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.
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