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Operation Strikeback

Operation Strikeback

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Operation Strikeback was a major naval
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 exercise
Military exercise
A military exercise is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat...

 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that took place over a ten-day period in September 1957.

As part of a series of exercises to simulate an all-out Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 attack on NATO, Operation Strikeback was tasked with two objectives. Its initial objective was the deployment of NATO's naval forces (designated the "Blue Fleet") against other NATO forces attempting to simulate an "enemy" navy that featured a large number of submarines (designated the "Orange Fleet"). Its other objective was to have the Blue Fleet execute carrier-based air strikes
Alpha strike (United States Navy)
Alpha strike is a term used by the United States Navy to denote a large air attack by an aircraft carrier air wing, first coined during the Vietnam War. It is the Navy's version of the more widely used term "strike package"....

 against "enemy" formations and emplacements along NATO's northern flank in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

.

Operation Strikeback involved over 200 warships, 650 aircraft, and 75,000 personnel from the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, the United Kingdom's
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, the French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

, the Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, and the Royal Norwegian Navy
Royal Norwegian Navy
The Royal Norwegian Navy is the branch of the Norwegian Defence Force responsible for naval operations. , the RNoN consists of approximately 3,700 personnel and 70 vessels, including 5 heavy frigates, 6 submarines, 14 patrol boats, 4 minesweepers, 4 minehunters, 1 mine detection vessel, 4 support...

. As the largest peacetime naval operation up to that time, military analyst Hanson W. Baldwin
Hanson W. Baldwin
Hanson Weightman Baldwin was the long-time military editor of the New York Times. He won a Pulitzer Prize for "for his coverage of the early days of World War II". He authored or edited numerous books on military topics....

 of the New York Times characterized Operation Strikeback as "constituting the strongest striking fleet assembled since World War II."

Operation Strikeback and the other concurrent NATO exercises held during the fall of 1957 would be the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.

Strategic overview


Faced with the overwhelming numerical superiority of Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 military forces, NATO embraced the concept of the nuclear umbrella
Nuclear umbrella
Nuclear umbrella refers to a guarantee by a nuclear weapons state to defend a non-nuclear allied state.It is usually used for the security alliances of the United States with Japan, South Korea, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization , and Australia, originating with the Cold War with the Soviet...

 to protect Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 from a Soviet ground invasion. This strategy was initially articulated in January 1954 by U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 General
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 and then-Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the central command of NATO military forces. It is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons...

 Alfred Gruenther
Alfred Gruenther
Alfred Maximilian Gruenther was the youngest World War II Major General and after the war, as a four-star General, served as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 1953 to 1956.-Biography:...

:
This strategic concept reflected the American strategy of massive retaliation
Massive retaliation
Massive retaliation, also known as a massive response or massive deterrence, is a military doctrine and nuclear strategy in which a state commits itself to retaliate in much greater force in the event of an attack.-Strategy:...

 of the Eisenhower administration as set forth by Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

:

NATO military command structure


With the establishment of NATO’s Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT) on 30 January 1952, the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT)
Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
The Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic was one of two supreme commanders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation , the other being the Supreme Allied Commander Europe . The SACLANT led Allied Command Atlantic, based at Norfolk, Virginia...

 joined the previously-created Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the central command of NATO military forces. It is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons...

 as one of the alliance’s two principal military field commanders. Also, a Channel Command was established on 21 February 1952 to control the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 and North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 area and deny it to the enemy, protect the sea lanes of communication, and Support operations conducted by SACEUR and SACLANT. The following key NATO military commands were involved in a series of alliance-wide exercises, including Operation Strikeback, during the Fall of 1957.
  • Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT)
  • Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT)
    Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
    The Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic was one of two supreme commanders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation , the other being the Supreme Allied Commander Europe . The SACLANT led Allied Command Atlantic, based at Norfolk, Virginia...

    Admiral
    Admiral (United States)
    In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

     Jerauld Wright
    Jerauld Wright
    Admiral Jerauld Wright, USN, served as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command and the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S...

    , United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    • Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (DSACLANT) – Vice-Admiral Sir John Eaton
      John Eaton (Royal Navy officer)
      Vice Admiral Sir John William Musgrave Eaton KBE CB DSO DSC was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief America and West Indies Station.-Naval career:Eaton joined the Royal Navy in 1916 and served in World War I...

      , RN
      Royal Navy
      The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

      • Chief of Staff (COFS)Vice Admiral
        Vice admiral (United States)
        In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

         Harold Page Smith, United States Navy
        United States Navy
        The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    • Eastern Atlantic Area (EASTLANT) – Vice Admiral Sir John Eccles, RN
      Royal Navy
      The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

    • Western Atlantic Area (WESTLANT)Admiral
      Admiral (United States)
      In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

       Jerauld Wright
      Jerauld Wright
      Admiral Jerauld Wright, USN, served as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command and the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S...

      , United States Navy
      United States Navy
      The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    • Striking Fleet Atlantic (STRIKFLTLANT)Vice Admiral
      Vice admiral (United States)
      In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

       Robert B. Pirie
      Robert B. Pirie
      Robert B. Pirie was a vice admiral in the United States Navy. He was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for air when he retired in 1962....

      , United States Navy
      United States Navy
      The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...


  • Allied Command Europe
  • Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)
    Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
    Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the central command of NATO military forces. It is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons...

    General
    General (United States)
    In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

     Lauris Norstad
    Lauris Norstad
    Lauris Norstad was an American General in the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force.-Early life and military career:...

    , USAF
    • Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) – Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
      Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
      Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC , nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army from...

      , British Army
      British Army
      The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

      • Chief of Staff (COFS)General
        General (United States)
        In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

         Courtlandt Van R. Schuyler
        Cortlandt V.R. Schuyler
        Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler was a United States Army four star general who served as Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe from 1953 to 1959.-Military career:...

        , USA
        United States Army
        The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

    • Allied Forces Northern Europe (AFNORTH)
      Allied Forces Northern Europe
      Allied Forces Northern Europe was the most northern NATO command located at Kolsås outside Oslo. It was part of Allied Command Europe from around 1952 to 2003...

      – Lieutenant-General Sir C.S. Sugden, British Army
      British Army
      The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

    • Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT)
      Allied Forces Central Europe
      Joint Force Command Brunssum is the NATO military command based in Brunssum, Netherlands. JFC-B reports to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe based at Casteau, Belgium. It is one of three operational level commands in the NATO command structure, the others being Joint Force Command...

      Général d'Armée
      Army General (France)
      A Général d'Armée is the highest active military rank of the French Army.Officially, Général d'armée is not a rank , but a position and style bestowed on some Généraux de division in charge of important commands, such as chief of staff of the army...

       Jean-Étienne Valluy
      Jean-Étienne Valluy
      Jean Etienne Valluy was a French general .He was born in Rive-de-Gier, Loire, on 15 May 1899 to Claude Valluy and Jeanne, Adrienne Cossanges. In 1917 he entered the military academy of Saint-Cyr...

      , French Army
      French Army
      The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

      • Allied Air Forces Central Europe
        Allied Air Forces Central Europe
        Allied Air Forces Central Europe was the headquarters for NATO air forces in Central Europe from 1951 to 1967 and from 1974 to 1993.-History:It was first based at Fontainebleau , and originally activated in April 1951...

         (AAFCE)
        Air Chief Marshal
        Air Chief Marshal
        Air chief marshal is a senior 4-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force...

         Sir George Holroyd Mills
        George Mills (RAF officer)
        Air Chief Marshal Sir George Holroyd Mills, GCB, DFC, RAF was a senior Royal Air Force commander. After his retirement from the RAF, Mills served as Black Rod in the Houses of Parliament until 1970...

        , RAF
      • Northern Army Group
        Northern Army Group
        The Northern Army Group was a NATO military formation comprising four Western European Army Corps, during the Cold War as part of NATO's forward defence in the Federal Republic of Germany.- History :...

         (NORTHAG)
        General
        General (United Kingdom)
        General is currently the highest peace-time rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It is subordinate to the Army rank of Field Marshal, has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank....

         Sir Richard Nelson Gale
        Richard Nelson Gale
        General Sir Richard Nelson "Windy" Gale GCB, KBE, DSO, MC was a soldier in the British Army who served in both world wars. In World War I he was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 whilst serving as a junior officer in the Machine Gun Corps...

        , British Army
        British Army
        The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

      • Central Army Group (CENTAG)General
        General (United States)
        In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

         Henry I. Hodes
        Henry I. Hodes
        Henry Irving Hodes was a United States Army four star general who served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Europe/Commander, Central Army Group from 1956 to 1959.-Military career:...

        , USA
        United States Army
        The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

    • Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH)
      Allied Joint Force Command Naples
      Allied Joint Force Command Naples is a NATO military command. It was activated on 15 March 2004, after what was effectively a redesignation of its predecessor command, Allied Forces Southern Europe , originally formed in 1951...

      Admiral
      Admiral (United States)
      In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

       R.P.M. Bristol, United States Navy
      United States Navy
      The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

      • Naval Striking and Support Forces Southern Europe (STRIKFORSOUTH)Vice Admiral
        Vice admiral (United States)
        In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

         Charles R. Brown, United States Navy
        United States Navy
        The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    • Allied Forces Mediterranean (AFMED)Admiral
      Admiral (United Kingdom)
      Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

       Sir Ralph Edwards
      Ralph Edwards (Royal Navy officer)
      Admiral Sir Ralph Edwards KCB CBE was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.-Naval career:...

      , RN
      Royal Navy
      The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


  • Allied Channel Command (CHANCOM)
  • Commander-in-Chief Channel (CINCHAN) – Admiral
    Admiral (United Kingdom)
    Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

     Sir Guy Grantham
    Guy Grantham
    Admiral Sir Guy Grantham GCB CBE DSO was a senior Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth.-Naval career:Educated at Rugby School, Grantham joined the Royal Navy in 1918....

    , RN
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


Operational history


As part of the response to a theoretical Soviet attack against NATO on all fronts, Operation Strikeback would test the capabilities of Allied naval forces (Blue Fleet) by tasking them to destroy the enemy navy (Orange Fleet) and its huge submarine fleet, protect transatlantic shipping, and undertake sustained carrier-based air strikes against the enemy positions.

Beginning on 3 September 1957, American and Canadian naval forces got underway to join British, French, Dutch, and Norwegian naval forces in eastern Atlantic and northern European waters under the overall command of Vice Admiral
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 Robert B. Pirie
Robert B. Pirie
Robert B. Pirie was a vice admiral in the United States Navy. He was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for air when he retired in 1962....

, United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, the Commander of the U.S. Second Fleet, acting as NATO's Commander Striking Fleet Atlantic (COMSTRIKFLTLANT). While en route, the U.S.-Canadian naval forces executed Operation Seaspray, a bilateral naval exercise to protect Blue Fleet’s vitally-important underway replenishment group (URG) from enemy submarine attacks. The nuclear submarine and the conventional submarine completed operations in the Arctic and joined 34 other U.S. and allied submarines temporarily assigned to the Orange Fleet. USS Mount McKinley
USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7)
USS Mount McKinley was the lead ship of the Mount McKinley-class of amphibious force command ships. She was named after the highest mountain in North America...

 was based in Portsmouth Naval Base
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

 as the command communications base for the Orange forces controlling Comsuborangelant/Comphiborangelant for the duration of the Exercise.

Operation Strikeback itself began on 19 September 1957, involving over 200 warships, 650 aircraft, and 65,000 personnel. To provide a more realistic simulation of protecting transatlantic shipping, over 200 merchant marine vessels, including the ocean liner
Ocean liner
An ocean liner is a ship designed to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule. Liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes .Cargo vessels running to a schedule are sometimes referred to as...

s and , also participated as duly-flagged target ships for the exercise. Blue Fleet hunter-killer (HUK) groups centered around the carriers , , and , as well as submarines and land-based anti-submarine patrol aircraft, executed Operation Fend Off/Operation Fishplay to identify, track, and contain the breakout of the enemy Orange Fleet’s submarine force along the Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

-Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

-UK gap (GIUK gap
GIUK gap
The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval warfare chokepoint. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses...

").

Operating above the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 in the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

, the Blue Fleet, which included the new U.S. supercarriers
Supercarrier
Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial...

  and , launched carried-based air strikes against enemy positions in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine provided the following contemporary coverage of Operation Strikeback:
Following the conclusion of Operation Strikeback, U.S. naval forces conducted Operation Pipedown, involving the protection of its underway replenishment group while en route back the United States.

SACLANT Admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

 Jerauld Wright
Jerauld Wright
Admiral Jerauld Wright, USN, served as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command and the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S...

, United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, described Operation Strikeback as being "remarkably successful" while also noting "[that] there is considerable scarcity of both naval and air forces in the eastern Atlantic." Wright’s Eastern Atlantic allied commander, Vice Admiral Sir John Eccles, RN
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, also noted:
Particularly significant was the performance of nuclear-powered submarines with the U.S. Navy's first two such vessels, the and , participating in Operation Strikeback. According to naval analyst-historian Norman Friedman
Norman Friedman
Norman Friedman, P.h.D. is an American author and naval analyst. He has written over 30 books on naval matters, and appeared on television programs on PBS and the Discovery Networks...

, Nautilus "presented a greater threat than all 21 snorkel submarines combined" during Operation Strikeback, making 16 successful attacks against various naval formations while maintaining effective on-station tactical and high-speed pursuit capabilities. Nautilus cruised 3,384 nautical miles (6,267 km) with an average speed of 14.4 knots (26.7 km/h). In addition to the Nautilus, the Seawolf departed New London
Naval Submarine Base New London
Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy's primary submarine base, the "Home of the Submarine Force", and "the Submarine Capital of the World".-History:...

 on 3 September for Operation Strikeback. Before she surfaced off Newport, Rhode Isand
Naval Station Newport
The Naval Station Newport is a United States Navy base located in the towns of Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island. Naval Station Newport is home to the Naval War College and the Naval Justice School...

, on 25 September, Seawolf had remained submerged for 16 days, cruising a total of 6,331 miles (10,189 km). Recognizing the need to meet this Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

 (ASW) challenge, the following actions were taken:
  • Task Force Alfa was created by the U.S. Navy to develop improved ASW tactics and technology by integrating carrier-based ASW aircraft, land-based patrol aircraft, refitted destroyers, and hunter-killer submarines.
  • NATO Undersea Research Centre
    NATO Undersea Research Centre
    The NATO Undersea Research Centre , based in La Spezia, Italy, is a research organisation under NATO's Allied Command Transformation, which is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. NURC conducts research and develops products to support NATO maritime operations and to support the continuous...

     was established by SACLANT on 2 May 1959 in La Spezia, Italy, to serve as a clearinghouse for NATO's anti-submarine efforts.


Operation Strikeback was the final deployment for the battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

s and until their re-activation in the 1980s by the Reagan Administration. Finally, on the technical level, Operation Strikeback saw the first use of single sideband
Single-sideband modulation
Single-sideband modulation or Single-sideband suppressed-carrier is a refinement of amplitude modulation that more efficiently uses electrical power and bandwidth....

 (SSB) voice communications for tactical operations by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, and was the first Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 carrier to use a magnetic loop communication system.

In addition to Operation Strikeback, which concentrated on its eastern Atlantic/northern European flank, NATO also conducted two other major military exercises in September 1957, Operation Counter Punch involving Allied Forces Central Europe
Allied Forces Central Europe
Joint Force Command Brunssum is the NATO military command based in Brunssum, Netherlands. JFC-B reports to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe based at Casteau, Belgium. It is one of three operational level commands in the NATO command structure, the others being Joint Force Command...

 on the European mainland and Operation Deep Water
Operation Deep Water
Operation Deep Water was a 1957 NATO naval exercise held in the Mediterranean Sea that simulated protecting the Dardanelles from a Soviet invasion. By controlling this bottleneck in a war situation, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet would be prevented from entering the Mediterranean.Operation Deep Water...

 involving NATO's southern flank in the Mediterranean Sea.

Naval forces for Operation Strikeback


The following is a partial listing of naval forces known to have participated in Operation Strikeback.

Aircraft carriers and embarked air groups

– Blue Fleet flagship'
    • Carrier Group Seven
      Carrier Air Wing Seven
      Carrier Air Wing Seven , is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier .-Mission:...

      • Fighter Squadron 61 (VF-61)
        VF-61
        Fighter Squadron 61 was a Fighter Squadron of the United States Navy until its disestablishment on on April 15, 1959.Three U.S. Naval Aviation squadrons have used the name and insignia of the Jolly Roger: VF-17/VF-5B/VF-61, VF-84 Fighter Squadron 61 (The Jolly Rogers) was a Fighter Squadron of...

      • Attack Squadron 72 (VA-72)
      • Attack Squadron 75 (VA-75)
      • All-Weather Attack Squadron 33 (VA(AW)-33) Det.
      • Light Photographic Squadron 62 (VFP-62)
        VFP-62
        Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron 62 was an aviation unit of the United States Navy in service from 1949 to 1968. The squadron provided a detachment of reconnaissance planes for each of the Carrier Air Wings of the U.S...

         Det.
      • Utility Helicopter Squadron 2 (HU-2) Det.
    • Carrier Group One
      Carrier Air Wing One
      Carrier Air Wing One is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier .-Mission:...

      • Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14)
        VFA-14
        The Strike Fighter Squadron 14 "Tophatters" are a United States Navy fighter attack squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. They fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet, and are the Navy's oldest active squadron, having formed in 1919...

      • Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84)
        VF-84
        VF-84, Fighter Squadron 84 was an aviation unit of the United States Navy active from 1955 to 1995. The squadron was nicknamed the Jolly Rogers and was based at NAS Oceana.-Related squadrons:Five distinct U.S...

      • Attack Squadron 15 (VA-15)
        VFA-15
        The VFA-15, Strike Fighter Squadron 15 is a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron based at NAS Oceana. Their call sign is Pride, tail code is AJ, and they fly the F-18 Hornet...

      • Attack Squadron 76 (VA-76)
      • Heavy Attack Squadron 1 (VAH-1)
      • Airborne Early Warning Squadron 12 (VAW-12) Det.
      • All-Weather Attack Squadron 33 (AV(AW)-33) Det.
      • Utility Helicopter Squadron 2 (HU-2) Det.
    • Carrier Group Six:
      Carrier Air Wing Six
      Carrier Air Wing Six was a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing whose operational history spans from the years prior to World War II to the end of the Cold War, including participating in the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, and the Vietnam War...

      • Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33)
        VF-33
        Fighter Squadron 33 was an aviation unit of the United States Navy. The first VF-33 was originally commissioned in 6 August 1942 and disestablished on 19 November 1945. A second VF-33 was then reactivated on 11 October 1948...

      • Fighter Squadron 71 (VF-71)
      • Attack Squadron 25 (VA-25)
        VFA-25
        Strike Fighter Squadron 25 is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at NAS Lemoore. Its current tail code is AA, its callsign is Fist, and it flies the F/A-18C Hornet.-Squadron insignia and nickname:...

      • Attack Squadron 66 (VA-66)
      • Heavy Attack Squadron 11 (VAH-11)
      • All-Weather Attack Squadron 33 (VA(AW)-33) Det.
      • Light Photographic Squadron 62 (VFP-62)
        VFP-62
        Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron 62 was an aviation unit of the United States Navy in service from 1949 to 1968. The squadron provided a detachment of reconnaissance planes for each of the Carrier Air Wings of the U.S...

         Det.
      • Airborne Early Warning Squadron 12 (VAW-12) Det.
      • Utility Helicopter Squadron 2 (UH-2) Det.
    • Squadrons embarked:
      • Air Anti-submarine Squadron 36 (VS-36)
      • Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron 3 (HS-7)
      • Utility Helicopter Squadron 2 (HU-2) Det.
    • Squadrons embarked:
      • Air Anti-submarine Squadron 32 (VS-32)
        VS-32
        VS-32, Sea Control Squadron 32, known as the Maulers was commissioned as Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 32 in April 1950. The squadron initially flew the Grumman TBM-3E/-3W Avenger and was based at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. In 1951 the squadron moved to Naval Air Station Quonset Point,...

      • Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron 1 (HS-1)
      • Attack Squadron 172 (VA-172)
      • All-Weather Fighter Squadron 4 (VF(AW)-4) Det.
      • Utility Helicopter Squadron 2 (HU-2) Det.
    • Squadrons embarked:
      • Attack Squadron 44 (VA-44)
        Attack Squadron 44 (United States Navy)
        Attack Squadron 44 was an attack squadron of the United States Navy that was an active fleet unit for its first fifteen years and transitioned to a Fleet Replacement Squadron until it was deactivated. -History:...

      • Air Anti-submarine Squadron 27 (VS-27)
      • Air Anti-submarine Squadron 30 (VS-30)
      • Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron 5 (HS-5)
      • Utility Helicopter Squadron 2 (HU-2) Det.

– Orange Fleet flagship
    • Squadrons embarked: 802
      802 Naval Air Squadron
      -Early history:802 Squadron was formed on 3 April 1933 aboard by the merger of two independent RAF naval units, 408 Flight and 409 Flight...

      , 804
      804 Naval Air Squadron
      804 Naval Air Squadron was a Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy, formed in November 1939 from part of 769 NAS Sea Gladiators which had been detached to RNAS Hatston. The squadron was merged into 800 NAS in June 1944 and subsequently reformed in September.-World War II:During World War II, she...

      , 815
      815 Naval Air Squadron
      815 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron of the Fleet Air Arm, part of the Royal Navy. The squadron is currently based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, United Kingdom and it is the Navy's front line Lynx Naval Air Squadron. It currently comprises more than 30 Lynx helicopters of various types...

      , 831, 849B, 898
    • Squadrons embarked: 820
      820 Naval Air Squadron
      820 Naval Air Squadron is a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed in April 1933 with the transferral of the Fairey III aircraft from 405 Flight Royal Air Force to the Fleet Air Arm...

      , 845, 849D, 891
      891 Naval Air Squadron
      891 Naval Air Squadron was an aircraft squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during World War II. The unit was equipped with Hellcat IIs, operating in the Pacific as night fighters....

    • Squadrons embarked: 803
      803 Naval Air Squadron
      803 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm squadron.-Interwar:803 NAS was formed on 3 April 1933 by promoting No 409 Flight to the status of a squadron, with nine Ospreys...

      , 806
      806 Naval Air Squadron
      806 Naval Air Squadron was a fighter squadron in the Fleet Air Arm that existed from February 1940 to December 1960 and saw active service in Norway, the Dunkirk evacuation and the Malta Convoys.-Formation:...

      , 813
      813 Naval Air Squadron
      813 Naval Air Squadron was an aircraft squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during World War II and again post-war. It initially operated Swordfish Mk Is from the aircraft carrier Illustrious and took part in the successful raid on Taranto in November 1940.In July 1943, the squadron was a...

      , 814
      814 Naval Air Squadron
      814 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It was formed in December 1938 and has been disbanded and reformed several times. Its nickname is "the Flying Tigers", not to be confused with the American Volunteer squadron of WWII....

      , 848A

Naval aircraft

>

United States Navy:
  • Fighters:
    • Grumman F-9 Cougar
      • VA-76 - F9F-8B
      • VA-44 - F9F-8
      • VA-66 - F9F-8B
      • VFP-62 - F9F-8P
    • McDonnell F3H Demon
      F3H Demon
      The McDonnell F3H Demon was a subsonic swept-wing United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter aircraft. After severe problems with Westinghouse J40 engine that was ultimately abandoned, the successor to the McDonnell F2H Banshee served starting in 1956 redesigned with the J71 engine...

      • VF-14 - F3H-2N
      • VF-61 - F3H-2M
    • Douglas F2H Banshee
      F2H Banshee
      The McDonnell F2H Banshee was a single-seat carrier-based jet fighter aircraft deployed by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps from 1948 to 1961. It was one of the primary American fighters used during the Korean War and was the only jet-powered fighter ever deployed by the Royal...

      • VFP-62 - F2H-2P
      • VF-71 - F2H-3/4
      • VA-172 - F2H-2/2B
    • North American FJ-3 Fury
      FJ Fury
      The North American FJ-2/-3 Fury were a series of swept-wing carrier-capable fighters for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Based on the United States Air Force's F-86 Sabre, these aircraft featured folding wings, and a longer nose landing strut designed to both increase angle of attack upon...

      • VF-33 - FJ-3/3M
      • VF-84- FJ-3M
  • Anti-submarine (ASW) aircraft:
    • Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune
      • VP-8
      • VP-10
    • Grumman S2F Tracker
      S-2 Tracker
      The Grumman S-2 Tracker was the first purpose-built, single airframe anti-submarine warfare aircraft to enter service with the US Navy. The Tracker was of conventional design with twin engines, a high wing and tricycle undercarriage. The type was exported to a number of navies around the world...

      • VS-27- S2F-1/2
      • VS-30 - S2F-1/2
      • VS-32 - S2F-1/2
      • VS-36 - S2F-1/2

  • Attack bombers:
    • Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
      • VA-72 - A4D-1
    • Douglas AD Skyraider
      A-1 Skyraider
      The Douglas A-1 Skyraider was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. It became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after a French World War I fighter...

      • VAW-12 - AD-5W
      • VA-15 - AD-6
      • VA-25 - AD-6
      • VA(AW)-33 - AD-5N, AD-5Q
      • VA-75 - AD-6
      • VF(AW)-4 – AD-5
    • Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
      A-3 Skywarrior
      The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was originally designed as a strategic bomber for the United States Navy and was among the longest serving carrier-based jet aircraft in history. It entered service in the mid-1950s and was retired in 1991...

      • VAH-1 - A3D-1
    • North American AJ Savage
      AJ Savage
      |-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Grossnick, Roy A. . Washington, DC:Naval Historical Center, 1995. ISBN 0-945274-29-7.* Swanborough, Gordon and Peter M. Bowers. United States Navy Aircraft since 1911. London:Putnam, Second edition, 1976. ISBN 0 370 10054 9.* Wilson, Stewart. Combat...

      • VAH-7 – AJ-2
      • VAH-11 – AJ-2
  • Helicopters:
    • Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever
      • HU-2
    • Sikorsky HSS-1 Seabat
      • HS-5
      • HS-7

Royal Navy:
  • Fighter
    • 891 Naval Air Squadron
      891 Naval Air Squadron
      891 Naval Air Squadron was an aircraft squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during World War II. The unit was equipped with Hellcat IIs, operating in the Pacific as night fighters....

       de Havilland Sea Venom
      De Havilland Venom
      The de Havilland DH 112 Venom was a British postwar single-engined jet aircraft developed from the de Havilland Vampire. It served with the Royal Air Force as a single-seat fighter-bomber and two-seat night fighter....

    • 894 Naval Air Squadron, Sea Venom
    • 802 Naval Air Squadron
      802 Naval Air Squadron
      -Early history:802 Squadron was formed on 3 April 1933 aboard by the merger of two independent RAF naval units, 408 Flight and 409 Flight...

      , Hawker Sea Hawk
      Hawker Sea Hawk
      The Hawker Sea Hawk was a British single-seat jet fighter of the Fleet Air Arm , the air branch of the Royal Navy , built by Hawker Aircraft and its sister company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Although its origins stemmed from earlier Hawker piston-engined fighters, the Sea Hawk became the...

    • 803 Naval Air Squadron
      803 Naval Air Squadron
      803 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm squadron.-Interwar:803 NAS was formed on 3 April 1933 by promoting No 409 Flight to the status of a squadron, with nine Ospreys...

      , Sea Hawk
    • 804 Naval Air Squadron
      804 Naval Air Squadron
      804 Naval Air Squadron was a Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy, formed in November 1939 from part of 769 NAS Sea Gladiators which had been detached to RNAS Hatston. The squadron was merged into 800 NAS in June 1944 and subsequently reformed in September.-World War II:During World War II, she...

      , Sea Hawk
    • 806 Naval Air Squadron
      806 Naval Air Squadron
      806 Naval Air Squadron was a fighter squadron in the Fleet Air Arm that existed from February 1940 to December 1960 and saw active service in Norway, the Dunkirk evacuation and the Malta Convoys.-Formation:...

      , Sea Hawk
    • 898 Naval Air Squadron, Sea Hawk
  • torpedo/strike fighter
    • 813 Naval Air Squadron
      813 Naval Air Squadron
      813 Naval Air Squadron was an aircraft squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during World War II and again post-war. It initially operated Swordfish Mk Is from the aircraft carrier Illustrious and took part in the successful raid on Taranto in November 1940.In July 1943, the squadron was a...

      , Westland Wyvern
      Westland Wyvern
      The Westland Wyvern was a British single-seat carrier-based multi-role strike aircraft built by Westland Aircraft that served in the 1950s, seeing active service in the 1956 Suez Crisis...

  • A/S Warfare
    • 814 Naval Air Squadron
      814 Naval Air Squadron
      814 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It was formed in December 1938 and has been disbanded and reformed several times. Its nickname is "the Flying Tigers", not to be confused with the American Volunteer squadron of WWII....

      , Fairey Gannet
      Fairey Gannet
      The Fairey Gannet was a British carrier-borne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning aircraft of the post-Second World War era developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm by the Fairey Aviation Company...

    • 815 Naval Air Squadron
      815 Naval Air Squadron
      815 Naval Air Squadron is a squadron of the Fleet Air Arm, part of the Royal Navy. The squadron is currently based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, United Kingdom and it is the Navy's front line Lynx Naval Air Squadron. It currently comprises more than 30 Lynx helicopters of various types...

      , Fairey Gannet
      Fairey Gannet
      The Fairey Gannet was a British carrier-borne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning aircraft of the post-Second World War era developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm by the Fairey Aviation Company...

    • 820 Naval Air Squadron
      820 Naval Air Squadron
      820 Naval Air Squadron is a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed in April 1933 with the transferral of the Fairey III aircraft from 405 Flight Royal Air Force to the Fleet Air Arm...

      , Fairey Gannet
      Fairey Gannet
      The Fairey Gannet was a British carrier-borne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning aircraft of the post-Second World War era developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm by the Fairey Aviation Company...

  • Airborne Early Warning
    • 'A' Flight 849 Naval Air Squadron, Skyraider AEW.1
    • 'B' Flight 849 Naval Air Squadron, Skyraider AEW.1
    • 'D' Flight 849 Naval Air Squadron, Skyraider AEW.1

  • Helicopters:
    • 845 Naval Air Squadron, Westland Whirlwind:

Aircraft losses

  • 24 September 1957 – An F4D Skyray
    F4D Skyray
    The Douglas F4D Skyray was an American carrier-based supersonic fighter/interceptor built by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

     jet figher crashed into the sea while attempting to land back onboard the . During the subsequent search and rescue
    Search and rescue
    Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

    , two S2F-2
    S-2 Tracker
    The Grumman S-2 Tracker was the first purpose-built, single airframe anti-submarine warfare aircraft to enter service with the US Navy. The Tracker was of conventional design with twin engines, a high wing and tricycle undercarriage. The type was exported to a number of navies around the world...

     ASW aircraft of VS-36 off the collided in mid-air and crashed into the sea. Two additional F4D Skyray aircraft crashed following a mid-air collision off Andøy
    Andøy
    Andøy is the northernmost municipality in Nordland county, Norway, and it belongs to the Vesterålen archipelago. The largest island in the municipality is Andøya. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Andenes....

    , Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    . The total loss of life was 11.
  • 26 September 1957 – An A3D-1 Skywarrior
    A-3 Skywarrior
    The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was originally designed as a strategic bomber for the United States Navy and was among the longest serving carrier-based jet aircraft in history. It entered service in the mid-1950s and was retired in 1991...

     attack bomber crashed into the stern flight deck
    Flight deck
    The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is the surface from which its aircraft take off and land, essentially a miniature airfield at sea. On smaller naval ships which do not have aviation as a primary mission, the landing area for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft is also referred to as the...

     ramp while attempting to land onboard the . The aircraft was lost at sea, but the three-man crew was recovered.

Surface warships

>

Battleships:
Cruisers:
Destroyers:

  • USS Beale (DDE-471)
    USS Beale (DD-471)
    USS Beale , a , was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale ....


Destroyer Escorts:
Amphibious Vessels:
Royal Canadian Navy destroyers

Submarine forces

>

Nuclear Submarines:




Support Vessels:

Diesel-Electric Submarines:

Naval auxiliaries

>

Underway Replenishment Group (URG): (flagship)



Fleet Support:

U.S. Navy Fleet Air Wing 3


The United States Navy deployed two patrol squadron from Fleet Air Wing Three (FAW-3) to participate in Operation Strikeback:
  • Patrol Squadron 8 (VP-8)
    VP-8
    Patrol Squadron Eight is a U.S. Navy land-based patrol squadron that was based at the Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, but is now stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida...

     operated out of Argentia
    Naval Station Argentia
    Naval Station Argentia is a former base of the United States Navy that operated from 1941-1994. It was established in the community of Argentia in what was then the Dominion of Newfoundland, which later became the tenth Canadian province .-Construction:Established under the British-U.S...

    , Newfoundland
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

    .
  • Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10)
    VP-10
    The VP-10 "Red Lancers" are a U.S. Navy P-3C squadron based at Jacksonville Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, USA.-Pre War Origins:Patrol Squadron TEN, United States Navy, is considered to be one of the original Patrol Squadrons in aviation history. Nicknamed the RED LANCERS, the squadron...

     operated out of Keflavik
    Naval Air Station Keflavik
    United States Naval Air Station Keflavik is a former NATO facility at Keflavík International Airport, Iceland. It is located on the Reykjanes peninsula on the south-west portion of the island...

    , Iceland
    Iceland
    Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

    .


Both squadrons flew Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune ASW patrol aircraft.

RAF Coastal Command


The Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 assigned two squadrons from RAF Coastal Command
RAF Coastal Command
RAF Coastal Command was a formation within the Royal Air Force . Founded in 1936, it was the RAF's premier maritime arm, after the Royal Navy's secondment of the Fleet Air Arm in 1937. Naval aviation was neglected in the inter-war period, 1919–1939, and as a consequence the service did not receive...

 to participate in Operation Strikeback:
  • No. 204 Squadron
    No. 204 Squadron RAF
    No 204 Squadron was a Royal Air Force squadron formed in 1918 near Dunkerque, France, from No 4 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service, which had already been formed in 1915 and reformed once in 1916. The squadron served during World War I in the roles of bomber, scout and fighter unit...

     deployed to RAF Kinloss
    RAF Kinloss
    RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. It opened on 1 April 1939 and served as an RAF training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in...

  • No. 269 Squadron
    No. 269 Squadron RAF
    No. 269 Squadron RAF was a maritime patrol unit of the Royal Air Force that saw service in World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.-World War I:...

     deployed to RAF Wick
    Wick Airport
    Wick Airport is located north of the town of Wick in Caithness at the north-eastern extremity of the mainland of Scotland. It is owned and maintained by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited....



Both squadrons flew Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
The Avro Shackleton was a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force. It was developed by Avro from the Avro Lincoln bomber with a new fuselage...

 patrol bombers.

U.S. Marine Corps units


The following units of the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 participated in Operation Strikeback in September 1957 are listed below.
  • Regimental Landing Team 8 (RLT-8)
  • Battalion Landing Team 1/2
    1st Battalion 2nd Marines
    1st Battalion, 2nd Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina consisting of approximately 900 Marines and Sailors...


Legacy


Carrier-based air strike operations in the Norwegian Sea pioneered by Operation Stikeback became the cornerstone of the forward defense of NATO's northern flank as set forth in the U.S. Navy's Forward Maritime Strategy, as published in 1984, championed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman
John Lehman
John F. Lehman, Jr. is an American investment banker and writer who served as Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and in 2003–04 was a member of the 9/11 Commission....

 and Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Naval Operations
The Chief of Naval Operations is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy...

 Admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

 James D. Watkins
James D. Watkins
Admiral James David Watkins is a retired United States Navy officer and former Chief of Naval Operations who also served as U.S. Secretary of Energy during the George H. W. Bush Administration and chaired U.S. government commissions on HIV/AIDS and ocean policy. Watkins has also served on the...

, USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, during the Reagan Administration, and as executed by such a major NATO naval exercises as Ocean Safari '85 and Northern Wedding '86.

In a 2008 article, retired General Bernard E. Trainor
Bernard E. Trainor
Bernard E. Trainor is journalist and a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general. He served in the Marine Corps for 39 years in both staff and command capacities. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he began working as the chief military correspondent for the New York Times. He is currently a...

, USMC
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, noted the success of this maritime strategy that helped to end the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

:

The U.S. Navy's Forward Maritime Strategy provided the strategic rationale for the 600-ship Navy program
600-ship Navy
The 600 Ship Navy was a strategic plan of the United States Navy during the 1980s to rebuild its fleet after cutbacks that followed the end of the Vietnam War...

, and it would be superseded in 2007 by A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower is the United States' newest maritime strategy. It was presented by the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandants of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard at the International Seapower Symposium at the U.S. Naval War College in...

.

External links