- Reaction score
Chris Pook said:Still thinking about this - your point is well taken. The great threat to Naval operations is area denial.
One supposition is to accept that the area is denied and then figure out how to replicate the island hopping campaigns of 1943-45, or the North Atlantic campaign, in the 21st century.
The alternate supposition, is to deny the enemy the ability to deny the area. In other words get there first with a light footprint.
reverse_engineer said:I think that's what both the USMC and RM are preparing for. They recognize that their likely adversaries tend to hold the home court advantage. They will have to be ready to dislodge & destroy enemy weapons/sensors in order to position their own, in support of their respective fleets.
If nothing else, it provides a renewed raison d'etre for these organizations as opposed to just continuing to serve as fitter, tougher, & poorer second armies. ;D
Thucydides said:Just a bit sideways to the discussion, but the Marine plans for truck and robot mounted missiles could fill a gap in our own artillery park. What can reach out and touch a far distant ship can also be made bad for the health of a BM-30 Smerch MLRS battery or similar deep targets on land.
daftandbarmy said:The difference is that USMC doctrine, since WW2, has been about the 'direct approach'.
The British? Not so much....
Chris Pook said:Which is why I think the lean is towards denying the opportunity to deny by establishing new choke points - kind of like laying minefields and covering them but without the mines.
ArmyRick said:Anyone else see this transformation of the Royal Marines as pretty radical?
ArmyRick said:Interested in this thread. Going to follow. Anyone else see this transformation of the Royal Marines as pretty radical?
daftandbarmy said:... Maj-Gen Holmes said that the future operational environment will demand more persistent forward deployment resulting in “constant competition”’ from potential adversaries from the Arctic to the Middle East, and rapid response to crises.
“The new littoral strike force will be active, not just ready," he said.
“I need agile, robust commandos able to operate an array of systems to win the fight, if necessary, in a denied (hostile) environment.” ...
Infanteer said:It is radical - I've seen some of the more substantive documentation on this at work. They are moving away from a conventional disposition and will be completely reconfigured in terms of force generation output at the end of it.
Chris Pook said:...As modern weapon systems can hit ships hundreds of miles out from an objective, just getting to the fight is now a problem in itself. ...
A persistent forward presence based on ships seeks to offer global access and “pose greater dilemmas to our adversaries,” General Holmes says.
Two Littoral Response Groups (LRG), each of a few hundred commandos and supporting elements, will deploy on roughly six-month cycles to respond to crises ranging from humanitarian disaster to conventional warfare.
It is envisaged one LRG will be permanently east of Suez, with the Royal Navy facility in Bahrain acting as a staging post.
The second Group will focus on Nato’s northern flank, working closely with Norwegian amphibious forces, and the Mediterranean.
The three Bay-Class Landing Ship Dock Auxiliary ships, crewed by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, will be the likely hosts, initially at least, with additional medical and aviation facilities developed in the near future.
Colonel Mark Totten, Programme Director of the Future Commando Force, said the programme had two main drivers.
The first is the increased conventional threat posed by technically sophisticated weapons, particularly when matched with artificial intelligence.
Advances in defensive systems mean it is now easier to find, identify and engage military forces with much greater lethality and at much greater range. These so-called Anti-Access/Area Denial capabilities (known as A2AD in military jargon) will make it much harder to get into an area of operations, let alone operate in comparative safety once there. As theatre-entry troops, Commando forces need to address this threat.
The second driver for the Future Commando Force is the more aggressive use of difficult to identify military forces, combined with economic and diplomatic activity and disinformation: commonly referred to as sub-threshold (of war), hybrid or ‘grey zone’ activities.
This area between declared warfare and state competition is a sophisticated and complex operating environment. It is important for political decision makers to have a broad range of military options to complement actions by the intelligence agencies and special forces. The Future Commando Force is billed as a possible high-end conventional contribution to this demand.
The Royal Marines hope the Future Commando Force will also break the “get ready to be ready” model of force generation.
Colonel Totten says Commando forces cannot just “wait for something to happen” before deploying. The aim is to get troops forward where they’re needed, working alongside partner nations.
“We can provide more problem sets to an adversary as a crisis builds,” he says.
He eschews the suggestion such a posture would, in itself, be a provocative act.
The forward deployed Littoral Response Groups, numbering in the low hundreds of Royal Marines and supporting elements, would fit into an already existing network of forward defence presence, he says.
“It would not be introducing a totally new dynamic, which could be escalatory.
“It means an adversary has to track something more than it does today. It’s very easy to track a Task Group deploying from Devonport.”
A persistent presence forward provides an additional surveillance problem for any would-be enemy, he says. It would also focus attention in a way talk of preparing forces in the UK might not. ...
FJAG said:Currently (if Wikipedia can be believed) the RM have 7,760 Regulars and 750 Reservists.
daftandbarmy said:The full 3 Cdo Bde probably probably has that many troops, which includes the SBS and combat support units like an Arty Regt, an Engr Regt, a Log Regt, plus a hockey sock full of atts and dets staffed by RM, Army, RN Air Force and RNAS personnel.
The 'Royal Marine Infantry' element in 3 Cdo Bde currently centres on three Commandos (Four Five, Four Two, and Fourty), which are usually manned and organized similar to Army Infantry Battalions: Three Rifle Coys, Combat Support Coy, Admin Coy and HQ Coy. Four Seven is an amphibious raiding group, and Four Three is all RM too and looks after the Nukes at Faslane (they used to be called 'Commachio Group') https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/royal-marines
Also, IIRC that they don't need to wait for new ships as I think they already have the Albion, and some others, they can be 'adrfit' upon to launch the concept.
FJAG said:I'm trying desperately to stay off my usual hobby horse on this but do wonder about the size of the force.
Currently (if Wikipedia can be believed) the RM have 7,760 Regulars and 750 Reservists. Assuming then that the force will work out of two littoral strike ships (and that the current amphibious task force will be replaced by those ships) then the "active" force at any one time is 240 Marines. One certainly doesn't need an establishment of 8,510 folks to force generate 240 deployed continuously albeit there will be a fairly heavy training load to keep up the very specialized skills needed here.
Infanteer said:The number I've seen is over 400, when you count all supporting elements. So, with some basic math (spitballing say, 450 all in) you need 900 deployed, 900 getting ready, and 900 on reset. We're at 2700 now. Plus, the backbone/LOB for all the force generating units - 30 Cdo (Cbt Sp), 40 Cdo, 42 Cdo, 45 Cdo, 43 Cdo Gp (security), 47 Cdo Gp (connectors), 29 Cdo RA (guns), 24 Cdo RE (engineers), and the CLR (loggies) - as well as 3 Cdo Bde HQ and the entire training system and garrison structure the RM has in place, and you likely get to 7,760 bodies pretty fast.
Each will contain a company - or strike force - of 120 commandos and up to six helicopters, possibly three “heavy lift” Chinooks, a Wildcat and two Apache gunships.
FJAG said:Does one really need a specialized arm for that or would a few light infantry battalions proficient in air assault be more versatile?
FJAG said:Not to argue math overly much here but I read the article as saying:
Chris Pook said:FJAG
I think you are missing the point. The issue is not the names or even the skill sets. The issue is that the Press notices the deployment of soldiers. The Press is oblivious to the deployment of Special Forces, the day to day activities of the deployed Navy and Air Force, and Intelligence activities. All of which contribute on a daily basis to the security of the realm.
The deployment of soldiers is noteworthy because they are rarely deployed. They are rarely used. That indicates to the general public that they are not "necessary". They are "discretionary" - like grants to the arts.
And if they were used regularly then they wouldn't be available to use rarely and so would be useless as an insurance policy.
The UK government is looking for ways to meet Little Green Men without making it to the front page of The Times.
The littoral ships are an extension of Cyprus and Diego Garcia. They are sovereign bases.
daftandbarmy said:If you expect them to fight and win, independent from a main force, while surrounded, you'll need specially selected and trained Infantry and support arms.
3 Cdo Bde has a really effective program for that, which they've delivered in more or less the same format since WW2. It's called 'The Commando Course.' Pass rate: about 50%.
The Parachute Regiment/ Airborne Forces has a simjlar program, with roots in WW2 selection processes, designed for the unique needs of Airborne Operations. It's called 'Pre-Parachute Selection', or P Company. Pass rate: about 30%.
Officer and other leaders would need additional selection and preparation.
Having said that, cycling other Infantry/ support units through that course, and other selection and preparation, prior to being 'certified' for deployment on these types of missions might not be a bad idea. As long as you could only take volunteers.
I guarantee though, if you try to put a bog standard line Infantry unit, and other support arms and services, into the breach without such preparation, you'll get what you got in the Falklands War (where the Guards units, and some others, were basically useless ... oops, did I say that out loud? ).
Infanteer said:The article is missing a lot. I'm looking at a source document right now. These are not companies in the conventional sense, and the amount of CS and CSS bolted on is (a) not insignificant and (b) not described in the article.