Author Topic: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces  (Read 2242 times)

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Offline Ó Donnghaile

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As the title states I am looking for reading material on amphibious operations and forces; the material can range from scholarly publications to personal memoirs. I would prefer it not to be on special forces, however, I am aware that the distinction between special and regular forces was quite blurred in some theatres and periods of conflict.

Currently finishing up a book on the Second World War's Special Boat Squadron in the Mediterranean and Balkans, and another on the independent parachute brigade in the same theatre.
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Online dangerboy

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 10:39:13 »
If you are looking for books on Dieppe, I recommend "Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph" by BGen Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker. He was awarded the DSO fro his actions during that amphibious raid. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13614546-dieppe?ac=1&from_search=true

And from the multitude of books on the Falklands I recommend "The Battle for the Falklands" by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins. Max Hastings was attached to the British Forces during the war and thus is able to give a really good account of the action. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1387371.The_Battle_for_the_Falklands?ac=1&from_search=true
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Offline medicineman

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 11:35:37 »
"No Picnic" by Julian Thompson, who was the Commander 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands.  ttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/144441.No_Picnic

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Online Blackadder1916

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 12:09:07 »
Since the US Navy is likely the most experienced practitioner of "Operational Maneuver From the Sea" (OMFTS), perhaps a quote from the WW2 era CNO is appropriate.

“I don’t know what the hell this ‘logistics’ is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it.” – Admiral E. J. King

While my personal experience with amphibious operations is limited and long ago (back to 1979 when we conducted one of a series of combined exercises with the US on the West Coast) one of the takeaways was the greater importance logistical planning and execution has on the success of sustained OMFTS.

If you are interested in the nuts and bolts, have a look at this.  Naval Expeditionary Logistics  Enabling Operational Maneuver From the Sea
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Offline CloudCover

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2019, 12:25:07 »
Amphibious Warfare in World War II: The History and Legacy of the War’s Most Important Landing Operations
https://www.amazon.ca/Amphibious-Warfare-World-War-Operations-ebook/dp/B078P5GKR9/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=okinawa+landings&qid=1553788756&s=gateway&sr=8-3

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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 12:59:16 »
A pretty good start point is quite often RAND; they have a large selection of research publications on military & security topics.  Just go to RAND.org and type in your topic.  In this case, I'd recommend:
Amphibious Operations in Contested Environments

Mind you, Congressional testimonies aren't really page-turners -- I can't see this being a Brad Pitt movie.  ;D

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 13:14:51 »
'With the Old Breed' and 'Helmet for my Pillow' are the books on which the series 'The Pacific' are drawn from, highly recommended: https://www.amazon.com/Old-Breed-At-Peleliu-Okinawa/dp/0891419195

'Thin Red Line', although fiction, is based on US Army ops in the Pacific theatre, and I found illustrative in some ways: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=thin+red+line&i=stripbooks&crid=6SC5ZTJT8JM6&sprefix=thin+red+%2Cstripbooks%2C-1&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_6

 
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Offline kkwd

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« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 13:25:43 by kkwd »
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Offline Ó Donnghaile

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 13:33:12 »
Thank you for the submissions thus far,

Since the US Navy is likely the most experienced practitioner of "Operational Maneuver From the Sea" (OMFTS), perhaps a quote from the WW2 era CNO is appropriate.

“I don’t know what the hell this ‘logistics’ is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it.” – Admiral E. J. King

While my personal experience with amphibious operations is limited and long ago (back to 1979 when we conducted one of a series of combined exercises with the US on the West Coast) one of the takeaways was the greater importance logistical planning and execution has on the success of sustained OMFTS.

If you are interested in the nuts and bolts, have a look at this.  Naval Expeditionary Logistics  Enabling Operational Maneuver From the Sea

A friend in the RN who spends a lot of time with the Royal Marines pointed me to a similar publication from NATO, he also pointed me onto a publication by the ADF that is quite similar to how the RN/RMs approach amphibious operations.

And from the multitude of books on the Falklands I recommend "The Battle for the Falklands" by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins. Max Hastings was attached to the British Forces during the war and thus is able to give a really good account of the action. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1387371.The_Battle_for_the_Falklands?ac=1&from_search=true

Thank you, the only publication I have on the Falklands is a memoire by a Captain of the Royal Artillery who served in a commando forward observation team during the conflict.
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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 13:36:05 »
I've done a bit of reading on the topic.

The most comprehensive look at the evolution of modern amphibious operations is Isley and Crowl's The U.S. Marine Corps and Amphibious Warfare: Its Theory and Practice in the Pacific.  This volume appears to be getting harder to get, but you should be able to find a used copy.

The Marines always get the headlines for their developments in Amphibious techniques during the interwar period.  This is because they did do a significant amount of Force Development in the 1930s, and its an interesting period to read about.  They were not, however, the service that ironed out all the bugs.  This was the US and British Armies in the European Theatre.  Remember, by the time the Marines are perfecting amphibious operations in 1944, the Allies had already conducted major landings in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy and the Normandy landings were well into the planning phase.  Digging around the official histories of the US Army in World War II to see how these operations were planned would be worth your time.

Probably the best memoir to read is Lucien Truscott's Command Missions.  His story in the Second World War is fascinating, but he doesn't get the press that some of the bigger names do.  Truscott was the U.S. LO at Dieppe, created the U.S. Army Rangers, and commanded in the amphibious landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France at the Task Force, Division, Corps, and Army level.  There is probably few, if any, Second World War commanders with the depth and breadth of amphibious experience as Truscott.  His memoir is really well written, and if you can read past the self-promotional parts, it is loaded with learning points.

A good, more recent technical piece is At the Water's Edge: Defending Against the Modern Amphibious Assault which gives the read a good understanding of the offensive/defensive dynamic and why, throughout history, most amphibious operations were successful.  If amphibious assaults are so difficult, why is the historical success rate so high?  Compare this to river crossing operations, where I once saw figures that suggested that half of all major river crossings were deemed operational failures.

Finally, the modern amphibious operation begins with Gallipoli.  Shop around for some books on this operation.  The official history has been republished, and can also be found online in PDF, and is really good as it includes annexes with the actual landing orders the British issued.  You can get a sense that the British landing was well organized and thought through - it was what they did after the landing that really led to failure.
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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2019, 13:46:30 »
Anything about Operation Iceberg. "The largest amphibious assault of World War ll. It was also the last."
https://web.archive.org/web/20080328064555/http://www.historynet.com/magazines/world_war_2/3035101.html

I also read this,
Quote
By numbers of vessels Normandy was "bigger" because so many small craft including landing craft capable of crossing the Channel were involved. At Okinawa, indeed all the Pacific island landings, all vessels of whatever size had to be oceangoing or carried there by larger ships. Numbers of vessels may or may not be a fair comparison but more vessels were involved in Normandy than Okinawa.

Numbers of vessels hardly tells the story.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 15:35:24 by mariomike »
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2019, 13:47:32 »
While doing research for the 70th anniversary of D-Day for an article in The Devils' Blast found this links:

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/o/operation-neptune-invasion-normandy/table-contents-operation-neptune.html

Operation NEPTUNE: The Invasion of Normandy

https://www.combinedops.com/Overlord.htm

OPERATIONS NEPTUNE & OVERLORD ~ THE D-DAY LANDINGS

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/-/media/royal-navy-responsive/documents/events/d-day-70/13_472-nhb-operation-neptune-d_day-book.pdf

Operation Neptune

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/ETO/Overlord/NEPTUNE-OpsPlan/index.html

OPERATION PLAN NO. 2-44



Cannot post, as it is too large, the Ship/Landing Craft load tables for Force J, the Juno Beach landings. Interesting as it names what elements are on each craft incl Regt. If anyone wants it PM me with an email address.

Example

Royal Winnipeg Rifles - LCol John M. Meldram
Mike Red
Serials 1038 to 1043 were 6 LCAs of 516 Assault Flotilla from LSI J13, SS Laird’s Isle, carrying:
• 164 men - ‘B’ Company Royal Winnipeg Rifles - Major R. M. Lendrum (Actually it was Capt Gower, after landing he and 26 OR's survived. Landed where the Juno Beach Centre is now)
• 8 men - Pioneer Section Royal Winnipeg Rifles - To clear wire with Bangalore's
• 3 men - 12th Canadian Field Regiment, RCA - Forward Observation Officer
• 18 men - 6th Canadian Field Company, RCE - Demolition and mine clearing teams

Another

Serials 1056 to 1061 were 6 LCA's of 577 Flotilla from LSI J16 MV Llangibby Castle carrying:
• 127 men - ‘A’ Company, Royal Winnipeg Rifles - Major F. E. Hodge
• 15 men - Battalion Headquarters, Royal Winnipeg Rifles
• 1 man - Headquarters 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade - Padre attached to Royal
Winnipeg Rifles
• 3 men - Royal Winnipeg Rifles - Unit Landing Officers party
• 3 men - 12th Canadian Field Regiment, RCA - Forward Observation Officer attached to
Royal Winnipeg Rifles
• 7 men - 12th Canadian Field Regiment, RCA - Reconnaissance party to prepare for the
landing of the Field Regiment
• 1 man - Inns of Court Regiment - Unit Landing Officer
• 3 men - Regina Rifles - Unit Landing Officers party
• 3 men - 1st Bn, Canadian Scottish Regiment - Unit Landing Officers party
• 2 men - 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) - Unit Landing Officer
• 7 men - ‘A’ Company, 8 Kings Regiment - Beach Group reconnaissance party
• 6 men - 85 Field Company, RE - Reconnaissance party
• 2 men - RN Beach Party
• 3 men - RN 13 Beach Signals
• 4 men - 14 Beach Signals

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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Any recommended reading for amphibious operations/forces
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2019, 19:14:59 »
Op Neptune summary
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression