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Urban Combat Training Article

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Posted (edited)

I'm tempted to ask if it wouldn't be better to have a combination of different "movement over terrain" training scenarios for U.S. Forces. Training needs to be tied to expected the expected mission of the organization. For example, training in the USMC should be heavily biased to perform its mission. The mission of the Marine Corps reads as follows: The official mission of the U.S. Marine Corps was established in the National Security Act of 1947, amended in 1952. Marines are trained, organized and equipped for offensive amphibious employment and as a "force in readiness."

As far as I'm concerned, that means Marine training should be primarily assaults by the sea and vertical envelopments with minor trading in MOUT unless the landing is in a port. The Marines who landed at Inchon in 1950 during the Korean Conflict had a rather difficult time clearing the city because they weren't experienced in "European style street fighting" as the Army was. The same thing happened in Hue following the Tet offensive in Vietnam 28-years later. No surprise, since most of the Generals and senior officers fought in Korea. We trained for a sort of MOUT in 1969, but it I entailed only some small scale building entry since our mission above doesn' generally involve MOUT. It was mostly movement through jungle ended by setting up a circular perimeter.

The DoD and Joint Chiefs of Staff ALWAYS plan to fight the last war. They don't plan to fight te next.

In my opinion, the DoD and Joint Chiefs of Staff are not using the Marine Corps as it is supposed to be employed, and haven't since Korea when they were first placed under the command of the Army. Basically, Marines are supposed to assault a "landing site" be it seaborne or vertical envelopments, and after securing the area, turn it over to the Army and withdraw back to the ships. The assault mission and "Force-in-Readiness" missions are why the Marine TO&E is what it is. It is also why I caution players to NOT USE MARINES AS THEY WOULD USE ARMY! 

Edited by Vet 0369

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Posted (edited)

Well that makes sense, doesn't it? If there is no opposed beach landing - then you don't have to hold back the Marines until the enemy fortifies the coast. If you can just land troops, then the next 99% of their deployment will be fighting, often in urban terrain.

It's like saying "Hey, why is the Airborne fighting in that city - their job is to land in fields!"

The British used their Marines like this for centuries - the primary thing was that they were mobile by sea, but they weren't restricted to amphibious assaults. In fact, it's always the case that after an amphibious assault...there will be the rest of the mission. I don't think it is the intent to clear a beach with the Marines, and then send in the Army. The Marines are expected to continue working.

Edited by Snake726

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6 hours ago, Snake726 said:

Well that makes sense, doesn't it? If there is no opposed beach landing - then you don't have to hold back the Marines until the enemy fortifies the coast. If you can just land troops, then the next 99% of their deployment will be fighting, often in urban terrain.

It's like saying "Hey, why is the Airborne fighting in that city - their job is to land in fields!"

The British used their Marines like this for centuries - the primary thing was that they were mobile by sea, but they weren't restricted to amphibious assaults. In fact, it's always the case that after an amphibious assault...there will be the rest of the mission. I don't think it is the intent to clear a beach with the Marines, and then send in the Army. The Marines are expected to continue working.

Sorry Snake, but I can't agree with your assessment. Please compare the following mission of the U.S. Army to the Marine Corps mission I posted above. 

The U.S. Army's mission is to fight and win our Nation's wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.

The Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) is created based on the specific mission. Granted, as I said, the way Marines were deployed in Korea (with the exception of Pusan and Inchon), Vietnam, and second Iraq/Afganistan, was not in accordance with the mission statement. With regard to the second Irag/Afganistan wars, I wouldn't be surprised if the Joint Chiefs and DoD decided to change the mission because the Army was having so much trouble keeping troops in country, and they were getting a lot of flack from the States Governors about how often the Feds were activating their Guard units. That doesn't change the fact that the Marines were being used outside their mission statement.

I find your comment about the Airborne units interesting. In fact, Airborne are used as rapid deployment forces, and are usually relieved by "legs," and withdrawn from the area after they perform their mission. Airborne troops, like Marines are elite units, and are expensive to train and maintain. You don't waste their skills in "normal" operations. As a frame of reference The Army has a strength of 1.3 million active-duty Soldiers and 865,000 Reserve Soldiers. That doesn't include Federalized National Guard. The Marine Corps as of 2017 has 186,000 active-duty Marines, and 38,500 Reserves. That combined is about 1/8 the size of the Army Reserves!

So yes, I believe the intention is for the Marines to secure a "beach head" from which the Army could deploy according to their mission whether the beach head is on an actual beach or many miles inland. Marines cannot fulfill their mission of a "rapid deployment force" if they're tied down fighting an Army type mission.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Vet 0369 said:

The Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) is created based on the specific mission. Granted, as I said, the way Marines were deployed in Korea (with the exception of Pusan and Inchon), Vietnam, and second Iraq/Afganistan, was not in accordance with the mission statement. With regard to the second Irag/Afganistan wars, I wouldn't be surprised if the Joint Chiefs and DoD decided to change the mission because the Army was having so much trouble keeping troops in country, and they were getting a lot of flack from the States Governors about how often the Feds were activating their Guard units. That doesn't change the fact that the Marines were being used outside their mission statement.

I suppose I am not clear on why the mission statement carries so much weight - it is much easier to say that the role they serve in practice reflects the definitive nature of the Corps, not the so-called mission statement. For instance, talking about the paper tactics of an infantry company in WW2 is one thing, and talking about what they actually did in practice is usually quite different.

I meant to call out a larger absurdity actually - imagine a nation doesn't want to encounter the Marines? Well, stay away from any beaches and they'll never show up.

I mean, it's not like the Marines landed on islands in the Pacific, cleared the beaches, and then the Army landed troops - in fact the Army landed 6 times the number of troops amphibiously than the Marines did in the Pacific. The Marines continued to fight on the islands once the beaches were assaulted, and the Army assaulted the beaches before they participated in clearing the islands.

This would lead me to say: the mission statement is incorrect, and does not describe what the Marines in fact do, not the other way around - given, especially, that the Marines existed prior to said mission statement, and behaved quite differently.

1 hour ago, Vet 0369 said:

I find your comment about the Airborne units interesting. In fact, Airborne are used as rapid deployment forces, and are usually relieved by "legs," and withdrawn from the area after they perform their mission. Airborne troops, like Marines are elite units, and are expensive to train and maintain. You don't waste their skills in "normal" operations. As a frame of reference The Army has a strength of 1.3 million active-duty Soldiers and 865,000 Reserve Soldiers. That doesn't include Federalized National Guard. The Marine Corps as of 2017 has 186,000 active-duty Marines, and 38,500 Reserves. That combined is about 1/8 the size of the Army Reserves!

But that's not the case given the majority of combat use. From between July 13th and September 16 in 1944, 101st Airborne was assigned targets constantly but had to stand down because that objective had already been taken by the infantry. This squares up with the pre-D-Day notes from Max Hasting about Eisenhower's desire to commit the airborne just about anywhere - in fact, I will argue, it is exactly because they were so expensive and specialized that it was necessary to drop them whenever possible, regardless of mission requirements: they had to show that the program was worth it. And when there wasn't a need for further drops, and the Army needed assistance on the ground, the paras simply remained on the ground - that was, after all, where they were supposed to go: the ground.

And we can note that American paras in WW2 did not spend most of their time dropping out of planes onto targets, but rather performing the role of regular infantry. Obviously this became the norm in the German and Russian military as well: dropping out of planes was too risky, and it was easier, safer, and more effective, to use the paras as especially competent infantry. Granted the American paras re-deployed a few times, where the regular infantry obviously did not.

It may be different now that America is not fighting conventional wars very often, and when it does, does so against largely incompetent nations - but I am arguing that if we go by combat deployments, and so include WW2, paratroopers, like Marines, spent more time operating for extended periods as regular infantry than they did performing their specialized task. It's no wonder, since the whole point of assaulting a beach or dropping out of a plane is to, afterward, destroy the enemy. You don't drop out of a plane and then give the Army a call to come and pick you up (unless it's Market Garden ;))

So from my view, the Marines are very much fulfilling their mission - as an overseas expeditionary unit that is deployed by the Navy, much like how the British conceived of their Marines. They are a rapid deployment force and, given their readiness and training, it seems, used just like the Army during extended periods of modern insurgency warfare.

Edited by Snake726

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Well, you are entitled to your opinion, as am I. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

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Um... Hue? Fallujah? Debaltsev'? All involved "non-standard" infantry units (Marines, Mountain) performing outside their paper missions. 

The statement of Mission isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Facts and needs on the ground trump any kind of beaurocratic terminology. 

Paradropping/amphib assault/ mountain etc units are infantry with an extra feature, different tech and TOE to deal with a particular situation or provide a certain strategic, operational or tactical flexibility - but they're infantry first. That extra training often seems to instill better discipline, morale etc, making those specialized infantry even more useful outside their stated role

The Marines are a perfect example of a specialized yet flexible force, operating at a higher tempo and level than main stream units. All that does is make them in more in demand, more useful, more desirable to have on hand, even for situations that don't match their "stated mission". Witness, Fallujah.

Why try to force a committee's limited, politically oriented thought process on a military reality? Its pointless. No military commander pays attention to that crap, they solve the issue with the best units they can get.

If the army's Cooks just so happened to have a perfect skillset for MOUT CQB I guarantee every Colonel  would be demanding a unit of Head Chefs attached to his/her point units, the perfect beef stroganoff be damned :)

 

Spoken as a non-Mil, utterly lazy lay person, wedged firmly into my armchair.. 

 

Edited by kinophile

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