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tactics:see strategy and tacticsstrategy and tactics,
in warfare, related terms referring, respectively, to large-scale and small-scale planning to achieve military success. Strategy may be defined as the general scheme of the conduct of a war, tactics as the planning of means to achieve strategic objectives.
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an integral part of the art of war that deals with the theory and practice of preparing for and waging combat with subunits, units (ships), and large units of the different armed services, combat arms, and special troops on land, in the air, and at sea; a theoretical military discipline. Tactics covers the study, development, preparation, and waging of all types of fighting, such as offensive, defense, meeting engagement, and tactical regrouping.
In the Soviet armed forces, tactics is subordinate to operational art and strategy. Operational art defines the objectives and lines of development of tactics with regard for the tactical capabilities of units and large units, and the type and specific features of their operations. In view of the changes in methods of waging battle that have resulted from the adoption of nuclear weapons and from the development of improved conventional weapons, the relations and interdependence between strategy, operational art, and tactics are becoming increasingly more complex and dynamic. Tactical nuclear weapons allow a tactical command a certain independence in selecting methods of action and in achieving more rapid successes that lay the groundwork for attaining operational (theater) results. At the same time, by delivering powerful nuclear strikes against important sites and major groupings of enemy forces, the strategic and operational (theater) command may accomplish major strategic or operational missions and create favorable conditions for the performance of tactical missions.
The main objectives of tactics are to study the principles, patterns, and content of battle; to develop methods of preparing for and waging combat; to determine the most effective methods of using offensive and defensive weapons; to investigate the combat characteristics and capabilities of subunits, units, and large units and to determine their missions and battle formations in waging battle and methods of organizing cooperation among them; to study the role of fire, strikes, and maneuver in combat; to work out recommendations for control of troops and naval forces and their combat, special, and rear support; and to study the forces and means of the enemy and his methods of waging combat.
Each armed service (ground troops, air force, navy, strategic missile forces, national air defense forces), each combat arm (naval force, aviation), and each type of special troops has its own tactics, as do the troops of the immediate rear and civil defense units. Each specific type of tactics studies the combat characteristics and capabilities of large units, units (ships), and subunits of the particular armed service, combat arm (naval force, arm of aviation), or types of special troops and methods of using them in battle independently and in cooperation with other armed services and combat arms. The general rules and propositions for the preparation and waging of combat by large units, units, and sub-units of all armed services, combat arms (naval forces), and special troops constitute the foundations of the general theory of tactics. As a study of the many different conditions of waging combat, tactics does not provide hard and fast formulas but only works out the most important guidelines and rules for the commander to follow when, using his creative initiative, he makes an independent decision that is appropriate to the specific conditions of the combat situation.
In the military theory of the bourgeois states, tactics encompasses a broader range of questions because no provision is made for the concept of operational art; instead the concepts of grand tactics, minor tactics (or maneuver tactics) are employed.
Change and development in tactics are associated with the level of industrial production attained, the invention of new weapons and combat equipment, the degree of general development of the troops and their level of training, troop morale, the development of strategy and operational art, and military organization. People and military technology influence tactics and methods of combat operations directly. Tactics, the most changeable part of the art of war, is also influenced by the condition of enemy armed forces and their training and methods of action and other factors. New tactical procedures, based on the potential of improved military equipment, are often adverse to old methods of waging combat that have become or are in the process of becoming outdated but are solidly established in theory and practice.
The tactics of ground troops is concerned with the preparation for and waging of combined arms combat, in which success is achieved through the joint efforts of all combat arms of ground troops and special troops. It determines the role, place, and missions of each combat arm in combat and, considering their combat capabilities and characteristics, establishes the order and procedures for using them in combat.
Tactics has developed from very simple methods of troop action on the battlefield to more complex ones. The military leaders of antiquity worked out and improved methods of waging battle during the preparation for and waging of wars. In an early stage of the development of slaveholding society, battle amounted to forward movement and hand-to-hand fighting by warriors armed with cold (silent) weapons. Qualitative improvements in weaponry and troop organization and training led to the development of more sophisticated battle formations and corresponding changes in tactics. The ancient Greek army developed the phalanx, a dense and deep (eight to 12 and more ranks) formation of heavy infantry that delivered a powerful initial strike but was unwieldy and incapable of maneuvering on the battlefield. In the battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C., the Greek military leader Epaminondas was the first to apply the tactical principle of uneven distribution of troops along the front in order to concentrate forces for a main strike on the decisive axis. This principle was developed further by Alexander the Great (fourth century B.C.), who skillfully combined heavy and light cavalry and infantry to create a superiority in forces for delivering the main strike. At Cannae (216 B.C.), Hannibal was the first to deliver a main strike on two flanks, rather than one flank, as Epaminondas and Alexander the Great had done, enabling him to encircle and virtually wipe out a numerically superior Roman army.
Tactics reached its highest development under the slaveholding order of ancient Rome. By the late fourth century B.C., the Roman army had already changed from the tactics of the immobile phalanx to the more mobile maniple tactics. In battle the legion was broken up along the front and in depth into 30 tactical units called maniples (excluding lightly armed soldiers), which could maneuver and support one another. In the late second and early first centuries B.C., maniple tactics was replaced by cohort tactics. Cohorts, consisting of three maniples, became a stronger, although somewhat less mobile, tactical unit than the maniple. Light throwing machines, such as ballistas and catapults, were assigned a prominent role in field battles. Cohort tactics was further refined under Julius Caesar, who skillfully made use of various types of maneuvers and battle formations. In the late fourth century, the Roman military theorist Vegetius generalized the experience of the Roman Army and worked out various battle formations and methods of waging combat.
During the age of feudalism, the theory and practice of tactics developed slowly until the 16th century, when the development of firearms revolutionized military practice. During the period of the formation and triumph of capitalist relations, linear tactics developed. Linear tactics was associated with the adoption of firearms, including artillery; the increased role of fire in battle; and the use of mercenary soldiers, who were incapable of independent actions requiring initiative. According to this tactical scheme, the troops would be arranged in a line. The outcome of the battle was determined by a frontal clash and the power of firearms and artillery fire. Linear tactics was characterized by lack of initiative and the slowness of troops in carrying out tasks.
The 18th-century Russian military leaders Peter I, P. S. Saltykov, and P. A. Rumiantsev-Zadunaiskii used linear tactics while searching for new ways to wage combat. Peter I created a reserve and introduced a deeper order in the linear battle formation, which helped the Russian forces defeat Charles XII at Poltava in 1709. Rumiantsev used the extended order and the carré (rectangular formation). In addition to the linear battle formation, A. V. Suvorov used columns, the carré, the extended order, and a combination of these formations. Suvorov’s tactics were offensive, characterized by decisiveness and unexpectedness of action, the delivery of the main strike against the weakest point (rear, flank), the concentration of forces for the strike in the chosen axis, speed, bold maneuvering, and the destruction of the enemy by sections.
Profound changes in tactics came about during the French Revolution and the wars of liberation of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which in Western Europe led to the formation of mass armies based on universal military obligation and to improved weapons. By the late 18th century, linear tactics had exhausted its potential. The French, Russian, and other armies switched to new tactics, based on a combination of columns and the extended order. These tactics were characterized by vigor, decisive response and mobility of troops, initiative by leaders, cooperation of combat arms, and the breaking up of battle formations along the front and in depth. Troops in extended order would carry out fire preparation for the battle, and troops formed in battalion columns would then deliver the decisive strike. Great contributions to improving the new methods of waging battle were made in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by Napoleon I, who made use of massed artillery and cavalry, and by M. I. Kutuzov, whose tactics were characterized by a determined attack and stubborn defense, use of extensive troop maneuvering, delivery of simultaneous and successive strikes, and ceaseless pursuit of the enemy.
The further development of tactics is associated with the adoption in the second half of the 19th century of rifled weapons, which, compared to smooth-bore weapons, had greater range, rate of fire, and accuracy. Combat experience demonstrated that columns could no longer be used on the battlefield because they suffered great losses from aimed artillery and rifle fire while still approaching the enemy. Therefore, during the Crimean (1853–56), Franco-Prussian (1870–71), and Russo-Turkish (1877–78) wars, armies generally switched to skirmish chains. On the attack, the infantry advanced by short dashes and by crawling, dug itself in, proceeded to combine fire, maneuvering, and the strike. On the defense, engineer organization of the terrain was used extensively to bolster the defense; there was significant development of field and permanent defense, especially during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05.
In World War I (1914–18), the plentiful supply of quick-firing artillery and automatic weapons, the appearance of new means of combat (tanks, aviation, and the like), and the dramatic increase in the size of the armies created the prerequisites for the further development of tactics. The creation of defensive positions echeloned in depth, the extensive use of trenches, communications trenches, and man-made obstacles, and the use of various types of weapons increasingly strengthened the defense against the offensive forces and means, which resulted in the transition to static warfare. Beginning in 1915, the chief problem of tactics was breaking through the static front, to which end several echelons of skirmish “chains,” called waves, were created. The waves of troops would come 50 to 70 m one after another with 1 m intervals between soldiers; however, troops operating in this manner, despite large losses, still could not break through the enemy defense. The attacking side attempted to destroy enemy defensive structures and open up a path for infantry with massed artillery fire. Artillery preparation lasting several days was used for this purpose, but even this could not neutralize weapons in their emplacements to the full depth of the defense.
In 1918 the combatants finally renounced the use of waves and adopted group tactics, which involved breaking skirmish chains down into small infantry groups (squads and platoons) reinforced with light machine guns, rifle grenade launchers, and flamethrowers, which made it possible to take greater advantage of infantry capabilities. The introduction of tanks and accompanying artillery in 1916 bolstered the fire and striking power of attacking troops and made it possible to achieve significant successes in carrying out a tactical breakthrough of an echeloned enemy defense. The offensive was carried out methodically following the principle “the artillery destroys, the infantry occupies.” The infantry would advance in narrow zones: roughly 2 m for a division, 1,000–1,200 m for a regiment, and 400–600 m for a battalion. By the end of World War I, combined arms battle was the norm because tactical missions in combat were accomplished by the joint efforts of infantry, artillery, tanks, and engineer troops; the tactics of the ground troops had just been devised.
The tactics of Soviet ground troops took shape during the Civil War of 1918–20. These tactics adopted all the best features from the Russian Army and possessed special characteristics resulting from the revolutionary spirit of the soldiers and commanders of the Red Army. The great length of the fronts and the relatively low density of forces along them necessitated extensive maneuvering with forces and means. The units and large units were poorly provided with combat equipment but compensated with the high morale, vigor, initiative of commanders and soldiers, and decisiveness of operations. The primary combat arms were the infantry and the cavalry. Artillery was generally decentralized, and armored trains were widely employed. Aviation for the most part conducted reconnaissance. The tactics of offensive combat stressed strikes against the enemy’s weakest points and his flanks and rear, as well as conventional and wide envelopment of enemy groupings. The attack was carried out on individual axes with relatively low tactical densities. Units and large units usually assumed battle formations in one echelon with an allocated reserve; rifle companies attacked the enemy in chains. The cavalry, attacking in mounted formation and making extensive use of machine guns carried on horse-drawn carts called tachanki, waged highly mobile warfare and served as the chief means of developing the offensive. The defense was organized around pockets of resistance on the threatened axes, and counterattacks played an important part.
In the period between World War I and World War II, the development of tactics in all the armies of the world proceeded on the basis of motorization and extensive introduction of combat equipment, such as new artillery systems, new types of tanks, automatic weapons, and other means of combat. In the mid-1930’s the Red Army developed the theory of the deep offensive combat, which is a part of the theory of the deep operation. The substance of the theory of the deep combat was to bombard the enemy with artillery fire and air strikes to the full tactical depth, break through the defense with a powerful shock echelon consisting of rifle troops and close-support tanks, and rifle large units cooperating with airborne troops. The combat was viewed as combined-arms combat, with infantry and tanks having the decisive role. The theory of the deep combat was accepted by most armies and was successfully applied by the Soviet armed forces during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. The procedures involved in waging combined-arms combat were reflected in the regulations of the Red Army and of foreign armies. These procedures included deep echeloning of battle formations, massed fire to neutralize the enemy defense, combined attack by infantry and tanks and close artillery support for the attack, development of the breakthrough by tank and motorized large units, use of airborne landing parties, creation of a deep antitank defense, use of minefields in defense, and organization of air defense.
The tactics of the Soviet forces was developed extensively during the Great Patriotic War. The war confirmed the basic principles of the tactics developed earlier but demanded further refinements. At the beginning of the war, when the enemy held the initiative and had a superiority in forces, Soviet troops were forced to conduct a defense against superior enemy forces with the objective of inflicting maximum losses on the enemy and creating conditions for passing to the counteroffensive. Owing to inadequate combat equipment and the great extent of the front, Soviet rifle units and large units were initially assigned to defend broad sectors and zones; the defense was shallow, with low tactical densities and poor engineer organization. As new weapons and combat equipment were delivered to the front, the troops’ combat capabilities improved. The defense was developed by increasing its depth and concentrating forces and means on the chief axes. The resistance put up by the troops was growing stronger. As early as July 1941, antitank strongpoints were set up, and in the autumn of 1942 antitank zones were established and trenches in company and battalion areas were used in certain sectors of the front.
The defensive tactics of the Soviet forces developed significantly in the battles of Leningrad, Odessa, Sevastopol’, Stalingrad, and Kursk. Soviet forces established two zones of defense using a system of trenches. The tactical depth of the defense was increased from 4–6 km to 15–20 km, and the width of the zone of defense of rifle large units was reduced from 40–60 km to 10–35 km for corps and from 15–18 km to 6–14 km for divisions. Tactical densities were increased to 0.8–1.2 rifle battalions, 30–40 guns and infantry mortars, and 2–5 tanks per kilometer of front.
As the combat experience gained in the winter counteroffensive of 1941–42 at Rostov, Tikhvin, and particularly Moscow was accumulated and the ability to supply the troops with equipment improved, offensive tactics was also improved. In the autumn of 1942 the single-echelon battle formation for the attack was introduced in all units and large units up to the rifle division, inclusively, and the skirmish chain was instituted in rifle platoons and companies. (Troop combat experience was reflected in the 1942 Infantry Field Manual.) Beginning in 1943, Soviet troops were faced with the task of breaking through a solid, deeply echeloned enemy defense. Therefore, the battle formations of rifle units and large units were again constructed in two and three echelons, although the battle formation of the rifle company, a single echelon, remained unchanged. In view of the continuous strengthening of the enemy defense, the zones of attack of Soviet troops were narrowed in the course of the war. For example, the attack zone of a rifle division was 7–14 km wide in the winter of 1941–42, 4–5 km wide in the autumn of 1942, 2–2.5 km in the summer of 1943, and 1.5–2 km wide in 1944–45.
The continuing increase in the amount of weaponry and combat equipment made it possible to increase tactical densities, which in the third period of the war reached six to eight rifle battalions of infantry, 150–250 guns and infantry mortars, and 20–30 tanks per kilometer in the breakthrough sector. All this made it possible to achieve a decisive superiority in forces and means on the main axes. Artillery offensives were also begun. The advance of attacking infantry and tanks was supported by the engineer troops.
The basic theoretical principles and practical recommendations developed by tactics were successfully employed by Soviet troops in breaking through the enemy defense and developing the offensive at a great speed, particularly in the Byelorussian Operation of 1944, the Iassy-Kishinev Operation of 1944, the Vistula-Oder Operation of 1945, and the Berlin Operation of 1945. The tactical preparation of troops and the waging of combat followed during the war found theoretical generalization in the orders, directives, and instructions of the Supreme Command and the General Staff and in the regulations, manuals, and works dealing with military theory.
The tactics of the fascist German ground forces just before World War II and in the first years of the war developed with due regard for large-scale supply of tanks, aviation, artillery, and other weaponry to the troops, the appearance of new armed services and combat arms, and major changes in the organizational structure of army and naval forces. Many of the tactical principles of the fascist German troops before the war had been borrowed from the Soviet theory of the deep combat. In the war against the USSR the tactics of fascist Germany’s ground forces proved bankrupt when opposed to the tactics of the Soviet Army.
The tactics of Anglo-American ground forces in World War II developed along the line of working out the most expedient procedures for combined use of ground forces and aviation in combat. Considerable experience was gained in conducting naval and landing operations, which involved ground forces and extensive use of amphibious tanks to support infantry during the fighting for beachheads.
In the postwar years the introduction of nuclear missiles having enormous destructive potential and the advent of electronics and various types of ultramodern conventional weapons and combat equipment, as well as the full motorization and mechanization of ground forces, immeasurably enlarged combat capabilities and altered the character and procedures for waging combined-arms battle.
The basic principles of the tactics of the Soviet ground forces follow from the general principles of the art of war. The main principles stress the importance of maintaining troops, forces, and means in high combat readiness to wage battle with and without nuclear weapons; vigor and determination by troops waging battle; close cooperation among all combat arms; concealment and surprise in operations, concentration of forces and means on the most important axes and at the decisive moment, and continuity of combat operations; flexibility of maneuvering with troops, forces, and means and establishing, replenishing, and skillfully using reserves of all types; and comprehensive support to troops waging combat.
Modern weapons have brought about a significant change in combined-arms battle. It is now believed that should nuclear weapons be used, nuclear and conventional fire strikes—combined with troop maneuvers and attacks—will be the main elements of combined-arms battle. To exploit one’s own nuclear and conventional fire strikes, it will be necessary to be able to maneuver with troops in order to destroy the enemy or to pull one’s own troops from the areas of enemy strikes. The great destructive power of nuclear weapons and their great range and accuracy in striking the target necessitate dispersal of troops along the front and in depth. Consequently, it will be necessary to widen the zone of action of large units and units and to concentrate forces and means on the main axis, primarily by massing nuclear and conventional weapons.
The large-scale adoption by motorized rifle troops of infantry combat vehicles and armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery, and other combat equipment makes it possible to sharply increase the speed of attack. Motorized rifle subunits are then able to wage an attack alongside tanks, without dismounting. As a result of the plentiful supply of helicopters to the troops, extensive use of tactical airborne landings and aviation, and the carrying out of troop airlift operations, combined-arms battle has become a joint ground-air action.
The current tactics of an offensive by ground forces involves reliable neutralization of the enemy defense to its full depth by fire; the ability of units and large units to go over to the offensive, usually on the run from areas significantly removed from the forward edge of the enemy defense; swift assaults by motorized rifle and tank troops; and a rapid breakthrough of the enemy’s tactical defense and the development of the offensive in the depth of the defense.
Procedures to prepare for and wage defensive combat have also changed significantly. The supplying of troops with a great amount of armored equipment and the availability of means to mechanize engineer tasks enable units and large units to quickly organize a deeply echeloned defense capable of withstanding massed strikes by modern enemy weapons; these conditions also make it possible to defeat an enemy with smaller forces. Troop movements are very important in waging battle, especially marches, but also movement by railroad, water, and air. With the development of new means of waging combat, new types of troop support during combat have appeared, such as protection against weapons of mass destruction. The demands made on troops have increased sharply; they must receive a full program covering indoctrination, training, discipline, and moral-psychological, military-technical, and physical preparation.
The decisive role in combat, even more than before, belongs to the individual soldier who has mastered his weapon and combat equipment and all forms of waging combat perfectly and possesses good moral and fighting qualities.
REFERENCESEngels, F. Izbrannye voennyeproizvedeniia. Moscow, 1958.
Lenin, V. I. O voine, armii i voennoi nauke: Sbornik. Moscow, 1965.
Razvitie taktiki Sovetskoi Armii v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny (1941–1945). Moscow, 1958.
Taktika. Moscow, 1966.
Grechko, A. A. Vooruzhennye sily Sovetskogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1974.
Savkin, V. E. Osnovnye printsipy operalivnogo iskusstva i taktiki. Moscow, 1972.
Sukhoputnye voiska kapitalisticheskikh gosudarstv. Moscow, 1974.
The tactics of the Soviet Air Force originated during the Civil War. The basic principles for the use of aviation in combat were set forth in the 1919 Field Service Regulations and other documents. With the appearance in the USSR of ground-attack aviation in 1926 and heavy bombers in 1933, the tactics for their use in combat was gradually developed. By the start of the Great Patriotic War, the methods and procedures for waging single and group air combat and for organizing and carrying out tactical and fire cooperation with ground troops and the navy, as well as among arms of aviation, had been established. The basic principles of tactics for the arms of aviation were fixed in the field manuals of fighter aviation (BUIA-1940) and bomber aviation (BUBA-1940).
During World War II and the Great Patriotic War, air force tactics were developed comprehensively. A system was worked out for guiding fighters to aerial targets. Radio equipment was used extensively to control aircraft, and airfields and control posts were moved close to the combat zones. The group air combat became the foundation of fighter aviation tactics. The smallest fire unit was a pair of combat airplanes, usually operating as part of a flight (unit). Combat by a single fighter was the exception. The use of radar often made it possible to take fighters off patrol in the air and, instead, to place them on standby alert at airfields. Fighting single aircraft and small groups of enemy planes over enemy territory was conducted according to the “target-of-opportunity” principle. Attack planes hit ground (sea) targets from flat dives (at angles of 25°–30°) and at low-level flight. A pair of aircraft was the basis of the combat formation. To increase the pressure on the enemy on the battlefield, groups of attack planes made multiple assaults against assigned targets.
A characteristic feature of the tactics of bomber aviation was the use of concentrated strikes by regimental and division bomber groups against major targets; under complex meteorological conditions and at night these groups used echeloned strikes by squadrons, flights, and single aircraft. A new development was dive bombing at angles of 50°–60° from entry altitudes of 2,000–3,000 m. Aerial photography became more important in the tactics of reconnaissance aviation; reconnaissance planes were protected by fighter planes.
In the postwar period the reequipping of aviation with jet aircraft, the sharp increase in flight velocities and altitudes, and the appearance of more powerful modern aviation weapons and equipment called for changes in the tactics of all arms of aviation and in air force tactics in general. Missile planes were now able to deliver strikes against ground and sea targets without entering the air defense zone of the defended site. Owing to the increased flight velocities and altitudes and the availability of highly effective radar photographic equipment, reconnaissance aviation developed the ability to penetrate deep into the enemy rear with single aircraft and detect any size objects. The main method of tactical action by fighters is intercepting aerial targets on the distant approaches to the objects being defended and destroying them before they can use their nuclear weapons.
REFERENCESLapchinskii, A. N. Taktika aviatsii. Moscow, 1926.
Teplinskii, B. L. Osnovy obschei taktiki Voennykh Vozdushnykh Sil. Moscow, 1940.
Istoriia Voenno-Vozdushnykh Sil Sovetskoi Armii. Moscow, 1954.
Sovetskie Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941–1945. Moscow, 1968.
Until the 16th century, despite the appearance of sailing ships armed with guns, naval tactics differed little from the tactics of the rowing fleet. In the 17th century the transition from the rowing fleet to the sailing fleet was completed; sailing ships had greater speed and cruising range. The development of ships’ guns and their use as the primary weapon during the naval battles of the Anglo-Dutch wars of the second half of the 17th century caused profound changes in tactics. At this time the classification of ships was instituted, and ships were joined into squadrons. The ship-of-the-line constituted the basis of naval striking power. The endeavor to make maximum use of a ship’s guns in naval battles led to the development of linear tactics, which prevailed in all navies in the 17th and 18th centuries. Linear tactics essentially involved waging battle with the guns of squadrons of ships that maneuvered in a battle line (wake column) on opposite or parallel courses.
By the mid-18th century, as a result of the increased range of fire of ships’ guns and the killing and destructive force of the shot used, linear tactics now proved to be inadequate. The Russian admirals G. A. Spiridov and F. F. Ushakov were the first in naval history to reject the stereotyped forms of linear tactics and to lay the foundation of new procedures for using the sailing fleet in battle: mobile tactics. Using mobile tactics, ships approached to effective gun range and created a superiority in forces or firepower against part of the enemy forces, which was done by enveloping the head of the column of ships-of-the-line or breaking up their formation and by surrounding and wiping out part of the forces of the enemy fleet, including the flagship. The principles of mobile tactics were later used by Admiral H. Nelson in the battles of Aboukir of 1798 and Trafalgar of 1805 and by Russian Admiral D. N. Seniavin in the battle of Athos in 1807. These battles promoted the firm acceptance of mobile tactics.
With the transition from the sailing fleet to steamships in the second half of the 19th century, large armor-clad gunships and cruisers became the main naval forces. The Russian admirals G. I. Butakov, A. A. Popov, and S. O. Makarov made significant contributions to development of the tactics of the steam fleet. The naval battle of squadrons, which included different classes of surface ships, became the foundation of naval tactics. Battle at sea usually consisted of three stages: scouting the enemy with cruisers and deployment of one’s own armor-clad forces in battle formation; the fire fight of the main forces; and development of the success by torpedo boats or, in case of defeat, a withdrawal supported by these boats. A detachment of fast armor-clad cruisers was usually assigned to envelop the head of the enemy squadron. Special tactics for torpedo boats and minelayers were also developed.
During World War I, the development of tactics was associated with profound changes in the nature of naval battle caused by the use of various new means of combat, a sharp increase in the number of ships, and the appearance of the operation, the primary form of naval combat. In addition to battles by large groups of surface forces, independent actions by submarines and antisubmarine forces became common, and the foundations of the tactics of the different arms of the naval forces were redefined. The line forces, which were the basis of naval striking force, could operate only when protected by light forces against strikes by enemy submarines and torpedo boats and the effects of mines.
Soviet naval tactics arose during the Civil War, when tactical principles were developed for the use of river and lake flotillas in battle, for joint actions by naval and ground forces, for the landing of marine parties, and for waging naval battle in the friendly coastal zone. As naval forces and means developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the tactics of the different arms of naval forces and procedures for cooperation among them in naval battle were refined. The foundations of naval tactics were fixed in the Field Manual of Naval Forces of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army and in other documents.
The growing importance of submarines and naval aviation, which became the main striking force of navies in World War II, had a great effect on the development of naval tactics. In certain foreign navies, such as the Japanese and American, aircraft carriers were assigned an important part in combat, and tactics for using them were developed. Carrier-based aviation fought naval battles while the ships of the combatant countries were hundreds of miles from each other. This led to an enlargement of the spatial scope of combat and enabled naval forces to deliver strikes against the enemy from several directions, as well as from under the water and from the air.
In World War II naval tactics was concerned chiefly with naval air and submarine battles waged by cooperating all-arms forces.
The tactics of the Soviet Navy in the Great Patriotic War developed through independent actions by the fleets and joint combat actions with ground troops. There was further development of the tactics for inflicting combined strikes by naval aviation, submarines, and light surface forces to disrupt enemy sea-lanes. The procedures for group use of submarines and their cooperation with other naval forces were worked out.
The development of forces and means of combat in the postwar period made profound changes inevitable in the nature of battle at sea and in navy tactics. New lines of tactical development appeared: the tactics of missile-carrying submarines, missile surface ships, and missile aviation. Missile-carrying atomic submarines are capable of maneuvering for long periods of time in concealment outside the enemy zone of antisubmarine defense for the purpose of delivering powerful surprise strikes from under the water against important enemy targets. Missile-carrying naval aviation is now capable of delivering missile strikes against enemy ships from outside the range of enemy antiaircraft missiles and artillery weapons and outside the zone of coverage by fighter aircraft. The winged missiles used by submarines and surface ships allow them to employ this weapon from distances that greatly reduce the effectiveness of enemy antisubmarine defense and preclude the use of artillery and torpedoes. A key principle of current naval tactics is waging combat by the united efforts of all-arms forces and different types of weaponry in close cooperation.
REFERENCESGorshkov, S. I. “Nekotorye voprosy razvitiia voennomorskogo iskusstva.” Morskoi sbornik, 1974, no. 12.
Stalbo, K. “Razvitie sovetskogo voenno-morskogo iskusstva v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine.” Morskois bornik, 1973, no. 8.
Achkasov, V. I., and N. B. Pavlovich. Sovetskoe voenno-morskoe is-kusstvo v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine. Moscow, 1973.
Istoriia voenno-morskogo iskusstva. Moscow, 1969.
V. I. SHLOMA