The Evolution of Fleet Tactical Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1922-1941

In the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. Navy battle line was destroyed. Although a great deal has been published concerning the construction and operational histories of these battleships, relatively little is known about how these ships would have been employed in battle. This article seeks to rectify this shortcoming by examining the Navy's tactical doctrine with specific focus on the employment of the battle line and illustrating the salient principles of the Navy's battle doctrine in the interwar period, as well as Admiral Husband E. Kimmel's plan for a fleet battle in the Central Pacific in the fall of 1941.