Naval Infantry - Weaknesses
Surprise. If the ships of the amphibious force are detected en route, the defenders have time to reinforce likely landing areas with troops, artillery, and air support. The amphibious force also may be attacked by enemy naval forces.
Air Cover. If the amphibious landing force does not have tactical air superiority, the assault force would be vulnerable to air strikes at sea and on the beaches. SA- 7s, ZSU-23-4S, and SA-9s can be fired from the decks of the landing ships and ashore. These weapons com-plement naval antiaircraft fire, but might not be suf-ficient to insure success of the assault.
Weather. Fog, heavy rain, or other periods of reduced visibility could cause disorientation of the assault force. Such disorientation could cause elements of the units to be dispersed beyond the control of the unit commanders and even outside the objective area altogether.
Sea Conditions. Heavy surf could capsize vehicles and break up the assault formation. Troops inside the vehicles would not have stable platforms from which to fire. Fire from amphibious tanks in the water would be useless in any but the calmest conditions. Sea-sickness could become a problem and decrease the effectiveness of assault troops.
Enemy Obstacles. A well-prepared system of obstacles and mines could slow or stop an assault landing. Air cushion vehicles may skim successfully over submerged obstacles, but passage of amphihious vehicles could be blocked.
Enemy Armor. Enemy tanks or guns could destroy the assault force. Amphibious vehicles are lightly armored and extremely vulnerable to most types of enemy fire.
Rates of Advance. If the first waves are prevented from moving inland from the beachhead, massing of troops, vehicles, and weapons can occur. The Soviets plan for rapid advance inland of the naval infantry to follow up with a large ground force with supporting artillery and staying power. Upsetting the timetable by forcing the naval infantry units to stop or slow down would not only reduce the momentum of the attack but would subject troop concentrations to enemy fire.
Marking of Lanes. The orderly procession of the assault columns depends on cleared lanes bring marked clearly with buoys or panels. If these were destroyed or moved, the columns might deviate from the cleared lanes to the shore and could be destroyed by obstacles or mines.
Communications. The Soviets rely heavily on pyro-technics, panels, and other forms of non-radio com-munications before the assault. Rapidly changing tactical situations may make radio communications essential. Enemy jamming or interfering with radio communications could seriously degrade the assault's success.
Airborne Landings. The Soviets often conducted amphibious exercises in conjunction with airborne or hrliborne Landings. The airborne or helihorne forces attempt to keep reinforcements from reaching the amphibious landing area. If these troops land in the wrong area or are otherwise prevented from landing successfully, the naval infantry could face stiffened resistance.
Beach Conditions. Not all shorelines are suitable for landing of amphibious vehicles or landing ships. If Soviet beach reconnaissance teams are prevented from accurately ascertaining beach gradients, soil con-ditions, and other landing site factors, the amphibious assault could fail.
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