An engrossing compendium of high-seas military disasters
From the days of the Spanish Armada to the modern age of aircraft carriers, battles have been bungled just as badly on water as they have been on land. Some blunders were the result of insufficient planning, overinflated egos, espionage, or miscalculations; others were caused by ideas that didn't hold water in the first place. In glorious detail, here are thirty-three of history's worst maritime mishaps, including:The British Royal Navy's misguided attempts to play it safe during the American Revolution The short life and death of the Imperial Japanese Navy The scuttling of the Graf Spee by a far inferior force The sinking of the Nazi megaship Bismarck "Remember the Maine!"—the lies that started the Spanish-American War Admiral Nelson losing track of Napoleon but redeeming himself at the Nile The ANZAC disaster at Gallipoli Germany's failed WWII campaign in the North Atlantic Kennedy's quarantine of Cuba
Chock-full of amazing facts and hilarious trivia, How to Lose a War at Sea is the most complete volume of nautical failures ever assembled.
This book uses history in two ways: as the source of ideas about strategy and as examples to illustrate the elements by showing their application to specific campaigns and their utility in understanding the role of strategy in military operations. The focus is on American military campaigns from the American Indian Wars to the War in the Gulf. Those case studies are used to illustrate the strategy behind land, sea, and air campaigns. Over a fifth of the book examines the U.S. war against Japan because it furnishes such fine examples of independent and interdependent operations on land, on the sea, and in the air. The cases studied are not only intended to illustrate strategic ideas but also to show the utility of the author's distinctive approach to organizing military strategy. The book will appeal to military professionals, students of military science, and enthusiasts.
In June 1944 the attention of the nation was riveted on events unfolding in France. But in the Pacific, the Battle of Saipan was of extreme strategic importance. This is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic engagements of World War II. The conquest of Saipan and the neighboring island of Tinian was a turning point in the war in the Pacific as it made the American victory against Japan inevitable. Until this battle, the Japanese continued to believe that success in the war remained possible. While Japan had suffered serious setbacks as early as the Battle of Midway in 1942, Saipan was part of her inner defense line, so victory was essential. The American victory at Saipan forced Japan to begin considering the reality of defeat. For the Americans, the capture of Saipan meant secure air bases for the new B-29s that were now within striking distance of all Japanese cities, including Tokyo.
Why did the Allies embark on an attack with so many disadvantages? Making extensive use of primary sources, Adrian Lewis traces the development of the doctrine behind the plan for the invasion of Normandy to explain why the battles for the beaches were fought as they were.
Although blame for the Omaha Beach disaster has traditionally been placed on tactical leaders at the battle site, Lewis argues that the real responsibility lay at the higher levels of operations and strategy planning. Ignoring lessons learned in the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters, British and American military leaders employed a hybrid doctrine of amphibious warfare at Normandy, one that failed to maximize the advantages of either British or U.S. doctrine. Had Allied forces at the other landing sites faced German forces of the quality and quantity of those at Omaha Beach, Lewis says, they too would have suffered heavy casualties and faced the prospect of defeat.
Now Bobby C. Blair and John Peter DeCioccio tell the story of this campaign through the eyes of the 81st Infantry to offer a revised assessment. Previous accounts of the battle have focused on the 1st Marines, all but ignoring the 81st Infantry Division's contributions. Victory at Peleliu demonstrates that without the army's help the marines could not have succeeded on Peleliu.
Blair and DeCioccio have mined the 81st Division's unit records and interviewed scores of veteran participants. The new data they offer challenge the orthodox view that the 81st Infantry merely mopped up an already broken enemy. Allowing their interviewees to tell much of the story, the authors also give a human face to a brutal battle.
Although American efforts in the Palau Islands proved largely unnecessary to ultimately defeating the Japanese, the lessons learned on Peleliu were crucial in subsequent fighting on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The 81st Infantry's contributions are now part of that larger story.
Brown-, Green-, and Blue-water Fleets: The Influence of Geography on Naval Warfare, 1861 to the Present
From riverine operations in the American Civil War and China in the 1860s to the major fleet engagements of the World Wars, plus more recent naval actions in the Falklands/Malvenas War and Gulf War, Lindberg and Todd methodically show how geography has shaped the strategy, tactics, and tools of naval warfare. Alfred T. Mahan was perhaps the first naval professional to recognize and acknowledge fully the influence of geography on navies and naval warfare. Many of his principles of seapower were inherently geographical and influenced both what kind of naval force a state would possess and how it would be utilized. In the time that has passed since Mahan made his observations, naval warfare and navies have experienced major technological changes, yet geographical factors continue to exert their influence on how navies fight, how they are structured, and the design of the ships that they deploy.
After providing a comprehensive review of geostrategic theory and its application to naval warfare, the book is organized by major operational environments in which such warfare occurs--the high seas, littoral regions, and inland waterways. Lindberg and Todd illustrate how such geographical factors as distance, location, surface, and subsurface conditions influence naval operations, including fleet-to-fleet engagements, amphibious assault, coastal defense, logistical support, and riverine actions. A separate chapter takes an in-depth look at the ways in which geography influences navies themselves with issues such as primary mission type, force structure development, and ship design. Through the use of historical case studies, this volume applies long held geographical concepts to fundamental naval theories and practices to illustrate just how pervasive geography's influence has been during the past 140 years.
This book examines the nature and character of naval expeditionary warfare, in particular in peripheral campaigns, and the contribution of such campaigns to the achievement of strategic victory.