U.S. Naval Gunfire Support In The Pacific War by Donald K Mitchener

152 x 229mm

On November 20, 1943, the United States military invaded the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands as part of the first American offensive in the Central Pacific region during World War II. This invasion, however, marked more than just one first - it was also the introductory test of a doctrine that was developed during the interwar period to address recognised problems inherent in the substitution of naval gunfire for land-based artillery support of an amphibious assault. The historical consensus has been that the doctrine passed the test and that lessons learned at Tarawa increased the U.S. Navy's efficiency in applying the doctrine for the rest of the war in the Pacific. Further study of the planning and execution of the Central Pacific preliminary naval gunfire bombardments after Tarawa, however, shows that reality was much more complex than this accepted consensus would make it appear. In U.S. Naval Gunfire Support in the Pacific War, Donald K. Mitchener documents and analyses the prewar development of U.S. naval gunfire doctrine as well as its application and evolution between the years 1943 and 1945. He concludes that the historical consensus on the doctrine's success and application after Tarawa must be modified with two factors in mind: first, strategic concerns often took precedence over the lessons learned at Tarawa, and, second, failure to keep apprised of the latest doctrinal developments and their application led certain important naval planners to ignore these lessons altogether.

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