Wednesday, September 26, 2018

To the Shores of the China Littorals

China is a large bastion for land-based anti-ship and anti-aircraft assets. But they don't have a monopoly on using land for such assets.

This is an interesting evolution in thinking for using Marine amphibious forces in the Pacific:

The [Navy] thinking goes that the Marine Corps can slip into the range of Chinese missiles, land a force on a feature or island, and start fighting back with missiles and sensors of their own. This will force the Chinese to expend resources to address the Marine threat, creating opportunities for the Navy to use its hefty strike capabilities.

“A Marine landing force on an island or feature has to present a problem to the enemy that is credible — anti-ship cruise missiles, short-range air defense, a sensor node contributing to the air or surface picture,” Wood said. “It has to be able to thin out the enemy’s fire power, sensor grid and attention span to give the Navy the chance to get inside the envelope, close and have an impact.”

This requires the ability to spread out the amphibious assets to land multiple small Marine composite units, which is a mission I included in the range of missions for "Dragon Swarms" that would rely on company-sized Marine units on small armed transports that carry on the tradition of the APDs heavily used in World War II (although that is behind a firewall, here's the genesis of the idea), which were old destroyers and destroyer escorts converted into armed transports.

Certainly, the Marines are one source of land-based anti-ship forces that should be fully exploited before dragging the Army into that role.