Naval tactics

Naval tactics is the collective name for methods of engaging and defeating an enemy ship or fleet in battle at sea during naval warfare, the naval equivalent of military tactics on land.

Naval tactics are distinct from naval strategy. Naval tactics are concerned with the movements a commander makes in battle, typically in the presence of the enemy. Naval strategy concerns the overall strategy for achieving victory and the large movements by which a Commandant and commander secures the advantage of fighting at a place convenient to himself.

Modern naval tactics are based on tactical doctrines developed after World War II, following the obsolescence of the battleship and the development of long-range missiles. Since there has been no major naval conflict since World War II, apart from the Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971 and the Falklands War, many of these doctrines reflect scenarios developed for planning purposes. Critics argue that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent reduction in the size and capabilities of the Russian navy renders most such fleet-on-fleet scenarios obsolete.

Fleet 5 nations
A five-country multinational fleet, during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Oman Sea. In five descending columns, from the top left to the bottom right: MM Maestrale (F 570); FS De Grasse (D 612), USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74); FS Charles De Gaulle (R 91), FS Surcouf (F 711); USS Port Royal (CG-73), HMS Ocean (L 12), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), HNLMS Van Amstel (F 831); and MM Durand de la Penne (D 560).

Key concepts

A central concept in Western modern naval fleet warfare is battlespace: a zone around a naval force within which a commander is confident of detecting, tracking, engaging and destroying threats before they pose a danger. As in all forms of warfare, a critical objective is to detect the enemy while avoiding detection.

The open sea provides the most favorable battlespace for a surface fleet. The presence of land [1] and the topography of an area compress the battlespace, limit the opportunities to maneuver, make it easier for an enemy to predict the location of the fleet, and make the detection of enemy forces more difficult. In shallow waters, the detection of submarines and mines is especially problematic.

One scenario that was the focus of American and NATO naval planning during the Cold War was a conflict between two modern and well equipped fleets on the high seas, the clash of the United States/NATO and the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact. Because the Cold War ended without direct total war between the two sides, the outcome of such an action remains hypothetical, but was broadly understood to include, towards the late Cold War, multiple salvoes of anti-ship missiles against the Americans and U.S. attempts to air strike Soviet land bases and/or fleets. Given the eventual strategic surprise effectiveness of anti-ship missiles, the outcome of such a clash is far from being clear.

The main consideration is for Carrier Battle Groups (CVBGs). Critics of current naval doctrine argue that although such a fleet battle is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future, Cold War thinking continues to dominate naval practice.[2] However, others point toward the increased naval budgets of Russia and South and East Asia as a possibility that conventional naval combat in the future may become relevant again.

Naval tactics and weapons systems can be categorized by the type of opponents they are intended to fight. Anti-air warfare (AAW) involves action against aircraft and incoming missiles. Anti-surface warfare (ASuW) focuses on attacking and defending against surface warships. Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) deals with the detection and destruction of enemy submarines.

The key threat in modern naval combat is the airborne cruise missile, which can be delivered from surface, subsurface or airborne platforms. With missile speeds ranging up to Mach 4, engagement time may be only seconds and such missiles can be designed to "skim the sea" mere metres above the sea surface. The key to successful defence was argued to be to destroy the launch platform before it fires, thus removing a number of missile threats at once. This is not always possible so the anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) resources need to be balanced between the outer and inner air battles. Missile tactics are now mostly fire and forget in the manner of the Harpoon or Exocet or utilize over-the-horizon targeting, such as the Tomahawk or Silkworm. Close-range missile defence in the modern age depends heavily on close-in weapon systems (CIWS) such as the Phalanx or Goalkeeper.

Though traveling under water and at lower speeds, torpedoes present a similar threat. As is the case with missiles, torpedoes are self-propelled and can be launched from surface, subsurface, and air platforms. Modern versions of this weapon present a wide selection of homing technologies specially suited to their particular target. There are far fewer means of destroying incoming torpedoes compared to missiles.

Submarines, as subsurface launching platforms, present an important threat to conventional naval operations. Anechoic coatings and ultra-quiet pump-jets provide modern submarines with the advantage of stealth. The move towards shallow water operations has greatly increased this advantage. Mere suspicion of a submarine threat can force a fleet to commit resources to removing it, as the consequences of an undetected enemy submarine can obviously be lethal. The threat posed by British submarines during the Falklands War of 1982 was one of the reasons why the Argentine Navy was limited in its operations.[3] A single submarine at sea also impacted operations in the Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971.

Conventional naval forces are also seen as providing a capability for power projection. In several naval operations, the aircraft carrier has been used to support land forces rather than to supply air control over the sea. Carriers were used in this way during the Gulf War.[4]


Naval tactics have evolved over time with developments in naval technology and the evolution of warships. The evolution of naval tactics can best be understood by dividing naval history into thematic topics:

The modern period of naval tactics began with the widespread replacement of naval guns with missiles and long-range combat aircraft after World War II and is the basis for most of the tactical doctrine used today.

Post-World War II conflicts

The Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was the most significant conflict involving naval forces since World War II. Over two thousand sailors died, and multiple ships were sunk. Significantly, the first submarine sinking of a ship since World War II occurred when the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor sank an Indian ASW frigate INS Khukri. Passive/active sonar, homing torpedoes, air strikes on naval facilities and fast missile craft were all utilized in this war.

In the western theatre of the war, the Indian Navy successfully attacked Karachi's port in Operation Trident[5] on the night of 4–5 December,[5] using missile boats, sinking Pakistani destroyer PNS Khaibar and minesweeper PNS Muhafiz; PNS Shah Jahan was also badly damaged.[5] In response, Pakistani submarines sought out major Indian warships.[6] 720 Pakistani sailors were killed or wounded, and Pakistan lost reserve fuel and many commercial ships, thus crippling the Pakistan Navy's further involvement in the conflict. Operation Trident was followed by Operation Python[5] on the night of 8–9 December,[5] in which Indian missile boats attacked the Karachi port, resulting in further destruction of reserve fuel tanks and the sinking of three Pakistani merchant ships.[5] Since Pakistan's naval headquarters and almost its entire fleet operated from the port city of Karachi, this was a major strategic victory that enabled the Indian navy to attain complete naval superiority, and to partially blockade Pakistan.

In the eastern theatre of the war, the Indian Eastern Naval Command completely isolated East Pakistan by a naval blockade in the Bay of Bengal, trapping the Eastern Pakistani Navy and eight foreign merchant ships in their ports. From 4 December onwards, the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was deployed, and its Sea Hawk fighter-bombers attacked many coastal towns in East Pakistan[7] including Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. Pakistan countered the threat by sending the submarine PNS Ghazi, which sank en route under mysterious circumstances off Visakhapatnam's coast[8][9] On 9 December, the Indian Navy suffered its biggest wartime loss when the Pakistani submarine PNS  Hangor sank the frigate INS Khukri in the Arabian Sea, resulting in a loss of 18 officers and 176 sailors.[10]

INS Vikrant (R11) launches an Alize aircraft during Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant launches an Alize aircraft

The damage inflicted on the Pakistani Navy stood at 7 gunboats, 1 minesweeper, 1 submarine, 2 destroyers, 3 patrol crafts belonging to the coast guard, 18 cargo, supply and communication vessels, and large scale damage inflicted on the naval base and docks in the coastal town of Karachi. Three merchant navy ships – Anwar Baksh, Pasni and Madhumathi –[11] and ten smaller vessels were captured.[12] Around 1900 personnel were lost, while 1413 servicemen were captured by Indian forces in Dhaka.[13] According to one Pakistan scholar, Tariq Ali, Pakistan lost half its navy in the war.[14]

The Falklands War

The Falklands War of 1982 has been the next most significant conflict involving naval forces since World War II. The primary combat was between the Argentine Air force, based on the mainland, and the British naval force centered on aircraft carriers. Argentine naval forces played only a minor role in the conflict.

The war demonstrated the importance of naval airborne early warning (AEW). Vital to British success was the protection of the two Royal Navy aircraft carriers, HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible. In 1982, the Royal Navy had effectively zero over-the-horizon radar capability, so to protect the British naval taskforce several destroyers and frigates were sent on radar picket duty to form the first line of defense against Argentine air attacks. As a result, the British lost the Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield to fire following an Argentine Exocet missile strike. Following the conflict, the Royal Navy modified some Westland Sea King helicopters for the AEW role. Other navies (including France, Spain and Italy) have since included AEW aircraft or helicopters on their carriers.

The conflict also led to an increased interest in the close defense capabilities of naval ships, including Close-in weapon systems (CIWS) as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles. The attack on the US frigate USS Stark on patrol in the Persian Gulf in 1987 also highlighted the danger of anti-ship missiles. In the case of Stark, the Iraqi Exocet missiles were not detected and Stark's CIWS was not turned on as the ship was not expecting an attack.[15]

The Falklands war also saw the only time a warship has been sunk by a nuclear-powered submarine in a hostile attack, when the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror attacked the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano with torpedoes. With their nuclear propulsion plants, the submarines were able to remain on station virtually undetected.[3]

Other conflicts

Another large naval operation conducted by a major power took place when the US Navy provided protection to Kuwaiti-owned tankers in the Persian Gulf between 1987 and 1988, during the Iran–Iraq War.

Naval forces have played a supporting role in some land battles. US battleships provided gunfire support during the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. During the Falklands War, British destroyers and frigates carried out shellings on Argentine positions.

The 1991 Croatian War and the subsequent War of Bosnia saw some naval action, initially when the Yugoslav Navy declared a blockade of the ports of Dalmatia from September to December 1991 and later in 1994-1995, when NATO naval forces, as part of Operation Sharp Guard, deployed a number of units to the Adriatic in order to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on former Yugoslavia. Later Operations on former Yugoslavia such as Deliberate Force and Allied Force involved the use of seaborne aircraft and the launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles against Serb targets. British and Australian warships provided gunfire support to the Al Faw operation during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. US and UK naval forces have used again Tomahawk cruise missiles against land targets in the course of actions undertaken since the end of the Cold War, such as the opening of international involvement in the Libyan Civil War, of which the British Armed Forces played a decisive role.

The USS Cole bombing, a suicide waterborne mission on a US Aegis destroyer in Yemen in October 2000, has resulted in an increased awareness of terrorist risks whilst warships are in harbor or near potentially hostile coastlines. The War on Terrorism has also seen increased awareness of the naval role against terrorism. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan reaffirmed the role of naval air power, and US carrier based aircraft provided most of the sorties over Afghanistan against Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. Over 90% of munitions delivered by the US Navy in Operation Enduring Freedom were precision-guided munitions. Several nations contributed vessels and maritime patrol aircraft to deny Al-Qaeda access to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, including the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand amongst others.[16] France and Italy also used their carrier based aircraft over Afghanistan. Special forces operated from US and British carriers, in particular, the USS Kitty Hawk. Aircraft traditionally used for maritime patrol such as the Nimrod and P-3 Orion were also used in the overland surveillance role over Afghanistan as well as during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

See also


  1. ^ Hughes WP, 2000, Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, 2nd Ed, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MA.
  2. ^ Wasted warships, by Lewis Page Prospect magazine, issue # 95, 20 February 2004
  3. ^ a b Swartz, Luke (1998). "Beyond the General Belgrano and Sheffield: Lessons in Undersea and Surface Warfare from the Falkland Islands Conflict" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  4. ^ Grant, R.G.. Battle at Sea: 3000 Years of Naval Warfare. New York, NY: DK publishing, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Indo-Pakistani War of 1971". Global Security. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  6. ^ Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-first Century By Geoffrey Till page 179
  7. ^ Olsen, John Andreas (2011). Global Air Power. Potomac Books. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-59797-680-0.
  8. ^ "Remembering our war heroes". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2 December 2006.
  9. ^ 'Does the US want war with India?'. (31 December 2004). Retrieved on 14 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Trident, Grandslam and Python: Attacks on Karachi". Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Utilisation of Pakistan merchant ships seized during the 1971 war". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Damage Assesment[sic] – 1971 Indo-Pak Naval War" (PDF). B. Harry. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  13. ^ "Military Losses in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War". Venik. Archived from the original on 25 February 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2005.
  14. ^ Tariq Ali (1983). Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State. Penguin Books. p. 95. ISBN 0-14-02-2401-7. In a two-week war, Pakistan lost half its navy.
  15. ^ Sharp, Grant (June 12, 1987). "Formal Investigation Into the Circumstances Surrounding the Attack on the USS Stark" (PDF). U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  16. ^ "Killing Al Qaeda: The Navy's Role" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2011-03-30.

Further reading

  • Rodger, Nicholas, "Image and Reality in Eighteenth-Century Naval Tactics." Mariner's Mirror 89, No. 3 (2003), pp. 281–96.

Atakebune (安宅船) were large Japanese warships of the 16th and 17th century used during the internecine Japanese wars for political control and unity of all Japan.

Japan undertook major naval building efforts in the mid to late 16th century, during the Sengoku period, when feudal rulers vying for supremacy built vast coastal navies of several hundreds of ships. The largest (and generally most dangerous) of these ships were called Atakebune.

Around that time, the Japanese daimyō Oda Nobunaga had made, according to the diary of the Abbot of the Tamon-I, six iron-covered big Atakebunes in 1578. These ships were called "Tekkōsen" (鉄甲船), literally meaning "iron ships", which is not to imply they were of iron, but that their superstructure may have been reinforced with iron plates against cannon and fire arrows. No iron-covering at all, however, was mentioned in the account of the Jesuit missionary Luís Fróis, who had also seen and described the ships. Abbot of the Tamon-I did not witness the ships actually, so the existence of the iron plates is questioned.

However, in the letter from João Rodrigues to Luís Fróis in 1593, full iron-covered Atakebune build by Toyotomi Hideyoshi was mentioned. Hideyoshi made those ships to invade Korea and their superstructure was fully covered by iron plates.

Kanpaku (Hideyoshi) commanded them to build several huge ships.Their structure above the surface is fully covered by iron, and there is tower on the deck. Bridges are covered by iron, and no wood is exposed. And whole parts are gilded very beautifully. These were worth admiring, I sometimes entered in the ships. I measured the length of one there, it was 19 jou (36.3 meter) long. These ships astonished several Portuguese who looked inside. However, these ships were frangible due to defective ribs. So some of them cleaved and sank.

"Atakemaru" (安宅丸), the big Atakebune made by Mukai Shōgen Tadakatsu for Tokugawa Hidetada and Tokugawa Iemitsu was fully covered by copper plates.The Atakebune were armed with a few cannons and numerous large-caliber arquebuses. Oda defeated Mori's navy with them at the mouth of the Kizu River, Osaka in 1578 in a successful naval blockade. These ships, the best of the Atakebune, were used somewhat in contrast to Japanese naval tactics of the time, which viewed naval combat as a battle between the crews of ships, rather than between the ships themselves (which contributed to the primary Japanese naval tactic of drawing near and boarding opposing ships, as the Japanese crews excelled at hand-to-hand combat).

These vessels may be regarded as floating fortresses rather than true warships, and were only used in coastal actions. They used oars for propulsion, as their full iron cladding, if it existed, as well as their bulk (i.e. the armament and people they were carrying) likely impeded wind-based propulsion via sails.

In the Japanese invasion of Korea the shortcomings of these ships became pronounced as they proved to be of no match to the superior build and fire power of the Korean navy's Panokseon ships, which could accommodate far more number of cannons due to sturdier structure and thus were employed in a distance engagement by cannon tactics rather than the grappling tactics of the Atakebune-based Japanese navy.

Battle of Tsushima

The Battle of Tsushima (Russian: Цусимское сражение, Tsusimskoye srazheniye), also known as the Battle of Tsushima Strait and the Naval Battle of the Sea of Japan (Japanese: 日本海海戦, Nihonkai-Kaisen) in Japan, was a major naval battle fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War. It was naval history's only decisive sea battle fought by modern steel battleship fleets, and the first naval battle in which wireless telegraphy (radio) played a critically important role. It has been characterized as the "dying echo of the old era – for the last time in the history of naval warfare, ships of the line of a beaten fleet surrendered on the high seas".It was fought on 27–28 May 1905 (14–15 May in the Julian calendar then in use in Russia) in the Tsushima Strait between Korea and southern Japan. In this battle the Japanese fleet under Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō destroyed two-thirds of the Russian fleet, under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, which had traveled over 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km) to reach the Far East. In London in 1906, Sir George Sydenham Clarke wrote, "The battle of Tsu-shima is by far the greatest and the most important naval event since Trafalgar"; decades later, historian Edmund Morris agreed with this judgment. The destruction of the Russian navy caused a bitter reaction from the Russian public, which induced a peace treaty in September 1905 without any further battles.

Prior to the Russo-Japanese War, countries constructed their battleships with mixed batteries of mainly 6-inch (152 mm), 8-inch (203 mm), 10-inch (254 mm) and 12-inch (305 mm) guns, with the intent that these battleships fight on the battle line in a close-quarter, decisive fleet action. The Battle of Tsushima conclusively demonstrated that battleship speed and big guns with longer ranges were more advantageous in naval battles than mixed batteries of different sizes.

Dionysius the Phocaean

Dionysius the Phocaean or Dionysius of Phocaea (fl. 494 BC) was a Phocaean admiral of Ancient Greece during the Persian Wars of 5th century BC, and was the commander of the Ionian fleet at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC. Although commanding a formidable force, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, his men were worked so hard in preparing for battle that on the eve of the battle they refused to engage the Persian fleet.

Although little is known of his life, Dionysius was in command of the Ionian contingent, gathered from the many islands throughout Ionia, which joined the main Greek naval force outside Miletus' port of Lade. Upon his arrival in the naval camp of Lade, he observed that his men displayed low morale and suffered from a lack of discipline. Believing his men were unprepared for the impending battle, he called a general assembly among the camp and, in a speech to his men, said: "Now for our affairs are on the razor's edge, men of Ionia, wither we are to be free or slaves ... so if you will bear hardships now, you will suffer temporarily but be able to overcome your enemies."

He then began ordering his men to perform several hours of martial exercises a day as well as drawing out the fleet in the order of battle and instructed the rowers and marines in naval tactics. After a week, dissension began to appear within the ranks of the Samians and other officers (particularly as Dionysius, who arrived with only three ships, exerted such a strong influence over the rest of the fleet).

Even as the battle began, many of the Ionian ships under the command of Dionysius still refused to engage with the Persians and eventually almost 120 of the 350 Greek warships abandoned the battle leaving the remaining Greek ships to be annihilated leaving the city of Miletus to the mercy of the Persians.

Despite this setback, Dionysius continued fighting the Persians sinking three warships before being forced to retreat during the final hours of the battle.

Returning to Phocaea, Dionysius attacked several trading vessels and seized their cargo before arriving in Sicily. During his later years, he would become involved in piracy against the Carthaginian and Tyrsenian merchants. However, in keeping with the friendship between Phocaea and Greece, he left travelling Grecian merchants alone.


Eldin may refer to:

Alternative transliteration of Arabic Ad-Din "Faith, Religion"

As part of Arabic names

Adnan Shihab-Eldin, acting Secretary General of OPEC

Bader Eldin Abdalla Galag, Sudanese footballer

Hani Sarie-Eldin (Egyptian), Chairman Of the Middle East Institute for Law and Development (MILD)

Mohamed Nasr Eldin Allam, Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources

Taha Muhie-eldin Marouf, vice president of Iraq

Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, Egyptian politician

as a Bosnian given name

Eldin Adilović (born 1986), Bosnian footballer

Eldin Huseinbegović, Bosnian singer-songwriter

Eldin Jakupović (born 1984), Bosnian-Swiss footballer

Eldin Karisik (born 1983), Bosnian-Swedish footballer

a location in Lasswade, Scotland

John Clerk of Eldin (1728–1812), a figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, remembered for his writings on naval tactics in the Age of Sail

John Clerk, Lord Eldin (1757-1832), Scottish judge, eldest son of John Clerk of Eldin

Frank Freyer

Frank Barrows Freyer was a United States Navy captain who served as the 14th Naval Governor of Guam. Freyer graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1902, having played several collegiate sports there. The Navy assigned him to many different ships, including having him participate in the Great White Fleet and its visit to Japan. Soon after, he was transferred to the Naval Base Guam, where he served as assistant to the Commandant before from November 5, 1910 to January 21, 1911, he became acting governor of the island. As governor, he suspended the licenses of all midwives on the island because of an alarming rate of infection, requiring them all to be re-certified. After George Salisbury relieved him of the position, Freyer became his aide.

In 1913, he received a Bachelor of Laws from George Washington University and, in 1918, became assistant to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. After agreeing to help Peru restructure its naval forces, the United States Navy ordered Freyer there to take command of the efforts; he became Chief of Staff of the Peruvian Navy the following year. In the position, he helped rebuild the naval tactics and education of the country, and stayed there for many years. During his stay, Freyer collected over 1,000 works of Peruvian art, now on display as the "Frank Barrow Freyer Collection" at the Denver Art Museum. He went on to command USS Procyon and USS Trenton before retiring.

Galley tactics

Galley tactics were the dominant form of naval tactics used from antiquity to the late 16th century when sailing ships began to replace oared ships as the principal form of warships. Throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages until the 16th century, the weapons relied on were the ship itself, used as a battering ram or to sink the opponent with naval rams, the mêlée weapons of the crew, missile weapons such as bolts from heavy crossbows fixed on the bulwarks, bows and arrows, weights dropped from a yard or pole rigged out, and the various means of setting an enemy alight. The latter could be done by shooting arrows with burning tow or by Greek fire ejected through specially designed siphons.All galley actions were fought at close quarters, where ramming and boarding were possible. But the use of the ram was only available for a vessel driven by oars. While fleets depended on the methods of battle at close quarters, two conditions were imposed on the warship: light structure, so that her crew could row her with effect, and a large crew to work her oars and fight in hand-to-hand combat. Sails were used by virtually all types of galleys, ancient and medieval, in long-range strategic maneuvers, and to relieve the rowers from absolutely exhausting toil. Sails were lowered in action, however, and when the combatant had a secure port at hand, they were left ashore before battle.Some medieval vessels were of considerable size, but these were the exception; they were awkward, and were rather transports than warships. Given a warship which is of moderate size and crowded with men, it follows that prolonged cruises, and blockade in the full sense of the word, were beyond the power of the sea commanders of antiquity and the Middle Ages. There were ships used for trade which with a favourable wind could rely on making six knots. But a war fleet could not provide the cover, or carry the water and food, needed to keep the crews efficient during a long cruise. So long as galleys were used, that is to say, till the middle of the 18th century, they were kept in port as much as possible, and a tent was rigged over the deck to house the rowers. The fleet was compelled to hug the shore in order to find supplies.In galley warfare, a secure basis on shore to store provisions and rest the crews was highly beneficial. Therefore, the wider operations were slowly made. Therefore, too, when the enemy was to be waited for, or a port watched, some point on shore was secured and the ships were drawn up. It was by holding such a point that the Corinthian allies of the Syracusans were able to pin in the Athenians. The Romans watched Lilybaeum in the same way, and Hannibal the Rhodian could run the blockade before they were launched and ready to stop him. The Norsemen hauled their ships on shore, stockaded them and marched inland. Roger of Lauria, in 1285, waited at the Formigues with his galleys on the beach till the French were seen to be coming past him. Edward III. In AD 1350, stayed at Winchelsea till the Spaniards were sighted. The allies at Lepanto remained at anchor near Dragonera till the last moment.As a defense against boarding, the ships of a weaker fleet were sometimes tied side to one another, in the Middle Ages, and a barrier made with oars and spars. But this defensive arrangement, which was adopted by Olaf Tryggvason of Norway at Swolder (AD 1000), and by the French at Sluys (AD 1340), could be turned by an enemy who attacked on the flank. To meet the shock of ramming and to ram, medieval ships were sometimes "bearded", i.e. fortified with iron bands across the bows.

John Clerk

John Clerk may refer to:

John Clerk (fl.1414), MP for Reading

John Clerk (fl.1419-1421), MP for Shaftesbury, perhaps also an attorney or yeoman

John Clerk (bishop) (died 1541), former bishop of Bath and Wells

John Clerk of Eldin (1728–1812), Scottish Enlightenment figure, artist, and author of An Essay on Naval Tactics

John Clerk (writer) (died 1552), English Roman Catholic writer

John Clerk, Lord Eldin (1757–1832), Scottish judge

John Clerk (physician) (1689–1757), Scottish physician

Clerk baronets

John Clerk of Penicuik (1611–1674), Scottish merchant

Sir John Clerk, 1st Baronet (died 1722), Member of the Parliament of Scotland

Sir John Clerk, 2nd Baronet (1676–1755), Scottish lawyer, judge, and composer

Sir John Clerk, 5th Baronet (1736–1798), Royal Navy officer

John Clerk of Eldin

John Clerk of Eldin FRSE FSAScot (10 December 1728 – 10 May 1812) was a Scottish merchant, naval author, artist, geologist and landowner. The 7th son of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, Bt, Clerk of Eldin was a figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, best remembered for his influential writings on naval tactics in the Age of Sail.

A friend of geologist James Hutton, he was a brother-in-law of architect Robert Adam, and a great-great-uncle of physicist James Clerk Maxwell.

Line of battle

In naval warfare, the line of battle is a tactic in which a naval fleet of ships forms a line end to end. Its first use is disputed, variously claimed for dates ranging from 1502 to 1652, with line-of-battle tactics in widespread use by 1675.

Compared with prior naval tactics, in which two opposing ships closed on one another for individual combat, the line of battle has the advantage that each ship in the line can fire its broadside without fear of hitting a friendly ship. Therefore, in a given period, the fleet can fire more shots.

Another advantage is that a relative movement of the line in relation to some part of the enemy fleet allows for a systematic concentration of fire on that part. The other fleet can avoid this by maneuvering in a line itself, with a result typical for sea battle since 1675: two fleets sail alongside one another or on the opposite tack.

A ship powerful enough to stand in the line of battle came to be called a ship of the line (of battle) or line of battle ship, which was shortened to become the word battleship.

Military tactics in Ancient Greece

The Greek navy functioned much like the ancient Greek army. Several similarities existed between them proving that the mindset of the Greeks flowed naturally between the two forms of fighting. The Greeks success on land easily translated onto the sea. Naval actions always took place near the land so they could eat, sleep, and stick to narrow waters to outmaneuver the opposing fleet. It was not uncommon for ships to beach and battle on land as well. Developing new techniques for revolutionary trireme and staying true to their land-based roots, the Greeks soon became a force to be reckoned with on the sea during the 5th century. They were also one of the greatest armies/naval forces in ancient times.

Naval artillery in the Age of Sail

Naval artillery in the Age of Sail encompasses the period of roughly 1571–1862: when large, sail-powered wooden naval warships dominated the high seas, mounting a bewildering variety of different types and sizes of cannon as their main armament. By modern standards, these cannon were extremely inefficient, difficult to load, and short ranged. These characteristics, along with the handling and seamanship of the ships that mounted them, defined the environment in which the naval tactics in the Age of Sail developed.

Naval strategy

Naval strategy is the planning and conduct of war at sea, the naval equivalent of military strategy on land.

Naval strategy, and the related concept of maritime strategy, concerns the overall strategy for achieving victory at sea, including the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement and disposition of naval forces by which a commander secures the advantage of fighting at a place convenient to himself, and the deception of the enemy. Naval tactics deal with the execution of plans and maneuvering of ships or fleets in battle.

Naval tactics in the Age of Steam

The development of the steam ironclad firing explosive shells in the mid 19th century rendered sailing ship tactics obsolete. New tactics were developed for the big-gun Dreadnought battleships. The mine, torpedo, submarine and aircraft posed new threats, each of which had to be countered, leading to tactical developments such as anti-submarine warfare and the use of dazzle camouflage. By the end of the steam age, aircraft carriers had replaced battleships as the principal unit of the fleet.

Paul Hoste

Paul Hoste (1652–1700) was a Jesuit priest and naval tactician who produced the first major work on naval tactics.

Born at Brest in 1652, he was trained by the Jesuits and became Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Seminary at Toulon where he died in 1700, aged 48. He spent twelve years at sea with Victor Marie, duc d'Estrées, Montemart, Duc de Vienne and Anne Hilarion de Tourville during which time he analysed the practical limitations of ship handling and sought to create a system of sailing. Brian Tunstall considers him the greatest of all the French tactical theorists.

Sailing ship tactics

Sailing ship tactics were the naval tactics employed by sailing ships in contrast to galley tactics employed by oared vessels. This article focuses on the period from c. 1500 to the mid-19th century, when sailing warships were replaced with steam-powered ironclads.

Teodoras Daukantas

Teodoras Daukantas (September 20, 1884 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire – March 10, 1960 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) was a Lithuanian military officer who served as Lithuanian Minister of Defense. In 1903–1918, Daukantas served in the Imperial Russian Navy. He attended Naval Training School at St. Petersburg (1903–1906). In 1911–1914, Daukantas attended High Naval Training School at St. Petersburg from which he graduated with a Silver Star in Naval Tactics Training. In 1913, he published The Defense of Abu-Alaud and in 1916, Essays on Naval Tactics. Later he published the articles "The Defense of Coasts", "The War on Rivers". He published the books The South of Brazil and Our Way to Vilnius. After World War I, Daukantas returned to Lithuania in 1922. He was head of education section of the Senior Officers Academy in Kaunas until 1924. Twice, in 1924–1925 and 1927–1928, he served as the Lithuanian Minister of Defense.In between serving as the Lithuanian Minister of Defense, he was the Chief of the General Staff of the Lithuanian Army. In his diary for 1927, American diplomat Robert Heingartner who served in Lithuania recorded that "Colonel Daukantas is said to be so powerful in the army that no government could last a day without his support." In 1928, he was promoted to brigadier general (in 1936, he was changed to lieutenant general).

He was Lithuanian Consul General in Rio de Janeiro (1932–1935) and Minister Plenipotentiary of South America (1936–1939). On October 20, 1932, Daukantas co-signed a Treaty # 3542 with Carlos Saavedra Lamas under the League of European Nations which insured a convention or treaty between the Argentine Republic and the Independent Republic of Lithuania concerning reciprocity with respect to the payment of compensation for industrial accidents signed at Buenos Aires on October 20, 1932. Daukantas was a Member of the States Council, Chargé d'Affaires for Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, (1930 -1935). In 1941 Daukantas was arrested, imprisoned, and tortured during the Soviet rule of Lithuania, and persecuted by the Nazi German Gestapo in 1942-1944 during their occupation. He was liberated at the beginning of the German–Soviet War, moved to Germany until 1949, and then to Argentina. He remained in Buenos Aires, Argentina until his death in 1960. His remains were reburied in Karmėlava, Lithuania in 1997.

The Grandest Fleet

The Grandest Fleet is a turn-based naval tactics game that was released by Quantum Quality Productions in 1993.

U.S. Carrier Group tactics

Naval tactics play a crucial role in modern battles and wars. The presence of land, changing water depths, weather, detection and electronic warfare, the speed at which actual combat occurs and other factors — especially air power — have rendered naval tactics essential to the success of any naval force.

The basis of all tactics (land, sea and air) is fire and movement: the fulfillment of a mission by the effective delivery of firepower resulting from scouting and the creation of good firing positions. Movement is the basis of modern combat; a naval fleet can travel hundreds of nautical miles in a day.

In naval warfare, the key is to detect the enemy while avoiding detection. A crucial part is to deny the detection of friendly forces through various means.

There is also the concept of battlespace: a zone around a naval force within which a commander is confident of detecting, tracking, engaging and destroying threats before they pose a danger. This is why a navy prefers the open sea. The presence of land and the bottom topology of an area compresses the battle space, limits the opportunities and ability to maneuver, allows an enemy to predict the location of the fleet, and hinders the detection of enemy forces. In shallow waters, the detection of submarines and mines is especially problematic.

One scenario that was the focus of American naval planning during the Cold War was a conflict between two modern and well equipped fleets on the high seas; a battle between the fleets of the United States and the Soviet Union. The main consideration is for Carrier Battle Groups (CVBGs).

Underwater warfare

Underwater warfare is one of the three operational areas of naval warfare, the others being surface warfare and aerial warfare. It refers to combat conducted underwater such as:

Actions by submarines actions, and anti-submarine warfare, i.e. warfare between submarines, other submarines and surface ships; combat airplanes and helicopters may also be engaged when launching special dive-bombs and torpedo-missiles against submarines;

Underwater special operations, considering:

Military diving sabotage against ships and ports.

Anti-frogman techniques.

Reconnaissance tasks.


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