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Great Patriotic War - Training and Doctrine

Along with the growth of the fighting strength of the fleet and the development of its military equipment in the second half of the 1920s and during the 1930s highlighted the quality of training for all categories of personnel. On September 1, 1939 the law "On universal military duty" was adopted. which increased the length of service in the Navy for one year, thus improving combat training privates and petty officers of the regular service. Of particular importance was the provision to the Navy of highly qualified specialists. The Red Banner Baltic, Black Sea, Northern and Pacific fleets in the second half of the 1930s had a well-organized system of schools and training detachments, prepared the sailors and senior professionals in all specialties. Due to this, the soldier and petty officers of the fleet were well prepared. Naval school, special courses for officers and the Naval Academy provided the Navy well-trained commanders and political cadres in all specialties and categories.

In acting in the last prewar years, the most important documents that were shaping the strategic use and regulating the operational and combat activities of the Soviet Armed Forces, stated that the Navy of the USSR, which is their part, intended to ensure the safety of maritime boundaries and maritime communications was supposed to be in readiness:

  • On the offensive action in the open sea, in air, off the coast and the enemy's bases to achieve operational objectives;
  • To actively defend their fortified areas and naval bases;
  • To interact with ground forces and air forces of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army for their operations in coastal areas;
  • To ensure its maritime and breach enemy communications.

The theoretical views on the strategic use of the Navy, as well as its operational and combat activities at each of the maritime theaters, placed demands for the careful coordination of tasks and activities with other branches of the Armed Forces to achieve a common goal. It was envisaged that the tasks assigned to each of the fleets at some maritime theater, can be performed as a result of their actions as independent operations, and jointly with ground troops.

In the prewar period provided the following independent operations of the fleet: the actions to destroy enemy forces at sea, the actions of its sea lanes, safeguard their sea communications and control of a naval blockade of the enemy, mine barrage, warfare and daily operations to ensure a favorable operational theater. The joint operations of the fleet and army were considered: the support of fleet operations wing of the army, landing and antilanding against bases and shore facilities of the enemy (including operations in the rocky areas), and operations in ice.

With the increase in the proportion of surface, and in particular the large artillery and warships during the Third Five-Year Plan such ships became the nucleus of the Soviet fleet. The inevitability of escalating aviation from providing basic kinds of forces in the strike force was recognized by no means all, although confidence in the leadership role of big gun ships in the fighting at sea was not the same, but with the outbreak of the Second World War finally shaken.

The experience of the first period of the war made some adjustments in the official views. At the meeting of commanders of the Soviet navy in December 1940, it was felt that due to increasing threats to the big gun ships from aircraft, submarines and minefields, their role as the main strike force has been reduced considerably. The most versatile ships were recognized as cruisers and destroyers. The submarines, which at the beginning of the war numbered more than two hundred in all fleets were, were considered as a kind of naval forces, intended mainly for operations in marine communications. In addition, in cases where communications are the main task of the fleet in actions at sea, submarines would be seen as the main kind of forces.

Aviation Navy was viewed as a kind of force, intended mainly for tasks related to combat operations and daily activities of the fleet. The Second World War soon revealed the increased role of aviation in almost all types of naval operations, its ability to act not only with other types of naval forces, but also conduct independent operations. At the beginning 1930s views on the essence of development was primarily submarine tracking, and mine and torpedo aircraft. But this did not take into account the necessary amendments to the role and capabilities of submarines in the closed and limited in size and maritime theaters with so the significance of these aircraft for combat against enemy shipping. It is not enough to examine critically the experience of operation of the Russian submarines during the First World War, especially in the Baltic Sea, while the results achieved by them, were insignificant.

The Naval Combat Regulations in force in the prewar period reflected the views of the deep tactics, which were responsive to the changing nature of naval forces, their new combat and technical means. The Charter paid sufficient attention to surface, especially light and naval forces, which, however, not considered as the main kind of forces in all cases. The Charter emphasized that the value of each type of force was determined by the nature of the tasks and environment. The experience of World War II confirmed the correctness of the major provisions of the statute.

The presence of field manuals, handbooks and other tactical instruments ensured the unity of operational and tactical views of the commanders of the Navy of the USSR. The documents reflect the official views of the operational and combat activities of the Navy, much attention was given to offensive operations and types of hostilities. In the first place have been put forward for the traditional fleet operation to destroy the enemy forces at sea. These documents covered methods of conducting joint defense and combat operations with ground troops, operating on the coast, to a much lesser extent.

Some shortcomings of official documents regulating the operational and combat activities of the Navy, did not detract from the correctness contained in them the basic theoretical tenets of Soviet naval art, the desirability and modernity were confirmed by the experience of the Great Patriotic War. TheNavy of the USSR had by the beginning of the war a number of manuals on combat ships of various classes, which contained detailed instructions on how to act and the standard tactic when performing combat tasks inherent in the ships of a class. In 1940-1941 a system operational readiness of the fleets and flotillas was developed and put into operation, the appropriateness of which was justified at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:18:12 ZULU