Combating the enemy’s seaborne troops is a basic strategic operation aiming to defeat the enemy attacking ashore and firmly protect the coastal and island region of the country. This is a new content and is of strategic importance which needs thorough study and unification in both awareness and action for our mission of Homeland protection in the new situation.
Vietnam is a littoral state with large seas and a long coast line of over 3,260 km, enclosing the East, South and Southwest of the country. During its history, Vietnam faced various wars in which invaders come ashore. In case of a future war, Vietnam is very likely to face seaborne attacks. This direction will be an important or even the main one of the invaders. Realizing the matter, over the past years, we have spared certain resources for studying and training the way to engage the enemy landing ashore but results gained haven’t met requirements of a littoral state as well as the mission of Homeland protection seawards. A number of new and specific matters have hardly got high consent, or even been disregarded. Therefore, combating the enemy's seaborne troops has become an urgent matter and a central topic of military think tanks , managers and commanders.
Combating the enemy's seaborne troops includes all combat activities commencing in a variety of areas. Therefore, deciding the main and distinctive area of operation (AO), the important phase of combat and the role of other kinds of combat in this warfare are key issues which need thorough study for future application into reality.
First, it is necessary to decide the main and distinctive AO in the war against the enemy’s seaborne troops . This matter is of top importance as it is ground for unifying awareness of the matter and for active preparation in forces, disposition, plans. As we know, in the military art realm, in each form of combat, in order to gain decisive victory, it is necessary to decide the most advantageous and distinctive time for engaging the enemy. For instance, the best time for attacking the enemy’s airborne troops is when they are landing or have just landed. Similarly, in combating the enemy’s seaborne troops , in our opinion, beachhead combat is the best opportunity, the main AO and also the distinctive operation of this kind of combat.
Second, fighting the enemy from afar, on seas and islands to destroy and wound part of the enemy forces and vehicles, thereby relieving the pressure of the enemy on land.
However, as the enemy forces on sea may be very powerful, our operation should be ingenious, flexible, and focused. Accordingly, offshore targets are mainly amphibious assault ships, warships, command ships, cargo ships, etc. The best time for engaging the enemy is when they are traveling on sea or when they are changing ships and deploying forces and vehicles for landing. Model and scale of battles may include: operations of the Navy, such as assaults of the surface ships, submarines, coastal missiles; strike of the air force, artillery, long range missile, commandos, island defenders. When possible, we can launch offshore campaigns to combat the enemy’s seaborne troops.
Third, closely coordinate the combat operations with other aspects of struggle to create a synergy for combating the enemy's seaborne troops. Combating the enemy's seaborne troops is an aggregate combat operation in which the enemy is crowded, supported by allies, equipped with modern weaponry, highly mobile. Besides, the enemy usually combines seaborne landing with airborne landing and riot on land. Hence, we should conduct the operation by a synergy through combining combat operations with other aspects of struggle, such as security and foreign affairs. These aspects as well as the combination of them are very important as we can have the diversity and interconnection between combat and struggle methods which force the enemy to cope with in a number of directions and make us more capable to defeat their seaward attack.
Due to the development of the country, our coastal regions have seen more changes with newly – built urban areas, industrial zones, export processing zones, etc. Therefore, we should proactively screen, survey each locality to anticipate the possible landing areas. Thereby, we can both active build our defensive posture and plans to call for investments to establish concentrated economic zone in which interests of domestic and foreign organizations, particularly those of major powers, are intertwined. Thereby, we can gradually make up aspects and directions for struggle in combination with combat operations to defeat the enemy’s plot of seaborne landing, contributing to firmly protecting the Homeland in the new situation.
Lieutenant General, Assoc. Prof. Tran Thai Binh, PhD