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stephen ball

Looks good, we don’t have the mass that the USMC has.

So a 2-1 concept we can do raiding or threat of raiding. While also joining up with partners to either lead an assault or be a major element of a bigger component.

Nigel Collins

The USMC is adapting the way it operates too.

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Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins

Lots to comment on this article but I will stick with the most important one, the personnel.
The Corps is haemorrhaging experienced people at an alarming rate because of the poor pay, conditions and constant deployments. This is a real spiral of decline and unless the pay and conditions are urgently addressed it will continue.
The promise of new ships and equipment count for nothing without them.

Supportive Bloke

I agree.

They are very employable people.

Plenty of headhunters circling.

Last edited 1 month ago by Supportive Bloke

Absolute nonsense. The RM are abandoning their actual role of theatre amphibious entry in favour of mindlessly cruising the seas pretending to be a MEU(SOC) lite.


They don’t have the manpower to be storming the beaches anymore. Or the funding. That’s why they’re abandoning it.

But I’d also argue this is a seperate role that needs fulfilled. Even if the RM are unable to carry out large assualts anymore.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hugo

The RMs even during the Cold War never planned to assault beaches because they are not the USMC. The intention was to transport and potentially land the Brigade during a time of tension before the bullets started flying.

The USMC would have assaulted Port Stanley head on in 1982 rather than land at the relatively undefended San Carlos.

It a huge difference and why the whole FCF concept is controversial because it is often used to suggest the changes (reductions) of the Corps are some great new strategy.

New technology, equipment and ideas are needed but the Corps is going to be around 5000 personnel in the near future so it is actually huge cut in manpower.
The RM’s with the Paras and one or two other small units make up for the U.K’s lack of numbers by adding real quality, which is both feared and respected.

Given it seems we are never going to meaningfully increase the size of the army unless war is actually declared I cannot comprehend why we have not actually increased the size and hitting power of our best forces. Small numbers but high hitting power.

In reality we have done the opposite and it is not just the RM’s who have been impacted because with the loss of the Hercules fleet we have reduced our airlift capability especially for our Special Forces.

Whale Island Zookeeper

THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

It seems the idea of manoeuvre warfare and how the RM has operated during the Cold War has past some here by.

What amazes me about the Falklands War is that government didn’t look at the result and think ‘We do this well, let’s build on it’ but instead carried on with the Army and RAF’s obsession with Germany to fight a war nobody would win.

Last edited 1 month ago by Whale Island Zookeeper

Yes. And when the wall fell, they all said “didnt expect that”
A 35 yr long excise in futility, as the 1950s French didnt want a sovereign West germany that didnt have massive British-US-French troops stationed there.
Then De Gaulle pulled France from the Nato military structure, but they kept 50,000 troops in West germany!( 2 divisions and a Brigade- all under strength)
Yet the Germans could have taken the Austrian option which reunited their 4 occupation zones but neutral and non nato. Austria is of course still neutral

Dave !

Tosser, sjb 1968 have you ever served in our armed forces?


Really good article. I’ll definitely be reading it a few times and thinking on it.

Nothing for Baltops. Any news on a ship for the West Indies hurricane season yet? With availability only set to decrease over the next few years, it feels like the overstretch has reached a point that even politicians must have noticed.


RFA Mounts Bay wasn’t ready and the RM assault unit was split in half to provide support on RFA Cardigan for the yanks off Gaza.
There are not enough people.

Andrew Deacon

West Indies looks to be just HMS Trent, possibly replaced rather than assisted by HMS Medway later in the year. Extra resource could be Argus or Lyme Bay IF they can get through Panama Canal quickly.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrew Deacon
Whale Island Zookeeper

The USMC and RM are different forces for different purposes.

The USMC is an ‘army’ sized force designed to scale up to divisional operations to deliver a light infantry force across the beach.. The modern RM is more like the USMC’s Force Recon. (I am not going to reference their 2030 reforms because they aren’t fully in place and I don’t think they ever will be.)

The RN could just about generate an ‘MEU Lite’ but even that would be far heavier than these under resourced littoral groups. As I have said here now a few times their has to be mass and the means to deliver that mass ashore even for a raid. The USMC says to get that done requires a task group the size of a MEU. The RM are specialist light infantry not special forces.

It will never happen but I think there is still a gap for a very fast ship to shore connector that can two BV’s sized vehicles. Too specialist and too expensive for UK Plc to fund and develop. But it is fun to think about flat bottom craft with folding hydrofoils and other exotica.

I can’t be bothered to troll over the same ground again

Peter S

Indeed. The USMC expanded massively during ww2 yet played no part in European operations even in the largest seaborne invasion in history. Since then, they have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan but remain focussed on large scale operations in the Pacific. We have never had a marine force capable of large scale independent operations. The plan for the RM seems to be to enhance small scale independent capability whilst retaining the ability to conduct precursor operations for larger, army formations. Quite what replacement vessels will be needed isn’t yet clear. But the joint project with the Dutch has ended, suggesting we are looking at larger ships than the various Damen offerings.

Whale Island Zookeeper

I ended up answering your post and Martin’s in the same reply.


Actually, the USMC had several hundred Marines at D-Day. They even talk about this in their most recent social media post this past 6 June. Not only were there Marines on ships, some even landed with the RMs on Juno Beach. The US Army tactics for amphibious operations were taken from the USMC just before the war’s start as the USMC had been doing experimenting just before the war on amphibious ops. The famous US Higgens landing craft was also developed by the USMC.


The British Army is more like the USMC than the RM, the British army has always been designed as a force the RN could project until 1939.

Whale Island Zookeeper

The Army has always been small because the UK is an island and the RN was bestest evah! 🙂

Even in times of Empire the Army more often than not followed on after the seaborne explorers and merchants and diplomats. The ‘merchants’ set up their own armed services as we know outside the state scaled to their own requirements. The Army’s place in the national psyche as our prime defensive arm is a result of WW1 and WW2 requiring the UK to raise and field large armies. Armies were then personnel intensive so there were more seeing defence in terms of soldiery within society. Never mind that landpower is simple to grasp whereas seapower is more subtle.

I am not going to go over these new plans for the RM. The RM was to me already a light raiding force. But raids aren’t always ‘special force operations’; often a raid will require one or more special forces operations before the raid proper takes places.
I use Operation Claymore and Operation Frankton to illustrate my point, the former is a raid the latter is SF op.

The Dutch are working alongside the Germans a lot now.


Whisky company hu

Whale Island Zookeeper

The USMC are looking at Ozzie boats from the Whiskey Project

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Nigel Collins

I wonder if the RM could make good use of this, as we are already purchasing the missiles for the RN.
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Keep on dreaming, where will the money come from?
RN is just buying the bare minimum to equip a few frigates and destroyers while Poland is buying “serval hundreds” missiles.
The RM is not in the same league as the USM Corp. And how many would RM buy? 10?
More taxes or less public spending?
But day dreaming does not cause any harm? Now where is my mega yacht?

Last edited 1 month ago by Arjun
Nigel Collins

Fact-checking always helps before posting.

How many NSMs would you require to secure a beach head? More than ten?

Strengthening defence ties between the UK and Norway, the Royal Navy will receive the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), outfitted on a total of eleven Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, in a collaboration with the Norwegian government.

“For comparison, by far the most expensive missile was the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), it was a bestseller on the world arms market with a price tag of varying about $2 million per unit.”

Martin L

11 vessels total it could be 6 type 45 and five of the type 23. As replacements arrive for the type 23 they will have mark 41 missile launch systems and a choice as to what will be installed there is still to be made?

Nigel Collins

Good point!


So that will be 88 missiles if all those ships are operational simultaneously.
Is UK sharing these missiles with Norway’s navy?
Is that bigger than the “serval hundreds” missiles for Poland?

So the RM will be storming beaches again? What films have you been watching? Gallipoli?

Where will the money come from? You did not answer the question.
More taxes or less public spending?
Reality check.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arjun
Nigel Collins

You tell me, as you clearly seem to know the answer and the outcome of the election!

How many MSMs will we be purchasing by the way? Has a figure already been published?

P.S you do not require several hundred missiles to secure a beachhead and I’m not quite sure what Poland has to do with it either unless they happen to be on the same beach as the RM of course.

Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins

What has the election got to do with here? You are clearly a very confused person.
And have no idea where the money will come from except fantasizing about the past, The empire has long gone if you care for a fact check.
The USMC has adversaries in Asia and is the RM going to storm beaches there with a couple of NSM on the back of a truck against the PLAN?

Last edited 1 month ago by Arjun
Nigel Collins

What has the election got to do with here? The question you posed was, “Where’s the money coming from” It all depends on who is in Government and what the MOD decides it will spend its allocated budget on. More to come on that after the 4th of July.

What has the British Empire got to do with my original post or Poland come to that let alone China? “I wonder if the RM could make good use of this, as we are already purchasing the missiles for the RN.”

The USMC has adversaries in Asia and is the RM going to storm beaches there with a couple of NSM on the back of a truck against the PLAN“? A couple now, I thought you were under the impression we couldn’t afford any at all.

Under its long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity,” the United States has never committed to coming to Taiwan’s defense if China attacks.”

How many of these mobile systems will the USA be purchasing?

U.S. Official Says Allies Acting Together to Deter China

Nigel Collins

If the money is coming from tax increases as you say, we will have the budget to pay for them if and when required. Not too hard to grasp is it?

Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins

Last time I fact-checked, money still does not grow on trees. Maybe you can tell me where they come from?


Well in the U.K. we live in a democracy and the election on July 4th will choose a new government, which will determine taxation and public spending. Not a difficult concept to grasp surely?

Looks like you have a large chip on your shoulder about “empire”.

If you’d bothered to read the article the RM aren’t planning to “storm” beaches. Trying to land while take fire fire is a guaranteed way to take extremely heavy losses.

Bloke down the pub

If looking for USMC kit, whatever they choose for their ARV requirement would provide the ability to get from any ro-ro , across intervening sea and beach, and inland.

Whale Island Zookeeper

That’s the Textron replacement for the LAV’s I think.

I think large IFV/APC should be able to swim. It is Boxer’s only failing I can see. But this is more for a larger force which is for us the Army. There needs to be more investigation of a 6×6 version of Boxer.

Um. What would fit into this the new re-imagined RM is the vehicle the USMC scuppered before the ACV competition the EFV. Too expensive to be bought in numbers but it would be an interesting alternative to helicopters for some scenarios. Imagine a troop of 4 slipping ashore somewhere austere, laying up over the day, carrying out the mission, before slipping back to sea. That niche though might be too narrow and perhaps similar could be achieved with helicopters carrying smaller vehicles ashore.

Nigel Collins

Indeed. Lots of new equipment arriving and rethinking on how to fight future conflicts.

Nigel Collins

This is another very good example which is destined for the RN. Long Range Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Weapon
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Thanks for that find. At the moment its just an RFI, not a budgeted item. As your image suggests it only means one solution
 The LRAW effector solution will be a ‘missile/rocket’ delivered system …”

Nigel Collins

As you quite rightly say, but its interesting to see where the intended funds for future RN projects might be headed.

“The UK Royal Navy (RN) has embarked on a pre-procurement market survey activity intended to support planning and inform options for a future surface ship torpedo defence (SSTD) system.

Released on 11 June, the Next-Generation SSTD request for information (RFI) has asked industry for white papers on both individual components and full ‘end-to-end’ system solutions.

RN surface ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are currently fitted to receive the Sonar 2170 SSTD system.

Developed and manufactured by what is now Ultra Maritime, the Sonar 2170 system is a reactive soft-kill torpedo defence suite featuring a dedicated towed high-frequency passive digital array and intercept sensor, a flexible towed acoustic body containing a multimode countermeasures device, and expendable acoustic countermeasures launched from fixed launchers mounted above deck.

Automated torpedo detection, classification, and localisation (DCL) functionality is hosted within the Sonar 2170 electronics cabinet.

With a permanent Sonar 2170 fit to all units deemed unaffordable, a pool of 16 systems has been procured to enable a capability rotation across the fleet as operational needs demand. Sonar 2170 is planned to remain in service until 2030.

Outlining the RN’s scope of interest in Next-Generation SSTD, the RFI has asked for information regarding extant/traditional capabilities as well as novel systems and approaches. Key areas of interest include sensing; soft-kill and hard-kill effectors and effector delivery mechanisms; processing; platform and combat system integration; and platform and force-level defence.”

Whale Island Zookeeper

The USMC (supposed) move to land based sea denial makes no sense to me. The best place for anti-ship missiles is aboard aircraft.

If you mean missile systems in general that can toddle off a landing craft (or out of a cargo plane) and set themselves up is here nearly.

Nigel Collins

I assume it’s in addition too and can move as the troops do.
Far better to have a few of these camouflaged close to the sea rather than a very expensive warship.

SF could make very good use of something like this to protect a landing zone for a larger concentration of troops coming ashore and the accompanying ships.

Joint Warrior
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Nigel Collins

In addition to Aircraft fitted with anti-ship missiles, and yes, it appears the USMC are considering this as a viable option.

Spear 3 has no confirmed in-service date as yet for the Typhoon or F-35B. So, the only quick solution for Typhoon is Marte ER.
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Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
Whale Island Zookeeper

I see! Ships move islands do not. If money were no object then yes I RM AShM formation. But we don’t have the money. Money needs to be spent on reloads for aircraft and ships I think.

Nigel Collins

Regarding money, you would have to factor in the potential loss of men and equipment including ships to deliver them against the cost of a system like this.

All weapon systems require reloading if fired, this would serve as a useful deterrent too. It’s also a flexible platform and is being designed to carry other types of munitions

No doubt they could be placed on deck to add firepower while in transit when entering a hot environment and helicoptered ashore or further inland after the landing phase has been completed.

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Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins

This is also worth reading and hopefully installing too at some point!
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Whale Island Zookeeper

I think we will see legged drones carrying EW kit to deal with drones.

Nigel Collins

Or possibly the Bofors Tridon MK2!!!
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Whale Island Zookeeper

The RM like all UK land forces has always been short of air defence and what was provided wasn’t always fantastic.

A gun system for anti drone work to back up EW would make sense.

Dave !

Again, somebody else who hasn’t served in our armed forces. All Royal Marines are now Special Forces. You cannot compare the Americans with us, they’re just not good enough!


Just a company
one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy, and provide a company strength unit to the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG).” is what the RM say

Whale Island Zookeeper

Well that makes two of us then doesn’t it?


one of the key questions we should be asking given the following statement “deliver outputs to UK defence that are disproportionally effective when compared to their cost and size”(which I agree with btw) is

  1. what would be needed to make the RM more effective and totally self sustaining
  2. Can this be modelled to create a new Divisional / Corps structure that can be rolled out the remainder of land forces

Small and Nimble, quick and lethal


I’m thinking perhaps the RM need something along the lines of the CB90.

Andrew Harris

Huh ? the Honda CB90 was never really intended for use at sea.


The Corps – and particularly what was 539 got a stiffy on for CB90 fifteen years ago. Never going to happen.


I think they already looked at it and said it was unsuitable for CIC


I think the CB90 is unsuitable because of the cost! We certainly need more than ribs in the far North. Whatever we do need; with the advent of drones is what we dont want are deathtraps.


We’re getting more than Ribs, go look at the Cic article.
The CB90 is unsuitable because the ramp isn’t wide enough and it can’t carry a light vehicle.


I have worked on refitting CB90 in its USN guise.
Absolute nightmare of a boat engineering wise.
Kevlar Ballistic plate on the inside stops you getting to any electrical or mechanical systems without dismantling half the boat first.
No ramp for vehicles.

In addition it wont fit on an LPD davit without a massive mod package. Any mod package would probably cost more than the boats do. 10 years ago the davits struggle with LCVPs and needed a lot of mods to keep them working safely.


The run down of the RM is mad: meanwhile the army is building an inferior option ‘Rangers’ to sound all US and give its vast numbers of relatively useless light infantry something to do. The RM gives massive bang for buck and should be growing – even if that means a few less in the army.

Last edited 1 month ago by Grant
stephen ball

We are at War. Have been the last 5-10 years.


Tony Blair started two wars, but fought them on a declining peacetime budget…. Then we had SDSR 2010…


Blair and Bush started one (illegal) war, the other was started by Al-Qaeda.


Almost 25 years.. starting with Afghanistan

Whale Island Zookeeper

For me 3Cdo should have been maintained and invested in. And the same with 16AAB put in a division of their own offering complementary (but different) capabilities.


Great update article. For all those who want the glory days of 3 Brigade, well it is what it is and A2AD and budgets mean we are not fighting our way ashore to “deliver mass over the beach” – current RM less than 6K, over 6K were landed on the “raid” at Dieppe, and within 10 hours half of them were dead, wounded or captured…… Yes I know you could hold up the Falklands or Al Faw as illustrations of when things went well, OK, better…. but we know how the current HMG feels about defence spending.

The graphic is great and puts into perspective the recent article on the Steller Fearless, and the size and shape of the MRSS – I don’t think we can even do the planned LSG and fwd deployed setup with just 3 MRSS, and unfortunately nor do I think a single type will be suitable. If we had the budget then 2 cheap wet lease Prevail Partners MRV for the forward basing, and 4 Fearless type vessels with both Marines and land attack missiles and good self defence kit might provide an optimum balance. I like the BMT Ellida, but it seems a bit jack of all trades and master of none, and not necessarily “fighty” enough for fast over the horizon raids on this fabled enemy coastline that no one is keeping an eye on!

MRSS candidates added to the graphic:

Whale Island Zookeeper

Mass is a relative term. I use the example of Operation Claymore as an example. 500 commandos went ashore from 7 ships. That is a raid. When say Operation Frankton with 13 personnel was a special forces operation. The question is what scale are they aiming at with this new model? Dieppe isn’t an example I would have chosen.

Falklands War is a prime example of manoeuvre warfare. You seem to be scoffing at the operation.

Nobody is saying that 3Cdo is coming back. Like most things of worth it has been thrown away.

Last edited 1 month ago by Whale Island Zookeeper

Hear hear!!


We should certainly have the capability of undertaking an Al Faw type operation.

The logical thing to do would be to extend Bulwark and Albion in service – their periods in Mothballs should mean they can go up to 2040. This cost would be far less than the replacement by two new build vessels. Then build something akin to an ocean replacement and then 4 of those MRVs. Cheaper overall, but kit we need.


We cannot crew the Albion class anymore. There’s no point in continuing to extend them if we can’t, they’ll just be laid up.
They’ll more than likely be replaced first along with Argus.
And we’re clearly not getting an ocean replacement with this focus on sea borne raiding.
Don’t forget the amphib fleet may go down to 3 vessels if more MRSS aren’t built. No chance were getting more than 6

Last edited 1 month ago by Hugo

Hiring / retaining 1000 extra sailors is far cheaper than building two new ships. And it’s also a critical capability to retain: people bemoan the state of our frigate and destroyer fleet, but our European allies have plenty of frigates and destroyers. LPDs on the other hand are thin on the ground.

Raiding and ‘less concentration’ would require helicopters so an LPH would be useful… and useful in real combat. An alternative would be something like the Osprey so the carriers could be used but kept at a safe distance… more expensive solution then an LPH

Whale Island Zookeeper

LPDs on the other hand are thin on the ground.

European ships with docks…………..

The Spanish have 2
The Dutch have 2 (+ 1 JdW with steel beach)
The French have 3.
The Italians have 3 with Trieste to commission this year.

But if you say amphibious assault……

The Spanish have 3
The Dutch have 2 (+1)
The French have 3
The Italians have 3 plus Cavour plus Trieste to commission this year.

If everything was manned and working and being used for their main role then we have 5. Features to make Royal’s life aboard the QE’s were deleted to save money apart from the ‘assault passageways’.

The Dutch want to replace their Enforcers with smaller ships. The Italians are replacing their San Giogios with three full cream 22,000 ton LPD’s.

If the two RN LPD’s are removed from our orbat we will slip down the table. We would have gone from an amphibious force of 1 LPH, 2 LPD, 4 LSL, and a dedicated amphibious warfare brigade to 3 LSL often used as depot ships and 2 (full) commandos in a generation.

What gets me is that every other Western state is going the other way. The Japanese and Australians are building up their amphibious warfare capability. The Germans have started to build up their ‘sea battalion’.


At a guess, the RN is choosing to prioritize its escort and CSG ability over maintaining the RM, simply because the Navy can do alot more peace time activities with more Frigates than it could with large and hard to crew amphibs.
For all the talk of preparing for war theres little indication that the MOD are preparing for an imminent conflict, obviously thats tied to government funding but if that situation isnt likely to change.

Also wouldnt the Spanish have 3 ships with docks? Juan Carlos has a well dock plus the 2 LPDs/LSDs.

But when you put it in a list like that you can see why were probably going to have less amphibs than we did, funding has only dropped since the Bays, Albions and Ocean were built so with comparable budgets to other Euro navies were hardly going to be able to retain the hull numbers we had.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hugo
Whale Island Zookeeper

Yes I type 2 instead of 3 for the number of Spanish ships with docks. I started out at first to make a list of LPD’s then change mind.

If the British government wants to leverage the power of the RN to influence events ashore the best tool for that is the Royal Marines. Troops are deployed to more stabilise situations more than to fight. And even poising a well equipped force off shore can do that. You can fly in a force in but that would be even lighter. It wouldn’t have the support of ships offshore too with aid being hours away and dependent on holding the airfield. That to me is a precarious situation to be in; that is not to say airborne forces don’t have their uses.

Too many get carried away with ‘carrier strike’. We don’t have the assets to take on the China’s and Russia’s on our own so would be ‘there’ with the USN anyway who are far better equipped for the job. And for anybody else we have missiles with the ships at sea protected by SeaViper, SeaCeptor, and EW. And that is the gap where we do need a need a big aviation deck to fly ASaC/AEW and to provide extra ASW cabs too as the number of states procuring submarines grow. I find it odd that so many on this blog bang on about drones but as soon as you mention cruise missiles, which are nothing but drones themselves, everybody starts saying we need manned aircraft. It wouldn’t be so bad if the MoD had prioritised anti-ship ordnance for Bravos.

As for escorts well the West is short of those. So surely if escorts are needed we should have purchased and crewed a dozen first rate escorts? And we in the West are short of boats too. So surely more submarines would have been a better buy.

The UK would have been far off better buying a pair or even there large LHD’s. We didn’t do that. So we have to use what we have. So in my humble opinion as a layman I would say the RN, the UK, needs a class of 3 (4?) large dock ships to follow the duty carrier around. The carrier is big enough to accommodate 8 to 12 Merlin and a clutch of Wildcat, then the ‘FP’ helicopters the ASW and Crowsnest cabs, and still have space for the RAF and FAA to play carrier strike because the MoD are never ever going to buy the numbers of Bravo to make that venture worthwhile.

Outside (Dutch) observer

Is this maybe because the UK has chosen to focus their efforts on the QE class strike groups and leave the transport of amphibious stuff to other parties.
You can spend your money only once…

Whale Island Zookeeper

One of the reasons why your country was invaded in WW2 was because France left Belgium to continue the Maginot Line to the sea.

The US has lots of large aviation decks the UK didn’t really need to add that number.

All the UK needs is a class of large fast LPD to follow the duty carrier. Job jobbed as the saying goes.

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.


How many “enablers” do the Spanish, Italians and French have to get those amphibs close enough to the shore line that their well docks can discharge their old and slow LCM’s and LCU’s, and AAV7’s while not hitting mines, eating torpedo’s and ship, air and shore launched anti-ship missiles etc…etc…. ? Position in a league table of amphib ships doesn’t mean much if the threat world has moved on, or you don’t have the resources and ability to do massive scale SEAD/DEAD followed by high tempo of air strikes to suppress the bad guys to let your marines wade ashore from their LCU….???

Whale Island Zookeeper

But that is my point entirely. Most of the world hasn’t moved on and still lags behind Europe in technology and overall capability. And surely that is why as some have pointed out we are NATO? Or should that be allied to the US of A? Though of course they have just lost two wars to men in pyjamas and sandals with AK’s riding Chinese mopeds….

Anything can be sunk. It can sink at sea. It can be sunk in harbour.

War is a risk.

The French and Italian forces are equal now and in some ways better. And we are not to far ahead of the Spanish.


And yet it seems more likely theyll build more ships than increase the headcount or pay of RN Sailors. Also cant exactly retain the Near zero sailors we have for either of the LPDs.
Sure raiding would be helped by having an LPH type ship, but thats an extra we cant afford.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hugo
Outside (Dutch) observer

As the article states the commando force is only a shaping force for the USMC/1st UK Div. In such a high threat environment you would always team up with international partners. Which is hopefully never going to happen in your or my lifetime.

Then it is definitely more interesting from a political point to have (cheap) flexible light force which can be flown in all over the world (or flown in from a forward base) and a carrier strike group which you can use to show some muscle once in a while.
Furthermore in a high threat situation you need a carrier strike group which can operate and survive in such an environment. Always good to see that someone is picking up this task!

Even in a more hybrid situation (as we are currently?) collaboration with the closest partners is necessary. E.g. an absalon-type ship would be a welcome contribution. And I also cannot see how all tasks of an MRSS can be done in one ship design. I also don’t see why this should be necessary.

Even in WW2 the UK was not the only country doing the work…


Why the UK needs to fulfill all the tasks or why MRSS will only be one design?


Do you know what the crew on an LPD is without the WAFUs and AGRM?
Its just a tad over 300.
Thats about 120 more than a T23.
A lot of the extra numbers come from the unique LPD systems such as LCVP/LCU maintainers, Davit Maintainers and additional Loggies to cater for Royal when embarked. Another contributing factor is its a Cap Ship so has an enhanced NCO and Officer watch and station bills.
WE Dept systems and OPS room systems are similar in size to a T23. Thats how draft sold it to me “Its just like a T23 but with an airport and a ferry port ” Lying Git!


Yeh and we can’t crew 4 (more like 6) T23s either.


D Day was much more than rushing up the beach. Midget X boat submarines, Para drops, Glider landings, offshore bombardment etc, etc. I know we probably wont go straight up the beach anywhere soon but the Navy could afford to replace its small patrol craft with something seaworthy and useful with some fighty bits.

Whale Island Zookeeper

D Day and Inchon are one offs. The RM has never engaged in full frontal assault against defended beaches as a force on their own.


Yes. The air landings included 1000! C-47 , most carrying paratroops, but a good number of that towing gliders


HIMARS is not a weapon, it is a vehicle. It fires various missiles including GMLRS and ATACMS, soon to be replaced with (if not already) GMLRS ER and PrSM. These missiles are also fired by the M270 MLRS vehicle we have, and probably by other platforms as well.

This is a pet peeve of mine if it wasn’t obvious.

Wild? I was absolutely livid! ...

It’s a system.

According to Lockheed Martin “HIMARS consists of a loader launcher module and fire control system mounted on a five-ton truck chassis. A specialized armored cab provides additional protection to crew members that operate the system.”

It’s a system of systems designed to destroy: annihilate, exterminate, erase, obliterate, eliminate, liquidate, eradicate, extinguish, decimate, extirpate, and generally cook someone’s goose and ruin their day.

… it does sound a bit weapony to me. ymmv.

Whale Island Zookeeper

HIMARS is a system made up of subsystems. The vehicle is just one subsystem.

I understand you annoyance. Type 45 isn’t SeaViper. The latter is excellent, the former not so much.


Hello . HIMARS acronym means HIgh Mobility Artillery Rocket SYSTEM.
the acronym describes it fully

Random Commentator

I’m just not seeing what they are going to raid in those small numbers. I get the anti-piracy, oilrig protection and shipboard deployments but the mass is just too low for much else. Let’s see how much amphib shipping we actually have once Labour work out they haven’t got enough cash.


Or beach management/first protection for army large force.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


Very unusually, there one (very obvious) ommission from this Navy Lookout article…

There is no mention whatosever of Uk helicoptors (support /assault or strike /attack).

I would have thought that landing almost any size / shape / configuartion of “agile and manouvereable” bootneck raiding party(s) would require a few whirlybirds……………

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


Probably because Helos won’t be a major part of the strategy, certainly the ships won’t be designed to carry that many.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


Helicoptors have played a vital, usually war winning role in every single amphibious operation, both UK and other, since 1956 (Suez).

Accordingly can I please ask you to explain why you think that:

“Helos won’t be a major part of the strategy…”

and thus why

“certainly the ships won’t be designed to carry that many”.

(note: presumably you mean the new MRSS?)

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


Because any discussion and concepts weve seen so far for MRSS only have hangars for maybe upto 2 Merlins or a single Chinook, which is a phrase ive seen repeated multiple times. So clearly the RM/RN arent banking on having a future HMS Ocean around for amphibious operations in future.

Random Commentator

Perhaps they think one of the carriers will be there.


Perhaps but probably only when nothing else can be used. Their role as an LPH was ruled out a while ago.

Whale Island Zookeeper

The ‘features’ to help ‘accommodate’ Royal Marines were deleted to save money apart from those structural features like extra wide passageways. From the Royal Navy’s website………

The Queen Elizabeth Class can operate on a crew of 679, but can accommodate up to 1,600 personnel, including a full air crew, Royal Marines and, if required, refugees.

Remember the Invincible class had a secondary LPH role too and they had nothing in their design to enhance the movement troops within them. Royal will go to sea in whatever the RN tell him to go to sea in and will just make the best of the accommodation.

I have never understood all the talk about using one of the carriers as a carrier and the other as an LPH. One day one of them will have to go in for a long refit and we will never have two at sea again.

This ‘littoral strike concept’ won’t work without helicopters.

Last edited 1 month ago by Whale Island Zookeeper
Whale Island Zookeeper

The idea that a troop or less of chaps will land from boats, walk to their objective, do some damage, walk back to their boats, and be back aboard for ‘tea and medals’ is plain daft. There can’t be enough targets within say 3 miles of the coast to make the venture worth wile.


I agree the whole thing needs better Helo support but i imagine itll be another make do situation with a half complete capability.

Whale Island Zookeeper

I think there are just enough Merlin Junglies to do it. Wildcat numbers are low. Working from the shore alone just makes the concept pointless.


There may be enough Helos but there wont be any large aviation capacity ship for them to go on. I hope im proven wrong but from what i understand so far itll be like 2 maybe 3 Merlins per ship or a chinook. At least thats one of the specs ive seen thrown around.

Whale Island Zookeeper

You can’t conduct operations with just 1 cab. What if things go wrong where is the recovery option? I can’t believe they would build an operation around one Chinook. Special forces yes. But the Royal Marines are supposedly conducting raids. One is none and so on.

You never load helicopters to capacity so if a helicopter is lost you don’t lose too much and their is a capacity to recover the remainder of a force.

Not taking a clutch of smaller cabs makes no sense. Though some of their work could be done by larger drones. If you want to land a SF cell are they going to really spin up the one Chinook they have to take them in. The one Chinook the whole raid is built around? Even using one of two/three Merlin makes no sense.

I have seen these requirements too. But they make little sense to me and seem to run against all I have read on the topic over the last 30 years plus.

To make this work you would need 4 to 6 Wildcats and 6/8 Merlin. Chinook only as added capacity or ship to shore connector.

We do have two large aviation decks with relative empty hangars that take Chinook.

Either this MRSS is a truck to replace the Bays or an LPD to replace the Albions.

PS: Never mind the problems of operating a non-maritme aircraft at sea for prolonged periods.

PPS: If the requirement for a large dock is dropped and the ship is an assault ship we could look at other options. A ship like that could carry some sort of fast landing craft on davits too.

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Andrew Harris

Hello, is this a private site or are non Clique folk allowed to join in ?

Whale Island Zookeeper

Anybody can join in. But there are lot of trolls and bullies here too. If you upset them it gets to the point where it isn’t worth posting.

Andrew Harris

Oh, then is it worth posting here then ? I do lot’s of FB places and this one come’s up very often but i do see a lot of silly stuff, mostly American and it just always has so much false information, is this place better then ?

stephen ball

This site is good. I’m more a armchair observer who posts thoughts. Who also looks at other sites as well.

A lot of knowledgeable people here, and I’ve learnt a lot more.

Andrew Harris

Thanks Stephen, I tend to not get too involved on these places as all it leads to is antagonism and silliness. I look forward to viewing all the experts here.

Whale Island Zookeeper

No better or no worse take your pick. As I said there are a good number of trolls here who insult others for the merest reason who shut down conversation. And this is what the comments are a conversation. We are not forming government policy here. If the discussion was solely centred on the current state of the RN there wouldn’t be much to talk about.

Andrew Harris

Hi, it looks like most of my post’s/replies have been deleted, not sure if this place is quite what i’m looking for, it seems to suffer from a rather over zealous and biased moderation team. Such a shame when a site has to resort to the sort of censorship that so many died to defend against. Shame on you admin, shame.

James R

“In simple terms, the recent transformation has seen the RM change from an amphibious light infantry force to a special operations-capable advanced force.”

Surely, this is just an orientation back to the original concept of the Commando that distinguished the RM Commandos from RMLI in the 40s… Dudley Clarke writes in to ask ‘what’s really new”?

Last edited 1 month ago by James R

RMLI was merged with the RM Artillery in 1923. so was only the Royal Marines in 1940s

The British Army also had ‘commando’ battalions in WW2- say 50 units- but after the war were disbanded leaving only the RM units

James R

Accepted – good historical correction (I’ll edit accordingly). But not sure that invalidates the point; this seems to be a repeat of the processes of c.1942, albeit admittedly with new toys and a bumper sticker. In a few years time we will be told the Marines are to ‘change’ to become an elite special operations capable (or whatever the word will then be) force for amphib raiding in small units…


Fair enough . Its the corporatisation of the armed forces operations , not just the senior management.

Interesting background the WW2 Army commando units

Last edited 1 month ago by Duker
Whale Island Zookeeper

Yes. ‘Light amphibious raiding force becomes light amphibious raiding force.’ seems to be the message. 3Cdo would have never operated in a high intensity conflict as a brigade of light infantry would have done. Norway, for example, doesn’t allow for conventional infantry warfare (combined arms). To me this is another example of the MoD at best twisting words (again), or at worst just not knowing RM history and role since 1945.

Whale Island Zookeeper

in a high intensity conflict as a brigade of line infantry

Is what I meant to say.

James R

Agreed on all counts!

Simon m

Personally, making this solely a Royal Marine & Royal Navy focussed article/issue is wrong (sorry Navy Lookout). This should be viewed as the UK’S Amphibious force. With the Army’s Light Brigade Combat Teams (& what I see personally as a later opportunity to have medium Brigade combat teams or at worst deploy medium elements).
Is if we want bang for the buck we should be using the RM & RN to mould & prepare the way for the Army (our mass – for its small size it’s still more than ten times the size of the RMs)
I don’t see why with a little imagination & increase in funds as to why we couldn’t utilise the Ro-Ros & MRSS plus potentially FSS to deploy a more significant forces. Using containers or Navy PODs could generate accommodation & hotel facilities for larger embarked forces – those pods could have a dual purpose during peacetime (Sennelager or Immigration accommodation).
Again with PODs we could utilise MLRS, Mortars & various other systems, both on land & sea (& potentially back to land in onwards operations).

Personally, I not sure a single design can solve MRSS, but if we have to we could get close. Whatever we choose IMO at least should allow vehicles at GVW 50t to be delivered from ship to shore.

And I get FCF & it’s validity especially if viewed from a single service lens, but the overall strategy seems completely disjointed, as if there’s a crisis e.g. humanitarian operations, low level interventions, NEOs etc. in peacetime then regardless of where the LRG is, the fact is that 16AAB is likely to get there first (as in Sierra Leone). Yet knowing this we’ve just cut our airlift.
In these type of scenarios the RMs would usually arrive later to reinforce 16AAB & use their ability to deploy Armoured vehicles like vikings, Scimitar(Ajax!?), NGS, more artillery, hospital facilities & logistics to add staying power to that deployment. With those forces in place you can then deploy (in due course) an Army Brigade using civilian infrastructure.

As fast as we make MRSS or associated shipping they will have to be placed immediately next to hotspots to get there quicker than aircraft.

Cutting shipping to fit only FCF & already the less airmobile 16AAB just diminishes this ability to get the right kind of force in position.

I’m not saying things aren’t changing & that FCF isn’t valid or at times that seapower will be the only available option or best available option.

What I am saying is yes enable FCF, but don’t allow the core advantage that maritime deployed forces bring in terms of logistics & bulk.
Even if FCF works as advertised then it is still highly unlikely that you can go straight to using Ro-Ros & a civilian port. You only have to look at Umm Quasr as well as the Falklands to see ports especially when few in number aren’t reliable entry points & take time to clear.

Furthermore if they are predictably the only way in this makes any following operations more difficult.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating storming the beaches. What I’m saying is we should & can have a sovereign capability greater than just FCF. To do less is IMO a waste of money & resources and diminishes the capability of the UK’s armed forces to act in an expeditionary manner.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Yes. As I said somewhere above we need 3Cdo back to strength and 16AAB both placed in a division. Clear out the non-LI/RGJ units out of the Rifles and establish them as Army Commandos in two brigades. Put them into a division tool look to the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division.

One of the biggest mistakes we mad during the Cold War was BAOR and RAFG. As soon as we had enough nuclear weapons we should have returned to the sea. The Army should have been remodelled along the lines of the USMC.


Good points. The bulk of WW2 UK commando units were “Army”, which included parachute commandos. All were disbanded after the war except parachute which became its own regiment. The Dieppe Raid commandos were mostly army , not RM at all.

Whale Island Zookeeper

We should be able to stuff the whole Army into ships and into planes with ease.
The French have the right idea.


It’s shocking to see how many people in this comment section still think the USMC is trained, equipped, or has the desire to carry out Iwo Jima style amphibious landings. The USMC doesn’t hide the fact that they no longer do this. They pride themselves on being a rapid response force that has an all encompassing package to hold their own until the rest of the US DoD shows up.


2 x Iwo Jima ?
Rather its a long standing requirement passed by Congress

While FD reconfigured the organization of the Marine Corps, these changes still adhere to Title 10 of U.S. Code, which mandates a minimum of three combat divisions and three aircraft wings as well as the ability to execute combined arms coordination. FD most notably refocused the core model of the Marine Corps into three distinct MEFs. I MEF will be the largest force, and while it is intended to primarily support operations in the Indo-Pacific, it will maintain the ability to respond to the full-range of crisis response. II MEF will provide a 3-star Joint Task Force Headquarters (JTF HQ) and coordinate Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) to execute global crisis response operations. III MEF will be predominantly focused on performing operations in the First Island Chain and is currently the only force that incorporates MLRs.

Its been thus for many decades , 3 Marine divisions and 3 Air wings – with the 3rdMAW alone roughly half size of the RAF

oobvious mobvious

pfft they cant even stop rubber dinghys in the channel

Shane Ramshaw

Since we are struggling to get a company size “Littoral response group” truly operational due to a lack of ships, any chance of a “Littoral Strike group” is non existent. Particularly since neither one of our 2 assault ships are available. They are in fact without crews and not sea worthy.

In my opinion this concept is just smoke to hide the fact the Marines are not fit for purpose. By that, I mean nothing against the Marines themselves, but they don’t have the ability to go anywhere or do anything they are supposed to do.