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Operation Mariner

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 2:57 pm
by Javier L.
In 1953 the American battleships Iowa, Wisconsin, and the British Vanguard participated in NATO exercise "Mariner" in the North Atlantic. Any details about this operation?

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 7:59 pm
by cascoskuro

Few, few, few...

Iowa embarked midshipmen for at sea training to Northern Europe, July 1953, and immediately after took part in Operation "Mariner", a major NATO exercise, serving as flagship of Vice Admiral E. T. Woolfidge, commanding the 2d Fleet.

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:27 pm
by Javier L.
Thank you. I don't know why so little is known about this naval exercise. I hoped someone could give details on how it was done, ships involved, type of exercises, purpose, firing results, etc.

Un saludo.

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:41 am
by ufo
Few lines only - but may be some information you did not have before?


Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:43 pm
by Javier L.
As an example of the character and scope of these exercises, let us take the story of Exercise 'Mariner'. This took place at the end of the summer of 1953 and was the largest international naval exercise ever held. It was sponsored jointly by SACLANT, SACEUR and the Channel Commanders. Nine countries, almost fifty different types of ships, and twenty types of aircraft took part. The exercise lasted nineteen days, and included convoy protection, naval control of shipping and striking fleet operations in northern waters. In order to make the training as realistic as possible, the enemy role was taken by surface raiders, submarines and land-based air elements drawn from NATO forces.
In summing up the value of these combined exercises Admiral McCormick (5) stated that the errors which had taken place were fully understandable in view of the tremendous task of co-ordinating international forces of such size and complexity, and that the lessons learned would be invaluable to future planning.
Lest the number and variety of ships and aircraft having undergone NATO training present too optimistic a picture of the forces available to SACLANT for the accomplishment of his mission, it must be placed on record that there is at present a grave shortage of escort vessels and maritime aircraft.

Thank you for the link. I was not aware it was such a large exercise, "the largest international naval exercise ever held", "nine countries, almost fifty different types of ships, and twenty types of aircraft". I wonder what the role of the battleships was in such a large naval battlegroup.

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:19 am
by ufo
The battleships - well - as they mention it explicitly in the text - may be they were playing the surface raiders? 1941 was just twelve years past. And Naval High Commands change ideas and concepts very very slowly.

Alternatively - having the Americans (and their Pacific experience) around - they also may have been big floating AA platforms within convoys or task forces?

Just two thoughts.

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 1:58 pm
by Ulrich Rudofsky

There is information on google if you look under "NATO operation mariner" instead of just plain "operation mariner"

Primary Historical Source on Mariner

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:37 pm
by CMBrown
There is more detailed information on this operation, especially as it pretains to the USS BENNINGTON, in the official Ship's History for that ship, which I happen to have a copy of.

In general this operation was to simulate the protection of North Atlantic sea lanes from a Soviet attack. There was at one point a large arc of NATO warships stretching from the eastern coast of the US to Spain.

In terms of aircraft carrier activity, which this source is obviously going to emphasize, the weather was quite poor and some landings were quite hazardous, resulting in a number of accidents, resulting in at least 2 sailors killed on BENNINGTON.

This exercise lasted from approximately September 16-October 4, 1953.

-Charles M. Brown

Former crewman USS Bennington, Operation Mariner, 1953

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:49 am
by Bennington20
Greetings! I found your website about 20 minutes ago and noticed chat concerning "Operation Mariner" conducted in the fall, 1953. I was a member of the flight deck crew of the USS Bennington, CVA-20, during that operation. At that time it was described as the largest peacetime exercise ever. From those days in the gloomy North Atlantic came the story "Mariner Miracle," in which a near-catastrophe involving many planes was averted. (They had been informed that they would ditch at sea and that U. S. submarine Redfin would pick up all who could make it aboard... So close, but it didn't happen!) This and other events made our duty aboard Big Benn unforgettable, of course -- enough, for me, that I recorded those episodes in a book "Back to the Bennington" :

Some of those involved in the chat had mentioned Operation Mariner, so thought that I would comment.

My respects to all.

Richard A. Clark, Paradise, California, USS Bennington, CVA-20, V-2 Div., 1953-54