amphibious warfare

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amphibious warfare

(ămfĭb`ēəs), employment of a combination of land and sea forces to take or defend a military objective. The general strategy is very ancient and was extensively employed by the Greeks, e.g., in the Athenian attack on Sicily in 415 B.C. The term is, however, of modern coinage. It is sometimes applied to the joint operations of the Allied army and naval forces in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign (1915) of World War I. Amphibious warfare was widely employed in World War II. When the Japanese entered the war on a large scale in Dec., 1941, they used combined air, land, and naval operations to capture strategic islands such as the Philippines, Java, and Sumatra. However, the Japanese landings, like the Allied landing in N Africa (Nov., 1942), encountered little opposition and did not offer a true illustration of the problems of amphibious warfare. The problem faced by the Allies in the reconquest of Europe and the Pacific islands was how to land their forces on a heavily defended coast line. It was solved by the construction of special vessels called landing craft that were seaworthy and yet capable of allowing tanks and infantry to emerge without difficulty into shallow water for landing. The typical Allied amphibious operation consisted of heavy and continued air and naval bombardment of the enemy defenses, followed by a landing of troops with complete equipment from landing craft; the landing forces were supported in the early stages by naval guns until land artillery could come into action. By use of this method the Allies were able to invade heavily defended Pacific islands such as Tarawa (1943), Saipan (1944), Iwo Jima (1945), and Okinawa (1945). In Europe the Allies made landings on Sicily (1943) and Italy (1943–44), but the most spectacular example of amphibious warfare was the invasion of Normandy by the Allies from England on June 6, 1944 (see Normandy campaignNormandy campaign,
June to Aug., 1944, in World War II. The Allied invasion of the European continent through Normandy began about 12:15 AM on June 6, 1944 (D-day). The plan, known as Operation Overlord, had been prepared since 1943; supreme command over its execution was
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). That action was a prime example of combined movements of naval craft, land forces, and aircraft (used for offense, protection of other forces, and transport). The U.S. invasion of Incheon (1950) during the Korean War and the British and French invasion of Egypt during the Sinai crisis (1957) utilized the same basic tactics. Amphibious landings later occurred in Vietnam War and in the British retaking (1982) of the Falkland Islands. Modern amphibious assault ships use helicopters and VTOL airplanes to mount and support amphibious attacks.


See J. A. Isely and P. A. Crowl, The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War (1951); B. Fergusson, The Watery Maze: The Story of Combined Operations (1961).

References in periodicals archive ?
Unity of effort is absolutely essential to the success of an amphibious operation.
13) Amphibious operations are expeditionary in nature, and in the defense of the nation the forces involved must be capable of immediate deployment in an integrated manner.
Hardy Glaraga, a Philippine Marine, hailed the amphibious operation, saying it was a rare opportunity to work with his American counterparts.
Doyle's decision to devise an ad hoc plan and C2 organization predicated on the analogy of an amphibious operation executed in reverse therefore proved pivotal.
The entry adds, "See also amphibious operations (JP 3-02).
When the fleet assembled off Beaufort on 8 January, Terry met with Porter to plan the amphibious operation.
JTF-7 had even been allocated an amphibious operations area to deconflict support operations with ongoing efforts by Far East Air Forces (FEAF) but otherwise had flexibility to execute the plan as required.
The linchpin was deciding to form an ad hoc organization and devise a plan predicated on conducting an amphibious operation in reverse--an arrangement that enabled experts to exercise judgment, identify problems, generate solutions, and directly and quickly communicate with others.
We have received exceptional support from HMAS Choules and the people of the Torokina district in what has been an extremely complex, sustained amphibious operation.
Ironically, it was in support of an amphibious operation that never occurred, the planned invasion of Kyushu in the autumn of 1945.
It can transport 12 troops and a driver and is capable of amphibious operation, extended cross-country travel over rough terrain and high-speed operation on improved roads and highways.
Perhaps this is due to the dismal outcome of this early joint amphibious operation and to the desire by some, especially Massachusetts politicians of the time, to forget what had happened.

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