"The Tasks of the Navy and the Methods of Performing Them", by Admiral N. Kharlamov
reliable source (B) .
erbatim translation of "The Tasks of the Navy and the Methods of Performing Them", an article by Admiral N. Kharlamov.
This article appeared in2 First Issuepecial version of the Soviet military journal Voyennaya Mysl (Military Thought). This journal is published irregularly and is classified TOP SECRET by the Soviets. 2 First Issue went to press on
Headquarters Comment: Military Thought is published by the USSR Ministry of Defense in three versions, classified RESTRICTED. SECRET and TOP SECRET. The RESTRICTED version has been issued monthly since7 while the other two versions are issued irregularly. The TOP SECRET version was initiated iny the end1 issues of the SECRET version had beenf them
The Tasks of the Navy and the Methods of Performing Them
Admiral N. Kharlamov
The tasks of the Navyuture warubject of theoretical as well as practicalto the entire Armed Forces. There is still lacking the necessary unity of understanding among the command elements of the various types of Armed Forces regarding the role, place and significance of combat operations at sea, especially in the initial periodar.
In the article by Admiral V. Platonovl, the tasks which may be assigned to our navyuture war have been examined in the main, correctly. However, these tasks are spelled out in general terms and are applicablearhole, with nofor the specific conditions of its initial period.
And yet, the nature of naval forces operations, the substance of the tasks being performed, theof their importance, and the sequence of their execution will differ greatly in the initial periodar from the execution of these same tasks during subsequent periodsar.
It is auniversally recognized principle that the initial periodar willecisive influence on the subsequent operations of each of the opposing sides. Obviously it is during this very period that both of the opponents will strive to use the greatest possible part of their nuclear/
Special Collection of Articles of the Journal^ Second
missile power amassed during the many years of peace. Here, from the very beginning of theierce struggle will be carried on to ensure theto use to the full the most powerful means of destruction available, or, as we say, the struggle for the strategic initiative.
The main point of this struggle for our Armed Forces, will be to frustrate the enemy attack, deny him the opportunity of carrying out previously developed plans for the initial operations, and from using means of mass destruction readied in advance, and, at the same time, to deliverowerful strike against the enemy that it would appreciably reduce his capability to conductcombat operations,
The decisive role in the delivery oftrike will belong to the missile troops ofdesignation, which are capable of hitting at the most vital enemy strategic objectiveson any of the continents.
A significant part of the efforts of the Armed Forces will have to be expended for the destruction of such delivery vehicles of the enemy's nuclear/ missile weapons as missile atomic submarines, carrier strike large units, and groupings of surface missile-carrying vessels, which are not only capable ofstrikes at our coastal installations, but can also operate against interior areas of the country. The first strike against these forces of the enemy must also be delivered at the very beginning of the war, and must be calculated to take place before the enemy can fully use the capabilities available to him.
In contrast to the objectives of strikes by the missile troops which arepermitting prior determination of all the necessary data and the creation,rouping of forces for delivering
a strike against them at any moment, naval targetsery high degree of mobility Therefore, for combat with enemy naval forces It will bealso to bring in mobile forces which have at their disposal the necessary nuclear/missile power. The only force-actually capable oJ frustrating the first enemy strikes from (he sea continues to be the Navy, and its basic task in .'he initial periodar is to frustrate the nuclear/missile attack in the course of the enemy's so-called "all-outoffensive" from the sea.
Just as the missile troops, by their first strikes against objectives on enemy territory, will destroy those of his means of carryinguclear/missile war which are located on land, so the forces of the Navy will have to perform this task at sea.
This is why the basic and primary task of our Navy in the initial periodar will be to destroy the forces of the enemy navy, which, along with*other forces, comprise the basis of his nuclear/ missile power. The first strikes of our fleet should be directed against such objectives as, above all. missile submarines, carrier strike large units, and groupings of missile-carrying vessels at sea or in bases.
The destruction of the strike forces of the enemy navy should be carried out within theof one or more initial operations. Operations against the enemy forces wxllingle goal, and will be carried out simultaneouslyingle plan. In connection with this, combat with aircraft carriers, missile submarines and groupings of surface vessels will be appropriate individual tasks of this overall operation. It will be carried out bv specially constituted groupings of forces which will deliver strikes against enemy naval forces In the areas of basing, under way at
sea, and directly in the areas of combat operations.
If the task of frustrating the enemy's nuclear offensive from the sea is successfully accomplished, it willirect and substantial influence not only on subsequent combat operations at sea, but on the course of combat operations along certain strategic axes. Therefore, in order to destroy the strike forces of the enemy navy at the very start of the war, it is necessary to allot sufficiently large forces, even to the detriment of theof other tasks, so that the first strike against the enemy is the most powerful, Only in this way can we be certain that the enemy will be incapable of parrying our strike, and that it will therefore be highly successful and bear Important results.
and scientific works, as well as of th
many arti-the author
, Admiral carrier strike of the of com-
the article presently under discussion,aval task as disrupting enemy sea and communication lines must also be accomplished in the initial periodar. Moreover V. Platonov writes that "combat with
large units on theonly part
the most difficult part"
task of disrupting the enemy ocean routes
munication, though it ma
is no need to argue the point destruction of the main strike groupings naval forces will facilitate the operati naval forces against the ocean comraunica of the enemy. The issue lies elsewhere-combat against enemy communication lines out simultaneously with thehe main strike forces of the enemy navy be Justified to allot for thisortion of the forces to thelishment of the main task of the initia thethe enemy nuclear the sea.
There is no doubt that the disruption of ocean communication lines and interruption of enemy sea transport will have considerable bearing on the course of combat operations in all theaters, but the effect will not be felt immediately; it will become evident gradually, as the materiel prepared by the enemy in advance becomes expended and his armed forces begin to suffer seriously from lack of ammunition, fuel, materiel and personnel. It will take at least several months beforeituation isfter the firsthave already been completed.
Our probable opponents are amassing the required supplies of materiel in the theaters of military operationsate which, taking losses into ap-count, will ensure the conduct of combat operationseriodonths.
Due consideration must also be given to the fact that at the present time certain changes are taking place in the thinking of the probableregarding the system of protecting his sea and ocean communication lines. Aware of the fact that ocean and sea ports will become targets for nuclear strikes in the initial periodar, the NATO military command now considers that one of the priority tasks in the initial periodar is the withdrawal of their merchant ships from the areas of nuclear strikes in order tothem for carrying out heavy shipments in the subsequent period of the war.
This task was executed in practice at the strategic command-staff exercise of the NATO Armed Forces, "Side During the exercise, withinours after the beginning of military operations, almost all ocean-going vessels, with the exception of those in mothballs or undergoing repair, were withdrawn from major European ports and from the Atlantic coastline of the United States.
vessels originally located inajor2 were evacuated. emained in European porta, and approximately ere left . ports. Those merchant ships which were at sea at the time were also directed to the western part of theOcean.
The ships were evacuated in convoys as well as individually, in all,onvoys wore recordedays, each consisting of oransports; in this instance protection for the majority of the convoys consistedscort vessels. Six convoys proceeded with no protection whatever. During the same period records show that there was only one convoy departing the United States for Europe; It consisted ofessels and was escortedar ships. The majority of the merchant66were evacuated to ports of North, West and South Africa. The remaining vessels were directed to the area of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
Such operations of the eneay corroborate once more that in the initial periodar major oovoments of troops and freight. ports to the European Theater of War are not very likely.
Also, although the destruction of thewhile they are in process of evacuation will decrease the enemy's capabilities to organizesea shipments, it will have no directon the course of combat operations in tho naval and ground theaters in the Initial periodar.
If small convoys are detected delivering troops across the ocean to the European Theater of War, their destruction can be incidental to thoof the basic tasks.
Such is the situation regarding operations against enemy ocean communication linos in the initial
Wc cannot rule out the possibility that in the first daysar. our probable opponent nay begin transporting troops by sea along coastal communication routes for the purpose of regrouping, reinforcement or evacuation of groupings pushed up against the sea, or for delivering materiel to them. Such operations are likely to take place in both the closed sea and ocean theaters of military Such enemy sea transport will become the objective of operations of the inshore (bllzhneye deystviye) naval forces, including missile-carrying surface vessels-
The main efforts of the Navy in the initial periodar must be concentrated against the strike forces of the enemy navy. Atomic and missile submarines and missile-carrying aviation should be directed first of all at the destruction of those forces of the enemy navy which deliver nuclear/ missile weapons. At the same time, and incidental to this, the task of disrupting enemy sealines also will be accomplished in part. By destroying enemy naval bases and ports, the Navy will also destroy the transports and freightin them.
Although the task of disrupting sealines and frustrating enemy sea transport is one of the main tasks of the Navy in the initial periodar, it must be executed, in full scope, only after the nuclear/missile power of the enemy Strike groupings has been undermined considerably, and his forces have lost the capability to deliver concentrated strikes against our Navy and itsareas as well as against the rear areaof our country.
In order to set up successful combat with enemy sea transport, prevent reinforcement of his ground
troop groupings in the course of tfie^first operations cut off delivery of essential materiel, andthe evacuation of valuable materiel from Europe to the other side of the ocean, it is necessary to take all possible measures for annihilating hisstrike large units and destroying his missile submarines. This task must be executed by the fleet in coordination with the missile troops of strategic designation, and will make it possible,hort time, to weaken enemy naval forces in the theater and will release our submarines and missile-carrying aviation for operation against enemy distant ocean communication lines.
At the time that large units of missile troops, while delivering strikes against vital objectives on enemy territory, including ports and naval bases, also are destroying the ships located therein, the navy will engage in combat with carrier strike large units, enemy missile submarines and their supporting forces directly at sea, destroy aircraft carriers, missile-carrying vessels and atomic submarines in the areas of their combat operations and on the approaches to them. Part of the naval forces will deliver strikes against the basing areas of the antisubmarine forces, airfields of antisubmarine defense (PLO) aviation, communications centers, control centers and the more important means of radiotechnical surveillance and navigation in the sea theater,
Regarding the actual methods of naval forces operations for destroying enemy carrier strike large units, in this matter we share the point of view of Admiral V.nd cannot accept as well founded the estimate of Admiral V, Platonov regarding the capabilities of our fleet jn the
Collection oftheThought", /sj.c'. probably
execution of this task, nor the evaluation of the exercises conducted to work out the methods of naval forces operation against enemy carrier strike large units.
Admiral V. Platonov writes as follows regarding one of the exercises of recent years: "It wasand sketchlly conceived, and carried outimplified manner0. The actual case wasdifferent. This Pacific Fleet exercise was one of the first major exercises in which theof our forces were carried outreat distance from their bases, that is, in those areas where enemy naval forces may be engaged in operationsuture war. The forces representing theenemy carrier strike force (AUS) were deployed through the Korean Strait and proceeded to the east of Japan,istanceew hundred miles. For operations against them, the submarine forces of the Pacific Fleet were deployed southeast of the island of Hokkaido. Aviation from the area of Sovetskaya Gavan delivered strikes against war ships at sea. Thus, in this exercise, simulation of the operations of forces was broughtinimum.
During the exercise, only one version of the operations was played, and the most difficult one atthe carrier strike large unit is deployed within the operational area of aviation from remote bases, located in the Hawaiian Islands. In this version our navy will have less time fortrike. Organization of reconnaissance and target designation will be particularlyinase.
If, however, the strike carriers are relocated (deployed) to bases in Japan, prior to tbe initiation tion of combat operations, and their aviation takes off directly from the bases for the strike, as Admiral V. Platonov writes, then the task ofthe Carrier strike force can be achieved in the
overall plan for destroying coastal objectives, and will be considerably easier than under conditions of carrier strike force operations in remote regions of the ocean.
It is obvious that in the course of operational training, different versions of naval forcesmay be worked out. As is generally known, during the Pacific Fleet exercise the concept and plan of naval operations envisaged action against objectives located on the mainland and on enemy island bases, as well as strikes against carrier strike forces on the ocean, For this purpose it was planned to use aviation, shore missile unitsnit of submarines. However, for obvious reasons, strikes against the bases and againstof the probable enemy located on shore could not be worked out in practice.
Admiral V. Platonov is in favor of eradicating simplification and sketchiness in the operations of the naval forces while they are working out methods of executing combat missions on the ocean in the process of naval training. Such ais obligatory, and in order to fulfill it, nuch effort is needed on the part of the teachers
and the pupils in all exercises conducted in the Wavy.
However, it must be mentioned hereremendous gulf sometimes exists betweenand capabilities of fulfilling them, and the fight against simplification in combat training can be carried on up to specific, sane limits, which, under present conditions, it is impossible to exceed
even against combat vessels. True use could not be made of all the means and protectionhip repelling the
Before, when the main weaponar ship was artillery, and that ofand conventional bombs, delivery of strikes against groupings of ships could be simulated *by the actual of the weapons against special targets, or
even then full of defense strikes of
"the enemy". Therefore, even at that time,strikes, combined attacks and single round firings on ships appeared far from what it would be in an actual combat situation.
Now, when missiles and torpedoes with nuclear charges are becoming tho main weapons of war ships and aircraft, carrying out even a small number of experiments with the actual use of weapons is far from being always possible, and it iswhether the results attained would justify the use. The cost of the weapons, measures for ensuring security, the great expenditure of forces which would be allotted for this purpose, and other circumstances would require an even greater amount of simulation ln the operations of the naval forces during combat training than is permitted at the present time without the actual use of weapons.
Nevertheless, even now, as more and moreof various designation are being used for naval armament, it is becoming difficult toaval exercise ln which there is no actual use of missiles by submarines, aviation and surface vessels. It is true that, for obvious reasons, missileat present are carried out at firing ranges, and not against vessels and aircraft participating in an exercise. From this point of view, some of our exercises are simulatedertain degree, and the operations of naval forces in theseare conducted in oversimplified conditions, different by far from those in which even the first combatuture war will be conducted. This is done because we still have not created perfected targets and means of simulating missiles which would permit us to work out their launchings effectively; thus, out of necessity, we have to use missiles only on special firing ranges, and not dlreotly during the playing of tactical phasesthe attacks and strikes oi mixed forces.
And although atomic and hydrogen bombs are not exploded at the exercises, and the piercing whistle of cruise missiles is not heard over the war ships everythingthe deployment of forces and the organization of strikes up to going into the attack using training torpedoes and various means ofcarried out just as it will be under combat conditions. Therefore we cannot agree with the assertion that oversimplification in combat training and in the organization and conduct of exercises, and stereotyped use of forces, arein the Navy. As is generally known, our Navy broke away from the shoreew years ago, and the main areas of its combat trainingthose seas and ocean regions which would most likely be used by the naval forces of the enemyuture war. These areas are quite distant from our bases, airfields and coastline, and this fact in itself brings the conditions under which our naval forces will operate nearer to actual wartime onditions. In these areas submarines and missile-carrying aviation develop and check out in practice the most effective methods of operations and the use of their weapons omplex situation.
At the exercises, in accordance with thesituation, submarines are deployed ingroupings in the most probable areas ofof enemy carrier strike large units. In order to simulate the operations of thear ships usually go out to sea and carry outin accordance with the views of the military leadership of the NATO countries which are known to
In exercises of recent years, the first strikes against the "enemy" war ship groupings wereby those forces which were the first to arrive In the area of "enemy"accordance with the principle 'no one waits for anyone". In aof instances the first to use their weapons
were the large units of missile-carrying aviation.There were also cases when the first strikes against the "enemy" were delivered by submarines. Later the naval command usually strived to direct as many submarines as possible at the "enemy". Repeated strikes by aircraft completed the annihilation of his war ship groupings.
One of the shortcomings of exercises is that the simulated forces are not fully used in them. Their function is limited to that of simulating the enemy up to the time that submarines and aviationeries of nuclear strikes against him. As soon as the naval forces execute the task of annihilating the enemy strike groupings the simulating forcesto base.
ajority of the exercises conducted, not all of the submarines had time to attack "thend often began to return to base, on signal, without navmg made even one attack. Thus, although the exercises were instructive for the Wavy on the whole and permitted it not only to check out, but to perfect the methods of operations of submarines and aviation or those submarines which did not succeed in-thehe prolonged stay at sea, in essence,outine, andombat, cruise.
We consider that all submarines proceeding to remote areas shouldhance to conduct atew attacks on the "enemy" in the ocean. This can be ensured comparatively simply. After the main tasks of the naval exercise are carried out, it is advisable to conduct the simulated forces,through those areas where, toward the end or the exercise, our submarines are located. This will create the necessary conditions for working out the operations of submarines in remote areas of the ocean, and will provide opportunity to carryeries of attacks under realistic conditions. The latter is necessary for the moral satisfaction of the
submarine personnel, whose intense training duringa cruise should be concluded by an attack, as it will under combat conditions,
The simulation forces should be used to the utmost in working out such matters as combat use of naval shore missile units, missile and torpedo patrol boats (kater) and various means of combat, in order that each naval exercise would actually be Navy-wide, and all the large units and units wouldeal opportunity to conduct attacks against the enemy, thus bringingogicalthe long period of maintaining them atreadiness,
One cannot but express amazement at theof Admiral V, Platonov that "control of naval forces is presentlyrisis" and at his proposal to unravel some "knot of contradictions".
Does everything regarding the control of the naval forces actually seem to be as it is pictured in Admiral V. Platonov's article? We are very far from accepting these extreme opinions and pointed conclusions as being fair.
If the logic of Admiral V, Platonov'sis followed, when he suggests that there be two commanders of the navalindependent of thequestion automaticallyonly two? If our Navy is carrying out an operation for the destruction of enemy naval forces, the forces of the former will be conducting operations along several axes, executing independent tasks. Part of the forces will carry on combat with carrier strike large units, another part will hunt out atomicand destroy them, and part will perform tasks for the destruction of ports, and naval bases, and for putting out of commission the ships and vessels located therein. To this we must add that in order to support the operations of their groupings of
strike forces, and also for the defense of the system of basing and for the execution of the great est number of tasks by way of systematic combat operations, special forces will be needed which, at the present time, are the forces of naval bases and divisions (brigades) of the inshore defensekhrana vodnykh rayonov), All thesewill operate in different areas of the theater, their methods and duration of operations will vary, and the groupings will differ from each other in the composition of forces.
will be, in the one of the inde-
But since all tasks in coordin-united into one
In other words, it turns out that for each grouping of forces engaged in executing one of the tasks of the operation, it will be necessary teommander of forces, whs opinion of Admiral V. Platonov, pendent commanders of the fleet these forces will execute their atlon, and organizationally are
Navy, it will be necessary to have still another naval commander over all the other commanders. Such ann our opinionf would not lead to better control of the naval forces, but .vould indeed give riserisis.
It is necessary to search for ways ofthe system of control of forces, not by increasing the number of commanders of each fleet, but in wide-scale automation of all the work of the command and staffs. At present this is the most correct and promising path, which, if followed, will open up great possibilities for ensuringuninterrupted and flexible control of all naval forces, operating in different areas of the theater and executing various tasks. And when the electronic-computing equipment takes its proper place in the work of our headquarters, it will fully assure the capabilityingleto control all the forces while they are operating in any ocean areas.
The dismal picture painted by the author of the resubordinatlon of part of the forces of one fleet to another while both are executing the same task, is far from the actual true
Actually, when two fleets jointly fulfill the same task, we work out the transfer of part of the forces of one fleet to the subordination of another. This means that the attached or supporting forces are being used together with the basic forces of the fleet, which were allotted for the executioningle task. They are under the direction of one of the fleet commanders designated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
Experience gained in exercises has indicated that such use of the forces of two or more fleets for the execution of tbe same task fullyItself, and none of the awful situations with which the author attempts to frighten us has developed. And anyway, under present the development of such situations is impossible. The forces of one fleet are attached to another, not for operatingpecific area, limited by one of the parallels, but forefinite task. And only after this
task isof whether it is
below or abovearallel, the attached forces can be redirected and consequently become resubordlnated to the other commander.
Such resubordlnation is nothing to shy away from, but it should be worked out and mastered in the process of combat training, because this is one of the possible workable means ofthe efforts of two or more fleets for the execution of important tasks in short fieriods of time.
Equally unfounded are the auTfior'S misgivings that the war ships operating near the boundary lines will not know to whoa to report and whose orders to follow. This will not happen if the tasks are clearly assigned. He cannot seriously consider that the commanders of submarines being deployed several thousand of miles away from their bases will not know why they were sent there. Neither will they be required to report to various addresses regarding their operations, because we have adopted and operatenified system of communications for all fleets. And finally, we must bear in mind that the boundary lines between the zones of operations of adjacent fleets are fixed by the high command, which, inask to the fleets, defines the areas of their operations, and at any given moment, just as soon as needed, can shift the boundary line as required by the actual situation.
umber of Instances Admiral V. Platonov overestimates the capabilities of the probable opponent. He writes that. the situation forces the enemy to sally forth into open sea totrike, then the carrier strike large unit will see to ithorough preliminary search is carried out and that the area of its maneuvering is cleared of enemy We can hardly agree that the enemy will be able to destroy our forces completely ln one or another area even before the accomplishment of thetask. However, if the author of the article thinks otherwise, then he should not only have
described this situation, but also offered some way out of it.
We are of the opinion that our forces are capable of operating ln remote areas of,the ocean and successfully accomplishing the task ofcarrier strike large units.
Also incorrect is the assertion of the author of the article that we still have not determined the main forces for the task of combat with missile submarines.
It is known that alreadynwith the accelerated construction by the United States of atomic submarines, armed with "Polaris" missiles, and the possibility of their being used from the ice areas of the Arctic, the Navy wasewprevent these submarines from delivering strikes against our territory. Special measures were taken for the most rapid construction of special antisubmarine defense (PLO) forces, as well as for working outhe use. for this purpose of the forces and means which were already part of the equipment of the fleet.
The fleets and academies were assigned the task of giving special attention during operational and combat training, and while conductingresearch, to finding effective methods of combat with missile submarines. esult of this, at the presentystem of antisubmarine defense has been worked out, as well as opinions regarding the performance of its tasks.
It is felt that combat with missile submarines is to be carried out with equal intensity in both close and remote areas. It will consist of strikes against missile submarine bases, the mining of their basing points, and destroying them in remote areas, prior to their approach to firing positions.
Admiral V. Platonov correctly affirms that the main force of the Navy in combat with missilewill be antisubmarine submarines.. absolute denial of the capabilities ofand surface vessels in this combat must be considered Incorrect. In the next few years surface
vessels and PLO aviation will comprise the basis for combat with missile submarines in coastal areas. These forces will alsoefinite role in remote areas.
In Admiral V. Platonov's article we come across other incorrect propositions. We fully agree with the criticism of them expressed in the article bv Admiral V. Kasatonov.
The editors of the periodical "Military Thought" acted correctly iniscussion of the most important issues of the development and use of the Navyuture war. road exchange of opinions by the command personnel of the Navy and other types of Armed Forces on the issues touched upon will permit us to understand more deeply the significance and substance of the changes taking place in our Navy, caused by the adoption into its armament of nuclear/missile *eapons and various combat means based on radio-electronics, and to work out unity of views on all the basic issues of the development and use of naval forces.Original document.