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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)

Chapter I. Introduction.

Section V

Navy Regulations			1-21	  35
Control of joint operations		1-22	  35
The directive				1-23	  36
Naval officer commanding ashore		1-24	  37
Marine officer commanding ashore	1-25	  37
Marine--Constabulary			1-26	  39
Direct control by Navy Department	1-27

1-21 Navy Regulations. -- a. Article 575, Navy Regulations, 1920 states: "When serving on shore in cooperation with vessels of the Navy, brigade commanders or the officer commanding the detachment of marines shall be subject to the orders of the commander in chief, or, in his absence, to the orders of the senior officer in command of vessels specially detailed by the Commander in chief on such combined operations so long as such senior officer is senior in rank to the officer commanding the brigade or the detachment of marines. When the brigade commander or the officer commanding the detachment is senior to the senior officer in command of the vessels specially detailed by the Commander in Chief on such combined operations, or when, in the opinion of the Commander in Chief, it is for any reason deemed inadvisable to intrust such combined command to the senior officer afloat, the Commander in Chief will constitute independent commands of the forces ashore and afloat, which forces will cooperate under the general orders of the Commander in Chief."

b. In article 576, it is provided that: "The brigade commnander or other senior line officer of the Marine Corps present shall command the whole force of marines in general analogy to the duties prescribed in the Navy Regulations for the senior naval officer present when two or more naval vessels are serving in company, but the commander of each regiment, separate battalion, or detachment shall exercise the functions of command over his regiment, battalion, or detachment in like general analogy to the duties of the commander of each naval vessel."

1-22. Control of joint operations. -- In a situation involving the utilization of a marine force in a small war campaign, the directive for the marine force commander usually requires him to report to the senior officer present in the area of anticipated operations. The Major General Commandant exercises only administrative control over the marine force; its operations are controlled by the Chief of Naval Operations directly, or through the senior naval officer present, if he be senior to the marine force commander. Consequently, no operation plans or instructions with regard to the tactical employment of the marine force originate in the office of the Major General commandant.

1-23. The directive. -- a. In situations calling for the use of naval and marine forces in operations involving protection of life and property and the preservation of law and order in unstable countries, the burden of enforcing the policies of the State Department rests with the Navy. The decisions with regard to the forces to be used in any situation are made by the Secretary of the Navy as the direct representative of the President. Through the Chief of Naval Operations, the Secretary of the Navy exercises control of these forces. The directive issued to the naval commander who is to represent the Navy Department in the theater of operations is usually very brief, but at the same time, clearly indicative of the general policies to be followed. The responsibility for errors committed by the naval commander in interpreting these policies and in carrying out the general orders of the Navy Department rests with such naval commander.

b. If, as is the usual situation, the naval commander is the senior officer present in the theater of operations, his sole directive may be in the form of a dispatch. A typical directive of this type is set forth as follows:


c. Under the provisions of the foregoing directive, a naval commander concerned would be placed in a position of great responsibility and in accomplishing his task, he would necessarily demand the highest degree of loyalty and cooperation of all those under his command. The usual procedure, adopted by the naval commander, would be first to make a careful estimate of the situation, then arrive at a decision, draw up his plan based on this decision, and issue the necessary operation orders.

1-24. Naval officer commanding ashore. -- If the force to be landed consists of naval and marine units and is placed under the direct command of a naval officer, matters with regard to the relationship between the forces ashore and the naval commander afloat will give rise to little or no concern. The naval officer afloat will, under such conditions, usually remain in the immediate vicinity of the land operations, maintain constant contact with all phases of the situation as it develops, and exercise such functions of command over both the forces ashore and those afloat as he considers conducive to the most efficient accomplishment of his task. Commanders of marine units of the landing force will bear the same relationship toward the naval officer in command of the troops ashore as it set down for subordinate units of a battalion. regiment, or brigade, as the case may be.

1-25. Marine officer commanding ashore. -- a. When the force landed comprises a marine brigade or smaller organization under the command of a marine officer, and such forces become engaged in a type of operation that does not lend itself to the direct control by the naval commander afloat, many questions with regard to the relationship between the marine forces ashore and the naval forces afloat will present themselves. The marine force commander, in this situation, should not lose sight of, and should make every effort to indoctrinate those under his command with the idea that the task to be accomplished is a "Navy task"; that the responsibility for its accomplishment rests primarily with the immediate superior afloat; and that regardless of any apparent absence of direct supervision and control by such superior, the plans and policies of the naval commander afloat must be adhered to.

b. The vessels of the naval force may be withdrawn from the immediate theater of operations; the naval commander may assign certain vessels to routine patrol missions along the coast; while he, himself, may return to his normal station and maintain contact with the marine force and the vessels under his command by radio or other means of communication.

e. The directive issued to the marine force commander will usually provide that he keep in constant communication with the naval commander afloat in order that the latter may at all times be fully informed of the situation ashore. The extent to which the marine force commander will be required to furnish detailed information to the naval commander will depend on the policy established by the latter. As a general rule, the naval commander will allow a great deal of latitude in the strictly internal administration of the marine force and the details of the tactical employment of the various units of that force. He should, however, be informed of all matters relative to the policy governing such operations. In case the naval commander does not, through the medium of routine visits, keep himself informed of the tactical disposition of the various units of the marine force, he should be furnished with sufficient information with regard thereto as to enable him to maintain a clear picture of the general situation.

d. Usually the naval commander will be required to submit to the Navy Department, periodically, a report embracing all the existing economic, political, and tactical phases of the situation. The naval commander will, in turn, call upon the marine force commander for any reports of those matters as are within the scope of the theater in which the force is operating.

e. Estimates of this sort carefully prepared will often preclude the necessity of submitting detailed and separate reports on the matters involved and will greatly assist the naval commander in his endeavor, through the coordination of the other information at his disposal, to render to the Navy Department a more comprehensive analis of the situation confronting him.

f. When questions of major importance arise, either involving a considerable change in the tactical disposition and employment of the marine force, or the policies outlined by the naval commander, the latter should be informed thereof in sufficient time to allow him to participate in any discussion that might be had between the political, diplomatic, and military authorities with regard thereto. It should be remembered that in making decisions in matters of importance, whether or not these decisions are made upon the advice of our diplomatic representatives, the marine-force commander is responsible to his immediate superior afloat.

g. In addition to the principles that are necessarily adhered to incident to the "chain of command," a marine-force commander on foreign shore habitually turns to the Navy for assistance in accomplishing the innumerable administrative tasks involved in the small-war situations. Matters with regard to water transportation for evacuation of personnel, matters concerning supply, matters involving intercourse with our diplomatic representatives in countries in the vicinity of the theater of operations, matters relating to assistance from the Army in supply and transportation, and any number of other phases of an administrative nature can be more expeditiously and conveniently handled through the medium of the naval commander whose prerogatives and facilities are less restricted than those of the commander in the field.

1-26. Marine-Constabulary. -- When there is a separate marine detachment engaged in the organization and training of an armed native organization, the commanding officer of this detachment occupies a dual position. Although he is under the supervision of the Chief Executive of the country in which he is operating, he is still a member of the naval service. In order that there may be some guide for the conduct of the relationship that is to exist between the marine force commander and the marine officer in charge of the native organization, fundamental principles should be promulgated by the Secretary of the Navy.

1-27. Direct control by Navy Department. -- If the naval vessels that participate in the initial phases of the operation withdraw entirely from the theater of operations, the command may be vested in the marine-force commander or in the senior naval officer ashore within the theater. In such case, the officer in command on shore would be responsible directly to the Chief of Naval Operations. His relationship with the Chief of Naval Operations would then involve a combination of those principles laid down for the relationship that exists between the forces on shore and the naval commander afloat, and the relationship that the latter bears to the Navy Department as its representative.

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