On Our Scope

An episode from that conflict’s European theater, one of the Navy’s most unusual operations of the war, is recounted by Vincent O’Hara in this issue. “ Landing the Troops . . . Across the Rhine ” describes how 70 years ago sailors, along with their landing craft, went beyond the normal call of duty in the name of jointness and victory by donning Army uniforms and operating hundreds of miles inland to ferry soldiers across the Rhine River.

A hundred years ago, jointness (or rather lack thereof) was an important aspect of the Allies’ Gallipoli campaign, which Williamson Murray recounts in “ The Gallipoli Gamble .” The epic World War I failure of British, Australian, New Zealand, and French forces to seize Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula, which would have facilitated their battleships’ ability to steam through the Dardanelles and bombard Constantinople, cast a long shadow, particularly over amphibious operations.

Gallipoli “was a campaign in which the Allies violated virtually every known principle of war,” Retired Marine Colonel Joseph H. Alexander pointed out in Storm Landings: Epic Amphibious Battles in the Central Pacific . Nevertheless, the takeaway for military analysts in the 1920s and ’30s was that “large-scale, opposed amphibious landings had been rendered ineffective by the fruits of the industrial age.”

During those interwar years, Sea Service officers at the Marine Corps Schools in Quantico, Virginia, set out to investigate that claim by microexamining the Gallipoli campaign. In 1934, after painstakingly picking apart mistakes made and finding solutions to potential future problems, they came up with a blueprint for how to conduct successful amphibious assaults—the Tentative Manual for Landing Operations . The groundbreaking publication would eventually lead to Marine, as well as Army, success storming enemy shores during World War II.

In closing, I congratulate Charles Brodine for earning Naval History ’s 2014 Author of the Year award (see “ Naval History News ,” p. 13), and Mercy Mei Tangredi on the publication of her article in this issue. Eleven-year-old Mercy, whose story “ Ships of Honor ” profiles Navy chaplains and the vessels that were named in honor of them, supplants then–12-year-old Hunter Scott, author of “ Timeline to Justice ” (August 1998, pp. 47–49), as Naval History ’s youngest author.

Richard G. Latture
Editor-in-Chief

 

 
 

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