Ship to Shore Movement
Section Page I. General 61 II. Task organizations 62 III. Formations, frontages, and distances 69 IV. Planning 81 V. Execution 94 VI. Reconnaissance patrols 101 VII. Boat formation signals 106 VIII. Salvage operations 108
Par. 401. Scope 61 402. Ship to shore movement vital part of attack 62
- The scope of this chapter includes those considerations directly connected with the planning and execution of the movement of troops from the beginning of their debarkation from transports until they are landed on the beach. It deals primarily with the infantry battalion and smaller units, and the corresponding boat organizations. Naval gunfire and the landing of field artillery, tanks, and other arms and services are treated in separate chapters.
- Although the same principles apply, special adaptations of the methods prescribed herein will be necessary in the event the situation favors towing or ferrying by larger vessels, or landing directly from larger vessels at piers or beaches.
- In the formations illustrated in this chapter use of the following types of boats is contemplated:
Special Navy landing craft. Standard Navy boats (for ships' landing forces).
- The formations illustrated in this chapter are, in general, also applicable for rubber landing craft and landing vehicles in the special operations where employment of those types is desirable. Necessary modifications entailed by the differences in capacities and other characteristics of the above types should be made.
- Rubber craft should be available for use in the following situations:
- Crossing water too shoal for larger boats.
- Negotiating underwater obstacles.
- Landing in rocky and difficult places.
- Surprise landings.
- Landing from ships unable to accommodate a sufficient number of larger boats.
- Landing raiding parties and reconnaissance patrols.
- Landing from water-borne aircraft--see paragraph 155c and chapter VI.
- For river crossings after the initial landing.
- Landing of intelligence agents.
- Landing vehicles, track, will be useful and should be available for the following employment:
- Crossing water too shoal for regular landing boats.
- Crossing coral reefs.
- Negotiating obstacles both under water and on land.
- Crossing swampy or marshy areas.
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- Movement of personnel, equipment, and supplies from transports to locations inland without unloading at the beach.
- In lieu of tractors and trailers in the early phases of an operation before motor transport has been landed.
- The formations discussed hereafter are not based on any specific tables of organization because of the changes to which such tables are subjected. The illustrations are of a general nature, adapted to three rifle platoons in each company, three rifle companies in each battalion, and three battalions in each regiment, with certain heavier weapons as an integral part of the above echelons. The frontages assigned units on shore are based on an average of one man to each 4 to 8 yards of the firing line, with adequate supports and reserves to assure proper distribution in depth. Unusual conditions, such as night attacks or rough and wooded terrain, may justify deviation from the limits given.
- Ship to shore movement vital part of attack.--
- The ship to shore movement of the small boats carrying troops embraces an important phase of the attack itself. The movement is more than a simple ferrying operation and involves much of the tactics of fire and movement. This may be readily realized from a brief review of the basic elements of an infantry attack on land prior to the hand-to-hand conflict.
- An attack on land opens with preparatory gunfire laid on the defending enemy positions for both destruction and shock. This fire is increased in severity until masked by the assaulting infantry. For ease of control, the infantry begins its distant approach in comparatively large columns, but, as the approach continues and the danger from enemy weapons increases, the infantry, for its own safety and ease of prospective deployment, breaks into smaller units. Finally, in order to reduce losses further and to use effectively its own weapons, it is forced to deploy. Then, when it is judged that the combined fires of the artillery and infantry have produced sufficient effect, or at a time previously ordered, the gunfire lifts and the deployed infantrymen, still maintaining their fire, rush the enemy positions with the bayonet.
- In the attack on the immediate beach defenses in a landing operation, all of the above phases up to the last rush take place while the attackers are on the water. This indicates that the leading troops must necessarily be broken into small groups as soon as danger from shore weapons becomes acute or the necessity arises for the use of their own weapons. A deployment of small boats is necessary to accomplish this. All lateral maneuvers essential to placing the troops in the proper attack formations and opposite the desired landing place must also take place at or before this time. Finally, the leading troops must be quickly delivered in formation on the beach, deployed as skirmishers, or as near thereto as the small boats will permit. Supports and reserves must be maneuvered on the water so as to exploit successes, and artillery must follow at the proper time and place to enable it to support the attack beyond the initial assault.
- Landing operations definitely place the burden of an important phase of the initial attack upon coordinated movements of various types of naval craft in accordance with land tactical plans. Thus, the movement from ship to shore should not be regarded as merely a preliminary movement, but as an integral and vital part of the attack itself, demanding of the boat commanders a high order of tactical knowledge and skill and a complete control of the boat formations involved.
Par. 403. Major groupings 62 404. The landing group 63 405. Organization and command of boats 63 406. Assignment of boats to boat groups 67 407. Boat pools 67 408. Flexibility 67 409. Embarkation of officers of the boat group 67 410. Beach and fire control party personnel 67 411. Marine personnel as crews of boat guns 69
- Major groupings.--
- The organization of any ship to shore movement of troops is naturally divided into two main categories: (1) The task organizations of the landing force; and (2) those of the small boats in which they are to move and initiate the fight.
- The task organizations of the landing force consist of various combinations of its regularly organized units (squads, platoons, companies, etc.). These combinations are not only organized
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to accomplish limited tasks during the initial landing but also to enable the attack to be continued inland without delay. The task organizations of the small boats should, as far as the number and types of boats permit, conform to those of the landing force, so as to facilitate the landing of troops in the formations which will permit them to carry out their shore missions.
- The basic task organizations are as follows:
Landing force: The landing groups.
Small boats: The boat groups.
- The landing group.--
- The landing group is the basic task organization of the landing force for the movement from ship to shore.
- In large operations it normally consists of an infantry battalion, plus such artillery, tank, antitank, antiaircraft, medical, and engineer units as may be attached. It also includes all other units attached for landing with it for purposes of organization of activities at the beach for command, and for communications. These latter units usually include shore and beach parties, forward echelons of higher commands, and liaison agencies. (See fig. 1 for one example of the composition of a landing group.)
- In order to permit the best use of available boats, provide for combined training, and simplify the issuance of orders, all troops to be landed in formation should be organized into landing groups.
- Each landing group is identified by a number, followed by the name of the principal organization. The senior troop commander in each group is usually designated as its commander.
- The organization of landing groups is published in the form of a table, as shown in figure 1. It is preferable to issue a consolidated force table showing all landing groups organized in the force. The table should be issued as early as practicable after the composition of the landing force is known, preferably before embarkation of troops, and independent of any tactical orders for a landing. This table may then be used as a basis for assignment of boats, organization of embarkation groups, transport loading, etc.
- The table should show the number of boat spaces required for each organization and the total for each landing group. Motor vehicles and heavy equipment requiring special boats or landing gear should be listed separately. Infantry battalions which it is planned to use in assault should be so designated, so that suitable boats may be assigned.
- In the later issuance of tactical orders for a specific operation, the composition of the landing groups may be modified as found necessary to meet the requirements of that particular operation. The assignment of attached units to separate boat divisions, as indicated in figure 1, is therefore desirable.
- Organization and command of boats.--
- Due to the fact that the landing groups must be landed in tactical formations, the boats which are to transport them to the beach may, when deployed, be spread over large areas. From figure 2, it will be seen that the boats transporting an assault battalion may occupy an area of some 1,000 by 5,000 yards. In order to control and maneuver boats over such a large area, careful organization, adequate communications, and a proper chain of command are essential. This is provided by the following task organizations:
The boat group.
the boat divisions of the boat group.
The boat flotilla.
- The boat group.--The boat group is the basic task organization of the boats to be used for transporting troops from ship to shore. One boat group is organized for each landing group to be landed in the first trip of the boats. The boat group is designated by a number, as "Boat Group No. 1," and is commanded by a naval officer known as the "boat group commander."
- The boat division.--The boat division is a task organization of two or more small boats within the boat group. It transports a platoon, company, or other tactical subdivision of the landing group. (See fig. 2.) During the ship-to-shore movement, the boat division operates as a unit and is maneuvered by the boat division commander. The organization into boat divisions facilitates the control of the boat group as a whole by permitting the boat group commander to exercise command through his boat division commanders rather than dealing directly with individual boats. In order to decentralize and facilitate detailed tactical planning of the operation of small assault units, and to permit a wider choice of formations of the company
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Figure 1.--Sample form for organization of landing groups.
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and battalion, every effort should be made to organize a separate boat division for each of the assault platoons of the landing group. Each boat division is designated by a number, as "Boat Division 1, Boat Group No. 1."
- The boat flotilla.--The boat flotilla is a task organization of two or more boat groups. The boat flotilla is organized as such under the following circumstances:
- To coordinate planning and training when a common commander of two or more boat groups is necessary to advise on the procurement and proper assignment of boats and naval personnel, and to assume charge of indoctrinating and training the boat groups.
- To facilitate execution when the operation of two or more boat groups in a restricted area demands the actual presence of a common commander.
In either a or b, a flotilla commander is appointed by either the transport group commander or the transport division commander, as appropriate. During operations he is embarked in a fast boat and proceeds so as best to exercise command during the movement from ship to shore.
- A wave consists of the boats within a boat group which carry the troops that are to land approximately simultaneously. It may consist of a single boat division or two or more boat divisions (landing abreast).
- Boat groups land in successive waves corresponding as nearly as possible to the tactical formation desired for the troops during and after landing. The landing formation of the boat group to meet these troop requirements is controlled by the assignment of boat divisions to waves. The number of waves in a boat group and the composition of each wave may thus vary for different beaches, depending upon the nature and extent of the beach, the approaches thereto, the terrain inland, and the scheme of maneuver of the troops.
- Waves are designated successively from front to rear as "first wave," "second wave," etc. Owing to the distance which may exist between waves, each wave should have a commander. He will be one of the boat division commanders, except in large waves which should be commanded by a separate officer embarked in a separate boat.
- Figure 3 is designed to show the chain of command within a typical formation of a boat group. The pennants and streamers shown in the figure are for identification of the various commanders and are not meant to be actually flown from the boats. The wave guide flags, however, will usually be flown. It will be noted that in waves consisting of only one or two boat divisions, one officer may act as commander of both the wave and a boat division.
- Personnel requirements of the boat group.--
- The naval personnel required to command and operate a boat group landing a reinforced infantry battalion in assault may be summarized as follows:
A boat group commander.
Two assistant boat group commanders, if needed, to be employed as wave commanders, or otherwise assist in control of the movement.
One boat division commander for each boat division (usually 6 to 8).
A boat officer or competent petty officer to command each boat not carrying one of the above officers.
Boat crews, with necessary signalmen.
- This number of officers and men is necessary only for leading boat groups, as troops and material of succeeding landing groups are usually transported by boats of larger capacity. Officer personnel available may also compel modification for leading boat groups. However, a boat group commander with an officer assistant in each wave is considered the minimum requirement. Senior petty officers should then be employed as commanders of boat divisions to which officers have not been assigned.
- The exact size of the boat crews assigned to man each type of boat to be used should be made known to the landing force before assignments of troops to boats are made.
- Sufficient specialists in engineering and ordnance should be provided for the necessary maintenance of boats and armament.
- Transport commanders.--
- When all boats of a boat group and the corresponding troops are embarked on a single transport, the boat group operates under the orders of that transport commander until it reaches the rendezvous areas when it operates under the direction of the control group commander. In order to insure accurate timing of the movement of the boat group from the rendezvous area to the beach, the approach schedule prepared by the transport commander should be furnished the appropriate control vessel as soon as it arrives in the rendezvous area. (See par. 428f.)
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Figure 2.--The boat group, boat division, and wave.
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- When boats of a boat group and troops of the corresponding landing group are embarked on several ships, each troop unit debarks under the commander of the ship on which transported. The loaded boats then assemble at the designated rendezvous areas where they are guided by vessels of the control group to the line of departure.
- Assignment of boats to boat groups.--
- The table showing the organization of landing groups (fig. 1) is the basis for the assignment of boats to boat groups. This assignment should be made as early as practicable prior to embarkation.
- Boat groups which are to carry assault battalions should be assigned sufficient boats to transport them intact in one trip, and should include the smallest and fastest boats available. Boat groups organized to carry units which are to land later may consist of larger motor launches, lighters, etc.
- Where available, special antiaircraft and close support boats should be assigned to boat groups transporting assault battalions.
- In determining the number of boats required, the capacity of amphibian tractors included in the landing group should be taken into consideration.
- The assignment of boats to boat groups may be conveniently issued in the form of a table showing the boats assigned to each group and, if known, the naval officer designated as its commander. The source, type, capacity, and identification numerals of each boat should be given.
- Boat pools.--
- These consist of additional boats assigned to transports to aid or replace boats which become inoperative prior to and during the landing. Boat pools should include all types used in the boat groups they support, and crews should be familiar with the plan of landing and the formations involved. Certain of these boats may be used to accompany leading boat groups and, in this case, should operate under the orders of the boat group commander.
- Boats of leading boat groups carrying troops or matériel will not be permitted to leave formation between the line of departure and the beach to assist damaged boats. Boats transporting succeeding landing groups will be guided by the requirements of the situation.
- Prearranged plans cannot be expected to cover every situation that may arise after the force is embarked. It may be necessary to modify the original plans, or to select an entirely new landing area. Hence, the boat groups and the landing groups should be organized, trained, and embarked so as to be able to execute a landing wherever desired in accordance with orders issued at sea. This is possible only when--
The landing groups are organized into well-balanced tactical teams.
Boats for the boat groups have been designated, and the boat groups properly organized.
The personnel is properly trained in suitable boat formations (usually not more than three).
The officers of the boat groups are embarked upon the same transport as the landing groups.
- If the above conditions are fulfilled, a change of formation for any particular beach becomes relatively simple, involving only a change in the position of complete boat divisions. Minor adjustments may be made, such as changing a boat with its complete load from one boat group or boat division to another, but no change in the basic organization of the boat groups or reassignment of troops to boats should be necessary.
- Embarkation of officers of the boat group.--
- All officers of a boat group, including boat officers, should be embarked as a unit on the same transport which carries the officers of the corresponding landing group. This is desirable even if some of the boats of the boat group and their crews are carried in other ships. This doctrine permits the closest personal cooperation between officers of the boat groups and those of the landing groups with whom they must operate under fire. This consideration becomes even more important when the individual boat officers consist of those chosen mainly because of their proficiency in handling small boats rather than experience and training aboard ships of the Navy, as would often be the case in time of war.
- Furthermore, in case of change of plan while at sea, the embarkation of boat and troop officers on the same ship greatly facilitates the preparation of a new plan for the movement from ship to shore, and the dissemination of the necessary orders and instructions to all concerned.
- Beach and fire-control party personnel.--
- Due to the fact that the regular duties of individuals of the naval beach parties do not begin until after they have been landed by the boat groups, they may be used to assist boat crews during the initial movement to the beach, and should be assigned to boats accordingly.
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Figure 3.--Showing chain of command within a boat group as arranged for a particular formation. System varied to suit other formations. Diagram not to scale.
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- Fire-control party personnel for the control from the beach of ships' gunfire may use a boat, or boats, from the firing ship, or may be assigned to boats transporting troop units. If embarked in separate boats, the boat group commander assigns an appropriate position in the boat formation.
- Marine personnel as crews of boat guns.--
- Personnel of machine gun and howitzer companies may be utilized as crews of boat guns. Shore-party personnel may be used as gunners, ammunition passers, or to assist the boat crews in any other way during the trip to the beach. The personnel of assault rifle companies should not be assigned such duty, as they should be free to disembark and engage in the fight as soon as the boats ground.
- If marine personnel is used in manning boat guns, members of the regular boat crews should also be trained to operate these weapons for their own protection during subsequent trips.
Formations, Frontages, and Distances
Par. 412. Distance and interval 69 413. Factors involved 69 414. The boat division lands the assault platoon 69 415. Rear boat divisions 71 416. Landing of the assault company 71 417. The boat group lands the assault battalion 78 418. Landing of reserves 80
- Distance and interval.--
- When speaking of formations of troops on land, the term "distance" means the space between elements from front to rear; "interval" means the space between elements of the same line. When speaking of naval craft, the term "distance" means the space between individual ships or boats, measured in any direction; "interval" means the space in any direction between groups of ships or boats, measured between the corresponding ship or boat in each group.
- The naval designations are used in this publication in connection with boat formations. The interval between waves is expressed in time (minutes), as the linear distance is dependent upon the speed of the boats.
- Factors involved.--Formations, frontages and distances employed within boat groups are governed largely by the following considerations:
Type of boats available.
Extent of beach, form of coast line, and presence of obstacles.
The necessity of maintaining the integrity of troop organizations and landing these organizations in the desired tactical formation.
The necessity for effective use of boat weapons against enemy aircraft and beach defenses.
Vulnerability of the formation to fire of enemy beach weapons and aircraft.
Time intervals between waves which permit timely support by following units, and, at the same time, are sufficient to prevent congestion of boats and intermingling of units on the beach.
The boat division lands the assault platoon.--
- According to the situation and the terrain, the rifle platoon may land in one or in two echelons. Although the former quickly develops the full fire power of the platoon, it leaves the platoon leader with no force available for reinforcement, flank protection, or maneuver. It may, therefore, be more desirable to land a part of the platoon as a second echelon or support group.
- Figure 4 illustrates a boat division landing an assault platoon in four boats. This is considered the ideal from a tactical standpoint but the number and size of boats available may compel a more economical loading. In such a case the assault platoon may be embarked in three or even in two boats. A boat division of three boats usually employs a Vee formation as illustrated. A division of two boats usually proceeds in line of bearing (echeloned) to avoid enfilade. The assignment of less than three boats to an assault platoon is avoided whenever practicable as it will delay the deployment of the platoon and increase its casualties.
- It will be noted that the leading boats are deployed in a Vee, similar to that used by aircraft. This formation possesses the advantage of effective leadership and control by the command and guide boat, permits the three leading boats to fire their weapons at the beach, and is less vulnerable to aerial attack than a line or column formation. Whenever advisable, the Vee may be opened to a line-abreast by appropriate signals from the leading boat. (See sec. VII for
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Figure 4.--Boat division lands assault platoon.
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boat formation signals.) In order further to avoid the effects of hostile fire, boat officers should be trained to run zigzag courses while maintaining approximately their relative positions in the prescribed formation.
- One group of the platoon may be designated as a support group and should follow sufficiently close to the leading boats to maintain contact. As the leading boats approach the beach, the support group should be in the rear from half a minute to 2 minutes traveling time. This allows the support group, while enroute, to choose the most advantageous point, within the platoon's zone of action, to land and support the attack. Care must be exercised to avoid fouling the anchor lines of preceding boats. In the case of a quartering sea, extension of the time interval between waves may be necessary to allow the leading wave to recover anchors before the succeeding wave beaches.
- Ordinarily, the support group lands behind leading squads which have been able to make a successful landing and advance inland. If, however, unopposed enemy weapons open fire from positions on the flank of the platoon which would obviously endanger the leading squads, the support group should not hesitate to change course so as to engage such weapons with boat guns at point-blank range and land the troops so that they may deliver a direct assault upon the position. Such flanking fire from the beach is particularly dangerous when landing in bays or other indentations. The maneuvering of the support group as described above would, of course, be greatly handicapped in the presence of fog, smoke, or darkness.
- A rifle platoon, after landing, is held responsible for a frontage of from 100 to 200 yards. In order to cover the entire front with fire and insure all enemy weapons on the beach being engaged immediately upon landing, the leading boats are uniformly distributed over the assigned front, making the distance between boats from 40 to 70 yards. This distance between boats will usually prevent more than one boat being damaged by a single shell or aerial bomb. At night, or when landing on a beach of less than 100 yards, the distance may be reduced.
- When the leading elements of assault platoons are to be landed in boats carrying more than a squad there should be sufficient distance between boats to allow for the full deployment of the troops from each boat without overlapping on the beach.
- Figure 5 illustrates the application of the Vee formation of the boat division when landing an assault platoon on one side of a peninsula. This maneuver is particularly applicable where the platoon has the task of covering the flank of other units. The formation permits the weapons in the reentrant. The support group in a separate boat, without reducing speed, maneuvers toward the exposed left flank of the platoon ready either to go in and engage any weapons which open fire along the platoon front, or to land behind the most successful squad.
- When it is desirable to have an assault platoon attack both sides of a peninsula, the three leading boats split from the Vee formation when nearing the beach and land at the point and two sides of the peninsula, respectively. The support group may then land behind the most successful squad, land on one of the flanks, or be used for reinforcement.
- Figure 6 illustrates the closed Vee formation used by an assault boat division while proceeding from the transport to the vicinity of the line of departure; the dotted lines show how the boats deploy as they cross that line. Boats are about 40 yards apart in order not to give a concentrated target to enemy aircraft and artillery. The closed Vee facilitates control and deployment into open Vee or line-abreast. In rain, fog, smoke, or darkness, it will usually be advisable to cruise in column formation, with or without boats in tow.
- In daylight, the deployment into open Vee or line-abreast is normally made on or before crossing the line of departure. When a narrow channel exists, deployment may be delayed until the channel is negotiated. During darkness, deployment may be made closer to the beach. Deployment is made gradually, without material reduction in speed of formation.
- Rear boat divisions.--Boat divisions in the second and succeeding waves may employ formations similar to the foregoing. Boats should be not less than 40 yards apart and arranged in staggered lines.
- Landing of the assault company.--
- The assault company is usually landed by three boat divisions. If the company includes three rifle platoons and a weapons platoon, units of the latter may be attached to the rifle platoons until the landing is effected. A fourth boat division may be organized if practicable and if circumstances warrant such action. When platoons are small, or when only large boats are available, the number of boat divisions may be reduced accordingly.
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Figure 5.--Boat division lands assault platoon.
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Figure 6.--Boat division deploys while crossing line of departure.
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- In the advance inland, an assault company of three rifle platoons or of three rifle platoons and a weapons platoon, is usually made responsible for a frontage of from 200 to 500 yards. The frontage of the actual landing will generally approach the lesser figure.
- The assault company may land in any of the following formations:
Two platoons in assault and one in support.
One platoon as a covering force and two initially in support.
In column of platoons.
Three platoons abreast (exceptional).
- Two platoons in assault.--
- Figure 7 illustrates an assault company landing with two platoons in assault and one in support. This formation is applicable when the company lands on a frontage of from 250 to 500 yards.
- Each of the two leading platoons is transported by a boat division employing four boats. These two boat divisions constitute the first wave. The support platoon, company headquarters, and attached or supporting units are carried in one boat division constituting the second wave.
- The support platoon should follow the leading wave at such interval as to permit the assault platoons to clear the immediate beach of the enemy, and allow the support platoon a reasonable chance to land behind a successful advance without intermingling of units. On the other hand, if the landing of the second wave is delayed too long, the attack may break down because of platoons being defeated in detail as they arrive at the beach.
- When the company is making a relatively deep advance, the leading platoons should be given an opportunity to advance from 200 to 400 yards from the beach before the support platoon lands; the distance being greater in open country and less in wooded or broken country. The time it will take the troops to cover the desired distance must be estimated by troop commanders from a study of the terrain and battle conditions that will likely prevail at each particular beach. As land attacks may progress initially at from 30 to 50 yards per minute, the time interval between the first and second waves will vary from 4 to 12 minutes.
- When the company lands in a bay, the boat divisions carrying the two assault platoons may be directed to separate when nearing the beach, in order to permit the platoons to attack both sides of the bay. Under cover of these attacks, the support platoon may land in the interval and attack the center of the beach.
- Platoon as covering force.--
- Figure 8 illustrates the assault company employing one platoon as a covering force and two platoons abreast in the second wave. A covering force is one whose primary task is to clear the beach of enemy resistance and to secure sufficient ground to protect the beach from close observation and direct fire. This task requires that the leading squads move in any direction necessary at the time and promptly charge enemy groups wherever found. As troops faced with such a contingency may soon become scattered and disorganized, a covering force should be given a limited objective. Succeeding units are used to carry the attack forward. In this illustration, the covering platoon lands on the whole company front and rushes the immediate beach defenses. It is expected to overcome most of the enemy groups found near the water's edge, and should not therefore be expected to continue the advance to any great depth.
- Under protection of the engagement of the covering platoon, the two following platoons land, pass through it, and launch a fresh attack. The covering platoon is then assembled for use as company support, due allowance being made for its initial efforts.
- This formation is applicable when the company is to land on a frontage of less than 200 yards and then fan out shortly after landing to cover a broader front. It may be necessary to close the Vees in the second wave sufficiently to conform to the limits of the beach.
- Column of platoons.--
- Figure 9 shows an assault company landing in column of platoons. This formation is applicable when the company is landing on a beach of less than 200 yards and is not required to extend its frontage to any considerable extent after landing. The formation may also be employed to prevent congestion on a very restricted beach, which might occur if two platoons were landed abreast.
- As this formation facilitates the concentration of enemy shore weapons on each boat division in turn, and exposes the platoons to defeat in detail, the time interval between boat divisions should be reduced as much as possible without entailing congestion of boats and intermingling of platoons at the beach. A time interval of from 2 to 6 minutes is desirable. When the company is being employed as a covering force for the battalion, the intermingling of platoons after landing ceases to be a governing factor, and the time interval for landing of boat divisions should approach the minimum figure.
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Figure 7.--Rifle company landing with two platoons in assault and one in support. Three boat divisions.
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Figure 8.--Rifle company landing with a covering platoon.
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Figure 9.--Company in column of platoons.
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- It may be necessary to employ the column formation in approaching the beach in order to negotiate a narrow channel. If the beach is of sufficient extent to permit platoons landing abreast, the passage of the channel may be made in column formation with short intervals (200 to 300 yards) between boat divisions. This would permit platoons to break out of column upon passage of the channel and land abreast almost simultaneously.
- Platoons abreast.--The assault company will seldom land with all three platoons abreast. As all platoons of the company are immediately engaged, the formation permits little opportunity for the company to maneuver on shore, and it cannot be expected to do more than deliver a severe attack on the enemy groups close to the beach. Here, initially supported by all boat guns, its full fire power is immediately brought to bear. This formation may be applicable when the company is acting as a covering force for the battalion landing on a broad front.
- The boat group lands the assault battalion.--
- In the advance inland, the assault battalion is assigned a frontage of from 500 to 1,000 yards. A battalion taking part in the main effort should rarely be assigned a frontage greater than 600 yards. In many cases, the beach will not be of sufficient extent to permit a battalion to land so as to cover initially its whole zone of advance.
- The battalion may be landed with two companies in assault and one in reserve; one company in assault and two initially in reserve; column of companies; or three companies abreast.
- The assault companies may employ any of the formations enumerated in paragraph 416c. This permits a wide choice in battalion formations to suit any particular beach conditions.
- Diagram A, figure 10, shows two companies in assault and one in reserve, with each leading company employing two platoons in assault. This battalion formation permits an initial attack on a beach of from 600 to 1,000 yards, with a battalion reserve available to extend the front or drive through to greater depth. The same battalion formation may be used for frontages less than 600 yards by having either one or both of the assault companies attack in column of platoons.
- This formation is particularly applicable when the coast line is regular, and open country extends inland for a considerable distance. Under these conditions it is desirable that the first troops to land have sufficient power to drive in quickly toward the battalion objective. When the battalion beach consists of a bay, the two interior assault platoons may be slightly echeloned to the rear to permit the sides of the bay being attacked first by the exterior platoons. The main disadvantage of this formation lies in the fact that almost half of the battalion is in the first wave and therefore immediately committed to the fight at the water's edge.
- Diagrams B, C, and D of figure 10 show various means of employing a covering force. For explanation of the use of a covering force see paragraph 416e above. The use of a covering force by the battalion is applicable when it lands on a beach of less than 500 yards. It is particularly suitable when the terrain adjacent to the beach is such that a short advance of the covering force will afford the desired protection for the landing and deployment of succeeding units.
- Diagram B illustrates one company as covering force with two platoons in assault and one in support. The remaining companies of the battalion land abreast. This formation has the advantage of having one company commander in charge of the first attack on the beach, with a support platoon at his disposal to influence the action. The remaining two companies, landing abreast, are in proper formation to pass through the covering force, continue the attack, and extend the front. However, in this formation, the whole battalion is committed to a single course of action soon after landing, and the absence of a reserve company, free to be launched in any direction by the battalion commander, is a distinct disadvantage.
- Diagram C shows two companies in assault and one in battalion reserve. Each assault company employs a platoon as covering force, thus making the covering force weaker by one platoon than that shown in diagram B. This formation, however, has the distinct advantage of providing initially a mobile battalion reserve to meet contingencies. It is particularly applicable when the battalion lands on two separate beaches and only a short advance of the covering force is required to furnish the desired security.
- Diagram D illustrates one company as a covering force, followed in column by the other two companies of the battalion (column of companies). This formation tends to divide the landing into a succession of three efforts of equal magnitude. This feature may tend to increase the danger of defeat in detail and slow up the process of extending the front. The formation has the advantage inherent in a disposition in depth and may be desirable when the battalion lands in darkness, when it attacks inland on a narrow front, or to prevent congestion on a very restricted beach.
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Figure 10.--Boat group lands assault battalion. Diagrams not to scale.
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- The battalion will seldom land with all companies abreast. The formation may be applicable when a demonstration is desired to create the impression of a much larger force, or when it is necessary to make a reconnaissance in force over an extremely broad front with a view of determining enemy weakness and utilizing other battalions to exploit a successful landing on any part of the front.
- In diagrams A, C, and D of figure 10, the battalion reserve, consisting of an infantry company with machine guns, mortars, and other battalion weapons is embarked in one boat division.
- The most desirable landing place for battalion reserves can seldom be foreseen before the assault companies land. Therefore, sufficient time interval should be allowed between the landing of assault companies and the reserves to insure an opportunity, while en route to the beach to divert the reserves to a landing behind a company that has already succeeded in getting ashore. On the other hand, this time interval should not be so great as to expose an assault company, which has succeeded in landing, to defeat on the beach for lack of timely support. A time interval between 5 and 15 minutes is applicable to most situations. The determination of the landing place of battalion reserves should be made by the battalion commander.
- The battalion weapons company is assigned positions in the boat group in accordance with its proposed tactical employment ashore. For the landing, it is generally desirable to attach a machine gun platoon to each assault company and land the remainder of the battalion weapons company with the battalion reserve. In the event additional antiaircraft and antitank weapons are assigned from higher echelons, these should be embarked in a separate boat division, and the weapons of this type in the battalion weapons company may be attached to assault companies in order to facilitate early employment ashore.
- The battalion headquarters company is generally distributed within the boat division carrying the battalion reserve. Attached and supporting units may be included in the same boat division or carried in a separate boat division.
- Antitank and antiaircraft weapons and crews are attached to the assault battalion from units of higher echelons in situations where their early employment is probable. Since it may become necessary to modify the composition of landing groups to meet the requirements of the situation, these weapons should be embarked in a separate boat division to facilitate their redistribution. This boat division is usually included in the same wave with the battalion reserve.
- Fighter planes of the attack force usually have the task of protecting the landing area from action of enemy aircraft. Additional protection must be provided against aircraft which may evade friendly fighting squadrons. This is provided by the following:
Fire from antiaircraft guns of vessels of the inshore support groups.
Fire from boat guns.
Fire from automatic rifles of the landing groups, both while embarked in boats and after landing.
Fire of antiaircraft weapons of the assault battalion and of antiaircraft weapons which may be attached from higher echelons.
Landing of regimental, brigade, division, and force reserves.--
- In order to exploit quickly the successes gained by leading battalions, reserve units must be available for prompt landing. Sufficient boats should be provided to land at least the assault elements of the regimental, brigade, and division reserves in a single trip. When a shortage of boats makes this impossible, consideration should be given to reducing the frontage of the initial attack in order that reserves may be immediately available in small boats ready to land when required. In order to facilitate control, reserves are preferably embarked in relatively large boats.
- The proper time and place of the landing of regimental, brigade, division, or force reserves can seldom be foreseen until information has been received of the progress of the combat on shore. Upon debarkation, boat groups carrying reserve battalions proceed to some designated sea area where they receive orders from the marine commander of the tactical unit of which the reserves form a part as to the point of landing and when to start. This area should be centrally located in reference to their probable landing places, and at a reasonably safe distance from shore artillery. It will often be desirable to designate one of the vessels of the control group as the rendezvous, as this would facilitate prompt transmission of orders. As information regarding the progress of the attack may be available to the commanding officer having authority to move the reserves by H plus 15 minutes, the reserves should be in their designated area by this time.
- Where the beaches on which the reserve units may be landed are separated by long distances, it may be desirable to hold the units aboard the transports, even though boats are available for their immediate debarkation. When a decision is reached regarding the employment
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of these reserves, the transports proceed opposite the selected point of landing for debarkation, thus speeding up the movement.
- When it is necessary to land reserves in the second trip of the boats, the transports or other vessels (such as destroyers) to which the reserves may have been transferred, should proceed as close to the beach as enemy fire and depth of water permit. Under such conditions, provision must be made for the rendezvous of boats with the transports or other vessels at the selected point.
- When conditions permit, reserves may be landed directly from transports and smaller craft onto a dock or sea wall. The landing of reserves directly from beached transports, however, generally involves the use of small boats or rafts to ferry the troops to the beach. Under these conditions, time will usually be gained by having the transports or other vessels anchor or heave to in sufficient water to keep them afloat, even when it involves a slightly greater ferrying distance to the shore.
Par. 419. Landing schedule 81 420. Detailed plans 81 421. Boat assignment table 82 422. Landing diagrams 85 423. Selection of landing formation 85 424. Deployment diagrams 87 425. Boat diagrams 87 426. Debarkation plans 87 427. Boat assembly and rendezvous areas 90 428. Debarkation and approach schedule 92
- Landing schedule.--
- A landing schedule is prepared for each operation and issued as an annex to force operations orders. It shows the place, hour, and priorities of landing of all units, and coordinates the movements from the transports, in order to provide for the execution of the desired scheme of maneuver.
- In a division, or for smaller detached operations, the landing schedule will usually be issued by the division or the unit conducting such detached operation. Priorities of landing in the second and succeeding trips of the boats should be prescribed by the highest echelon of command.
- The time of landing of units landed in the first trip of the boats is usually expressed in terms of H-hour. The hour of landing is not prescribed for units transported in the second and succeeding trips of boats running individually. Such units are listed in order of priority of landing from each transport.
- A suggested form for a landing schedule is shown in figure 11.
- It will be noted from the following paragraphs that prior to the issuance of a landing schedule for a specific operation, most of the detailed plans can be prepared, and training conducted, for the debarkation and movement from ships to shore from each transport.
- Detailed plans,--
- Detailed plans for the debarkation of all troops from each transport and the movement from ships to shore of all leading boat groups should be accomplished jointly by the commanders of the landing groups and boat groups concerned, under the direction of the transport commander, and in accordance with the landing schedule and other orders from higher authority.
- As the time and place of landing regimental, brigade, division, and force reserves depends mainly upon the progress of the troops previously landed, the decision as to where these reserves should land and when they should start should rest with the marine commander of the tactical unit of which the reserves form a part. (For manner of landing such reserves, see par. 418 above.)
- The use of diagrams in preparing and issuing plans and instructions will be found useful. Diagrams should be simple and clear, and, to facilitate reproduction, should be accomplished by use of the typewriter, as shown in the figures in this section.
- The organization of the landing groups, and the assignment of boats to the corresponding boat groups having been completed, the following diagrams, tables, and schedules will be found useful in planning and issuing orders for the movement from ship to shore:
- Boat assignment table showing the organization of boats into boat divisions, boat division formations, and the personnel carried in each boat.
- Landing diagrams showing graphically the various landing formations of the boat group.
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- Deployment diagrams, used when necessary to show graphically how the boat group deploys into the various landing formations.
- Boat diagrams showing the place of individual men and equipment in each boat.
- Boat assembly and rendezvous diagrams showing the assembly areas of empty boats preparatory to debarkation, routes to gangways, and rendezvous areas of loaded boats.
- Debarkation and approach schedule containing the instructions necessary to insure troops being debarked from transports and landed in accordance with the prescribed plan.
Figure 11.--Suggested form for landing schedule.
- Boat assignment table.--
- Explanation of table.--
- The information shown by the boat assignment table for a boat group landing an assault battalion is illustrated in part in figure 12. This table should be accomplished as soon as the composition of the landing group and the number, types, and speeds of boats assigned to the boat group are known.
- It will be noted from the figure that in each boat division the order of boats in column is determined from, and facilitates deployment into, the Vee formation. (See fig. 6 for further illustration.
- Each boat division commander and the commanding officer of the troops to be carried are placed in the leading boat of the boat division.
- Boats of each boat division, together with the troops they carry, are listed in the table in the order they appear in their column formation. This will be the order in which the boats or each boat division come alongside the transport for debarkation of troops.
- Matériel which requires extra boat spaces, such as mortars, guns, bulky ammunition, etc., should also be shown in the table wherever necessary.
- General organization and assignment doctrine.--In the organization of boat divisions, the determination of their formations, and the assignment of troops to boats, the following points should be kept in mind:
- A separate boat should be assigned for use of the boat group commander and his necessary communication detail. If sufficient boats are available, it is also desirable to assign a separate boat to each of the assistant boat group commanders. The landing group (battalion) commander, with a part of his staff, should land in one of the above-mentioned boats, preferably
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that of the boat group commander. These boats are not placed in any boat division, but cruise independently as directed by the officer concerned.
- The smallest and fastest boats should be assigned to assault platoons in such a manner as to permit the battalion to assume the maximum number of formations, the next larger types to support platoons, and the largest boats to the reserve echelon. Boats in each boat division should have approximately the same speed. Boat divisions which will probably land abreast should also have the same speed.
- It is desirable that at least four platoons per battalion be assigned boats suitable for assault echelons. This would not only permit the battalion to land on a broad front (as shown in diagram a, fig. 10) but also to land in either of at least two additional formations.
- The integrity of troop units should be maintained as far as possible, and units should be landed in their proper tactical formations. For example: A rifle squad should be kept together on one boat; each platoon in a reserve rifle company should be kept intact in one boat (or boat division); etc.
- The risk of heavy loss of any one arm or service is reduced by distributing each among two or more boats. For example, it would be inadvisable to embark all of a weapons company, communications platoon, or similar organization, in one boat.
- Suggested procedure.--In the preparation of the boat assignment table it may be convenient to proceed in the following sequence:
- Assign a separate boat for the boat group commander and his communication detail, and, if sufficient boats are available, one for each of his assistants.
- Assign to a boat the landing group (battalion) commander and such members of his staff as should accompany him.
- Assign such members of the weapons company, and beach party and shore party personnel, as are needed as gunners or to assist the boat crews in the initial movement.
- Assign boats to rifle units--first, assault platoons, then support and reserve echelons. This is the basis of the organization of the boat divisions.
- Assign the remainder of the weapons company, headquarters units, and any attached or supporting troops. Such units are assigned to boats carrying rifle units or to separate boats. Such separate boats are assigned to or organized into boat divisions as necessary. A separate boat division may be organized for large self-contained units such as headquarters companies or artillery.
- Designate ambulance boats and assign the necessary medical personnel and equipment in accordance with the attack force medical plan.
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Figure 12.--Sample boat assignment table.
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- Fill up boats with the remainder of the beach and shore parties.
- It is advisable to employ a complete check-off list, in order that each unit, or fractional part thereof, can be accurately accounted for. As a final check, the total of the boat spaces used should be added and compared with the total shown on the check-off list.
- Beginning with "Boat Division No. 1," assign each boat of the boat group its serial number. Each type of boat is given a designating letter. Boats of each type are numbered serially in the order they should load and proceed from the transport; for example LCP(R)-1, LCP(4)-2, LCP(4)-3, LCV-1. These designating letters and numbers are for tactical purposes only, and indicate the proper position of the boats while in formation. For administrative purposes when not operating in formation, boats will be known by their permanent designations as "TENN 2," "ARG 4"; except that when boats have no permanent designations, their tactical type letters and numbers may be used.
- In order to prevent duplication, blocks of designating letters and numbers may be assigned each boat group. For example, Boat Group No. 1 may be assigned LCP(R)1-14, inclusive; Boat Group No. 2, LCP(R)15-29, inclusive; etc.
- The designating letter and number are placed on boards which can be suitably displayed in the boats. Such boards should be provided by the transport in which the troops are embarked and should be carried into the boats with the troops. This will insure, in any contingency, the proper identification of each boat according to the troop units actually embarked.
- Landing diagrams.--
- A landing diagram shows the landing formation of the boat group and the guide and alternate guide of each wave. A separate diagram is made to show each formation the boat group may be required to employ, generally from two to four, depending on the types of boats available. For later reference, each formation should be given an identification number. Figure 13 shows a sample landing diagram for a boat group with four boat divisions in the first wave. Additional information, such as the designating letter and number of each boat, may be included on the original diagram if space permits. Such additional information, together with the intervals and distances between elements, should always be added if for any reason the diagram alone is to be used for a particular operation in lieu of written orders issued in advance.
- Landing diagrams should generally be prepared and promulgated at the same time as the boat assignment table.
- The intervals and distances between the various elements of the boat group will vary for different beaches and should, therefore, be prescribed in the orders (or placed on the diagram) for each rehearsal, and for the actual landing. For example, instructions for a particular rehearsal or actual landing, employing the formation shown in figure 13, would include information similar to the following:
The boat group will employ landing formation No. 1:
Distance between boats within BD's--50 yards. Support groups in first wave--As directed by boat division commanders.
First wave: Lt. C Comdg. In LCP(R)-15 (not in formation: Interval between BD's 5 and 4--200 yards; BD's 4 and 1--150 yards; BD's 1 and 2--200 yards.
Second wave: Lt. Q Cmdg. In LCP(L)-3: Lands 8 minutes after first wave. Interval between BD's in second wave--350 yards.
Third wave: Lt. R Cmdg. In LCV-15: Lands 12 minutes after second wave. Interval between BD's 7 and 8--300 yards.
- When there has been no opportunity for combined training in the various formations, however, and the boats are to assembly by type at the transport for the debarkation, all necessary information as to boat numbers, distances, and intervals should be entered on the landing diagram issued at the gangway to each boat officer.
- Selection of landing formation.--
- A landing formation should be selected and intervals and distances prescribed which will best carry out the scheme of maneuver applicable to the configuration of the particular beach under consideration.
- It is extremely important that the whole front of the beach be covered by troops, and particularly that enemy positions on the flanks be assault promptly. This may require under certain conditions that the landing be made over coral or other natural or artificial obstacles. Where such conditions exist, special boats available should be employed to effect the landing.
- Where a beach constitutes a pronounced reentrant, it may be necessary to land on the points first.
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Figure 13.--Sample landing diagram.
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- Deployment diagrams.--
- A deployment diagram shows the formation in which the boat group proceeds from the rendezvous areas to the line of departure and the method of deployment into the landing formation.
- Figure 14 shows a deployment diagram applicable to the landing formation shown in figure 13, when deployment is made straight to the front. In this figure, the boat group is proceeding with reduced intervals between waves. This formation is particularly applicable during darkness, when transport areas are congested, or when the route to the line of departure contains several changes in direction.
- When the movement to the beach takes place in daylight, or is otherwise simplified, each wave may proceed from its rendezvous area independently. Each wave, as soon as formed, would then proceed in the formation shown for it in the deployment diagram, and at a speed that will permit its arrival at the line of departure at the proper time. This method of moving by waves provides a wider safety factor for remedying or replacing boat casualties in the leading waves and lessens the possibility of confusion in the rendezvous areas.
- In restricted areas, it may be difficult to deploy straight to the front as shown in figure 14. In this case, each wave may proceed in column of boat divisions and deploy by having all boat divisions turn simultaneously to the right (or left) or execute any other simple maneuver as directed.
- Boat diagrams.--
- The boat assignment table and landing diagrams furnish the boat officer and the senior troop commander in each boat with sufficient information to plan the positions of men and matériel in the boat.
- The positions of men and matériel in each boat depend primarily upon the following considerations:
- The boatload of men and matériel must be distributed so as to keep the boat in trim.
- Men should be placed so as to allow a suitable number to fire their weapons, both at planes and at the beach, with the least danger to each other and with the least change of position in the boat.
- For protection against enemy weapons, men should be as low in the boat as possible.
- Positions of troops should facilitate their quick debarkation and proper deployment on the beach in the desired formation.
- The most suitable loading of personnel and matériel can best be determined by test and training exercises, which should include loading, movement from ship to shore, and landing and deployment, under conditions similar to those to be expected in the contemplated operation.
- It may be advisable to make rough sketches or diagrams showing the position of each man in the boat and the method of landing and deployment. These diagrams are particularly applicable when there has been little or no opportunity for combined training. (See fig. 20.)
- In larger boats used in the later waves, the locations of squads will suffice.
- Debarkation plans.--
- General considerations.--
- Debarkation of troops and matériel from transports should be accomplished in the shortest possible time. A fast debarkation reduces the period of greatest vulnerability of transports to air and submarine attacks, lessens the value of the information given to the enemy, and shortens the time boats must remain in the water.
- Boats should, therefore, be promptly lowered and assembled and boat divisions assigned gangways in such a manner as to continuously utilize each gangway to its fullest capacity.
- In order to simplify the stowage of boats and training of personnel, and to insure prompt debarkation in any weather, it is desirable to select one side (port or starboard) for debarkation. The same side should, if possible, be selected for all transports in the transport division in order that they may be headed in the same direction while laying to and providing a lee.
- Assignment of boat divisions to gangways.--The following considerations govern the assignment of boat divisions to gangways:
- The order in which the boats may be lowered and made available for loading. This depends on the manner of stowing boats aboard ship; and also the lowering and running time of boats coming from other ships.
- The relative position each boat division is to assume in the landing formation of the boat group: Although it may sometimes be possible to speed up the movement by loading and sending off the slowest boats first, this is likely to cause confusion while boats are en route to the beach. Boat divisions should, therefore, be loaded and sent off in the order in which they are to land, and those which are to be in the same wave should be made ready to proceed as nearly simultaneously as practicable.
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Figure 14.--Sample deployment diagram.
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- The time required to load each boat division. The total loading time of each gangway should be equalized.
- The location aboard ship of the matériel each boat division is to carry. Boat divisions should be assigned gangways near the matériel they are to carry. This applies particularly to matériel requiring cranes, booms, or davits for handling.
- With the above considerations in mind, and by use of the loading times for various types of boats as shown in chapter II, section II, a tentative assignment of boat divisions
Figure 15.--Sample debarkation data sheet.
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to gangways should be made. Actual tests should then be conducted in order to obtain the following information:
The fastest and most suitable method of lowering boats.
The adjustments which may be made to speed up the debarkation, either by restowage of boats and matériel aboard ship, or by reassignments of boats to gangways.
The actual time required to lower and load the boats of each boat division, and those boats which are to operate separately.
Tests should also be conducted to determine the speed of each boat division and separate boat, with each boat containing the actual load it is to land. These tests should preferably be made after troops and matériel have been embarked on transports. The data collected during these tests should be incorporated in a table as shown in figure 15. Such debarkation data should invariably be prepared by each ship transporting any troops which are to be landed on a time schedule. It is desirable to have this data for both rough and smooth seas, and for both daylight and darkness. Due allowance should be made for delays during debarkation under war conditions. Boat assembly and rendezvous areas.--
- In order to prevent confusion and delay when several boat divisions are involved, it is advisable to prescribe assembly areas for empty boats; routes for empty boats from assembly areas to gangways; routes for loaded boats from gangways to rendezvous areas; and rendezvous areas. The above may be prescribed in orders, or by a diagram such as shown in figure 16. The rendezvous area, or areas, will be prescribed by the transport or transport group commander, as appropriate.
- Assembly areas are fixed in reference to the transport and therefore move with the transport if it swings. Assembly areas are designed to prevent confusion. They obviate the necessity of each individual boat coming alongside the transport to report its arrival; provide for each boat a ready access to its gangway for loading; and permit, through an orderly distribution of boats around the transport, a more effective antiaircraft protection.
- Rendezvous areas, in which loaded boat divisions are concentrated preparatory to the movement to the line of departure, should be located a short distance from the transport and preferably between the transport and the line of departure. In order to accomplish the latter, it is desirable to designate rendezvous areas in reference to some fixed point. This may be the control vessel which is later to lead the boats to the line of departure, and is temporarily stationed for the purpose. If the control vessel is not available at this time, but is to meet the boats later, the rendezvous areas may be fixed in reference to a buoy or small boat placed by the boat group commander.
- When a landing group is embarked on two or more vessels, each ship will prescribe its own assembly areas but the rendezvous areas will be common for the complete boat group.
- Either one of two general methods may be employed to control the movement of small boats from the time of their arrival in designated assembly areas until the time of their arrival, with their troops, in their rendezvous areas, namely:
The assembly and loading of boats by boat divisions, and
The assembly and loading of boats by type.
- In the method of assembly and loading of boats by type, all empty boats of similar type, speed, and capacity assemble in separate designated assembly areas similar to those shown in figure 16, but without regard to any boat division organization. Individual boats of the desired type are called alongside as needed for loading and organization into the required boat divisions. Designating letter and number boards are placed in each boat at the time of loading. A card showing the landing and deployment diagrams and the position of the particular boat in formation is also delivered to the boat officer of each boat at this time. The first assembly of boat divisions, as such, is made close aboard, after which each boat division proceeds to the rendezvous area.
- This method has the great advantage of simplicity in any operation. It will be found particularly applicable:
When there has been little combined training.
When some boats are to come from ships other than the one carrying the troops to be landed.
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Figure 16.--Boat assembly and rendezvous areas (sample).
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- Figure 16 illustrates the assembly and loading by boat divisions. This method is applicable when there has been sufficient opportunity for combined training of boat and troop units to inculcate a team spirit between the various boat crews and the individuals of the landing force to be embarked. This procedure also tends to decentralize the control of boats during the period of assembly and loading by making the boat division commanders responsible for their movements.
- In the above method individual boats of the boat group, when lowered, proceed immediately to their designated assembly areas and join their respective boat divisions there. During this assembly, and while waiting to be called alongside for loading, it is advisable to have the boats cruise in circles, each boat division being kept intact and the boats in their proper order. In each assembly area, boat divisions may either follow each other in one large circle, or they may cruise separately in smaller circles.
- When a boat division is called to its designated gangway for loading, each boat, in its proper order, loads its troops and matériel. Loaded boats reassemble close aboard into boat divisions and then proceed by divisions to the rendezvous area.
- The following points are common to both of the methods described in subparagraphs d and e above:
- Both methods presuppose that the boat group and boat division commanders, at least, are embarked in the same transport with the troops they will land.
- In both methods, timely provision should be made for the embarkation, within each boat division, of both the boat division and troop commanders in the same (leading) boat.
- In either method, boat divisions are formed in column in their rendezvous areas and cruise in one or more circles under their respective boat division commanders until directed to proceed to the line of departure.
- Debarkation and approach schedule.--
- The debarkation and approach schedule contains the time schedules for the debarkation, approach, and landing, together with certain information and instructions in regard thereto. A sample schedule, completely ready for execution, is shown in figure 17. If the landing group for which the schedule is intended is embarked on two or more vessels, the names of these vessels should be shown at appropriate places in the schedule.
- It will be noted that paragraph 1 of the schedule contains the basic information necessary to compute the remainder of the schedule. Unless all information contained in paragraph 1 is known to be final at the time the schedule is issued, all times should appear in reference to H-hour. When H-hour is definitely announced the exact times may be substituted as shown in the figure.
- Paragraph 2 of the schedule should prescribe the method adopted for the boat group to leave the rendezvous areas. There are two practicable methods--first, the boat group proceeding in closed formation, and second, each wave proceeding separately as soon as formed. (See par. 424 above.)
- Paragraph 3 of the schedule shows the latest hour to start lowering boats. This hour is the key to the later completion of the debarkation schedule, and is computed for figure 17 as illustrated below:
- Hour of landing last wave (see 422c above), H+20 minutes or 0920.
- Running time of last wave from rendezvous areas to beach at 6 knots (see fig. 15 for speed), 100 minutes.
- Last wave leaves rendezvous areas ((a) minus (b)), H-1 hour 20 minutes or 0740.
- Time last loaded boat clears transport to time of leaving rendezvous areas (estimated), 15 minutes.
- Hour last waves must clear transport ((C) minus (d)), H-1 hour 35 minutes or 0725.
- Transport debarkation interval (see fig. 15), 87 minutes.
- Latest hour to start lowering boats ((e) minus (f)), H-3 hours 2 minutes of 0558.
- It will be noted that the last wave (in this case the third wave) is used as a basis in making the above computations. This is to insure that the preceding waves clear the gangways in time to permit the last wave to load on the required time schedule.
- It should also be noted in connection with (1) (b) above that whenever the boat group is to move to the line of departure in closed formation, proper intervals between waves must be taken near the line of departure. In case all waves have approximately the same speeds, this will necessitate the slowing down of the rear waves. In such a case, the running time of the last wave should be increased accordingly.
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- Paragraph 4 of the schedule shows the order of loading boats at each gangway and the latest hour each unit is to come alongside and complete loading. Using the hour to start lowering boats as "zero" time, all other times may be computed from the information contained in the debarkation data, illustrated in figure 15.
- Paragraph 5 of the schedule contains the times each wave leaves the rendezvous areas, passes the control point (or points), crosses the line of departure, and lands.
- The times of landing are computed from H-hour.
Figure 17.--Sample debarkation and approach schedule.
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- The time of each wave leaving the line of departure is its time of landing minus its full-speed running time between the line of departure and the beach. If there is a great difference in speed of waves, sufficient interval should be allowed between waves to avoid the necessity of one wave passing through another, or cutting down the speed of the leading boats.
- If the boat group is to proceed from its rendezvous areas by waves, the hour each wave leaves should be the time its last element can be made ready. This can be ascertained from paragraph 4 of the schedule. If the boat group is to proceed in closed formation, the time the last wave can be made ready governs the minimum time of departure of the whole boat group from the rendezvous areas.
- If the boat group proceeds to the line of departure by waves, each wave proceeds at a speed which will cause it to arrive at the line of departure at the proper time to start its full speed run for the beach. The hour each waves passes the control point is computed by using this speed.
- When the approach of several boat groups to the line of departure is to be guided by a single coordinated movement of the control group, the times of leaving the rendezvous areas, or control points, may be prescribed by the attack force commander.
- When troops are embarked on ships which are to support the landing by gunfire, ample time must be provided to allow the ships to reach their firing stations after the debarkation has been completed. The use of gunfire support vessels as transports should be avoided if practicable since a serious loss in combat efficiency may result from keeping troops in small boats vulnerable to air attack and subject to seasickness, for long periods.
Par. 429. Preparation for debarkation 95 430. The debarkation 95 431. The approach to the line of departure 96 432. Activities near the line of departure 97 433. The dash to the beach 98 434. The landing 99 435. Subsequent boat movements 101
Figure 18.--Debarking by cargo nets.
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- Preparation for debarkation.--
- In order to avoid delay, details from the deck force should be organized to lower specified boats and gangways, and exercised in these duties.
- Gangways may consist of ladders or of cargo nets hung over the side of the transport. Cargo nets often offer the quickest and safest means of debarking men. The nets should be sufficiently large to permit four or more men to debark abreast and should reach from the deck to bottom of boat. For loading large boats, two or more cargo nets may be used. When debarking by cargo nets there should be some rigging at the deck level to which men can hold when stepping from the deck onto the nets. As long as any man is on the net, either embarking or disembarking, the bottom end of the net should be tended in the boat by the boat crew or troops, and the net kept free of slack as the boat rises and falls with the sea, in order to form a ladder direct from the ship's deck to the bottom of the boat. Permanent boat lines should be rigged on the side of the transport where they can be readily grasped by the boat crews. Special care should be taken to provide fenders to clear boats of all obstructions on the sides. Scuppers in the way of loading boats should be stopped.
- All personnel not in boats when lowered should be assigned compartments or other suitable space below decks in which to assemble for debarkation. In each compartment, men should be segregated by boatloads and arranged in file to facilitate rapid debarkation and prompt occupation of assigned spaces in boats. Routes to gangways should be prescribed.
- Number boards bearing the tactical type letter and number of each boat in formation, such as "LCP(R)-1," should be prepared by the transport concerned. Three boards should be made for each boat; two to be hung over the bows and one on the stern. When the method of assembly and loading of boats by type is used (see par. 427 above), the number boards and copies of the landing and deployment diagrams are carried into the boats by the troops. Guide flags or other distinguishing marks should be supplied boat officers who are to embark in guide boats. A special designation flag should be provided for the boat carrying the boat group commander.
[See paragraph 2053(b) of Transport Doctrine, Amphibious Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet for changes to the above. --HyperWar]
- Each boatload should contain one member of the landing force, who is thoroughly familiar with the boat formation signals. This man should report as boat signalman to the boat officer at the time of loading.
- Provision should be made to station a naval officer and a marine officer at each gangway, the naval officer being responsible for the loading and the marine officer for having the troops and matériel ready at the gangway. In this connection, a check-off list of personnel and matériel to be loaded in each boat may be useful to the marine officer at the gangway.
- Company officers should remain with their troops.
- All possible measures which will expedite the debarkation of equipment should be taken.
- Organization combat equipment, such as machine guns, howitzers, aid station outfits, Cole carts, signal equipment, etc., should be assembled convenient to the gangways. Extra ammunition, gas defense matériel and equipment, and other supplies should be placed in cargo nets or otherwise made ready for hoisting.
- Improvised davits and land lines should be provided at each gangway for lowering light equipment into the boats.
- The machinery and gear to be used in opening hatches, lowering boats and gangways, moving matériel, etc., should, shortly before actual use, be thoroughly tested.
- Provision should be made to synchronize all timepieces shortly before debarkation is to begin.
- Detailed organization and frequent combined drills of all concerned in the debarkation are essential. Drills during rough weather and darkness are particularly valuable.
- The debarkation.--
- All boats to be lowered from the transport carrying the troops should contain their prescribed boat equipment, gas-defense matériel and equipment, boat group officers, crews, gunners, boat guns, and ammunition. Boats coming from other ships should contain designated crews, gas-defense matériel and equipment, boat guns, and ammunition.
- As soon as boats are lowered, boat guns should be mounted and prepared for active antiaircraft protection, and guide or designating flags displayed when appropriate. All boats which are to form a part of the boat-group formation should then proceed individually to their assembly areas.
- Boats arriving from other ships report to the designated officer in the prescribed assembly areas. These officers in turn report the arrival of boats in their areas upon next circling near the transport. (See 427 c to f above for explanation of the two methods of assembly.)
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- Boat-division commanders or assistant boat-group commanders, as appropriate, may be assigned to command all boats in an assembly area containing two or more boats.
- If the assembly is to be made by type, arriving boats simply form column in the most convenient manner and are called alongside individually as needed. If the assembly is to be made by boat divisions, individual boats upon reaching assembly areas should assemble in the prescribed column formation of their particular boat division, and so remain until called alongside for loading.
- While in the assembly areas boats may be conducted in convenient circles which will bring them repeatedly within hailing distance of the transport.
- Care should be taken to keep all boats within their designated assembly areas, particularly when the transport swings or otherwise changes position.
- Boats should at all times be on the alert for hostile aircraft, and should be prepared to open fire promptly.
- Prior to or immediately upon his debarkation, the boat-group commander should assure himself as to the location and identification of rendezvous areas. If not marked by a control vessels stationed for the purpose, rendezvous areas should be established by the boat group commander, marking them either by buoys or picket boats. The approach schedule should be delivered to the control vessel at this time.
- Men and equipment should be debarked with all possible speed as soon as their boats come alongside. It is usually advisable to load first the heavy matériel and sufficient men to stow it properly in the boats. This should be followed by the more easily handled matériel and the remaining personnel.
- Equipment carried on the person should be loosened before going over the side. The rifle should be slung vertically over the left shoulder with the sling passed over the bayonet handle in the pack.
- Before each loaded boat leaves the gangway it should be informed where its boat division is to assemble and the location of its rendezvous area.
- When a boat is unable to report alongside on schedule, it should, if possible, be immediately replaced by a boat of the same type and speed from the boat pool.
- It is desirable that one or more boats from the boat pool follow each wave until it lands. All such boats should not be sent off on this duty, however, until the actual debarkation of troops is assured.
- The approach to the line of departure.--
- The assembly of loaded boats into their boat division formation will take place in close proximity to the transport. Boat divisions then proceed by division to the rendezvous areas.
- In order to avoid confusion, it may be advisable for boat divisions, while being held in the rendezvous areas, to cruise in circles. When completely assembled, boat divisions arrange themselves in the prescribed boat group or wave formation, under the command of the boat group or wave commander.
Figure 19.--Use of stadiameter.
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- Plans for the approach to the line of departure will usually provide for a single concerted movement by all leading boat groups, guided by several control vessels (preferably one for each boat group) acting as a unit. In such a movement one of the control vessels will be designated as control group guide. This centralized control of all boat movements during this phase is particularly applicable when all leading boat groups are to land nearly simultaneously on adjacent beaches, and (or) when inshore support ships are included in the control group.
- If the situation is such that each boat group must move independently to the line of departure and no inshore support ships are included in the control group, there is little need for the control group acting as a unit during the approach.
- The control vessel assigned to guide a particular boat group after identifying the beach, and marking the line of departure, if necessary, should proceed to the boat rendezvous areas in time to act as the rendezvous guide until the boats are ready to proceed. At the time indicated in the appropriate debarkation and approach schedule as issued and furnished by the transport concerned, or when directed by the attack force or control group commander, it sounds a blast of its whistle (hoists the guide flag if control group guide) and guides the leading wave by the prescribed route to the line of departure.
- While acting as rendezvous and boat guide, each control vessel should display a designating flag by day or light by night.
- While guiding boat formations, the control vessel should be ahead of the center of the formation and sufficiently in advance of the leading boats for such maneuvering as will be necessary. Care should be taken to prevent the control vessel and the boats losing sight of one another. All speeds should be regulated by the control vessel and should be such as to insure the boats crossing the line of departure at the prescribed time.
- If it is impracticable to have a control vessel lead the boats the whole distance from their rendezvous areas, one should meet the boats some distance back of the line of departure and guide their approach thereto.
- during daylight, each boat division should proceed in a closed Vee formation; in rain, fog, smoke, or darkness, they should proceed in column formation, and if necessary, place their boats in tow.
- When deployed, boats may maintain their prescribed distances by use of a boat stadiameter. This is an instrument, similar to the musketry rule, consisting of a small strip of any light strong material such as wood, aluminum, or celluloid, with a string attached. A knot should be tied in the string at such distance from the strip that when the knot is held at the eye or in the teeth the strip will exactly subtend the boat being observed at the designated distance.
- In using the boat stadiameter the strip must be held parallel to the course of the boat being observed.
- The use of a boat stadiameter is particularly desirable in maintaining the proper interval between boat division guides.
- If attacked by aircraft, boat guns and other weapons designated for this duty should open fire without waiting for orders. Riflemen in boats should fire only when directed.
- The control vessels, and such other ships as may be designated, should protect the boats from enemy surface craft, aircraft, and submarines. Nevertheless, when an attack by enemy craft is so severe as to seriously jeopardize the integrity of the boat group, certain boats may be directed by the boat group commander to break away from the formation and engage the enemy craft with their boat guns, rejoining the boat group formation as soon as expedient. The paramount consideration, however, is to deliver the troops at the beach in the tactical formation previously ordered.
- Accompanying boats of the boat pool should rescue survivors, and tow or replace any boats of the formation which become unable to keep position; transferring troops when necessary.
- The attack force commander, the commander of the fire support group supporting the landing, and other designated commanders should be kept informed by the control vessel as to the progress of the boat group. The fire support group, particularly, should be notified, when the boats are in the position prescribed by the attack force commander for opening, ceasing, or lifting naval gunfire. (See 228f for methods.)
- If for any reason the line of departure has not been marked by the control group, it may be established by the boat group commander by sending a boat in to take station on that line.
- Activities near the line of departure.--
- During the approach of the boat group to the line of departure, the guiding control vessel should take frequent ranges on the beach and on the markers at the line of departure. This will enable the control vessel to regulate the speed of the boats so that they may cross the line at the proper time.
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- As the line of departure is neared, the boat group commander should contact the control vessel of his boat group for last-minute messages from higher commanders, and to obtain the exact bearing of the landing beach.
- On or before nearing the line of departure, the boat group commander should see that the waves are deployed into their prescribed landing formations and ready to start the run to the beach.
- The control vessel should signal its arrival at the line of departure. It should then station itself on that line for further activities as described later. If the control vessel is to support the landing by fire, it should then proceed to its designated firing station. If, on the other hand, the control vessel is to guide the boats in beyond the line of departure, it should indicate the moment of crossing the line of departure by signal, and give a further signal when it ceases to be the boat guide. Signals should be prescribed with due regard for the secrecy of the approach.
- As the first wave crosses the line of departure, the control vessel should so notify the attack force commander, the fire support group, and any other units concerned.
- The control vessel, unless assigned other duties which will prevent, acts as an observation station, relaying to appropriate commanders such information of the landings as can be gathered.
- The dash to the beach.--
- As the line of departure is located as close to the landing beaches as enemy fires permit, the landing boats may expect enemy light artillery and machine-gun fires soon after they cross this line. Each wave should, therefore, proceed at full speed from the line of departure to the beach.
- Each boat continues to guide on the leading boat of its boat division, and each boat division guide maintains its place in the wave formation by guiding on the designated wave guide. Care should be taken at this time to insure that all boats maintain their proper distances from each other, particularly the boat division guides. If boats are too close, the become more vulnerable to enemy fire, certain portions of the beach may be left uncovered, and troops are deprived of the necessary space for immediate deployment at the beach; if distances are greater than prescribed, flank boats may be forced entirely off the designated beach, and some enemy groups left unopposed.
- Alternate guides hoist their guide flags if the regular guide boats become casualties.
- It is extremely difficult for boats, depending solely on boat compasses and observation of the shore line, to approach the beach at full speed and land at the exact point desired. This is particularly true when boats must negotiate narrow unmarked channels or land on a beach hidden from view by smoke.
- For a daylight landing when one control vessel is acting as boat guide, it may be advisable to employ a guide plane to guide each boat group until it is assured of landing on its proper beach.
- The guide plane should fly well in the rear of the wave being guided. When it is evident that the wave should change direction in order to land all of its boats on the assigned beach, the plane should fly directly toward the guide boat and signal the necessary change in direction. One dip of the right (or left) wing signifies a change of direction of 5 degrees to the right (or left); two dips, 10 degrees; etc. The change of course can be observed by the pilot and serves as an acknowledgment of the signal.
- Although one of several other methods are possible in small operations, the above method offers the least chance of confusion and the least danger to the guide plane. (See also par. 623.)
- One man should be detailed in each boat to continuously watch the guide plane for signals.
- The fire support group continues the gunfire on the beaches at its maximum volume until the boats approach the pattern. These fires will ordinarily lift in accordance with a predetermined time schedule, verified by direct observation from the control and firing vessels. Provision should also be made to have fires lift upon pyrotechnic signal from the boats, as indicated in chapter VII, section II. In each boat group, the responsibility for firing such a signal should be definitely placed, usually with the wave commander of the first wave. If smoke is employed, difficulty may be experienced at the firing ships in seeing the prescribed pyrotechnic signal from the boats, and provision should be made, if practicable, to have the information also sent by radio.
- Inshore supporting ships should continue to fire until such fire is masked by the boats or troops, and control their fire by direct observation.
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- The last salvo on each beach from offshore supporting ships should, if practicable, contain at least one star shell or other distinguishing shell burst. This is a positive signal which allows planes and boats to go in promptly and deliver their maximum fires on the beach.
- All available bombing and strafing planes should attack the beach defenders as soon as the naval gunfire ceases or lifts and continue such attacks during the landing and initial advance.
- During daylight, boats of the leading wave commence firing boat guns upon coming within range of the beach. This fire should be continued at its maximum volume until masked on the beach by debarking troops. After leaving the line of departure, all personnel not operating the boat and boat guns should be kept as low in the boat as possible. Bayonets should be fixed while well off the beach.
- While still beyond 200 yards from the beach, each boat should distribute its fire evenly along the whole platoon beach, rather than maintain its fire on any particular point. In this respect the distribution of the fire from each boat should be similar to that of a rifleman within a squad. As each boat approaches closer than 200 yards, this fire should be gradually narrowed to cover the front assigned the troops in the boat. Finally, as the boat is about to ground, the fire should be brought on the most dangerous target as designated by the marine commander in the boat.
- In the rare event that one or more enemy weapons particularly dangerous to the landing can be definitely identified, the above doctrine may be modified to the extent that certain boat guns may be sooner directed to maintain their fire on such enemy weapons until they are effectively neutralized. It should be recognized, however, that such procedure may often leave some unidentified enemy weapons entirely free to oppose the landing.
- As the success of night landings may depend largely upon surprise, and as darkness will often preclude fire from some boats because of danger to others, boat divisions landing in darkness should delay deploying and opening fire until close in to the beach, or until it becomes imperative to return the enemy fire in order to land.
- The landing.--
- For methods of landing boats through surf, see chapter III, section III.
- The brief period embracing the debarkation and deployment of assaulting troops on the beach is one of the most critical in the operation, and must be characterized by the utmost speed and dash.
- At the instant that each boat of the landing wave is beached, the marine commander in the boat should give the signal to debark. Upon this signal, the assaulting troops, aided by all possible fire from the boat guns, spring out of the boat and deploy. Utilizing the fire of their own weapons to the maximum, they charge the immediate beach defenses with the bayonet, and push the attack vigorously to the assigned objective.
- Each rifleman in an assault unit about to debark from the port side should carry his rifle above his head in his left hand. He should place his right hand and a foot on the gunwale and spring well clear of the boat, landing feet first facing the beach. Riflemen debark from the starboard side in a similar manner, carrying the rifle in the right hand and using the left hand on the gunwale.
- On certain types of beaches, particularly when relatively large boats are used, the bow of the boat may be grounded while father astern the water may be deep enough to seriously interfere with a man getting ashore promptly, or even over a man's head. If the nature of the beach is unknown is this respect, therefore, men should disembark successively from boat to stern and should be trained to move forward before going over the side in case deep water or high surf is encountered.
- Boat guns which are still able to function while troops are debarking from the boats and advancing inland should maintain a heavy volume of fire on a single target until such fire is masked by attacking troops. Such a target should be designated to the gunners by the marine commander in the boat, and may consist of a known enemy activity or position, a likely enemy position, or a selected terrain objective for the landing troops.
- The troop leader should utilize the boat guns as a fire pivot of maneuver similar to that of an automatic rifle within the squad, by having his troops, supported by this fire, advance and attack the flanks of the selected objective. (See fig. 20.)
- The coordination of fire and movement, as explained above, can only be brought to its maximum effectiveness through combined exercises of boat gunners and rifle units. Care should be taken by the advancing troops to keep clear of the line of fire, and thus allow the weapons to continue firing until just before the objective is taken.
- When boat guns can no longer be used to advantage, their crews, if marines, rejoin their regular organizations.
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Figure 20.--Position of squad in a boat and scheme of maneuver upon landing.
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- As prescribed in 714b, each platoon should signal by pyrotechnics whether or not its landing has been successful. This signal should be fired as soon as the result of the landing becomes evident. When a support section is employed, it may be designated to fire this signal just prior to, or immediately after, its landing.
- In addition to the above, each platoon in the assault battalion, upon landing in daylight, should erect a flag at its landing place. These flags constitute a continuing signal to all succeeding units as to the number and landing places of preceding platoons.
- Suitable hooded lights, visible from seaward only, should be made available for use during a landing in darkness in lieu of the flags mentioned above.
- Units in the second and succeeding waves proceed from the line of departure in open or closed Vee formations, or in line, as required by the existing conditions. Such units land behind assault units which have succeeded in landing. Information of successful landings may be obtained from the visual signals explained above, or by direct observation of the troops. These succeeding waves should make such adjustment in speed as becomes necessary in order to gain the prescribed intervals between waves at the time of landing.
- Subsequent boat movements.--
- After landing their troops, such boats as have been designated as ambulance, messenger, or patrol boats, proceed on their assigned duties as directed by the beachmaster.
- In order to save time and prevent congestion near the beach, boats of the leading boat groups, other than those mentioned above, should return individually to the transports or other designated vessels as soon as cleared. If necessary to land other units in formation in the second trip of the boats, assembly and reorganization of the boats may be accomplished at the transports. Otherwise, boats operate independently on the second and succeeding trips.
- Boats landing regimental, brigade, or division reserves in the first trip should rendezvous at a designated control vessel, at or near the line of departure, until ordered to land.
- When transports, after debarking troops, are forced to put to sea or otherwise change position, boats may be directed to rendezvous on a control vessel until their further disposition is decided.
Par. 436. Scope 101 437. Information desired 101 438. Courses of action 102 439. General conduct of patrols 102 440. Patrolling the coast line from the sea 102 441. Patrol demonstrations 103 442. Landing of agents 103 443. Patrolling on shore 103 444. Capturing prisoners 105
- This section deals with reconnaissances of the shore by small patrols and demonstrations in connection therewith, for the purpose of securing information.
- Where comparatively large bodies of troops are employed in such operations as raids and reconnaissances in force, the doctrines set forth in the preceding sections of this chapter should govern.
- Demonstrations, conducted with or without secondary landings, for the purpose of diverting enemy reserves, artillery fire, and aircraft from the area of the main landing, necessarily involve a relatively large number of boats and usually a considerable amount of naval gunfire and aircraft support. Such demonstrations, particularly those involving a secondary landing, should be planned and executed in accordance with the methods previously prescribed for a landing in force. (For demonstrations see par. 126.)
- Patrols, or demolition parties, organized and equipped to cut breaches in or 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 the following:
Location of enemy defensive positions, and with what strength, if any, such positions are occupied.
Location of enemy weapons, such as machine guns, antiboat guns, and artillery.
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Location of obstacles, gassed areas, artillery barrages, and landing fields.
Character of the surf, beach, and terrain inland.
Location, character, and strength of enemy supports and reserves, together with their routes of advance to oppose landings in any locality.
Location of enemy ammunition dumps, communication centers, and command and observation posts.
Identification of enemy units.
Courses of action.--In order to secure the desired information, it will usually be necessary to employ any or all of the following courses of action:
Patrolling the coast line from the sea.
Placing agents ashore.
Patrolling on shore.
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 broad daylight would in all probability gain little information of value. The enemy could not 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 the patrol should land in the presence of the enemy, it could easily be destroyed 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 such as to make discovery of the boats difficult from the shore, and at the same time permit 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 or the capture of prisoners.
- In order to achieve the necessary secrecy, patrols should not usually be supported by either gunfire or aviation.
- Owing to the extreme delicacy of patrol missions, special reconnaissance boats should be assembled and made available for this purpose. These boats should be motor driven, but small enough to be handled readily by oars or paddles when the motor is cut, and should be armed with boat guns. The rubber boat (see par. 326) is well adapted for this purpose. The disadvantage of noise from its outboard motor may be avoided if rubber boats are towed, by a boat with a quiet-running motor, to within easy paddling distance of the beach. Another alternative is to employ a submarine for the approach, disembarking the patrol in rubber boats at the desired distance from the shore.
- The size of a reconnaissance patrol should be limited to the minimum number of men and boats capable of accomplishing the mission. Such patrols, however, should seldom employ less than two boats, at least one of which should be motor driven. All men who are to land should be 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 and be used 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 them should be grasped by all patrols, unless specifically instructed otherwise.
Patrolling the coast line from the sea.--
- Boat reconnaissance of the coast line is conducted for the purpose of obtaining information as to the character of the surf, suitability
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of the terrain for land operations, location of obstacles, gassed areas, etc. An offshore breeze is highly desirable, both as an aid to secrecy and in the detection of gassed areas by smell.
- Such patrols should seldom exceed one or two marine 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 tap the beach at suitable points. While within hearing distance from the beach, all boats should operate silently.
- 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 should employ boat gunners and marine 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.
- Such demonstration patrols should proceed secretly toward the beach until within boat gun range. The get-away boats should then station themselves 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. Boats should indicate their positions to each other by blinker tubes.
- An onshore breeze should be 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 should 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 pulling boat.
- When the agent is to return on the same night he is landed, his boat may take one of the following courses: (1) Wait off an easily recognized landmark and pick him up as he swims out, (2) wait for him at the landing place or other rendezvous, or (3) 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 communications from the shore or for a later rendezvous.
- Communications with an agent on shore must usually take place through voice radio or improvised visual signals. Lengthy and detailed communications requiring lights or flags must be sent from certain predetermined localities at specified times. Written messages may be left at designated places on the beach to be later recovered by patrols. A single vital piece of information, such as "Enemy in force," may be signaled by firing a canefield or brush. 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 realized. Information obtained through such reconnaissances, whether positive or negative, is usually definite. Land patrols may be depended upon to determine not only whether or not a particular beach area is actually defended, but often offer the only practicable means, through observation and the capture of prisoners, of obtaining other necessary information.
- The size of patrols which are to land 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 will be the chances of escaping discovery.
- Inasmuch as it may be found expedient to have the land patrol swim from their boats to the shore and return, those men who are to land should be strong swimmers and equipped with life jackets. In addition, they should be stripped of all means of unit identification, lightly equipped, and lightly armed. Men who are to remain in the boats may be equipped with more powerful automatic weapons.
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Figure 21.--Patrolling on shore.
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- In issuing orders to land patrols, care should be taken to designate specifically and clearly the information they are expected to obtain. Instructions of a general nature lead to uncertainty and indecision when the utmost audacity and boldness is a prerequisite to success.
- The boats which are to land reconnaissance patrols should 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 get-away 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 take to the water, swimming to the vicinity of the boat will be aided by the current. (See fig. 21.) 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 as shown in figure 21.
- On shore, patrols are conducted in accordance with the tactics of ordinary land patrols, the principle difference being that the patrol may, through necessity or by prearranged plan, have to take to 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 all types of patrols previously discussed should, while carrying out their assigned missions, seize any favorable opportunity to capture prisoners, these means may not prove sufficiently productive of results. Such a contingency may necessitate the organization of special patrols for the primary purpose of obtaining prisoners.
- Patrols may be especially organized to seize enemy patrol boats and capture their occupants, or to land and capture 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 should be trained to operate together in darkness. The men should be heavily armed and the boats should be equipped with machine guns.
- Due to the danger of firing on each other by mistake, the boats should remain in contact with each other throughout the operation. 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 may likely be found. Upon falling in with an enemy boat an effort should be made to cut off his retreat to the beach and drive him to sea. All patrol boats should then give chase, close with the enemy boat, and capture it.
- Operations similar to the above may be adopted in order to prevent observation of our own movements by enemy patrol boats.
- Capturing prisoners on shore may be 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 contain from a squad to a company. They should usually be landed secretly, as prescribed for patrolling on shore. After landing, the selected enemy position should be quickly approached and the attack launched. The raiding party, with its prisoners, must then repair quickly to its boats and put to sea before the arrival of overwhelming 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, such attacks may be supported by ships' gunfire.
- For the ambush of enemy individuals, the shore patrol should be limited in size, preferably from two to eight men. The men should be landed secretly as prescribed for the landing of agents. After landing, such patrols should lie in concealment along trails, at the water's edge, or near other points where enemy individuals are likely to move, with a view to seizing such individuals and escaping with them to the waiting boat.
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Boat Formation Signals
Par. 445. Boat division formations 106 446. Boat formation signals 106
- Boat division formations.--
Figure 22.--Boat division formations.
- Boat formation signals.--
- The following table prescribes signals to be employed in the control of boat formations. They may be formed by the arms or flags by day, and by blinker tube or other suitable light by night.
- There is no signal of execution. Signals are executed as soon as understood. Each should be continued or repeated until it is apparent that it is understood by all concerned.
- It will be noted that all day signals, except those meaning "attention for boat formation signals" and "Deploy into Vee formation," are identical with the hand and arm signals prescribed for use by troops on land, and should be readily understood by all marines. This will obviate the necessity for a trained signalman in each boat.
- In addition to the special boat formation signals, a guide flag displayed from a boat means "Guide on me"; lowering of the guide flag means "Disregard my movements."
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Par. 447. Classification 108 448. Rescue of personnel 109 449. Hauling off disabled boats 109 450. Recovery of sunken equipment 109
- Classification.--Salvage operations are primarily the responsibility of the salvage group--see paragraph 203a(9)--and should be conducted in such a manner that the landing of other boats will not be hindered. These operations may be divided into the following classifications in order of priority:
- Rescue and landing of personnel from disabled boats.
- Hauling clear disabled boats which are adrift.
- Hauling off stranded boats.
- Recovery of sunken equipment.
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Some boats may be disabled offshore by material failures, stranding, enemy fire, entanglement in underwater obstacles and other causes. The first function of the salvage group is to transfer and land the troops from these boats in order to insure their early entry into action in accordance with the tactical plan.
- Hauling off disabled boats.--
- Boats may become disabled or stranded at the beach as the result of hostile fire or difficult surf conditions. Prompt action must be taken by the salvage group to keep the sea approaches to the beach from becoming choked with these disabled boats which, under the action of the surf, may endanger later boats and delay the landing of later waves. The entire operation may thus be jeopardized.
- The salvage group follows the leading waves until close to the beach. After landing men from the disabled boats, such of the boats as are still adrift are first towed clear of the line of approach. Then stranded boats are hauled off in the most rapid manner practicable. Since king posts and sampson posts of stranded boats may not be able to take the strain of the tow line, the line should be secured to the hoisting gear. Once clear, boats unable to proceed under their own power are towed out of the way of later waves. The vital consideration is to prevent delay in the landing. If necessary for this purpose, badly disabled boats will be sunk in deep water.
- Boats which cannot be hauled clear readily should be anchored securely and left at the beach. Subsequent salvage of heavily grounded boats is a problem in seamanship for later solution rather than a part of the landing operation itself.
- The personnel of the salvage group must constantly bear in mind that their task is to expedite the landing, and that salvage is only a means to that end. They must use imagination and judgment in their work to insure that salvage operations facilitate the landing rather than hinder it. If they become too enthusiastic about the salvage it is quite possible that they may themselves become an interference to waves still landing.
- Recovery of sunken equipment.--The salvage group should be equipped with diving and lifting gear in order to facilitate salvage of sunken equipment whose importance or value does not justify its abandonment. These operations usually will not take place until after the landing of the initial assault units.
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[B L A N K]
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