War Instructions United States Navy 1944

Chapter 3. Bases

Section I. Protection of Naval Units at a Base

300. Many of the suitable locations for naval bases within the continental limits of the United States and a few of the suitable locations in our outlying possessions have base facilities and permanent defenses that have been developed during peace. The protection of naval units while actually occupying a base requires the joint effort of these naval units, the naval local defense force, and the Army force stationed there. Insofar as practicable, the naval local defense force and the Army force are of sufficient strength to protect naval units while at a base, thus affording the naval units opportunity for refreshment, rest, repair, and preparation for further operations. The details of the joint plan for the defense of the base and for the protection of naval units while actually at a base depends upon the particular location and the situation existing. The joint plan follows the principles enunciated in Joint Action of the Army and the Navy, or as directed by proper authority.

301. A campaign may require the establishment of advanced bases. This is accomplished with or without opposition and requires all new facilities or mainly the repair of existing facilities. In any event, the facilities required and the base defense forces have to be transported overseas and established. If practicable, the defense forces follow the assault forces closely. Until such time as the Army can take over the defense of these bases, it devolves upon the Navy. The plans for the establishment of the advanced base designate the Base Commander, indicate when he assumes responsibility for the shore defenses of the base, state what forces are available to him for this purpose, and provide for the relief of Navy or Marine Corps Defense Forces (including air) by the Army if the latter does not originally provide such forces but does do so eventually.

302. When possible a base defense force is organized to man the shore defenses established and to operate the routine patrols and services required. The vessels and aircraft of naval units are organized to assist, if required, in the defense of the base, and plans are prepared to repel all probable forms of attack. If not practicable to organize a base defense force, the senior officer of the vessels occupying the base prescribes the measures to be taken for security while at the base.

303. In general, the measures taken for the protection of naval units at a base include the following:

    (a) Nets and barriers.--Protection of a fleet anchorage is provided by mine fields, appropriate types of nets and booms, underwater detection apparatus, radar (surface and air search), and taking full advantage of natural barriers such as shoals which will prevent enemy vessels from firing torpedoes from outside the barriers into the fleet anchorage area. Areas of the anchorage which cannot be protected against torpedo fire by natural barriers are protected by torpedo nets. Heavy ships receive individual protection, particularly against the various types of torpedoes. At bases where barriers are not under constant close observation from observation stations, the barriers and area inside the barriers are patrolled, particularly at night.

    (b) Off-shore patrol.--The area outside the barriers is patrolled by surface craft and aircraft. If practicable, the air patrol extends for sufficient distance to sea to give reasonable assurance that enemy forces cannot attack the base before our vessels can get clear of the harbor.


    (c) Channels.--If practicable, more than one channel from the anchorage to deep water is provided. Anchorages at the base are so arranged that vessels have free movement for entrance and sortie. Approach and entrance channels are swept for mines prior to entrance of departure of units.

    (d) Anchorage.--In general the heaviest ships are anchored furthest from nets or barriers. Repair, fuel, and supply vessels are anchored where they can best be protected from air attack and from gun bombardment from the sea.

    (e) Aircraft and aircraft carriers.--If practicable a carrier does not remain at a base with aircraft on deck, unless the base is such that the carrier can get underway without delay to launch aircraft, or unless conditions are such that aircraft can be launched from the carrier while at anchor. It is desirable that facilities be provided for carrier-based planes to operate from shore during the time that the carrier is at the base. The potentialities for effective use of landing fields by carrier air groups are given careful consideration in the planning of carrier operations. As carrier air groups are organized and prepared to operate either from carriers or advanced bases, it is necessary that the latter have adequate trained personnel with suitable facilities.

    (f) Antiaircraft defense.--Antiaircraft defense is organized with the greatest care. In addition to the ships' facilities and batteries, it includes, when practicable, shore-based radars, radio direction finders, balloon barrages, and antiaircraft batteries in considerable density. Shore-based defensive fighter planes controlled by a fighter director are also provided, and are probably the most important element of the defense. Rapid means of communication is essential between the Command Post ashore and the Senior Officer Present Afloat. A common warning and information net for ships present and the post ashore is also essential.

    (g) Shore defense forces.--Ordinarily the shore defense forces consist of infantry, artillery (light, heavy, and antiaircraft), engineers, and chemical troops. The strength and proportion of the various arms depend upon many factors, but are primarily affected by the naval plan, the importance and probable permanency of the base, its location with respect to hostile territory, its vulnerability to attack and the nature and extent of the area adjacent to and surrounding the base.


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