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Kev2go

USMC cutbacks ( bye bye to all tank battalions)

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Posted (edited)

Pretty recent  official announcement from this month.

 

 

MOS 1812  ( tank crewman) is now a dying breed.  It will no longer be a thing as part of cutbacks and general restructuring. The current marine commandant has made the decision to remove all 3 tank ( M1A1) battalions by 2030. The marines will be without any MBT, leaving them only with light armor ( the likes of the LAV25 and AAV's) Which is shocking as marines had maintained dedicated tank units  for many decades since  at least ww2, from the pacific campaign.

 

 

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/03/23/marines-shut-down-all-tank-units-cut-infantry-battalions-major-overhaul.html

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeNzt-7ZmT8

 

 

 

 

Among other will be removal of law enforcement battalions, a small reduction in infantry units, and also some small reduction to some aviation units.   but  also a drastic reduction in artillery battalions  ( from 21 to 5). IF you want to trim the "fat" so to speak, really hurting the ground forces with  scrapping  so high degree of  important support assets like Armor or Arty is not the way to go.  Unless the USMC brass is trying to copy the UK's Royal Marine commandos ( which they aren't)  this new approach is seemingly very short sighted and a poor decision.

Edited by Kev2go

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What in the literal $%&#!  

 

So, General Berger (and government) thinks we will become stronger by trimming our forces down and adding modernized "organic" capabilities (robots).  Without immediate armored and air assets, this means the Marines will have less.  Augmenting three regiments by cutting out other battalions is not the answer.  We need more of everything.  

 

Damn.  Just, damn.  

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This sounds like something I would want to do to the USMC if I was a high ranking general in the North Korean army...

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Posted (edited)

this has been in the works for years, this should not come as a surprise if you provide the context the decision is based on- the fact that the marines are being reconfigured to being an elite amphibious force once more and away from nation building as they have been used as of late:

 

the idea of course that if and when war with china breaks out you won't have a fast reaction force to take and hold islands without restructuring back to what the basic mission of the marines is intended, which is not going to be based on tank warfare over contested islands. as the same time,

there is no particular reason why in the future the marines cannot be reconfigured again if the need arises, in either case flexibility gives you options.

 

when you look at these archipelagos and islands that the chinese are constructing and building and reclaiming, they are not really that defensible- it's likely the chinese do not expect or plan to defend them like a japanese style fortress in world war 2. they are just a few acres with an airstrip built on them,

there is nowhere to dig in and nowhere really to hide. in this case getting artillery ashore is of no use, since you would have already defeated the enemy to begin with in order to safely get the artillery and supporting assets ashore.

 

warplanners have likely realized that artillery won't matter when individual battles will be decided by precision smart weapons, cruise missiles and aircraft, which would likely outclass and nullify artillery. these islands are mostly air craft carriers to send combat aircraft out to attack fleets and disrupt amphibious

landings, once the enemy aircraft are destroyed, once any sort of platform capable of delivering a guided missile of some kind is detected and destroyed first, then tanks and artillery won't be as important as fast moving amphibious troops which can be shuffled around.

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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I think the Marines need to remain more flexible compared to setting them up as a pure amphibious unit.  They are also a quick response force that is expected to be nearly anywhere at any time.  Marines tend to stick around longer than expected when they are deployed, and need as much firepower and support at their disposal.  Even since the end of the Vietnam War, we have watched the government make major changes to the military.  FEW have been positive.  

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Well, they already have an amphibious personnel carrier, the AAVP-7, and they have the LAV-25, the LAV-AT, etc.

 

I wouldn't want to just get rid of my tanks...But if you told me that I could trade in half of my tanks for CV90/40 or CV90/30, modified with a heavy ATGM like add-on TOWs, then I might be interested in having some more mobile support vehicles that still brought heavy firepower...

 

Similarly, they're talking about gutting the artillery.  That on it's own doesn't sound so great to me.  But trading 155mm guns for more vehicle mounted 120mm mortars, maybe the AMOS system, etc, might not be so bad.

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Posted (edited)

again, the idea is that they are being restructured for specific requirment of amphibious warfare in the pacific. what use would artillery be? 

 

assumptions:

 

these islands are not too definisble. you can tell just by looking at them- the artificial atolls are made out of sediment reclaimed from the seabed, and just made into airstrips on small patches of land with some support facilities for water treatment and receving supplies and so on. there is nowhere to fortify and therefore nothing to soften up with artillery; and given the vast area are of the pacific, the individual islands are out of range of one another for the purposes of tube artillery. getting the artillery ashore would be a moot point- if you are able to do that, the island is already secured.

 

if such a future conflict played out like that, then you can see why this program is not done just willy nilly, there is a purpose to it, to fill the void that is perceived as lacking, i.e., the marines have been used for duties that is not aligned with its core mission, and one which is foreseen to be needed in response to agressive moves made by china in the pacific.

 

the tradeoff is that the marines are upgrading their main amphibious assault vehicle to a newer vehicle (while the LAV-25 is not an assault vehicle). combat aviation and ship launched missiles will be more valuable and more necessary than artillery in this type of environment. the chinese appear to see it that way, they seem to be betting on land based cruise missiles and/or other ways of launching guided missiles. they won't likely even bother attempting to fortify these islands like the conventional warfare of typical weeks or months long world war 2 campaigns. these battles will develop very fast and will be over sooner rather than later, needing a rapid deployment and moving around of amphibious forces.

 

those are the assumptions, of course, there is no real purpose to maintain heavy armor units when they will be of little use for that type of warfare. the opening blows will be delivered by aircraft and swarms of missile salvos, tanks would just be targets caught up in all of that while they in turn will have few or no opportunities to shoot at other armored targets

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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Posted (edited)

 

3 hours ago, RedWardancer said:

I think the Marines need to remain more flexible compared to setting them up as a pure amphibious unit.  They are also a quick response force that is expected to be nearly anywhere at any time.  Marines tend to stick around longer than expected when they are deployed, and need as much firepower and support at their disposal.  Even since the end of the Vietnam War, we have watched the government make major changes to the military.  FEW have been positive.  

exactly. this.  thinking only about China the only nation that any conflict could break out with is asinine. IF anything a conventional war would be a more opportune time to have better use for main battle tanks rather than  GWOT which had marines "nation building" or performing "counter insurgency".

 

 

really this just put the marines in a situation where they will basically at the mercy of asking the US army to detach some armor and artillery that would otherwise be used for army operations supporting another branch's mission, if a situation ever arisen that they badly need it, however given their expeditionary nature that wont always be possible.

 

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Captain_Colossus said:

again, the idea is that they are being restructured for specific requirment of amphibious warfare in the pacific. what use would artillery be? 

 

assumptions:

 

these islands are not too definisble. you can tell just by looking at them- the artificial atolls are made out of sediment reclaimed from the seabed, and just made into airstrips on small patches of land with some support facilities for water treatment and receving supplies and so on. there is nowhere to fortify and therefore nothing to soften up with artillery; and given the vast area are of the pacific, the individual islands are out of range of one another for the purposes of tube artillery. getting the artillery ashore would be a moot point- if you are able to do that, the island is already secured.

 

if such a future conflict played out like that, then you can see why this program is not done just willy nilly, there is a purpose to it, to fill the void that is perceived as lacking, i.e., the marines have been used for duties that is not aligned with its core mission, and one which is foreseen to be needed in response to agressive moves made by china in the pacific.

 

the tradeoff is that the marines are upgrading their main amphibious assualt vehicle to a newer vehicle (the LAV-25 is not an assualt vehicle, and you can experiment with it in steel beasts to see why when it can be knocked out by small arms). combat aviation and ship launched missiles will be more valuable and more necessary than artillery in this type of environment. the chinese appear to see it that way, they seem to be betting on land based cruise missiles and/or other ways of launching guided missiles. they won't likely even bother attempting to fortify these islands like the conventional warfare of typical weeks or months long world war 2 campaings. these battles will develop very fast and will be over sooner rather than later, needing a rapid deployment and moving around of amphibious forces.

 

those are the assumptions, of course, there is no real purpose to maintain heavy armor units when they will be of little use for that type of warfare. the opening blows will be delivered by aircraft and swarms of missile salvos, tanks would just be targets caught up in all of that while they in turn will have few or no opportunities to shoot at other armored targets

 

here are some more assumptions to consider  then:

 

And what happens once these small islands are secure? The marines capacity to wage warfare and conduct amphibious spearheads into a larger landmass is now degraded.  Tanks have more use in  conventional warfare. It would have made more sense for the USMC to scrap their tanks when they were doing  low intensity asymmetric warfare against an insurgency or" nation building" in the sandbox. Now those are missions where main battle tanks have limited use.

 

Or what happens if no direct confrontation in the pacific breaks out?  What if other conflicts arise? The marines need to be flexible as a global expeditionary force. The Pacific isnt the only region in the world that could necessitate combat deployment of USMC assets. 

 

Every politician ever  in history has always tried to defended cuts ( or im sorry "restructuring")  with "leaner is better". What really going on here is the anything going to the usmc is a cut from the navies budget that would otherwise go to Navy things.  The department of the navy would rather " them than us". i guess.  The marines have always been in the short end of the stick when it has come to funding to their sister branches, so i guess this treatment is nothing new.

 

 

In actuality They could still keep their current size, and simply utilize their assets depending on the situation.

 

Its would be better to have support assets like tanks and additional artillery and not need it, than to be in a situation and be with out it. ( although this line of thinking can be applied to anything really). This is still short sighted, as  even if your only thinking of China , their domain doesn't end with some minuscule  islands in the pacific, but of course budget cuts had to be made in the wrong places.

 

At the end of the day any war with any adversary that can retaliate with a sizable nuclear arsenal is probably not going to be a feasible option. Mutually assured destruction still applies.  Most conflicts will continue to be either proxy wars or low intensity conflicts.  ( not saying that large conventional forces aren't a necessary deterrent) 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Kev2go

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6 minutes ago, Kev2go said:

 

exactly. this.  thinking only about China the only nation that any conflict could break out with is asinine. IF anything a conventional war would be a more opportune time to have better use for main battle tanks rather than  GWOT which had marines "nation building" or performing "counter insurgency".

 

 

really this just put the marines in a station where they will basically at the mercy of asking the US army to detach some armor and artillery that would otherwise be used for army operations supporting another branch's mission, if a situation ever arisen that they badly need it, however given their expeditionary nature that wont always be possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

here are some more assumptions to consider  then:

 

And what happens once these small islands are secure? The marines capacity to wage warfare and conduct amphibious spearheads into a larger landmass is now degraded.  Tanks have more use in  conventional warfare. It would have made more sense for the USMC to scrap their tanks when they were doing  low intensity asymmetric warfare against an insurgency or" nation building" in the sandbox. Now those are missions where main battle tanks have limited use.

 

Or what happens if no direct confrontation in the pacific breaks out? The marines need to be flexible as a global expeditionary force. 

 

Every politician ever  in history has always tried to defended cuts ( or im sorry "restructuring")  with "leaner is better". What really going on here is the anything going to the usmc is a cut from the navies budget that would otherwise go to Navy things.  The department of the navy would rather " them than us". i guess.  The marines have always been in the short end of the stick when it has come to funding to their sister branches, so i guess this treatment is nothing new.

 

 

In actuality They could still keep their current size, and simply utilize their assets depending on the situation. Its better to have support assets like tanks and additional artillery and not need it, than to be in a situation and be with out it,. This is still pretty short sighted, as  even if your only thinking of China , their domain doesn't end with some minuscule  islands in the pacific, but of course budget cuts had to be made in the wrong places.

 

 

 

 

 

what happens when they are secure? answers its own question. you're not going to go driving off of these islands in a tank and go attack and take another. they're not being degraded, because that is not the mission, they're not being deprived of something that would be necessary to have for the mission.

 

"or what happens if no direct confrontation in pacific breaks out" good news. at some point some administration may see a need to change things again as the mission may need. the basic premise is not

to say, "aw hell with it, let's just step on our tallywhackers for lack of anything to do" for years now the pentagon has been preparing for the kind of mission where the united states is no longer nation building, we've done this for a long while now while neglecting a potential threat in the pacific. that's why this is happening, this discussion has been going on for years before the trump administration. the chinese are ahead of us in terms of the islands they already have built which are designed to launch and recover aircraft throughout the range the chinese claim territory. these islands are not recrations of iwo jima, they are fixed airfields in the middle of nowhere to support amphibious operations, not armored spearheads.

 

it's not short sighted, i'm sorry, you're stating a case as if no one has thought about what your'e saying. assumging the united states is going to shift gears from iraq and afghanistan, and assuming the united states has neglected the pacific which the chinese have made designed on for several years, this is what the aim is at- adapting to this new environment. saying it's short sighted or acting as though it is foolhardy is not really what it is, this discussion was going on for several years and we were getting ready for this for awhile now.

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Posted (edited)

the situation from the chinese point of view is they aren't going to try and compete in a pitched war with the united states navy, they aren't going to try and match the navy carrier for carrier and so forth- they'll never catch up there.

 

instead over the decades they have been building up these island airstrips to serve as their carrier force, cheap and not mobile, however. they are also investing in surface to surface missile batteries to offset

what they lack in blue water carrier groups. 

 

they're not digging into these islands like the japanese, they aren't going to arm with tanks, even they realize they don't stand a chance in holding any one particular island. absent enemy aircraft, modern aircraft and ballistic missiles won't have too much trouble disabling these small islands before the marines make it ashore. so the strategy is to have a lot of them and saturate the us navy's defenses with plane and land and ship based missiles where they can, try and inflict casualties wherever they can rather than opting for a fortress like defense of every island. they are not intended for that. 

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Captain_Colossus said:

 

 

what happens when they are secure? answers its own question. you're not going to go driving off of these islands in a tank and go attack and take another. they're not being degraded, because that is not the mission, they're not being deprived of something that would be necessary to have for the mission.

 

"or what happens if no direct confrontation in pacific breaks out" good news. at some point some administration may see a need to change things again as the mission may need. the basic premise is not

to say, "aw hell with it, let's just step on our tallywhackers for lack of anything to do" for years now the pentagon has been preparing for the kind of mission where the united states is no longer nation building, we've done this for a long while now while neglecting a potential threat in the pacific. that's why this is happening, this discussion has been going on for years before the trump administration. the chinese are ahead of us in terms of the islands they already have built which are designed to launch and recover aircraft throughout the range the chinese claim territory. these islands are not recrations of iwo jima, they are fixed airfields in the middle of nowhere to support amphibious operations, not armored spearheads.

 

it's not short sighted, i'm sorry, you're stating a case as if no one has thought about what your'e saying. assumging the united states is going to shift gears from iraq and afghanistan, and assuming the united states has neglected the pacific which the chinese have made designed on for several years, this is what the aim is at- adapting to this new environment. saying it's short sighted or acting as though it is foolhardy is not really what it is, this discussion was going on for several years and we were getting ready for this for awhile now.

 

I know they aren't just that. No one said anything about tanks being a necessity in that 1 specific scenario. 

 

Do we not recall that USA as a superpower maintains global interests?  The world doesn't end with the pacific ocean even if they were to draw down in the middle east by leaving Afghanistan and Iraq to their devices entirely.  Neither does Chinese domain  end on small subset of islands or a few airstrips in the pacific ocean   CHina itself is one big landmass., and its foolish to think that when warfare switches to any landmass larger than those described that armored and artillery units wont find relevance, or forget about about any potential flash point in another region of the world not related to China.

 

its better to have something and not use it, rather than not having something and need it. having deterrents or in this case certain equipment for self independent branch flexibility still matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Kev2go

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15 minutes ago, Kev2go said:

 

 

 

its better to have something and not use it, rather than not having something and need it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

which is why the changes are being made now. this area was being neglected for years while the chinese were making claims and testing people's tolerances and this sort of thing. sure.

 

given the current projected threats, and that is all we have, there are no crystal balls, but assumptions, the presumed threat from china is considered a threat we have not adequately prepared for, especially if it actualizes with any sort of thing that went down with north korea. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Captain_Colossus said:

 

which is why the changes are being made now. this area was being neglected for years while the chinese were making claims and testing people's tolerances and this sort of thing. sure.

 

This is not a military fault but an issue of foreign policy of not having US addressed Chinese "expansionism". ( Or depending on what perspective you look at more like creating a buffer zone within the grasp of their  backyard rather than encroaching on US territory, but of course i digress)

 

Those changes should not involve neglecting and entirely scrapping other units.  The USMC should not be forced to sacrifice parts of their left arm to be able to use their right arm. 

 

 

Quote

 

given the current projected threats, and that is all we have, there are no crystal balls, but assumptions, the presumed threat from china is considered a threat we have not adequately prepared for, especially if it actualizes with any sort of thing that went down with north korea. 

 

Again the real counter simply to  be addressed with strategic positioning and adjusting tactics when nessary and enforcing foreign policy with military if deemed necessary.

 

as you said building airstrips and artificial islands is a compensation for lacking naval carrier group projection capability levels of the USN.

Edited by Kev2go

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the other issue is that the marines tend to have the smallest budget with the smallest allocation of manpower and materiel. the marines have 4 tank batallions. in the grand scheme of things, it's not necessarily the biggest problem if you had to make adjustments. they deliberately keep the marines a small, exclusive branch within the department of the navy. 

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Don't forget the USMC is still using M1A1's.... they're so old the ABOLC courses have to run separate groups for USMC students, since the army is more or less entirely M1A2's or above.

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53 minutes ago, Snoggy said:

Don't forget the USMC is still using M1A1's.... they're so old......

They are quite old, but I don't think that should really be a reason to chop them, and I don't think the M1A1 should necessarily be totally forgotten.  IIRC the marines are fitting the SCWS cupola which adds much or all of the Hunter/Killer capability from the M1A2, while offering a superior secondary weapon than the M1A2 without CROWS.

 

An M1A1 with the latest armor package and SCWS fitted has got to be quite competative against an M1A2 if not quite equal.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Snoggy said:

Don't forget the USMC is still using M1A1's.... they're so old the ABOLC courses have to run separate groups for USMC students, since the army is more or less entirely M1A2's or above.

 

16 hours ago, Maj.Hans said:

They are quite old, but I don't think that should really be a reason to chop them, and I don't think the M1A1 should necessarily be totally forgotten.  IIRC the marines are fitting the SCWS cupola which adds much or all of the Hunter/Killer capability from the M1A2, while offering a superior secondary weapon than the M1A2 without CROWS.

 

An M1A1 with the latest armor package and SCWS fitted has got to be quite competative against an M1A2 if not quite equal.

 

Yes their M1A1 have become comparable to M1A2 SEP v2 in hard stats,   but M1A1 FEp still behind to the M1A2 SEP v2 when it comes to the digital interfacing, and integrated battlefield management system. M1A2 V3 ( or M1A2C) however certainly is another modernization in electronics and yet another step up in protection to both SEP v2 or USMC M1A1's FEP model, as that has next generation armor configuration and a longer turret for extra layers.

 

Anyways seems like a wasted investment ( even if was a more budgetary modernization as opposed a proper equivalent to M1A2 SEP standards of conversion)  now that their tanks are gonna be scrapped. i mean what else can they really do? Long term storage?  US can't export them because they never thus far been willing to sell domestic M1's with 3rd gen DU but only with a downgraded export armor package

Edited by Kev2go

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48 minutes ago, Kev2go said:

 

 

Yes their M1A1 have become comparable to M1A2 SEP v2 in hard stats,   but M1A1 FEp still behind to the M1A2 SEP v2 when it comes to the digital interfacing, and integrated battlefield management system. M1A2 V3 ( or M1A2C) however certainly is another modernization in electronics and yet another step up in protection to both SEP v2 or USMC M1A1's FEP model, as that has next generation armor configuration and a longer turret for extra layers.

 

Anyways seems like a wasted investment ( even if was a more budgetary one as opposed a proper equivalent to M1A2 SEP standards of conversion)  now that their tanks are gonna be scrapped. i mean what else can they really do? Long term storage?  US can't export them because they never thus far been willing to sell domestic M1's with 3rd gen DU but only with a downgraded export armor package

They will probably be maintained by civilians workers 

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2 hours ago, Kev2go said:

i mean what else can they really do? Long term storage?  US can't export them because they never thus far been willing to sell domestic M1's with 3rd gen DU but only with a downgraded export armor package

Since my tax dollars paid to buy them, paid to maintain them, and now they want to use my tax dollars to pay to destroy them, I think the least they could do is drop one or two of them off in my front yard.

 

In all seriousness though, I would think that perhaps it might be best to downsize the tank force and use the ones that were cut as spares.  Maybe it's time for some ERA add-ons to get the armor up to a more modern M1A2C level.

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