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After the division of the world into two systems as a result of the October Revolution in Russia, the policy of the imperialist powers determined to a considerable degree by their con- stant desire to destroy the Soviet Union. Therefore, the G.S.A., Great Britain, and France, intending to use Germany as a tool to implement their plans, aided her ^ith liberal subsidies to recover from the consequences °f the military damage of the First World War in a short time, to rapidly restore her military and economic
7 here was reason for dancing in the snow-covered streets of Stalingrad. The six-month-long battle was over; Germany's crack, 250,000-man 6th Army was destroyed. V-J Day was more than two years away but, says the author, this was the Pivotal point since Japanese military leaders now became convinced of the hopelessness of their offensive strategy.
potential, and to revitalize her powerful armed forces. The imperialists were fully confident that the military might of Germany would be directed against the U.S.S.R. Moreover, weakened by the war, Germany seemed incapable of opposing the main imperialist groupings.
International monopolistic capital aided the German Fascists to come to power in order to implement this concept. Hitler’s government threw off the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty which prohibited the armament of Germany and returned to preparations for war: it reorganized industry, put the development of the entire economy on the military track, and began a corresponding ideological manipulation of wide circles of the German people. In 1935, an Anglo-German naval agreement was concluded. It abolished the restrictions of the article of the Versailles Treaty concerning naval
54 U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1974
armaments and freed the hands of Hitler Germany to build a powerful navy. By the end of 1939, the German Army and Air Force surpassed the armies and air forces of any of the capitalist countries. By having such armed forces, Germany, in Hitler’s opinion, was able to establish supremacy in Europe. However, this was not the final goal of the aspirations of Hitler Germany, but was considered only a prerequisite for gaining further world supremacy which, according to the concept of the Fascist ringleaders, would be achieved in two stages: first, the establishment of supremacy in Europe and the destruction of the Soviet Union, and second, the seizure of the overseas colonial possessions of the European states.
This policy predetermined the special attention given by the leaders of Hitler Germany to the creation of primarily ground and air forces. However, since the achievement of world supremacy was connected with the seizure of overseas colonies, Fascist Germany also considered it essential to create a powerful Navy capable of ensuring the achievement of her set aims. According to "Plan Z,” worked out as early as 1938 and scheduled [to last] nine to ten years, by 1948 Germany’s Navy was supposed to have in its inventory 13 battleships, four aircraft carriers, 33 cruisers, 267 submarines, and a large number of destroyers and other combatants.
The failure of the 1936 London Conference, which tried to find ways of further regulating naval armaments, served as a signal for an unlimited arms race by the imperialist powers. The very fact that there were repeated attempts to regulate naval armaments by international agreements, especially after the First World War, attests to the important significance the major imperialist countries attached to naval forces.
Yet despite this, by the outbreak of war, the German Navy was not as powerful as the navies of England and France, although this was somewhat compensated for by the presence of Germany’s allies in the aggression—Fascist Italy in Europe and Japan in the Pacific Ocean had major fleets at their disposal (Table 1). However, the trends in the development of the navies were significantly different due to the concepts of employment adopted by their leaders.
The disruption of the enemy’s shipping by attacking his merchantmen and combatants with all available forces was considered the chief mission of the German Navy.
The British plan for naval warfare operations was
based on the fact that the conditions for the employment of the Navy would not be essentially different from the situation in which it operated in the First World War, and called for a long-range naval blockade of Germany and the protection of her own sea communications. The military geographical situation made it easier for the British to organize a naval blockade of Germany, although under the conditions which were arising, it could no longer be as effective a means as in World War I.
The French Navy and part of the forces of the British Navy, supported by a developed system of bases, were supposed to ensure supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea.
Thus, the naval doctrines of both the opposing coalitions were oriented toward achieving definite goals by active methods of employing their own naval forces, but the doctrines differed in content. Thus, whereas the German command intended to distribute their naval operations practically throughout the entire Atlantic Ocean, the English and French commands strove to concentrate their main efforts in comparatively limited areas of the seas contiguous to German territory. The concentration of larger forces in limited areas of the theater in direct proximity to the system of bases of the German Fascist Navy stood in contrast to the dispersal of the efforts of a Navy with a smaller strength over vast ocean expanses.
The Role of Navies in the Second World War and Their Effect on the Course and Outcome of the War. The Second World War began as an imperialist war for the division of the world, which Germany, Japan, and Italy demanded.
After Hitler Germany seized Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, the ruling circles of England and France still hoped to direct the Fascist aggression against the Soviet Union, and for a long time they essentially conducted no military operations on the ground fronts. Hitler and the Wehrmacht generals, considering the defeat of the neighboring bourgeois states and the establishment of supremacy in Western Europe to be a necessary prerequisite for an attack on the U.S.S.R. had the opportunity to concentrate troops on their borders under tranquil conditions. In this period military operations were conducted only in the naval theater.
In order to protect its transoceanic shipping and consequently to counter the naval forces of Fascist Germany, the British Fleet had to disperse its forces throughout the entire Atlantic theater, which produced great difficulties in the employment of an insufficient number of antisubmarine, antimine, and escort ships and did not yield the desired effect. As a result, in the first ten months of the war the Germans destroyed 701
Table 1. Composition of the Navies of the Main Imperialist Countries at the Outbreak of World War II.
Battleships and Battle cruisers
Aircraft carriers & aircraft transports
Cruisers (heavy, light, & air defense)
'Data on Japanese Fleet as of 1 December 1941.
Table compiled from book by L. M. Yeremeyev and A. P. Shergin "Submarines of foreign navies in World War II,' voyenizdat, 1962, pp. 21, 227, 273, 285, 323, 375.
Navies in War and in Peace 55
Hitlerites toward the East, did not extend to the sea: on the contrary, only the active combat activity of the British at sea was able to aid the achievement of the cited goal. However, the dispersal of British naval forces throughout the entire Atlantic theater created a favorable situation for German naval operations in the coastal waters of Northern Europe. In April 1940, with the support of superior air forces, the German Fleet made a surprise landing in Norway and took it in a short time (the British attempt to land a landing party in Narvik was unsuccesful.) This naval operation of the German Navy had a serious effect on the further course of the war since it permitted the Germans to improve the strategic position of the Navy’s northern flank, to expand the opportunity for combat operations by her Navy (especially for submarines), and to support the delivery to Germany of Scandinavian iron ore through covered coastal sea routes.
On 10 May 1940, the "phony war” ended: taking advantage of the lack of action of the Anglo-French armies, the Hitler command, having concentrated overwhelming forces on the Western front, began to invade France. The Germans knifed through the Anglo-French armies and headed for the Channel, pinning nine English and 18 French divisions to the sea in the area of Dunkirk. Only with the aid of the Navy (more than 860 different combatants and auxiliaries), which suffered great losses, did they succeed in evacuating 338,000 men to England, leaving all of the heavy equipment to the enemy. Such were the initial fruits of the Munich policy and the prolonged inactivity of the military command of England and France, the results of urging Fascist Germany on to march eastward. In the final analysis, all of this led to the capitulation of France and the development of a direct threat of an invasion of the British Isles by German
56 U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1974
troops. The German airfields were considerably closer to England, and the submarine bases were extended out to the ocean shore directly off the main British sea shipping lanes.
It seemed as though the plan of Hitler Germany to gain supremacy in Western Europe by the efforts of the ground forces and the air force alone was close to successful completion. However, England remained unbeaten, and it was impossible to force her to surrender without sufficient naval forces. The German military command (just as in World War I) tried to find a way out of this situation by strangling England with a naval blockade. In November 1941, at a meeting with Hitler an expansion of the submarine construction program was adopted (in defiance of the earlier naval development plans) in order to permit them to carry out this task which, in point of fact, meant dropping the implementation of the original plans for invading the British Isles. This was due mainly to the relative strength of the naval forces which was unfavorable for Germany.
As is seen from the above, in the first stage of the war naval forces had a very considerable effect on its course: Hitler’s invasion of England was put off due to the might of the British Fleet; however, with the aid of the Navy the Germans occupied Norway and were able in the first months of the war to inflict great losses on shipping and England’s economy as a whole.
The treacherous attack of Fascist Germany on the U.S.S.R., in which an overwhelming part of the armed forces of Germany and her satellites participated, determined the beginning of a new stage in the course of the world war, drastically changing the entire situation in the theaters of military operations.
Eastern Europe, where the fate of the entire Second World War was decided, became the main theater. It was precisely there where Germany and her satellites concentrated their main forces. All other theaters of military operations were transformed into secondary theaters. That is why the role of the navies in the war and their effect on its overall course cannot be regarded separately from the events on the Soviet-German front.
The attack of the Hitlerites on the Soviet Union and the transfer of all of their military efforts to the East had an immediate effect on the course of the armed struggle in the other European theaters. In particular, the air attacks against England and her sea communications were reduced. Again, just as in World War I, on the whole, only submarines operated against British shipping, and now they did not have the requisite combat support on the part of the other naval forces, which permitted the British without any particular difficulty to strengthen the defense of her sea communications.
In considering the Soviet-German front to be the main one, the Hitler command sent not only the main army and air forces against the Soviet Union, but also a considerable part of the Navy. Thus, major surface ships and many submarines were transferred to bases in Northern Norway for operations against the communications linking our northern ports with the ports of the allies. Therefore, the "Battle for the Atlantic” was shifted to a battle with the German submarines, which had already become commonplace for the British and Americans. However, even under these conditions, despite the furious development of ASW forces, the Anglo-Americans were able only to reduce losses from German submarine operations, but were unable to force them to refrain from active operations against communications.
The entire course of the war showed that the deciding role in the defeat of Hitler Germany and her allies belonged to the Soviet Union, and the events on the main, Soviet-German front had a vast effect on the character of the armed struggle in all other theaters of military operations. The success of the main major amphibious operations of the allies in Africa and Europe became possible only owing to the heroic efforts of the Soviet Army and Navy, who prevented Hitler from taking troops from the East which were needed to repulse or destroy the Anglo-American landing forces.
The statements of state and military leaders of the countries of both groups attest to the effect of the events of the Soviet-German front on the course of military operations on the other fronts. Thus, in a letter to Mussolini on 21 June 1941 Hitler reported: "An attack on Egypt before fall is ruled out,” when, in his opinion, military operations against the U.S.S.R. would be concluded.5 The well known Hitler general Gu- derian indicated that "after the failure of the CITADEL plan (the battle for Kursk), the Eastern front took away all forces from France.”6
In a report to the War Cabinet on 20 January 1943, British Prime Minister W. Churchill noted that "All of our military operations taken together are on a very insignificant scale in comparison . . . with the gigantic efforts of Russia.”7 He is also credited with such widely known statements as "The Russian resistance broke the backbone of the German armies”8 and "It was precisely the Russian Army which took the life
5 Lei lettres secretes echangees par Hitler et Mussolini. Paris, 1946, p. 126. ®Cited by L M. Ycremeycv. Glazami druzey i vragov. 0 roli Sosetskogo Soyuza v rasgrome fashistskoy Germanii (Through the Eyes of Friends and Enemies. The Role of the Soviet Union in the Defeat of Fascist Germany). Izd-vo Nauka, 1966, p. 150.
7 W. Churchill. Op. cit. Vol. Ill, p. 613.
%lbid, Vol. II, p. 352.
Navies in War and in Peace 57
out of the German war machine and at the present moment is holding by far the largest part of the enemy’s forces on its front.”
U. S. Secretary of the Interior Ickes wrote in 1944: "The greatest gift that the Russians gave the United Nations was time, without which England would not have even been able to recover from the wounds received at Dunkirk and the United States would not have been able to expand military production and create armies and fleets. . . ,”
And a major U. S. figure, Stettinius, said in 1949: "The American people should not forget that they were not far from catastrophe. If the Soviet Union had not been able to hold its front, the Germans would have been able to take Great Britain. They would have been able also to seize Africa and, in this event, they would have succeeded in making a beachhead in Latin America.”
On 2 December 1944 General de Gaulle said: "The French know what Soviet Russia did for them, and know that it was precisely Soviet Russia who played the main role in liberating them.”
Many prominent Soviet military figures point to the direct effect of the events on the Soviet-German front on the course of combat on the other fronts. Thus, Marshal of the Soviet Union A. A. Grechko stresses that "The victory at Stalingrad, Kursk, on the Don, and in the Caucasus considerably strengthened the positions of our allies in the Near East and in the Mediterranean Basin and made it easier to gain a victory in North Africa over the armies of General Rommel.”
The victories of our armed forces in 1943 foiled the plans of the Hitlerites to stabilize the situation on the Soviet-German front and to shift troops to the West to repulse the expected allied invasion of Europe to open a second front.
The landing of allied troops at Normandy in June 1944 was the largest amphibious operation in history. Preparations for it were carried out over a 30-month period in a relatively calm situation. Vast allied naval, ground, and air forces participated in the operation: ■Oore than 2,800,000 troops, about 6,000 combatant and landing ships, about 11,000 combat aircraft, and
up to 2,000 transport aircraft.
With the opening of the second front in the summer of 1944 the U.S.A. and England made their greatest (albeit tardy) contribution to the cause of victory over Fascist Germany. However, the consciously delayed opening of the second front was not the turning point in the course of the war as Western falsifiers of history depict, for by that time there was already no doubt of the fact that the Soviet Union was in condition to defeat Fascist Germany and to wind up the war without the aid of the allies. As early as 1943, U. S. President F. Roosevelt stated: ", . . If things continue as they are now in Russia, then it is possible that by next spring the second front will not even be needed.”15 Clearly the importance of the second front at that time was no longer decisive. And it was not the opening of it which aided the Soviet armed forces in the struggle with Hitler Germany, but, on the contrary, the victories of our troops not only permitted the allies to marshal vast forces and achieve a 12-fold superiority over the Hitlerites in naval forces and a 22-fold superiority in the air, but also created favorable conditions for the allied invasion of western Europe.
As for the war at sea, the navies of the belligerent countries carried out major missions which had a great effect on the overall course of the war. Thus, the successes of the allies in the Mediterranean theater, first in North Africa and later in Italy, to a certain degree were determined by naval operations supporting the landing of major landing forces in Northwest Africa, on the island of Sicily, and in Italy. The allied fleets disrupted the sea logistics of the Fascist troops of Rommel. These successes on a secondary front of the struggle played their own positive role in the course of the war, although they diverted relatively small German forces.
A different type of situation was created in the armed conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where the navies were of greater import than in the European theaters. However, the general strategic situation, created on the main, Soviet-German front, also unquestionably had an effect on the course of military operations here. The selection by the Japanese of a Southern option for the initiation of their aggression, the refraining from a further continuation of the offensive, and the transition to a strategic defense were the consequence of the disruption of the Blitzkreig and the series of defeats inflicted on the Hitlerites by the Soviet armed forces.
In the Pacific Ocean the amphibious landing operations by both sides and the disruption of Japanese
l4Vtoraya mirovaya voyna 1939-1943 gg. (The Second World War, 1939- 1945). Voyenizdat, 1958, p. 641.
15 E. Roosevelt. Ego glazami (Through His Eyes), Moscow, 1947, p. 161.
newly commissioned) against four American carriers. The Japanese also had superiority in battleships and cruisers. Indeed, the nature of the combat operations following the Battle of Midway Island also attests to the fact that it was in no way the turning point in the course of the war. Actually the Japanese continued to land landing forces, to conduct an offensive on New Guinea, and in the Solomon Islands, and to create a difficult situation for the Americans which was aggravated by the loss of two more of their aircraft carriers, the Wasp and the Hornet.
W. Churchill wrote that in the fall of 1942 the Americans turned to England with a request to aid them with aircraft carriers. ", . . We understood that a serious crisis had arisen in the Solomon Islands.” By that time the U.S.A. had only two carriers left there, the Saratoga and the Enterprise (and those were damaged). The real threat of a Japanese invasion of Australia arose. How can one speak of a turning point in the war in the Pacific after Midway?
Also unfounded is the attempt by Western historians to represent as a turning point of the course of the war in the Pacific the landing in August of 1942 by one (!) Marine Division on the island of Guadalcanal, which conducted protracted battles with the Japanese forces with varying success. By the way, the President of the United States, F. Roosevelt, in a report to Congress on 7 January 1943 indicated that the actions at Midway and Guadalcanal islands "were essentially defensive. They were a part of the strategy of containment which characterized this phase of the war.”
Yet suddenly, in a situation which was so difficult for the allies, the Japanese Imperial Staff on 31 Decem-
17 Kodaima Noboru. The War in the Pacific Ocean. Tokyo, Vol. I, pp- 249-250.
18 F. S. Sherman. American Carriers in the War in the Pacific. Voyenizda'. 1956, p. 104.
I9W. Churchill. The Second World War. Vol. V, 1953, p. 28.
20The President’s War Addresses to the People and to the Congress of the U.S.A., Washington, 1945, p. 61.
ber 1942 decided to drop the offensive strategy and go °ver to the defensive. It is quite evident that the most 'mportant reason for this was the victory of the Soviet troops at Stalingrad, when for the first time the faith of the Japanese military leaders in the power of the German Army was really shaken. The Japanese leaders recognized that "if Germany . . . weakens, in a short time Japan would face a world-wide coalition.”21 The Japanese understood that "the victory of the Soviet Army at Stalingrad was a blow not only to Germany but also to Japan.”22
Thus, the actual course of the armed conflict quite clearly shows that the victory of the Soviet armed forces at Stalingrad was the beginning of the pivotal events >n the course of the entire Second World War.
Yet, nevertheless, Western historians, speaking out as defenders of their imperialist masters, not interested in an objective treatment of history, are now striving to distort history in every possible way. Thus, in the "History of the 20th Century” published in England by the firm "Purnell,” they again return to the attempt to reduce the importance of the Battle of Stalingrad. In enumerating the most important events of the war which hurt Germany, they speak of the battle of Midway, of "The Battle for the Atlantic,” and of the battles at El Alamein, and only after this do they refer to the battle of Stalingrad, attributing limited significance to it (and by that only a significance pertaining to the war in Eastern Europe) although five enemy armies were defeated and taken prisoner in it, which shocked
Admiral Gorshkov asserts that neither the battles of Midway nor Guadalcanal, above, can be considered as turning points of the war in the Pacific. After Midway, he argues, Japan still retained supremacy at sea. Equally unfounded is the attempt by Western 'falsifiers of history” to exalt the efforts of "one (!) Marine Division" whose actions on Guadalcanal "were essentially defensive.”
Table 2. Composition of Naval Forces in the Pacific Ocean on 7 December 1941.
Battleships & battle cruisers
Data compiled from the Morskoy Atlas (Naval Atlas) Vol. Ill, Part 2, line 30.
60 U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1974
the entire military machine of Fascist Germany and her allies.
Enough has already been said above concerning the battle of Midway Island. The struggle of the navies for communications in the Atlantic Ocean in 1942 also did not lead to any sort of decisive results which could have served as the beginning of Germany’s defeat. And the battle near El Alamein in which two small armies with a total strength on both sides of about 250,000 men participated (about 2% of the number of troops fighting on the Soviet-German front!), of course could not be the turning point in the course of the war.
The course of the war in the Pacific theater once more confirmed that the political goals, which were supposed to be implemented by military means, were directly dependent on the capabilities of the economy and of the armed forces. It is precisely this which explains why Japan so attentively followed the course of the struggle on the Soviet-German front and the position of her main partner, and changed her plans depending on this.
On 1 February 1943, Japanese troops began to evacuate the island of Guadalcanal, and by fall, a new, shorter defense line had been established. In the summer of 1943 the Japanese tightened their defensive belt even further, withdrawing it to the Caroline and Mariana Islands, and the main forces were brought back to rear bases. By the fall of 1943 the economic advantages of the U.S.A. were felt, and control of the sea irrevocably went over to the Americans, which permitted them to initiate offensive operations.
With the shift to the defensive, troop shipments by sea between the home country and the defense lines and also the delivery of materials to Japan from occupied territories took on greater significance for the Japanese. However, these shipments were more vunera- ble in the Japanese defense system. And when the initiative was shifted to the Americans, and they began offensive operations, then the Japanese turned out to be incapable of either maneuvering forces on the defensive lines or of delivering strategic materials to Japan. The battle for sea communications took on a one-sided character. Japanese submarines operated only against major enemy surface ships and were not used against his communications lanes. Therefore, American shipping remained essentially unopposed. The Americans, on the other hand, from the very outbreak of war, attacked enemy shipping (mainly with submarines). Beginning in 1944 American aircraft and surface ships were also involved in these operations. In this connection, due to the weakness of the defense of the Japanese communications their attacks were delivered under the most simple, almost training-range conditions.
Moreover, taking the defeats of the Hitlerites on the Soviet-German front into account, the Japanese avoided the risk of employing their main naval forces to defend the occupied islands, relegating the execution of this task to small garrisons who had no naval or air support.
As a result of the operations of the American forces against the sea communications, by 1945 the economic potential of Japan was undermined, and she was unable to replenish the losses in warships and aircraft, while at the same time the U.S.A. continued to accent the construction of ships and aircraft (as the figures in Table 3 attest). This permitted the U.S.A. to create a decisive superiority in forces in the chosen areas and to control the conduct of operations in the area. At the same time, in order to disrupt Japan’s economy, the U.S.A. began to make systematic air attacks on industrial targets.
The offensive operations of the American Navy began in late 1943 when favorable conditions emerged for this as a result of the victory of the Soviet armed forces over the troops of the main partner of the Fascist bloc—Hitler Germany. In this connection, the operations of the Americans were first directed not against the main military forces of the enemy, but rather against peripheral garrisons located on the islands occupied by them. Having the advantage in naval forces, the Americans were able to select the direction of the attacks which confused the Japanese, and they were late in giving support to their garrisons.
The Americans, having broken through the outer defensive line of the Japanese and having consolidated themselves by landing landing forces behind them, went over to operations against the inner line of defense in the fall of 1944. The Japanese employed their main naval forces to oppose the landing of the Ameri-
Table 3. Composition of the U. S. Naty
Carriers (heavy, light, escort)
Destroyers and escorts
up to 900
Landing craft, ships, and auxiliaries
•Dan from book by L M. Yeremeyev and A. P. Shergin "Submarines of Foreign Navies in World War II,” (p. 375) and "Handbook of the Ships of the Navies of the World. 1944” (Voyenizdat, 1945, p. 295).
Navies in War and in Peace 61
cans in the Philippine Islands. Here in the waters of the Philippine archipelago the largest naval engagement of its time also took place in which significant forces on both sides participated (Table 4). Asa result of the battle, the Japanese Fleet suffered heavy losses: four aircraft carriers, three battleships, ten cruisers, 11 destroyers, and two submarines. This battle had a considerable effect on the further course of military operations in the Pacific theater, predetermining the success of the American capture of the Philippines and the subsequent shift of their amphibious operations toward Japan itself.
The last American amphibious operation was the landing on Okinawa in 1945. The struggle for this island lasted three months despite the six-fold superiority of the landing forces over the enemy garrison and the complete American control of the sea and air.
The attacks by American aircraft on the cities and ports of Japan were continually expanded, but even in 1945 Japan’s Army had suffered very insignificant losses on the Pacific islands. The most powerful and combat- capable grouping of Japanese ground forces, the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, not only was unweakened by military operations, but continued to be strengthened, being supported by the military/economic base of Japanese imperialism, the industry of Manchuria and Korea.
In August 1945 Japan still had major armed forces at her disposal: five million men, 10,000 aircraft, and about 600 warships. This permitted her to continue the war despite the capitulation of Germany and the loss of Japanese occupied territories. The Americans, not relying on their own capability of forcing Japan to surrender quickly, developed plans for landing operations against Japan itself according to which the landing of troops on the island of Kyushu was scheduled for late 1945 and in the Tokyo area, in 1946 or even later. The plans called for a prolonged struggle with the employment of major ground forces which the Americans did not have. However, the Americans had insufficient superiority in naval forces to achieve success. That is why they needed the U.S.S.R. to enter the war against Japan. This was precisely the reason for so many appeals by Churchill and Truman to Stalin to begin military operations with the Soviet Army in the Far East.
In fulfilling its obligations as an ally, the Soviet Army and Navy crushed the Kwantung Army with powerful blows which also forced Japan to surrender.
In examining the events which took place in the Pacific and Far Eastern Theaters of military operations
Table 4. Composition of the U. S. and Japanese Na val Forces in the Battle of the Philippines
Data taken from Naval Atlas, Vol. Ill, Part 2, line 48.
in the years of the Second World War, we cannot fail to emphasize that the struggle between Japan and the U.S.A. was waged for a long time primarily by naval forces. Thus, the Japanese were guided by strategic concepts stemming from their military doctrine which stressed the seizure of vast territories (not commensurate with the actual capabilities of exploiting and retaining them), and greatly oriented toward the success of her ally in the aggression, Fascist Germany. The Americans, however, conducted their operations in the peripheral regions of the Japanese defense zone in accordance with a "palm-tree to palm-tree” strategy which permitted only a methodical step-by-step advance of military operations toward the homeland of the enemy. These operations had little effect on the Japanese ground forces, whose main forces practically did not even participate in the war against their main enemy in the Pacific Ocean—the U.S.A. The Americans also did not attack either the Kwantung Army or the sea communications linking them with Japan. The military industrial base in Korea and Manchuria also did not suffer any opposition, although it was also located in a zone accessible to the American attack forces (especially carrier aircraft). The Americans extended their operations to this zone only after the Soviet Union had entered the war with Japan, had smashed the Kwantung Army, and was preparing the final blow. American operations in this period were expressed mainly in the active laying of mines in the paths of the Soviet naval forces driving toward the coast of Korea and the Liaotung peninsula. These operations had the goal not so much of weakening the Japanese Army as hindering the decisive movement of Soviet naval forces in support of Soviet troops, i.e., hindering their own ally in doing just what the American command had studiously avoided throughout the entire war—direct opposition to the enemy forces making up the basis of his military might.
With such a strategy, clearly the war in the Pacific theater would not have been concluded even by 1946 without the participation of the Soviet Union despite
the fact that the U.S.A. employed nuclear weaponry in it. Only the crushing of the Kwantung Army by the Soviet armed forces sharply reduced the military potential of Japan and her capability to continue military operations. Also an analysis of the operations of the American Fleet which were based mainly on an overwhelming superiority of forces also serves as a basis for such an assertion. While having large numbers of submarines at their disposal, the Americans, however, employed only a small part of them for operations against Japan’s communications. An average of no more than 15 submarines were at sea at one time (Fascist Germany operated this number of submarines at sea when she had only about one-third as many as the Americans).
In the course of the war the lack of preparedness of the Japanese Navy to protect sea communications was revealed with ever greater clarity, which prevented her from using the resources of the occupied territories to build up her power. Nevertheless, despite the exceptionally favorable conditions, American operations
against Japanese communications were not distinguished by activity.
As was already indicated above, the reasons for the Japanese shift to a strategic defense were not at all due to the actions of the American Navy or to the fact that after the Pearl Harbor catastrophe the U.S.A. expanded construction of aircraft carriers, as Western historians assert. These reasons lie in the defeat of the German Fascist army at Stalingrad, which convinced the Japanese military leaders of the hopelessness of the offensive strategy which they had adopted and of the blind devotion to her ally in the anti-Communist aggressive bloc.
Admiral Anderson graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1927. A naval aviator from 1930, he served in various squadrons of the Fleet, on the carrier Yorktown and in the flight test division at NAS, Norfolk. Prior to and during World War II, he was assigned to BuAer, as navigator of the USS Yorktown, and successively on the staffs of ComAirPac, CinCPac, GnC U. S. Fleet and on the Joint War Plans Committee. After the war he commanded two aircraft carriers, USS Mindoro and USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, served with Sixth Fleet and SACEur staffs, and was assistant to the Chairman of the JCS. After attending the National War College in 1949-1950 he was assigned to command the Taiwan Patrol Force, as Chief of Staff to CinCPac, as ComCarDiv Six, and commanded the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. He served as CNO from 1961 until 1963- In 1963 he was appointed U. S. Ambassador to Portugal and remained in that post until he retired from Government service in July 1966.
Since then Admiral Anderson has been in private business, and served as a member of the Board of Directors of several corporations. In March 1969 he was appointed to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and designated chairman of that Board as of 1 May 1970.
Admiral Gorshkov’s article on World War II revealed to his officers, and now to us, the thoughts, views and beliefs of the Admiral of the Soviet Fleet, who also is a full member of the CPSU Central Committee and a Soviet historian. This combination elevates the value and meaning of each article in this series and enables us to study one of the most prominent Soviet leaders, and the one individual who is most responsible for the development of the Soviet Navy as it is today.
At the beginning of World War II, Admiral Gorshkov was a newly selected flag officer responsible for the defense of an area threatened by German occupation. His positions and personal contributions to the Soviet cause during this war were extremely significant, as evidenced by his writings. A brief glance at his career during this time-frame may help explain some of his views.
In 1941, Admiral Gorshkov became the youngest admiral in Soviet history and was assigned as commander of the Azov Flotilla, then a component of the Black Sea Fleet. He was responsible for protecting the maritime flanks of the Red Army during the 1941-42 retreat to the Caucasus, and for amphibious actions on German rear forces. He was personally in-
By Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr. U. S. Navy (Retired)
Consequently, such prolonged military operations in the Pacific Ocean, in which the forces of the Japanese, American, and British fleets took part, in themselves could not have brought a rapid close to the war without the decisive intervention of the powerful forces of the Soviet land Army which brilliantly carried out its assigned missions, forcing Japan to capitulate, thereby victoriously concluding the Second World War.
Navies in War and in Peace 63
volved in the outcome of the battle at Stalingrad, having lost his command when the Azov Sea fell into enemy hands early in 1942. Following the Soviet victory at Stalingrad in 1943, Gorshkov was personally rewarded by his reassignment as Commander of the reactivated Azov Flotilla and he successfully took part in the liberation of the Crimea. Shortly thereafter, in 1944, he assumed command of the newly formed Danube Flotilla, into which the Azov Flotilla was incorporated. As a Vice Admiral, he distinguished himself in the landing on Kerch Peninsula and supported others in the liberation of the Ukraine, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
Although heavy personal emphasis is placed on the importance of the battle of Stalingrad as related to the war in the Pacific, the Admiral’s views do not significantly depart from those previously published by numerous Soviet historians. The accounts and opinions expressed by the author largely parallel those published in the Soviet Government approved six-volume "History of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union.” However, it must be remembered that the Admiral is a firm member of the Communist party hierarchy and by doctrine, Communists do not hesitate to interpret—if not outrightly distort— history to further the ideology and their objectives.
Gorshkov wrote this article while in a position of naval leadership and political authority. It reemphasizes the somewhat older views held by the Soviet Government. Of the numerous differences between his views and those held by "Western historians,” two are considered of primary interest:
► That the battle of Stalingrad was not only the turning point for the war in Europe but was the primary cause for the turn of the war in the Pacific. He states, "The reasons for the Japanese shift to a strategic defense were not at all due to the actions of the American Fleet . . .”
► That the primary reason for the capitulation of Japan was the "decisive” intervention of the Soviet Army and Navy and not the introduction of the atomic bomb.
It is doubtful that western historians and the author will ever agree on these controversial points. However, the author’s explanation of his views by the use of innocuous quotations, and reliance upon "heroic” cliches, further weakens his effort to establish these differences in only one article. The specific points will not be argued in this commentary but a close study of his views should be made, keeping in mind the author’s personal involvement in the battle of Stalingrad and the obvious omission of any discussion relating to the successful implementation of atomic weaponry.
Gorshkov is not considered a prolific military writer. It will be necessary to study the entire series in order to adequately evaluate his concepts. Selectively, however, one can see signs of military and strategic concepts in this month’s article. The concept during his discussion of World War II is centered around the Soviet military and political forces which, in the Admiral’s opinion, were the primary causes for the allied success in both Europe and the Pacific.
Numerous strategic areas are mentioned by the author in his historical coverage that appeared to reveal his primary areas of interest. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, he refers to the Navy as an integral and indispensable component of the Soviet Armed Forces. His stress of submarines and antisubmarine warfare confirms his extreme interest in that area and reveals his views on the importance of maintaining an open sea line of communication during periods of peace and war. His opinion that the American Fleet had little to do with the outcome of the war in the Pacific is unjustified. He weakens his own position by discussing the importance of the aircraft carrier to both the United States and Japan.
Admiral Gorshkov’s writings continually reenforce actions taken by the Soviets since 1956 in the expansion of its seapower. Under his leadership, the Soviet Navy has been elevated to an equal component of the Armed Forces and most probably will soon be considered the premier service among the branches of the Soviet Armed Forces. As its architect, he has placed accent on sophisticated nuclear missile armed strategic submarines, cruise missiles, attack submarines, new large surface ships and sophisticated aircraft. In addition, he has introduced carrier aviation.
Admiral Gorshkov has changed Soviet naval strategy to emphasize five primary missions: strategic attack, strategic ASW, defense against aircraft carriers, distant operations, and interdiction. In short, the author of this article has produced the emphasis on the Navy’s strategic offensive capabilities and changed the pre-1963 home-based, day-running, fair-weather outlook to the global philosophy we now see.
It will be remembered that in 1968, Admiral Gorshkov stated "The United States will have to understand that it no longer has mastery of the seas.” This should be taken in a most serious manner by all who have responsibility for the conduct of American foreign policy and the assurance of American security.
Merchant ships of Great Britain and her allies with a total tonnage of more than 2,335,000 tons, of which 300 ships with a total tonnage of 1,137,000 tons were sunk by submarines.2 The total tonnage of ships sunk per submarine in the inventory of the German Fleet reached 22,000 tons, whereas in 1918 it was only 15,000 tons. As is evident, the effectiveness of the operations °f the German submarine forces was higher than in the last ten months of the First World War. However, in that period Germany lost 23 submarines (i.e., 40% of all the submarines which she had at the outbreak of the war) which attests to the rather intense warfare it sea.
Concurrently with the submarines, German major combatants—two "pocket” battleships and five auxiliary cruiser raiders—were also operating against Britain’s sea communications. In addition, German cruisers, destroyers, and surface minelayers made nine cruises to the shores of England where 1,700 mines were planted hy the beginning of February 1940.3
In addition to merchant ships, England lost a battleship and an aircraft carrier, while two battleships, two cruisers, ten destroyers, an air defense ship, and two j submarines were put out of action.4
The course of the battle for communications had a serious effect on the military-economic potential of England: her economy began to feel the stress as early is the summer of 1940. In particular, the British were forced to live to a considerable degree on stores accumulated in the home country even before the war.
Thus, the so-called "phony war” on land, having the political goal of directing the aggression of the
2,W, pp. 146-147.
3 Hid, p. 130.
’Ibid, p. 149.
shipping by the blockading operations of the American
 Belli, V. A., V. P. Bogolepov, L. M. Ycrcmeyev, Ye. N. Lebedev, B. A. Pochikovskiy, and A. P. Shergin. Blokada i kontrblokada. Bor’ba na okeanskihk soobshchentyakh vo vtoroy mirovoy voyne. (Blockade and Counterblockade. The Struggle for Ocean Communications in the Second World War). Izd-vo Nauka, 1967, p. 81.
(Percpiska Prcdsedatelya Soveta Ministrov SSSR s Prczidentom SShA i Prem’yer-Ministrom Vclikobritanii vo vremya Velikoy Otechestvennoy
Voyny 1941-1945 gg. (Correspondence of the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers with the U. S. President and the Prime Minister of Great Britain during the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945.) Vol. I, 1957, P- 260.
Krasnyy Plot, (Red Fleet), 27 June 1944.
11E. Stettinius. Roosevelt and the Yalta Conference. London, 1950, p. 16.
Sovetsko-franlsuzskiye otnoshmiya (Soviet-French Relations), 1959, p. 340.
A. A. Grechko. Bitva za Kavkaz (The Battle For the Caucasus),
v°ycnizdat, 1971, p. 546.
Navy became the basic types of combat operations. All other combat operations were essentially only in support of landing or antilanding operations.
The war here began on 7 December 1941 with relatively equal forces on both sides (Table 2) with a surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, the main base of the American Pacific Fleet. As a result of the attack, Japanese carrier aircraft sunk or damaged all eight battleships in the harbor and one cruiser, and destroyed about 200 landbased American aircraft.16 Within three days the Japanese had succeeded in sinking an English squadron in the Gulf of Siam, and in February 1942 [they sank] a hurriedly assembled Anglo-Dutch-American squadron in the Java Sea. Japan had gained control of the sea, which permitted her to carry out several amphibious operations in the first stage of the war. In two months the Japanese occupied the Philippine Islands, the Malacca Peninsula with the major British base of Singapore, Indonesia, Burma, and many islands in the Pacific Ocean. Japan seized the vast economic resources of Southeast Asia. However, as a result of the victories achieved on the Soviet-German front, particularly in the Battle of Stalingrad, which determined the turning point in the course of the entire war and which was consolidated by subsequent victories of the Soviet Army, by 1943 the Japanese were already refraining from further offensive operations and had gone over to a strategic defense.
Western historians assert that the turning point in the course of the war in the Pacific Ocean came before Stalingrad when, on 3 to 6 June 1942, four Japanese aircraft carriers and only one American carrier were sunk in a successful American engagement off the island of Midway. However, the relative strengths of the naval forces after this battle contradict such assertions, since even after it Japan retained supremacy at sea in forces: eight aircraft carriers (counting also those
Morskoy atlas (Naval atlas), Vol. Ill, Pan 2, line 30.
0p. cit. Naval Atlas, Vol. Ill, Pan 2, line 48-b.
2i0p. cit. The Second World War 1939-1945. p. 789.