Thursday, July 20, 2006

SeaBasing: nothing new under the sun

Sid gets 50% credit for a guest post (I know, I shouldn't encourage him); I built this mostly from his email. Sid, if you don't like any of my add-ins, please correct in the comments.
Fold in a few bits floating around the Navy braintrust: SeaBasing, LCS, Navy Fire Support, and the quest for relavancy in The Long War.

Assuming most of these concepts survive Mullen's tour mostly intact, it might be helpful to look at where we come from. Just one example from the last real Navy war; WWII. Like the ships in the upper right hand corner (click for a larger view, or here for another), we had lots of SeaBases, in a fashio, called "Tenders." Ask anyone about the until recently decom'd Destroyer Tenders; they were a base unto themselves - they could almost build a DD or FF. Without going into a disertation lenght paper - let's review some known-knowns:
- A SeaBase if involved in Expeditionary Ops or the care-and-feeding of LCS will be close.
- In a high OPTEMPO war, promised protection and support may not be there when you need it.
- Your enemy will be there when you don't need them - and they don't care what your maintenance schedule, fuel state, or CASREP status is.
- You will take losses. Plan and accept it.

Though technology, strategy, and battlespace geometry and depth have changed - like sunrise, sunset, and the fact that you win wars by a young man with a gun in his hand standing on someone elses property - some things do not change.

Those ships in the nice little picture. What happened to them?

- The USS Black Hawk, Bulmer, Ford, Whipple, and Heron all survived WWII, the other ships did not fare as well.
- USS Pillsbury was sunk by gunfire with all hands as was the USS Edsall, on the same day.
- USS Peary was sunk off Pelelieu Island.
- USS Stewart was captured in a drydock and used by the Japanese.
- USS Pope died as well and this infamous photo records her death throes:

That picture, my friends, is the nasty bit of our line of work. I recommend you follow the links to the ships lost above. There will be losses like that again. Just know where your strategy can bring you. Are you ready? Do you know what a shore-based 155mm can do? Ponder.

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