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You may also like. Illustrated Fashion Books. Foote had relieved Rodgers. Now he had the spearhead to split the Confederacy from the north. At once he and General Grant pressed for permission to attack, and on 2 February the combined forces sailed up the Ohio en route to assault strategic Fort Henry. Grant's troops embarked in transports at Cairo and Paducah and following Foote's gunboats advanced on Fort Henry. The soldiers were landed 5 miles above the fort according to prearranged plans for a combined assault on 6 February.
However, the troops made slow headway in the mud and the gunboats attacked alone. They opened fire at 1, yards which was briskly returned by the shore batteries. Foote pressed on knocking out all but four of the Confederate guns. Essex was disabled and other ironclads were struck, but Foote closed to point-blank range pouring a hail of fire into the fort until it surrendered. Now the value of inland sea power became bitterly apparent to the South. With Fort Henry captured, it was as if a dike had been breached by raging seas. Giant explosions, towers of smoke by day and columns of fire at night, marked their course as they ranged south across Tennessee, the edge of Mississippi and into northern Alabama until stopped by the shallows of Muscle Shoals.
Most disastrously for the South, she lost heavily in river steamers, and with them the mobility they gave for military operations. Meanwhile, wasting no second, Foote sailed to Cairo the evening of the 6th with three damaged ironclads to prepare for the assault on Fort Donelson. He saw the vast potential in breaching the Confederate defenses at the center. From far up in Kentucky, south and west to the Mississippi at Columbus, all hung in the balance.
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Fort Donelson would open the second door for the flood of Union power to sweep into the South. With the center broken, collapse would follow. The significant possibilities opening for the Union and the disaster awaiting the South had resulted in considerable part not only from Foote's indomitable drive to get the ships ready and to make them effective, but also from his bold leadership in action. He indeed deserved Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles' congratulations: "The labor you have performed and the services you have rendered in creating the armed flotilla of gunboats on the Western waters, and in bringing together for effective operation the force which has already earned such renown, can never be overestimated.
The Department has observed with no ordinary solicitude the armament that has so suddenly been called into existence, and which, under your well-directed management, has been so gloriously effective. Though the Confederate gunners had manned their weapons well, General Johnston, CSA, noted the results of the action: "The capture of that Fort [Henry] by the enemy gives them the control of the navigation of the Tennessee River, and their gunboats are now ascending the river to Florence.
Should Fort Donelson be taken it will open the route to the enemy to Nashville, giving them the means of breaking the bridges and destroying the ferryboats on the river as far as navigable.
Fort Donelson on the Cumberland river proved more difficult as it could subject the gunboats to a destructive plunging fire. Eight days after Fort Henry fell, however, the combined forces of Foote and Grant moved boldly against the strong point on the Cumberland. This time the furious Southern gunnery forced the gunboats to withdraw. Shots holed the flagship St. Louis about 60 times and each of the other ships took 20 or more hits.
Pilot houses were battered. Both St. Louis and Louisville had their steering gear shot away, leaving them to drift helplessly downstream. In the fierce fight, 54 officers and men were killed or wounded, including Foote. Nevertheless the Confederate suffered from the gunboats' fire and, as General Grant emphasized, they had a controlling role in the campaign that had grim consequences for the South.
Without the gunboats and the use of the river highways they ensured, he could not have attacked at all in the early months. Under renewed combined attack afloat and ashore, Fort Donelson surrendered on 16 February. In panic the Confederates abandoned their strong positions in Kentucky.
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On the Mississippi they retreated down to Island Number Nashville, in central Tennessee on the Cumberland River, with its mountains of stores and important manufacturing facilities so gravely needed by the South, swiftly fell as Foote's gunboats pushed rapidly up the Cumberland convoying troops. Added to irretrievable losses of territory, munitions, and men, the Confederacy faced even graver and darker days.
Behind the powerful gunboats Union armies were poised to sweep southward in combined operations--irresistible wherever water reached. Meanwhile far to the south another great threat gathered on the water to drive in like a hurricane. Farragut arrived on 20 February off Ship Island where the British fleet had assembled nearly half a century earlier for the assault on New Orleans that failed. The British at that time had not dared to sail their heavy ships against the Mississippi current with American fortifications barring the way.
However, sea power now had new dimensions. Steam had freed navies of the vagaries of wind, tide and current. It had come to give them new capabilities for assault against the land and for riverine operations. Overcoming immense difficulties, Farragut got his heavy ships across the bar at the mouth of the Mississippi and in mid-April moved the whole fleet upriver to powerful Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philips whose more than heavy guns guarded the approaches to New Orleans, During 5 days of bombardment by his mortar flotilla, built especially for riverine warfare, he continued the thorough preparation of his ships for the fight past the forts.
Masts were lowered and excess gear stored ashore, weights shifted for optimum draft, cables laid as improvised side armor. In the darkness of the midwatch, after , 24 April, Farragut's fleet drove past in a wild stirring battle of ship against fort and ship against ship, as the small but valiant Confederate squadron gallantly engaged. On the 25th, steaming through a river of fire with burning cotton bales, merchandise and Confederate ships including ironclads not completed in time , the fleet anchored at New Orleans. High water allowed the ships' guns to dominate the city over the levee top.
A small squadron of ships manned by less than 3, men had captured the South's largest and wealthiest city. New Orleans, with its shipping facilities, was the only seaport where the South had any chance to match the Union's overwhelming power on the rivers. It was a critical blow from which the South could never recover.
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Sea power had joined in riverine warfare with a vengeance that was awful in its results to the loser, even darker in omens for the future. To the north behind Foote's gunboats, catastrophe after catastrophe had continued to befall the South, whose armies alone could not match the overwhelming advantages the Union armies gained by having power afloat for joint operations.
Instead of an artery of life for the Confederacy, the far-spreading streams of the Mississippi system had become highways of death to divide and destroy the South. The three wooden gunboats had maintained control of the Tennessee River down across the state to Mississippi. They continued to keep the Confederates off balance, destroying, capturing, and preventing them from fortifying the banks.
Advancing south along the river behind the gunboats, Grant's troops soon cut off western Tennessee from the rest of the state. In the battle of Shiloh on 6 April, when the Confederates suddenly fell on Grant's army and were on the point of victory, the gunboats poured a devastating fire upon the units that had turned Grant's river flank.
This timely fire helped transform defeat into victory. Often throughout the vast riverine campaigns of the Civil War the concentrated mobile artillery of ships, brought speedily to bear at the point of crisis, would prove decisive, but seldom more strikingly than at Shiloh.
On the Mississippi the semi-ironclad gunboats steadily drove on with the Union armies cutting into the heart of the South like a flame. In riverine war, as on the oceans, a superior Navy often makes the "impossible" easy. A month later, as Grant was wining at Shiloh to the eastward with the aid of the wooden gunboats, the next Confederate stronghold down the Mississippi, Island Number 10, suddenly fell after stubborn resistance. On 7 April the Confederates precipitantly abandoned it after two of Foote's gunboats ran past the fortification and made it possible for the Union army to cross the river in the rear of the fortifications.
With little fighting, the Union forces again took a major stronghold, then called "The Key to the Mississippi," along with over siege guns and large amounts of other materials the Confederates could ill spare. Mobile naval strength, making possible swift combined operations, had sealed the fate of the Confederacy on the upper Mississippi. Now it knifed deeper into the core of the South. Less than a week after the fall of Island Number 10, Foote's flotilla steamed far downriver to Fort Pillow with the Union army of 20, men following astern in transports.
At this last important fortification above Memphis, however, most of the Union army was detached to the eastward to join Grant at Shiloh. Warships alone can accomplish wonders but riverine operations gain maximum effectiveness when the unique advantages of land forces combine with the matchless ones of the fleet.
Their strengths do not simply add; they multiply to concentrate a nation's total power with awesome results. The outnumbered Confederate river fleet now put up a last gallant defense, but the fall of Fort Pillow doomed Memphis, which surrendered as the Union fleet entered on 6 June. Steadily and fatefully the South was being dismembered along its river highways. From New Orleans Farragut's heavy ships, suffering much damage in the restricted river waters, mounted the Mississippi to Vicksburg. Here was growing a mighty fortress with batteries high on the bluff that his ships' guns could not effectively reach.
With his advance ships at Vicksburg in mid-May. Farragut could have captured the city if a few thousand troops had been assigned to him. When he ran past Vicksburg a month later in the early morning hours of 28 June, he had 3, soldiers for the combined operation; but now the Confederates had so strengthened the fortifications that Farragut estimated an army from 12, to 15, men was needed to capture it.
On 1 July Davis' flotilla joined Farragut's above Vicksburg. The spearheads from north and south had met. In a brief 5 months since Grant got underway behind Foote's gunboats for Fort Henry the whole complexion of the war had changed in the west. The South had suffered crippling losses in material, territory, and strategic position, which it never regained. Vicksburg did hold out tenaciously for another year. During this time the warships, especially the river gunboats, were active in a myriad of operations.
One of these has so many similarities to conditions in Vietnam a century later that it bears touching on. This was the effort to cut off Vicksburg by controlling the extensive water systems to the rear. The Yazoo River and Yazoo Pass expeditions were the result of this strategy. Natural hazards on the Mississippi may be considered light when compared with those on the Yazoo. The Mississippi is wide and relatively deep, allowing some maneuvering room, but parts of the Yazoo were reclaimed bayou, with the river's course determined by man-made levees.
In the bayou country the waters were sometimes no more than a foot in depth. Narrow watercourses and dense overhanging foliage made hard-going routine. The river workhorses, the armored city-class gunboats, drew too much water for extensive use under these conditions. They saw some action in the bayous, but were constantly threatened by collision and marooning.
Captain Henry Walke, who earlier had dashed past Island Number 10 in Carondelet, converted stern-wheelers for use on the narrow Yazoo.
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Pilot houses were lowered, boilers protected, and several light guns mounted. The thin iron sheets used for armor on the boats earned them the title "tinclads. The Confederate's ingenious use of torpedoes was an added and constant menace in the Yazoo. On 12 December , as part of preparation for combined operations, Walke proceeded up the Yazoo sweeping torpedoes, as mines were then termed. Undeterred, he continued sweeping. His four light ironclads, four tinclads, two woodenclads, and two rams moved upriver in a coordinated minesweeping formation.
Progress was tortuous but steady until arriving at Drumgould's Bluff, Mississippi. Here the Southerners had mounted a battery to keep the Yankees away from two gunboats under construction at Yazoo City. The exchange of fire was heated, but the gunboats were able to sweep the river clear of torpedoes to within a half-mile of the battery. The ill-fated joint Yazoo Pass Expedition opened the first week of February Its purpose was to reach the rear of Vicksburg by a surprise move.
An opening was to be made in the levee at Yazoo Pass through which the Union gunboats and troop carriers could enter and work up the Yazoo River above Haines Bluff. Delay followed delay so that the surprise element was lost. Not until 25 February were obstructions sufficiently removed from the Pass to allow Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith's light-draft gunboats, transports, and coal barges to enter. The navigational dangers were incredible--tree stumps and floating logs stove in housings and fouled wheels; overhanging willows and vines snared and held on smokestacks.
Best speed was a mile and a half in 1 hour. There was also the ever present threat of having retreat cut off by guerrillas. When the bedraggled expedition reached the Tallahatchie River joins with the Yalobusha to form the Yazoo River the waters became more manageable. Here, however, the Federals unexpectedly faced a well-positioned cotton and earthen breastwork, Fort Pemberton.
Several sharp engagements followed between fort and gunboats. Flooded conditions prohibited any troop landing to outflank the Southern gunners. The Yazoo Pass Expedition came to a grinding halt and fell back. Admiral Porter tried again via a different route, Black Bayou.
Porter found the going so tough through the dense forest that he made only four miles in 24 hours while snipers peppered his gunboats and the Confederates felled trees across his path. The back door to Vicksburg remained closed. River warfare in the Yazoo delta highlighted a number of aspects of this projection of sea power; defensive minelaying and offensive minesweeping on a significant scale, and forays into outrageously difficult waters. Porter observed that "no one would believe that anything in the shape of a vessel could get through Black Bayou or anywhere on the route.
A few months later, 4 July , Vicksburg did surrender, and in Lincoln's words the "Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea. Most were small; some had utmost significance as in McClellan's Peninsula Campaign aimed at Richmond. Yet the ones we have covered are enough to show the overwhelming importance to the Union of control of the waters in this greatest of riverine wars. Fortunate indeed for the Union and for history that leaders soundly perceived the decisive role of power afloat, vigorously developed it, and under indomitable fighters like Foote and Farragut boldly employed it to great ends.
The secure control of the seas by the Union Navy allowed the North to press its advantage into all the rivers and inland waterways of the Confederacy with results like those General Robert E. Lee described on the seacoast:. Wherever his fleet can be brought, no opposition to his landing can be made except within range of our fixed batteries.
We have nothing to oppose its heavy guns, which sweep over the low banks of this country with an irresistible force. Certainly the Civil War must be counted among the great amphibious wars in history. The popular imagination usually pictures amphibious operations as launched against a coastal point or island beach. In the Civil War, however, they were frequently directed a thousand miles inland, wherever ships or boats could go.
Remarking on this flexibility at the end of the war, President Lincoln wrote:. Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. Not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, the rapid river, but also up the narrow muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been and make their tracks. Reviewing the middle period in the history of naval warfare on inland waters, one can note three distinct features in the U. First, as the Navy gained sufficient strength to exercise sea control, an offensive riverine strategy became possible, e. Second, as the Navy utilized that control its riverine capability became extraordinarily versatile.
Seagoing ships were adapted to fight in rivers or lakes against major shore batteries; for example, Admiral Farragut at New Orleans. Shallow-draft, heavily armored gunboats were used in inland, smaller-scale, amphibious operations. Canoes, longboats, and rafts were employed in a guerrilla war deep in forbidding deltas, swamps, and bayous. The Navy quickly found the appropriate riverine response to meet each challenge. Third and finally, one notes the Navy's flexible adaptation to local conditions and to the advantages of steam-driven vessels, armor, and rifled armament.
These three characteristics--ability to carry the war rapidly to the enemy, versatile response, and flexible adjustment--are inherent capabilities of today's mighty U. Navy that shapes the future of freedom. What is here designated as the modern period in the naval history of riverine warfare is characterized at the outset by a shift in the theater of operations. As the United States exercised the leadership of an international power, the theater of riverine operations moved from the American continent and waters to wherever freedom was challenged.
Building on the experience of a historical heritage, a versatile response to the specific threat, and a flexible adjustment to the environmental situation, the Navy has continued to strengthen its riverine capacity in the same measure that the revolutionary developments of the past century have brought vast new powers to deep-sea navies. At the turn of the 20th century, the U. Navy needed to operate again in a riverine environment in the Philippine Insurrection, the Boxer Rebellion, and elsewhere.
In the first of these areas, without the riverine navy, composed in large part of captured Spanish gunboats, coordinating with army units and using their own landing parties to project force ashore, the Philippine difficulties could not soon have been ended. In all areas the riverine operations, executed with ingenuity and daring, repeatedly demonstrated unique benefits of sea power, flexibility, speed of concentration and ability to apply just the right amount of force to meet each crisis.
In the early decades of this century, a flotilla of shallow-draft U. Navy gunboats plied the treacherous waters of the Yangtze River to protect American life and property in revolution-shattered, war-torn China. Along more than 1, miles of river, the Yangtze patrol faced hostile action and natural danger as formidable as any encountered by Barney, Perry, or Farragut. Current in the meandering Yangtze was swift; water level could fall 24 feet in as many hours. Sniper, war lord, and bandit alike harassed the boats, and landing parties had to be ready to move ashore at a moment's notice.
In retrospect one observer has written: "The history of the Yangtze Patrol forms a gallant chronicle with at least as mild a measure of glory as offered by our early naval exploits. Its personnel and its ships. The passage of great rivers in the presence of the enemy is one of the most delicate operations in war. In the World Wars of our times the main naval effort went into the desperate struggle to win control of the high seas, deny their use to the enemy, and by the broad sea highways to project Allied total power to crush the enemy, as in the great amphibious operations of World War II in the Mediterranean, against Normandy, and in the incomparable sea war of the Pacific.
Nevertheless, operations in and from restricted waters played their part well wherever needed. In each war, once victory at sea was assured, the enemy powers deteriorated and capitulated. The United States has witnessed this significant fact of life in every major war since it won independence through George Washington's wise use of temporary French ascendancy at sea, which led to victory at Yorktown. Yet to the grave and growing danger to this Republic, representing the hopes of man, many Americans have not yet learned this truth. Although riverine warfare did not play a major role in World War II, since victory on the great oceans decided the issue, it did play its important part where needed from the PT boats and small amphibious craft in the Solomons, through the East Indies and Philippines and in Europe.
An interesting example, helping to hasten the end of the war in Europe, occurred in March , with the simultaneous crossing of the Rhine River by five U. This colossal riverine exploit was the prelude to the final overwhelming assault on Nazi Germany. More than 50, troops, thousands of vehicles and pieces of ordnance were brought across the river in 72 hours.
To accomplish this task, U. One officer described their training and integration into the total effort:. The Sailors worked and lived exactly like soldiers. To camouflage themselves as much as possible, officers and men wore Army field uniforms and helmets, covering or discarding all naval insignia. I am sure it was the hardest part of the training for them to take. The picture of disconsolation is a young Navy petty officer who has worked hard for years to earn his rating badge and then has no opportunity to show it off.
The boats were more difficult to disguise, but even they took on a GI appearance. Blue hulls, which proudly wore the USN, gave way to olive drab under Army spray guns. They were brought to their training sites as unobtrusively as possible, moving mostly at night. Where possible they came by water, through the North Sea and down through the waterways of Belgium and France. Those with the 3d Army came all the way by land from Le Havre, a journey of miles. They arrived festooned with tree-tops, telephone wires, and bits of buildings from the French villages through which they had passed like not-to-silent ghosts in the night.
The Rhine River crossings illuminated once again the versatile projection of sea power into a riverine environment. There were the ever present navigational hazards, and unbelievably swift current, floating debris, and the fresh water problems of mud, silt, and ice. The Navy readied for these obstacles by exhaustive training. Since the operation was essentially an amphibious assault, landing craft were used for the crossing.
Nevertheless, the landing craft plying endlessly across the river were under constant threat of German artillery and aerial attack. There were enough unique characteristics to the Rhine River crossings to support the naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison's observation, "Operating landing craft on a river hundreds of miles from the sea was one of the oddest assignments drawn by American bluejackets during World War II.
The lack of awareness of the Navy's long historical river warfare experience, made the operation seem novel to many involved. It remained for the later "limited wars" of communist aggression and guerrilla warfare to highlight once again the significant capabilities of sea power in inland waters. The Naval presence is also being felt on the inland waterways, rivers and canals in Vietnam. In Vietnam the United States did not initially grasp that it had a major struggle on its hands--indeed that it was supporting the liberty of South Vietnam not just against North Vietnam but against the communist world.
Hence, except for controlling the seas, without which no aid was possible, the United States in only gradual steps utilized the giant advantages sea-based strength provides. The long reach of the U. Navy's air power, the resistless onslaught of its amphibious forces, the devastating effects of its heavy guns reaching far inland from the sea, the tight noose of blockade, and the earth-changing skills of the Seabees were only gradually applied.
All, along with the unfailing flow of "beans, bullets and black oil" by the Service Force and the Military Sea Transportation Service MSTS , were playing large roles in the defense of freedom before the riverine navy reached sufficient size to join them as a strong partner.
To our small initial Navy section of the Military Assistance and Advisory Group, Vietnam, we gradually added stronger coastal forces, rapidly increased the number of river patrol and minesweeping craft, and introduced a river assault force to give three major U. Navy combatant task forces in Vietnam. Also during the period of build up of U. Navy strength in Vietnam, the Vietnamese Navy itself was growing in coastal and river patrol, river assault, and logistics capabilities with the help of U. Navy advisors. In late operations were begun that combined the capabilities of all three major U.
Navy task forces, the Vietnamese Navy, and other Free World ground and air forces to strike at enemy strongholds and interdict enemy supply routes. In addition to the combat operations on the many waterways of Vietnam, hundreds of large and small U. Riverine warfare is an extension of sea power. By controlling the high seas the Navy can project its strength along the inland waterways into the heart of enemy territory. Since this brief study has riverine war as its subject, it does not cover the other vital elements of naval action in the Vietnam war.
It must be understood in reading of inshore exploits, however, that without large ships controlling the sea and providing the indispensable advantages we derive from strength on the oceans, we could not fight the riverine war of the Mekong Delta any more than the Marines or the Army could fight the communists anywhere ashore.
Riverine war is simply a derivative, a dividend, and a rich one indeed of superior naval power. Communist led insurgency amidst Vietnam's extensive inland waterway communication systems led to the rise of riverine warfare to marked importance. It has become a kind of guerrilla warfare fought in the Navy environment - water - against a fully developed Mao Tse-tung type communist guerrilla. The late President Kennedy has aptly described what we face in Vietnam today:.
The primary step in defeating an enemy waging guerrilla warfare is to isolate him by interdicting his supply lines and enforcing strict population and resources control. Naval forces in Vietnam play a vital role in the execution of both of these measures. Coastal surveillance forces form a tight barrier against the infiltration of personnel and arms by sea. An important source of food is largely denied the enemy by the enforcement of rigid controls over fishing areas.
River patrols maintain a careful watch over the thousands of junks and sampans transporting goods and people over hundreds of miles of inland waterways. The interdiction campaigns begun in late have cut across the enemy's major overland avenues to the southern provinces of Vietnam completing the first step in his eventual defeat. No less important in combatting a guerrilla is the need to seize the initiative and deprive him of the sanctuary offered by his remote jungle base camps, and to search out and destroy his main combat forces.
Various types of river assault craft have conducted far ranging combined operations with ground and air forces. These highly mobile forces with their waterborne heavy fire power, troop lift, and support capabilities have made an important contribution to the interdiction campaigns through rapid exploitation of enemy contacts generated by patrol units. The shallow-draft coastal patrol craft have carried the battle to the enemy far up the rivers and canals opening to the sea on which river patrol or assault craft have not normally operated.
The communist guerrillas can no longer depend on remote riverine areas to offer the sanctuary they once knew. To carry out these tasks, the U. Navy has a variety of combat and support organizations. Riverine warfare may take on as many different shapes and forms as there are different inland waterways and varying reasons for employing combat forces on them. In South Vietnam, the near-bewildering maze of inland waterways imposes both an extraordinary riverine challenge and an unequaled opportunity for the employment of naval forces.
Thus, American sea power has had to assume a wide variety of shapes and forms in order to effectively combat guerrilla forces in the unique combat environment represented by the inland waterways of Vietnam. This challenge is centered within, but not limited to, the vast Mekong Delta. This steaming, low-lying area, together with the dense forests and rice lands of the Ca Mau Peninsula, comprises about one-fourth of South Vietnam's total area and contains more than one-third of the 16 million population. The area has sheltered tens of thousands of veteran Viet Cong guerrillas and has been the scene of 28 years of continuous warfare that has torn and weakened the fabric of normal government.
In , with the stepped-up fighting and infiltration of North Vietnamese Army forces into the northern regions of the Republic, a number of inland waterways in this area have taken on new significance. In addition to serving as major logistic arteries for Free World defenders of this area, these rivers and interconnecting bays and lagoons have been the scene of numerous combined operations by riverine craft and ground forces seeking to clear the enemy from the northern coastal region.
The Delta's unique nature favors guerrilla operations. The swampy rice lands and contrasting dense jungles severely restrict mobility of conventional military forces. However, the many navigable waterways provide an alternative means of mobility that has long been enjoyed by the Delta's inhabitants. The area is not only rich in natural waterways, but is also criss-crossed with a web of large and small canals serving as "roads. This labyrinth of interconnecting inland waterways totals more than 4, miles.
These consist of meandering streams with steep banks and low natural levees; canals varying from feet wide with depths of 6 to 16 feet, to those 60 feet wide and 4 to 8 feet deep; and flooded plains or dense mangrove swamps. The dense vegetation along many of the waterways limits visibility and provides excellent cover for guerrillas lying in ambush positions along the banks.
Floating vegetation and heavily silted waters serve to conceal floating or sunken water mines, increasing the threat from the river and canal banks. It is not uncommon for an engagement with the guerrillas to begin with a command detonated mine explosion followed by an exchange of fire with mm and sometimes larger weapons--at ranges of 50 feet!
The character of the major waterways will vary twice daily with the changing tide, a phenomena whose effect is felt throughout the Delta to the Cambodian border and beyond. A French naval surgeon who participated in Delta operations in described its environmental rigors:. Progress across rice paddies and mangrove thickets forced the men most of the time to struggle through water and mud. Frequent transshipments aboard LCVPs to cross river channels became exhausting; in fact, owing to the absence of roads, it was necessary to carry on one's back, not only a regular kit, but also all the ammunition and weapons, such as machine guns and mortars.
It is clear that projection of sea power into such an imposing riverine environment requires a major naval effort. On 1 April , U. Ward, commanding, was established to consolidate the several U. Navy efforts already underway in Vietnam under a single service component of the U. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Navy task forces in riverine interdiction, strike, and pacification campaigns. Naval amphibious operation launched from a "blue water" force off the coast. It marked a turning point in the unfolding saga of projection of U.
Prior to this, the U. Navy's participation in the river war was fairly well limited to inshore operations by "Swift" boats, small fast patrol craft PCF of the Coastal Surveillance Force, and the work of U. Naval Forces, Vietnam, the U. Navy became increasingly involved in the river war. These square miles of swamp, thickly covered by tropical vegetation, are particularly suited to clandestine operations.
For a generation the region had harbored the Viet Cong, with their arms factories, recuperation, and training camps. Underwater Demolition Team UDT swimmers, preparatory air strikes by Seventh Fleet carrier-based aircraft and naval gunfire all supported the operation. Throughout, amphibious craft and coastal surveillance craft provided blocking and surveillance against Viet Cong escape. The long inland reach of sea power swiftly adapts to complex needs. The second phase, a deep penetration of the swamps, began 31 March as an boat convoy entered the Vam Sat River.
Navy LCM-3 salvage boats. Throughout the 7-mile transit down the Vam Sat, carrier-based aircraft and armed helicopters provided air cover. Commander Derwin T. The overall commander of the operation, Captain John D. Westervelt, USN, rode a helicopter patrolling overhead. As the group approached the first bend of the Vam Sat, the Viet Cong tripped a crude electrical mine halfway between Lamb's command LCPL and the Monitor--a booming echo of Confederate "torpedoes" a century ago. The Navy craft escaped damage, however, because they had wisely hugged the shallow side of the river instead of navigating center channel.
Following the mine blast, intense small arms fire burst from the matted foliage on both banks. Driving on through enemy shots, the boats opened up with everything they hadmm guns on the Monitor,. Meanwhile, aircraft bombed and strafed guerrilla positions about yards inland, preventing the Viet Cong from bringing heavy guns to bear. About a mile down river, the enemy fire lifted, and the rest of the passage was marked only by sporadic sniping.
After landing troops in the heart of the dismal mangrove swamps, the convoy moved back up river in the same formation to embark two companies of Marines working their way through the swamp to a predetermined point. The pickup was without incident; one observer reported:. It was constructed of heavy timbers and its roof was covered with soil.
The lyrics listed each state in the order in which they seceded from the Union. Although these states did not officially join the Confederacy, many of their citizens supported the South. Breech-loading : Rifle-muskets that could be loaded at the breech in the middle between the barrel and the stock instead of from the end by shoving gunpowder and a ball down the barrel were called breech-loading guns. Brevet : pronounced brehv-it An honorary promotion in rank, usually for merit.
Officers did not usually function at or receive pay for their brevet rank. Brigade : A large group of soldiers usually led by a brigadier general. A brigade was made of four to six regiments. Brogans were also popular amongst civilians during the time period.
Although armies on both sides often had rules against foraging or stealing from private residences, some soldiers often found ways to do so. Caisson : pronounced kay-suhn — A two-wheeled cart that carried two ammunition chests, tools, and a spare wheel for artillery pieces. The caisson could be attached to a limber, which would allow both to be pulled by a team of horses.
Caliber : The distance around the inside of a gun barrel measured in thousands of an inch. Bullets are labeled by what caliber gun they fit. Campaign : A series of military operations that form a distinct phase of the War such as the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Canister : A projectile, shot from a cannon, filled with about 35 iron balls the size of marbles that scattered like the pellets of a shotgun.
Cap : Essential to firing a percussion rifle-musket, a cap is a tiny brass shell that holds fulminate of mercury. The cap is placed on the gun so that when a trigger is pulled, the hammer falls on the cap. The chemical in the cap ignites and flame shoots into the chamber that holds the gunpowder. This ignites the powder and the blast shoots the bullet out of the barrel. Carbine : A breech-loading, single-shot, rifle-barreled gun primarily used by cavalry troops. A carbine's barrel is several inches shorter than a regular rifle-musket.
A soldier needed to tear off the top of the cartridge in order to fire his weapon - part of the nine steps to fire a muzzle loading gun or five to fire a breech loading gun. Casemates were often used to protect gun positions, powder magazines, storerooms or living quarters. Cash Crop : A crop such as tobacco or cotton which was grown to be sold for cash --not grown for food like corn or wheat. Cavalry : A branch of the military mounted on horseback.
Cavalry units in the Civil War could move quickly from place to place or go on scouting expeditions on horseback, but usually fought on foot. Their main job was to gather information about enemy movements. Until the spring of , the Confederate cavalry force was far superior to its Federal counterpart. When several cheval-de-frise singular, pronounced she-VAL-de-freez were bolted together they created an effective barrier for roads and fortifications.
Colors : A flag identifying a regiment or army. By the end of the Civil War, the columbiad was rendered obsolete by rifled, banded artillery. Company : A group of 50 to soldiers led by a captain. Confederacy : Also called the South or the Confederate States of America, the Confederacy incorporated the states that seceded from the United States of America to form their own nation.
The military draft became a necessity on both sides of the conflict. While many conscripts were excellent soldiers, veterans often considered draftees to be inferior, unreliable soldiers. Contrabands : Escaped slaves who fled to the Union lines for protection. Corps : pronounced kohr or korz A very large group of soldiers led by Union a major general or Confederate a lieutenant general and designated by Roman numerals such as XI Corps.
Confederate corps were often called by the name of their commanding general as in Jackson's Corps. Coup de Main : pronounced koo-duh-mahn A French term used to describe a quick, vigorous attack that surprises the enemy. They were named after Admiral John A. Dahlgren, their inventor. This occurred when units were unable to support one another, often because of distance.
Democratic Party : The major political party in America most sympathetic to states rights and willing to tolerate the spread of slavery to the territories. Democrats opposed a strong Federal government. Most Southern men were Democrats before the War. Dropsy : pronounced drop-see Nineteenth-century term for the condition known today as edema. Fluid builds up in the tissues and causes limbs to swell up horribly. Dysentery was a leading cause of deaths by disease.
Earthwork : A field fortification such as a trench or a mound made of earth.
Earthworks were used to protect troops during battles or sieges, to protect artillery batteries, and to slow an advancing enemy. Emancipation : Freedom from slavery. Enfilade : pronounced en-fuh-leyd To fire along the length of an enemy's battle line. Entrenchments : Long cuts trenches dug out of the earth with the dirt piled up into a mound in front; used for defense. Federal : Loyal to the government of the United States.
Also known as Union, Yankee, or Northern. Feint : pronounced feynt To pretend to attack in one direction while the real attack is directed somewhere else. Fieldworks : Temporary fortifications put up by an army in the field. Flying Battery : A system where several horse-drawn cannons would ride along the battle front, stop and set up the guns, fire, limber up, and ride to another position.
This practice gave the impression that many guns were in use when only a few were actually being used. Fortification : Something that makes a defensive position stronger, like high mounds of earth to protect cannon or spiky breastworks to slow an enemy charge.
Fortifications may be man-made structures or a part of the natural terrain. Man-made fortifications could be permanent mortar or stone or temporary wood and soil. Natural fortifications could include waterways, forests, hills and mountains, swamps and marshes. The furloughed soldier carried papers which described his appearance, his unit, when he left and when he was due to return.
Gabions : pronounced gey-bee-en Cylindrical wicker baskets which were filled with rocks and dirt, often used to build field fortifications or temporary fortified positions. Garrison : A group of soldiers stationed at a military post. Green Troops : Phrase used to describe soldiers who were either new to the military or had never fought in a battle before. Hardtack : Hardtack is a term used to describe the hard crackers often issued to soldiers of both sides during the Civil War.
These crackers consisted of nothing more than flour, water, and salt. They were simple and inexpensive to make in very large quantities. However, these crackers became almost rock solid once they went stale. Although it saw use in the early stages of the war, soldiers quickly learned that it cut off circulation around the head and face, leading to the eventual abandonment of the havelock. A howitzer's projectiles had a smaller powder charge.
Also, canister projectiles contained more small balls than other types of canister. Howitzers were useful in defending fortifications and causing disorder within with in an attacking force. Industry : Manufacturing goods from raw materials, such as cloth from cotton or machine parts from iron. Infantry : A branch of the military in which soldiers traveled and fought on foot. Hunley - the first successful submarine. For example, Robert E. Juggernaut : pronounced juhg-er-nawt An overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path.
The artillery piece could be attached to the limber, which would allow both to be pulled by a team of horses.
Navajo Code Talker Dictionary
Also verb: The practice of attaching a piece of artillery to the limber that holds its ammunition. It presented two or three sides to the enemy but the rear was open to friendly lines. It became a symbolic division between free states and slave states. Militia : Troops, like the National Guard, who are only called out to defend the land in an emergency.
The bullet was designed for muzzle-loading rifle-muskets. It was small enough to load quickly, and had a special feature that let it take advantage of a rifled-barrel. When the rifle-musket was fired, expanding gas from the gunpowder blast was caught in the hollow base of the bullet forcing it against the rifled grooves inside the barrel.
Monitor : Originally, the U.
Related Illustrated Dictionary of Uniforms,Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War
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