Brown-water navy

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Brown-water navy is a term that originated in the United States Navy, referring to the small gunboats and patrol boats used in rivers, along with some of the larger ships (including converted WWII LSTs) that supported them as "mother ships," from which they operated. A broader meaning is any naval force that has the capacity to carry out military operations in river or littoral environments.

The term is used in contrast to the terms "green-water navy" and "blue-water navy". At one time, it was common to refer to all non blue-water navies as "brown-water navies". Today blue-water navies are generally defined as being capable of sustained oversea deployment, preferably with aircraft carriers, while green-water navies are defined as those with frigates or better, operating in coastal and regional areas.

Being a brown-water navy does not imply that it lacks offensive capability, as many small littoral-combat ships today are armed with powerful anti-ship missiles.



American Civil War

The term brown-water navy originated in the American Civil War (1861–1865). As a blueprint for the "strangulation" of the Confederate States of America, Winfield Scott's Anaconda plan called for a two-pronged approach by first blocking the South's harbors and then pushing along the Mississippi River, effectively cutting the Confederate territory in two while also robbing the South of its main artery of...
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