44 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2007
They came from the sea
N 2005 the Corps
Tutor of the Royal
Marines, Lt Cdr Tristan
Lovering, produced Review
a remarkable service
This was an extremely attractively
presented, exceptionally well
illustrated historical review of
In a subsequent chapter Captain
amphibious operations from
Chris Page, Head of Naval
the Dardanelles in 1915 to the
Historical Branch, provides an
operations against the Al Faw
extremely well-argued exposition
Peninsula in 2003, writes Dr Eric
of how the inability of the Germans
Grove of the University of Salford.
to obtain command of the sea
A number of experts, from both
denied any invasion a necessary
sides of the Atlantic produced the
precondition. As he rightly says
37 chapters, most of which are
“Operation Sealion was never
devoted to single operations.
a practical proposition: it was
This was designed to enhance
something for which the enemy
the ‘core knowledge’ (no pun
had not planned or organised
intended!) of the Royal Marines
early enough, nor did they put into
and “to act as one of the foundation
place the necessary structures and
stones in the understanding of
resources to give the operation a
fair chance of success.”
The book – Amphibious
Allied landings were usually
Assault: Manoeuvre From the
better organised and carried out
Sea (Seafarer, £35 ISBN 978-
although the Dieppe raid was a
0-955024351) has now been
good example of how not to do it.
published for the wider audience,
Stephen Prince, also of NHB,
that it greatly deserves (with
provides an admirably-balanced
royalties going to RM charities).
and clear account of this near
As well as the predictable
disaster, where ‘the scale of failure
operations such as Sicily and
in planning was vast and any
Salerno in 1943, Anzio, Normandy amount of gallantry on the ground
and Walcheren in 1944, Inchon in could only have had a marginal
1950 and Suez 1956, there are effect on the outcome.’ The lessons
others that many readers will fi nd were clear:
a) heavy naval fi re support
One is Operation Albion,
before and after the landings;
perhaps the most successful
b) additional intimate fi re
amphibious operation of WW1,
support alongside landing
the German invasion of the Baltic
Islands at the mouth of the Gulf of
c) get the armour ashore early
Riga in 1917.
This was covered by ten modern
and in working order;
● Setting Europe ablaze... an oil factory burns during the commando raid on Vaagso in Norway in December 1941
capital ships of the High Sea Fleet.
d) better security;
Picture: Naval Historical Branch
The Germans used their basic
e) avoid defended ports;
effi ciency and effectiveness of
f) headquarters ships were The chapter on this, written by “manoeuvre from the sea” indeed. In such a comprehensive thoughtful conclusion which
command to carry out a number of
the editor himself, demonstrates There is an interesting work it seems churlish enphasises the enduring
simultaneous attacks that put their Appreciating these led to later
how US General Patton section in the book on to ask for more but importance for amphibious
instinctively recognised the the Soviet Union’s a consideration of operations of professional
Russian enemy off balance. The successes, although the story
potential of amphibious forces for own little-known the Allied plans to knowledge and experience; a clear
support of the German warships was not always a happy one,
outfl anking the enemy. landing operations in invade Japan from recognition of their combined and
was also a key factor. Salerno and Anzio both being
It was a pity that the Allies allowed the Black Sea, as well the sea might joint nature; surprise; specialised
This was something that was disappointments.
so many Germans to escape from as one by my BRNC have been a fi tting equipment; logistics; command
not available in 1940 when the The invasion of Sicily was more
the island and Lovering points to namesake Mark Grove climax to the WW2 and control; advanced force
Germans planned an invasion of successful.
divided command, Cunningham’s on Japanese amphibious section. operations; and leadership.
memories of the Dardanelles and warfare developments Post war, the standard of This was always too good a book
surprisingly ineffective Allied air 1918-42. coverage and analysis continues to to be left to its intended internal
BECOME A forces as the culprits. This demonstrates be high. service audience, excellent though
However the strategic results of how remarkably advanced were I was a little disappointed with the original volume was for its
the landings were profound, even Japanese achievements in the the Inchon section that might have instructional and educative roles.
more so than the editor argues. early development of specialist been more detailed and ought to As I said when asked to endorse
Contrary to popular impression, amphibious shipping. have had a picture of a British it for publication, I consider it
Independent publisher currently the Germans had been doing There is also considerable cruiser demonstrating fi re support to be one of the fi nest books
seeking authors in all categories
quite well at Kursk in their great attention paid to US operations rather than an American battleship on amphibious warfare ever
For more information contact: summer offensive. in the Pacifi c. An article by my which had not yet arrived in produced.
Their tanks were grinding former colleague at Annapolis, theatre. Its standard of illustration
down the Soviets in a remarkably Skip Bartlett sets the scene on There could, however, be no alone is exceptionally good, with a
35 Market Place (NN),
disproportionate way. the inter-war ‘genesis’ of the US better authors than academic multitude of extraordinarily well-
St Albans, Herts, AL3 5DL
The invasion of Sicily, however, Marine Corps’ ‘amphibious assault amphibious expert Ian Speller reproduced original maps and
Tel: 01727 852016 Fax: 01727 843716
caused Hitler to call off the Eastern mission’ and this is followed by for Suez and Kuwait or Julian diagrams.
Front offensive to divert strength articles on major operations 1941- Thompson for Operation Amphibious Assault should be
HP BOOKFINDERS: Established to reinforce his wavering Italian 45: Guadalcanal, the Gilberts, Corporate, 1982. on the shelves of everyone with an
professional service locating out
ally. Kursk, in that strategic sense the Marshalls, New Guinea, the Maj Gen Thompson also interest in maritime warfare, past,
of print titles on all
was therefore a maritime victory, Marianas and the Philippines. provides a useful and typically present and future.
subjects. No obligation or SAE
required. Contact: Mosslaird,
Brig O’ Turk, Callander, FK17 8HT
Telephone/Fax: (01877) 376377
Reaping the whirlwind
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and heroic efforts by the Royal since the Middle Germany supported Even aboard ships which
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evacuation of the Lebanon quickly the enemy at the box more strongly. Bay of Danzig they were not safe.
By Neil McCart
(and unfairly) drew comparisons gates in the autumn And so, a dozen years As many as 9,000 people died
The well illustrated story of the first of
with Dunkirk. of 1944, residents later, they suffered the same when the liner Wilhelm Gustloff
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It is their harrowing story which They called it Der grosse Flucht beat, murdered, disfi gured the this day.
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0044_NN_June.indd 144_NN_June.indd 1 116/5/07 18:58:186/5/07 18:58:18
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