The Soviet Navy

The Soviet Navy

The Soviet Navy

The Soviet Navy

Excerpt

Commander M. G. Saunders, RN

AMONG THE MANY profound changes that have characterized the Soviet scene since the end of the second World War, none has made a greater impression on the seafaring nations of the free world than the rapid growth of the Soviet Navy, which in ten years has risen from comparative unimportance to a position second only to that of the United States in immediately available offensive and defensive power.

The post-war pattern of international relations soon crystallized into the cold war, with two mighty world powers and their allies facing each other across an unbridgeable ideological gulf. This situation should have warned us of the probability that the Soviet Union would build up its naval strength to match in some degree its powerful army and air force. Indeed, there is nothing illogical about a great power with an extensive seaboard wanting to possess a strong navy, equal to its growing foreign political commitments and expansionist ambitions. Thus, while the victorious Western allies precipitately reduced their armed forces, scrapping or placing in reserve large numbers of warships, the Soviet Union kept its forces on a war footing, and as regards the navy, secretly intensified a modernization that had started under Stalin in 1928 and was checked only by four years of war with Germany.

What interests us about the present Soviet Navy is not its large size alone, but above all its composition and disposition, for these provide a definite pointer to its operational use in the event of war. It is not a balanced fleet in the conventional sense, but a navy with a very marked preponderance in modern long range submarines.

The fact that the Soviet leaders elected to create this huge submarine fleet as the principal, if not the sole means of conducting offensive warfare on the oceans outweighs all other considerations. Meanwhile the statesmen, strategists and military planners of all the nations are preoccupied as never before with the overriding . . .

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