertising than practical. For example, the prominent British military historian Donald Bittner believes that the updated charters and instructions in this very delicate field of military activity were based mainly on the fruits of theoretical fabrications and obviously lacking knowledge derived from limited practice. In his opinion, the allegedly based on the results of the exercises did not reach the "full-fledged conclusions", because, for example, for the most part these so-called field exercises focused on the implementation of limited and very special tasks such as "constructing artificial dams to help landings landing, preparing artillery positions, the study of slopes and roads, working out methods for determining the suitability of the coast and assessing the conditions for unloading equipment on it ”.
Despite some remarks by critically-minded specialists regarding the need to bring “greater realism” into the fieldwork conducted, the situation remained unchanged. This was evidenced by the exercises on the landing of troops in the 1924 year (imitation of the defense of Singapore) and in the 1928 year - the defense of the Scottish coast. Amphibious exercises in the 1934 year, despite the seemingly taken into account critical criticism, once again confined themselves to solving specific problems, in particular, organizing communications, and nothing more.
MOVEMENTS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Meanwhile, by the mid-1930s, the Admiralty had accumulated enough information that in such "maritime powers" similar to the Foggy Albion, such as the United States and Japan, they take amphibious operations very seriously and carry out intensive training of troops for possible landing on the coast " the adversary. " At the direction of the Royal Navy command, one of the promising naval commanders, at that time with the rank of Captain Bertram Watson, prepared a special memorandum in which, based on an analysis of foreign experience, he strongly recommended involving aviation and ground forces in a joint fleet working out tasks for landing on the coast. British military historian Kenneth Clifford pointed out that "it was perhaps the highest quality document developed in the country during the interwar period, which most convincingly justified the need to take into account the very probable possibility of landing from the sea in the coming war."
In 1938, in the UK, a special Interspecific Center for the development of relevant documents and practical training of troops for amphibious operations was finally established, located at the Portsmouth naval base, and Captain Mound (later Admiral) was appointed head, later a fighter for the promotion of this idea. in life. A year before his appointment, Maund personally witnessed the landing operation by the Japanese in Shanghai, a detailed analysis of which brought to the influential secretary the deputy chairman of the Committee of Chiefs of Staff and the Committee of Imperial Defense Hastings Ismey (a little later - Lord Ismey). The report stated with a certain amount of alarm that the British lagged behind their Japanese and American colleagues in readiness to carry out landing operations from the sea. However, despite the active work of the center and the constant pressure exerted on the country's military leadership, by the beginning of World War II, the British Armed Forces, as the researcher Bittner mentioned, “only had one unit that was more or less prepared for amphibious operations. This is the 9 th Infantry Brigade of General Bernard Montgomery, who was later one of the main organizers of the Allied landings in Normandy in 1944 year.
The American marines made a major contribution to the battles for Guadalcanal during World War II. Photo from www.navy.mil
Only after a few months since the beginning of World War II, thanks to the “insight” of the undoubtedly extraordinary personality of Winston Churchill, who had become by that time the de facto British military leader in Great Britain, Allan Millett, a specialist in the field of marine history, emphasizes, “practical steps were taken, which even allowed her to become a leader and pioneer in the creation of special methods and equipment for landing from the sea, the formation for this of joint (interspecific) headquarters and the organization of real about the interaction of land and sea forces. "
AMERICANS THINK DIFFERENTLY
In the United States, the attitude towards amphibious operations as such and the forces that carry them out differed significantly from the approaches that took place in the “queen of the seas,” that is, in Great Britain. First of all, this was due to the different visions of the leadership of both states of the so-called national security challenges and ways to neutralize the respective threats. In London, beginning in the second half of the 18th century, the main focus in protecting national interests, which were truly global in nature, was entirely focused on the development of naval power. In Washington, at the same time, they were initially concerned about the inviolability of their borders and only then - the provision of a “creeping” expansion, which did not go beyond the framework of the Western Hemisphere (“Monroe Doctrine”). Hence the emphasis on the development of forces capable of safeguarding national interests represented by small mobile units, called the "Marines", and capable of defending their facilities on the coast and disembarking the coast of the "opposing side." American historians cite data on the order of the 180 amphibious operations carried out by the US MP, which were prepared for this by other branches of the military in the 1800 – 1934 years.
PRIORITY - MARINE POHOTE
The “enthusiasm” for such operations by the military-political leadership of the United States even gave rise to a discussion at the end of the 19th century as to whether any linkage was necessary, both in the organizational and in the doctrinal plan of the marine corps, to the national naval or land forces. In any case, even in those years, American authority in the field of military strategy Alfred Thayer Mahan unequivocally argued that the MP was inextricably linked with the Navy and their inevitable cooperation in the implementation of US military policy. The correctness of the position expressed by Mahan confirmed the Spanish-American war of the 1898 of the year, during which, in particular, the US MP battalion, capturing an object on the Cuban coast, provided support to the American fleet, which blocked the Spanish garrison in Santiago de Cuba. According to military historian Jack Shulimson, “this action clearly demonstrated to the American sailors that from now on they could not fully rely only on the army; The Navy needs its own component of ground forces. "
And already in 1900, thanks to the initiative of the General Council (HS), the Navy saw the light of the “Concept of forward deployment”, which clearly stated the task of the MP as a branch of troops interacting with the Navy and responsible for the seizure and subsequent defense of objects on the coast of the enemy. The corrected training programs for officers in educational institutions of the US MP were aimed at this. Moreover, the retired admirals - members of the TOS intensified work on the formulation of the doctrine of amphibious operations of the future, to which, according to their recommendations, the relevant authorities were involved, including primarily the Naval College, the leadership of the MP and the Naval Forces headquarters.
DISCUSSIONS AROUND THEORY
The failure of the French-British amphibious operation to seize Gallipoli in 1915 in the year stimulated the Americans to pay even more attention at first to the theoretical studies of all the nuances of conducting this kind of operations in future wars. A very useful discussion on this topic was also developed in the pages of the special periodical “Marine Kor Gazette” founded by that time. At the same time, the authors tried to touch on very broad aspects of the problem, including the nuances of naval fire in support of paratroopers, the development of special ammunition for landing operations, medical support, etc. In addition, the most trained officers of the MP, at the direction of their leadership, took an active part in discussions of various aspects of amphibious operations in schools of the naval and naval forces, instigating during them the idea of the need for close cooperation while at the same time defending the “special” role of the marines you are in ensuring ultimate success.
This activity of the Marine Corps Command at the beginning of the 1920s was not accidental. The fact is that during this period, the military-political leadership of the United States did not yet have a firm conviction that amphibious operations should be fully entrusted to the marines as a separate branch of the military. In addition, special ships for the landing of troops on the coast have not yet been designed, approaches to providing cover for the landed troops have not been developed. The generals and officers of the marines, firmly convinced of the need to develop the MP as an independent branch of the military, made incredible efforts not to give the legislators of the Congress an excuse to "takeover" of the marines not only by ground forces, but even the navy.
The commandant (commander) of the marines, Major General John Lejun, defending his type of troops from the possibility of such a course of events, concentrated the efforts of comrades-in-arms and like-minded people on justifying the practical and “exclusive” role of the MP in future war operations. According to his instructions, Major Earl Ellis, who had authority among military researchers and an absolute supporter of the idea of “specialness” of the marines, conducted a special study on the possibility of conducting a large-scale operation to land on the islands of the central zone of the Pacific Basin, who had withdrawn under the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty to japan. The result of this analytical work was a multi-page and detailed so-called 712 Plan "Operations of Forward-Based Forces in Micronesia", in which the role of the marines was stuck out.
The document developed by Ellis later formed the basis for the so-called Orange Plan of War, developed and approved in 1924 by the United Army and Forces in anticipation of a military conflict with Japan, which was gradually gaining strength, and was already predicted to have fierce battles to capture and retention of strategically important islands, for which special training and integration of the efforts of the naval, air and ground forces is allegedly necessary.
FOCUS ON STUDIES
An important stage was the preparation and conduct in 1923 – 1924 of very large-scale exercises with the participation of the US MP, which worked out certain elements of amphibious operations. Moreover, during the very first exercises, a grouping of US Pacific Fleet ships with marines on board through the Panama Canal was organized with the support of mobile forces stationed in the Caribbean, taking into account the "opposition" to them from a similar grouping of the US Atlantic Fleet.
The following similar large-scale exercises were the seizure by Pacific Fleet marines (1750 soldiers) of objects on the island of Culebra (Puerto Rico), controlled by marines of the Atlantic fleet (1550 soldiers), was lost. Moreover, aviation, artillery and support units were actively involved on both sides. The shortcomings revealed during the exercises were thoroughly analyzed in order to prevent them in the future. Thus, based on the results of the exercises, it was decided to introduce a system for recognizing one's own and others' aircraft (the “friend – foe” code system) and the organization of telephone communications between observation posts and anti-aircraft equipment. A participant in these exercises, Admiral Robert Kunz, who later became Chief of Staff of the US Navy, evaluated the training data "in the field" as "the first real possibility of confirming the correctness of the concept of close cooperation between the fleet and marines." In 1925, in Hawaii, in 1927, in Nicaragua, and in 1932, even larger exercises were held again in Hawaii with a focus on working out the landing issues from the sea, organizing interaction with aviation and engineering support.
In 1927, with the approval of the Joint Council of the Army (SV) and the Navy, the next document Joint Operations of the Ground Forces and Naval Forces was published, in which, along with the "trivial" tasks of the MP, ship service, security, etc. . - for the first time, accents were shifted to the solution by the marines of tasks in amphibious operations. Responding to the request of the General Council of the Navy regarding the ranking and tasks of the marines in 1931, the commandant of the MP, General Ben Fuller, unequivocally gave priority to amphibious operations. Moreover, he was supported by Admiral William Pratt, Chief of Staff of the Navy.
In parallel with the scientific community of seafarers and marines, a “Experimental charter for landing operations” was developed, which was approved by the Naval Forces headquarters and recommended as a training tool at the main US MP training center in Quantico.
Since 1935, exercises on amphibious landing have become annual and have been carried out in the framework of working out the provisions of the periodically updated Plan of War "Orange". And more and more began to practice exercises with live firing and real bombing. They were held against the background of the gradually worsening international situation, including the withdrawal of Japan in 1936 from international treaties signed at the beginning of 1920 during the Washington Conference, the deployment of Tokyo’s large-scale shipbuilding program and the beginning of 1937 in Japan’s intervention in China. It must be admitted that during this period the United States and Great Britain did not remain aloof from the general “trend” and were also actively involved in the naval arms race.
In 1937, the leadership of the US Navy approved a new “Manual of Combat Training,” which, in fact, became the official pre-war doctrine of amphibious operations. In January of the following year, a new large-scale training exercise was organized in Puerto Rico, which lasted until March, in which 2,5 thousands of marines took part and again, after a break, “at the invitation of the Navy” - an expeditionary team of ground forces.
The 1939 and 1940 exercises were held already against the background of the Second World War that began in Europe and were marked by attempts to bring them closer to the realities of the fighting. The last pre-war exercises in New River (North Carolina) took place in August 1941. On the recommendation of the head of the exercise, then still Major General Holland Smith, an unprecedented number of participants were involved in them - about 17 thousand people. In the course of these exercises, along with the landing on the coast, the tasks of landing from the air, including at night, were worked out, submarines were brought in to perform reconnaissance and protection tasks, for the first time new amphibious vehicles were used, including rubber boats and other innovations. . Naturally, it was not without comments, the most significant of which intermediaries counted 38. But they had to be corrected in the course of the war, which the United States entered in December 1941 of the year.
IN MODERN CONDITIONS
On the basis of studying the events of the “golden age” of amphibious operations of the naval forces of the United Kingdom and the United States, the following important conclusions can be drawn, including those that contribute to certain future forecasts.
First, the solution to the problems of developing the modern concept of amphibious operations and its implementation was based on the objective requirements of the development of military art in the period between the two world wars in general, and in particular the subjective vision of individual military experts, the informal community of military theorists in militarily advanced states. features of future wars, conflicts and the place of such operations in them.
Secondly, in Britain, recognized as a leader in the development of naval power, the military-political establishment, nevertheless, did not manage to assess in time the importance of amphibious operations as a “breakthrough” in one of the spheres of military art, to properly respond to most of them. in a proactive manner, “signals” from below and “set in motion” to theoretical studies in this field and their testing in practice.
Thirdly, close attention to amphibious operations in the United States, both civilian and military, was the result of taking into account not only their own many years of experience with the use of marine infantry "at the junction" of the army (land forces) and naval forces, but also opened in time the potential of specially trained formations to carry out such operations in the battles of future wars.
Fourth, substantial progress in the theoretical understanding of this, at that time “revolutionary” step in the development of military art, was the result of close interaction of various instances not only within the US Navy and Air Force, but also military aviation, ground forces and independent structures ( particular, the Naval Institute), which gave a real synergistic effect in the course of the work done.
And finally, fifth, the success of large-scale amphibious operations carried out by the Americans during the Second World War, first in the Pacific and then with the help of allies in the European theater, was a direct consequence of numerous exercises with troops conducted by the US armed forces in 1920 – 1930- e years with the involvement of almost all types and types of troops, combat firing and bombing in a situation that is really close to combat.