Monday, May 18, 2020

Light Amphibious Warship Update

I just recently posted about the Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) requirements (see, "Berger's Amphibious Ships") as they relate to the mission and one of the postulated requirements was for significant self-defense capability because it appears the vessel will be operating alone.  I’ve now found additional information that indicates that the vessel will have no significant self-defense capability.  From the LAW Industry Day question and answer document, we see that the Navy has ruled out anything more than 25/30 mm machine guns.(1)

Q: To help with cost analysis, is there any way you can share the intended Government Furnished Material with Industry?

A: The Government intends to have a very limited amount of GFM: a small communications suite made up from existing programs of record (similar to a MK 6 Patrol boat), a 25mm or 30mm gun system, Global Positioning System (GPS), Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and crew served weapons (e.g. .50 caliber machine guns).

Q: Is there a requirement for weapons and armament?

A: Yes, two MK 46 (30mm GWS) with control station and gun mounts which can hold pintles for common crew served weapon systems in order to provide 360 degree defense.

Q: Has the Government discussed providing other major equipment (ie: shafts, props, etc.) as GFE?

A: No, the Navy is only considering C4I and weapon systems at this time. (1)

Also, there is no question that this vessel will be a mini-LST as opposed to a mini-well deck amphibious ship.

Q: Does LAW require a well deck?

A: No, LAW will not have a well deck. Open deck stowage is desirable/preferred.

The door has been slammed shut on the ability to transport tanks.

Q: What military onload/offload requirements must be accommodated?

A: Must be capable of onload/offload of all existing USMC Rolling Stock inventory (except M1A1 Abrams tanks), including Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR), RT240 (Rough Terrain Container Handler) carrying a 20-foot TEU, and 11m RHIB on trailer.

Given that the Marines are dropping tanks from their inventory, I guess this is at least logically consistent albeit stupid beyond belief.

The more I learn about this abortion, the more idiotic it sounds.  A small, unprotected, slow, non-stealthy vessel with little transport capacity is going to penetrate deep into enemy territory, undetected, and depost tiny groups of troops who will win the war.  This is truly some top-notch fantasy.  

I really don’t know what else to say.


(1)LAW Industry Day 04 MAR Q and A.pdf,


  1. I know you don't agree, but I still think the whole Marine Corps is being built around what they can get ashore from an LHA/LHD 25-50 miles offshore. And that means no tanks and no heavy artillery.

    If anything, it seems to me that the Marines should be heavy on those things. To me, their advantage should be the ability to bring a whole lot of mobile firepower to bear on a point in a hurry. You're talking about an MEU or 2,000 or so (or 3,000 if you go with may approach, but that adds tanks and artillery) on foreign soil. They have to punch way beyond their weight to be effective. That's not enough to do very much unless you give them a lot of firepower. So you have tanks and artillery and you support them with NGFS and carrier air, until they can handle their own artillery needs and can bring some CAS air ashore with them. I just don't understand what the heck the Marines are supposed to do. Nor, I think, do they. They're being forced into trying to find something to do with a force that is constrained by outside limits to be ill-suited for most any logical mission.

    But this boat doesn't fit with the whole amphib concept. We've gone with the 20 knot SOA as a primary requirement--that's how we got the Newport class 50 years ago. This boat obviously can't keep up with that, and it sounds too big to be carried in a well deck. So it has to sail on its own at 14 knots, probably needs some kind of escort. It just doesn't fit anything else we are doing. And not in a good way. There are plenty of things that need fixing about our current amphib CONOPS. But what is basically an overgrown LCU does not seem to be the most logical fix.

    1. "it seems to me that the Marines should be heavy on those things. To me, their advantage should be the ability to bring a whole lot of mobile firepower to bear on a point in a hurry. You're talking about an MEU or 2,000 or so (or 3,000 if you go with may approach, but that adds tanks and artillery) on foreign soil."

      What foreign soil, specifically, do you see this force being applied to?

      One of the problems with modern military observers/commenters is that they tend not to link theoretical capabilities to actual geography and politics. This is an example of that. Where, in a China war, do you see a force of 3000 Marines and tanks/artillery being able to usefully fight? The short answer is that there is no such place in any reasonable scenario. This is why I've concluded that we have no reasonable expectation of, or need for, amphibious assault.

      Those tiny island bases are 100% susceptible to a minor cruise missile attack because they're so small, so open, and so indefensible - which are exactly the reasons you wouldn't put your own troops ashore there. They'd be wiped out in turn, by China, in a cruise missile or ballistic missile attack.

      So, where does that leave us? Where else are you going to use 3000 troops and tanks/artillery? Some surrounding country in a proxy war? Maybe fight Vietnam all over again but this time against a proxy Chinese force? We'd have to be idiots to do that. Maybe re-invade a conquered Taiwan? You're not going to do that with 3000 troops! You'd need a Normandy size assault force to pull that off. Are we willing to do that to save a conquered Taiwan? I don't think so. So where, then? I'm not seeing any reasonable scenario for amphibious assaults.

      At this point, such discussions usually fall back on the generic 'you never know what might happen' argument and, of course, that can't be argued because anything is theoretically possible. Chinese troops may show up on the shores of Michigan but that's not a reasonable scenario to plan for. If we start planning for unreasonable scenarios then we instantly go broke because there is no amount of force sufficient to cover every 'what if' scenario.

    2. "...I still think the whole Marine Corps is being built around what they can get ashore from an LHA/LHD 25-50 miles offshore. " What system is the Corps currently working on that can accomplish the task above? None is the correct answer. They are divesting themselves of AAV's in favor of the wheeled ACV which cannot swim in the sea states that the current AAV can. It is meant to be carried to shore by LCAC/LCU.

      The only way the Corps can currently get troops ashore, and in the foreseeable future, from that distance is via helo. Not too good an option against an enemy with any sort of active air defense.

      And where did this 25-50 mile launch requirement come from? It is not like a fleet will be "hidden" at that range, and it is not out of the range of missiles or enhanced artillery at that range either.

    3. ComNavOps,
      "What foreign soil, specifically, do you see this force being applied to?"
      Not China, for sure. As it was with the Soviet Union, I think if we ever end up with a hot war with China, it's going to be hard to keep it from going nuke, and then we are all screwed. I think a very reasonable strategy is the same one we used with Russia. Contain their ambitions inside the First Island Chain and wait until the inherent deficiencies of communism cause their economy to come crashing down. If we can hold the First Island Chain, we can defeat them.
      I could very easily see a Cold War II with China, where we fight a few proxy wars but never engage head to head, and I see a lot of places where we might want to do an assault as part of a proxy war. I think you are focused almost entirely on a hot peer war with China, and I think that is one of those unreasonable and unlikely scenarios, albeit one that we have to prepare for because we absolutely could not afford to lose it.
      "This is why I've concluded that we have no reasonable expectation of, or need for, amphibious assault."
      That's what the Brits thought until Argentina grabbed the Falklands. A wise senior officer once explained to me, "What kind of war are we going to have to fight? The one we don't prepare for." I certainly do not want hot war with China to be the one we don’t prepare for, but I don’t think it can be the only one that we do prepare for, either. I think we have to prepare to fight and win that peer war, at the same time we prepare to fight and win any conflicts we might reasonably expect to encounter along the way.
      I agree that keeping a contingency force to handle every imaginable scenario is a good way to go broke, but I guess I just don't see the possibility of doing amphibious assaults as being as remote as you do. And if you maintain the ability to do amphibious assaults effectively, you implicitly maintain pretty strong capabilities in other areas, like your port seizure mission and the kinds of (don’t laugh) humanitarian missions that can be huge in developing allies and keeping them on our side.
      I don't think Chinese troops are going to show up on the shores of Lake Michigan, nor do I think we are going to launch a Normandy invasion to capture Shanghai or Hong Kong. But there are a lot of places that I could see us having a need to go in forcibly, and 3000 Marines with tanks and artillery, supported by adequate NGFS and CAS, could be enough either 1) to get it done, or 2) to secure a point of entry for a larger force.
      I've thought of a couple of other possible mission areas for the Marines:
      1) Taking a leaf from the Royal Marines, become a commando/special forces arm. Several writers (including, interestingly enough, Senator Schumer) have suggested that we need a substantially larger special forces arm, and the Marines could take that on.
      2) Take the lead in the counterinsurgency effort. Marines have kind of fought like guerrillas in several instances, and like guerrillas they are constantly working with less than ideal equipment, so maybe they can figure out how to do counterinsurgency better than our current basically clueless approach. One thing, obviously, is that we need a rethink of our ROEs in such situations, but developing a doctrine that included a more rational and logical basis for establishing ROEs would be a useful contribution.
      Neither of those necessarily involve amphibious operations, although either could incorporate amphib at some point.
      As I said above, I still think the Corps is going to struggle to find a mission as long as it is constrained to doing operations can be carried on from an LHA/LHD 25-50 miles offshore.

    4. "we fight a few proxy wars but never engage head to head … I think you are focused almost entirely on a hot peer war with China,"

      I'm focused on a peer war because it's the military's main mission. I am absolutely NOT focused on a proxy war. We are all products of our times and I grew up observing our various proxy wars going back to Vietnam and have concluded that none served any great purpose. Short of China invading Canada to start a proxy war, I don't see any value or wisdom in getting into any proxy war. I had dinner with History last night and he seemed to agree with me.

      " I think we have to prepare to fight and win that peer war, at the same time we prepare to fight and win any conflicts"

      If we are prepared for a peer war then all other conflicts are just subsets and we'll be fine.

      "become a commando/special forces arm. … Take the lead in the counterinsurgency effort."

      I'll buy into that when anyone can show me any historical example of counterinsurgency ever working.

      "That's what the Brits thought until Argentina grabbed the Falklands."

      That was Britain's fault, in terms of preparation. They were occupying territory long claimed by Argentina. I make no judgement about the merits of the conflicting claims. I merely note their existence. If they did not anticipate the possibility of a conflict then they were foolish. Occupying territory claimed by another country is kind of like, well ... the definition of a potential conflict!

    5. "If we are prepared for a peer war then all other conflicts are just subsets and we'll be fine."

      I think that's a fallacy, and one we fall into easily. We can nuke the world and end civilization, therefore why do we need any other capability.

      If all we want to prepare for is a peer war with China, then build nothing but missile submarines, because that's the only thing that is apt to be useful in a peer war. Unfortunately, they are pretty much useless for anything else. Aircraft carriers are potentially of little use in a peer war because of their likelihood of being found and destroyed early on. But they can have great utility in doing the kinds of things that can help us avoid a peer war.

      "I'll buy into that when anyone can show me any historical example of counterinsurgency ever working."

      Is that because counterinsurgency is inherently unwindable, or is it because our approach has always been absurdly stupid? I think there's at least a fair chance that it's the second. My thought is to have the Marines take a shot at it and see if they can figure out a way to do it right. Nobody else has, maybe they can.

      In the post-Cold-War world, rogue nations and rogue terrorist organizations are both major threats. Counterinsurgency would be a useful tool to have to deal with them. But we have to figure out how to do it first.

      If we had a force that actually knew how to do counterinsurgency, and also special ops, and we could haul them pretty much anywhere in the world with amphibs, then we would have something useful.

      "That was Britain's fault, in terms of preparation."

      And a large part of their poor preparation was failing to have an adequate power projection capability. They were in the process of restructuring the Royal Navy as an ASW force in the GIUK Gap. If Argentina had only waited six months, they'd be Las Malvinas today, because the Brits would have had zero capability to take them back. Fearless, Intrepid, and Hermes would all have been razor blades, and Invincible would have been in Australia, and without them no response would have been possible.

      I think we make a huge mistake to couch everything in terms of a peer war with China, which very likely will never happen.

    6. “…I still think the whole Marine Corps is being built around what they can get ashore from an LHA/LHD 25-50 miles offshore. And that means no tanks and no heavy artillery.”

      This is true, but it also excludes the USMC from being a factor in high intensity peer combat, which in turn begs the question of why the nation needs a very, very expensive force of 180,000 Marines.

      The argument in favor of ‘small wars’ is ludicrous – these are always ‘wars of choice’ for external powers, and while counter insurgency does require combat, a more basic requirement is for specialized language training, something the Corps will never commit to by the tens of thousands that might be needed.

      BTW, the Green Berets pretty much defined the unconventional warfare (UW), foreign internal defense (FID), and counter-insurgency (COIN) mission sets and even with generous funding and selection of cream of the crop NCOs, they struggle to meet their own language requirements.


    7. “I'll buy into that when anyone can show me any historical example of counterinsurgency ever working.”

      Malaya, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru…

      That said, the list of failed COIN is spectacular – generally because most insurgencies are sparked by some combination of failure of Rule of Law and or legitimacy of government; neither are something that militaries are particularly good at fixing.


    8. "Green Berets"

      I would also suggest that they have not proven successful. In fact, I'm unaware of any counter-insurgency effort by anyone that has ever been successful using methods that we would approve of. Yes, you can ruthlessly subjugate a population to quash an insurgency but that's not a method we would find acceptable.

      Given the poor track record of counter-insurgency, why are we still so enamored of it? At the very least, we need to drastically rethink our approach and methods.

      "which in turn begs the question of why the nation needs a very, very expensive force of 180,000 Marines."

      Ding, ding, ding!!! We have a winner! Absolutely, laser-focus, spot on and I'm waiting for the new Commandant to explain this.

    9. "I would also suggest that they [Green Berets] have not proven successful…”

      Are you saying the Green Beanies are not successful or their efforts at COIN have not worked? Criteria? Why was El Salvador not a success? Colombia? The Brits certainly regard the e Malayan Emergency as a success.

      “Given the poor track record of counter-insurgency, why are we still so enamored of it? At the very least, we need to drastically rethink our approach and methods.”

      Ask Christiane Amanpour!

      Seriously, the national preoccupation with ‘small wars’ is symptomatic of: 1) the rise of the ‘imperial presidency’ and the voluntary cessation of Congressional power (possibly due to structural changes in the Senate, which used to be a means for the States to check Congress), 2) hubris or the assumption that the government can and should act externally – facilitated by an unproductive group think in the media and at all levels of national government; 3) the 24-hour news cycle, which punishes deliberation as weakness, and overlooks acting for the inevitable problems of rash action with collective memories limited to sometimes only days.


    10. The second part of the sentence was, "using methods that we would approve of."

      El Salvador - From a book review:

      "Brian D’Haeseleer argues in The Salvadoran Crucible, the US counterinsurgency in El Salvador produced no more than a stalemate, and in the process inflicted tremendous suffering on Salvadorans for a limited amount of foreign policy gains. …

      El Salvador’s achievements, mainly the spread of democracy, occurred as a result not of the American intervention but of the insurgents’ war against the state."

      From, "Counterinsurgency in El Salvador" by Peceny and Stanley,

      "The FAES killed tens of thousands of non-combatants in 1979 and 1980, before the civil war even began. This repression may have preempted an incipient popular insurrection, but it also locked in a determined social base that enabled the armed left to build a highly effective and sustained insurgency. In 1984, the U.S. had to save the FAES from likely defeat through a major increase in military aid, especially airpower. When the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) switched to a classical guerrilla strategy, the FAES, despite considerable U.S. aid, seldom followed best practices in counterinsurgency. Democratization and redistributional reforms were partial and flawed in implementation. The war settled into a stalemate that would likely have continued indefinitely had it not been for the collapse of the socialist bloc and significant changes in the interests of Salvadoran elites that were largely incidental to U.S. policies."

      The US supported and enabled brutality on a horrific scale - not a model or method we would allow today.

    11. “The US supported and enabled brutality on a horrific scale - not a model or method we would allow today.”


      The USA achieved its goal of stopping a Soviet funded insurgency and helped create a stable democracy at the cost of a handful of U.S. troops.

      Would a victorious Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front victory have led to freedom, competent governance, or cessation of violence – the experience of Nicaragua suggests not.

      The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front gave up its arms and became a legitimate political party, the military junta ended, and the army was professionally reformed, purging or jailing its worst offenders (the Salvadoran contingent to Iraq outperformed some European armies…), and the creation of a professional national police force that remains significantly more professional and less corrupt compared to other nations in the region (and yes I lived and worked in most of them).

      Certainly the military junta was brutal, so were the Marxists – these combatants were engaged in an orgy of violence going back to the massacres of the 1930s that was the pattern of conflict created by the two sides, not the USA.

      Perfect result – hardly! Nonetheless, conflicts should be judged on outcomes and compared to similar conflicts (e.g. Honduras, Nicaragua, etc.) – on that basis El Salvador was a success and it is not clear that the there was a better path to resolving the conflict.


    12. "Certainly the military junta was brutal, so were the Marxists"

      This encompasses two of my points - both related.

      1. The means and methods were abhorrent to us today - or, at any time. Therefore, the model is not useable today. Heck, we go out of our way to avoid collateral damage to buildings. I can't see us willfully engaging in murder, assassination, and brutality on the required scale.

      2. Our methods need to be re-evaluated. If ruthless suppression is the only method ever demonstrated to work, then we either have to acknowledge that it can't be done by any method acceptable to us or we have to come up with a completely different model and I have no idea what that would be.

      I have a third, also related, point and that is that we have to have a self-conversation about our goals versus our methods. Do the ends justify the means? If our political goals are important enough then do we consider brutality and murder to achieve those goals? If so, we have to admit it and live with it.

      This goes back to a favorite topic of ours - the tendency to jump into every conflict that comes along. How many of the counterinsurgencies that we've jumped into were truly existential threats to us? How many should we have jumped into, if any? If we don't jump in, are we prepared to live with the consequences because there are consequences to both action and inaction.

    13. "This goes back to a favorite topic of ours - the tendency to jump into every conflict that comes along. How many of the counterinsurgencies that we've jumped into were truly existential threats to us? How many should we have jumped into, if any? If we don't jump in, are we prepared to live with the consequences because there are consequences to both action and inaction."

      The founding fathers were smart and wise - they were pretty clear about vesting the power to declare war in the Congress.

      The advent of ICBMs aside, I think we lose a lot every time we treat interventions as less than act of war, including a chance to review those pesky concepts: method, purpose, and end state..

      There is an old story in Latino diplomatic circles about about an elephant in the bath with a bunch of mice: everyone enjoys the water spraying about *until* the elephant rolls over... Regime change may sound good to the elephant, but it is catastrophic for the mice.

    14. All these discussions keep coming back to the core question...what is the role for the USMC going forward, if any?

      The answer to this doesn't seem to be anything that the marines are talking about now.

      If I'm going to look at the future of the marines, I look at it from a big picture standpoint.

      The American military needs to have the ability to fight at sea, in the air, in space, and on the ground.

      The marines fit into this ground portion, and any responsibilities that they assume will be at the expense of the US Army.

      Is it worth it to basically create two armies?

      Probably, as long as they both provide something of value. What the marines can bring is the ability to perform an amphibious entry into territory that the US and its allies do not currently control.

      I think that their are real possibilities for amphibious operations in the future. And even if no amphibious operation takes place, the mere threat of it can force an enemy to dissipate their forces to defend against the possibility of such an attack.

      But to be recognized as a threat, the enemy must see it both as possible and as a real threat.

      This means that the navy must have a plan to get up close and in person to service an amphibious assault. And they must have the means, with the ability to provide devastating naval gunfire support.

      And the marines must have the heavy equipment like armor and artillery to win ground warfare fights as they push inland and carry their part of the land battle alongside, or in lieu of, the army.

      While it's hard to conceive of an amphibious landing being done into mainland China or Taiwan, it is not inconceivable to envision an amphibious assault into the Philippines, Korea, the Malay peninsula, or heaven forbid to liberate Okinawa.

      Having the legitimate capability would cause an enemy to plan and defend against the possibility.

      I could see allocating some of the military's ground force capability towards this end.

  2. I wonder if this a ploy to move in on the Army's LCU watercraft missions. Budget slice wars and all of that.

    1. Funny how the Army is trying to divest themselves of all their watercraft.

  3. I thought maybe Berger was going to come with some kind of new LAW concept but it sounds like just a regular LST....At this point, what the heck do we need USMC for?!? What do they bring to the fight that is so unique?

    1. "What do they bring to the fight that is so unique?"


    2. Here is a photo of the concept, aka Normandy beachhead.

    3. That's what a real assault looks, that's 180 degrees from what USMC has in mind.

    4. "That's what a real assault looks"

      Let's be crystal clear about that photo. That's what a real assault FOLLOW-ON REINFORCEMENT AND RESUPPLY EFFORT looks like. At that point, when it's safe enough for LSTs to land, the beach has already been secured.

    5. This is exactly what the USMC now wants. LSTs can and should hit the beach first, and they can carry heavy tanks. They are much more survivable against shore fire than LCUs and LCACs. They did so at Leyte and Salerno and 88 LSTs hit the beach under fire at Iwo and none were lost. Without explosive missiles and aviation fuel aboard, LSTs are difficult to sink and are beaching themselves anyway.

    6. "This is exactly what the USMC now wants."

      No, this appears to be what YOU want. To the best of my knowledge, there is no Marine document supporting your statement. If you know of something, please offer a link or reference.

      "LSTs can and should hit the beach first,"

      Again, no, this is your philosophy, not the military's.

      "88 LSTs hit the beach under fire at Iwo"

      I'm unaware of any LSTs in the initial assault wave at Iwo Jima. In fact, aerial photos of the initial wave clearly show no LSTs.

  4. Armed with only pair of 25/30 mm cannons, why is this still called a Light Amphibious Warship (LAW). Light Amphibious Patrol Boat is a more appropriate name.

    1. Littoral ?COMBAT? Ship

      Light Amphibious ?WARSHIP?

      I see a trend of inserting nonsense words into ship descriptions!

    2. The words themselves aren't nonsense. The fact that they're used to describe ships that would fair poorly in combat/war is nonsense.

  5. Why did you invent this part: "is going to penetrate deep into enemy territory, undetected..."?

    These will operate in large groups as part of an amphibious task force escorted by frigates and destroyers and then by Mark V patrol boats and attack helicopters as they near shore.

    1. The description of lone transports is straight from the Commandant's description of small dispersed units operating deep inside enemy waters.

      Where have you ever heard a description of LAWs operating as you describe? I follow this pretty closely and I haven't come across that. Give me a link.

  6. Why are they not using the EPFs they already have. According to the Navies own web site, they are littoral, can used damage or crude port facilities, have a top speed of 35 kts, can carry 600 tons of cargo (including M1 tanks), or 350 troops, and also have a flight deck. Was reading on SNAFU yesterday where the US military wargamed a war with China. They didnt like the results, it was a major ass whipping (for us).

    1. those would at least make sense, and upscaling them in size could do alot more. The plan Berger has is not going to get off the ground. Reconfiguring his amphibs for more air services in order to do island to island "snatches" of troops, you know, right before the island gets crushed and overwhelmed by screaming Chinese, may at least get mobility via the air element of Marines. But the other method seems to be he will be invading with a company or three of Marines or frankly, he's leaving them on islands to die in pockets. He won't need 170k in the force if that is the plan.

    2. "mobility via the air element of Marines."

      Where would these aircraft operate from? An LHA/LHD operating anywhere near enemy territory is going to attract a LOT of attention - you know, the sinking kind of attention. Helos and MV-22s don't have the combat range to stand off any great distance and travel to an isolated island inside enemy waters, snatch up troops, and relocate them. They also don't have the stealth to do so undetected and when detected they have no air-to-air defensive capability.

    3. "major ass whipping (for us)."

      I saw that, too, but I consider an unconfirmed rumor based on an unknown model of wargame. I find that these kinds of second hand reports are inevitably inaccurate to a large extent.

  7. When Berger is out, can we go back to a real plan?

  8. The Corps' current landing craft are LCUs and LCACs. The commandant proposes something larger (LAW) that can self-deploy, carry far more, and absorb shore fire and anti-tank missiles without sinking. LAWs are a major improvement. These are landing craft to clear the landing area and not ships to carry an invasion force that follows.

    1. "LAWs are a major improvement."

      I'm hard pressed to think of a less survivable landing craft in an opposed landing. LSTs in WWII were reserved for follow-on reinforcement and supply precisely because they were not survivable. Has something fundamentally changed other than the enemy's defensive fire getting more accurate and powerful?

    2. "absorb shore fire and anti-tank missiles without sinking."

      That is some major league fantasy thinking! Be honest, you work in the Commandant's office, right?

      Just out of curiosity, what kind of shape will the troops who are packed into a LAW be in after 'absorbing' shore fire and missiles?

      Forget the office, are you the Commandant?

    3. Makes no sense, the whole premise Berger is using is that landings are unopposed. If the bad guys are firing at the LAWs, they obviously know USMC is coming and there goes your LO landing and operations. That's the whole point, China's not supposed to know your coming!!! LAW will not have superior battle damage to a LST. There's no reason for it!

    4. The US Navy only lost 26 LSTs to enemy action out of 1051 constructed during World War II. None were lost to shore fire, but subs or aircraft that ignited fuel drums that some were tasked to transport.

      Read this excellent report on LST damage during World War II,%20313,%20340,%20387,%20448/46%20LST%20Report%20to%207Dec43.pdf

    5. LSTs hit the beach first at Salerno and were hit often but none sunk. They hit the beach first at Leyte and 88 hit the beach under fire at Iwo and none were lost. They were so valuable for basic resupply since they don't need ports or piers that commanders were hesitant to risk them to direct fire. The water pumps use for beaching provide great damage control.

      Here is video of an LST at a SINKEXE

    6. LSTs were used in beach assaults at various times throughout the war.
      Not so much at Normandy, but in the Mediterranean and Pacific wars. it happened quite frequently.

    7. "The US Navy only lost 26 LSTs to enemy action out of 1051"

      This is a non-sequitur for multiple reasons. All 1051 LSTs did not see combat. I suspect, in fact, that the majority did not. That being the case, they would have had no opportunity to be sunk. Further, the LSTs that were committed to opposed landings were protected by escorts and were not, generally, used until the beaches had been secured. Thus, again, they would have had little opportunity to be damaged.

      Do not confuse results with causality.

      I have a copy of the LST report and it is, indeed, excellent and informative. The general conclusion it draws is that LSTs were surprisingly rugged GIVEN THEIR LIGHT CONSTRUCTION. Some speculation in the report suggested that extensive compartmentation might have aided LST survivability but that would have been specific to the WWII LST design and, given modern design philosophies, I fear would be unlikely to be repeated in a modern LST. There was nothing to suggest that anything about LSTs was inherently super-survivable.

    8. "LSTs were used in beach assaults at various times throughout the war."

      They were used extensively in follow-on reinforcement and resupply but not, generally, in initial assault waves. I've been looking for reference material on their use and have found little beyond the generic statements about their follow-on usage. Europe seemed to use them in initial assaults more than the Pacific. If you have any references, please let me know.

    9. LSTs were often used to carry the initial assault waves of LVTs.

    10. "LSTs were often used to carry the initial assault waves of LVTs."

      If you'd like to offer a contrary statement, please provide some supporting documentation.


      "Differences in ship design necessitated a complex procedure for embarkation of troops into the LVTs. Troop transports were deep draft vessels and were equipped to carry only the LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle,Personnel), the standard landing boat with bow ramp. LVTs were too
      heavy to be carried by the lifting arms of the troop transports, so they were carried to the area by LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) which were seagoing shallow draft vessels with large bow doors and ramps designed to permit
      beaching. Due to their shallow draft, the LSTs were capable of stationing themselves much closer to the line of departure in the shallow waters.
      This procedure was desirable because LVTs were slow and long runs to the line of departure invited increased mechanical failures."

      "Dawn of D-Day found the LSTs opening their huge bow doors and lowering their ramps into the sea. The LVTs rumbled out and wallowed into the ocean to move to rendezvous points to receive troops. "

      "LSTs were ordered to discharge LVTs inside the lagoon to lessen the distance the tractors would have to travel to the line of departure, and troops were to be brought to the LSTs for transfer to the amphibians rather than
      the difficult transfer between the small LCVPs and the tractors."

      "There was considerably less shuffling of troops to load LVTs than previously in the Marshalls because during the staging at Eniwetok, six days earlier, assault troops had been transferred to the LSTs carrying the LVTs that
      were to land them. "

    12. Being somewhere in the vicinity of the line of departure is not landing on the beach. Let me know if you find any discussion of actual initial assault wave landings.

    13. I never said they landed on the beach in the initial waves. They carried the initial waves of LVTs and launched them. They weren’t just used for follow-on forces.

    14. With the Newports, we had a stern ramp, unlike previous LSTs (maybe there was one good thing about them) so we discharged the LVTs out the stern as we sailed along the LOD. They would be Wave 1. We withdrew further offshore in the AOA, usually anchored, and returned to beach after the initial waves.

    15. At Lae, the initial assault waves were a combination of LSIs, APDs and LSTs.
      LSIs and APDs were commonly used than LSTs in assault waves.
      LSTs were used primarily as you say, for the following waves of the assault. Having said that, that didn't mean unopposed. LSTs landed under fire many times. They were often under air attack in landings too.

      But I don't want to get into a pointless debate. The primary role of LSTs was to follow the initial waves and to carry reinforcements, supplies, vehicles and stores to an established beachhead. No argument there.

      These new LAW ships sound more like LSIs than LSTs, though I guess they could be anything since they exist only paper.
      But if the specs proffered are correct, they only carry 75 troops. I presume also quite a few vehicles. LSTs carried hundreds of troops and many vehicles and were closer to 400 foot long, the maximum length of the proposed LAW.
      An LSI on the other hand was under 200ft and carried a lot less.

      Regardless, in most amphibious assaults there were also dozens of smaller landing craft of various sizes, and you're right that the LSTs was usually not intended to be in the first wave (though it happened occasionally).

      ADPs were larger ships that were commonly used in first waves. in the Pacific. These were converted from older detroyers, but were quite heavily armed and armoured given their function and so were committed to initial waves.

    16. "initial assault waves"

      One of the things we neglect in amphibious discussions and one of the things that allowed any unarmed, unarmored landing craft (Higgins boat, LST, or whatever) to succeed was a massive suppressive fire from battleships and cruisers during the initial assault wave. This had the effect of keeping the enemy's head down and making any return fire minimal and ineffective. We utterly lack that now. The enemy will be able to sit back and leisurely pick their targets. Until we get some effective naval gun support, I can't see any opposed landing succeeding.

    17. With the Newports, you definitely would not want to go to the beach while it was still under enemy fire. The operating station for the bow ramp, out at the end of the derrick arms, was totally exposed, and if you tried beaching under enemy fire, you'd end up with a dead 1st Lt. That was also reflected in the fact that the 2 twin 3-inch mounts could not even train forward, because the pilot house was in the way. The Newports were obviously designed strictly for beaching after the beachhead was secured. They would drop LVTs off along the LOD, using the stern ramp, and then pull back to wait to go ashore when the beachhead was secure. If something off the LST was needed on the beach before the beachhead was secure, they'd send an LCU out to pick it up from the LST via the stern ramp.

    18. I agree, suppressive fire was obviously a major feature of assault landings. The scale varied depending on the situation of course, and sometimes destroyers close in did a more important job than cruisers and battleships, that were firing at range, usually suppressing areas further back from the actual beach head. Close in destroyer support was crucial in Sicily, Anzio and throughout the New Guinea campaign for example.
      They were able to provide much more direct fire at very specific targets with coordination from the assaulting troops, sometime over open sites.
      Of course in most cases, both forms of suppressive fire were utilised.

      In a modern amphibious assault scenario the same basic requirement would exist, a long with the need to establish localised air superiority.

      In addition some reliable means of suppressing batteries of anti-ship missiles would be required, and at significant range from the actual beachhead. This is a subject that deserves serious attention, unless we are to abandon the concept of amphibious assault altogether (which I don't agree with - without the ability physically seize real estate, no Pacific War will likely ever reach a decisive conclusion in my opinion).

    19. "sometimes destroyers close in did a more important job than cruisers and battleships,"

      An incredibly important aspect of destroyer gun support was the fact that WWII destroyers had up to five 5" guns per ship versus the single gun on a Burke. So, each WWII destroyer was up to five times more effective at fire support!

      Additionally, WWII destroyers had a degree of armor protection which helped mitigate damage from enemy return fire.

      "means of suppressing batteries of anti-ship missiles would be required"

      Few people realize that the original concept for the LCS envisioned missile counter-battery fire capability. This capability was dropped from requirements as the LCS was being designed. Tragically, I view this lost capability as the cornerstone of an effective LCS concept.

    20. "without the ability physically seize real estate, no Pacific War will likely ever reach a decisive conclusion in my opinion"

      Really? What specific territory do you see needing to be seized? Unless China does a Japan and takes over islands all over the Pacific, there won't be any need for any assaults.

      The various artificial islands can be eliminated quickly with cruise missiles. We're not going to invade mainland China. What does that leave?

      People constantly talk about generic amphibious assault but no one can ever give me a specific target. Reseizing Taiwan is the only semi-possible assault I can foresee and I don't really think the US will fight for Taiwan after it has fallen.

    21. Well it would of course completely depend on the nature of such a conflict. It's a difficult question to answer, because it would depend on the course of the war. There are literally thousands of islands in the Pacific that could be potentially relevant in a Pacific War.
      Taiwan is the obvious example, but there are many other potentialities, like the Senkakus, some of the Spratleys, the Pratas islands as realistic objectives for US or allied forces.
      The Chinese certainly think amphibious warfare is still relevant, and would almost certainly launch a series of assaults on some of the above listed islands, as well as the Matsu, Wuqiu, Kinmen and Penghu island chains as a prelude or follow up to a full scale amphibious assault on Taiwan itself.

      Wars are extensions of the political. China's most likely and obvious motivations for war are territorial and centred on physical seizure of island chains and the surrounding waters.

      Those seizures will not be dislodged by barrages of cruise missiles alone.

    22. "An incredibly important aspect of destroyer gun support was the fact that WWII destroyers had up to five 5" guns per ship versus the single gun on a Burke. So, each WWII destroyer was up to five times more effective at fire support!

      Additionally, WWII destroyers had a degree of armor protection which helped mitigate damage from enemy return fire."


      "Few people realize that the original concept for the LCS envisioned missile counter-battery fire capability. This capability was dropped from requirements as the LCS was being designed. Tragically, I view this lost capability as the cornerstone of an effective LCS concept."

      I had heard about that. The streetfighter concept?
      It's actually quite bizarre how far from that original concept the LCS ended up being.

    23. "The streetfighter concept?"

      Interestingly, no. The original concept had nothing to do with the streetfighter concept. That was a separate concept though it had some similarities. Here is the post I did on the original LCS concept: LCS Origins

    24. "Well it would of course completely depend on the nature of such a conflict."

      Of course! This is where the US military (and Australia, too, hopefully!) needs to be anticipating and planning the course of a war with China. We need the modern equivalent of War Plan Orange. Unfortunately, I see zero evidence that we've explored such a thing. I've put more thought into it than the US military, as far as I can tell. I've actually put a fair amount of thought into it.

      It's not quite the 'could be anything' situation that you suggest. With some careful thought about China's resources, needs, strength, demonstrated actions, announced desires, etc. it's possible to formulate a fairly detailed and likely course of war. Hint: those islands you mention either serve no significant purpose in war or they are extremely unlikely to be occupied by China for a variety of reasons.

      So, the task for a thoughtful observer, such as yourself, is to think through, from China's perspective, what they actually want and will go to war for and then what the responses of the rest of the world would be and how that would affect the course of a war. For example, Japan isn't going to allow China to seize any island they deem theirs or that they deem militarily critical to their security so that rules out some islands. And so on. Once you begin to think it through, the options narrow quickly.

      The biggest unknown is what will trigger the US to enter a war because that will determine how far China has advanced their regional annexation program. At the moment the US policy (and Australia) is almost pure appeasement. That's beginning to change but not fast enough and not broadly enough although China did itself a world (no pun intended) of hurt with this virus episode.

    25. "The Chinese certainly think amphibious warfare is still relevant,"

      The Chinese see amphibious warfare not as a tool for peer war with the US (there's nothing we own that they want at this time) but as a tool for their regional expansion. For example, they anticipate needing amphibious warfare for use against Vietnam, Philippines (if they can't peacefully annex it which they're in the process of doing), and the like.

    26. Interesting on LCS. I had read some of that stuff before, but I guess. I conflated it all with "streetfighter" in my head.
      Too many cooks in the kitchen it sounds like.
      WhatI find most fascinating about the article is the concept of an anti-ship missile counter battery function - it seems to me that this is the primary threat to a modern amphibious assault. That. something along the lines of ships and aircraft preforming a counter-battery/wild weasel type role should be one the key focuses of the US military.

      Which leads me to my second point - I don't agree that amphibious assault are irrelevant to the US military in a Pacific War for a variety of reasons.

      One that I highlighted above is that to resolve a war requires a political solution or outcome. This is particularly true of a conflict like China vs US, where neither side could ever feasibly conduct a successful land invasion of the opposing side.

      The problem in expanding on that, is that it presumes the motivations and goals of a theoretical conflict. In order to stay somewhere in the domain of the realistic, I will use what I see as the most likely cause. of a conflict (Taiwan) as an example.

      The Chinese motivation to seize Taiwan is not solely a cold, calculated, rational motivation. While there are obvious advantages to China taking over Taiwan (control of the Taiwan Strait not least among them), the primary motivation is the One China philosophy that has been a bedrock of the CCPs domestic propaganda since the inception of the PRC.

      Seizure of not only Taiwan but the surrounding island chains also serves two functions. One is practical - the Pratas islands in particular would provide China with greater ability to operate into the South China Sea and beyond and would be far more valuable than their slipshod sand islands (which are currently disintegrating into the ocean by the by - because of course they are).

      But there's a massive element of the political here - they want every inch of Taiwanese territory for the same reason they want China - they see them as rebel provinces. They see Taiwan and the island chains as no different than if Hawaii or Alaska declared independence from the USA. As far as they are concerned getting Taiwan back (and every inch of Taiwan) is a matter of national pride.

      Which is an argument for why China absolutely sees amphibious operations as a huge part of their strategy for the Pacific. You can also read some of the available material from the Chinese military academies and think tanks on the subject - one of their major concerns re their military capability is what they perceive as the lack of an effective amphibious force. This is one of the key reasons that seasoned Chinese military staff officers and defence officials do not yet see an invasion of Taiwan as practically viable. It's something they are working very hard right now to remediate.

      They also, by the way, are equally concerned about the feasibility of an amphibious assault into the teeth of mobile batteries of anti-ship missiles.

      I'll talk about the potential need for a US amphibious assault in a minute.

    27. For the US side, in order to prosecute a war to a satisfactory conclusion, the likelihood exists that they will have to displace China from Taiwan.
      Without this step, China will have achieved her aims politically and militarily.
      She will have also utterly emasculated the US in the Pacific and demonstrated America's inability to protect her allies or interests in the region.

      I'm extremely skeptical that the US has the ability to displace China with anything less than a land campaign. I do not believe that a naval and air campaign would ever. be sufficient. China is too large, her resources too great.

      In terms of the need to displaceChina from surrounding island chains - this would of course depend on the course of the conflict. It depends on which allies are involved too. In the example of Taiwan, do you assume Japanese involvement? If not, how logistically would you support an amphibious operation to retake the islands. Would you let China maintain control of the surrounding island chains? Would you want to seize them as a stepping stone? I see it as quite possible.

      That's just one possible conflict of course. This kind of conjecture is tricky - so many assumptions need to be made.

      To turn the tables - how do you see the US prosecuting a successful war on China?
      How would you displace her from her territorial objectives if they were seized?

    28. "This kind of conjecture is tricky - so many assumptions need to be made."

      No, it's really not. You study the enemy's needs, stated goals, unstated goals, military strength and whatnot and then you have a pretty good idea what they'll do and what you need to do. We exactly did this with Japan - War Plan Orange. Claiming that it's too hard is just saying you (the generic you, meaning observers) haven't put the necessary study in. For blog readers, that's quite understandable. The problem is that our professional warriors seem not to have put the time in, either.

      I've done posts on China's goals and strategy. If I can do that, why can't our professional warriors? Plus, they have access to much more comprehensive intel than I do. It should be even easier for them. But, what do you expect from naval leaders who need years of study to define the basic requirements of a new ship? They're too incompetent and timid to commit to anything and their focus is career rather than war.

  9. Yeah, I am still looking for a ship that can get to the beach as fast as an LCAC but with more gear and get to theater on its own. You could get the gear and not the men with the largest fast support vessels, but you are unloading from the rear. A fast Ferry with a front end that flops out a ramp seems a better way to go. You can plant that H-53 or V-22 on the back until go time. Maybe even better, plant the AH-1s on the deck until go time. The small caliber gun requirement isn't enough. Anything like this needs as many countermeasures as possible. If you are going to have the 30mm you might as well make it a real LCS weapon zone and allow the Hellfire module if the scenario calls for it.

    1. A variation on the M Ship SeaHawk may be able to do what you want. It is a ship design based on an upscaled M-80 Stiletto. It was designed as a cheap LCS replacement but with a stern ramp and the ability to do a stern first landing it might work. The five foot draft should make more landings sites available.
      Cruise speed 40 kts
      Sprint speed 65 kts
      range 3,500 Nautical miles

    2. I would include a Patria Nemo container 120mm mortar in the weapons load for the LAW. It can be used on the ship and on shore.

    3. Yeah, I like the Nemo for a few applications, but the Mship Co is now defunct. Plus the upper threshold on what has been done with composite ships probably pushes their limit for this kind of application.

    4. Composite or aluminum construction would not be my first choice for the LAW. These ships are going to get in a fire fight and having your ship burn around you is a bad idea.
      Steel is really the only viable construction material.

      The limited crew precludes much in the way of damage control. The ship will need to be highly compartmentalized to allow the small crew any chance of saving the ship if hit with a mine or anti-ship missile. Use of commercial designs and commercial build standards will make the LAW a death trap.

      M ship may be defunct but that does not mean the design could not be used by another team. The US government often requires a full transfer of production rights and intellectual property with any successful contract award. The original M-80 contract was an indefinite number, indefinite duration contract. My guess you could build a M hull ship for the Navy and have no worries, you just might not be able to sell to any other country.
      The M hull design does have speed and range required. The design can also be optimized for radar stealth.

      The need to place Marines on islands doesn't make any sense to me. Sea control via missile is the mission. Does the missile need to be fired from Land? It would seem to me that a bunch of stealthy high speed missile boats or diesel electric submarines would be better for sea control.

    5. "Sea control via missile is the mission. ... a bunch of stealthy high speed missile boats ... would be better for sea control."

      Where would these boats operate? First island chain? Inside the South China Sea? Somewhere else?

      Having identified the operating area, how would they get there?

    6. Forward deployed at the new joint naval bases in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and Taiwan. If Berger can have an alternative reality so will I.

    7. Sorry, I forgot the joint naval bases in Myanmar and India (Andaman Islands)

    8. The problem with everyone's concept of small, fast, PT-missile boats is that they can't get to the operating areas. Guam, our nearest base, is a thousand miles from the likely operating areas of the first island chain. No small, missile boat can operate over that distance.

      Even if they could, somehow, reach the operating area, there's no way to supply and support them in the operating area. We have no tenders and, in today's naval battlefield, a large, slow, non-stealthy tender would be instantly spotted and destroyed. No one seems to have any interest in designing a fast, stealthy tender.

  10. The LCUs hit the beach first in most cases because the LSTs could not. They needed to assemble pontoons (which they did under fire) and use bulldozers to grade the beach so they could offload the heavy stuff. It was not because of enemy fire.

    Now with precision guided munitions, using AAVs and LCUs is foolish as enemy anti-tank guided missile will sink them. But they cant' sink and LST, only make a hole. So bring in the LSTs to draw and return fire to provide cover for the LCU and AAV (trailing behind for cover) who then dash around to hit the beach to provide cover while the LST dicks around with getting the real combat shore rolling offshore.

    This is the future, this is common sense, and since its new requires several days of pondering to sink in.

    1. "they cant' sink and LST"

      I hope the enemy never discovers anti-ship missiles!

      I notice that you forgot to address the condition of the troops after the ship is hit with shells and missiles … but not sunk. The word 'hamburger' comes to mind.

    2. "grade the beach"

      I've never heard of this being done. It sounds plausible for a few isolated, unusual cases but I've never read about it. Again, do you have a reference?

      You may be wondering why I'm reacting to your comments so strongly. It's for a few reasons.

      This blog is about facts, data, and logic and you're presenting statements as facts that are not true or are unsupported so I need to correct that.

      You're presenting opinions as facts (LSTs as the established method of initial assault for the Commandant's LAWs). As an opinion, it would be a fine comment and worth of consideration. As a statement of established fact, it's incorrect and I have to correct it. If you simply delineate opinions and facts, you'll be fine.

  11. This was included in the updates under Characteristics, "Habitability for US Navy crew of approximately 30 + surge capacity for additional 43 Marines or Sailors supporting 11 day missions without replenishment."

    This doesn't jive with the requirements listed at The Drive which called for a max crew of 40 and a minimum of 75 Marines. And, fourty-three Marines isn't even a full platoon with their new, larger squad size.

    This also was included in the updates under Characteristics, "Minimum 5,000 ft2 (1,860 m2) vehicle and cargo stowage space (8,000+ ft2 preferred) on weather deck or with access to weather deck capable of handling static deck loads up to 450 psf, and with at least 13.5 ft (4.1 m) clear overhead or open overhead and a 5-10 MT crane to facilitate cargo and small boat handling."

    So, now the Navy has gone from a minimum of 8,000 sqft on tbe slides to a minimum of 5,000 sqft. And, because of its size and weight, the LAW might not even be able to transport the Marines new ACV.

    I got a feeling this idea will die as it well should.

    1. "I got a feeling this idea will die as it well should."

      Like the LCS died? Or the Zumwalt? Or the Ford? I agree with you that this is a bad idea but we've seen a lot of very bad ideas develop and continue in the Navy!

    2. The difference is the LAW is the Marine Corps' idea, so there might be some resistance from the Navy to build them as funding likely will come from their shipbuilding funds. And, even if they are built, this won't be a billion dollar boondoggle like the LCS or Zumwalt. Not that they'll be useful, that seems to be guaranteed.

      On the other hand, given their size, the Marines could build one or two prototypes and test out the concept.

  12. This LAW needs deck mounted 120mm mortars to obscure the offload with WP smoke like AAVs obscure for protection against direct fire. 120mms can provide suppression with HE also and are easy to crew for weapons companies.

    1. The larger problem with the LAW is not whether or not it has a 120 mm mortar but, rather, the fact that it is exposed for an hour+ during its slow, leisurely approach to the beach, unprotected by any suppressive fire. Enemy artillery and missiles will have over an hour to calmly and casually fire on the slow, unarmored, non-stealthy vessels packed with troops. I can see no positive outcome from such a scenario.

    2. LAW with some suppressive fire is much more survivable than the other options:
      -LCACs are thin skinned, practically unarmed and slow to off-load
      -MV22s are unarmed and so slow to land so the enemy can engage them with their weapon of choice.
      -CH53s with howitzers slung are slow, time consuming to unsling while under fire, and the howitzer lacks a truck to pull it.
      AAV/ACVs are a better choice and can even be launched out of the LAW while the LAW is offshore to bring an initial infantry force but MTVRs, HIMARS, Artillery all need the LAW.

      LAWs, on the other hand, let AAVs launch at sea and the LAW brings howitzers WITH trucks and HIMARS ashore. Can you show me anything else to get Marines and Fire Support ashore in 1 wave?

    3. "LAW with some suppressive fire"

      LAW with invisibility is more survivable, too, but invisibility, like suppressive fire, doesn't exist!

      I repeat, it will face an hour+ long approach to the beach, under fire the whole way. What do you think the odds of survival are?

      "-LCACs are thin skinned, practically unarmed and slow to off-load"

      The same description applies to the LAW. It is going to be built from a commercial, thin-skinned vessel design. It uses a ramp, just like the LCAC, to off load so it won't be any faster. In fact, just because it carriers more, IT WILL TAKE LONGER TO OFF LOAD. You've got to be consistent in your logic, here!

      "LAWs, on the other hand, let AAVs launch at sea"

      ???? Have you seen some documentation that the LAW can launch an AAV at sea?

    4. If LST or LAW is taking fire, you've already lost. The whole raison d'etre of this ship is to be discrete, quick in and out, China doesn't know we are here....that's the opposite of taking fire. This whole mission is beyond stupid, as some one else mentioned, hopefully this stupidity doesn't survive once Berger leaves office. Highly doubtful.

    5. "hopefully this stupidity doesn't survive once Berger leaves office."

      That is my hope, that Berger leaves soon and hasn't inflicted permanent harm on the Corps although the seeds of destruction (women, lower standards, loss of focus, etc.) are already planted, I fear.

    6. Already seeing comments on other sites saying this horror will be great complement with new these tiny ships survive Chinese strikes when a full on Carrier TF can't defies logic. Oh I forgot, F35 on LHA with no AEW is the solution!!! We're doomed.

  13. The LAW would need air cover as it comes within radar range of shore in the form of suppression or destruction of AShM or aviation assets. The 120mm mortars can provide suppression against infantry for the last 3 miles to the beach.
    No NGF needed but probably Carrier Air Support since LHD Air lacks the range

    1. "The 120mm mortars can provide suppression against infantry for the last 3 miles to the beach."

      "No NGF needed"

      Ignoring the previous 15 miles or so … Wow! That is some seriously impressive fantasy level thinking there.

      We used dozens of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers to provide suppression fire for WWII assaults when all we needed was a handful of 120 mm mortars. If only the assault commanders of WWII had known that, how easy WWII would have been.

      My hat is off to you! Wow!

    2. NGF practically does not exist in today’s Navy because no skipper will get the ship close enough to use its 1 gun but be in danger from beach defenses.
      Instead, the LAW can carry HIMARS on its open deck. HIMARS can range 50 miles, not 15 miles.

    3. "Instead, the LAW can carry HIMARS on its open deck."

      My hat remains off to you!

      Speaking seriously, have you studied WWII suppressive fire doctrine, methods, quantities, and effects? I'm pretty sure you haven't because if you had you'd never attempt to compare a handful of HIMARS to WWII standards of naval suppressive fire.

    4. The US Navy Order of Battle for the invasion of Iwo Jima

      (Please note the gunfire support options which do not include the LCU's that were loaded with rockets)

      United States Navy
      Fifth Fleet
      Task Force 51 [Joint Expeditionary Force]
      Task Group 51.1 [Joint Expeditionary Force Reserve
      Task Group 51.2 [Transport Screen]
      Task Group 51.3 [Service and Salvage Group]
      Task Group 51.4 [Hydrographic Survey Group]
      Task Group 51.5-9 [Defense and Garrison Groups]
      Task Group 51.10 [Air Support Control Unit]
      Participating Surface Ships (485):
       4 command ships
       12 aircraft carriers
       6 battleships
       19 cruisers
       44 destroyers
       38 destroyer escorts
       6 destroyer transports
       44 transports
       63 LST's (Landing Ship Tank)
       31 LSM's (Landing Ship Medium)
       19 cargo ships
       6 repair ships
       4 seaplane tenders
       4 ocean tugs
       14 destroyer minecraft
       30 minesweepers
       5 net layers
       76 LCI's (Landing Craft Infantry)
       3 LSD's (Landing Ship Dock)
       1 LSV (Landing Ship Vehicle)
       56 assorted patrol, escort, and support vessels
      Task Force 52 [Amphibious Support Force]
      Task Force 53 [Attack Force]
      Task Force 54 [Gunfire and Covering Force
      Task Force 56 [Expeditionary Troops]
      Task Force 58 [Fast Carrier Forces]
      Task Group 58.1
       Carriers: Hornet, Wasp, Bennington, Belleau Wood
       Battleships: Massachusetts, Indiana
       Cruisers: Vincennes, Miami, San Juan
       15 destroyers
      Task Group 58.2
       Carriers: Lexington, Hancock, San Jacinto
       Battleships: Wisconsin, Missouri
       Cruisers: San Francisco, Boston
       19 destroyers
      Task Group 58.3
       Carriers: Essex, Bunker Hill, Cowpens
       Battleships: South Dakota, New Jersey
       Cruisers: Alaska, Indianapolis, Pasadena, Wilkes-Barre, Astoria
       14 destroyers
      Task Group 58.4
       Carriers: Yorktown, Randolph, Langley, Cabot
       Battleships: Washington, North Carolina
       Cruisers: Santa Fe, Biloxi, San Diego
       17 destroyers
      Task Group 58.5
       Carriers: Enterprise, Saratoga
       Cruisers: Baltimore, Flint
       12 destroyers

  14. Instead of offensive weapons, maybe the need here is for C-RAM systems like Iron Dome or the land version of a Phalanx.

    1. Very good! I have a post coming on this topic. C-RAM is most definitely needed however the drawback to C-RAM is that it doesn't prevent enemy fire, it only deals with it as it's falling on you. Some kind of offensive firepower is needed to prevent or suppress enemy fire and then the C-RAM can deal with whatever manages to still operate.

  15. I'm guessing Tomahawks will fit inside a LAW? So happy to see that USMC will be able to hit China from 1000 miles away.....5 miles away? Not so much but let's not worry about that!

  16. Seems Damen's LST offerings would fit much of the desired abilities with a cots solution.

    1. Without debating the merits of this particular ship offering, it does seem that we get so caught up in 'competition' to try to lower costs that we fail to look for the already available solution that might give us 80% of what we want with no developmental costs and instantly ready to order. If we could be happy with 80% we could cut huge amounts of time and cost from our ship acquisition programs.

      Yes, I know that ordering existing might mean non-standard equipment which entails its own added costs but it sure seems like there ought to be a place for a true off-the-shelf solution especially in the logistics, transport, patrol, and MCM areas.

    2. Speaking of MCM. Hornbeck offshore filed chapter 11. I feel like someone could swoop in and get some cheap platforms for any small slow and heavy. Cheap MCM platform to put the USVs on. Cheap way to get gear from point A to B. Mothership with a lot of gas for patrol boats. They have 10 new 320' from VT Halter and a couple dozen 200' so having enough of the same type could happen.

    3. @Andy M

      The offshore industry in general is more creative and engineers better 'stuff' than most navies: the USN should buy their vessels *and* hire their staff too!


  17. I wonder if the Commandant is recycling this 2012 RN Black Swan idea with the addition of a stronger stern ramp to off load land vehicles. Black Swan is slow, built to commercial standards, armed with a 30mm cannon, crew of 40 and designed to not survive combat.

    1. I have no idea what the Commandant is thinking but whatever it is, it's lunacy.

      "Black Swan is slow, built to commercial standards, armed with a 30mm cannon, crew of 40 and designed to not survive combat."

      Who wouldn't want a bunch of those in a peer war? :)

      The fallacy in these kinds of concepts is the belief that very small, very weak, non-survivable units will somehow 'come together' (sometimes referred to as 'scaling up') to create a force many times more powerful and greater than the sum of the parts. An analogy would be a bunch of individual riflemen banding together to overwhelm an enemy armored division. It's just not going to happen! A whole bunch of weak units added together doesn't equate to strength. There's a reason why we built carriers and battleships and cruisers in WWII instead of just destroyers.

      While there might be some utility for a Black Swan-like unit during very low end peacetime operations (I doubt it but for the sake of discussion I'll consider it) they have absolutely no place in high end combat.

  18. As I understand it, these ships are actually meant more for enabling A2/AD ops at friendly islands.

    I'd thought that, instead of beng pointless because they're unsurvivable, they'd be pointless because allied nations could do whatever they hope to accomplish better.

    Which documents are you reading that claim they're gonna be landing at Chinese territory?


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