Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat

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Naval Institute Press, 2000 - History - 378 pages
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This major revision updates Wayne Hughes's 1986 landmark study that is credited with providing decision makers a sound foundation for battle planning and tactical thinking. The book integrates the historical evolution of tactics, analysis, and fleet operations, and today it can serve as a primer for anyone who wants to learn how navies fight and win. This second edition includes much new material on combat in the missile age and reflects the reconfiguration of many tactics for littoral operations after the fall of the Soviet Union.


Hughes recreates famous battles to show how tactics have changed through the ages and the ways in which they have remained unchanged. He covers tactical interaction between land and sea, the sensory revolution of WWII, secret weapons and maritime surprise, the role in battle of leadership and morale, and the importance of surface warships in today's U.S. fleet. He suggests that naval tactics, unlike ground combat, are dominated by the offense and concludes that the great tactical maxim must be attack effectively first.


A new chapter traces the evolution of missile tactics at sea and includes details of attacks on ships. Many changes emphasize joint operations and coastal combat. The already extensive appraisal of command and control and information warfare is further expanded to cover modern naval operations and the character of modern salvo warfare. In the tradition of Mahan and Clauswitz, this classic text incorporates literature, politics, and a knowledge of human nature. Indispensable reading for all those interested in naval tactics, it is also a valuable reference for wargamers.

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About the author (2000)

Capt. Wayne P. Hughes Jr., USN (Ret.) is professor emeritus at the Graduate School of Operations and Information Sciences of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Author of Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat Second Edition, as well as numerous articles, he is renowned as one of the foremost authorities on naval tactics.

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