Essay on Amphibious vs. Sea Power

2550 Words Apr 6th, 2013 11 Pages
Unclassified Paper

Naval War College
Newport, RI

FINAL EXAM

TRUE OR FALSE:
“THE ABILITY OF AMPHIBIOUS FORCE TO INFLICT GRAVE INJURY UPON THE FOE IS USUALLY IMMENSE. THE CAPABILITY OF PURELY NAVAL FORCE TO CAUSE THE ADVERSARY DAMAGE IS OFTEN VERY LIMITED.”

by
Stewart Holbrook
Commander, U.S.N.

A paper submitted to the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College in partial satisfaction of the Department of Strategy & Policy.

The contents of this paper reflect my own personal views and are not necessarily endorsed by the Naval War College or the Department of the Navy.

Signature ____________________

4 March, 2005 To suggest the ability of amphibious force to inflict “grave” injury on
…show more content…
However, by their nature, periphery operations, especially in unlimited war, fail to attack the enemy’s center of gravity and therefore, usually fail to inflict “grave” damage to the enemy. In rare cases where sufficient forces are available, such as the Allied invasion of NW Europe in WWII, truly “grave” damage can be sufficiently inflicted. But this situation is not “usually” the case. Employing amphibious forces also carries a significant risk that damage to one’s own forces will be disproportionate with that inflicted upon the enemy. The Spartan Hoplite invasion of Sphacteria provides an extreme example where the invading force was isolated and destroyed. A similar example is the British WWI invasion of Gallipoli. Although not completely destroyed, the invading force was isolated on the beachhead and severely mauled. Requirements for troop replenishment and resupply created a festering sore that drained Britain’s war effort on a secondary front removed from Germany, the primary enemy. Damage to the Turkish forces was not “grave” and was certainly out of proportion with the cost in any case. The allied invasion at Anzio in WWII was another similar example of disproportionate cost/benefit, at least in its initial stages. Finally, embarking upon an amphibious invasion often means opening a second front. Such a move can have good or bad strategic consequences that impact the relative value of any injury caused to the foe.
Open Document