Chapter XXXIV
Instructions for Observers of Amphibious Operations

Section 1. Mission and Scope
Section 2. Observation Check Off List
Section 3. Reports

Section 1. Mission and Scope

  1. Officers designated as observers will be assigned to vessels, amphibious craft and landing boat groups of this force for the purpose of determining the status of training, the conformity of landing operations with established amphibious doctrine and compliance with training orders, operation orders and directive of this force.

  2. Prior to an amphibious operation, regularly assigned observation officers should carefully read the following references in order to obtain a complete viewpoint of an amphibious operation and to more accurately analyze deviations from training and operation orders, force directives and established doctrine:

    1. Landing Operations Doctrine, FTP 167.
    2. Ship to Shore Movement, FTP 211.
    3. Training Orders, Operation Orders and Force Directives.

  3. Observation officers shall carry out their mission of observation and shall not issue orders to ship or troop personnel, or in any manner interfere with or impede amphibious operations. Information and advice may be supplied when specifically requested by superior officers.

Section 2. Observation Check Off List

  1. Prior to embarking on a vessel or landing craft, the observation officer shall be provided with a copy of the Task Force Training Order and all subsidiary orders, tables and schedules pertaining to the exercise. He shall study the characteristics of the ship, or of the vessel, or landing craft and determine the rated capacity for troops, cargo and the number and types of landing boats to be carried. In addition, he will determine the composition and function of the troop unit to be embarked.

  2. During loading and embarkation, observation officers shall:

    1. Determine the date and time of arrival of supplies and equipment.

    2. Determine whether material and equipment arrived as scheduled.


    1. Observe whether equipment and supplies were adequately marked.

    2. Determine whether the ship's transport quartermaster plans were completed prior to loading and embarkation of troops.

    3. Observe whether the quartermaster's plans were adhered to in executing the loading and embarkation.

    4. Determine whether vehicle and cargo handling gear was available and whether ship's cargo handling personnel were on hand.

    5. Determine time of commencing and completing loading of cargo, vehicles and equipment.

    6. Determine whether the loading detail was sufficient, efficient and satisfactorily supervised.

    7. Obtain loading statistics including quantity of supplies, ammunition, rations, fuel, equipment, vehicles and guns.

    8. Time of commencement and completion of troop embarkation.

    9. Suitability of boarding plan and sufficiency of gangways.

    10. Determine extent of cooperation between ship and troop personnel in loading and embarkation.

    11. Make recommendations for improvement of subsequent loadings and embarkations.

  1. On board vessels or landing craft, observations will be made to determine:

    1. Supplementation of ship's anti-aircraft protection by troop-manned anti-aircraft weapons.

    2. Cooperation between ship and troop officers.

    3. Compliance by troops with troop regulations.

    4. Extent of troop training in ship's routine drills and familiarization with naval terminology and nomenclature.

    5. Extent of training of ship's crew while underway.

    6. Extent of troops drills and instructions in debarkation, boat diagrams, routes to nets, boat loading and debarkation.

    7. Conduct of physical drills and extent of shipboard recreation.

  2. Observations will be made to determine:

    1. That the operation order, as issued, is clear and complete.

    2. That the following were prepared and issued:

      1. Master Boat Availability Table.
      2. Boat Assignment Table.
      3. The Master Hold debarkation Table.
      4. The Landing Diagram.
      5. Debarkation and Approach Schedule.


    1. That essential information on the landing attack or training operation is distributed to officers and personnel.

    2. That conferences were held between ship's officers and troop officers with respect to the landing attack.

  1. In the theater of operations, observations will be made of:

    1. Rail loading and the method of lowering boats.

    2. The time required to lower all boats.

    3. The establishment of the assembly rendezvous area.

    4. The method of calling landing boats alongside.

    5. The extent of landing boat control.

    6. The time required to debark the assault waves.

    7. The discipline of troops during debarkation.

    8. The organization of boat waves.

    9. The maintenance of station by the control vessel, the assistant control vessel.

    10. The effectiveness of the boat group commander and the assistant boat group commander.

    11. The conformity to schedule of landing boat movements from the rendezvous area to the line of departure and from the line of departure to the beach.

    12. The effectiveness of the control vessel in marking of the line of departure and in maintaining station.

    13. The dispatching of landing boats by the control vessel from the line of departure.

    14. The discipline of boat crews and troop units embarked in landing boats.

    15. The conformity of landing boat formation with the landing boat diagrams.

    16. The condition and nature of landing boat beaching and speed of retraction from the beach and departure from the beach area.

    17. The organization, movement and control of empty landing boats from landing beaches to the transports.

    18. The time and place of landing of each wave.

    19. The condition of the wind, sea and surf.

    20. The conditions of the landing beach, including the nature of the obstructions, the nature of underwater obstructions to beach approaches and the activities of demolition units.

    21. The effectiveness of channel marking in the beach approaches.

    22. The use of LVTs and DUKWs in the assault.

    23. The use of the "line of transfer" and transfer procedure from landing boats to LVTs and DUKWs.

    24. The effectiveness of support boats and close-in fire support boats.

    25. The effectiveness of traffic control and salvage operations.

  2. Observations will be made to determine:

    1. The preparation and use of the unloading plan.


    1. The compliance with the debarkation priorities schedule.

    2. The proper use of landing craft for expeditious unloading.

    3. The cooperation of troop unloading details.

    4. The ship's Transport Quartermaster's familiarization with the status of unloading at all times.

    5. The use of cargo nets, booms, winches and unloading facilities.

    6. The use of flags and signals to call landing craft to vessels and to properly identify cargo for expeditious unloading at the beach.

    7. The conduct of unloading operations at all hatches simultaneously.

    8. The use of hand lines and similar aids during debarkation of light material.

    9. The experience of the landing boat crew in handling boat lines.

  1. Observations will be made to determine:

    1. The organization and effectiveness of the beach party.

    2. The erection of beach flank markers and unloading point markers.

    3. The use of unloading aids on the beach.

    4. The operation of unloading details of the shore party.

    5. The organization and clearance of the beach area and the dispersal of supplies.

    6. The provisions for local defense.

    7. The effectiveness of hydrographic reconnaissance and beach marking.

    8. The repair of landing boat casualties in the vicinity of the beach.

  2. Observations will be made to determine:

    1. The effectiveness of ship to shore communications.

    2. The status of communications between the control vessel, the transport, and the landing boat wave commanders.

    3. The effectiveness of beach party communications.

    4. The use of NAN equipment.

    5. The use of voice projectors and public address systems.

    6. The nature of radio traffic.

  3. Observation will be made to determine:

    1. The preparation for receiving casualties on shipboard.

    2. The provisions for transporting casualties in landing boats.

    3. The provision for moving casualties from landing boats to transports.

    4. The adequacy of shipboard preparations with respect to the casualty problem.


Section 3. Reports

  1. Upon completion of operation or training exercises, observation officers will make complete reports in clear and concise language, detailing the observation set forth in section 2 of this chapter and setting forth the status of training and the extent of compliance with training orders, operation orders, force directives and establish[ed] amphibious doctrine. Reports will be typewritten and promptly submitted in duplicate to the officer ordering the conduct of the observation. Observation reports will be properly classified. Where necessary diagrams, schedules and plans will be appended to and made part of observation reports. Reported observations should be confined to facts and circumstances actually seen or experienced by the observer. Comments based on hearsay and unsubstantiated reports should be avoided.


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