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"Semaphore: Maritime Strategy in Action - Sea Power" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 4:46 p.m. PST

… in Antiquity

"Most of what is written on Greek and Roman naval warfare of the Classical period is concerned with technology, personnel and tactics, with little regard for the strategic employment of naval forces. Typical of this is an entry from the Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare on naval warfare with the comment that no ancient state ever attempted to deploy naval forces without a land objective; a comment that betrays a lack of understanding of the employment of naval forces: sea power is of course always aimed at influencing events ashore, either directly or indirectly.

This is further demonstrated by the comment that ‘ancient naval warfare was never about the control of the open ocean' – naval warfare is not generally concerned with control of the open ocean; there is little there. As Geoffrey Till has said, the sea is unique in that it is largely unowned and unownable, that possession of the sea is not generally an object of maritime operations – there has never been a maritime ‘front line'. Though this concept can be potentially challenged by the rise in conflicts over maritime boundaries and the subsequent use of navies to patrol sections of open ocean, it is a recent trend and a debatable one. Primarily, naval forces are used to control harbours, landing spots and sea lines of communication. While the latter is a modern term, it is nevertheless readily transferable to the ancient world in the form of trade routes and, given the technology of the time, sailing routes that would allow warships to safety land as required for crew rest…"

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