(U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)
Lessons from Operation Starvation against Japan
In the past 75 years, mines have destroyed more ships in war than any other naval weapon.1 This is a startling fact, and a serious question follows from it: Why are naval professionals today so obsessed with long-range maritime weapons—anti-ship cruise missiles and antiship ballistic missiles, mainly—and not at least equally concerned about naval mines?
The need for antiship missile capability and defenses is real.2 At the same time, retired Captain Wayne Hughes’ warning that the killing in war at sea often is done with a navy’s second-best weapon bears remembering. If in some future conflict, each side has countered the other’s premier weapon, the Navy will be left to ask: What is our next best weapon? And how should it be used?