Operations on Shore
Paragraphs Section I. General 120-122 II. Reconnaissance patrols prior to and during landing phase 123-132 III. Beachhead 133-140 IV. Scheme of maneuver 141-145 V. Withdrawal and reembarkation 146-150
- This chapter deals with the operations up to the time when the beach has been secured against hostile medium artillery fire. The operations which follow do not differ essentially from other land operations, such as those following the seizing of a bridgehead in an opposed river crossing. (See FM 100-5.)
- During the movement ashore and establishment of the beachhead, the doctrines governing the employment of the landing force are the same as for other land operations based on similar missions, but the detailed application of the doctrines is affected by conditions not found in other land operations. The discussion in this chapter is limited to features of the employment of Army forces peculiar to a landing attack. It relates specifically to the operations in the main landing area, but applies equally to operations in secondary landing areas.
- Tactical Unity.--It is imperative that the integrity of tactical units even down to the squad be preserved in the landing. This results if careful attention is paid to the loading of units in each boat and the assignment of successively larger tactical units to the same boat division, wave, and boat group, respectively, as discussed in section II, chapter 4. The success of the initial landing may depend on the team fighting power of separate squads and platoons, and each small unit must be supported by the timely arrival of the
remainder of the next larger tactical unit if the initial success is to be developed.
- Naval Gunfire, Air, and Boat Gun Support.--
- Naval gunfire support of the landing is discussed in chapter 6.
- Air support of the landing and of forces ashore is discussed in chapters 7 and 9.
- A brief discussion of the fire from boat guns during the ship-to-shore movement is contained in paragraph 117b. If practicable, during the initial advance from the shore, leaders of the landing group units utilize the boat guns as fire pivots of maneuver, by means of which assaulting units advance against the flanks of selected objectives. This fire support, however, requires careful coordination of fire and movement, and is usually obtained only when boat gunners (normally Navy personnel) and landing units have had thorough combined training. In night assaults boat gun support of the initial advance on shore is obviously limited by darkness.
Reconnaissance Patrols Prior To and During Landing Phase
- Reconnaissance of the shore line and ashore prior to landing and demonstrations in connection therewith are conducted for the purpose of securing information in accordance with the intelligence plans for the landing force operations. Advance force reconnaissance is discussed in paragraph 10; air reconnaissance is outlined in section I, chapter 7. The continuing reconnaissance by the landing force ashore is omitted from this manual as it does not differ essentially from the normal reconnaissance measures taken in any ground operation.
- Raids and reconnaissances in force, employing comparatively large bodies of troops, are planned and executed as for landings in force.
- Patrols or demolitions parties, organized and equipped to cut breaches in or to destroy entanglements, booms, and other obstacles in the water or on the beach, may operate in accordance with the methods described in this section for reconnaissance patrols.
- Information Desired.--The information desired includes--
- Location of enemy defensive positions and with what strength such positions are occupied.
- Location of enemy weapons such as machine guns, anti-boat guns, and artillery.
- Location of obstacles including underwater, gassed areas, and landing fields.
- Character of the surf, beach, and terrain and terrain corridors inland.
- Location, character, and strength of enemy supports and reserves, together with their routes of advance to oppose landings.
- Location of enemy ammunition dumps, signal communication centers, and command and observation posts.
- Identification of enemy units, air landing fields within supporting distance of the beach, and all map errors.
- Courses of Action.--In order to secure the desired information, it will be necessary usually to employ some or all of the following courses of action:
- Patrolling the coast line from the sea.
- Patrol demonstrations.
- Placing agents ashore.
- Patrolling on shore.
- Capturing prisoners.
- Photographic reconnaissance consistent with secrecy considerations.
- General Conduct of Patrols.--
- Attempts on the part of small patrols to carry out any of the above-mentioned courses of action by approaching the beach during daylight will in all probability gain little information of value. The enemy cannot be expected to disclose his defensive positions by opening fire on a small, easily recognized boat patrol during daylight unless reasonably assured of being able to sink all of its boats. If a small patrol lands in the presence of the enemy, it can be destroyed easily or captured. Reconnaissances by small patrols therefore must depend for success upon darkness or fog. darkness offers the most suitable cover for the conduct of patrols from small boats. It is desirable that the degree of darkness be that which makes discovery
of the boats difficult from the shore, and at the same time permits use of the land skyline as an aid to navigation. Fog will seldom offer a suitable substitute for darkness. This is due chiefly to the difficulties attending accurate navigation in fog, the uncertainty of its duration, and the blanketing of observation of the shore. In exceptional cases, fog may be utilized to cover the landing of agents either by boat or parachute or the capture of prisoners. In order to achieve the necessary secrecy, patrols are not supported usually by either gunfire or aviation.
- Owing to the extreme delicacy of patrol missions, special reconnaissance boats should be made available for this purpose. These boats should have a speed of at least 12 knots and quiet-running motors, be small enough to be handled readily by oars when the motor is cut, be heavily armed with boat guns, and have some protection against small-arms fire. the size of a reconnaissance patrol is limited to the minimum number of men and boats capable of accomplishing the mission. Such patrols, however, seldom employ less than two boats, at least one of which should be motor driven. All men who are to land are equipped with self-inflating pneumatic life jackets.
- Patrol boats should ordinarily proceed toward the beach in tow. If the patrol is to make a demonstration in an attempt to cause the beach defenders to open fire, motors should be kept running. Otherwise, unless exceedingly quiet-running engines are available, it is advisable to resort to oars before reaching earshot of the beach. When the beach is neared, at least one motor-driven get-away boat should be stationed in observation at a reasonably safe distance to seaward. This precaution is primarily for the purpose of insuring the return of at least one boat with information in case the enemy fires become severe, or the other boats become lost, disabled, or captured. The get-away boat may also serve as a rendezvous for the others to aid them in returning to the ship. When boats are to wait at the landing place for the return of shore patrols, they should be kept in constant readiness for a quick get-away, and adequately guarded by outposts on shore.
- As all classes of information relating to the enemy's strength and dispositions may be obtained from prisoners,
every opportunity to capture prisoners should be grasped by all patrols unless the patrols are specifically instructed otherwise.
- Patrolling Coast Line From Sea.--
- Boat reconnaissance of the coast line is conducted for the purpose of obtaining information as to the character of the surf, suitability of the terrain for land operations, location of obstacles, gassed areas, and similar information. An offshore breeze is highly desirable, both as an aid to secrecy and in the detection of gassed areas by smell.
- Boat reconnaissance patrols should seldom exceed one or two observers embarked in each of two boats. It is preferable to have the patrols operate along and fairly close to the coast, occasionally sending in a boat to investigate the beach at suitable points. While within hearing distance from the beach, all boats operate silently, resorting to oars if necessary.
- Patrol Demonstrations.--
- A patrol demonstration near the coast line for the purpose of obtaining information of the enemy strength and dispositions involves a deliberate attempt to alarm the enemy and cause him to disclose his positions by opening fire and shooting flares.
- Patrols making demonstrations employ boat gunners and landing force observers embarked in not less than three, and preferably more, fast motorboats, the number depending upon the extent of beach front to be reconnoitered. It is highly desirable to create the impression of a strong, sudden, determined attack; otherwise the real purpose of the operation may soon become evident to the enemy.
- Demonstration patrols proceed secretly toward the beach until within boat gun range. The get-away boats then take station while the other boats proceed at full speed on a zigzag course toward the beach, firing short bursts from their boat guns just before each change in course. This procedure helps to create the impression of a larger number of boats than are actually present. An onshore breeze is helpful to the patrol in magnifying the sound of the boats and in causing flares to drift inshore over the enemy positions. When the enemy fire becomes severe, or before reaching the beach, boats turn about upon a prearranged visual signal and put to sea with the information gathered.
- Landing of Agents.--
- Of all patrol activities, the secret landing of agents is probably the most difficult for the enemy to detect. Agents may be brought by a two-boat patrol within swimming distance of an isolated beach otherwise unsuitable for landing, and allowed to swim ashore with the aid of life jackets. They may also be landed by beaching a small boat or may be landed by parachutes from aircraft.
- When the agent is to return on the same night he is landed, he is picked up by a boat which may either wait off an easily recognized landmark and pick him up as he swims out, wait for him at the landing place or other rendezvous, or lie off and come ashore on signal from the agent. If the agent is to be left ashore for any extended period, arrangements must be made either to receive his signals from the shore or for a later rendezvous.
- Communication with an agent on shore must usually take place through voice radio or improvised visual signals. Lengthy and detailed transmissions requiring lights or flags must be sent from certain predetermined localities as specified times. Written messages may be left at designated places on the beach to be recovered later by patrols. A single vital piece of information, such as enemy in force, may be signaled by any prearranged means. Air-ground communication may also be arranged.
- Patrolling on Shore.--
- Although all other possible means of obtaining information should be fully explored, the importance of actual patrolling on shore should be appreciated. Information obtained through such reconnaissances, whether positive or negative, is usually of definite value. Landing patrols determine not only whether or not a particular beach area is actually defended, but also often offer the only practicable means, through observation and the capture of prisoners, of obtaining other necessary information. Patrols may be placed ashore either by means of boats or parachute landings when conditions permit.
- The size of patrols which are to land by boat will vary from two or three men to a rifle platoon, depending upon the nature of the mission, known enemy dispositions, and the configuration of the terrain. The smaller the patrol and the fewer the boats, the greater are the chances of escaping
discovery. Inasmuch as it may be found expedient to have the land patrol personnel swim from their boats to the shore and return, strong swimmers are selected, and are equipped with life jackets. In addition, they are lightly equipped and lightly armed and are stripped of all means of unit identification. Men who are to remain in the boats may be equipped with more powerful automatic weapons. In issuing orders to land patrols, care is taken to designate specifically and clearly the information they are expected to obtain.
- The boats which are to land reconnaissance patrols approach the beach with the same secrecy as previously prescribed for patrolling the coast line and the landing of agents. When the boats have approached within earshot of the beach, and the getaway boat has stationed itself in observation, other boats should proceed, usually under oars, to the selected landing. This landing place should preferably be located down current from the land area in which the patrol is to operate so that if the patrol has to enter the water swimming to the vicinity of the boat will be aided by the current. If more than one boat is required to land the patrol, the leading boat acts as an advance guard, and immediately upon touching the beach should post outposts in all directions to protect the boat and the landing place. The other boat or boats containing the patrol proper should then land their men near the leading boat. if only one boat is to beach, it should proceed as outlined above for the leading boat. All beached boats should be headed to sea and kept in readiness for a quick get-away.
- If patrols are landed by parachute, appropriate arrangements must be made for bringing them off by boat as outlined in paragraph 129b.
- On shore, patrols are conducted in accordance with the tactics of ordinary land patrols, the principal difference being that the patrol may, through necessity or by prearranged plan, have to enter the water and swim, either to the get-away boat or to a prearranged rendezvous where they can be picked up by the boat in which they landed.
- Capturing Prisoners.--
- One of the best and often the only means of obtaining certain classes of information is through the capture of prisoners. Although the types of
patrols previously discussed seize any favorable opportunity to capture prisoners, these means may not prove sufficiently productive of results. this contingency may necessitate the organization of special patrols for the primary purpose of obtaining prisoners, either by seizing enemy patrol boats and capturing their occupants, or by landing and capturing enemy individuals on shore.
- Boat patrols which are to capture prisoners from enemy patrol boats should be capable of high speed and great fire power, and the crews should be trained to operate together in darkness. The men should be heavily armed and the boats should be equipped with machine guns or 37-mm guns. Due to the danger of firing on each other by mistake, the boats remain in contact throughout the operation. When two or more boats comprise the patrol, appropriate methods of identification must be arranged and employed should boats become separated. A bright night is advantageous for such an operation. Boat patrols may lie in wait at selected points or may cruise in areas where enemy patrol boats are known to operate or where they are likely to be found. Upon discovering an enemy patrol boat, an effort is made to cut off its retreat to the beach and drive it to sea. All patrol boats engage in the pursuit, close with the enemy boat, and capture it. Similar operations may be adopted in order to prevent observation of our own movements by enemy patrol boats.
- Capturing prisoners on shore is accomplished either by landing a strong patrol or raiding party to attack a known isolated enemy post such as may exist on a small island or peninsula, or by landing a small patrol to ambush enemy individuals. For an attack against an enemy position, the raiding party may vary in strength from a squad to a company. Usually it is landed secretly. After landing, the selected enemy position is quickly approached and the attack launched. the raiding party with its prisoners repairs quickly to its boats and puts to sea before the arrival of enemy reinforcements. In exceptional cases where the location of the enemy position, the character of the surrounding terrain, and the visibility of landmarks from the sea permit, these attacks may be supported by ships' gunfire. For the ambush of enemy individuals the shore patrol is limited in size, preferably from two to eight men. The men are landed
secretly as prescribed for the landing of agents. After landing, the patrols lie in concealment along trails, at water's edge, or near other points where enemy individuals are likely to move with a view to seizing and escaping with them to the waiting boat.
- During Landing Phase.--During the landing phase, continuous reconnaissance is conducted by all echelons of the command. Air forces, submarines, and patrols landed from small boats, as well as the troops when landed, carry out this reconnaissance.
- Beachhead.--The first consideration in the conduct of operations on shore after the landing has been effected is the seizure of a beachhead of sufficient extent to insure the continuous landing of troops and matériel, and to secure the terrain features and maneuver space requisite for the projected operations on shore. The establishment of a beachhead enables a commander to maintain control of his forces until the situation ashore has developed and he has sufficient information on which to base his plans and orders for further operations. As a matter of security, it is necessary to clear the beachhead of enemy resistance. It should be kept in mind, however, that the establishment of a beachhead is not a purely defensive measure. It has the equally important object of insuring further advance inland if required to accomplish the mission of the force. Consideration is given therefore to the early seizure of terrain features which will facilitate this advance by including them in the beachhead or making them the objective of a special operation. Consideration is also given to depriving the enemy of terrain features which are most advantageous to him in the defense.
- Beachhead Line.--The beachhead line is an objective prescribed for the purpose of fixing the limits of the beachhead. It is not necessarily a defensive position to be occupied and organized as such. It is, however, a tentative main line of resistance in case of counterattack prior to the advance from the beachhead, and it is occupied and organized to the extent demanded by the situation (see fig. 15).
- Reconnaissance and Security Line.--
- The security line is one which prescribes the minimum distance beyond the beachhead line to which security detachments will be pushed by units occupying the beachhead line. Active reconnaissance will be conducted in the prescribed zone by designated units. The designation of the line prevents a greater dispersion of the force as a whole than is described by the beachhead force commander (see fig. 15).
- The reconnaissance and security line for landing operations differs from that employed in other ground operations in that it is normally closer to the beachhead line (the tentative main line of resistance) and becomes the outpost line in case the beachhead line is occupied for defense, whereas in other ground operations the reconnaissance and security line is normally in advance of the outpost line. it must be far enough in advance to protect the beachhead line from surprise ground attack and screen it from hostile ground observation and attack.
- Extent and Form of Beachhead.--
- The beachhead should be of sufficient depth and frontage to protect the landing points from medium artillery fire. Usually, this will be possible only with comparatively large forces. A landing force must guard against over extension of its units with consequent endangering of its flanks, beach establishments, and land lines of communications. The depth and frontage of the beachhead will be dependent upon the mission, the size of the force engaged, the nature of the terrain particularly as regards natural obstacles, and the probable enemy reaction.
- Figure 15 shows diagrammatically how terrain features may modify the form of the beachhead, and the extent to which the beachhead line may have to be occupied under various conditions in order to insure the desired security of the shore establishments. In figure 15(1), the terrain is assumed to be suitable for maneuver throughout its whole extent. In figure 15(2) and (3), the effect is shown of certain impassable obstacles which may be encountered in a variety of forms and combinations. Figure 15(4) shows a beachhead where it is necessary to land in a town. In most situations of this kind it would be advisable to land outside the town unless only very weak resistance is anticipated or complete surprise is practicable.
Figure 15.--Beachheads (illustrative only and not to scale).
- Successive Objectives.--The commander of the landing force may designated successive objectives to coordinate the advance from the beach to the beachhead line. these successive objectives have the advantage of permitting reorganization of attacking troops, passage of lines, coordination
of field artillery and ships' gunfire with the advance, and of facilitating the execution of an appreciable change in direction of the attack. Successive objectives may entail delay and should not be prescribed unless actually needed for a definite purpose.
- Intermediate Beachhead Lines.--
- Subordinate commanders may find it desirable to prescribe intermediate objectives or beachhead lines for their units, particularly when the landing force commander has not prescribed successive objectives. If successive objectives have been designated, these usually serve the purpose of intermediate beachhead lines, at least for major subdivisions of the landing force. Lower echelons, particularly when beaches are not contiguous, may require intermediate beachhead lines short of the first of the successive objectives prescribed by the superior commanders in order to reorganize, bring forward supporting weapons, or to establish liaison with adjacent combat teams. When intermediate beachhead lines are prescribed, they are designated CT (combat team)--1st Objective,--Infantry, 1st Objective, and son on, according to the unit for which prescribed.
- Prescribing intermediate beachhead lines is desirable because disorganization and loss of control may result during the ship-to-shore movement and the initial advance ashore, particularly when strong opposition is encountered. The establishment of an intermediate beachhead enables the commander to regain control of his unit and to maintain control of it until he has sufficient information on which to base his plans and orders for further advance. It also provides security for the landing of the rear elements of the unit. The prescribing of intermediate beachhead lines must not be allowed to cause unnecessary delay in the advance. On arrival at these lines, no halt should be made if the situation is such that the advance can be continued.
- The intermediate beachhead line prescribed by the commander of a major subordinate element of a landing force as large as a division should, if practicable, protect the landing beaches of the unit against hostile light artillery fire. A regimental or battalion (combat team) beachhead line should protect the landing beaches of the regiment against effective small-arms fire.
- Establishing Beachhead.--In a landing operation, troops must clear the beach rapidly. There must be no delay at the water's edge. This requires that leading units be landed in assault formation as fully deployed as the available boats permit. Once landed, every individual must thoroughly understand that he must clear the beach promptly and move rapidly inland or in the designated direction. Assault units push the attack to their designated objectives without waiting for the advance of units on their flanks. If a unit is landed on a beach other than that designated for its landing, its commander will initiate such action as will best further the general scheme of maneuver.
- Advance From Beachhead.--The desirability of establishing a security zone around his shore base should not lead a landing force commander to adopt a defensive attitude after the beachhead is secured. Any mission other than merely holding the beachhead is best accomplished by aggressive action, and aggressive action often affords the best protection to the beach establishments. The advance from the beachhead line however may entail the breaking of contact with the shore on one or both flanks and the establishment of shore lines of communication. Under such conditions, the securing of a beachhead may be followed by a period of stabilization for the necessary regrouping of forces. Reconnaissances by aviation and ground troops should be pushed vigorously during reorganization and the delay on the beachhead line reduced to the minimum. During this phase, liaison between naval aviation and ground troops may be difficult but is highly important.
Scheme of Maneuver
- General.--The decision as to the scheme of maneuver to be adopted by the landing force is affected by many allied decisions which are discussed in other sections of this manual. Some of these decisions are--
- Determination of the landing area to be utilized, which is dependent on the expected opposition, the character of available beaches, suitability of the terrain for shore operations, configuration of the coast line, the effect of the time
element in reaching objectives, and similar factors (see sec. IV, ch. 1).
- Selection of the time of landing, which is based on the relative advantages and disadvantages of daylight and darkness for the specific operation in prospect (see sec. V, ch. 1).
- Decision as to the formation to be adopted for the ship-to-shore movement, which is determined by a consideration of the strength and composition of the landing force, available boats, size of beaches, prospective action after landing, and similar conditions (see Secs. III and IV, ch. 4).
- The naval gunfire and aviation support to be furnished (see chs. 6 and 7).
- Frontage of Attack.--
- The frontage to be covered by the landings and the subsequent advance inland is an important consideration in formulating the scheme of maneuver. The frontage of the landing is dependent to a large extent upon the number, type, and relative position of the beaches available in the landing area. The strength and equipment of the attacking force, is, however, an almost equally important consideration. During the initial stages of the landing, ship's guns and aviation provide the artillery in support of the attacking force. the attacking force therefore comprises two elements of major importance, namely the landing force and naval and aviation support.
- The landing force attacks on a wide front in order to increase the speed of landing and to cause a dispersion of the defender's efforts, but it must not overextend. It must concentrate its effort and assign sufficient forces to the various tasks to insure their success. Units comprising initial assault echelons are particularly apt to become disorganized during and immediately after the landing, and they cannot be expected to make deep penetrations against strong opposition. Therefore, leading assault units usually secure an intermediate beachhead and cover the landing of additional troops. In many cases landings are not made on the entire front of the beachhead. This results in the zone of attack increasing in width as the advance progresses. The scheme of maneuver therefore must provide for the introduction of additional units in the assault from time to time in order to take care of this increased front. Sufficient reserves must be kept in hand to insure the exploitation of successes and to continue the
attack to the final objective. The success of the initial effort is of first consideration and the forces necessary to its success must be assigned before thought can be given to reserves for future contingencies. An operation which initially requires all of the attacker's forces to secure the foothold on the beach is rarely justified. Units must be assigned frontages which permit a depth of formation commensurate with the effort expected of them. Frontages suitable for assault companies and battalions are discussed in sections III and IV, chapter 4.
- Naval gunfire and combat aviation must be concentrated in support of the landing. Even a relatively small number of enemy machine guns and light artillery pieces firing under favorable conditions have a devastating effect on units as they approach and land on the beach. Assault units will probably be unable to get ashore and advance against this fire unless adequately supported by ship fire and combat aviation. A landing attack must not be held up while naval support groups are moved in order to augment inadequate supporting fires arranged for initially. Usually there is only one opportunity for a successful landing. Successive efforts subsequent to an attack which has failed are increasingly difficult. It is necessary therefore to limit the landings to frontages which are commensurate with the amount of supporting fire available. The scheme of maneuver may provide for adequate fire support either by restricting the landing to beaches of such number and extent as can be supported by all available ships and aviation, or by landings echeloned in time so that ships and available aviation can support the landings in turn (see ch. 6).
- Influence of Landing Boats.--The speed with which troops can be put ashore depends upon the number and type of boats available and the distance of the transports from the various beaches. The scheme of maneuver therefore must take these factors into consideration, particularly where there are not enough boats to embark all of the landing force at one time. The timely support of assault echelons and the prompt exploitation of success require reserves in boats immediately available. This limits the number of boats and consequently the troops and frontages which can be assigned the initial assault echelons. The frontage of the initial attack is affected also by the number of small fast boats
available for assault troops. Such boats should be provided for the leading platoons of battalions which are to be landed in assault (see ch. 3). All boats in any group should have the same speed. Slower boats should be used where speed is not of vital importance.
- Hostile Disposition.--Beaches strongly organized for defense are avoided, if possible, in the initial landings. Advantage is taken of undefended or lightly defended portions of the shore line, even though they present less favorable landing conditions, in order to outmaneuver the hostile resistance or to gain a position from which flanking artillery or small-arms fire may assist the landing at more favorable beaches.
- Landing by Echelon.--If a simultaneous landing cannot be made on all selected landing beaches, the landing may be made by echelon. In attacking by echelon it is generally desirable to land the last echelon at the beach, or beaches, where it is planned to make the main effort. this enables the ships which support that landing to continue without interruption in support of the advance of the main effort. Plans must be flexible, however, and constant consideration is given to the advisability of exploiting a landing already successfully executed rather than attempting a new landing against opposition. The time interval between landings in an attack by echelon may vary between wide limits. Where there are sufficient boats to carry all of the landing force in one trip and the supporting ships can cover the various landings from the same general locality, this interval may be only a few minutes. The amount of ship gunfire to be placed on the various beaches, together with the scheme of maneuver on shore, will determine this time interval. Where two or more boat trips and considerable movement of the supporting ships are required, or where it is desired to cause a movement of hostile reserves toward the first landing, several hours may elapse between landings. The danger of being defeated in detail must be guarded against. Landings by echelon should be attempted only when the beaches, or groups of beaches, are separated by sufficient distances that troops landed on one beach will not be endangered by naval gunfire on another beach. A landing by echelon, as in a landing on a single beach,
facilitates the concentration of the hostile artillery fires. In connection with such landings, demonstrations should be made to cause a dispersion of the hostile fire. In addition, heavy counterbattery fire or combat aviation should be employed to neutralize the enemy batteries.
Withdrawal and Reembarkation
- Withdrawal of troops engaged in landing operations, with consequent evacuation of positions on shore which have been occupied, may be required by strategical considerations or may be necessary by reason of unsuccessful tactical operations.
- The withdrawal and reembarkation of the forces in close contact with an enemy in relatively greater strength are exceedingly difficult and hazardous operations. They may, in desperate situations, involve the deliberate sacrifice of part of the forces ashore in order to extricate the bulk.
- Decision to withdraw having been approved by the authority having responsibility for the expedition as a whole, the necessary plans in as great detail as possible are drawn. up by the commander of the Army forces in consultation with the commander of the Navy forces.
- The means available to the Navy for clearing the reembarkation points will determine the stages of the withdrawal. The direction of withdrawal is closely limited by the location of the reembarkation points, and such withdrawals involve the passing of troops, matériel, and supplies through the reembarkation points which are defiles of the most constricted nature.
- When the situation permits an orderly withdrawal, the plan will usually provide for evacuation in the following sequence: animals, supplies, artillery matériel, and troops. However, when in close contact with a superior enemy it may be necessary to establish different priorities for evacuation such as troops, artillery, supplies, and animals. In this case provision will be made for the destruction of the artillery, equipment, supplies, and animals which cannot be evacuated.
- Secrecy.--The importance of secrecy cannot be overemphasized. For this reason, the withdrawal should be conducted
under the cover of darkness or a smoke screen, and every possible precaution must be taken to conceal the movements of the forces and other activities indicative of a withdrawal. Ruses to conceal any changes and to convey to the enemy impressions of normal conditions are desirable, but these ruses must be carefully planned and executed in order not to arouse the curiosity or suspicions of the hostile force.
- Air Superiority.--As long as the enemy is able to maintain air reconnaissance, concealment of the operations involved in withdrawal is difficult and therefore necessitates a maximum use of darkness and smoke screens and other deception measures. Local air superiority through the coordinated effort by both the Army and Navy air forces is particularly essential during reembarkation. Every effort must be made to retain such temporary air superiority until the forces have been reembarked.
- Weather Conditions.--Reasonably favorable weather conditions, at least during the last stages of the withdrawal and reembarkation, are a desirable requisite to the success of the operations. However, withdrawal and reembarkation may, under some situations, be necessary regardless of weather conditions. through its aerological service, the Navy will furnish the Army with weather predictions. The utmost effort will be made by the Navy to take advantage of favorable weather conditions during the reembarkation.
- Naval Support.--
- The operations of the Navy forces during a withdrawal of the Army forces from the shore are similar to those during a landing operation, the phases occurring in reverse order.
- In addition to providing the sea transportation and the small boats to reembark the Army forces, including crews to man the boats, the Navy will be prepared to furnish gunfire and air support during the withdrawal. As in the case of the initial stages of the landing operation, the Navy will provide for signal communications between the ship and shore until the last unit is evacuated.
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