Sea Soldiers in the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare, 1945-1991

By Fitz-Simons, Daniel W. | Military Review, May/June 1997 | Go to article overview

Sea Soldiers in the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare, 1945-1991


Fitz-Simons, Daniel W., Military Review


SEA SOLDIERS IN THE COLD WAR: Amphibious Warfare, 19451991, by Joseph H. Alexander and Merrill L. Bartlett. 178 pages. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 1996. $32.95.

In 1949, only four years after Hiroshima was bombed, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Omar N. Bradley stated that the atomic bomb precluded the possibility of another large scale amphibious operation. Yet within a year, the Inch'on invasion was launched, signaling the first of several small wars that occurred throughout the Cold War. Joseph H. Alexander and Merrill L. Bartlett provide a chronological account of the expansion in Cold War military thinking from an exclusive emphasis on strategic bombing and "blue water" operations to an appreciation of amphibious operations as a force projector in non-nuclear scenarios.

Because the principles of amphibious warfare have not changed since Demosthenes invaded Pylos during the Peloponnesian Wars in 425 B.C., assaults from the sea still provide a force multiplier that can be employed against flash points in today's multipolar world.

Although amphibious operations are difficult to execute and seldom decisive, they can regain the military initiative, open new fronts and create feints or distractions while establishing a strategic offense and a tactical defense. Sea Soldiers in the Cold War analyzes the evolution of these amphibious capabilities, using mid-intensity conflicts such as Lebanon, the Dominican Republic, the Yom Kippur War, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands as case studies.

The authors also detail the decline and subsequent resurgence of the US amphibious capability. Traditional US Navy-Marine Corps cooperation declined during the Vietnam War because the Marine Corps became preoccupied with land-based counterinsurgency warfare. After the war, the Marines had to rekindle previous fleet links and redefine their roots as "amphibious grunts" in the "gator navy.`' Simultaneously, dozens of world crises involving the military illustrated a need for humanitarian, special forces and contingency operations with sealift, maritime pre-positioning and over-the-horizon capabilities. These requirements necessitated technological innovations that emphasized speed, surprise and maneuverability to enable Marines to attack the rear and flanks of a landing beach attack as opposed to costly, time-consuming frontal assaults.

Speed and reduced vulnerability were enhanced by the helicopter, lighterthan-air assault craft, pre-assault fires and improved surfing capabilities. Research was also started on tilt-rotor technology and a NAVSTAR global positioning system. Yet interservice problems remained, and Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman described the US invasion of Grenada as "a four-5ervice extravaganza," while condemning Washington's obsession with jointness.

One of the most interesting chapters deals with the Royal Navy's amphibious operations in the Falklands conflict. Britain's amphibious capability had atrophied: The combined arms (artillery and engineer) capability of the Royal Marines was lacking; and the Royal Navy had not landed an amphibious force of brigade size since the Suez Crisis of 1956. The operation, a testimony to skilled planning and operational initiative, barely succeeded. Nevertheless, it showed that the projection of seapower ashore could succeed, even at great distances. On the international level, this small war focused the great powers on the priority of projection forces and rapidly deployable military capabilities. The invasion reaffirmed the amphibious assault as a viable option in naval warfare and reinforced the role of vertical takeoff aircraft in close air support operations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sea Soldiers in the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare, 1945-1991
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.