Back in the old days...when the Marine Corps still remembered the lessons of the past, Amphibs had 5 inch guns. In the case of the old school Tarawa --- two 5in guns.
Why do I bring this up? Because of an article by the G-man today. Check it out here but this part caught my attention.
But hindsight being what it is, I do have serious questions if the US Navy leverages the flexibility of the amphibious ships well in modern irregular warfare situations like offshore of Somalia. Does anyone honestly think it is a good idea to put a $2 billion ship like USS Chafee (DDG 90) in green water for fire support? Our destroyer force is being primarily resourced to fight sophisticated air targets, not shoot guns to shore in littorals which are always the most risky.I'm a little disappointed with this article for a number of reasons...
What a false choice current US force structure forces on warfighters for gunfire support - either send in $3 billion DDG-1000s with advanced gun systems or send in the less expensive, terribly armed 57mm hauling LCS. Honestly, where are Reapers on LHDs, because right now the only other option is to task the RW community for their capabilities.
I encourage folks to read the whole Military Times article and give it some serious thought. When I read that article, I ask myself why the US Navy and US Marine Corps spends so much money building and maintaining amphibious ships to deploy structured air-sea-land battalions if the MEUs are unable to accomplish the sustained irregular warfare missions by sea as described in that article. That situation in 2007-2009 off Somalia appears to have been crying for a Sea Base, and yet none existed. Why
1. This was a Special Ops party. Having a floating sea base (even if it was just one LHA) would probably have been a show stopper for the snake eaters. Quiet professionals and all that.
2. ID posted an article just a few days ago that complained about the lack of amphibs and even talked about a deployment that is reaching record breaking lengths. Read it here and here.
3. He forgets the 'time' that the Navy and Marine Corps was living in. Iraq was going gang busters. IED attacks were at all time highs, the war was in doubt and things had yet to turn our way. Additionally you had missions going in Afghanistan and other parts of the world (I forget where but do remember it was a crazy busy time). If I recall correctly all the naval forces had available was probably a destroyer.
But having said all that, the G-man has a point, but not for the reason that he thinks.
Where is the sea base. I've attempted to capture some of the documents before the USMC placed them behind a firewall but even with the latest MEB exercise we didn't see even the tinkle of a sea base being utilized.
The issues with Pakistan would certainly be less stressful if we had one available too.