Sunday, March 13, 2016

Myth Of The Unopposed Landing

We have a treat today in the form of a guest post from a long time reader with a career's worth of experience.  Please check out his bio at the end of the post.
_______________________



The Myth of the Unopposed Amphibious Landing
Implications of Anti-access/Area-denial Weapons
G. Bustamante


In 1943 Major General Alexander A. Vandergrift, United States Marine Corps stated: “… that landings should not be attempted in the face of organized resistance if, by any combination of march or maneuver, it is possible to land unopposed within striking distance of the objective.”

- Joint Publication 3-18 Joint Forcible Entry Operations

Current military thinking and doctrine assumes that opposed forcible entry operations (amphibious landings and vertical envelopment) can be avoided; yet the laudable intent to minimize casualties flies in the face of historical record, and the inability to conduct forcible entry operations not only simplifies enemy’s planning, it may lead to a protracted campaign with even greater friendly force casualties. Historians will confirm that with the exception of the landings at Inchon, commanders have done precisely as General Vandergrift suggested: major amphibious operations since Gallipoli were directed against the weakest sections of enemy defenses, although even “weak sectors” could prove to be very challenging. Note that allied losses in the WWII landings at the five Normandy invasion beaches were insignificant compared to the casualties incurred in subsequent combat operations (1).

Perfection of Anti-access/Area-denial technologies (submarines, mines, long range strike aircraft, ballistic and anti-ship cruise missiles) are the principal threat to forcible entry operations; but what is seldom appreciated is that these defenses can be applied not only to the enemy’s territory, but projected across border to the harbors and airports in neighboring nations, calling into question the idea that these defenses can be bypassed.

Consider a friendly defensive scenario from the point of view of India. Using its Agni I ballistic missiles (2), India can strike potential invaders not only along its coastline, but also any forces attempting to use airfields or harbors in neighboring Pakistan or Bangladesh. India also has the ability to deliver sea or land mines by aircraft or rocket, as well as a submarine force. Any potential invader must consider the implications of Anti-access/Area-denial, as demonstrated in the following graphic.


Map of India: Defensive Implications of the Medium Range Agni I Missile



Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA): http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=IND, annotations by author


This should serve as a reminder that a competent enemy will not oblige us by fighting according to our theorems, timetables, and wishes, but will seek to prevent us to build up substantial forces ashore. It is naïve to assume that there will always be a neighboring friendly ally willing to allow the use of their ports, and airports. Even if sympathetic, an ally may be unwilling to risk the political, economic, and military consequences of allowing the use of its harbors and airspace. The “so what” implication of this is that mines, long range strike aircraft, ballistic and anti-ship cruise missiles and supporting ISR networks will have to be destroyed, neutralized, or suppressed prior to the introduction, or reinforcement of forces into theater.

____________________

(1) The Normandy landings cost the allies an estimated 10,000 casualties; the Normandy campaign, 5 June 1944 through 1 September 1944, cost the allies approximately 225,000 casualties. German casualty estimates range from 400,000 to 530,000 men, most lost in the breakout and encirclement of the German Army Group B in the Falaise Pocket leading the collapse of German defenses in France.

(2) The Agni-I is capable of delivering a conventional payload of one (1) metric ton to a distance of approximately 600 nautical miles. India has further developed its ballistic missile forces.

_______________________

"Mr. Bustamante is a retired naval officer who served the majority of his career as a Naval Special Warfare Officer and also is held Surface Warfare Officer and Foreign Area Officer designators.  He is a graduate of the  U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in Systems Engineering.  He also holds a Master of Science degree in Defense Analysis (Operations Research) from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and numerous service schools. After retiring from the Navy, Mr. Bustamante worked for the legislative branch, as a civil servant with the United States Depart of State, and in the private sector as an analyst in information technology project management."

45 comments:

  1. True to a point, but there is (local) opposition and there is (remote) opposition.

    50 men with a few hours to spread out and dig in, with a friendly armoury clerk, would make Bloody Omaha look like a best case scenario.

    50 men with a ready supply of heavy machine guns, anti tank missiles, the odd artillery piece, would devastate any sort of landing, unless you just MOABed he beach before hand.

    Either the beach isnt localy defended, underwater knife fighters clear it before hand, or its cleared with firepower.

    Remote defence is much less deadly.
    Submarines, if they are in the area, they would be a nightmare, but submarines arent mobile or persistent, they can move a little bit to get in to position, but they arent moving 500 miles in a day, they might manage 50, anything more is too noisey.
    Mines are persistent, but they arent mobile, and they are hostile to all comers. Sure, you can mine huge swarthes of your own coast line to deny it to the enemy, but then you also deny it to yourself.
    If you mine your own coast you put yourself under blockade, half a billion people in the developing world work in fishing and related industries. You can do it, and you can hamper an invasion, but theres a fair chance that it'll turn in to food aid long before the minefields are breached.

    Long ranged strike aircraft are rare, anti ship ballistic missiles and long ranged missiles are rarer still, a large part of the opening stages or a war would see the invader trying to get those to reveal themselves and be expended or destroyed.

    Russian Backfire Bombers wanted their own pathfinder aircraft to visually identify a US Carrier before they struck, because the risk of decoy and ambush was so high.

    Its a complete disaster if China launches an all arms maximum effort decapitation strike against a USMC landing, only for it be unmanned decoy ships (or Chinese fishing vessels) and the 20 C130s dropping paratroops turn out to be 60 F18s with orders to fire off their missiles and run for home, with 30 more incoming to ambush any pursuers.

    Of course the feint and ambush could be itself ignored and or ambushed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. A Cross border raid is a possibility, but, I'm trying to think of an example and coming up blank.
      I quite often point out that had Sadam been the warmongering loon some try to paint him as, the US would have been forced in to a peace quite early, at one point there a few thousand US soldiers with 20 rounds each manning the border, he could easily have captured them and held them as a blue chip during the peace process.
      I think Argentina still denies British intelligence assets were flying from Chile during the Falklands War.

      You could destroy a neighbours ports, but you give up any hope of them remaining none belligerent.
      Its a risk, its why I spend so much time banging on about having organic landing capacity, but its a road rarely traveled as far as I can tell.
      And its another rationing issue, these are very scare resources,



      Normandy wasnt very bloody in total, as you point out, but per acre taken, per soldier landed, ect ect ect, it was an utter blood bath.

      The breakout phase saw more dead, but much more men involved over a much wider area.
      There were bloodier battles, I have vague memories that the most heavily decorated unit in American history was a Japanese Battalion during the bulge.
      But overlord was pretty bad, and was probably the first bad fight of the war.
      North Africa and the Med generally saw one side or the other retreat fairly quickly, even Italy was more about slowing retreat than holding at all costs.



      Ok, I'll shut up after this.
      One of the reasons Normandy wasnt a failure, was Germany failed to use its "remote defences" in this case its reserves, to overrun the beaches. Fearing (irrationally(?)) these were just a feint in force.

      Delete
    2. He lost me with this confusing history:

      Historians will confirm that with the exception of the landings at Inchon, commanders have done precisely as General Vandergrift suggested: major amphibious operations since Gallipoli were directed against the weakest sections of enemy defenses, although even “weak sectors” could prove to be very challenging."

      _________________

      The landing at Inchon was a classic example of landing where the enemy was weakest. Leyte was another. There are good examples of landing where the enemy was strong, and two were unnecessary and became disasters --Iwo Jima and Peleliu.

      Delete
    3. "The landing at Inchon was a classic example of landing where the enemy was weakest... "

      =========================================

      This is factually incorrect.

      The Navy, Marine Corps, and the Joint Staff opposed Inchon, even the Chief of Staff of the Army favored an alternative landing at Kunsan. Doctrinally the U.S. Army was arguing for landing behind the NKPA artillery positions in the Pusan Perimeter in order to smash their supply lines. MacArthur's choice to land at Inchon was based 100% on ego and not based upon a serious understanding of the NKPA dispositions, or the operational requirements for rapid link up and follow on operations with General Walker’s forces - it easily could have gone badly.

      John Toland outlines the arguments nicely in his book “In Mortal Combat” pages 176-177: “Collins disliked the way GHQ had misrepresented the key issue. No one opposed an amphibious operation. Militarily it was a logical action to take. Furthermore, U.S. naval and air superiority were such that a successful landing could be made anywhere on the Korean coast. Only the landing site was in question. That fact was being obscured… Macarthur had built his case in such a way that opposing Inchon was tantamount to opposing any amphibious operation. Thus, to the uninitiated, this routine action would be seen as a stroke of genius…”

      GAB

      Delete
    4. Mines are persistent, but they arent mobile, and they are hostile to all comers. Sure, you can mine huge swarthes of your own coast line to deny it to the enemy, but then you also deny it to yourself.
      ===========================
      This is factually incorrect.

      Mine technology long ago enabled the ability to self-deploy, to re-deploy (e.g. to reconfigure ta minefield), to select not only given ship type, but even a specific hull number, and many, many other sophisticated tactics.

      It is entirely feasible for a country like Sweden to mine its waters against say Russian warships today, and benefit from the protection for decades. The mines could be laid in a standby mode, and activated on command to target only Russian warships.

      GAB

      Delete
    5. "This is factually incorrect.

      Mine technology long ago enabled the ability to self-deploy, to re-deploy (e.g. to reconfigure ta minefield), to select not only given ship type, but even a specific hull number, and many, many other sophisticated tactics."

      Yeah because batteries last forever and potential invaders wont bother to map your propositioned mine fields as you lay them.

      Delete
    6. "Yeah because batteries last forever and potential invaders wont bother to map your propositioned mine fields as you lay them."
      ===================================
      My assertion stands.

      Simple, extremely low power consumption circuits that wait for an activation code to power on a system were possible using 1980s CMOS technology - this is a non issue that most second year electrical engineers can solve. A great deal of capability has always been achievable for little cost.

      At the low end of the spectrum, Russian PMN mines with plastic cases and O-rings are indeed capable of being buried in shallow water and remaining viable indefinitely.

      The "mapping" issue is a non-issue: mine hunting is an intensive effort that a defender is likely to discover. This has significant ramifications in peacetime if conducted in a defending nation's territorial waters! Given the microscopic size of most national mine warfare forces it is also impractical.

      GAB

      Delete
    7. "Yeah because batteries last forever and potential invaders wont bother to map your propositioned mine fields as you lay them."

      Even if the enemy knows exactly where the mines are, it does little good. An enemy would still have to remove them and that's almost beyond any country's capability in a wartime, opposed scenario. No country has "under fire" MCM capability that I'm aware of.

      In fact, advertising the presence of a minefield could, arguably, be a deterrent akin to the idea of letting an enemy know you have nuclear capability. If they don't know, it's not a deterrent.

      Delete
  2. There is also the matter that D-Day, arguably the most successful amphibious landing operation in history came pretty close to failure.

    First, there was the matter of good fortune. They attacked on Rommel's wife's birthday purely by coincidence. Rundstedt did not counterattack and that likely was critical.

    Second is that the environment matters. The Allies superior meteorological forecasts allowed them to achieve surprise. I doubt that this will happen against a modern opponent though, at least not against a near peer type of enemy anyways.

    Third, the area of attack was unexpected for the German defenders. I think that this will be critical too in any amphibious landing and will be much harder to do in the future. Surveillance has gotten much better since WWII. Nonetheless, achieving surprise is critical in this regard.

    Fourth, another under-acknowledged part is that there was the use of heavy naval gunfire. Whether or not something like a Zumwalt can do that today versus what WWII era battleships accomplished (and far more aggressive use of smaller gun destroyers and cruisers) is open to debate. Destroyers arguably prevented much heavier casualties at Omaha beach.

    Fifth is that far more specialized equipment was used that arguably is not present today. We don't really have a modern equal to anything like Percy Hobart's "Funnies" that were designed specifically for the landing. The other part I should emphasize is the importance of combat engineering. Clearing mines and other traps is especially critical.

    Sixth, there is the fact that the aerial bombardment was not as effective as initially imagined. While modern day PGMs and guided missiles might do better, I would imagine too that it would be hard to bombard a modern enemy that was dug in very well from the air.

    Also related to the air, there was a lot of paratrooper "misdrops" that were in the incorrect locations.


    The problem is that advancing technology these days seems to give the defense the advantage. The question is, can these be overcome (assuming a competent enemy) and if not, then what is the opportunity cost?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also....

      How much of the German Army was tied up on the eastern front? IIRC they had like 25 divisions there.

      In an opposed landing today we can't count on a massive percentage of our enemies strength being drawn off.

      Delete
    2. Agree, most Westerners completely forget that little detail of the vast majority of Wehrmacht was fighting on the Eastern front....

      Delete
    3. Even if you took every USN Transport ship, activated the entire US mercantile Reserve fleet, and chartered any comercial ship suitable and willing, how many soldiers and how much equipment and supplies could actually be landed should the USN manage to fight its way through the A2/AD and create a bridgehead to get to the beaches.

      And I am talking realistically here, not weeks of build-up anywhere in range of India's strike-range. What would the initial wave look like, and how many additional soldiers, equipment and supplies could be delivered every day after d-day to sustain the force.

      Is this going to be enough to fight the Indian Army, or any other peer-level adversary i.e. china/japan/russia. I suspect the answer is no. Especially considering all such peer-level potential adversaries baring japan have adopted tank heavy force structures in a ratio of around 1:1 MBT:IFV, backed up by substantial rocket artillery and self-propelled guns.

      Delete
    4. "In an opposed landing today we can't count on a massive percentage of our enemies strength being drawn off."

      Cant you?
      The UK managed variously to bribe / blackmail / threaten / cajole Chile in to allowing the UK to station military intelligence in Chile, radar tracking Argentine Air as it took off and ISTAR jets hugging the border.
      Not to mention a series of Chilean military deployments that threatened an invasion of disputed areas.
      Chile had a vested interest in Argentina getting its teeth kicked in, and the UK paid them handily for helping out.

      Imagine the US diplomat to Pakistan offers a trillion dollars in aid if Pakistan launches an all out invasion of Chinas western Muslim provinces, with a similar offer for an Indian "liberation" of Tibet.

      Can China keep US CBGs from striking the mainland AND fight a two front war 2000 miles away?




      "Is this going to be enough to fight the Indian Army, or any other peer-level adversary i.e. china/japan/russia. I suspect the answer is no."
      So, build more logistical landing capacity.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. I'm quite aware about how Westerners overvalue their accomplishments in WWII actually. It is not politically correct I find to bring it up, as there are many who solely remember the Cold War.

      Yes, there is the Eastern Front, which I agree was where the real battle was fought. In 1944,the Red Army unleashed Operation Bagration which destroyed the German Army Group Centre.

      But that demands another scary question, could D-Day Day have happened without the bulk of the Wehrmacht tied up in the Ostfront?

      Probably not. The other is the sheer industrial superiority the Allies had over the Germans. What if it is much closer to parity?

      Delete
    7. If you're going to play "what if" about Germany and the Eastern Front, then be fair and play the same game with the Allies. What if the Allies weren't engaged in a war in the Pacific and could have brought all those resources to bear on Germany alone?

      Delete
    8. Without lend lease supplying Russia, North Africa absorbing Italy and a significant German Force, USAAF/RAF Bomber Commands flattening much of Germany, and France being occupied by a million German Soldiers Russias capability to hold Moscow and Stalingrad would have been nil

      Delete
    9. No doubt the Lend Lease played a big role in the Soviet logistics.

      @CNO
      If that were the case, the war would have ended a couple of months earlier. It's possible that a greater part of Germany would have been under Allied control.

      On the other hand, the Soviet Union could have also directed more firepower at the Germans too - hmm, hard to say really.

      Also, remember that the US had a "Europe first" policy during WWII.

      Delete
    10. "Also, remember that the US had a "Europe first" policy during WWII."
      In name only, the pacific theatre received more resources every year except one.

      Delete
    11. The other consideration is that without Japan attacking the US at Pearl Harbor, the US might not have even entered the war against Germany.

      Delete
  3. I feel as thou the advocating of unopposed landings is a smoke sheild in regards to the U.S. navy not having the capability to conduct an opposed landing against a near-peer or peer level threat without high casualties. Just my personnel feelings on the matter in view of the current ship numbers and their roles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. I just flat out don't believe we have the ability to do it right now, high casualties or no.

      What peer/near peer with a decent supply of long range anti ship missiles, home court advantage, and submarines is going to not take out our 'phibs?

      We've seen many times that subs in exercises have penetrated the screens of our CVN's. Its likely easier to do for a 'phib group, and just as juicy of a target if you're looking to stop an invasion.

      I think that the Navy is currently living a lie with its capabilities. And I think it doesn't care too much because it keeps money rolling in.

      But maybe I've gotten too cynical.

      Delete
  4. Unrelated topic, I guess I was wrong, I always assumed that there was a warranty or some kind of guarantee on military systems, even if it was for a year....

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/03/13/should-navy-warships-come-with-a-warranty.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope this gets posted as a topic. I've always understood that acceptance trials and acceptance flights for aircraft were to ensure they are in good working order. Problems are noted and the maker corrects them. The government does not accept/pay until accepted. I remember this became an issue with the V-22, with the Marines "accepting" aircraft with issues.

      Has our Navy become so corrupt that Admirals changed that common sense rule to please future employers? This should be a national scandal!

      That article was poorly written, saying "warranties". A warranty is for problems that develop AFTER purchase. If they are ID'd at purchase, that is a flawed item that should be returned for repair.

      Delete
  5. If opposed amphibious landings have a low probability of success as the author states, then its imperative to ask what is the function of the Gator Navy in the 21st Century.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jay,

      I said nothing of the prospects of success.

      My point is: the military has doctrinally and materially abandoned the concept of maritime forcible entry operations and fixated on the idea that ground forces can avoid A2/AD defenses by introducing forces through friendly adjoining nations. This may work against weak opponents, but is questionable against a competent major power.

      The problem is that the A2/AD systems do not simply extend out to sea, but also laterally. The proliferation of A2/AD systems like ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 1,000 nm make utter rubbish of the idea that such defenses can be avoided – people advocating this are essentially committing ground forces to operating (and securing) at the end of 1,000+ nm supply line! Consider that the distance from Kuwait to Baghdad is ~350 miles and Berlin to Moscow is ~1,000 miles.

      This in turn raises endless debates about casualties, but unless the target is a tiny island like Tarawa, the likelihood is the broader military campaign is likely to generate more casualties than the landings themselves. And casualties will be horrendous – the entirety of the British Army essentially disappeared in the first months of WWI, and as exceptional as the fall of France was for the Germans, it still cost them ~60,000 KIA. Real war is catastrophic, even a non-nuclear one.

      What irks me is that rather than acknowledge the deficiencies in materiel and doctrine followed by solutions (even unfunded concepts), the military has chosen to live in a fantasy universe where there are no logistical constraints, every weapon functions perfectly, and the taxpayer will endlessly absorb the costs. This is not the world we live in.

      GAB

      Delete
    2. I think we are saying the same thing GAB. My contention is that a peer opponent with robust A2/AD systems reduces the options of forced entry. One is either left to deploying a sapper unit via submarine to open up a very small window of opportunity, or using enough missile that the defenses are damaged or declared for a more tactical strike. As you stated in your last paragraph, the USN is apparently content with the fiction that the current force composition is actually capable of forced entry despite all evidence to the contrary.

      Delete
  6. The strategic situation for such an 'opposed landing' in regards to a comprehensive A2/AD network is even worse than depicted in that picture when you consider the sorts of Aviation and Naval assets the indians have to deliver anti-ship missiles. And their Ballistic missile forces, which could be used to target CTFs.

    The idea that USN CVs can just waltz in unopposed should be questioned given the effectiveness of modern submarines, and the repeated failure of the USN to intercept such submarines before they get into throwing distance. The effectiveness of Air-Defense systems should also be questioned given the reluctance to conduct proper (realistic) testing.


    Its simple maths, there is a huge cost differential between carrier based aviation and land based aviation. The inflated costs of USN Vessals doesn't help, but regardless the maths favours a numerical advantage in the defenders favour. Additionally the defender has access to large, long-range, AEW/MPCs and tankers, ballistic missiles. The defender can also get away with cheaper, smaller, shorter-ranged ships on the defensive, operating in the littoral/brown zones, as coastal missile batteries and AEW facilities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it should be added that the tactical situation somewhat favours the defender as it is highly unlikely for instance that a single (conventional_ missile hitting the defenders airport is going to shut-down all operations, at the very least it is not going to result in the loss of all the air planes at that base.

      The naval based air base is another story, a single missile is very likely to destroy the ship, kill everyone on board, and destroy all the air-planes located at that base. We have already covered cost, but it should be noted that the sort of costs involved in deploying an advanced air-defence system like the S-400 for instance on the land are also far less than at sea.

      So if you look at that cost differential, a smart defender could afford to (for much less than the carrier) have several redundant or partially manned bases, improvised landing strips and like, and rotate forces around these bases to increase survivability, and continue operations should one or more facilities be destroyed, whereas this is not possible with the sea-based adversary.

      _______

      So given everything I covered what is actually militarially feasible and politically/strategically useful given current fiscal and cost constraints in regards to the USN.

      And I ask this, because I suspect the current fantasy of unsinkable, unstoppable Carrier Fleets and a romantasized yet heavily outnumbered and outarmed USMC is not the answer.

      Delete
    2. And it should be added that the tactical situation somewhat favours the defender as it is highly unlikely for instance that a single (conventional_ missile hitting the defenders airport is going to shut-down all operations, at the very least it is not going to result in the loss of all the air planes at that base…
      ==================================

      This is a dubious assumption:

      1) The ugly fact that no air force admits to is that most aircraft casualties are destroyed on the ground.

      2) Airfields are far more vulnerable than any ship due to the simple reality that they are *fixed, known locations* - even if satellites are destroyed or disrupted on day one of a war, the airfield and the location of supporting POL, mainetenance, as well as rail and highway connections are geologically known.

      3) Most relevant short and intermediate range ballistic missiles are hypersonic; that speed gives them enormous kinetic energy capabilities to destroy buried and hardened facilities, or optionally to release sub-munitions that litter huge areas with explosives, mines, or even simple kinetic destructors like tungsten pellets. This speaks to nothing of the real targets; the ground and aircrews.

      4) Airfields are also uniquely vulnerable to sabotage – not so much a factor for North Korea and its security apparatus, but a huge issue for democratic nations with open/pourous borders at the onset of hostilies.

      5) The situation gets much worse for land based airpower if CBRN weapons are employed

      None of this is to imply the typical “my side is right, yours stinks” blog argument – I simply point out that warfare is a complicated business and competent opponents will all of their considerable resources to the table. To get a real flavor for this, add a SSG/SSGN (or two) with conventionally tipped ballistic missiles to the naval force allow for cyber attacks, and satellite shoot-downs and then replay the scenario.

      GAB

      Delete
    3. And it should be added that the tactical situation somewhat favours the defender as it is highly unlikely for instance that a single (conventional_ missile hitting the defenders airport is going to shut-down all operations, at the very least it is not going to result in the loss of all the air planes at that base…
      ==================================

      This is a dubious assumption:

      1) The ugly fact that no air force admits to is that most aircraft casualties are destroyed on the ground.

      2) Airfields are far more vulnerable than any ship due to the simple reality that they are *fixed, known locations* - even if satellites are destroyed or disrupted on day one of a war, the airfield and the location of supporting POL, maintenance, as well as rail and highway connections are known.

      3) Most relevant short and intermediate range ballistic missiles are hypersonic; that speed gives them enormous kinetic energy capabilities to destroy buried and hardened facilities, or optionally to release sub-munitions that litter huge areas with explosives, mines, or even simple kinetic destructors like tungsten pellets. This speaks to nothing of the real targets; the ground and aircrews.

      4) Airfields are also uniquely vulnerable to sabotage – not so much a factor for North Korea and its security apparatus, but a huge issue for democratic nations with open/porous borders at the onset of hostiles.

      5) The situation gets much worse for land based airpower if CBRN weapons are employed

      None of this is to imply the typical “my side is right, yours stinks” blog argument – I simply point out that warfare is a complicated business and competent opponents will all of their considerable resources to the table. To get a real flavor for this, add a SSG/SSGN (or two) with conventionally tipped ballistic missiles to the naval force allow for cyber-attacks, and satellite shoot-downs and then replay the scenario.

      GAB

      Delete
  7. EVERYTIME in History when the Defense was though to be impenetrable, NEW Offensive tactics emerged to prove them wrong. This usually occurs during the war, except for WWI, because people like to survive.

    Machine Guns, Concrete emplacements, mines, submarines, e-boats, airplanes, etc. were thought to be able to stop ANY assault in WWII. Guess what? Folks figured out a way to do it with relatively small casualties (Compare Normandy 1944 to the Somme 1916).

    So instead of saying it is dead impossible or too hard think about how it can be done because it will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who said current defenses are impenetrable?

      Delete
    2. Are we reading the same blog? Everyone is saying how hard it is with no solutions. If all people do is say how hard something is, it become belief and certainty that is impossible to do.

      Delete
    3. If you try and land on a beach which has defenders with an ample supply of ATGMs, any forced landing is going to be a blood bath.

      Making the IDFs attempts to tank rush the Suez crossings look like wild successes.
      The UK nearly called off Op Sutton because of such.

      Delete
    4. "If all people do is say how hard something is, it become belief and certainty that is impossible to do."

      Conversely, if we simply hand wave our problems aside all the time, we'll come to believe we can do things we can't and we'll pay in blood to learn differently.

      The Navy/Marines have neglected assaults for a couple of decades and have lost the institutional knowledge of how to conduct them - hence, the Marines assertion that they are "relearning" the art of amphibious assault (their words, not mine; that's their core mission - how do you forget your core mission!!!!). In addition, we stopped developing assault equipment (AAVs, for example), dropped other necessary equipment (LSTs, for example), and allowed the defensive threats to catch up and surpass our offensive assault capabilities.

      What this blog (what blog ARE you reading?) and many of the commenters and post'ers are doing is pointing out the problems. Until the scope and magnitude of the problem is fully understood, it's impossible to begin to work on the solutions. No one is saying assaults are impossible but no one on this blog is blowing rainbows and sunshine out their back side, either. The Marines/Navy have fallen well behind the curve and this is what we're pointing out - so that solutions can be found!

      I invite you to contribute to the discussion. Feel free to propose or describe how the Navy/Marines can conduct successful assaults. This blog is read by active duty personnel. This is your chance to offer some concrete ideas.

      Delete
    5. "If you try and land on a beach which has defenders with an ample supply of ATGMs, any forced landing is going to be a blood bath."

      TrT, you, like Marines and Navy, have forgotten the elements of a successful amphibious assault. One of the main elements is naval gunfire - lots and lots and lots and lots of very, very, very, heavy weight explosives. This serves two purposes:

      One, it provides area bombardment and destruction to destroy troops and equipment that may not be obvious. 16" battleship shells didn't care whether a soldier or gun emplacement was covered by cammo netting or dug into a trench.

      Two, it provides suppressive fire as the troops are landing. Enemy troops being rained on by large caliber shells are unlikely to stand up and calmly take aim at incoming assault craft/vehicles and if they attempt to do so, they'll quickly die in a blizzard of shrapnel and explosions.

      So, your scenario of a handful of enemy troops with RPGs or somesuch is not a viable defense against a proper assault.

      Now, the caveat is that we have no naval gun support. We've forgotten the hard learned lessons of WWII and allowed our gun support to vanish. So, yes, your scenario is actually viable against our current assault capabilities.

      We need to relearn how to conduct successful assaults and reacquire the equipment, weapons, doctrine, and tactics to carry them out.

      Delete
    6. "If you try and land on a beach which has defenders with an ample supply of ATGMs, any forced landing is going to be a blood bath."

      ===========================

      The problem with "common wisdom" and exaggerated statements proclaiming gloom and doom is that they are generally based upon flawed 1:1 arguments and cloud out deeper analysis, not to mention tactics, morale, and logistics. One wonders how military engagements have been won since the dawn of civilization!

      As CNO pointed out, a suitable application of fire from land or sea-based artillery (to include rocket artillery) or airpower is one solution to cracking a defense. Once the Germans adopted Georg Bruchmüller's artillery tactics they had little problem with operational and tactical assaults upon the immensely well-fortified allied positions late during WWI – the strategic situation eluded the Germans of course.

      There is no such thing as "ample supplies" of ATGMs and active protection system technology seems to be working quite well against ATGMs - the Russians seem to have had little trouble dealing with "ample" ATGMs in the Ukraine. And those same Israelis were able to overcome the Egyptian defenses once they return to proven combined arms tactics.

      GAB

      Delete
  8. Just to be clear
    None of what I say is meant to imply that an invasion would be easy, simply that, with sufficient sealift and landing capacity, a sea invasion is no harder, and possibly easier than, a land one.

    Thats still very very hard.
    An Armoured BCT that eats a can of instant sunshine is dead, its dead if it deployed from its permanent base in West Germany, its dead if it deployed from its field base in Saudi or its beaching site in who cares

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. U.S. ground forces have long neglected to maintain/enhance the "other amphibious landing" capability: major river crossings.

      GAB

      Delete
  9. Has anyone forget the lesson from Dieppe Landing ? a glorious victory , for the german

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cant remember where we discussed AIP subs and their limitations so dumping it here.

    Hey Boss, a bit of reading, sorry for the wiki
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Artful_(P456)

    "When submerged, it could operate at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) for 90 nautical miles (170 km; 100 mi) or at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) for 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)."

    None nuclear subs are effectively immobile under water.
    They can move a little bit very slowly, or they can move a tiny distance at a slow pace.

    They are scary, only because much of the world has little to no ASW capacity
    In the opening days of a conflict they would be very very effective, but that would drop off to nothing in weeeks at the most.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sub you cited and its engine technology is from 1944. Modern AIP engines are rated at 5 kts for 14-18 days which is 1700 nm or so. That's not fast but it's certainly not immobile! For the intended role of staking out known areas, chokepoints, and transit routes, that's quite adequate.

      Delete