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By Milan N. Vego

First released in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Additional info for Naval Strategy and Operations in Narrow Seas (Cass Series--Naval Policy and History, 5)

Sample text

By having its entire frontier with the sea, England had little or no reason to fear a surprise attack by its adversaries so long as the Royal Navy controlled the adjacent narrow seas. Also, the British, with no land frontiers to raise and maintain a large standing army, concentrated their ambitions and energies for the most part of their history towards the development of seaborne trade and naval strength. This stood the British in good stead against the maritime powers of France and Holland, their main rivals and adversaries on the European continent.

It also can involve a major out-of-area naval power, a single navy or combination of small navies. A major power would usually have limited objectives, such as opening the sea’s exits for the free flow of maritime trade or protecting its own shipping within and at the approaches of a given narrow sea. For a small navy facing a stronger adversary at sea, the objectives would be less limited in terms of scope and duration. A conflict between two countries bordering a narrow sea would rarely be limited to hostilities at sea or in the air, but would encompass the land area as well.

The short distances also allow one’s ships and aircraft to change their respective areas of deployment within hours. The strikes may be carried out in rapid succession, thereby making it very difficult for the defender to recover from blows suffered in previous strikes. The longer the distance from a home base to the prospective operating area, the more complicated and time-consuming it is for a blue-water navy to project its power ashore. In World War II, Axis control of both shores of the Central Mediterranean forced the British to use a much longer sea route, around the Cape of Good Hope, to supply their forces in North Africa—some 12,000 miles, compared with 2,400 miles via Gibraltar.

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