Sunday, July 22, 2018

July Maritime Natsec Melee

NATO, Russia, the Chinese Navy, Australia's pocket fleet of the future and a potpourri of other issues that come across the transom - it's Midrats Melee!

Open topic, open phones and we'll be trolling the chat room for ideas this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Yes, he was THAT Brit officer holding the tanks in A Bridge Too Far.
Even if the 25-year-old Captain in the Grenadier Guards had wanted to say a prayer, his voice would have been drowned out by the throbbing of the five Chrysler engines that powered his 40-ton Sherman tank.

The young officer would have had good reason to call on the Almighty, because his troop of Shermans was about to cross the most dangerous bridge in Europe.

There was a strong likelihood he would either be killed by rifle or machine-gun fire, annihilated by an anti-tank gun, or be sent plummeting with his crew into the river below, after the bridge had been blown up by its Nazi defenders.

The young captain’s name was Peter Carington — and he survived his ordeal. But only after displaying leadership and courage of such distinction that it won him the Military Cross.

Peter Carington — perhaps better known today as Lord Carrington — went on to become one of our most impressive post-war politicians, holding office in the governments of six successive Conservative Prime Ministers, starting with Winston Churchill.

His death this week, at the age of 99, is a reminder of how Britain’s political class has changed. For in stark contrast to so many of today’s self-centred politicians, Peter Carington’s behaviour was ruled by duty, both to his fellow man and to his country.
One thing I dearly miss and have brought up now in then here since 2004 is that not enough of those of my class to whom much have given, give back as Peter Carington (Lord Carrington it seems, with two "t's" did. What service.
His extraordinary courage in war was matched by an integrity in public life that has all but disappeared today. His resignation as Foreign Secretary under Margaret Thatcher three days after Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982 is still regarded, nearly 40 years on, as the last honourable political resignation.

An official report absolved him of all responsibility, yet he refused to blame anyone else — not diplomats, intelligence agencies or underlings.

As he wrote in his memoirs: ‘The nation feels there has been a disgrace. The disgrace must be purged. The person to purge it should be the minister in charge.’
Every nation should be served by such men.
Despite his youth when crossing that bridge in his tank, Peter Carington had been a peer for six years since the death of his father, Rupert, the 5th Baron Carrington, who had also served in the Grenadier Guards.

His father’s service to King and country had been in World War I, during which he had fought with distinction and was wounded twice.
Let's get back to that scene from A Bridge Too Far (played my a much older actor).

A little more context on what the man's combat record was like. There are a lot of people out there who will throw shade at Carington, I won't. 
The date was September 20, 1944, and Carington and his tanks were a key component of the bold Operation Market Garden, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s audacious plan to seize nine strategically vital bridges that led to the Rhine, culminating in the bridge at Arnhem.

If the plan succeeded, the war — in that now notoriously over-optimistic phrase — could be over by Christmas.

The bridge at Nijmegen was just ten miles from Arnhem, where British paratroopers had been holding out for days. If the British and the Americans could cross the Waal and link up with them, then Operation Market Garden might be a triumph.

If not, then it would be seen as a total failure. The stakes, Captain Carington well knew, could not have been higher. The pressure was visible to those who saw him that day. ‘I can still see Peter Carington’s face as he looked down from the turret of his tank before going over,’ recalled Lieutenant Tony Jones of the Royal Engineers. ‘He looked thoughtful, to say the least of it.’

At around four o’clock, the tanks moved forward. The lead tank was commanded by Sergeant Peter Robinson, and as soon as he started crossing the 700-yard bridge, he came under attack from an 88mm anti-tank gun positioned on the far, northern bank.

Even though he had been warned the bridge may also have been mined, Robinson pushed forward along with Carington and the rest of the troop.

‘It was pretty spectacular,’ recalled one onlooking colonel. ‘The tank and the 88 exchanged about six rounds apiece, with the tank spitting .30 tracers all the while. Quite a show in the gathering dusk.’

What the observing officer did not know was that Carington’s small column was being fired on by another 88, as well as by anti-tank rockets and small arms. The Grenadiers were literally charging into a hail of lead.

‘I followed him over,’ Carington would later laconically recall. ‘And I thought they were going to blow the bridge up at any moment.’

Thankfully, he was not to die that day. In fact, he was to enjoy another 74 years of life.
A life of service well lived.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Diversity Thursday

This DivThu, I will let the Ambassador from France speak for me and all other right-minded people against those who try to divide the people in such cancerous means.

The French are better, so should we all be.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bye, Bye Bastion

Though this is old news and the video is a year old, this is was still something to see.

Camp Bastion. The place I had the full English b-fast that I burped up for a week.

The place I had one of my more interesting, "Watch Sal as he sticks his thumb out as he tries to get back to Kabul" stories of my time in AFG.

Camp Bastion, the symbol of our closest ally doing what she could to back our play.

Give it a watch and take away from it what you can.

Monday, July 16, 2018

PEO Ships Goes Quasi-Salamander

Now and then you read something that makes you pause, take a deep breath, and realize that the long intellectual battle you and other like-minded people fought is close to being considered a victory.

In the face of the self-righteousness, professional bullying, preening self-importance, and entitled arrogance that characterized many in the Transformationalist movement of the end of the last century and first decade of this century, the Anti-transformationalists continued forward knowing that our history was sound. We were bolstered by a confidence that our understanding of compound risk was sound, our realistic understanding of manpower and engineering truths were sound, and more importantly - we knew that a system designed by people whose power was defined by self-rightousness, professional bullying, preening self-importance, and entitled arrogance was sure to fail.

The last few years, more and more standards are crossing the field. All are welcome.

Over to Sydney Freedberg at BreakingDefense;
“It’s going to be more of an evolutionary approach as we migrate from the DDG-51 Flight IIIs to the Large Surface Combatant,” said Galinis, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Ships. (LSC evolved from the Future Surface Combatant concept and will serve along a new frigate and unmanned surface vessels). “(We) start with a DDG-51 flight III combat system and we build off of that, probably bringing in a new HME (Hull, Mechanical, & Engineering) infrastructure, a new power architecture, to support that system as it then evolves going forward.”
Evolution, Not Revolution

This evolutionary approach is similar to how the current Aegis combat system entered service on the CG-47 Ticonderoga cruisers in 1983 but came into its own on the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers.
On the Flight III, even with the hull modifications, “you kind of get to the naval architectural limits of the DDG-51 hullform,” Galinis told a Navy League breakfast this morning. “That’s going to bring a lot of incredible capabilities to the fleet but there’s also a fair amount of technical risk.”
The Navy is laboring mightily to reduce that risk on Flight III with simulations and land-based testing, including a full prototype of the new power plant being built in Philadelphia.
As they note, they have a ship-in-a-gibbet as motivation;
...DDG-1000 is a dead end, too large and expensive for the Navy to afford in quantity. The Navy truncated the class to just three ships and restarted Arleigh Burke production, which it had halted on the assumption the Zumwalts would be built in bulk.

Today, the Zumwalt‘s very mission is in doubt. The ship was designed around a 155 mm gun with revolutionary rocket-boosted shells, but ammunition technology hasn’t reached the ranges the Navy wanted for the original mission of bombarding targets ashore. With the resurgence of the Russian fleet and the rise of China’s, the Navy now wants to turn the DDG-1000s into ship-killers, which requires even longer ranges because modern naval battle is a duel of missiles.
In this article, there is a note of caution. The Anti-transformationalist victory is not fully complete. Our Big Navy still suffers from a bit of a problem of believing its own vignettes and PPT-thick futurism. Case in point here;
The gun’s place in ship-to-ship combat is “probably not a significant role, at least not at the ranges we’re interested in,” Galinis told reporters. While the Navy could invest in long-range cannon ammunition, he said, it’s paused work on several potential shells it test-fired last summer, awaiting the final mission review. If the Zumwalts do move to the anti-ship mission, which Galinis said they would be well suited for with minor modifications, their guns will be less relevant than their 80 Advanced VLS missile tubes or future weapons such as railguns drawing on their prodigious electric power.
What missiles that you have right now? Not that you'd like to have - but what you can get underway in 2018-20 in any quantity to make a difference in a fleet engagement in WESTPAC?

What happens when you quickly go Winchester w/those few you have? What if, like we're working on, an enemy finds a highly effective counter to ASCM that causes us to shoot 10 to get 1 hit? Then what weapon do you use?

Also, in every real-world conflict in our history and that of our most similar allies, warships have been called in to conduct NSFS. Look at just the last few decades, from The Falkland Islands War, to the invasion of Iraq, to the Libyan operations - the naval gun has been used much more than anyone thought at the start. In The Falkland Islands War, they shot the liners off some of their 4.5" guns.

Railguns might ... might ... be a weapon of the 2040/50s, but what will we have to fight in 2025? 2030? We lost an entire generation of shipbuilding because the Transformationalist were looking so far ahead, they tripped over the reality in front of them. As a result, our Navy and the nation it serves is flat-footed in 2018.

No, we have not purged all the Transformationalist foolishness yet.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

How Small Ships Can Make a Big Navy Better, on Midrats

Building off our discussions from last week's Midrats, our guest this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Lieutenant Joshua M. Roaf, USN to discuss part of the solution to improving the professional performance of our Surface Warfare Officers in what should be the core of their skillset; seamanship.

Using many of the issues he raised in a recent article co-authored with LT Adam Biggs, USN, Bring Back the Patrol Craft, we will explore the various advantages of returning balance to the fleet with an expansion of truly small surface combatants.

A native of Bennington, Vermont, LT Roaf graduated from Ithaca College, Ithaca NY in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and earned his commission from Officer Candidate School in 2010.

Afloat, Lieutenant Roaf completed his division officer tours aboard USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG57) where he served as the Main Propulsion Officer and Electrical Officer and then aboard USS ANZIO (CG-68) as the Navigator and Executive Department Head. During his sea tours, he participated in numerous Multi-National exercises (RIMPAC 2011/12, CANADIAN TGEX, BOLD ALLIGATOR, JOINT WARRIOR) and completed two Western Pacific deployments.

Ashore, Lieutenant Roaf taught navigation, naval operations and leadership development through the North Carolina Piedmont Region Consortium (NCPR) Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC). Additionally, he earned his Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Toxicology degree from the UNC. In support of this degree, Lieutenant Roaf completed a joint internship at the Wright Paterson Air Force base in Dayton Ohio working with the Navy Medical Research Unit.

He is currently stationed at Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport RI, training to become a Department Head afloat.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.