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Treatise on Amphibious Landings

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Treatises on Amphibious Landings

 

By A.J. Surblade “The Tuskripper”,
Captain, Kul Tiran Admiralty
FMR Commander, Alliance Military

Introductions

 

    There is no naval force in the world like the Kul Tiran Navy. With hundreds of top-rate warships of the line, and decades of experience, none can withstand our might on the seas. However, due to the translational nature of modern warfare and the need for boots on the ground in addition to powerful naval support, modern armies find themselves in their most exposed during the transposition between the two major arms (i.e. the army forces and the navy).

 

    However, we must address the unique nature of the Kul Tiran military before we discuss how to best conduct an amphibious assault. First and foremost, the majority of the Kul Tiran military lies in the Navy. That said, one can expect the majority of ‘army’ type forces to be comprised of marines, unless special levies are trained and raised specifically for ground-based warfare. Due to this, it is imperative that marines, soldiers, and sailors alike be experts in the art of getting fighting men to the beaches where they need to be. To have a standing army is not suitable for the nation state of Kul Tiras, and therefore most levies are drawn from groups of marines which should have knowledge in how to properly conduct a beach landing. However, we must not assume they (or your plans) will be competent enough to fully survive any resistance on the beaches. This treatise offers an alternative logic and approach from the conventional approach to littoral warfare.

 

    Moreover, this work will function to show both combat and logistical landings, as both can and should be conducted adequately and with the proper provisions should one’s skiffs take fire or have enemies waiting for them on the shore. As such, this work is penned with the assumptions that one is operating standardized dinghies and landing craft. The term landing craft is intended for specialized barges with drop-prows, however these designs are rare and hardly used unless cavalry are needed immediately on the shoreline. As such, unless stated otherwise, the term landing craft is going to refer to the skiffs and dinghies utilized to shuttle men to shore.

Standard Convention

 

    Many tacticians believe the best way to conduct an amphibious landing is for a massed landing of smaller vessels to arrive on the shoreline at the same time filled to the brim with heavily armored marines, while warships are primed to deliver broadside support. Ships are rowed towards the shore with the armored men possibly protecting the oarsmen if they feel so altruistic. Riflemen who are less armored are often to arrive in the second wave. Horses and cavalry to be sent as needed. These landings require significant coordination and time to prepare. Ships are often anchored in place off of the coast or circle in a figure eight pattern to make themselves harder targets.

 

    While this is effective and allows for adequate troops to arrive on the beach at the same time, the notion that it takes so long to muster and then launch the attack-wave allows for enemy forces to be better organized. Furthermore the landing boats often prefer to keep formation so that the waves of soldiers arrive at the same time. However, there are a few notions one must consider.
        
        - A slow moving rowboat full of heavily armored men is an easy target to prepared batteries and firing positions. Should the landing craft be sunk, the marines will have to either ditch their weapons and armor or drown. This is not an adequate usage of economy of force.

 

        - Formational landings are only beneficial to the psychological being of those in the landing ships. An inexperiences soldier may feel anxious or worried in those drawn out minute before his keel hits the sand. A veteran might feel comfort in the notion that his brothers are with him a few yards away in another boat. However that is not what we want.

 

        - Lack of diversity. The lack of different forms of fighter hinders the capabilities of each individual landing craft. As such, an initial wave of only sword and shield marines lacks range, and means to protect themselves against magical attacks. Conversely a force of rifles does not have an adequate means to protect itself from horse and blade. Lack of diversity is improper economy of force.

    To ensure optimal economy of force and loss of life for the other bastard (and not our glorious nation of Kul Tiras), we must make the required changes to our littoral combat approach, lest we be found wanting at the most dire of moments.

Economy of Force

 

    Before the proposal and explanation of my new conventional tactics for beach landing, I must explain this term in which I have used a few times above. Economy of force. This term is a colloquialism which means that we ensure that we utilize ALL of our combat assets in the most EFFICIENT ways possible. By the adequate usage of soldiers in a combined arms roll, we will see that our economy of force and usage of force multipliers increases exponentially. More boots will get onto the sand and then onto our enemies’ throats and less men and materiel would be lost in transit.

 

New Convention
Subsection: Armed Landing With Enemy Present


    The first facet of the improved beach landing strategy is the need for rolling bombardment. Rolling bombardment is the gradual creep of cannon fire up the shoreline and beach at preset increments of time. The enemy can see where the cannon and explosive shot is landing, and they will not charge into it. You have effectively built a wall for your men to be protected from as they disembark or paddle to shore. As such, one does not want his rolling bombardment to become predictable. Shot should be alternated between solid, explosive, and quicklime so that there is no area on the beachhead safe for the enemy. A standard frigate has 36 guns. One broadside (18 cannon) maintains an equal potency to SIX cannon batteries (assuming Alliance convention of 3 guns per battery). As such, one can land their forces with immediate fire-superiority and land them unharmed from swarming savages. In the event that the enemy has counter-battery fire, one may split the fire from their cannons according to the force arrayed against them. For instance, the deck guns and top row of broadside cannon can fire at the enemy artillery, while the remaining fire shot ahead of their men landing. The situations in which one splits their cannon is highly subjective to the situation. Explosive shot and Quicklime are great deterrents, allowing unmolested beach landing.  
    
    However, one must assume that the enemy is going to have some form of small arm or arrow in which to attack them as they land and disembark. It is now we discuss the orientation of forces inside each landing craft. A standard rowboat for landings can hold 16 men. Among these 16 men, one should have two oarsmen, two marines with shields to protect the oarsmen to and from the beach. Furthermore, there should be eight marines, two riflemen, a magi and a healer or medic. These variation in forces allow for synergy and the compensations of shortcomings form each other unit type. Marines can protect magi and rifles as healers mend the wounded and magi fend off the arcane. A combined-arms approach allows for OPTIMAL economy of force, especially when utilized with a rolling bombardment.
    
    Now we must discuss the orientation of the forces inside of the landing craft. Marines must have their shields stacked and angled like the scales on a crocolisk. The staggering in shields allows for the continued operation of the landing crafts, while also ensuring no participants fall to incoming fire before they hit the shores. Some shields can be angled to the sides of the vessel to protect the lightly armored combatants which should be kept towards the rear.
    
    Finally, we must discuss the nature of the landing itself. Compared to the old paradigm of massed waves of vessels, this new stratagem MUST BE CONDUCTED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. Speed kills. With the protections of the rolling bombardment, one does not have to wait for the massed landing. Ships should be launched as expeditiously as possible to maximize the speed at which more men can be ferried back onto the beach. To take the momentum afforded to you and continue to drive home the advantage allows for continued success in war. To be slow in the face of enemy fire in an area of no cover like the sea, is to be faced with certain death.
    
    Note: When forces get onto the shore, the rowboats must depart back as soon as possible. Furthermore, we must discuss being on the beach with the sea and sand to your back and enemy to your front. This is the notion of DEATH GROUND. Your soldiers know that they are in a bad position and the only way to win the fight is to fight for their lives. Death ground allows for two things: one, no retreat, and two, increased combat prowess. HOWEVER, it is to be noted that Death Ground is only to be stayed in temporarily, as the main forcus of the landing should be to follow the rolling bombardment up the beach, close with the enemy, and slaughter him.

 

    Advancement up the beach should be conducted when adequate numbers are present, or when the rolling bombardment has afforded such and advantageous position that whomever has landed is able to ensure their own lives and continued success of remaining forces hitting the beaches.

 

Anecdotal Evidence:

   I had developed this type of beach landing during my campaign to retake Gilneas. During our initial attacks, a diversionary landing had occurred off of the coast of the Silverpine Forest. To help ensure the success of our main forces landing in the south and reconnoitering with local forces, we had launched a devastating attack on the Forsaken Rear Guard. The outpost was quickly overwhelmed and burned as any resistance to the men landing on the beaches was held back and squashed by rolling bombardment. Following the sacking of the town, Forsaken reinforcements and Bat Riders began to harass our fleeing forces. However, rolling bombardment was using in the reverse to allow our men the chance to flee while the cannon shots drew closer to the shore, building the buffer between them and the enemy reinforcements. Note: to stimey the Forsaken aerial units, large quantities of canister shot from swivel guns and deck-guns were used to destroy any threat posed by them. Furthermore, rifle armed sailors were able to pick off any that made it through the iron curtain of grape shot.  Due to these actions, we landed our entire military force safely and only suffered ONE fatality on the attack. Speed, surprise, and overwhelming force won the day.

 

 

(I’ll make a post tomorrow night about materiel landings. For now it’s late and I got my thoughts on paper.)

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You should give me the info I ask in my Library link in my signature and I'll link go this. I guess the main thing is where can these writings be found or are they personal?

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Subsection: Special Considerations

 

Sub-subsection: Time of Day

 

    There are many special considerations that must be included on your battle plans. Foremost among them in terms of amphibious landing is time of day. To attack in broad daylight is idiocy. Landings during the brightest part of the day allows for the best visibility, however if you can see the enemy, the enemy can see you. As such, my proposed new convention dictates, nay, requires all landings to be as soon as the sun crests the horizon. This time of day is for more than just attacking before your enemy wakes. If a you are attacking against an entrenched enemy, and with the sun at your back, the enemy would not be able to properly target you with their weapons. Attacking from the east at daybreak in conjunction with a rolling barrage allows you optimal force multiplication via the induction of confusion and blinding of your opponent.

 

    Some may argue that it would be best to sneak onto the beaches late at night when you are not visible to the enemy. While this is appropriate for stealth, recon, and sabotage missions, this may prove untenable for massed infantry and support squad landings. Unless the beach and shoreline have been mapped underwater by hydrographic mapping teams, a night time assault could prove treacherous. Your men would struggle to see rocks, reefs, and sandbars which can scuttle landing ships. Furthermore, a sinking lander full of heavily armored men is a waste of life and not the goal of any successful operation. HOWEVER! If one is to work with specialized units such as Stormwind SEALs, or other underwater demolition teams (see my work or attend my lectures on Naval Special Operations and You for more information). In summary, only small special weapons and tactics teams should be employed in a night landing unless proper hydrographics are preformed and the weather is calm.

 

Sub-subsection: Weather and Tidesages

 

    With the Tidesage’s mastery of the sea, the threat of weather is not as detrimental to operations as it used to be. Many old-fashioned and traditionally trained captains/commanders would wait until the seas were calm and visibility was decent. This is a fair and wise idea. HOWEVER, a savvy leader can now utilize his sages to calm the local tides, part local fogs, create voids in rain and thunderstorms, and so forth. This conversation about whether or not to launch an assault in subpar weather conditions needs to be discussed with the Tidesage at the head. The sages know their abilities and how long they can maintain them. If they can only channel a parting spell for a small period of time, then it is unrealistic to launch large assaults. If your sages can calm the seas for a period of thirty minutes, then a large scale landing is feasible (should you subscribe to my postulates about speed).

 

    Now we must discuss the converse. Tidesages can alter the weathers above our enemies so that we may have easier landings. For instance, a keen sage can summon an obscuring mist over enemy fortifications and entrenchments. As such, a simple channeled spell can cause complete obstruction of enemy eyesight. Couple this with landing at the break of dawn, and the illuminated mist would be nigh impenetrable to the naked, unaugmented eye. Furthermore, one may have their Tidesage bring a thunderhead upon the enemy. Rain can destroy powder stores used in coastal defense cannons. Heavy thunder can also damage enemy materiel and positions. The only limits to weather-warfare from Tidesages are their capabilities and imagination.

 

Sub-subsection: Predictability

 

    One of the worst facets of any operation is losing the element of surprise. Once surprise is lost success depends heavily on rehearsed plans and a commander’s ability to adapt. Adaptation is (in my opinion) one of the most (if not the most) important abilities a leader can utilize. For instance, if I am to assault a harbor and I take and hold some ground and dig in, I have to consider enemy counters. If I prepare to my front, my rear is weak. If I prepare to my left my right is weak. If I prepare everywhere, I am weak everywhere. Proper planning in amphibious landing requires the ability to adapt to the situation at a moment’s notice. Situational awareness is key to allowing for optimized adaptation and ensuring one does not easily telegraph their plans. Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate. See my work “How to Launch the Perfect Ambush” for more information on predictability.

 

 

(I lied. I'll discuss materiel shortly.)

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The Landing of Supplies and Materiel

 

Standard Convention


    The current paradigm for the landing of supplies and munitions is after the shoreline has been secured. This belief system is rooted in pragmatic and practical usage. First you secure the beach, and then you refill, resupply, and refresh your men. This strategy has been used for decades, and still holds weight today. The utilization of conventional landing techniques usually involves these transactions of supply runs to be done almost immediately after a successful beach landing, regardless of time of day. Larger landing ships can be utilized, but most often the same ships that are used are the ones that carried troops hours earlier. While there is nothing wrong with the type of vessel, criticisms arise from the other tenets of concurrent convention.

 

Subsection: Criticisms

 

    - First and foremost, to wait until after a battle is won and a beach is secured is lacking realism. Sure, landing materiel on a secured beach is the safest, most efficient means of goods transfer, however it fails to address the notion that supplies may be needed during the fighting. To leave your men under supplied and equipped when they are on death ground is invitation for disaster. For instance, if there are significant anti-personnel barricades and traps and Bangalores are needed to clear them out, it is imperative that our men on the beach have what they need as soon as possible, rather than waiting to be supplied these items in a few hours. The retarded delivery of goods and vital items also retards momentum.

 

    - Second, standard convention states that you bring supplies immediately after a battle regardless of time of day. While the further delivery of supplies after a battle is a fine and right idea, to do so at any point in the day is dangerous. To say that one will be able to safely deliver hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of supplies in low-light conditions without issue or error is foolish. To do so in broad daylight, one may lose substance to counter-battery fire, or enemy artillery suppression.  

 

    - Third, we must consider the physiology and physiognomy of the Kul Tiran Sailor. For those who row longboats, having to perform multiple combat drops of soldiers and marines is tiring. After their job is done, they prepare loads of materiel and goods and then rest while they can. These Sailors are heavily stressed physically and then allowed to rest. The problem with this is that anyone can row a longboat for an hour without fatiguing. However then having to load materiel into their boats and bring it to shore after allowing their muscles to fill with lactic acid from their earlier activities does not allow for optimized delivery of goods. Tired men with burning muscles do not deliver goods as fast as they should. It is important to note that supply craft are their most vulnerable when they are on the beach and when they are on their way to the beach. To dally even a second longer than one has to because of sore arms can and will inevitably lead to loss of goods and life.

 

New Convention

 

    Let it be proposed that even though standard convention is useful and has its place, in a prolonged battle it does not. In the event we have men in a grinding battle on a beachhead and they do not have adequate supplies, to then wait until after a battle to resupply is foolish. In the even of a prolonged battle on the shores, a wise commander/captain must have contingencies. These contingencies in accordance with a deviation from standard convention can allow for optimized economy of force through the active resupplying of men during the fighting following the amphibious landing. As such, it should be that the wise captain has his other sailors prepare supplies on longships while the rowers rest their arms and hydrate. When someone from the beach signals (usually via flags) then the ships should launch at a moment's notice.

 

    In fact, it could be proposed that a wise captain or commander would want to continuously launch supply runs onto the beach even if the battle is not prolonged. This is because the situation on the beach is never what is planned. There are alterations and deviations and to have to wait for supplies or a signal or a request for specialized materiel, then time and momentum are being wasted. To lose time and momentum for something as simple as barrels of gunpowder is inexcusable. Each strategy either as needed battlefield landings or constant supply under fire are to be used at the Captain’s discretion as each battle is subjective and there is no right way to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.

 

Anecdotal Evidence:

 

    When we finally had located the White Pawn and had signaled for the fleet to come in, we knew that the area to later be known as Lion’s Landing would sustain heavy assault. As it turns out, once the fleets had arrived, we had come under attack by a legion of Kor’kron ships and Demolishers. We had the beach head already, no amphibious assault needed. However, we had nothing that could handle the Demolishers. Unlike previous officers in the Pandaria campaign, I decided that forming a shieldwall in front of a Demolisher was a bad idea. We spread formation and took whatever cover we could until our Squids were able to deliver us some anti-tank. Were it not for the destruction of the Demolishers, we would have lost the beach, and with the beach lost, the demolishers could have assisted in attacking out fleet due to their close proximity to the shore. Materiel landing under fire was the sole reason we carried the day.

 

 

<The treatise goes on for another forty pages describing misc. amphibious assault tactics, how to take a harbor, how to land forces subtly, and how something about morale.>

 

(That's all I think I have for this obscure ass naval topic).

 

-D

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