Soviet Naval Special Purpose Forces: Origins and Operations in World War II
ARMY COMBINED ARMS CENTER FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SOVIET ARMY STUDIES OFFICE
Pagination or Media Count:
Soviet naval special purpose forces have been highly visible over the past several years, both in the Western military press and, some content, in Western territorial waters. Published material on this subject, however, tends to contain little analysis of the historical antecedents of current Soviet naval special purpose forces. The neglect of the historical aspects of this topic is not due to any lack of interest, but is instead a result of widespread unfamiliarity with Soviet source materials, few of which have been translated into English. There exists a large body of historical materials on the World War II special purpose force activities of two of the four Soviet fleets. Included among these materials are contemporary Soviet press accounts, German war diary entries, post-war memoirs, official histories, monographs, and many other secondary sources. Using as many of these sources as are available, this paper will explore the development of special purpose forces in the northern and Pacific fleets. It will describe the entire repertoire of their combat actions against the Germans in the Far North from 1941-1944, and against the Japanese in northern Korea in August 1945. It concludes with an analytical summary, which clearly establishes these forces as a legitimate precursor of present day Soviet naval spetsnaz.
- Naval Surface Warfare