cruising, raiding, “free hunting,” independent combat actions by one or several surface ships, submarines, and aircraft for the purpose of destroying (or, if possible, capturing) ships carrying cargo and enemy warships and disrupting the enemy’s maritime shipping.
Cruiser operations have been extensively developed in the wars of the 20th century. For example, the successful actions by Russian cruisers in the Sea of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904—05 are well known, as are the actions of Vice Admiral M. von Spee’s German cruiser squadron and individual German cruisers against British shipping during World War I (1914–18).
Cruiser operations were also carried on during World War II (1939–45), such as the actions of German surface ships and submarines against American and British vessels and the actions of American submarines and aviation in the Pacific Ocean in the war against Japan. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Soviet submarines and naval aviation successfully carried on cruiser operations in various naval theaters. With the beginning of the massive use of submarines and aviation to combat enemy shipping, cruiser operations by surface ships became secondary.
V. I. SHLOMA