The Navy Adverse to Nautical Threats
I came across this article written by a West Point graduate John T Reed, titled “Are U.S. Navy surface ships sitting ducks to enemies with modern weapons?” While I don’t agree that all surface ships are obsolete (just make them smaller, easy to replace, and plentiful), the author makes some valid points concerning our Big Ships, for instance:
This debate has been going on since General Billy Mitchell. He committed the heresy of pointing out that a plane could sink a ship with a bomb or aerial torpedo. The Navy swore it was not true. Mitchell was court martialed. Later, he was honored by having the B-25 bomber named after him, got the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, was on a USPS stamp in 1999, and received other honors—all posthumous…The fact is that the surface Navy is obsolete in modern warfare. Its budget and role should be drastically reduced accordingly. It is a sort of blue-water coast guard and a provider of floating island air bases (carriers) for actions against militarily-backward countries…
On page 48 of Sea of Thunder, Evan Thomas’s excellent book about the ‘last great naval battle,” the 1942 Battle of Leyte Gulf, he mentions that bringing one’s carrier within range of shore-based bombers violated naval doctrine.
That last statement is an argument we make all the time, that the Navy has little business taking its giant Blue Water fleet close to shore, but if it does have to go, it should be proceeded by many small warships geared especially for that purpose. Such vessels should be agile enough to keep on the move, small and of low profile to avoid pop-up cruise missiles, and also plentiful to create many targets in an age of many threats. Small ships like corvettes are likely more survivable in this age of modern weapons, and those same type weapons which are computer controlled and satellite guided make such craft more lethal than ever before.
Speaking of land wars, the Navy does seem to have an aversion for combating nautical threats of late, for instance:
Large deck aircraft carriers are justified principally because of their efficiency in deploying airpower against land powers, from Korea, Vietnam, to Iraq and Afghanistan. The strategy against the Soviet submarines was to catch them in harbor before they could deploy to sea!
The helicopter is often cited as the principle deterrent to small boats and submarines.
The Navy designed its latest class of submarines, the Virginia’s to sail close to shore to spy on continental enemies.
We are told that the War on Piracy can only be won on land.
The Navy has it’s own private air force and army.
So if the USN is only concerning itself with land and air threats these days, who will fight our future naval wars?
Anyway, please read all of John’s article which is very long and informative. Also full of plain talk despite his impressive credentials. We appreciate common sense ideas here, being an unprofessional blog, and whether you are professional or not, know you are all welcome!