Monday, July 10, 2017

Why They Fight Russia in the Air, But Not at Sea

Open Ocean Combat

We have been observing rising violence on the land, sea as well as in the air, after a break of some years, from some familiar sources. As in the past few months there have been recurrent conflicts on the sea, particularly from the Chinese as well as the Iranians.

But in the case of the Russians we only seem to knock up against their elements in the sky which is due to two core elements namely geography and terror. Though several may not be aware of it, it was not till recently that such things like an `open ocean’ combat had taken place in military history. Navies had for most of the time, found themselves restrained either by depth, winds or currents to certain routes.

Besides that there had been the tussle to essentially discover their opponent out on the open ocean and for this purpose, certain chokepoints have envisaged various naval clashes. Credits of our own independence is due to one such fight between a French battle fleet and the British Royal Navy which had stopped the British from being capable of evacuating Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 and eventually had terminated the war.

Chokepoints – Straits Leading to Ocean

The fight had begun right at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay where the French had been waiting for the Brits and hence it had been that these chokepoints like straits leading to the ocean had turned out to be blockages for those following them also.

 It was this that had been driving the Russian crazy for at least four centuries. The Russia Empire since the time of Tsar Peter the Great had pursued expansion to increase not only their wealth but regularly endless search in obtaining unfettered access to the sea. Fettered termed has been utilised since the Russia had actually been restrained with regards to their access to the open oceans.

Their port towards the top of the Baltic Sea in the Gulf of Finland had been initiated by the same Tsar Peter and had been humbly named after him. St Petersburg has long given the Russians the facility to move in the adjoining bodies of water though a bit more.

Getting to the actual blue water and the whole of the globe would mean getting beyond the Danes as well as the Norwegians or even both and that alone was not a convincing proposal even before NATO.

Deep Water Sheltered Port – Access Black Sea

Destined towards the north by geography at the entrance of the Baltic and with ice above the Arctic Circle, the Russians moved south and ran into the same kind of situation as they stretched. Tsarina Catherine the Great had pressed downward and had incorporated the Ukraine together with it the Crimean peninsula into greater Russia.

 The Russian naval base of Sebastopol with her founding had a deep water sheltered port which enabled them to access the Black Sea. However they still has been hemmed in now for a number of centuries by the ironclad lock of the Bosporus more recently at least nominally by the Treaty of Montreaux.

Even if they managed to get out, they would still only have access to the Mediterranean and not the actual open ocean. They tend to have access to the Pacific though it is quite far away from their epicentre and there their operationary to be mostly expeditionary just on leaving the base.

Rodina – Motherland – Land Issue

All this goes a long way in comprehending half of the reasons why the Russians are seen nudging up against us from the sky. To comprehend the remaining half, one could recall that the Russians tend to be really, extremely, fearful. It seems to be all about defense of the Rodina, the `Motherland’ for them and that seems to be a land issue.

 All that they do and design is said to be directed upon that individual prevailing passion. For this purpose, the Russian and before that the Soviet, Navy was and is, designed with power projection in mind as well as with disruption of anyone who tends to influence events on land and hence would be a land threat to them.

It is for this reason that they tend to have an extensive, and to some extent technologically striking, track record in submarines building though not aircraft carriers. This is also the reason why they seem to make long-range anti-ship missiles though are not progressing anything even distantly impending an oceanic system of at-sea replacement or restoration.

A century ago, they had given up on true battleships and knew that they could never combat their way out from their two significant naval bases on the surface and stopped attempting. On the contrary they aimed on developing the weapons which could stop America as well as the other NATO and world allied from getting to Europe and through it, on land, to the Motherland.

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