Consider: USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76, is forward deployed and home ported in Yokosuka, Japan along with some escort ships as part of the troubled 7th Fleet.
is just over 1000 miles from Yokosuka – easy cruise or ballistic missile
distance. Shanghai, China
Consider: Force Z was a British task force consisting of two battleships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and four destroyers. Leaving
, the group was sent to sea where it
was quickly spotted by Japanese submarines and aircraft and subjected to
repeated attacks by land based aircraft.
Four attack waves of aircraft sank the two battleships on Singapore 10-Dec-1941 just a few days after the Japanese
attack on Pearl
Harbor. On paper, Force Z was a powerful group but it
found itself operating in enemy territory, at the start of the war, without air
cover. It had no chance.
|HMS Prince of Wales|
So, what’s the link between the USS Ronald Reagan and Force Z? Well, the parallels should be obvious. When war with
starts, the Reagan will be forward
deployed in enemy territory or, at least, within enemy reach, and if it
attempts to move it will have limited air cover. If China is part of the war, the Japanese
Air Force will be too busy defending their homeland to provide aerial coverage
for a carrier at sea. If Japan is not part of the war, there will
be no Japanese air cover at all. Japan Guam’s aircraft will be fully occupied
(or destroyed!) defending their base and will be unable to provide air cover.
|USS Ronald Reagan|
No matter how you look at it, the Reagan will have limited air cover.
Wait, what now? Limited air cover? It’s a carrier! It has its own air cover. Well, that’s technically true but for all practical purposes it’s nearly irrelevant. You’ll recall that we’ve discussed the fact that carriers in war will operate in groups of 3-4 (4 being ComNavOps preferred number). It will require 3-4 carriers operating together to mass sufficient air power to survive in combat. A single carrier with, currently, only around 38 Hornets (another half dozen are required for tanking and unavailable for combat) is not exactly a powerful air force and would have a very hard time defending itself for very long against a sustained Chinese assault. Those aircraft will be quickly attrited in combat or due to simple mechanical failings.
The Reagan is forward deployed to
and would be faced with two
unpalatable choices at the outset of war. Japan
- Stand and fight – and be sunk.
- Run for safer waters around
Guamor Pearl Harbor.
Running, the only real choice, would subject the carrier to repeated submarine, anti-ship cruise missile, and, possibly, anti-ship ballistic missiles. The odds of successfully escaping are not great.
If running is the preferred, albeit poor, option, it leads to the question, why have the carrier based in
to begin with? Japan
Is it for the carrier’s deterrent effect? We’ve often discussed the concept of deterrence and concluded that there is no evidence that deterrence works. In fact, the recent evidence is absolutely conclusive that deterrence does not work.
, the obvious deterrence target of a
China based carrier, has flouted international law and
treaties, built illegal artificial islands and militarized them, used military
intimidation against Japan and Vietnam , seized the entire Philippines South China Sea, and begun laying the groundwork
for seizing the second island chain. If
that’s deterrence at work, I’d hate to think about what would have done without it! Clearly, deterrence is not a valid reason to
have a carrier forward based. China
Is it for the carrier’s rapid response to a sudden outbreak of war? As we just noted, there is nothing a single carrier can do in a peer war except go down fighting. On a related note, if
opts to attack China at the outset of war, the addition
of 38 Hornets to the total Japanese defensive effort isn’t going to make any
big difference even assuming that the carrier isn’t sunk pierside in the
opening shots. Clearly, rapid response
is not a good reason to have a carrier forward based. Japan
So, why do we have a carrier forward based? It makes no sense.
Now, just because a carrier is forward based in
doesn’t mean that it can’t be
pulled out to safety in the run up to a war.
Peer wars simply don’t start with no warning. However, if the plan is to pull the carrier
out prior to a war and if deterrence isn’t effective then why is it there to
begin with? Japan
There is also the problem of the social and political consequences in the region and world and even at home if our first action in a war with China is the vision of a American Carrier Running away.ReplyDelete
The Smart move for China would be to wait for the US to get its carrier back and sue for peace.
Thoughts on effectiveness of Aegis Ticos and Burkes with their SM-2/3/6s plus ESSM defending Ronald Reagan from IRBMs and air launched anti-ship and anti-radar missiles ?ReplyDelete
US carriers currently sail with only 3-4 escorts. Those will help, certainly, but if they have to face sustained attacks the outcome is poor.Delete
Further, if China initiates a war they will, presumably, begin with cruise/ballistic missiles all across Japan and will include the carrier and its escorts sitting pierside.
The one possible factor in favor the carrier's survival is Taiwan. Any war will start with the seizure of Taiwan and it could be that operation will consume so many resources that China may not go after the carrier as hard as they otherwise would, thereby allowing the carrier to escape as a lesser priority target.
China will, of course, attempt to isolate Japan politically and keep them out of the conflict but I'm dubious about the success of that effort given the level of historical animosity between the two countries. If Japan did remain neutral, that would eliminate the use of cruise/ballistic missiles against the carrier in port but it would also preclude the use of the carrier's aircraft/weapons inside Japanese territory. The carrier would either be consigned to staying in port or having to make a run for a friendly port.
I'm also sure that China would have pre-positioned a few subs just outside the carrier's port, waiting for it to put to sea at the onset of hostilities. Given that our ASW has atrophied, that too is a likely carrier sinking.
American ASW may quite well have atrophied, but the Japanese have been very serious on ASW and MCM since day one. If the Japanese are not neutral in a conflict with China, then any Chinese subs heading into ambush positions outside Yokosuka, Sasebo etc will be facing higher odds. Also, even if Japan is neutral, it doesn't necessarily mean that they'll allow Chinese subs into their waters to ambush 7th Fleet - that stretches the limits of neutrality a fair bit: it's pretty hard to argue you're a neutral party if you're letting Mao use your place to stage an attack on Uncle Sam.Delete
That said, Japan breaking with the US to join up with China would be a pretty unlikely state of affairs.
"even if Japan is neutral, it doesn't necessarily mean that they'll allow Chinese subs into their waters"Delete
You get that finding a submarine, even in your home waters, is a very hard thing to do, right? US subs routinely operated inside Soviet territorial waters. It wasn't because the Soviets allowed it, it was because subs are hard to find. Japan may not allow it but may not be able to find them.
Also, there's no need to be inside Japan's territorial waters. The starting point and path to safety are pretty well known. China could easily set up a picket line of subs to wait for the carrier to come to them.
"Japan breaking with the US to join up with China"
That's ridiculous. Who suggested that was going to happen?
Sure, but in the starting point you posited, the Chinese were going to be parking SSNs outside of Yokosuka, which isn't just 7th Fleet and TF 70's homeport, it's also one of the JMSDF's fleet bases. Regardless of chinese promises of neutrality, I find it quite unlikely that the Japanese would let them get so near to a clear shot at their fleet. Which means strongly worded diplomatic exchanges followed by increased ASW patrols - this is, afterall, the second largest operator of P-3s in the world, which structures its flotillas as ASW formations. (Admittedly I'm predisposed to distrusting China, so I have that bias there. :P)Delete
"Also, there's no need to be inside Japan's territorial waters. The starting point and path to safety are pretty well known. China could easily set up a picket line of subs to wait for the carrier to come to them."
Well now we're shifting the scenario somewhat... I mean, it's true that they could setup a picket line, but that would require a lot of moving around and prepositioning of assets, and the problem is that while subs are great at prosecuting contacts, they're not as great in the whole searching aspect.
That said, even with a Taiwan invasion scenario, I'm still not convinced China will try to go for a first strike all the way out to Yokosuka to hit TF 70 at anchor, not when a misguided missile risks collateral damage and drawing the Japanese into the fight. The whole point of the A2/AD strategy China has been pursuing is to be able to lock out the CSGs from the Taiwan Strait and Chinese waters. The conventional wisdom is that the best defense is a strong offense, but a defensive posture plays more to CHina's strengths, I feel: it's easier to mass tactical aircraft and warships near Chinese shores than it is to try and hit a CVN with ASBMs 1700km out (and ASBMs only work on stationary targets - they've never been demonstrated to work on a moving target.)
At the end of the day, Yokosuka is 1700 kilometers from Shanghai. Outside of submarines playing hide and seek the whole way to Tokyo bay, that means the only other weapons China has that can reliably target 7th Fleet _at anchor_ are the DF-21 and DF-26 ASBMs, and the problem with firing a massed ASBM salvo at Yokosuka is that it looks like you're firing a massed MRBM salvo at Tokyo (heck, an ASBM is literally an MRBM with a conventional high explosive warhead instead of nuke MIRVs!).
There's also the other issue that if China can make the US fire the first shots, they can spin that on the world stage. I'm reminded of how Singaporean warplans for war with Malaysia changed over the decades from a preemptive counter-invasion into Johor to fight the Malaysian invasion there, to hardening the northern end of Singapore to absorb an invasion - much easier to gain support for your war if you aren't the aggressor, and can portray yourself as the aggrieved victim.
"That's ridiculous. Who suggested that was going to happen?"
My reading of your posts suggested to me that you had this idea in the back of your mind, but only as a very far out possibility that was supremely unlikely, I was reinforcing the unlikeliness of that possibility.
"If Japan did remain neutral, that would eliminate the use of cruise/ballistic missiles against the carrier in port but it would also preclude the use of the carrier's aircraft/weapons inside Japanese territory."
Quite true, although given the distance between Japan and China, IMO Japanese neutrality precluding the CSG's use of weapons in Japanese waters is kind of a moot point, since the only weapon that has a hope of hitting China from Yokosuka is TLAM, and that's in a straight line as the crow flies (which also involves cutting through at least 7 Japanese prefectures, so that's probably not a viable option :V).
"I find it quite unlikely that the Japanese would let them get so near to a clear shot at their fleet."Delete
You need to come up to speed on sub vs. ASW. The sub has the overwhelming advantage. For sake of discussion, let's say the Japanese are the greatest ASW practitioners the universe has ever seen. That still leaves them at a significant disadvantage.
Every sub/ASW exercise ever conducted has shown that subs have significant advantages.
"My reading of your posts suggested to me that you had this idea in the back of your mind"Delete
Not even as a 0.000000001% chance. While you're welcome to attempt to read my mind, you'll be far better off, and far more accurate, to just read what's written.
"Every sub/ASW exercise ever conducted has shown that subs have significant advantages."Delete
Subs have significant advantages yes, it's quite true, but on the other hand they also have significant limitations of their own. The submarine's advantage is that it can operate irregardless of weather and it's very stealthy; the disadvantages are that it cannot absorb battle damage at all, its weapons are relatively short-ranged (a harbor ambush scenario means the SSN skipper can't use AShMs lest the missile lose lock and go after someone else), it's sensors are as short-ranged as its weapons, and it must trade speed for stealth, and to engage in an attack on American ships at/leaving harbor it's going to have to come to periscope depth and stick the scope up, and that's always been a vulnerable period for all subs.
But sure. Subs are invincible predators of the sea. They'll get through anything. But then if the advantage for the sub is so overwhelming, why then do you criticise the USN for neglecting ASW, if the sub is going to get through anyway? ;)
"While you're welcome to attempt to read my mind, you'll be far better off, and far more accurate, to just read what's written."
That may be so, but your wording was what planted that seed in my mind, particularly your comments below. You yourself consider it an unlikely thing come to pass, I'm just supporting you on that, but if you want to condescend on that feel free lmao. :p
"to engage in an attack on American ships at/leaving harbor it's going to have to come to periscope depth and stick the scope up,"Delete
You need to read up on modern submarine tactics. There is no need to conduct an optical attack and, in fact, that would be highly unlikely.
"weapons are relatively short-ranged "
Everything is relative! The standard Chinese Yu-6 torpedo has a reported range of 28 miles and a max speed of 65 kts. All in all, a quite adequate stand off weapon.
"Subs are invincible predators of the sea. They'll get through anything."Delete
No one but you has made that statement and it's an incorrect statement.
"if the advantage for the sub is so overwhelming, why then do you criticise the USN for neglecting ASW"
If you truly don't understand why we need ASW assets even if the advantage lies with the submarine then this blog is well beyond your grasp. I'm pretty sure you know the answer to this and you're just being argumentative which, again, makes this not the blog for you. You need to dial it back and engage in informative discussions and learning or move on. Your choice.
"You need to read up on modern submarine tactics. There is no need to conduct an optical attack and, in fact, that would be highly unlikely."Delete
That depends on how much trust the Chinese leadership has in Captain Chan to and his crew to correctly identify ships in crowded waters and only sink the American ships and not the Japanese ships. Remember, we're operating under a scenario where Japan is neutral - accidentally sinking Japanese ships in an attack on American ships is going to tip Japan away from that neutrality.
Trying to hit American military ships in congested waters is a lot different from hitting a CSG on the open seas where they're the only target.
Although really, as I said before, this scenario assumes that China is making the first strike on the carrier; I argue again that it doesn't need to make the first strike, because the investment its made into its A2/AD strategy allows it to better mass firepower the closer to its shore. Arguably, China's already capable of locking out the Taiwan Strait and preventing American ships from reaching Taiwan, and then there's also the argument that China doesn't need to invade and capture Taiwan, not when it has economic and military dominance over Taiwan can afford to play the long game, stoke pro-reunification sentiment on Taiwan, and eventually in a matter of decades quietly absorb Taiwan.
"No one but you has made that statement and it's an incorrect statement."
I'm using a rhethorical flourish here, but it's not that far removed from your opinion of "overwhelming advantage."
"I'm pretty sure you know the answer to this and you're just being argumentative which, again, makes this not the blog for you. You need to dial it back and engage in informative discussions and learning or move on. Your choice."
What you term as me being argumentative is me using the socratic method and debate to draw out your thinking and reasoning so that other readers can see the exchange of ideas and learn. Note the smileys. I'm being a lot friendlier to you than you think. :P
"That depends on how much trust the Chinese leadership has in Captain Chan to and his crew to correctly identify ships in crowded waters and only sink the American ships and not the Japanese ships."Delete
You have some serious misconceptions about submarines. Every ship has a unique acoustic signature. A submarine would have no trouble identifying a carrier by sound alone. An optical sighting is not required.
"You have some serious misconceptions about submarines. Every ship has a unique acoustic signature. A submarine would have no trouble identifying a carrier by sound alone. An optical sighting is not required."Delete
You know this, I know this, and Captain Chan knows this - but it's a question of whether the PRC leadership *trusts* that this is the case.
My point was that there may be more considerations in play than the purely military.
"rhethorical flourish ... socratic method"Delete
You and Socrates might be more effective to stick with straightforward, factual discussions. This blog is fact and logic based. Incorrect statements, however intended, will always be challenged. Keep it simple and to the point and you'll do well. Feel free to engage in speculation and opinion (I do it all the time!) but be sure to indicate it as such.
Okay, real talk time here: The average reader going through these comments is going to get confused, because you've been consistently arguing for greater ASW training and assets in the USN, but when they see you say that subs have an overwhelming advantage in ASW, they're going not reasonably wonder: "Wait, if the subs have an overwhelming advantage, if the ASW fleet as an overwhelming disadvantage, what's the point?"Delete
You and I know what the point is - they don't.
The way I see my presence here, it's to discuss, provide an intellectual challenge (iron sharpens iron, afterall), and at times act as an audience surrogate, asking the questions from their perspective. In future I'll be more direct about that - I forget you haven't known me as long as SB has.
However without some other action re basing the CV group would look kinda like a political capitulation.
Not going to happen but it seems to me for better deterrence of China. Built Soryu type subs or a lot Gotland type subs and base them in Japan permanently. In a couple years you could return the favor to China - have them pop up next to thier CVs.
"In a couple years you could return the favor to China - have them pop up next to thier CVs."Delete
I like that idea!
The forward deployment of this carrier is in my opinion no different than having the token force near the DMZ. Killing of American troops in a surprise attack will harden national resolve to fight. Traditionally as a nation the public eschews foreign entanglements. A PLAN attack against a carrier even if successful for their domestic audience would be temporary.ReplyDelete
Fundamentally the PLAN has local superiority in most aspects but not enough to force us out of the region decisively. Or for that matter to take Taiwan in a risky amphibious assault. Effectively they are in the same position of dominance WW2 Japan was in.
Worked right up until it didn't.
I would disagree a bit (after reading your link). A trip wire can be useful if it is sorry to say a small investment and acceptable risk.Delete
In the Gulf War for example, I think the (101st if I recall correctly) did its job. The US had really miss understood the situation and Iraq intentions. That being a fact, its arrival was a clear indicator of US intentions to Iraq. I mean if you want to play arm chair general sure I think Bush should dropped the house of Saud and offed to back Iraq+Kuwait if Hussein left OPEC. Would have been like having the Shah back in our corner. But I suppose that would be to cynical for the day.
In the case of the South China Sea, and limited number USN CVs even soon to be flying the not very useful F-35... losing one is not an acceptable risk. They should not be out there but in force.
Now maybe some aggressively stationed new Frigates assuming they a have a not suicidal lack of anti ship and anti air capability along with not ASW drill.
Honestly I am liking all the reporting on the Italian ASW FREMM that is shilling for the new frigate. Sure it is a mini- Burke (a common criticism but compared to the LCS a good baby step away from more ABs for all time). But it is still less expensive and a modern design. Buy enough to have them show up every time China pushes the Philippines around and make sailing through the Taiwan strain a regular event.
Again use Japan as a permanent base. It is vulnerable. But if I understand the nature of post WW2 treaties it can't really do the no overfly (NATO sometimes) or the New Zealand thing about nuclear armed ships etc.
In that same thought would hardening US bases in Japan not also send a message to China it terms of deterrence. Japan might like it but I suppose it force them to decide who they really want for a friend.
"hardening US bases in Japan"Delete
I'm not at all clear on US basing in Japan. I think most are "leases" and we may not have the freedom to modify (harden, per your suggestion) the bases significantly. Maybe you'd care to look into that further and tell us what you find?
"decide who they really want for a friend."Delete
I think Japan has made their decision about who their friend is and which way they lean. However, whether that translates to jumping into a China-US war on the side of the US is still an open question in my mind. I suspect they would but I'm nowhere near 100% certain.
"I am liking all the reporting on the Italian ASW FREMM"Delete
Bear in mind that unless you have access to actual performance testing data, all you're hearing is manufacturer's claims and those are always near-magical. It is an absolute certainty that FREMM (or any other frigate) has problems - we just don't know about them, yet. If we picked the FREMM and started testing it as we test our own ships we'd quickly find that it has problems. That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be a good ship on balance but we need to be wary of buying into manufacturer's claims - they never pan out.
"I think Japan has made their decision about who their friend is and which way they lean. However, whether that translates to jumping into a China-US war on the side of the US is still an open question in my mind. I suspect they would but I'm nowhere near 100% certain."Delete
Pretty much. Abe has been attempting to reform Article 9 of the Japanese constitution to include the right to collective self defense, meaning that any attack on US forces, as Japanese allies, would then draw in the JSDF into the war. Whether the public will actually go for it, is another matter entirely. That said, this will place constraints on any chinese attack on US Forces Japan - they'll have to be very careful to ensure that they only hit US forces only, something that's made tricker by how a lot of US forces in Japan are co-located with JSDF - Sasebo and Yokosuka, for example, house USN and JMSDF ships, and Misawa and Atsugi house a mix of USAF, USN, JASDF and JMSDF aircraft.
Well, that assumes that they want to keep Japan neutral; Chinese planners may well go, "Fuck it, they're gonna fight us anyway, might as well hit the Japanese at the same time."Delete
Small investment, acceptable risk - FOR WHAT?
You disagree a bit with the link because you refused to accept the central argument.
A very small force is no credible signal.
A small force is an attractive target.
A large force isn't a tripwire force any more.
The problem is that people are very optimistic and mistake instances in which there was no aggressive intent anyway as examples of successful deterrence tripwire force. This includes your Iraq example, where the 82nd didn't deter anyone because no-one meant to attack in the first place.
Japan is a substanstial base and force. The PRC would attack Japan in a war with the U.S. only if it would expect to neutralise Japan as base, which goes way beyond even their nuclear capabilities.
Even a 10% chance that Japan stays neutral is something that the Chinese would bet on.
"A very small force is no credible signal.Delete
A small force is an attractive target.
A large force isn't a tripwire force any more."
A tripwire force's primary value is the signaling of intent to escalate from a (presumably) strong adversary.
The 82nd was a speed bump, but it signaled to Saddam that the US was willing to put lives on the line to protect Saudi Arabia.
Without the 82nd there, pushing south only meant killing Saudis. With the 82nd, the world's only superpower was directly involved and there would be much more to follow.
At least that's the signaling.
Force Z was different. Yes, attacking Force Z meant bringing the country with one of the world's top navies into the war, but they were on the other side of the planet, and heavily engaged in their survival.
So a tripwire can quickly become an attractive target, if the threat of escalation diminishes.
"mistake instances in which there was no aggressive intent anyway as examples of successful deterrence tripwire force. This includes your Iraq example, where the 82nd didn't deter anyone because no-one meant to attack in the first place."Delete
We have no more idea that an attack would have occurred than that it wouldn't have. It's not possible to prove a non-event one way or the other.
"it signaled to Saddam that the US was willing to put lives on the line"Delete
Excellent recognition of the purpose and value of the concept. The question, of course, is whether it's worth the expenditure of the unit(s) involved.
@S O: That's my thinking too - in a srsface war Japan is as good as declaring for the US - but it really depends on the scenario and the situation and the local context. I'm not convinced Japan would willingly support the US in taking military action against China in a fight for Taiwan, particularly if the Chinese could manipulate the situation so that it's the US forces that fire the first shots against the Chinese.Delete
"In the Gulf War for example, I think the (101st if I recall correctly) did its job. The US had really miss understood the situation and Iraq intentions. That being a fact, its arrival was a clear indicator of US intentions to Iraq."Delete
An Iraqi armoured Brigade could have captured or killed the US advance force in an afternoon, the US would then have been faced with prosecuting a war that could have seen ten thousand captive soldiers executed as criminals, or surrendering.
Or Congress could have impeached Bush Snr and in an unrelated matter Sadam could have released the prisoners,
You didn't get the point. There's no signal necessary if there's no aggressive intent.
A small force is more of a coup de main prey than a deterrent if there's aggressive intent.
The pro tripwire folks keep ignoring things to make their stance look sound.
“An Iraqi armoured Brigade could have captured or killed the US advance force in an afternoon, the US would then have been faced with prosecuting a war that could have seen ten thousand captive soldiers executed as criminals, or surrendering.”
Iraqis killing American troops would’ve provided a casus belli for immediate and direct US involvement. No need for security council resolutions or coalition building.
Only 20/20 hindsight knows whether there was aggressive intent.
that doesn't matter.
There's practically nothing to be gained by tripwire forces. Their "success" is an illusion.
Mobilise all the rationality and calmness and objectivity that you can muster, draw a matrix of the different cases and the outcomes with my texts in mind.
You may see through the illusion.
success = no hostilities
failure + casus belli = hostilities, but unambigious national and international mandate for response
failure = hostilities, no clear mandate for response
No tripwire + no hostile intent = success
No tripwire + hostile intent = failure
Tripwire + no hostile intent = success
Tripwire + hostile intent + deterred = success
Tripwire + hostile intent + not deterred = falure + casus belli
You're neglecting the extra costs incurred when the tripwire force gets overwhelmed. You also avoided my point that tripwire forces can affect the probability of war counter-intuitively; they can make war more likely if they're a tasty coup de main target.Delete
Moreover, I don't consider a "casus belli" as again whatsoever. It's the failure to keep the peace, so the failure case is differing only by whether the tripwire force was destroyed or not.
I don't see how a small force added to the indigenous forces makes war more likely, unless the aggressor wants war with both nations anyway. Maybe I missed that part of your argument.Delete
Casus belli is integral to deterrence, especially tripwire deterrence. It has to play on the aggressor's fear of causing a wider conflict, especially against a superior foe. If the aggressor doesn't fear this, then this form of deterrence won't stop the conflict.
The US didn't intervene militarily in the Ukraine or Georgian conflicts with Russia, but what if a US brigade was on scene and attacked in either situation? We would not have just responded with strong language and sanctions if Americans were killed. The US public would have demanded a military response.
It's simple schoolyard game theory,
A bully may pick on a weaker kid, but if the weaker kid has a big brother, the bully may be deterred. If the bully picks on the kid anyway, the brother has casus belli to beat the tar out of the bully. Yes the kid might still get beat up, but so will the bully.
OTOH, the big brother might not step in to protect another, unrelated kid. No casus belli.
"tripwire forces ... can make war more likely if they're a tasty coup de main target."Delete
That's an interesting thought but I'm dubious. Can you think of any example where that has actually happened?
It's difficult to tell when war would not have happened, even in hindsight. We do know of historical tasty targets that enticed an aggression.Delete
1 The Danish fleet at Copenhagen
2 The proximity of Soviet read army and air force forces close to the border to the axis.
3 Pearl Harbour (taking out the Pacific Fleet's battleships was very central to Yamamoto's war plan)
Overall, it's about as difficult to find a case where tripwire forces clearly preserved the peace as it is to find a case where they (or otherwise exposed and very close forces) were considered more a target than respected as a force or signal.
About a Georgia example: There WERE American troops in Georgia, but they did NOT matter at all.Delete
A response beyond some petty cruise missile diplomacy was impossible in the South Ossetia conflict. Americans have issues coming to grips with such limitations, but the U.S. was powerless (that's the nice choice of words) in that conflict. Practically no relevant forces were able to arrive in time. Russia dominated the skies over Georgia - airlift was thus unbearably risky.
Erdogan's Turkey was the power that the Russians had to be concerned about, not the U.S..
Two things would have mattered;
1 contingency planning together with Turkey
2 to avoid the diplomatic blunder of letting Saakashvili believe he could attack Russians and get away with it because of magic White House toleration. He go that stupid idea because he provided auxiliary troops to one of the U.S.'s stupid small wars.
There was no US tripwire force in Georgia.Delete
I don't think any of your other examples were intended as tripwire forces either. (Danish forces, Soviet red army, Pearl Harbor)
Of course Pearl Harbor did propel the US into WWII (casus belli). So it acted as a tripwire, even if it wasn't meant to be one.
"targets that enticed an aggression."Delete
No. Your examples did not entice a war into being. Pearl Harbor, for example, was not why the Japanese started the war. It was merely a convenient initial target. The war was going to happen regardless. If Pearl Harbor had not existed, the war would simply have started somewhere else.
The same is true for the German attack on Russia (I assume that's what you're referring to). Hitler had made up his mind to do that regardless.
The British attack on the Copenhagen fleet was simply part of the larger war against Napoleon.
None of those example were the reason a war started.
To the best of my knowledge, there is not example in history to support your contention. There is nothing wrong with having your theory but recognize that there is no supporting historical evidence for it.
"There WERE American troops in Georgia"Delete
I'm not aware of any US combat troops having been in Georgia. Do you have a reference to support that?
CNO; I wrote American troops, not combat troops. Those trainers/advisers weren't exactly paper-pushers, though. Trainers/advisers were effectively part of their trainee combat formations in many other conflicts.Delete
You are likely wrong about Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto had a giant respect for the American war industry. The disabling of the Pacific Fleet was a precondition for the southward expansion, which was necessary for resources and for gaining a merchant marine big enough to at least cope with Japanese peacetime transportation demands.
A plausible war plan was a necessity for the IJN leadership to dare a war with the U.S. (and the Empire at the same time). A dovish IJN leadership would have prevented the war.
A Pacific Fleet safely moored in San Diego might have led to the Japanese compromising on their ambitions in China in exchange for access to foreign oil. I understand that's not quite the perspective that's being promoted in the U.S..
"not combat troops. Those trainers/advisers "Delete
A handful of advisers is hardly a tripwire force. You should probably drop this discussion at this point.
Similarly, your view of Japan's war with the US is equally wrong. Again, we've probably reached an end for this discussion.
Well, few people would call a CVBG at sea a "tripwire force" either, and people consider mere composite battalions in the Baltics (one per country) a tripwire force, so I suppose 127 trainers in Georgia were considered to be relevant in the tripwire role by the Georgian government. Their problem was that the Russian one disagreed.Delete
Regarding PH; I note that you quit without bringing forward arguments. You should feel invited to look at the history (especially Yamamoto's respect for U.S. industrial capacity after his time in the U.S.) from this angle.
The trainers in Georgia were never intended to fight, and thus are not a tripwire. The composite battalions in the Baltic’s are intended to fight, and thus are a tripwire.Delete
Everyone's made their points are we've probably reached the end of useful discussion on this. Let's end this thread and move on. Thanks.Delete
CNO, your conclusion is based on your supposition of 'there will be a US-China throw down'.ReplyDelete
Now, allow me for a moment (of another scenario). China thinks it can 'maneuver' to its goal (i.e. local pax-sinica) without a war (i.e. a big-2-accommodation). And one aspect of that is to prevent Japan from getting bend out of shape and nuke up, and what better way to have in situ US-mil presence sitting on Japan to accomplish two goals: no Japanese nukes, and to 'stabilize' Japan.
I don't think China will mind having US CBG in Japan indefinitely.
"Peer wars simply don’t start with no warning."ReplyDelete
Is that so? I thought that attack on Pearl Harbor was a total surprise. Perhaps today's historians think it could be expected.
Oh my goodness! You're way off on your history! There was nothing unexpected about the war with Japan. There was, in fact, a several year run up to the war. We even knew within a period of a few weeks when it would start. The exact date/time was not known but Pearl Harbor was the farthest thing from a total surprise.Delete
The US military spent some years developing the famous War Plan Orange which detailed the war with Japan, including the island hopping campaign.
Admiral Halsey issued his now famous Battle Order Number One which put Enterprise on a war footing TEN DAYS BEFORE PEARL HARBOR!
All commands were issued war warnings leading up to Pearl Harbor. Some commands, like Pearl Harbor, did not make good use of the warnings but they had them.
The fleet exercises were rehearsals for combat with Japan.
You really need to do some historical research!
The only real surprise to USN planners was that the Japanese would actually attack Pearl Harbor and sink battleship row, thus giving the USN the two things they needed for War Plan Orange to work: A clear cut causus belli to rally the American population, and 2 years to build up the fleet into a juggernaut that would steamroller the japanese with quality and quantity.Delete
USN planners always feared that the Japanese would avoid attacking the US, forcing the US to declare war on them, and that they'd have to do the Thruster plan and send the battlefleet out to fight the Japanese before the buildup was complete.
It's hard to imagine the US being as determined to defeat Japan without the rallying cry of "Remember Pearl Harbor!" Somehow, "remember Dutch Formosa!" doesn't have the same ring to it.
Very interesting. I will certainly read more about this matter.Delete
War Plan Orange is a very good starting point.Delete
Some in the Navy had been opposed to what amounted to forward-basing of the fleet at Pearl Harbor in mid-1940. There was some concern about it being vulnerable there and that it would be better to keep the battle fleet in San Diego. Admiral Richardson was replaced by Admiral Kimmel due to his opposition to the move.Delete
"Some in the Navy had been opposed to what amounted to forward-basing of the fleet at Pearl Harbor in mid-1940."Delete
In the short term it certainly proved disastrous. However, over the course of the war, Pearl Harbor proved absolutely vital as a forward base.
The best approach might have been to forward base the fleet at Pearl but do so with some intelligent defensive measures.
You've raised a fascinating historical point that is relevant today. What are your thoughts? Should we or shouldn't we be forward basing significant fleet assets?
A ship in port is easier to attack either pier side or when it is sailing out at the break of hostility. Hence it would make sense for the CBG to sail out if war clouds are in the horizon. With that said, sailing out of a port near chinese territory would entail China has more resources to maintain track of where the CBG is. Thus it woouw be more sense for the CBG.to be based in a Pacific base, thus when it sails inside the first island chain the Chinese would have to spread their resources to know where it is coming from.ReplyDelete
"Thus it woouw be more sense for the CBG.to be based in a Pacific base"Delete
A fair suggestion but the problem is we don't have many basing choices. Where would you suggest a carrier be based?
I assume the DF-21 is more then capable of hitting a carrier that's stationary and at a known location. This will leave us with 7 (or 8) carriers. I do believe China is planning on having 5 CVS of their own in service, by 2030.ReplyDelete
This is starting to look like a fair fight...
"This is starting to look like a fair fight..."Delete
You've summed up the problem. The longer we put off this fight, the more equal it becomes. If we wait long enough, the fight becomes unequal again but in favor of China.
We need to be aggressively confronting and containing China now while we have the military superiority to back it up.
'Fair fight for 6-7 carriers per side'?Delete
Strategically, from Chinese side, above does not make sense at all. It might be the scenario of IJN, where it (small resource poor home islands) depended on far-flung territories to sustain its military empire, thus necessitating it to strike out and check adversary from afar, hence 'Pearl Harbor' long distance strike force (of multi carriers cbg).
For China, it's a continent with adequate natural resource with connection to even richer resourced Russia. It makes perfect sense to leverage its continental air assets/missiles/whatnot to secure its home
water of 1500km. Also, it's a number game they can keep up (i.e. for every sinkable 2B US-Burke coming over, it can field 1000 missiles at 2M a pop, on unsinkable continental area of operation); a leveraged defense posture that make sense from every angle. Beside it don't make no sense having 6-7 carriers on each side slugging out in the A2AD zone (they be running out of space for all that war fighting)
The future Chinese CBGs are for post-accommodation show of force, a bet to preposition asset for China's own view of world's future.
"Strategically, from Chinese side, above does not make sense at all."Delete
The commenter was not making the literal point that the carriers of both sides would engage in an isolated matchup. He was making the point that China's overall military increases were eroding US advantage and beginning to produce an even overall matchup. The carrier numbers are one example of this trend.
I would personally expect China to go after every single US carrier on day one of the war.Delete
Likely using asymmetric warfare where possible. You can imagine what a 40' container loaded as a massive shaped-charge could do to a ship tied to a pier.
I would also expect shipyards capable of building/repairing carriers to be at the top of the target list.
We've discussed aspects of this. Check out this link.Delete
The Next Pearl Harbor - Shipyards
Interesting. I've seen the impact of losing a big gantry crane. It's forecast to take 2 years to fix as a new A-Frame has to come from Germany. Completely shut down a major Sawmill.Delete
If the Navy stops building Fords with the Enterprise, and begin building more Nimitz class ships, the cost saving will be about $4B per carrier. Replacing 7 Fords with 7 Nimitz's will cost ~ $28B less. If the Navy would follow CNO's recommendation and build 4 Kitty Hawk carriers and reduce the total number of Nuc carriers to 8, the savings will be ~ $48B. That buys a lot of airplanes! We could bring the number of Burkes up to 70, then build on a replacement basis as the flight 1s are retired.ReplyDelete
Rather than building big ships, DEs at about 1400 tons could quickly add ships to the fleet. At a cost of not more than $55 mil per ship and construction times of about 12 months, 5 or 6 shipyards could be building DEs concurrently. Three 5" 62s, one forward and two aft of the superstructure, a 4 cell NSM, a 21 cell SeaRam and 24 Longbow Hellfires for ordinance.
Take the same hull and remove the 2 aft 5" guns, one third of the power plant and the NSMs and replace them with 4 heavy torpedo tubes on the deck, first rate bow sonar, first rate towed sonar, and 240 sonobouys housed below the main deck and dispensed with air powered launchers with a range of ~60 ft. Your choice of torpedo defense, either ATT or RBU. With a top speed of 28 knots and working in groups of 4-5 this would be tuff nut for a submarine to crack.
We need 24 gunships with NSMs, and at least 35 of the ASW variant. total cost for 59 ships is $3.5B, less than the cost of 2 Burkes!
The ASW ships should be working near military bases, like Yokosuka, Guam, and Pearl Harbor. These DEs are relatively inexpensive and easily replaced. Losing several in combat will not be nearly as bad as losing one Burke.
I think we still have more money that we've saved. I would like to see mine sweepers and a few more support ships being built. This can be one over the next 5 or 6 years and not increase the shipbuilding costs. The DEs can be used independently or as task force, radar picket ships. With any luck, China will launch missiles at the DEs, reducing the numbers available for Carriers and Burkes. The ASW ships would be extremely well suited to the shallow waters near islands.
There's nothing wrong with your DE concept. I'm on board!Delete
I particularly like that you've identified base ASW patrol as a need.
"We need 24 gunships with NSMs, and at least 35 of the ASW variant."Delete
My impression is right now not all Burkes or Ticonderogas even carry a full load of harpoons.
The NSM is a real missile and in production and now on order. You can argue the sub sonic thing, but its far and away better then few harpoons the navy has to deploy and apparently does not in many cases. The recent sub launch was interesting. Use the recovered Harpoons to arm the SSNs.
For the cost of a couple Literately not a Combat Ships, the US could order a real stockpile of them and bolt them on to every ships that can carry harpoons and include the USGC NSCs as well.
Seems to me that would be a significant statement about Distributed Lethality and nod to near peer rivals.
Why not resurrect the Pegasus class with the NSM and a sea ram.
"Why not resurrect the Pegasus class with the NSM and a sea ram."Delete
I love the PHMs but the problem with the PHM now, as then, is basing. They are short ranged and we lack the forward basing to make them operationally effective. Where would you envision them operating and how would you support them.
Even if Japan isn't part of the hostilities, there is still significant Air Force and Navy forces in Japan and Korea to protect a carrier strike group. Destroyer Squadron 15 with its 8 Burkes is based in Japan. And, the Air Force has 4 fighter squadrons in Japan and 3 fighter squadrons in Korea.ReplyDelete
You need to understand the definition of neutrality. If Japan were to remain neutral, the US air forces based in Japan would not be allowed to fly combat missions. It would violate the very definition of neutrality. The same applies to Korea.Delete
If Japan and Korea were participants in the war then the AF bases would likely be under attack and fighting for their own lives and unable to provide cover for a fleeing carrier.
On the other hand, for those bases to come under attack from the Chinese mainland means MRBM salvos, and _that_ is the sort of thing that invites nuclear escalation...Delete
Indeed that factors into the vapor scare of the China's ballistic missile threat. Using them opens the door pretty wide for the US to think its looking at a not conventional strike.Delete
Politically the the threat is great. Its has the US spending like crazy to defend against a threat that China has never demonstrated against even an anchored barge. Committing ships to ballistic missile defense and not say to ASW warfare or surface warfare.
"for those bases to come under attack from the Chinese mainland means MRBM salvos, and _that_ is the sort of thing that invites nuclear escalation..."Delete
Here in the West, we go into absolute panic at the mere hint of nuclear war so why do you think China is engaged in full out production of ballistic missiles? Do you think they're only a bluff? Do you think China views nuclear war as a lot less disturbing and worrisome than the West does? Do you think they have faith that the West will see conventional ballistic missiles for what they are and not immediately escalate to nuclear war?
In other words, if you're a reasonable person and are so worried about nuclear escalation, why isn't China?
"Its has the US spending like crazy to defend against a threat that China has never demonstrated against even an anchored barge."Delete
While ballistic missiles have not been demonstrated against a moving target (a ship), no one doubts their effectiveness against a fixed target like Guam. The Navy is working on ballistic missile defense partly for ships but just as much or more for defending land bases.
"In other words, if you're a reasonable person and are so worried about nuclear escalation, why isn't China?"Delete
I dunno, they think differently, perhaps. :V
You talk about distinguishing between conventional and strategic ballistic missiles, but until the missile impacts you can't actually tell what the warhead is. The only difference between an ASBM and an MRBM is the warhead: in terms of everything else that is externally observable, they are the same missile, they have the same flight profile, the same launch mechanism.
My read is that the Chinese are taking advantage of Clinton shifting the US strategic posture from launch on warning to retaliatory attacks. Presumably they may think that the US will wait to see the missiles impact and conduct BDA before deciding to retaliate with nuclear fire. That might work if they're trying to do targeted attacks on American ships pierside at Yokosuka, Sasebo, or Guam. It's a different story if they're trying to shut down US airbases in Japan and Korea, because as the Syria Tomahawk strike showed, airbases are pretty hardy things with a lot of target points you need to service to keep them permanently out of commission, and the conventional warheads on DF-21 and DF-26 are at most what, 2000 lbs? The fastest way to shut down those airbases is going to be dropping nukes on them - _that_'s what gets you your nuclear retaliation.
The other thing to consider is that the Chinese may indeed have anticipated American nuclear retaliation if they nuke US airbases, but have made the judgement call that American retaliation will be discriminatory and in kind, and they may consider it worth it to lose several airbases of their own to retaliatory ICBM attack in order to take PACAF's bases off the table.
"I nuke you, you nuke me, but I've decided I can afford to eat your nukes, as painful as that may be."
You've summed up one of the key differences that the West refuses to recognize and that is that the Chinese do not have the same value system we do and do not think as we do. Until we recognize that we'll continue to miscalculate about them.Delete