Author Topic: Falklands Fight Model For US ?  (Read 2042 times)

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Online tomahawk6

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Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« on: December 07, 2019, 19:48:15 »
Interesting article at USNI.

Fighting Along a Knife Edge in the Falklands

To prepare for a fight over the western Pacific’s contested islands, there is no better resource than the 1982 Falklands War.
By Lieutenant Commander Jeff Vandenengel, U.S. Navy

https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2019/december/fighting-along-knife-edge-falklands

Offline Haligonian

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2019, 23:32:56 »

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2019, 02:08:48 »
This is insanity...

The Falklands War was a near disaster. For Britain. There is no way that anyone should 'plan' to do that again. Ever. When the whole campaign rest upon the success of a handful of frozen, exhausted, under supported rifle companies, you know that there's something wrong.

The US tried it in Grenada the year after the Falklands and, despite the war zone being literally in their back yard, almost pooched the whole thing.

Fighting a war across, and in, oceans is, first and foremost, a Navy thing. Throughout, it's a logistics thing. Along the way, there's some Combat stuff by the ground pounders. The 'Grunt Stuff' tends to be more front and centre following these campaigns because it makes for stirring tales of bravery, and good war movie fodder. Unfortunately, it skews the reality of the situation.

If you want a good example of how to fight successfully in the Pacific, or any Ocean, the US experience in WW2 is likely the best example of good preparation and logistics, good leadership, and a bit of luck combining to win the day. But still at a staggering cost.

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2019, 10:16:05 »
This is insanity...

The Falklands War was a near disaster. For Britain. There is no way that anyone should 'plan' to do that again. Ever. When the whole campaign rest upon the success of a handful of frozen, exhausted, under supported rifle companies, you know that there's something wrong.

The US tried it in Grenada the year after the Falklands and, despite the war zone being literally in their back yard, almost pooched the whole thing.

Fighting a war across, and in, oceans is, first and foremost, a Navy thing. Throughout, it's a logistics thing. Along the way, there's some Combat stuff by the ground pounders. The 'Grunt Stuff' tends to be more front and centre following these campaigns because it makes for stirring tales of bravery, and good war movie fodder. Unfortunately, it skews the reality of the situation.

If you want a good example of how to fight successfully in the Pacific, or any Ocean, the US experience in WW2 is likely the best example of good preparation and logistics, good leadership, and a bit of luck combining to win the day. But still at a staggering cost.

I think if you read the article you will find it in no way makes light of the challenges faced by UK Military forces during the Falklands War. I think it also excellently points out the logistical challenges. 
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Online tomahawk6

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2019, 10:30:14 »
I participated in Grenada, Panama and then Desert Storm. None of those ops were even close to being a failure. Somalia ? That was a matter of strategy and tactics. Logistics was a success.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2019, 19:36:32 »
I think if you read the article you will find it in no way makes light of the challenges faced by UK Military forces during the Falklands War. I think it also excellently points out the logistical challenges.

Yes, understood, and I'm no high level combined ops guru, but I just find it amazing that the US military would look to a threadbare adventure like OP CORPORATE as a good example to emulate. Ian Gardiner ( OC of Yankee Coy, 45 Cdo RM during the war) wrote a book a few years ago on what a 'near run thing' it really was:

Falklands War was ‘nearly a disaster’

He says that the reputations of the army chiefs “were salvaged from a mess of Crimean proportions” only by the ranks below them. He adds that mistakes in the campaign to retake the Falkland Islands, which were invaded by Argentine troops 30 years ago tomorrow, could have resulted in the deaths of hundreds.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk-news/falklands-war-was-nearly-a-disaster-1-2209128
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2019, 19:46:08 »
I participated in Grenada, Panama and then Desert Storm. None of those ops were even close to being a failure. Somalia ? That was a matter of strategy and tactics. Logistics was a success.

No offence, of course, but I attended an excellent presentation, given by a US officer in the 1980s, that walked us through some of the problems from the Grenada invasion. It just underscores how really, really tricky these kinds of operations are if we don't plan thoroughly and exercise regularly. And even then ....

Grenada Invasion Plagued by Mistakes, 2 Reports Say

By DOYLE McMANUS 
March 13, 1985 |12 AM

WASHINGTON —  The U.S. invasion of Grenada in October, 1983, once trumpeted by the Reagan Administration as a triumph of military planning, was actually plagued with foul-ups that required commanders on the ground to improvise in order to avert disaster, two Pentagon reports disclose.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-03-13-mn-22111-story.html


OPERATION URGENT FURY
The Planning and Execution of Joint Operations in Grenada
12 October - 2 November 1983

During an appearance on “Meet the Press” on 6 November l983, General Vessey
candidly summarized URGENT FURY in these words:

“We planned the operation in a very short
period of time--in about 48 hours. We planned it
with insufficient intelligence for the type of
operation we wanted to conduct. As a result we
probably used more force than we needed to do the
job, but the operation went reasonably well.
...Things did go wrong, but generally the operation
was a success. The troops did very well...”151

To improve the planning and execution of future joint contingency
operations, the Joint Staff studied the operation to learn how a “very
short period of time” for planning and “insufficient intelligence”
caused some “things [to] go wrong.”

https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/History/Monographs/Urgent_Fury.pdf

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2019, 21:20:58 »
No offence, of course, but I attended an excellent presentation, given by a US officer in the 1980s, that walked us through some of the problems from the Grenada invasion. It just underscores how really, really tricky these kinds of operations are if we don't plan thoroughly and exercise regularly. And even then ....

Grenada Invasion Plagued by Mistakes, 2 Reports Say

By DOYLE McMANUS 
March 13, 1985 |12 AM

WASHINGTON —  The U.S. invasion of Grenada in October, 1983, once trumpeted by the Reagan Administration as a triumph of military planning, was actually plagued with foul-ups that required commanders on the ground to improvise in order to avert disaster, two Pentagon reports disclose.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-03-13-mn-22111-story.html


OPERATION URGENT FURY
The Planning and Execution of Joint Operations in Grenada
12 October - 2 November 1983

During an appearance on “Meet the Press” on 6 November l983, General Vessey
candidly summarized URGENT FURY in these words:

“We planned the operation in a very short
period of time--in about 48 hours. We planned it
with insufficient intelligence for the type of
operation we wanted to conduct. As a result we
probably used more force than we needed to do the
job, but the operation went reasonably well.
...Things did go wrong, but generally the operation
was a success. The troops did very well...”151

To improve the planning and execution of future joint contingency
operations, the Joint Staff studied the operation to learn how a “very
short period of time” for planning and “insufficient intelligence”
caused some “things [to] go wrong.”

https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/History/Monographs/Urgent_Fury.pdf

That also was my impression from the briefings I received as a Canadian liaison officer in the United States after the event. And that is not to detract from the performance of the troops on the ground, as opposed to the planning of the ground tactical plan.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2019, 22:06:12 »
Of course the Falkland war was a narrowly won affair.

After the invasion, but before the British response, the Americans war gamed all sorts of scenarios and came up with the Argies wining in every one of them.

And the losses that the R.N. suffered to put the Army ashore were at levels that, at the time, the Americans would find intolerable (and  I don't mean if suffered proportionally, but if suffered in actual equal numbers). But few judged the important fact that the whole nation was behind them: U.K. national territory had been invaded, the price of retaking was irrelevant .

So yes, it was dicy, but the will to win of every seaman and soldier meant that each one would use it's utmost talent and knowledge in the fight. That meant that improvisation and local adaptation at the lowest level carried the day, because the individuals in the fight were more emotionally involved on the U.K. side and were better trained and knowledgeable - as individual soldiers - than the Argies.

I won a bottle of claret from my dad (ex-Canadian artillery - sorry FJAG ;) ) who thought that the Brits could never do it that far from home. I bet him that the R.N. would make damn sure enough soldiers made it there to win regardless of the cost. And in the best of British tradition, the Navy became the Queen's navy again: that is ALL of her ships, be they warships or merchant ships, as needed for the task at hand.

Online CBH99

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2019, 23:26:34 »
Something I haven't seen discussed yet is the fact that in the Pacific theatre, against the Chinese threat in the South China Sea, there doesn't really need to be a land component.  (Unless we are talking about a full scale invasion of Taiwan.)

In regards to the artificial islands created by the Chinese, we simply need to take them out of the fight.  Not invade them, or hold ground.  In this sense, it's a very different scenario than that of the Falklands.


Are there lessons to be learned in terms of logistics, air cover, ship employment, etc etc?  Surely there is.

But let's not forget that the key aim of the Falklands was to retake the islands.  The key aim of any action in the SCS is to simply take out the island's ability to see/fight, and that's it. 


Runways, radar sites, and/or missile sites.  That's it.   All of which can be taken out with cruise missiles & bombs.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2019, 23:51:34 »
Something I haven't seen discussed yet is the fact that in the Pacific theatre, against the Chinese threat in the South China Sea, there doesn't really need to be a land component.  (Unless we are talking about a full scale invasion of Taiwan.)

In regards to the artificial islands created by the Chinese, we simply need to take them out of the fight.  Not invade them, or hold ground.  In this sense, it's a very different scenario than that of the Falklands.


Are there lessons to be learned in terms of logistics, air cover, ship employment, etc etc?  Surely there is.

But let's not forget that the key aim of the Falklands was to retake the islands.  The key aim of any action in the SCS is to simply take out the island's ability to see/fight, and that's it. 


Runways, radar sites, and/or missile sites.  That's it.   All of which can be taken out with cruise missiles & bombs.

The issue of the China-US manoeuvring in the South China Sea is a fascinating strategic challenge:

U.S.-China Strategic Competition in South
and East China Seas: Background and Issues
for Congress

In an international security environment described as one of renewed great power competition, the South China Sea (SCS) has emerged as an arena of U.S.-China strategic competition. U.S.-China strategic competition in the SCS forms an element of the Trump Administration’s more confrontational overall approach toward China, and of the Administration’s efforts for promoting its construct for the Indo-Pacific region, called the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).

Potential specific U.S. goals for U.S.-China strategic competition in the SCS and ECS include but are not necessarily limited to the following: dissuading China from carrying out additional base-construction activities in the SCS, moving additional military personnel, equipment, and supplies to bases at sites that it occupies in the SCS, initiating island-building or base-construction activities at Scarborough Shoal in the SCS, declaring straight baselines around land features it claims in the SCS, or declaring an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the SCS; and encouraging China to reduce or end operations by its maritime forces at the Senkaku Islands in the ECS, halt actions intended to put pressure against Philippine-occupied sites in the Spratly Islands, provide greater access by Philippine fisherman to waters surrounding Scarborough Shoal or in the Spratly Islands, adopt the U.S./Western definition regarding freedom of the seas, and accept and abide by the July 2016 tribunal award in the SCS arbitration case involving the Philippines and China.

The Trump Administration has taken various actions for competing strategically with China in the SCS and ECS. The issue for Congress is whether the Trump Administration’s strategy for competing strategically with China in the SCS and ECS is appropriate and correctly resourced, and whether Congress should approve, reject, or modify the strategy, the level of resources for implementing it, or both.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42784.pdf
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Colin P

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Re: Falklands Fight Model For US ?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2019, 14:17:05 »
Supporting and empowering the Philippines to contest the islands they lay claim to on multiple levels is also important. I know that's hard with the current government of the Philippines, but they can certainly help the US and the US can certainly help them.