the sum of forces and means intended for the defense of naval bases, ports, military-economic and administrative centers, bays, straits, and coastal communications against attacks from the sea by enemy ships and against enemy naval landing operations. Coast defense developed in the 19th century. Coastal artillery was the main weapon in its arsenal before the middle of the 20th century; also employed were machine gun artillery units and infantry units of various sizes, the marines, antiaircraft artillery, coastal ships and cutters, and various fortifications. The combination of fire from coast artillery and minefields formed the basis of the mine and artillery positions established at the entrances to bays and straits and at the approaches to the most important naval bases. Several battalions of coast artillery (three or four batteries in each), machine gun, infantry, and antiaircraft artillery units made up a coast defense sector. A strip of coast (or a group of islands) protected by several coast defense sectors is called a maritime (or island) fortified coast defense region. An isolated group of coastal batteries (usually on an island or cape) with a single system of permanent fortifications is called a coast (or island) fort. Prior to World War II the USSR and Germany had the most highly developed coast defense systems. Coast defense has been retained as an organizational unit in the navy or army of certain capitalist states. It carries out its missions independently or in cooperation with land and air forces.
N. P. V’IUNENKO