Amphibious Assault

February 9th, 2016  
Remington 1858

Topic: Amphibious Assault

A number of nations periodically conduct amphibious assault exercises. I have watched the U.S. Marines practice this technique off the coast of California several times. The topic for discussion is: Does amphibious assault on a hostile, defended shore remain a viable military technique in the 21st century? Obviously, the U.S and British Royal Marines still think so, because this is their main mission.
I think it is possible for this tactic to continue in the form of small - scale raids, for non-combatant evacuations and for landings in a permissive environment. I do not think it is any longer a practical approach on a large - scale, on a defended shore, against a technologically advanced opponent. A large assembly of stationary ships in the landing area are a tempting target for sea-skimmer anti-ship missiles and for missile armed UAVs. Defensive systems like chaff dispensers and rapid firing guns such as Phalanx, are, in my opinion, nothing more than a security blanket.
In the Okinawa landings during WWII. the U.S. Navy suffered greater casualties than the U.S. Marines because of kamikaze suicide plane attacks. The kamikaze was essentially an anti-ship missile with a man in it.
The U.S. Navy and Marines subscribe to a theory of Over The Horizon landings where ships remain far off-shore and deliver troops ashore via high-speed rotorcraft or air cushion vehicles. I submit that it makes little difference to a cruise missile whether the target it attacks is two miles or twenty miles off shore.
It is alarming that the latest generation of U.S. Navy amphibious ships are larger than any used in the past, offering the possibility of massive casualties if one is hit in the same way as HMS Sheffield in the Falklands War.
February 9th, 2016  
" HMS Sheffield in the Falklands War. " Sir Tristan and Sir Galahad would be better examples, perhaps.

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