Naval history is replete with tales of victory by great fleets on the high seas. But it is also punctuated by the stunning defeats of many of these same fleets in their adversaries' coastal waters, or littorals. Although it may seem self-evident that a coastal navy would not fare as well in blue-water warfare, the limitations of a blue-water navy in the littorals are less obvious and often unanticipated.
Take, for example, the experience of ancient navies. In 1178 B.C.E., the Egyptians defeated a large fleet of sea raiders that had dominated the Mediterranean for more than 100 years by ambushing them from shore with flaming arrows. In 480 B.C.E., the Greeks conquered a much larger Persian fleet by luring them into the restricted waters of the Straits of Salamis, where they were outmaneuvered and could not bring their superior numbers and firepower to bear.