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Wednesday, December 26, 2018, 08:09 (GMT+7)
Developing the theories about fighting the enemy’s amphibious warfare in the Homeland defence war

Fighting the enemy’s amphibious warfare means actions and measures of operation as a whole taking place at sea, on islands, and in the inshore areas. This type of operation occurs at the onset and during the process of the war for Homeland protection; therefore, it should be studied, developed and applied to reality.

Vietnam has a coastline of over 3,260km, many parts of which are favourable for amphibious warfare. Our history of fighting the foreign aggressors revealed that when invading our country, the enemy often launched attacks from the sea. Nowadays, if a war for Homeland defence occurred, the enemy would still conduct amphibious warfare as one of the most important types of operation, particularly in key regions and areas. It is predicted that when attacking our country from the sea, in addition to traditional methods of landing, such as “ship-coast”, “coast-coast”, the enemy could employ the method of “landing outside the horizon”. This is a new landing method with modern, highly mobile vehicles, such as the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), the tiltrotor aircraft (MV-22), the amphibious vehicles (LAV-25), etc. to land forces and materiel 40-50 nautical miles far from the coast. This method could be quicker, cause greater surprise, and reduce losses while its tempo could be 4-5 times as quick as the traditional methods.

Studies have proved that our warfare against the enemy’s amphibious warfare during the war for Homeland defence will be more difficult and complex; the opportunity to fight the enemy manoeuvring at sea and close to the coast will be very short; the fights against the enemy’s amphibious warfare will be very severe and intense. Thus, developing the art of fighting the enemy’s amphibious warfare in the war for Homeland protection is a matter of urgency. In this article, the author would like to refer to the key issues on combating the enemy’s amphibious warfare.

First, to fight against the armed riots caused by the enemy during operations against the enemy’s amphibious warfare. Armed riot in the coastal areas is one of the important types of operation by the enemy during their amphibious warfare in order to force us to fight both internal and external enemies, make us quickly effete, take the initiative, and win victory. Normally, the enemy uses their firepower to destroy the targets and paralyze our resistance in the landing zone. However, their firepower could be limited due to various reasons. Therefore, if there is a riot in the landing zone, the enemy’s amphibious warfare will much more effective. A riot in the war is mainly an armed riot; it could be combined with a political riot prior to or during the process of the enemy’s landing. The forces causing a riot are the domestic hostile armed forces, the armed enticed masses and maybe the enemy’s special task force from the outside. They mainly aim to conquer a number of key coastal areas, destabilize the situation, conduct a diversion, disperse our forces, reduce our armed forces’ capability in operations, and facilitate their amphibious warfare.

Putting down a riot during the operations against the enemy’s amphibious warfare is also to defeat an operational measure by the enemy and to remove a threat right in the zone we plan to fight the enemy’s amphibious warfare. To quell a riot, it is necessary to deploy the force properly, quickly annihilate the hostile force, avoid letting the riot spread and last long, and quickly stabilize the situation to focus on combating the enemy’s amphibious warfare. The party committee, authority, socio-political organizations, Pubic Security Force, and people in the area where a riot takes place should employ various measures to opportunely put down the riot, remove hostile elements from the inside, and stabilize the area. The local armed forces should safeguard the crucial targets and key coastal defensive works and use a force capable of destroying the armed riot. If the riot has a quite large scale or the support from the special task force from the outside, there should be a mobile force deployed by the military region and a flexible application of tactics to quickly quell the riot and facilitate the fight against the enemy’s amphibious warfare.

Second, to fight the enemy at sea. This type of operation plays a central role in the fight against the enemy’s amphibious warfare; fighting the enemy at sea could easily weaken the enemy from afar, cause them severe difficulty, and undermine their landing potential. If we just take a simple look at the balance of power between the enemy and us, some people will worry about our method to fight the enemy’s amphibious warfare. However, over the past years, adopting our Party and State’s strategy for the development of marine economy, we have created a quite strong defence and security force and posture. The Navy is being built to move forward to modernity with the ceaselessly increased combat strength while the military posture at sea has been prepared in peacetime; we are confident that we are powerful enough to defeat the enemy at sea. Our targets during the fight against the enemy at sea are the enemy’s troop carriers and means, such as ships, clusters of fire support ships, command ships, means of electronic warfare. To fight the enemy effectively, it is vital to promote the people’s warfare at sea to the utmost; to maintain close cooperation between the coastal militia and self-defence force, Coast Guard, Fisheries Resources Surveillance, forces of the marine economic sectors and the forces in charge of defending islands and clusters of islands in conducting small-scale, widespread operations to fight the enemy’s flanks and rear. At the same time, it is necessary to employ ships, submarines, coastal missile force, naval force, and Naval Commando to stage intense raids with selected targets and opportunity to annihilate the enemy at sea and create a favourable condition for the fight against the enemy after they land on the coast.

Third, to fight the enemy at the edge of the sea. Generally, now experts all recognize that it is necessary to fight the enemy at the edge of the sea; however, the issues on the force deployment and scale of the fight should continue to be studied and clarified. Nevertheless, we should be fully aware that at the edge of the sea, the enemy concentrates their firepower to directly support their troop landing on the coast; if we deploy a powerful force here, our force could be easily annihilated. Thus, in our opinion, to fight the enemy on this line, we need to employ the force on a reasonable scale, and we should use the on-the-spot force of localities or the military region and focus on fighting the enemy on the coast. Studies have proved that each type of operation has their own best opportunity. In fighting the enemy’s amphibious warfare, the best opportunity comes when the enemy is at the edge of the sea. This is also a feature of the fight against the enemy’s amphibious warfare. At the edge of the sea, the enemy has to expose their force both in the water and on land; they are not in the formation; command and coordination are not maintained closely; the support of direct firepower is limited to some extent; the enemy troops’ morale are being greatly impacted. However, there are difficulties in fighting the enemy at the edge of the sea, particularly in deploying and manoeuvring our force to the edge of the sea to opportunely fight the enemy amidst their very powerful fire support.

To fight the enemy at the edge of the sea effectively, it is important to make elaborate preparations in peacetime, especially to build solid coastal defensive works against the enemy’s firepower. In disposing the forces, it is necessary to combine the local armed forces with the military region’s mobile main force in the key positions. Moreover, it is essential to organize a multi-layer system of firepower, prepare the system of manoeuvre properly, and seize the opportunity to manoeuvre the forces and opportunely fight the enemy when they are heading close to the coast. In spite of difficulties, our strength and force are now different; our Military’s combat means and strength have been improved and prepared in advance; therefore, we are perfectly able to fight the enemy effectively at this important opportunity.

Fourth, to organize campaigns against the enemy’s amphibious warfare. Conducting battles is indispensable to military operations in general, to the fight against the enemy’s amphibious warfare in particular. However, battles are only aimed at solving the tactical issues while the fight against the enemy’s amphibious warfare during the Homeland protection war is also aimed at the effectiveness of campaign and strategic-level missions. Thus, it is vital to study campaigns against the enemy’s amphibious warfare in order to handle the campaign and strategic-level missions.

When discussing the possibility for launching campaigns to fight the enemy’s amphibious warfare, some people worry that as combating the enemy’s amphibious warfare is at the onset of the fight against the enemy’s attack on land, the enemy’s landing takes place very quickly, and operations are short, it is hard for us to seize the opportunity to mount a campaign, or we could hardly make it. This is an issue arising from reality. However, it is worth noting that the speed of the enemy’s landing also depends on our capability in operations and other factors. The enemy’s landing must occur in the certain duration; if we could well make predictions and preparations in advance, we are totally able to organize the campaigns. As for the coastal military regions, they could stage small-scale campaigns. The military region in the key direction reinforced with powerful forces and means could organize medium-scale campaigns. On the battlefield (or in the strategic direction), we could mount medium-scale campaigns. Certainly, there will be difficulties in launching campaigns against the enemy’s amphibious warfare, which requires the efforts to closely cooperate with other directions (other battlefields) to create the synergy for the victory. Only by successfully staging campaigns could we annihilate a large number of the enemy troops and defeat their measures for operations when they conduct campaign and strategic-level amphibious attacks.

Lt. Gen. Assoc Prof., Dr Tran Thai Binh

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