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US military's vulnerabilities vs. China, Russia

GR66

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So we just agree on the nine-dash line, and allow the PRC to run roughshod by relying on "self defined historical' interpretations.

Can the UK then reclaim most of the continent of North America, the Spanish a good chunk of South America, and the Dutch the West Indies, based on real life historical activities?

Asking for a friend.

I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.

The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.

How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?

As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.

Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.
 

Kirkhill

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And look what Google turned up....



Funny when you look at the Littoral Regiment Construct. It has three major units. A Combat Team. An Anti-Aircraft Battalion. A Logistics Battalion.

The emphasis has been on the Anti-Ship mission. But the Anti-Ship mission is managed by an Infantry Combat Team, a Battalion, with an attached and subordinate NSM artillery battery.

The senior artillery position actually will be going to the CO of the Anti-Air Battalion. So... what is the primary mission of this regiment?

Significantly for the emerging Marine vision to support the Navy at sea from agile land-based batteries, the new plan also calls for standing up 14 new precision strike batteries dubbed NMESIS (Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System). By 2030, the Marines call for 252 launchers stacked with hundreds of Naval Strike Missiles, a powerful threat to hold enemy ships out of the 115 mile range of the missile. The Corps’ launchers consist of an unmanned JLTV chassis with a HIMARS-like launcher firing the precision missile.

The existing plan calls for three Littoral Regiments each with one NMESIS battery of 18 ROGUE launch vehicles. (185 km range)

They also seem to suggest a battery or two of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (aka Maritime Strike Missile) (> 1000 miles range)



But by 2030 the prospect is of 14 NMESIS batteries with 252 launchers. Does that suggest 14 Littoral Regiments? With 14 AD Battalions? It seems to me that the AD deployment could be at least as significant as the Anti-Ship deployment.


 
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Kirkhill

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Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.

China is already "defending" the Nine Dash Line with military force - manufactured islands, armed fishermen, armed coast guards, naval patrols, air incursions. They are daring their neighbours and their neighbours allies to take a swing at them. Up to now we have be doing the gentlemanly thing and ignoring this mess.

But, for whatever reason, the new US administration seems to have decided to continue to push against Beijing both diplomatically (strong words in Alaska, continued criticism of WHO and China, first US diplomat in Taiwan in 40 odd years, NASA insulting China by referring to Taiwan as a country in a handout) and militarily with additional weapons.


I think the US can make the case to establish these Littoral Regiments.

They are infantry poor and not designed to hold ground - a major concern if you fear an imperialist take over.
They have a small foot print.
They make a good trip wire to discourage the Chinese from taking action against its neighbours knowing that dead marines make for bad publicity.
The additional coastal defences and anti-air defences would be very useful to the locals and at the same time they would restrict China's freedom of action.

Leave it up to China to decide if the appropriate counter to a country voluntarily strengthening its defences by inviting a friend to the party is to fire the first shot.
 

Weinie

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I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.

The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.

How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?

As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.

Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.
And I think you are being willfully naive. "There will be peace in our time."

There has been some previous mis-adventures along the lines of this thread: the German military annexation in Austria in 1938, followed by the Sudetenland territory in Czechoslovakia. This was "managed" via the Munich Agreement. In return Hitler gave his word that Germany would make no further territorial claims in Europe. A promise that was broken soon after; leading to the Second World War.
 
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Kirkhill

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Putting the pieces of the 2030 puzzle together (I think)

100x 11m sentinels Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels capped with Loitering "Kamikaze" Drones

252x JLTV/NSM ROGUE systems - 185 km radius
36x HIMARS/Precision Strike Missile systems - 499 km radius
12x GLMSM/Tomahawk - >1700 km radius

30x Light Amphibious Warships - Austal contending
15x Joint High Speed Vessels - Austal Catamaran
17x Littoral Combat Ships - Austal Trimaran
8x Littoral Combat Ships - Lockheed Monohull

In addition there is the separate sale to Taiwan of

HIMARS/Harpoon SLAM-ER with 6 targeting pods - total 1.8 BUSD - Oct 21
100x Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems by Boeing - up to 2.37 BUSD - Oct 26
4x Aerial Drones - 0.6 BUSD - Nov 3
1x Field Information Communication System - 0.28 BUSD - Dec 7.

The Taiwan sale may give some sense of the USMC systems with the Harpoon being swapped for the NSM.

Add in the prospect of either the Army adding the SM3 / SM6 to its inventory or additional Aegis Ashore systems being deployed (2 currently in Japan)

 
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medik05

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Agreed. Station detachments of Marines with anti-air and anti-surface to deny superiority to the Chinese. One thing to note is the Marine Corps is proportionally larger today in comparison to the Army than it was during WW2. That might make the "follow up" of the Army unnecessary on smaller islands.

Regardless if Taiwan is a country or not or whatever, the US cannot let China steamroll them. It would damage US power projection immensely and would cripple their influence in the area.
 

GR66

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And I think you are being willfully naive. "There will be peace in our time."

There has been some previous mis-adventures along the lines of this thread: the German military annexation in Austria in 1938, followed by the Sudetenland territory in Czechoslovakia. This was "managed" via the Munich Agreement. In return Hitler gave his word that Germany would make no further territorial claims in Europe. A promise that was broken soon after; leading to the Second World War.
Ah yes....Hitler and Chamberlain. :rolleyes:

I never claimed that China was not expansionist and that we shouldn't oppose them. What I did question is whether the idea of using light USMC forces to occupy tiny specs of land in the Spratly's, Paracels and Senkakus made sense and if it would be better to simply deny their use to the Chinese in war since they are so highly exposed to attack.

I also stated that if the Chinese went beyond the Nine Dash line to the larger islands of Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. that heavier forces might be more suitable.

Furthermore I suggested that rather than open military invasion of the territories in the Nine Dash line area they might use hybrid methods similar to Crimea, Donbass, and the already fortified Atolls the Chinese have created. None of those elicited a military response from the West so I simply suggested that we improve our multi domain responses to these kinds of actions if we're not going to respond militarily.

Lastly I did note that in my opinion Taiwan is a special case and that in my opinion it is possible that because of the unique status of the ROC (in which they themselves as a government consider themselves in integral part of China) that depending on the circumstances leading up to a PRC invasion of the island there is no firm guarantee that the US will respond with direct military intervention.

But yes...clearly that makes me a willfully naive appeaser of China.
 

Kirkhill

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Agreed. Station detachments of Marines with anti-air and anti-surface to deny superiority to the Chinese. One thing to note is the Marine Corps is proportionally larger today in comparison to the Army than it was during WW2. That might make the "follow up" of the Army unnecessary on smaller islands.

Regardless if Taiwan is a country or not or whatever, the US cannot let China steamroll them. It would damage US power projection immensely and would cripple their influence in the area.


Apparently the USMC has form on this. Their WW2 Defense Battalions.

Marine Defense Battalions were United States Marine Corps battalions charged with coastal and air defense of advanced naval bases during World War II. They maintained large anti-ship guns, anti-aircraft guns, searchlights, and small arms to repel landing forces.


An Artillery Combat Team with an infantry security force?


A 1939 table of organization and equipment (TOE) included:[3]

  • HQ Company
  • Service battery
  • Coast Defense Group
  • Antiaircraft Group
    • Four AAA gun batteries, each with four mobile 3-inch M3 guns
    • Two AAA machine gun companies, each with 24 Browning M2 .50-caliber machine guns on AA mounts
    • Two beach protection machine gun companies, each with 24 Browning M1917A1 water-cooled .30-caliber machine guns
It is likely that the 5"/51 caliber guns were replaced by the 155 mm Long Tom and the 3-inch guns were replaced by the 90 mm Gun M1/M2/M3 by early 1943.
 

Kirkhill

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Three USMC Littoral Regiments, armed with NSMs (185 km) PrSMs (>499 km) and GLMSMs (>1700 km) focused on Okinawa, Batan and Brunei.

Okinawa and Batan protect the flanks of Taiwan. Japan and Australia protect the flanks of the USMC.

US Area Denial - The South China and Yellow Seas become

  • a contested zone
  • a no-mans land
  • a space for US subs and aircraft to operate
  • a space for the US to base Aegis Ashore and anti-ICBM/MRBM defences.
  • a commercial blockade


USMC Littoral.jpg
 

FJAG

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Three USMC Littoral Regiments, armed with NSMs (185 km) PrSMs (>499 km) and GLMSMs (>1700 km) focused on Okinawa, Batan and Brunei.

Okinawa and Batan protect the flanks of Taiwan. Japan and Australia protect the flanks of the USMC.
...

An interesting graphic. Add to that that the US Army has an artillery brigade in Korea, the 210th Fd with two MLRS battalions; a Patriot and THAAD equipped AD Brigade, the 35th AD and a Military Intelligence Brigade, the 501st MI (with five MI bns) as well as other elements and the cordon moves further north particulalry if some of these elements are converted to MDTFs with the appropriate developing weapon systems.

Incidentally, if you ever wish to see an interesting graphic, click on VesselFinder any day of the week and zoom onto the South China Sea to see what the marine traffic in this region looks like.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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I found this 2014 article which seems to describe the current sea-change in missileering. It argues against long-range silver bullets engineered to take down incoming missiles. It calls for taking down launch platforms at long range and filling ships magazines with long range SSMs and lots and lots of very short range SAMs. It also recommends lightening warheads to add fuel for range arguing that modern ships are more electronically fragile than their Cold War vacuum tube predecessors.

Seems in keeping with current developments.



Taking a cue from the USMC armament took another look at the PLA(N). By my count it has 241 hulls capable of launching the Harpoon/NSM analog C-803 out to 230 km. It has 42 hulls capable of launching they YJ-18 out to 540 km. It has, or is building, 11 hulls capable of launching a Tomahawk analog, the YJ-18.

All of these are, compared to missiles, slow moving targets and they are operating in contained waters with no place to hide.

The USN/USMC are countering the 241 short range hulls with 252 remotely operated JLTV launchers on shore where they can mask and they have minimal "crew" exposure.

Likewise the 42 midrange hulls are matched with 36 HIMARS launchers and the 11 long range hulls are matched by 12 (my estimate) Tomahawk launchers.

My sense is that the USMC launchers are much less vulnerable than the PLA(N)s and likely to be more effective. And more likely to be available if the PLA(N) tries to launch its fleet of 60 some odd 15 knot Landing Ships (800 to 4800 tonnes). It has, or is building 11 "proper" amphibs but most of them are building.

I think Taiwan is safe for a while - assuming politics.




In reading up on the Japanese Aegis Ashore it seems the Japanese have actually cancelled them but may be inclined to re-instate. Although they seem to have switched to an offensive strike model targeting launchers rather than missiles. It further seems that the Japanese bureaucrats were late in discovering that it takes 8 Aegis warships to maintain the 24/7 coverage that 2 Aegis Ashore systems can when tied into the central, nuclear powered electrical grid. And the grid powered radars can reach out farther. The Japanese were planning on putting their shore units on hulls but discovered that it would still require all their existing Aegis hulls to maintain watch making them unavailable for their intended offensive roles.


 

Weinie

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I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.

The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.

How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?

As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.

Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.
Perhaps the first step in response to your question above.

U.S. issues guidelines to deepen relations with Taiwan
 
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