by Thomas M. Mitchell
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019. Pp. xii, 156.
Illus., maps, tables, diagr., notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 0807172235
Oceanographic Reconnaissance and Amphibious Operations
Mitchell, an oceanographer with a military background, tackles a largely overlooked yet remarkably vital subject for the study of amphibious operations, the development of oceanographic reconnaissance, without which landings would have been far costlier, if not disastrous.
Mitchell examines the landings at Normandy, Tinian, and Inchon as case studies, with frequent reference to other landings. In this way he gives us a look at how the problems presented by the interplay of tide cycles, weather conditions, beach contours, wave patterns, sea floor profile, moon rise, and more, had to be reconciled with military planning, procurement, training, and so forth, in order to get the troops on the beach, not always as safely as possible.
As he tells this story, Mitchell also gives us some impressive revelations. So we learn that the Allies were almost literally monitoring the weather across nearly a quarter of the globe while preparing for D-Day, and also that different air missions – heavy bomber, ground support, fighter cover, recon – required unique and often conflicting conditions of cloud cover, fog, and moonlight.
Winds, Waves, & Warriors is a invaluable read for anyone seriously interested in World War II, Korea, or amphibious operations.
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