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Naval Infantry - Great Patriotic War

In Russia, marine infantry appeared in 1705, when during the Northern War of 1700-1721, an armed struggle unfolded in the coastal and insular regions. The units and units of the Marine Corps were repeatedly disbanded and recreated. Newly created in 1939, units and units of the Marine Corps during the Great Patriotic War were widely used in amphibious operations and the defense of fleet bases. In the postwar years, they were disbanded and appeared in the Navy in the early 1960s. While carrying out combat service on warships and vessels providing the Russian Navy, in particular in the Gulf of Aden, the marine infantry showed high combat readiness and efficiency. Marine infantry is a part of the armed forces of many countries.

Throughout its three-century history, the Russian Marine Corps has become an indispensable participant in many small and large wars in defense of the interests of the Fatherland. The main of them: Russian-Turkish war (1806-1812); Patriotic War of 1812; defense of Sevastopol (1854 - 1855); Defense of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War (1904 - 1905). A severe test for the Marine Corps was the Great Patriotic War (1941 - 1945).

The first regular formations of the Soviet Marine Corps were created already in 1918 as part of the Volga Military Flotilla. They landed in landings on enemy occupied coasts and provided for the crossing of troops. In 1920 on the Sea of Azov for sea assault and anti-landing defense of the sea coast, the first marines formation was formed - the 1st Marine Expeditionary Division.

During the Civil War, 1918-1922, up to 75,000 sailors were on the fronts, decommissioned from ships. Of these, separate detachments, battalions and regiments were formed, but they did not receive the official status of the Marine Corps as a special kind of troops and were disbanded after the war.

In the 1930s the Soviets developed amphibious doctrine building on their experiences in Great War and the subsequent Civil War and organized naval infantry units up to brigade size. With the start of the Great Patriotic War, the marines were involved in the most difficult sectors of the front. From the first days of the Great Patriotic War, the main naval bases of the Navy in the Baltic, Black Sea fleets and the Arctic turned out to be threatened by the fascists seizing them from the land. The troops of the Red Army in the coastal areas were sorely lacking. The fronts under the blows of Hitler's air-armored armada retreated to the east.

By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the Navy of the USSR had only one marine brigade in the Baltic Fleet, but with the outbreak of the war the formation and training of detachments, battalions and brigades began. Only in 1941 there were again formed dozens of naval infantry brigades and units of marines. Hundreds of thousands of sailors - sailors, cadets, foremen, officers left ships and fleet units for various sectors of land fronts. During the war, the number of marines who took part in the battles was about 100,000 people. The military situation required the sending of a large number of marines to land fronts.

In the years of the Great Patriotic War about 500,000 sailors fought on the land fronts in the marines battalions, regiments and brigades. During the Great Patriotic War they conducted over 100 amphibious operations, including several major operations in the Baltic, Crimea, and Far East. The Russians had a well-developed amphibious doctrine but almost no specialized ships and equipment. While their doctrine was well-thought out and effective, they were hampered throughout the war by a lack of specialized amphibious ships and craft and thus had to make expedient use of warships, small combatant vessels, merchant ships, fishing boats, and small craft to transport landing forces.

Soviet doctrine did not differentiate between river crossings and landings from the sea; they classified both as amphibious operations. Hundreds of Soviet amphibious operations were conducted in the Black Sea. These operations were seen as flank support to land operations, with the army generally in overall command.

Examples of military art in amphibious operations are now such naval landings as near Odessa (Grigorievka - 1941), near Kerch and Feodosia (1941 - 1943), near Linhamari (1944), near Leningrad (1942 - 1943) (1944), to the port of Nikolaev (1944) are the glorious landmarks of the heroic past of the Soviet marines. In August 1945 they carried out three amphibious assaults at ports on the northeast Korean coast, as well as several landings on the coast of Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands. The largest Soviet waterborne operations were crossings of the Amur, Ussuri, and Aigun Rivers in Manchuria.

During the war, infantrymen showed themselves in the defense of Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa, Sevastopol, Murmansk, Stalingrad, Novorossiysk, Kerch. For combat service, five brigades and two battalions of the Marine Corps were transformed into guards, nine brigades and six battalions were awarded orders, many were given honorary names. 122 marines were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet experience in amphibious warfare in the Great Patriotic War contributed to the development of Soviet operational art in combined arms operations. The rapid and repeatad amphibious assaults which were conducted in coordination with the army's land campaign significantly contributed toward the German defeat in the Baltic coastal area. The overwhelming majority of amphibious operations by tie Soviet Navy were dictated by normal operational-tactical expediency. The amphibious lardings aided the achievement of objectives of the operation, within which they were carried out and were an important link with the armed struggle at a whole. The Soviets were quick to boast that 61 of their 114 landings in the Great Patriotic War were conducted in less than 24 hours.

Although Soviet naval infantry was activated and performed a valid military function during the Great Patriotic War, its presence did not signify the start of a new naval infantry heritage. It simply was required in terms of wartime pressures for specific military tasking, and quietly fell into disuse at the end of the war. Soon after the war was over, the Soviet military leadership decided that there was no place for naval infantry in the new nuclear era. By 1956 all Marine units had been disbanded. During the 1950s, the Soviets denied the military value of amphibious assaults because of the potential effect of nuclear weapons on an assault force.

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Page last modified: 02-12-2019 17:59:26 ZULU