Book Review: Pioneers of Amphibious Warfare, 1898-1945


by Leo J. Daugherty III

Jefferson, NC: MacFarland, 2009. Pp. ix, 446. Illus., maps, tables, notes, index. $49.95 paper. ISBN:0786433949

 Pioneers of Amphibious Warfare presents a series of profiles of 14 American officers, mostly Marines, plus two each from the Army and Navy, who played a role in the development of American amphibious doctrine in the first half of the twentieth century.
The selection is somewhat curious, as several important figures in this process are missing, such as Earl "Pete" Ellis, Holland M. Smith, and Richmond Kelly Turner.  Nevertheless, the officers selected, among them Adm. William Sims and Gen. George S. Patton, did play notable roles in the evolution of American amphibious warfare.
Each essay provides a look at the background and career of the officer in question, and then discusses in his contribution to the development of the doctrine, technique, technology, or just execution of amphibious operations.  This approach helps illustrate how the process was an ongoing one, requiring years of thnking and experimentation, with many officers contributing in various ways.
Attention to foreign developments is largely limited to the "lessons" of Gallipoli, wrongly suggesting that the Marine Corps, the Navy, and the Army took no notice of highly important German operations in the Baltic during 1917 nor the equally successful Spanish landings in Morocco in 1925.
Although a good work, Pioneers of Amphibious Warfare is largely for the specialist.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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