Red Waves on Red Beach:

  • 2015

Red Waves on Red Beach:

An Analysis of Ship-to-Shore Amphibious Doctrine from Gallipoli to Tarawa
Author:
Geoffrey Roecker
Abstract:

Invoking the landings at Gallipoli or Tarawa invariably conjures up an image of death, destruction, and doubtful outcomes. The Allied disaster in the Dardanelles became synonymous with bad planning, futile bravery, and ultimate defeat, leading military thinkers to proclaim the end of an era: amphibious assaults against defended shorelines stood no chance against modern weaponry. Yet within 30 years, modified versions of these tactics were employed against a tiny Pacific island with a dramatically different outcome. American amphibious doctrine, outlined and refined in the Tentative Manual for Landing Operations in the 1930s, sought to create a viable tactical plan by addressing the failures of Gallipoli. Of particular concern was the ship-to-shore movement–long regarded as the most complicated aspect of the most difficult form of warfare. While far from perfect in 1943, these advancements found their justification on the beaches of Betio, turning potential defeat into a pivotal victory and proving that the age of amphibious assault was far from over.