The Royal Navy and Maritime Power in the Twentieth Century

By Ian Speller | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

Ian Speller

This much is certain, that he that commands the sea is at great liberty, and may take as much and as little of the war as he will. 1

(Sir Francis Bacon, 1597)

There is a historical pattern to the repeated success of great sea powers over great land powers that defies dismissal as mere chance. 2

(Colin Gray, 1992)

The aim of this book is to analyse some of the strengths and limitations of maritime forces as instruments of national power. To achieve this a number of case studies have been examined. These case studies are taken from the experience of the Royal Navy during the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. This book is not intended to be a history of the Royal Navy in the twentieth century nor does it claim to cover every operation conducted by the navy in these two regions. Rather, the case studies have been selected in order to facilitate an examination of different aspects of the employment of navies and the utility or otherwise of maritime power. The original idea for this approach was generated by a similar process of 'maritime campaign analysis' conducted by students at the United Kingdom Joint Services Command and Staff College. The aim there is to use an examination of past campaigns and battles to develop a greater understanding of the nature of maritime power and to examine the idea that there are enduring features or principles of maritime strategy. All of the contributors to this volume have been fortunate enough to participate in this process and their conclusions have been formed in the light of lively discussions with officers from every service and of many different nationalities. 3

This book focuses upon maritime power. This is an inherently broader concept than either naval power or sea power. Unfortunately for newcomers to this subject definitions frequently vary and different authors use different terms in different ways. 4 For the purposes of this book naval power refers to seaborne military forces such as warships, naval auxiliaries, aircraft carried on ships, and submarines. Sea power includes naval forces and also non-military seaborne assets such as merchant ships and fishing vessels. Maritime power embraces all of the

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The Royal Navy and Maritime Power in the Twentieth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Transition to War 13
  • 2 - Sea Control in Narrow Waters 33
  • 3 - Sea Denial, Interdiction and Diplomacy 50
  • 4 - Air Power and Evacuations 67
  • 5 - Amphibious Operations 88
  • 6 - Maritime Power and Complex Crises 108
  • 7 - Quarantine Operations 129
  • 8 - Maritime Jurisdiction and the Law of the Sea 148
  • 9 - Naval Diplomacy 164
  • 10 - Operations in a War Zone 181
  • 11 - From Peacekeeping to Peace Enforcement 197
  • Select Bibliography 209
  • Index 215
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