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the totality of strikes, encounters, and battles, coordinated and interrelated by objective, time, and place and conducted according to a unified plan by operational commands of the navy to accomplish operational or strategic missions.
The naval operation as a form of naval combat emerged in the 20th century based on combat experience acquired during World War I (1914–18); in the mid-1930’s its theoretical foundations were worked out. The naval operation reached its greatest development in World War II (1939–45). Naval operations are either offensive or defensive and may pursue strategic or operational objectives. They are classified as independent or combined, depending on the composition of the participating forces. Independent naval operations include operations conducted primarily by naval forces—for example, operations to wipe out the enemy’s naval forces at sea and at bases and operations to disrupt sea-lanes and to defend one’s own naval communications. Combined naval operations include operations in which the navy accomplishes its primary mission by combining efforts with other armed services. The most common combined forms are naval landing and antilanding operations and fleet operations to assist ground forces along coastal axes.
During the postwar period a great deal of attention in the leading foreign navies has been devoted to methods of waging naval operations with submarines and assault aircraft carriers. There is also much interest in operations to destroy submarines, especially submarines armed with ballistic missiles, along antisubmarine lines or in zones set up on the paths of deployment of submarines and directly in the regions in which they wage combat. The theory of preparing for and carrying out naval operations is the subject of naval operational art.
N. P. V’IUNENKO