Damaged Equals Killed Part I

The Third World War spanned twenty-five days from beginning to end. In comparison to its predecessors from earlier in the Twentieth Century, the final installment’s longevity is comparable to two shakes of a lamb’s tail. In the previous world wars campaigns that lasted for months on end were the norm. This forced individual commanders to adopt long-term purviews to suit their strategies and expectations. Examples of this are evident in the naval campaigns of the Second World War.

Naval warfare overall from 1939-1945 became a contest of regeneration as both sides made every effort to expediently repair damaged surface ships and submarines and return them to active service. From the convoy routes in the North Atlantic to the Pacific at different stages of the war the demand for seaworthy warships surpassed inventories. This was hardly new to fighting a war at sea or war in general, be it past, at that time or in the decades to come. Armies roll into battle with maintenance units following close behind combat formations, ready to recover damaged armored vehicles, salvage equipment from write-offs and repair less critically damaged vehicles and send them back to the line. Air forces have maintenance personnel and equipment standing by at airfields ready to repair damage to aircraft returning from missions and make them airworthy in as little time as possible. In the Third World War, NATO and Warsaw Pact armies and air forces devoted large numbers of specialized soldiers and equipment to returning damaged aircraft, equipment, and vehicles to battle posthaste.

For the navies of World War III, however, doing the same was practically impossible more often than not owing to a myriad of factors. The short period of hostilities, coupled with the complexity of modern warships and types of damage inflicted by modern anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and mines combined to almost make certain that even limited damage to a warship almost guaranteed it to spend the remainder of the war under repair and not return to action. It did not taken very long for the naval commanders to draw the conclusion that damaging a warship was in effect of equal benefit to killing one.

Author’s Note: Happy Boxing Day! I trust we’re all recovering from Christmas today and taking back all of the gifts we decided we could do without. I’m personally still getting back into the swing of things, which is why I kept this first post-Christmas entry limited. I’ll wrap it up on Wednesday, however and then press on.

8 Replies to “Damaged Equals Killed Part I”

  1. This is exactly why I have always argued that in WW3, just damaging the US nuclear carriers was sufficient to gain a “win”. While sinking one is a major propaganda win, the goal is to make one combat ineffective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike – You really must tune into Ian Sanders latest Cold War Conversations which this week – Where Ian is in conversation with 7 ex-members of the Brixmis Liaison mission team that toured East Germany. For as well as the usual British tales of derring-do behind the iron curtain; you will be amazed ( and sure to find it hilarious ) about how much British Intelligence was delving into the Soviet army latrines for un-coded messages and other secrets, that even included a number of intelligence coups, such as a complete new Soviet T-80 tank manual that was ripped up and used as loo-paper because the Soviet army was never issued with proper toilet paper. Apparently all this used ( make shift ) toilet paper was stuffed into bags by the dasdardly Brixmis team ( after these Soviet field exercises ) and sent by special courier from Berlin to Whitehall for further investigation. Here’s part 1 with part 2 to follow next week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8srqqdVAtQ

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I recommend Steve Gibson’s ‘Brixmis: The Last Cold War Mission’ …. I worked with Steve at the UK Defence Academy many moons ago.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed, I’m sure I read that the recovery and repair of damaged AFVs was an important part of Soviet logistics doctrine, as given the likelihood of a (relatively) short war, there wouldn’t be enough time for the defence industrial base to make much of a contribution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. It was even more important for NATO’s doctrine because the alliance couldn’t afford to leave too many damaged vehicles behind. Numbers were against us


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: