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08 March 2017

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Peter Reichard

The Marine aviator and grunt still share a kind of solidarity that was lost when the Army Air Corps morphed into the Air Force. USAF thinks the CAS mission is the least effective use of air power but for Marine Air it is paramount. I'm with the USMC on this one, tactical air should be subordinate to the ground commander. The Army should have the CAS mission and the A-10.

LeaNder

Thanks, TTG.

I think one has to consider the article is written in feature style. it makes no bones about the fact it is a partial impression.

Besides it may not make sense to equate the author with Der Spiegel. He seems to have published much more in DIE Zeit. At least at this point in time he is working for an agency, assuming the agency takes care were his articles are sold. Interesting for me is his age. Could it be that 9/11 had to do with his choice of what he studied?

http://zeitenspiegel.de/en/autoren/fritz-schaap/vita/

He more or less stumbles across subjects. Contacts in the region, matters that raise his attention since he accidentally knows the context, like a school in Egypt. I didn't look closely but it may be that the story he got the CNN award for was that school. In an interview he said a Prof, Egyptian I suppose, who at the same time told him she wasn't religious, once made him aware of a Salafist school sponsored by the Saudis. On the surface it teaches Arabic, but apparently not just that. Islamism has surely caught his attention. (German article)

http://www.zeit.de/2010/50/Alexandria-Sprachschule

Asked what journalist he admires he says: Robert Fisk. That's not the worst of all choices, it feels.

*******
Beyond that he cooperated with Tobias Schneider, who surfaces as Security Expert mentioned in a recent article by Cicero (German) along the same theme. Assad doesn't have an army anymore:

http://cicero.de/weltbuehne/krieg-in-syrien-assad-hat-de-facto-keine-armee-mehr

Here an English article from War on the Rocks by Schneider:
https://warontherocks.com/2016/08/the-decay-of-the-syrian-regime-is-much-worse-than-you-think/

Tobias Schneider is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS and a freelance defense analyst focused on Middle Eastern militaries. He has spent years, both inside and outside the Levant, closely tracking dynamics among regime and loyalist forces and their allies in Syria.

His twitter account:
https://twitter.com/tobiaschneider

Eric Newhill

Mike,
After 9/11, while the Army was still looking at mountains of empty connex boxes and forming committees to discus forming committees on formulating the TO&E for the Afghanistan mission and scratching their heads about to even get into the country, the Marines had already landed, established forward operating bases and begun to engage the enemy.

The US needs such expeditionary forces. Maybe not 200K strong, though.

turcopolier

Eric Newhill

Actually USSF (Army) was in the country working with the Afghans before any marines arrived. Do you happen to remember the Army airborne battalion sized parachute raid at the beginning of the war? Yes, the marines were there early but they brought hardly anything with them. I remember shaking my head at the sight of marine infantry standing in knee deep trenched at Bagram. They don't seem to know how to dig. And if you comment on that they say they are "assault troop." In fact, in war the spade is as mighty as the gun. 200k - bigger that the regular British and Canadian armies. I have repeatedly said here that the regular ground forces of the US (both army and marines) should be massively reduced in size to match likely future engagements of forces in expeditionary mode.pl

LeaNder

It cites the Qatari/Saudi mouthpiece Charles Lister claiming that the Syrian army has only 6,000 men capable of fighting!
It claims that the Tiger force is an irregular unit, not part of the army!

b, why don't you contact him and give him a hint that he is on the wrong track ideologically? Seems you can contact him via his "Agentur".

turcopolier

LeaNder

OK The Army teaches the marines to use tanks and artillery and what else? Do they have Engineer and Signal schools? And they run a school where I (among others)learned to load ships for various purposes in an amphib operation. It is not difficult. I could teach you to do it. You have German "clarity." Bottom line - we don't need so many soldiers and marines. BTW, USMC is the Navy Department's army. Ah I found the answer to my question above "The Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri hosts the largest United States Marine Corps detachment outside a Marine Corps base. With over 1200 students and support personnel, Ft Leonard Wood hosts Marines training at the Motor Transport Instruction School, Military Police Instruction School, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense School and the Engineer Equipment Instruction School." Ft. Leonard Wood is a US Army installation. These are all Army schools. pl

turcopolier

mike

"Tell it to Congress!" Yes, USMC's greatest triumph has been the cultivation of Congressmen. The Israeli lobby and the Marine lobby are equally effective. "A group of of Lt. Colonels?" Are they the people who successfully BSd the Congress to defeat Truman's plans for you? I never sleep in class and was first ranked in the course. pl

Chris Chuba

At the risk of beating this topic to death, digging it up, and then burying it again, Tobias Schneider wrote a nearly identical column about 6 mo's ago https://warontherocks.com/2016/08/the-decay-of-the-syrian-regime-is-much-worse-than-you-think/

Are elements of it true, I'm certain that the answer is yes but you have to ask, what's the alternative, what's it like the territory held by our western backed rebels or their allies?

I bet that the best day in Idlib is worse then any in the now liberated Aleppo or any part of Syria held by the govt.

LeaNder

sorry, babbling alert, I guess. I get it. Sorry. Fascinating documentary never the less.

turcopolier

LeaNder

Marines are wonderful. Everyone should have some. I am just pulling Mike's leg. Like a lot of Marines he is easy to provoke. I don't think Germany ever had anything like Marines but paraphrasing WRC, I could be wrong. But, just to provoke a bit more, an amphibious landing is very much like an opposed river crossing except for loading the ships. pl

Joe100

Col Lang/TTG -

Some thoughts on the Marines:

1. What have they done since the mid 1960s - ground wars in RVN, Irag and Afghanistan. Has there been any substantial differences in USMC missions in these wars relative to Army units? I don't think so..

2. USMC has a fixed wing "air force" but is helicopter light (or at least it was in RVN). Marines needed/wanted to retain control of such support (for good reasons), although as I recall in the 7th Air Force vs. USMC fight about this, I think 7th Air Force won out in the end) post Khe Sanh?

3. In Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book “Little America” (a rather depressing but highly recommended read) – covering the year of Obama’s “surge”, I was surprised to find that the Marines had managed to be placed directly under Central Command and did not report to the in country command (Petreous, etc.) vs. RVN where the Marines reported through III MAF/I Corps to MAC-V (Westmorland). Chandrasekaran also noted that in his view the apparent objective of the Marine commanding general at the time was to demonstrate how well his Marine’s could fight vs. how best to achieve US objectives in Afghanistan at the time with his Marines.

4. The USMC V/STOL requirement for the F-35 appears to have substantially compromised the Navy and Air Force models due to the wide fuselage “box” needed for the lift fan.

5. Do the Marines really need the F-35 and if so can it be practically maintained in an environment that would require V/STOL capability? Would something like a modern “A-10” be much more practical and useful?

If it were it possible to conduct a thoughtful and non-political review of US military force structure, it would seem that rethinking the USMC would be a relevant part of such an exercise and that some substantial changes would result.

mike

Colonel -

Actually that group of lieutenant colonels only initiated the pushback against Truman's gutting of all the armed forces except for air power. It finally took the "Revolt of the Admirals" to convince the country and congress that Truman and SecDef Louis Johnson's aggrandizement of strategic nuclear bombing was not the way to go. It took those admirals to show that Douhet's theories (of relegating ground and sea forces hollow and of little significance) were nonsense. I believe Douhet was one of Mussolini's guys, it appears his politics were as asinine as his theories of war.

So you can thank those admirals and lieutenant colonels. They kept Truman from breaking up the Army as well.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
I know. I was taking the liberty to provoke back, hopefully within respectable bounds.

Fred

Joe100,

"...demonstrate how well his Marine’s could fight vs. how best to achieve US objectives ..."

Wasn't that true at Iwo Jima too, an all Marine Corps show to prove a political point? The army did how many amphibious assaults in that theater, (with fewer casualties too)?

Joe100

I can't comment on Iwo Jima as I know very little about that battle. But I don't think the Marines were calling any shots on their Pacific missions – they were just going where they were told by CINCPAC and intermediate commands.

I would be careful in any comparisons in casualties among the Pacific campaigns as at least the ones I am fairly familiar with are all quite different in material factors (including leadership quality) that impacted casualties.

turcopolier

mike

I happen to think that the assault on Omaha Beach was poorly planned and executed. Naval gunfire and air attacks were ineffective and nobody bothered to do something elementary like smoke the beach. Marines were involved in that planning? BTW. I thought you were one of Walter Krueger's detractors and not an admirer. pl

Joe100

All -

More US forces being deployed..

“The US military is deploying 2,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Kuwait, with the declared goal of taking part in operations against Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) in both Syria and Iraq, according to the Army Times.”

From RT: https://www.rt.com/usa/380111-us-troops-deployment-kuwait/

Fool

To the extent that a "stronger national identity has been forged" as a result of the war, I would point out that this argument is just as easily utilized the opposite way: that the Syrian people have united in opposition to Assad. As a constant, their national ambitions are essentialized to suit a number of political speculations or agendas. What I suspect the people really want is an end to the fighting and bloodshed -- but I would say that.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/syria-war-crisis-refugees-assad-dictatorship-arab-spring-intervention-russia/

turcopolier

fool

You could say that but you would be wrong. the rebels represent a wide variety of Sunni jihadi interests and no much else. The Syrian "multi-culti" is pretty much all on the Syrian government side. pl

Fool

Colonel Lang,

Agreed. I wasn't referring to the rebels though, but the millions of Syrians that have been displaced. Related, what proportion of the rebels today are even Syrian?

mike

Colonel -

How could anyone dislike General Kreuger? An immigrant, he enlisted when 17 years old to fight in Cuba. He re-enlisted to serve in the Philippines. Then commissioned as a lieutenant based on merit. Made his way to four star general with no help from the old boy network.

I don't believe I have ever been a detractor of Kreuger. In fact I admire him more than many other WW2 Generals. He should have gotten more credit for his role in the war, but then MacArthur never let his subordinates shine. Same cone of silence was put over General Kenney's accomplishments as Air Commander for Mac. Unfortunate that they never got national recognition simply because of their boss's ego.

The only WW2 US Army General that I recall ever having disliked was 5th Army Commander in Italy, General Mark Clark. My father served under him in Italy, and always referred to him as a butcher. I continue that sentiment.

Omaha Beach? From what I have read I agree that the NGF and aerial attacks there were ineffective. I believe there was a PHIBLANT field grade Marine officer and some Royal Marine officers advising early on when it was still called Operation Overlord. But it was an Army show and Army planned. There was no way that a SHAEF or 1st Army G-3 were going to allow jarheads into the inner sanctum.

mike

Tyler -

What are these meds in this Daesh first aid kit seized by SDF fighters north of dir ez-Zor. Some of it looks like medicinal brandy?. Someone said they are supplied from Turkey.

https://twitter.com/Dalatrm/status/839771574509191168

mike

Colonel -

You and I both have thin skins and are easily provoked.

But by the way I was never responding in anger to your jibes. Just trying to point out some historical truths that you may not have considered.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
I never understood why Omaha Beach did not have CAS on call. It has always seemed to me that Mustangs armed with rockets and Thunderbolts with bombs and napalm (developed at that point and used in the Pacific)+ strafing could have come in, flying parallel to the beach, and taken out the Germans at the more heavily defended sectors, especially at the Verville road access. Smoke would have been good too.

If Mike is who I think he is, the two of us have had this convo before, but I'm with you. Some say that CAS was not sufficiently developed at that point to perform this mission and that the fighter/bombers were needed further inland to break up German efforts to reinforce the beach with armor and additional infantry.

I don't think that is true about the state of CAS in mid-'44 and I have always felt that the slaughter of so much US infantry on the beach was negligence. Dedicate more aircraft and fly more sorties! Don't sacrifice the infantry needlessly.

turcopolier

mike

I believe it is spelled "Krueger" in his case. I think it was originally called "Roundup." So, we screwed up by not having a marine or two in the planning staff. pl

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