Sunday, June 5, 2016

Beach or Port?

ComNavOps has opined that high level amphibious assaults are very unlikely and, therefore, the amphibious fleet could be drastically reduced in size.  However, “very unlikely” does not mean impossible.  ComNavOps is nothing if not open minded (Hey!  I hear those snide chuckles in the back.  You people behave yourself.) and is always eager to consider alternate ideas.  With that in mind, a highly respected source has suggested to ComNavOps that the US military no longer has the capability to sustain a major assault and subsequent invasion force via movement of supplies over an unimproved beach.  The suggested premise is that such a large scale effort would require seizure and utilization of an existing port.  Let’s look at that premise a bit closer.

As we begin, let me state clearly that I don’t have anywhere near a sufficient understanding of the detailed capabilities the Navy could bring to bear on this.  I may be wrong about portions (or all !) of this.  That said …

I don’t think there is much question that we don’t have the resources to move sufficient amounts of fuel from ship to shore over a beach.  We’re talking about a major assault followed by major combat operations – division level efforts or more.  The amount of fuel division level ops consume is staggering.  Moving drums/bladders of fuel at a time just won’t suffice!

Similarly, history assures us that the amount of munitions a combat unit will go through will far exceed any pre-war planning allocations. 

Likewise, the amount food, spare parts, water, and all the other things that a combat unit needs to sustain itself will dwarf our nice, neat pre-war planning.  Factor in inevitable combat losses of supplies as they cross the beach and move inland and it becomes obvious that we just don’t have the number of transport vessels to move the supplies across the beach or the number of transport vehicles to move the supplies from the beach to the inland combat element.  Helos will help to a minor extent but are severely limited in individual capacity and will certainly be employed moving troops and providing direct fire support.

The Navy’s solution to amphibious sustainment support is the seabasing concept.  Unfortunately, this concept is based largely on wishful thinking. 

  • Wishfully thinking that the weather will cooperate since the seabase components are mostly limited to lesser sea states.
  • Wishfully thinking that the enemy will not attack the seabase since we only have or are planning to have two MLPs (and three AFSBs that may or may not be able to function as MLPs), the major component of the seabase concept and a limiting factor in supply throughput.
  • Wishfully thinking that an enemy SSK won’t make the seabase a top priority target.
  • Wishfully thinking that we can move the requisite tonnage of supplies across the seabase.
  • Wishfully thinking that the fixed nature of the seabase won’t make it a very attractive target for ballistic and cruise missiles.

Of course, we have yet to address the delivery of the supplies to the operating units once the supplies make it to the beach.  Again, we do not have the trucks or helos necessary to move the requisite tonnage of supplies  after they make it ashore.

That said, a pretty good argument can be made that the only viable option to conduct and sustain a major amphibious assault is to seize an existing port.

Unfortunately, port seizure brings its own set of problems.

  • How do we repair damaged ports while under fire?  We lack the heavy equipment to do the job while under fire.
  • How do we protect ports from cruise and ballistic missiles?  The Navy wants to stand its Aegis ships 25-50 miles offshore so they won’t be able to do it effectively. 
  • How do we provide rocket, mortar, and artillery defense?  Note: operating C-RAMs (land based Phalanx) in a built up, urban port city will cause massive collateral damage or have so many holes in its coverage as to prove useless, assuming we could even get C-RAMs ashore and set up under fire.
  • How do we move supplies from the port, out of the city given that the few major roads will undoubtedly be mined, mortared, and “snipered”?
  • How do we provide ongoing minesweeping in the harbor given the ease with which mines can be laid?
  • How do we unload cargo ships in the port assuming that the enemy destroys the port’s cranes and other cargo handling equipment?  To the best of my knowledge we lack mobile, heavy duty cranes and heavy lift equipment.

Seizing a port can probably be done but repairing the port and cargo handling equipment while under fire will be a challenge.  Equally challenging will be defending the port from the multitude of missiles, rockets, mortars and artillery that a known, fixed location will invite.  We have neither the equipment nor doctrine to defend a port. 

Given our fixation with minimizing collateral damage, port defense will be very difficult.  Consider the simple case of snipers in adjoining multi-story buildings.  If we’re not willing to inflict significant collateral damage (destroy an entire floor or building to kill one sniper, for example) how will we neutralize snipers?  Room by room through a skyscraper?  We don’t have remotely enough troops to do that.

Consider the related challenge of mortars firing through holes in rooftops or, simply, from narrow, crowded streets.  They would be essentially invisible and invulnerable unless we were willing to apply counterfire and accept destruction of entire buildings and the countless civilian deaths that would result to get a single mortar.

Beach or port?  This is one of those questions that has no easy answer.  Nonetheless, the military needs to pick an option and begin equipping and training for the desired option.  For instance, can anyone even remember the military ever conducting a full scale port seizure exercise?


  1. I think there are three distinct problems, and we (by which I mean the USN) have solutions for none of them.

    The first, is moving goods from the deep magazines in the CONUS (or elsewhere) to ships on the waters off the coast of the amphibious assaultee.

    The second, is moving goods from the ships on the water, to the land, of said coast.

    And finally. moving goods from the land drop off point, to the troops.

    Seizing a port is wildly difficult, so difficult, we spent 18months building Mulberry and friends for Overlord, but it does, if it can be operated, allow for, and this is important, container loads, of goods to be rapidly moved from container ships to container storage facilities.

    It doesnt solve the problem of getting container loads of goods to that port, or breaking down those container loads and distributing them to where they need to be.

  2. Part 1 of 3
    What a fine morning-offering from ComNavOps !

    Let’s start with lower-level amphibious assaults then. Same principles. Same options. Same obstructions by dark myopia eager to grow the next Acquisition-Scandal, with proponents lining up for early public recognition.

    Let’s start with the MEU with some 2200 folks, with some 7 MEUs on the books.

    NAVSEA has had access since 2005 to 20kts 200ton-load 1500nm range ‘Connector’ design(s ) that will fit in six units inside the 440 x 50 foot well-deck of the 8-ship LSD-41 class. 6x 200 tons = 1200tons, whether FIRST WAVE Ground Combat Element (GCE) load or successive Combat Support Element (CSE).

    These 1200-tons of combat cargo are carried pre-loaded aboard the Connectors to allow ‘vehicle-lane’ lengths for SECOND WAVE-plus purposes, incl. 3-axle MTVRs, 8 and 10-axle HEMTTs, i.e. tankers etc.

    That Diesel-powered Connector-type offers least IR signature, with at most 12’ of air-draft least visual- signature, and with cannon and missile self-protection the so far most A2/AD-survivable option to get Marines to the shore – as of 2005 ! Still true by mid-2016.

    The MEU is carried by an USN Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) consisting of
    - 1x LHD 40,000tins flat-top helo/jump-jet carrier with 265-foot short well-deck,
    - 1x LPD-17 25,000-tons big-storage 189-foot short well-deck Amphib,
    - 1x LSD-41 16,000tons 440-foot long well-deck

    For what the projected LSD-41-replacement LX(R) is to cost, you could today build 2x LSD-41 incorporating all the NAVSEA PMS-450 generated SLEP-upgrades plus radar-signature attenuation measures at under $700 million (original 1980s class-average cost was $211 million.- !)

    And that means the option to have a 4-ship- ARG/MEU by adding an LSD-41/21.
    2x LSD-41 offers 12 Connector slots,
    plus 2x on LPD-17 with 3x LCAC/SSC on LHD.
    Which amounts to 17 ship-to-shore transports for up to 17 discrete entry-points under STOM and OMFTS maximizing uncertainty on prioritizing defense-assets by shore-owners.

    This 4-ship-ARG/MEU allows a full FIRST WAVE by all of the MEU’s GCE assets, plus fully-combat-laden AH/UH-helos. A good solid tactical start to plausibly establish that capability for the first time ever.

    Then bring as many of these as necessary, all the way to MEB levels and beyond.
    The more allies share in that thinking and hardware foot-print/form-factor the happier the outcomes coping with larger-scale challenges.

    1. Part 2 of 3
      Now, about that onshore fuel-consumption issue, combat-logistics in general. Once GCE and CSE have been delivered, one or several of the 14 high-speed/heavy-lift per ARG can be reconfigured with tank-farm kits to EACH carry up to 55,000 gals of fuel or 200 tons of it. Feeding onshore GCE and ACE ‘thirst’ thus is a perfectly manageable and thus rigorous element of assault planning and execution. Ditto for ammo, MREs, porno-mags, spare-parts etc. And with 1500nm of range far-offshore arriving RoRos etc. can be serviced to open the ‘endless’ supply-line of prepositioned supplies.

      As to seizing a harbor, it would only take one sniper to light off a tanker-truck on the RoRo-ramp to ruin that ship’s function. #10 Downing Street was mortared out of a half-ton panel-van via a hole in its roof, courtesy of the IRA. Optimism is all nice and well, but which CO would bring ships into a recently hostile and thus booby-trapped port.

      And MLP is a 15 kts device that will not be where you’d want it, even if they came in adequate numbers.
      15kts ?? Versus ARG/MEU >22kts ?! Or CSG’s >30kts…

      Ever moving ARGs are viable ‘sea-bases’, assuming OTH-65 to OTH-200+ distances for the theater.
      MLPs are not. Possibly of some help for HA/DR missions OF they happened to be near enough…

      To repeat the point, as discussed in the PROCEEDINGS of July’13 and June’14 such Connectors have been around, and known to have been under discussion within NAVSEA since 2005.

      To summarize, it is all about
      - maximizing Amphibious Ship’s Well-Deck Length, and
      - fast heavy-lift Connectors that can maximize that well-deck organic to the ARG,
      - in order to maximize the MEU’s tactical potency via a full-scale FIRST WAVE,
      - while the ARG retains the safety from shore-defenses by maintaining distance, growing that as longer-reach shore-defenses proliferate, readily out to ITH-200 – as proposed to NAVSEA in 2005.

      No Unobtainium, wild budgets, or ‘hopes’ for iron-age adversaries required…

  3. Part 3 of 3
    Astonishing though the rampant obstructionism from with certain entrenched USN and USMC quarters eager to prevent the emergence of very scalable full FIRST WAVE MEU/MEB/MEB capability, along with a stout equally-scalable-on-demand logistics back-bone that can pump to a pacified shore whatever, whenever, in whatever quantities.

    For a 'warm-up', the Marines did not hear about these potent 2005 ship-to-shore connector options until 2013 !?

    The oddest case though may well be the phenomenon that USN’s N-95 with a MARINE General on top happily structures the agenda against such capabilities via USN-staffers’ preferences for ‘Shorty” well-deck Amphibs and re-runs of 60s-era slow-&-limited in capacity-&-ARG/MEU-numbers Connectors.

    It seems a dubious proposition indeed that certain staffers ‘structure’ their (USMC-General !) boss’s agenda to make him appear as if he were ever in favor of permanently disabling the Marine Corps Amphibious capabilities for the next 40+ years via mega-expensive ‘Shorty’ well-deck Amphibs and 60s-era under-performing ‘slow-medium-lift’ Connectors which combined do nix any FIRST WAVE capability and won';t allow even a fraction of EF-21 ambitions.

    No MARINE CORPS Flag Officer would ever want to be in a position that he would have to explain these weird machinations as in keeping with his personal professional perspective, or with EF-21, or the characteristic and thus self-defining amphibious future of the Marine Corps.

    The ‘Next Acquisition-Scandal’ in the slow-motion making…

    This one however is much more damaging than any F-35-related cost- or tactical effectiveness issues.
    Here we see the Marine Corps' basic capability undermined from within !!

    And who would want to face all those active-duty, reserve-duty and retired MARINES raising certain questions… ??

    1. Trudy, I've said it before and I'll repeat it, your comments would be far more credible and noteworthy if you at least made an attempt at objectivity. Honestly, I just skim over your comments because they are so one-sided and unrealistic that they are of no value to me. It's a shame, too, because there are some potential nuggets of worth buried in them.

      I'll give you an example. You extol the virtues of the LCU-F for over the beach landings but you utterly dismiss the entire port seizure concept with a casual remark,

      "As to seizing a harbor, it would only take one sniper to light off a tanker-truck on the RoRo-ramp to ruin that ship’s function."

      You posit a single bullet halting an entire operation but you make absolutely no allowance for a single mine, torpedo, or missile to sink a MLP, LHx, LCU-F, or whatever with a subsequent disastrous impact on the overall assault. It's impossible to take your comments seriously with that kind of one-sided and unrealistic analysis.

      You have the potential to offer some serious and worthwhile analysis but only if it's objective.

      There's nothing wrong with promoting an idea but do so realistically and objectively. Do you know what we call utterly one-sided and unrealistic promotions? LCS/F-35/Ford

    2. your initial post was just under 1,000 words.

      T.S. was the first to respond and dropped three responses in row totaling more than 1,100 words.

      Just saying! :)


    3. GAB, are we running low on the word-count per Thread ?

      Not many left be used on this ?

      So I've used up the lion-share while presenting data-set, scenarios, leading concepts, outlining certain mile-stones of these developments across so many years now.

      So I did not leave enough room for any development of competing alternatives ?!
      Oh dear...

      That may explain the absence of viable options other than my proposal.

  4. C.N.O.
    no attempt necessary at additional layers of 'objectivity'. The facts on the table speak for themselves via specs graphics, context, book-length analysis illustrated with multiple systems as solutions against A2/AD - and have been with NAVSEA for 11 years and thus accessible to N-95 folks as well, assuming they thought to ask. Only USMC folks appear to have been kept arbitrarily out of the loop until 2013.

    The 'Port-Seizure' scenario has been very-broadly discussed by THINKING DEFENSE Blog across a book-length effort several years ago. Learned a bit more. Great energy behind that compilation of facts and analysis. However to no plausible conclusions since RN has no serious ship-to-shore wherewithal, nor apparent willingness to prepare for it. Hence 'Mulberry' remembrances, ingenious pontoon visions and great optimism that time would stand still and defenses would not cancel any such well-meant 'let's-build-a-beach-head' proceedings. They should indeed study USMC STOM and OMFTS thinking...

    I certainly touch on shore-defenses behind beach or port breakwater with the reference for ships to effectively stay out of the Littorals; you'd never see an LCS in any such scenario... Therefore OTH-65 as per EF-1 (p.33) or as proposed to NAVSEA in 2005 OTH-200 matters, once it is technically doable.

    Clearly shore-line topography matters, making it either a plausible candidate for over-the-beach aggressive entry or less so. Therefore what applies e.g. to the potential mining of vast stretches of shoreline surely results in A2/AD for any port as well.

    That cute one-liner about the single sniper was intended as a parsimonious reference to the obvious, which you had touched on as well, just likely in multiple such methods of modest systems and limited man-power running on their home-turf causing grave damage, even without some 69 virgins awaiting at Valhalla or something... Just the IED-lessons of IRAQ-2 speak volumes on 'Port-Seizure' ambitions.
    Marines sure know !

    But my intent was not a morning-brief on shore-defense details, as I take these for granted in principle, and as always dependent upon the relative standing of the adversary.

    As outlined in 2005 we've pushed back against the flamboyant Unrealism of 6-12nm ship-to-shore thinking, or even the nightmare of forcing the ARG to stay put at 30nm as expressed via $3Billion EFV-'vision', had that not run out fuel burning mad amounts of power to force the Laws of Physics into submission for about an hour and a half... or begun to sink from all the techno-assumption that turned out not to be that plausible. Nether have been defensible since proliferation of large-bore arti-barrels and even crude rockets and asthmatic missiles.

    CNO, we've offered stone-cold sober options since 2005. And one reckons that other have as well. The fact that mid-level-pay obstructionists within e.g. N-95 still have not done their homework on the hard realities of one of the most dangerous tactical ideas such as Amphibious Assault is pretty 'dark' stuff.
    This casual approach to most serious matters should be career-benders if not -enders.

    And why de facto neutering the Marines' raison d'etre would ever cross anyone's mind is beyond any plausible analytics. The Marines I've had opportunity to talk with won't even want you 'to think it'...

    You are correct, CNO, this is indeed a 'one-sided' analysis - since there are no alternatives to the need to address fast heavy-lift GCE- and ACE-insertion.

  5. As to the Dollar figures for LSD-41/21, these are based on RAND Corp. metrics. Good exercise to take the construction-cost of LSD-41, add RAND filters plus inflation-rate - and you have interesting numbers.

    Not those of one ship-builder eager to monopolize Amphib-construction based on the unsuitable 'Shorty' well-deck LPD-17 structure, rather than spreading around building 20 long well-deck hulls.

    USMC's amphibious capability and thus that of the national command authority is far more important than mid-level-staffers' 'preferences' or that of the stock-holders of one ship-yard.

  6. CNO, you asked "can anyone even remember the military ever conducting a full scale port seizure exercise?"

    Once you take the word 'port' out this question, you'd be able to draw on ample IRAQ-2 experiences taking full cities.

    In fact ongoing right now, pushing back ISIS forces further such experiences. Cleaning ISIS out of Mossul will be a major case-study. Lots of similarity sans water of course...

    1. No real similarity at all.

    2. Well, there is
      - A2/AD, which is as serious a challenge to 'seizing' a geographical location on land as on the water,
      - Logistics under uncertain conditions of resource-transit,
      - Maintenance of at least rudimentary Control of the Location,
      - short-to-long-term General Relations with 'Locals',
      - etc.
      This seems much less of a Navy-centric challenge than you may suppose. Hence rich opportunities to study and learn from 'seizure' of cities, industries, key infrastructure, the 'hearts-&-minds' of locals etc.

      Beyond bringing large waterborne steel-structures, how would you define the 'differences' ?

  7. An amphibious assault to size a beach or port isn't just the job of the Navy. An operation like this would require support from the Army and Air Force.

    Just like Operation Overlord, the Air Force would launch attacks to soften the enemy's defenses, command and control nodes, and communication centers. And, Army airborne units would launch ahead of the assault to sieze key terrain to fend off enemy reinforcements.

    The bigger question is this: Can the entire US armed forces conduct a major amphibious operation?

    1. An amphibious assault to seize a beach or port is very much the job of the Marine Corps.
      An operation like this would require support from the US Navy Amphibs and, as available, with hours or a day or two of lead-time, a Navy Carrier Strike Groups.

      Airborne units would survive against local armor ? Not likely.
      Since IRAQ-2 the need for heavy armor has been unarguable, exemplified with a massive new acquisition-program of mini-MRAPs like 2016-models of JLTVs, over MRAPs to M1A2 w/ TUSK.

      US Army Landing Craft max out at 12kts.
      They are not prepositioned like an ARG/MEU or CSG.
      They don’t fit Amphibs.
      Civilian Heavy-Lift Ships hauling US Army LCU etc. are unlikely to enter ‘hot’ regions on purpose.
      They are always many weeks ‘away’.

      But, once an ARG/MEU can actually deliver a full FIRST WAVE, then that capability can be scaled to whatever necessary size to execute an amphibious objective.

    2. An MEU has about 2,200 Marines. To take over a port, the first wave could easily require 10 times that number.

    3. Small port = Small force.
      Large port = Large force.

      Once you can perform a FIRST WAVE, then you are off and running leveraging force-'scalability' to match the demand.

    4. That's an oversimplification of the issue. A small port can have a large number of defenders and forces nearby to assist them.

    5. "A small port can have a large number of defenders and forces nearby ..."

      Given the range of cruise missiles, modern artillery, and ballistic missiles, the enemy forces don't need to be nearby. In fact, a credible defense can be mounted without any enemy troops in the area!

      Good comment.

    6. If "over simplification" is the challenge, well, then let's not indulge in it...

    7. @Trudy

      Your analysis of the 2003 invasion of Iraq is completely off base.

      MSC ships provided the bulk of initial forces and the entire operation was staged out of Kuwait.

      This is nothing like the reality of trying to mount a major amphibious invasion.


    8. It took less than a month after 9/11 for the Marines to invade Afghanistan...including the two weeks' planning and prep-period !

    9. 1. Afghanistan was not an amphibious operation (although it was a forced entry operation).

      2. USSCCOM units kicked in the door long before the Corps got to Afghanistan.

      3. The 101st airborne was by far the largest conventional unit involved in the initial fighting.


  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Port seizures: Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France, from Wiki:

    planners for the operation, set the priorities for Dragoon the chief objective was the capture of the important French ports of Marseille and Toulon, which were considered as essential to supply the growing Allied forces in France.[12]

    Inchon was a port seizure. The British attacked and seized Port Said in 1956.

    1. Exactly, Any forced entry operation demands attention to logistics. This generally requires a port or at least a protected anchorage.


    2. It took less than a month after 9/11 for the Marines to invade Afghanistan...including the two weeks' planning and prep-period !

      Go ahead, argue with GEN Mattis about this !

    3. @Trudy


      Afghanistan was not a forced entry operation against a peer competitor, nor was it amphibious, and the initial airfield seizure was SOCOM's baby.


    4. So you are back to the D-Day thing ?!

      Why your vision dealing with a peer-adversary if you have yet to wrap your approach around the need to just enable FULL FIRST WAVE of a single MEU's GCE ??

      First 'baby-steps', then more, faster, farther until a MEB can be delivered.

      And then you'll figure who would be a near-/full-peer against whom you'd want to be prepared to proceed.

      This persistent lack of focus is an unambiguous demonstration how alien the idea of Amphibious Landing appear to be for you.

      But you can't blame the Marines for USN not delivering a plausible Connector since WW-2.

      And failure can be blamed for the apparent lack of rigor discussing the basics.

    5. "Why your vision dealing with a peer-adversary if you have yet to wrap your approach around the need to just enable FULL FIRST WAVE of a single MEU's GCE ??"
      Go ask the Ukrainians how effective they think a truck borne infantry regiment will have dealing with Russian armored formations!


    6. And there I thought GAB's ISO-box-delivered Jeep-&-trailer troops would win the day ?!

      Where did you get those MBTs from ? T-90s ?

      So now you are again in some land-skirmish setting ? Forgive my slowness in orienting myself. Not enough OVALTINE in my system yet.

      I am still thinking in terms of Beaches and Ports. Beaches and Ports...

      Hence MBTs, APCs, CAS by AH, UH and MV22 and FS via 155mm. Plus...

      Where is this urgent denial of the most plausible Amphibious Assault future going ?

      What are you bringing to the table on the need to execute that task ??

    7. GAB,
      you do know (?) that each MEU has at least 15 APCs ! So why your truck-based infantry imaginings ?

      Alright, this here will make things easier: Get Tom Clancy's (non-fiction) "Marine - A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit", Berkley Books, NY, NY, 1996. Old but still has much of the basics as they are today. Even graphs and pictures...

    8. Copies may be found at your local Branch-Library, possibly in the 'Juvenile Section'.

    9. Apologies ! Be patient with me, GAB.
      - MBT = Main Battle Tank, such as M1A1/2 "Abrams" with 105 or 120mm smooth-bore cannon (yep almost like a DDG 5"er);
      - APC = Armored Personnel Carrier, such as AAV-7 tracked and floating, with 3 crew and up to 25 Marines.
      - CAS - Combat Air Support, in MEU's case mostly from LHD 40,000-tons flat-top via AH-1Z, MV-22 and AV-8 HARRIER or soon F-35B;

      Well, I was a bit tactless in my assuming things on your end...

    10. MEUs are now typically three ships; they carry at best one platoon or four M1 tanks, Even the M777 battery is sometimes reduced to just two tubes, and of course the venerable AAV (which can be shot through by 14.5mm KPV machine guns).

      Compare this to a typical Russian reaction force: a reinforced tank battalion of T-80/T-90/Armata tanks, joined at the hip with a 2S1 self propelled howitzer battery, protected by a 2K22 Tunguska slice, and two attached mech infantry companies in BMP-3s.

      Let me know how that turns out.

      It gets worse if we move up to regimental level, and even uglier we compare brigades because the Russian artillery grows significantly, along with EW, and air defenses.

      The trend, at least in the Pacific Rim is to up armor.


  10. I am amazed that anyone takes sea basing seriously. The problems are obvious. A concise summary is here:

    and includes this:

    "why didn't the experts of previous wars discover seabasing? First, sealift is finite and armies usually have many times more tonnage to move than sealift. Therefore, they "stage" near an objective area, then use their limited sealift to shuttle these resources after a surprise landing. If ships must linger offshore to provide seabased support, they are unavailable to shuttle supplies from staging areas. Second, a seaborne landing quickly attracts the attention of enemy commanders who vector their ships, attack boats, missiles, submarines, commandos, and attack aircraft toward that area. It is much safer for a ship to off-load cargo and depart rather than loiter offshore like a duck in a shooting gallery. Moreover, supplies ashore cannot be sunk by a single torpedo or missile. Since many ships are filled with explosive fuel and ammo, ship captains are likely to run at the first sign of an enemy threat.

    Third, while rapidly moving supplies from ships to shore on demand seems simple, the "fog of war" may intervene."

    1. That is rather a 'thin' exercise, assuming your link got me to the intended piece. There are so many unexamined assumptions that 'guide' that argument that it would take way more detailing here than that author appears to have bothered to invest energy in. For starters, the first LSD-1 USS ASHLAND,launched in 1943 was a rather mobile piston-steam-engine-powered 'sea-base' offering 394 feet of well-deck on 457 feet of length overall, still moving faster that today's MLP. And she was based on British thinking...
      So, the idea that a 'Seabase' is 'new' is a non-starter. D-Day had the most massive assembly of such assets afloat. And one could go further back in naval history to a time when 'ship's boats' carried raiding parties to shore.

      So, no new 'discoveries' claimed. Old news.

    2. The "new" seabasing idea is that when ships arrive they will not quickly offload their cargo. They will linger off-shore and provide on-demand logistics. That has never been used in any large scale amphibious landing, and for good reason. The most practical method is to off-load ASAP and and continue to shuttle supplies from staging areas.

      As for staging, our military didn't load up troops at Norfolk in the USA and head for Normandy, as some presume major amphibious landings would be done today. The USA spend years staging men and material in England for the landing.

      This is what everyone overlooks. Any major amphibious landing will require over a year to transport and build up combat power in the area. This will require a lot of construction and material. We'd need that time to produce more munitions for a big war anyway. And it will take our navy weeks and even months to establish local air and naval superiority, who will need most our logistics ships too.

    3. You may want to study what a MEU is all about.
      Then scale that.
      Then apply various 'sizes' to various scenaria.
      Eventually you will be far away from your D-Day 'standard' on amphibious ops.
      Too many assumptions here to engage on in a plausible format of effort versus benefit.

      As to 'new' sea-basing ideas, I would not want to do much 'shadow-boxing' with whatever proposed 'principles' beyond OMFTS, STOM, FIRST WAVE-capability, all under war-fighting parameters of surprise, deception, coming unambiguously etc.

      Whoever 'everyone' may be, there is more to the issue.

    4. "Any major amphibious landing will require over a year to transport and build up combat power in the area."

      That's an excellent point. Also, what took us a year or two to build up for in WWII will take much longer now. We're not building Hellcats and Higgins boats, now. We're building very complex machines. I kind of doubt that we can even build up the requisite forces in a useful time frame.

      Alternatively, it may be that our entire existing force can muster one assault in the course of a conflict using existing assets. Of course, that would use up almost every asset we have so the benefit would have to be enormous to justify the usage!

      Great comment.

    5. I would counter your argument about not loading up in Norfolk and going strait across the Atlantic for a landing with ....Operation Torch... Troops from Norfolk (and some from England) strait to North Africa. For an early concept of Seabasing see Operation Catherine pushed by Churchill (it only briefly goes into his idea of turning one of his older R class battleships into a giant weaponized seabase)

    6. An similar and more recent example is the build up of forces before the Persian Gulf War.

    7. Torch was another port seizure. From wiki:
      "The Allies organized three amphibious task forces to seize the key ports and airports of Morocco and Algeria simultaneously, targeting Casablanca, Oran and Algiers."

      However, Torch was more an unopposed landing since defenses were not really prepared and the enemy thought not to resist. There was some fighting, but none were beach assaults.

  11. Boy, dark ruminations here ?!
    No use for the Marine Corps either, I guess ?

    Therefore no need to quickly establish altered geometries on the ground ?
    Or is it the other way around ?

    There is an awful lot of chicken-&-egg geometrics on this topic all over the place, including deep into certain sectors of USN and USMC.

    The logic is either "D-Day or bust !"
    Or - after persistent absence of any plausible FIRST WAVE technology since WW-2 - "we can't do this anyway... And therefore we should not even try... And thus we should resist paradigm-shifting thinking and design that would actually make this possible at long last... because we all know it can't be done... and who has D-Day assets and geometries nowadays anyway...?!" Etc. Etc.

    Weird stuff that.
    Where else would circular justification for non-engagement with an unarguably-necessary capability be perceived as valuable anywhere in USN or USMC ?!

    " Oh Trudy, let me tell you..."

    Yes, indubitably...
    Let's hold hands then...
    Yikes... no hugging...

  12. Amphibious assault via the traditional ARG is about as valid in modern warfare as a divisional parachute assault by the Army or a line of battleships. I say keep assaults for both at the brigade/MEU level only.

    Yet now the Marines will try and compel the US Navy to buy more amphibs to support their expensive/unique questionable aircraft (F-35B/V-22) acquisitions. They have a powerful lobby and full blown propaganda arm- they might get it.

    As a carrier guy I say bull- we need a blue water power projection "wall-of-wood" navy, not more second class, flat bottom ships hauling a few demo aircraft around.
    IMO, the gator navy is right sized, right now. Couple MEUs on floats are all we need to conduct that NEO or counter insurgency.


    1. A MEU is too small to attack anything larger than 1000 defenders. It is really a peacetime rescue force for third world turmoil. I agree contractors have corrupted and exploited the Marines to sell ultra-expensive crap.

      Here is the next scam, a future $4 billion destroyer called an LPD that carries a few Marines.

      At least the name will fit: Landing Platform Destroyer (LPD). Amphibs should be transports, nothing more.

    2. An-

      I know the size of a MEU, personally I don't see any need for marine division operations today given the budget and the size of the US Army (ID,3D).

      I love the Marines, but lately it seems they have expensive tastes in aircraft despite the lousy cost/performance and have have turned me off. Seems they have forgotten that their core mission is "Infantry". Everything they have is supposed to support that. They are restricted by law from participating alone in large scale maneuver warfare (US Army responsibility), yet they have their own tanks, artillery and full set of tactical and logistics aircraft. Oh yeah the US Navy provides them ships to float on.... Even the Army needs the USAF- the Marines don't...

      My theory is the USMC is as joint as it needs to be because they can be and the administration/congress allows it. That doesn't make it right.

      The straw that broke the camels back for me is this collection of aircraft they are procuring with Navy help. Too expensive considering the NRE, too much cost/hr, not enough weps payload and too much fantasy...

      IMO, the USMC is selfish. Tell me again why the USMC needs a specific tactical electronic warfare platform to support that relatively small infantry battalion+ discussed above?

      Re the $4B LPD the US Navy cannot build such BS when we need blue water destroyers, CVNs and attack submarines. this is the US Navy not the USMC Transportation Service. Who really won our nations most important strategic sea battle whose anniversary is nearly here- The US Navy.


  13. So how do you get into someone's front-yard ?

    And how do you know what size MEU or how many you'd need without any MEU's FIRST WAVE capability to begin with ?

    1x ARG carries 1x MEU...

  14. CNO,

    There are many factors underpinning our current issues with logistical support, but they all stem back to the failed economic, and foreign policies we have pursued since WWII.

    To be blunt, the USA is foremost a sea, air, and space power, but since WWII we have intentionally pursued policies appropriate to a ground power. To this day the pentagon is obsessed with maintaining disproportionally large ground forces and a hyper-expensive system of overseas bases.

    The fact that our nation cannot mount or sustain a major ground force from the sea is by design and a direct result of a testament to the general decline of U.S. industrial might, and in particular underscores the non-existence of a U.S. merchant marine and commercial maritime industry. The technical expertise to build and operate harbors and rail yards (the two are linked) resides in commercial industry.

    The bulk of the invasion fleets that sailed for North Africa, France, Okinawa, the Philippines, and so forth were made of militarized commercial cargo ships, not USN ships!

    Military ground operations have *always* been driven by logistics concerns and modern ground forces are increasingly more dependent upon logistics now than in earlier periods.


    1. The Soviet Union collapsed due to its own economic mismanagement. The US seems to have some dangerous parallels right now.

      The reality is that a good deal of of what happens to win wars happens during peace. The decline of American manufacturing and scientific scientific leadership could prove crippling if the US ever got into a serious nation state war.

      The US has limited civilian shipbuilding. Most of the shipbuilding these days takes place in South Korea, Japan although it is a declining in market share, and increasingly China. Amongst the Western countries, I believe that Finland has a decent shipbuilding industry.

      In other areas, the US has made relative losses. The relative decline of the big three automakers (and I used to be an employee), could also be something that bites in the back.

      It is not just the loss of jobs and taxes, but the loss of technical knowledge and ultimately, living standards. That is not true just in war due to industrial might, but also during the peace. Manufacturing is the foundation of prosperity.

    2. So, let's all 'go home' in light of the sage 'observations' based on a 'the-end-is-near' mindset.

      "Well, you have to be realistic..."

      Pseudo_Realism tends to cover lack of actual solutions to unarguable challenges.

      Fits of dark musings can be a periodic pot-hole to crash into, but does not make for sound analytics. Unless the point is to just 'vent'.

    3. @Trudy
      Is being "there" actually contributing to security? What is sure is that it is costing a ton of money.

      The concept of opportunity cost comes to mind.

      Similar thoughts about the F-35, LCS, and other overpriced weapons.

    4. @Altand Main,


      What is needed is a serious look at how we can improve our heavy industry, commercial transportation, tool and die, shipbuilding, and electrical power grid. No more "highway bills."


    5. Alt & GAB
      Could we just focus on the basics, Gentlemen ?!

      1. USN has not provided USMC a heavy-lift high-speed ARG-organic Connector/Landing-Craft since essentially WW-2.

      2. Without that capability, Marines have had to make due with 'air-lifting' assumptions(not even their AAV7 can be lifted), later non-frontline-rated thin-skin LCAC/now SSC.

      3. Nowadays however - starting in 2005 at least - fast heavy-;lift Connectors are doable.

      4. This at long last allows thinking what a SCALABLE full FIRST WAVE assault capability brings to strategic and tactical planning.

      5. This however requires conceptually engaging with these opportunities - rather than the persistent refusal to accept and then maximize on these.

      6. Instead, folks pursue 'distractions'
      - from assuming Port-Seizure would be a plausible rather than an extraordinarily rare since unlikely option,
      - over never quite focusing on getting the basics straight, rather than randomly vacillating between reflexive cannot-do-anything and D-Day visions,
      - and getting lost in 'grand schemes' of 70-year policy-arcs to support some dark pol-spin, even citing the Highway Bill, while displaying a limited understanding of both purpose and hardware-spectrum of USMC,
      - much, apparently, to stroke various well-worn assumptions/prejudices/preferences about Marines versus Navy, Amphibs vs Carriers etc. etc.

      Who amongst you have across too many threads related to Amphibious Warfare here offered plausible solutions to enable USMC to indeed be a 911 amphibious force ??

      And if you don't think much of them, what are your alternatives ?

      Years worth of 'Build-Up', nipping Mulberry-'shakes' and dawdling around for just long enough to not address serious challenges to then fall back after all these 'exertions' on the cushy divan of "I told them so - it can't be done anyway', completing the circularity of the approach offered by too many here.

      How do you respond to a 911 challenge requiring physical presence on the ground ? Show up a year later ??

      It took less than a month after 9/11 for the Marines to invade Afghanistan...including the two weeks' planning and prep-period !

      Joint USN-&-USMC history matters.
      Especially the most recent episodes...

    6. I don't deny that the USMC has not been provided with much of the necessary equipment to conduct basic operations.

      The reason why GAB and I are putting an emphasis on domestic production is because we can dream of an ideal force, but it will not be built or sustained in useful numbers without an extremely robust domestic economy.

      Sure, it may have taken a month to invade Afghanistan, but that will not be the case against a peer opponent.

  15. Sealift etc. and stout Connectors fit to deliver from OTH-200 opens up opportunities.

    "Failed foreign and economic policies..." across 70+ years ?

    More darkness clouding analytics ?
    Why display this penchant in public ??

    Unless one likes more 'Over-Simplifications'... and Doomesday-fascinations.

    But that would be way to worn out as even a reflexive cliché...

    1. @Trudy,

      You have yet to articulate anything remotely viable against serious 21st century enemies who prepared to fight a fast paced, high intensity war, armored war – that is an issue.

      Infantry formations without self-propelled artillery, MBTs that are employed solely as infantry support, lack of air defenses, lack heavy anti-tank weapons, and so forth is not a competitive force against a peer competitor.

      Calling for "sealift" when the U.S. commercial maritime industry revolves around tug-barges is tragic. There is no sealift. South Korea out-produces us about 60:1 in GRT, the Japanese out produce us about 50:1 in GRT, and the Chinese about 20:1.

      Your theory on "connectors" and shipping fuel via bladders and is simply not viable. This was clear early in WWII. Fortunately the British insisted on creating underwater pipelines, or else the entire ETO would have collapsed in midsummer 1944.


      As Rand noted: "

    2. You have yet to articulate anything remotely viable to address the challenge 'starting-tonight' amphibious ops.

      USMC only has no self-propelled arti because USN has yet to produce Connectors in geometries and ARG-correct numbers to allow hauling armored M-109/7. Due to that NAVSEA/ONR etc. failure to engage that challenge, Marine have to helo-lift much lighter field-pieces and tractors to have any fire-support at all. USN DDG sure can't come near shore enough to help, even if those 5-inchers had any punch... Prime-bounty DDG-1000 won't enter the Littorals either to offer IFS !

      Why would to claim that there are no air-defenses I ARG and MEU ?

      No heavy anti-tank weapons ? Go talk to a USMC Gunny...

      And you seem to not think much of serious armor and rolling Logistics prepositioned on currently-afloat, running and USMC-supporting Sealift fleets ?

      Of course, in your glacial-model-of-warfare you could strike up a conversation with a Korean Ship-building rep to perhaps a year or two later find a fresh transport on the ways.

      No theories about fully-USMC-owned tank-farm modules on the books. They are quite serious about that hardware.

      You of course may be just used to hollering for the tanker and the old hose-&-reel, and have 'Kelly' fill-er-up.

      Hence your 'vision' of hot landing-zone pipeline-building... ??

      "ETO... collapse... by mid-summer of..."

      You do understand the purpose of the Marines ?
      They can do - if you don't stand in their way, that is - what you can't, standing on a ship well-offshore out of shore-defense reach.

    3. "USMC only has no self-propelled arti because USN has yet to produce Connectors in geometries and ARG-correct numbers to allow hauling armored ..."

      Utter rubbish, this argument comes off as childish whining and is plain untrue.

      The USMC operated M109s in Vietnam (e.g. 1965: 4th BN, 12th Marines); the Corps got rid of the M109 based on USMC force structure analysis, not because "the Navy" made them do it.

      The Corps also failed to buy M1 MBTs until the Gulf war came along and the Marines decided that being an infantry centric force was not going to work on an armored battlefield so the lobby went to work. Speaking of which, the Corps also lobbied for the amphibious operation and got laughed out of the Pentagon.


    4. Let's keep it impersonal and polite.

    5. What is childish is to have no solutions for an unavoidable challenge.

      So is stomping little feet quoting Apples-vs.-Oranges rhetoric just to stop this mounting sequence of conceptual humiliations...

      Focus! Focus!
      Vietnam was not a sudden amphibious landing exercise from OTH200 across one dusk-to-dawn cycle. This is #1 focus of this Thread !

      #2 focus is the Port-Seizure scenario. Vietnam was not that either...

      Were M-109s in Vietnam delivered in an Amphibious Assault context ?? I think not...

      No doubt you'll grab more bits of history - lots of factoids within reach - in the attempt to shore up this disintegrated
      approach to amphibious assault and USN's failure to provide plausible ship-to-shore technical support to enable USMC to execute that task.

      So, GAB, since apparently 'anything goes', how about
      - the Schnick-Strategy as it pertains to Amphib Ops,
      - or the Poppel-Theorem on Virtual Attrition ashore ?

      Now that is something to sink your teeth into...
      And there is more...
      But that depends on your views on either foundational concept !

    6. Oops. Make that Poppell, Reginald Q. Poppell.

    7. This subject, from whichever angle it has been discussed in this forum over the years, is indeed one of the more serious challenges on the table that have yet to be addressed.

      On the ARG/MEU level no net progress on the unevadable basics such as FULL FIRST WAVE and adequate Stand-Off distances for the ARG. In the context of that failure to address the basics, one heeling and burning LSD on Al Jazeera will mean the end of any amphibious discussions. And where would be the future of the Marine Corps after that ? And who then could do amphib-ops ? Knife-in-the-mouth SOCOM efforts would not suffice.

      Hence significant 'heavy-lifting' in my universe here and elsewhere to develop plausible solutions. And they have withstood NAVSEA and USMC HQ muster, as you know from studying publicly-accessible print and online sources. Therefore the unhesitating engagement with serious points and options since this Thread was opened.

      Reflexive 'shooting-from-the-hip' has already produced decades worth of USMC careers in the context of de facto incapacity to actually perform the primary amphibious function to get the MEU ashore plausibly, maintaining hope under some promise of 'high-tech' solutions, such as 'Vertical Envelopment' for which mega-lift machines never will materialize anytime soon, or 'planing' APCs like EFV. LCAC is not frontline-rated. And MV-22 is not a silver bullet either.

      So, respectful engagement with the broad spectrum of related issues seems imperative.

      Addressing the challenge is imperative.

      Getting lost in un- and under-examined assumptions should be frowned upon.
      The subject-matter is just too serious.

      This is not an issue of personal preferences. At stake here is the future of the amphibious Marine Corps and thus a unique-tool potential for policy-makers.

      The task is to make this happen - not to perpetuate the (unholy) 'tradition' of failure to engage under whatever set of excuses well into yet another decade !

      CNO, around this issues-cluster you can count on high-resolution contributions out of this universe here.

    8. To add the obvious, for folks with the perpetual 'dark' lenses looking at USN- and USMC issues in search for yet another daily dose of 'dissatisfaction', this may be bad news. But it is neither a matter of scarce budgets nor a matter of yet-to-be-invented 'magic-tricks' whether an ARG can deliver a MEU GCE FIRST WAVE from either OTH-65 or OTH-200 ! And once the metrics convince folks from NAVSEA over USMC-Innovators to the Commandant, we should be set to move the matter further to look for problems, conceptual failures and matters of plausible operational reliability.

      Not taking the need seriously is just a public embarrassment.

      And Budget-Hawks of whatever rainbow of political colors will agree to make short work of 'failing-to-perform' small and large budget line-items. And that would not be in USN's nor USMC's interest, nor that of the National Command Authority.

      Nobody is doing the AWOL-thing on this end here.
      And NAVY MATTERS certainly has raised a lot of angles on this.

      We may get this done yet.

    9. "CNO, around this issues-cluster you can count on high-resolution contributions out of this universe here."

      I wish that were so. Unfortunately, what I've seen so far has been so deep into fantasy end of the spectrum that it erodes the credibility of everything else. I'll repeat what I've said before: I have no particular stake in, or even opinion about, the LCU-F. There's not enough credible data or information to form an opinion.

      What there has been is a never ending succession of promises that the LCU-F can do anything and everything. When someone tells you there's nothing a platform CAN'T do then you should, rightly, assume there's nothing it CAN do because someone is just saying yes to everything with no basis.

      The LCU-F has been purported to be a troop transport, cargo hauler, tanker, undetectable/unsinkable, aircraft carrier, unbeatable AAW defender, gun support, and I'm probably leaving some claimed capabilities out. In short, it's a single vessel, ocean roving, strike force that can't be stopped and can do anything. The only question is whether one LCU-F can win a war by itself or whether we need to purchase two, just in case.

      Let's start with the basics. Given the other wildly exaggerated claims, I don't believe it can carry 200 tons of cargo. Where'd that number come from? A cursory check of similar sized vessels shows no indication that they can carry that kind of load. And, if it can, it's not really 200 tons of useful material. What is the useful transport load?

      Looking a bit deeper, you can't just add unlimited numbers of weapons, aircraft, or whatever to a ship, especially a small one. There are serious stability, buoyancy, weight margins, incline moments, centers of gravity, etc. that severely limit what can be added. The claims of a virtual unending list of add-on equipment suggests to me that someone is just saying yes to anything and everything without any naval engineering studies to back it up. A Cyclone class PC, for example, can't take a fraction of the add-on equipment you suggest despite the ship being around the same size.

      I find the LCU-F to be an interesting concept that's worth further study but its credibility is so lacking that I have no desire to pursue it.

      If you really want to accomplish your objective, you need to dial back the salesmanship and present some actual data, not simply unlimited and unsupported claims.

      Take this advice for what it's worth and do with it what you will.

    10. Part 1 of 2.

      between NAVSEA, the PROCEEDINGS, USMC HQ, even the CMC, etc., they have all been somehow hood-winked ? By some sweet siren-song ?? That could be quite flattering in an odd soft of way…
      But how ?

      You will have to accept that NAVSEA, USMC leaders etc. have had access to more material than has been published.

      Unless and until it is decided that broad-scale 'world-wide' dissemination of every detail is a plausible approach to satisfy every critic, you may have to trust other folks judgment that there is no possibility of 'vapor'-design here.

      You do have basic specs, visuals, commentary, reflections by outsiders, imprimature by serious players.

      There are a lot of things she can't do.
      Lots of limitations indeed:
      - No displacement-speed assault landing-craft can fly, hover, submerge (by design) or float without adequate water under her.
      - She won't 'walk' up some beach either.
      - She is not a globe-trotting high-mileage affair either.
      - Can't plane.
      - But can sink, except for when...

      Your assumption that all these experts who have looked at her are all 'in on some deal' is a daring proposition.

      Here is what they have signed-off on, as reflected in the article that received an explicit NAVSEA-clearance after extensive in-house reviews:
      - 200-tons walking, tracked wheeled Combat-Load;
      - 300 high-density seated-inside Troop-Carrier;
      - 55,000gals Diesel Combat-tanker;
      - IFS via at least 2x 12-tube MLRS-missile battery plus 6-7 reloads per tube, incl. NATACMS;
      - MASH-duty before flying folks out to LHD Hospital;
      - MARSOC-base w/ 1x RHIB, 1x AH/UH plus 1x AH-6
      All based on 'roll-in/slide-in modules and kits installable in the well-deck after the FIRST WAVE has bee executed and CSE is on the way element of the LCU-f Fleet, leaving the first few to be reconfigured for whichever duty deemed necessary.
      All at 11' of hard air-draft on 22' beam presenting a harder-to-hit target, particularly with rudimentary radar-reflex reduction added.

      As that article outlines in words and graphics LCU-F is carried inside the Amphib well-deck,
      - 2x per LHD
      - 2x per LPD
      - 6x per LSD-41.

      As written, for survival of herself and the MEU assets aboard her she depends on
      - a least-signature physical profile,
      - element of surprise from up to OTH-200,
      - Dusk-to-Dawn delivery performance,
      - onboard integral self-defenses,
      - GCE and ACE assets' offensive capabilities to protect each unit deep into the theater.

    11. Part 2 of 3
      As the specs in the July'13 PROCEEDINGS article outline - and as explored at much greater detail-depth by NAVSEA and USMC up to CMC-level - on 420+tons all-up displacement, for a displacement-speed (go-fast) 'barge' to carry under 50% of her total with only 200-tons would not be deemed radical by any designer, ship-builder or commercial operator.

      As stated here and then, 200 Long Tons is just that, from 3x 70-tons MBTs to 55,000 gals of Diesel or JP-whatever.

      Distributing the full GCE across the 14 + 3 EARG scenario, the average weight per LCU-F will be closer to 140 tons since a truck-cab or a RTCH is not as dense and heavy as the MBT per LCU-F inside and outside deck-footprint.

      In fact few MEU COs would want to put too many eggs in one basket thus never loading most of her MBT on just one LCU-F. But if necessary, the option would be routine, not an exceptional situation.

      Picture SEALIFT bringing several USA tank-battalions to OTH-200. 14 LCU-F per E-ARG could boost the FIRST WAVE days(s)/weeks after the MEU(s) have gone ashore with 42 tanks per 'WAVE'. That is a lot of tank-battalions weighing in per WAVE at a combined total of 2940 tons, deliverable every 24hrs from OTH-200. Until you run out of MBTs aboard those up to 60,000tons cargo-carriers - which could mean a good number of WAVEs.

      Ergo useful net transportation load in addition 1500nm of internal fuel = 200+ tons. Yes, she'll float almost an inch deeper with those extra 10 tons beyond the 200-mark.

      Simple hard manually- or CAD-generatable numbers. Not really arguable.

      Her lines can not be that mysterious either. Neither are her stability, CG, volumes for reserve-buoyancy, if not the 'delicious' possibility to perhaps achieve a lighter-load 'sinking-resistance'...
      For more on 'Stability, just look at her mid-section, with and without the MBT ! No dramatics here. Big problem if you wanted to park one outside on her afterdeck... otherwise empty, eager to 'open her up'... You should not ! But who would ?!

    12. Part 3 of 3
      We've been "looking deeper" longer and with more productive results than many. As have various NAVSEA tech-shops for instance. You doubt every one of 'us' ?

      CYCLONE-class is a very different 'animal' than a displacement-speed combat lighter. Where is the comparison here ?? Lets park a CONVAIR 880 next to a B-52 and start arguing...

      CYCLONE is a 35kts semi-planing machine that needs 13000+ HP via 4 drive-trains to get towards 35kts. It can do so for about 600nm or perhaps 17 hrs burning through much of her 40-tons of fuel.
      CYCLONE is comparatively short and wide at 54.3m on a beam of 7.62m for her 380+tons of weight at a length-to-beam ratio of 7.13 :1.
      Big engines, big fuel, 35kts ambitions plus weight and volumes of accommodations for 37 folks aboard etc.

      In stark (lean) contrast, LCU-F offers 12.3:1 on 82m x 6.7m distributing her 420+tons bulk along very much leaner much lower-resistance hull-lines, and with the sole ambition to just reach full hull-speed or about 20kts w/ 2600 HP on 420 tons displacement out of a 21+ potential.
      No 'Hair on fire' dramatics with these plain-vanilla ambitions. Rather, ancient principles of design, for instance observed by Ambassador Benjamin Franklin in France looking at horse-drawn cargo-lighters... He built a test-tank and ran models !

      Earlier today you suggested the use of respect in exchanges n this forum. Now I'd suggest the same in your perspective of the many folks having done their bit to get this on to the agenda of even a CMC.
      It is clearly not your fault that you have not been in on LCU-F related closed-door meetings. But you have been in on those in your professional life on other matters. On this topic here, it seems indicated to treat the institutional review-process within NAVSEA, PROCEEDINGS and USMC as 'adequate' indeed for all intents and purposes.

      None of these folks would have had any interest in 'salesmanship' shticks, nor be likely to be persuaded by such...

    13. Can you even hear how much you sound like the LCS or F-35 programs? It's the exact same, "it can do everything but you'll just have to trust us", mantra. I'll pass until actual data is available.

      Just to put your "sources" in perspective, NAVSEA is the group responsible for accepting incomplete and badly built LPD-17 and LCS ships. That's a horrible indictment of their professional credibility.

      USMC HQ is responsible for declaring a fictitious IOC on the F-35B and wasting decades trying to come up with an AAV replacement. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of their professional credibility.

      Proceedings is not a design or engineering organization. They have no such credibility at all.

      Your "sources" are unconvincing. I'll wait for data. If you choose not to provide data, you can't really be surprised by a tepid reception.

    14. Hey, more flattery.
      Comparison with L-M and Austal etc... ?!

      So it is 'wall-to-wall' ineptitude-cum-conspiracies... on every and all levels ??

      And another such episode has been discovered right here ?

      I look forward to your new Thread on your private 'portfolio' of significant projects and paradigm-shifting advances. Expressing this hope, perhaps I speak for more than myself...

    15. And how would you define your 'data'-requirements ?

    16. After such a dense mid-level intensity exchange 'cooling off' might be good, then rereading the more interesting data-richer segments, and then reflect on the issues raised.

      The darker-minded will do their thing... again and again on just about every issue.

      More ambitious and engaged forward-leaning folks will work what is available here, and in other blogs, and go find the PROCEEDINGS pieces online and absorb those, all to really understand the strengths and look for potential weaknesses of the proposal.

      Then one could proceed to come up with a better proposal - which is what any of these discussions should really aim for.

      Let's see and hear even better thinking.
      Just walking away muttering repetitions of circular 'mantras' does not 'do' it.

      Finally, LCU-F would be a paradigm-shifting exercise if used widely. And that sort of change can be a challenge being part of or at least being near to.

      Of course, after decades of such 'gambling' that a serious MEU-through-MEF level Amphibious Assault capability won't be needed 'any time soon', folks may retreat to 'Sleepy Hollow' again, on Soma to keep the nagging internal doubts about apathy under control.

      However, this sure is not 'done' yet.

  16. The scariest part is that the USN won't acknowledge the magnitude of the problem,, much less come up with a workable solution.

    1. So, how would you enlighten the unenlightened ?

    2. @Trudy,

      There are plenty of studies and doctrine publications on logistics - I suggest starting there. Next are historical studies of major operational failures: the entirety of Barbarossa is a good starting point, Stalingrad is another, Neptune is a third.

      Think Defense Blog has an excellent (and detailed!) section on ship to shore logistics with an excellent summary of current US and NATO capabilities.

    3. These are all based on the persistent absence of adequate Connectors.

      But fast heavy-lift ship-to-shore Connectors supporting the effort from OTH-200 one 200-ton load at a time x 14 per E-ARG for 2800-tons every 24hrs begins to address the logistics challenge.

      What's the complaint here ?? You are going to burn through 2800-tons every 24hrs per MEU now Mr. GAB ??!!

    4. @Trudy,

      There is a very good reason the entire world has moved to ISO containers and fuel pipelines for moving goods and fuel. It is highly unlikely that you have outwitted the very competitive shipping industry.

      1. What you are proposing is in conflict to all logic - the ISO container was designed to prevent the incredible delays and mess that transshipping items (redundant handling) multiple times (shore to ship, ship to connector, connector to truck, truck to unit truck) will cause.

      2. Your posited 200 tons is actually far less due to packaging and crating.

      3. You still have yet to explain how to handle bulk fuel. The USA in France tried to do the same duplicative handling nonsense during WWII using the Red Ball express - they burned half of the fuel just to move the other half!

      4. Your concept leaves no allowance for wastage, no response for destroyed or broken down connectors, and now allowance for weather delays. In short you have not done anything like a sensitivity analysis to see what happens to your plan when inevitable disruptions occur.

      5. How much fuel will your *connectors* burn?

      The Think Defense blog has an excellent example (Haiti) that showed even with large, fast ro-ro ferries, which are significantly more efficient load carriers than *connectors*, the across the beach throughput was negligible compared to a direct ship offload via a pier.


    5. Nobody in the entire world has USMC capabilities.
      1. Why get lost in musings about stuffing 12' wide MBTs inside 7'8" wide door-openings of an ISO-container ? Nothing short of a USMC off-road diesel-bike will fit through there...
      What's next ? How many angels on the tip of a needle ?

      2. 200 tons is 200 tons aboard the Connector. In fact designed for 3x MBTs = 210 short tons...

      3. You can be as dismissive of USMC field-equipment as any former Navy-man may want to indulge in... but are you denying the utility of their bulk-fuel management approach ? Go and hit JANE's on respective equipment !

      4. Why state any of that ?? You may lose a lot of them. Hence the need to start at least with a plausible number of them organic to each ARG/MEU. However they are much harder to hit than any LCS, LST, DDG etc. etc. Why not explore the options ?

      5. With 2400-2600 HP Diesel per Connector to generate 200-tons cargo-capability at 20knots, you go and run the numbers. Hence the conservative 1500nm of range on internal fuel.

      TD's hopes-&-praying to bring any RoRo into a hot LZ is reflective of the limited analytics of that perspective. Since RN has no plausible hardware, policy, wherewithal to do amphibious landings, no wonder they explore alternate universes with 'Port Seizure' visions etc.

      What's next ? Propose a 'Blue Ribbon Panel' on Amphib Ops on the 'Love Boat' in the middle of a Landing ?
      I'd say "Go for it..."

    6. P.S.: With your extensive background in the world of commercial shipping via ISO-boxes, could you share with this blog-audience which ISO container could carry at least the weight of an MBT w/ or w/o TUSK-II for instance ??
      We know already that no MBVT or much else of the GCE and ACE will fit into the box...

    7. This is why our Navy needs Bunker Barges.

      A simple COTS solution to a key problem. The Marines could even volunteer to man these if our Navy does not want to.

    8. From 'hoses/pipelines' over ISO-boxes to barges now ?
      Where would they come from ?
      At what speed ?
      In what numbers ?
      To be kept where in/near/OTH from the LZ ?
      And how would they supply fuel to the advancing Marines ?

      Another reference to a thin-analytics web-page ??

    9. "This is why our Navy needs Bunker Barges."

      This is a very reasonable proposal and could be implemented at low cost using domestically produced commercial products.

      These oil barges transport up to 1.5 million gallons per unit - they very much could be a part of the logistics solution.


    10. "This is why our Navy needs Bunker Barges."

      That idea has potential. Thanks for the link.

  17. My Anti-Virus program flags this source.

  18. Quick question? What happens when we sieze a peer or near-peers' port/ beachhead and they go nuclear? Currently the force we have is only suitable for 9/11 type wars. So even if we push thru a contested battlezone to land troops, neutralizing all anti-ship/ air defenses, just for an enemy to say "well, crap" and go nuclear. We dont have the resources, troops, or ships to do it again. I feel that is the point GAB is trying to make. If we fail to secure the beach, there is not a second chance. So if we cant push thru the defenses and secure the objective, the enemy might of well have drop a nuke. We are now at that point, for things to be perfect, in order for us to succeed. The only service that could suffer a defeat in a major operation, is the army.

    1. @Andrew,

      I am not implying that there is just one chance at seizing a beach (or airhead), though that may be the reality.

      My point was that a major amphibious assault to land any significant number of ground forces will require a secure logistical base and that will likely require a port.

      How nukes play into this calculus is anyone's guess, although pretty much every nuclear power has at least contemplated the use of very low yield tactical nuclear weapons.

      If these weapons are employed, I suspect that it would lead to escalation and a very bad day for all. The other possibility is that conventional conflict takes place after nuclear weapons are used. This was of course central to the design of the BMP-1, which was design to operate on an irradiated battlefield.



Comments will be moderated for posts older than 7 days in order to reduce spam.