« Intercepts - Help me count the ways ... | Main | A meditation on Alliances and Coailtions in war. Someone is always on top, someone on the bottom. »

08 March 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Colonel -

Fort Knox - again why reinvent the wheel and screw the taxpayer? I did not mean to imply that Navy & AF went to Army schools, only that the Marine Corps utilized schools from all three services when agreements were in place.

Agree on not betting the ranch. SPGs have their place with armored divisions, but their limited mobility both tactical and global reduce their other advantages. As I mentioned above I am a fan of HIMARS, which was an Army program. They have half the weight and double the range of those tracked SPG dinosaurs.



Ironically, after identifying "classic propaganda structure," you then made an iteration of that very structure...

"I am confident that once (hopefully) the Jihadists are roundly defeated Assad will have little trouble reasserting control over the country. The country is not tribal - the people feel strong allegiance to the country as a whole."

Yes, the jihadis are nearing defeat. Yes, one would expect Assad to reassert control as the country strives to rebuild. But no, the nationalistic notion that the Syrian people "feel strong allegiance to the country as a whole" is false.

Everyone, it seems, claims to speak for the whole Syrian people.



Russian troops in Manbij dancing with Kurds and Arabs. Probably Chechen or from the Caucasus as ANNA news is from Abkhazia.


The Beaver

Being kept out of Manbij by both the US and Russia, now Turkey is on her high horse once again:


the U.S. has been sending signals that it is inclined to rely on the Kurdish forces, who have proven the most effective local force at battling IS. U.S. officials have said that Turkey, which has troops in Syria and is aiding other Syrian opposition fighters, has thus far failed to show that it has a force sufficiently large and capable to liberate Raqqa, the largest remaining IS stronghold.

As far as Jarablus and al-Bab, we know how they've managed to "liberate" them only after ISIS left those places !!!



If so worried about duplication and taxpayer suffering, why does the USMC have the Marine Corps University at Quantico. This institution duplicates the Army War College, the US Army Command and General Staff College and the second year course at Ft Leavenworth (the Jedi Knights Program). The numbers at Quantico must be quite small. Is that efficient? pl


Colonel -

The Command & Staff College at Quantico may use a small number of subjects similar to the Army CGSC but by no means does it duplicate the curriculum. And in no way does it duplicate the Army War College. The Naval War College, which BTW quite a few Army officers have attended, and the Air War College may be what of you are thinking. But even there the course of studies are different. Same with the National War College.

The numbers are supplemented by many international students. Even so the numbers are still small but so are the staff.


PS - Although I do agree that the Cyber courses taught at Quantico are wasteful. Same same with cyber courses taught at Army, Navy, and AF schools. What is wrong with a single DOD cyber school. There could be instructors from all services to cover service-unique requirements.



War is war. Tell me how the curricula differ, Surely you don't think that here will be major amphib operations in the future. Even if there were, conducting amphib operations are not all that difficult. I was trained at the amphib officer school run by USMC. Not all that hard to learn how to load ships. In any event most of the really big amphib operations in WW2; Normandy, Southern France, Salerno, Anzio, 1944 Philippines Campaign, Macarthur's landings on the New Guinea coast, etc. were run by the Army without USMC present. IMO the USMC wants to be a separate army for the US and this is a waste. The two services should be united. pl


Colonel -

No amhib ops in the future? That is what the Brits and the US Army said after Gallipoli. And again what Omar Bradley said when he was Army C/S in 48. They were proved wrong. Salerno and Anzio were disastrously planned by 5th Army with no USMC input. There were Marine staff officers in on the planning of Normandy. Most of what the Army learned of amphib ops for the WW2 Euro landings were taught to them by PHIBLANT (Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet). PHIBLANT trained 1st and 9th Infantry Divisions long prior to that war. Plus the Marines trained many other Army divisions just prior to and after Pearl Harbor. And they trained many Army officers including MacArthur's go-to general for amphib ops in the Pacific, 6th Army Commander General Walter Krueger.

Unite the services? That is what Harry Truman wanted to do. Tell it to Congress!

Combat loading of ships? If you think that is the end-all of amphibious ops I suspect you were asleep during class except for the S4/G4 sessions.


On the Spiegel piece:

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!


On the "local warlords":

These are local forces meagerly paid by the government and originally set up by Iran to control their local areas so no Jihdis infiltrate and cause trouble. Sometimes these local bigwigs get a bit greedy and feisty. Manning a checkpoint with weapons at hand does that to some folks.

The people then go the higher government and tell of their grievances. An army officer comes by and sets the local force straight. That tough talk may work or not. When trouble reoccurs the local gang gets drafted into the real army and send to the front, its boss goes to jail. This has already happened more then once.

These local forces have no big weapons and no one to back them up. Government forces could trash them any day. When calmer times come and more government forces are available they will be integrated or send home.

It is as simple as that.

The SPIEGEL piece could have been written any day between mid 2012 and now. It would have been wrong then as much as it is now.

English Outsider

Might I query this statement in your comment? - " But no, the nationalistic notion that the Syrian people "feel strong allegiance to the country as a whole" is false."

I have read explanations, on this site in particular, that Syria is in part a patchwork of different tribes whose allegiance goes no further than their local boundary. It's also in its present form a post-colonial creation whose borders don't correspond well with ethnic, sectarian or historical reality. It's obviously, therefore, not a nation state that has developed organically and has been welded together in the course of that development.

Might there not, however, be a parallel with what has happened in the Donbas? Pre-coup, although the Ukraine was split many ways and there was a good deal of mutual dislike or resentment, there was with the exception of the Crimea no great appetite in the Ukraine for separation. The survey showing that seemed to be carefully done. Even after the coup it was federalism that was sought for the Donbas, not separation. After the ATO the Novorossians as they were then termed hardened their views considerably. Many of the inhabitants of the Peoples Republics have arrived at the view that they might as well die keeping the Neo-Nazis out because they'll probably die if they don't. A war of survival is a great promoter of unity. Whatever face-saving arrangements are made, it's unlikely that they will ever be part of a unitary Ukraine again. It would take brutal force to make them so.

The reality or the threat of Jihadi occupation has similarly been a strong incentive for the inhabitants of that Syrian patchwork to give their allegiance to a central authority. From the reports of the few neutral observers who have travelled the country it seems that a stronger national identity has been forged by the war and that that identity will hold the country together if it survives. Even the strongly tribal areas in the East, and Sunni at that, have had more than enough of Jihadi occupation if the reports are at all true.

The Israeli politician who said that it was more to the Israelis' advantage to keep Syria disunited than for it to be at peace saw this clearly. He had good reason for wishing to see Daesh hold its own. If Syria does recover as a nation there will be many of its inhabitants who will indeed feel "strong allegiance to the country as a whole". Anyone would, if it kept them safe from the Jihadis. Speaking figuratively, in trying to do a Libya on the country we may therefore have done a Donbas on it. It that is so then the Syrian people themselves will "speak for the Syrian people"; and after what we've put them through, we may not like all that much what they have to say.


Well said on the matter of questionable elections and viable hopes. There are more than a few on the left in the US that agree and accordingly find this site and its contributors very helpful.


Disaster? We won WW2. IMO, you marines are living in a dream. pl

The Twisted Genius


I agree that the Marines should be the amphibious warfare "center of excellence" for the DOD. To lose that knowledge and capability would be as negligent as losing the Army's ability to conduct large scale mechanized maneuver warfare. There should be enough of you jarheads to man the floats in existence on a continuous basis, protect the embassies and do all the things the Navy needs. To do all this and nothing more, I do think the Marines could be reduced in size by half to two thirds.

I often have these good natured debates with my father, a former Marine. It's more a source of mutual amusement for us both than anything more serious. While in the 25th Division, we trained in amphibious operations with the Marines at Kaneohe. I thoroughly enjoyed our training deployment aboard the USS Cleveland to the Philippines. Throughout my tour in Hawaii, we often served as aggressor forces in each others field exercises. They'd sometimes end in bloody fistfights, but it all good for morale. My rifle platoon was full of big, meaty Samoans, Tongans, blacks built like linebackers and mean little Mexicans who fought dirty and hard. We were always chosen as the DLIC left to hold off the jarheads. Artillery simulators kept them at bay for a while. Eventually there'd be fistfights and wrestling matches in the tropic darkness. God, I loved it. I think the jarheads loved it, too.



Seriously. If you're worried about taxpayers why the hell do the Marines have a fixed wing air branch other than MY GRANDADDY FLEW CRUSADERS or whatever. USMC doctrine relies on a boutique aircraft that can't support CAS and has a habit of killing its pilots.



OK. You loved it. So what? What excuse is there for maintaining a separate army for the US? They merely want to supplant the Army as the primary ground force of the us. All else is bullshit. If they did not want that they would not have their senior service schools at Quantico. pl


Col Lang -

Just curious about where and when you did the USMC amphib school? Was it what was probably called at that time "Junior School" in Quantico or something else?

The Twisted Genius


The Marines shouldn't be a separate army for the US. As far as I'm concerned, they should stay within a day's march of the sea or in the embassy grounds. Three brigades should be plenty for that allowing for reasonable rotation. They don't need three over-sized divisions plus a reserve division.




Colonel -

Your notion that the Marines want to supplant the Army as the primary ground force is pure BS. Where did you dream that up? We know our limitations. I think you have the Harry Truman syndrome, he would be cheering you on. He tried hard to get rid of us jarheads (may he rot in hell), but was stymied by a small handful of LtCols. He wanted to do away with the Navy also.

You say war is war so the Marines should go to the Army War College (BTW many do). And many go to the Naval War College and the Air War College. And if war is war, why do we still maintain a War College for the Navy and Air Force. Do you want the Army to take over those curricula also?

Or do you want the US military to be like the Chinese, with the People's Liberation Army running the Navy and the Air Force?

Army pre-eminence over the other services was a fault of the Wehrmacht in WW2. The Heer dominated, so the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine suffered, everything they did had to be in sync with Army plans and strategies rather than with a national strategy.


Thanks for that story TTG -

We had a lot of Samoans in the Corps also. Big guys and great troops! All the ones I knew claimed to have a blood connection to the old line of Samoan princes.



Interesting that your father was a Marine and yet you went Army. I was just the opposite. My father fought in North Africa and Italy with the Army, my grandfather and a great-uncle were Army in France in 1918. Yet I went to the Marine Corps.


Tyler -

You want to depend on the Air Force for CAS? Good luck with that. They hate that mission. You can never get to be an Ace fighter pilot by doing CAS. They prefer the Rickenbacker dogfight thing and a white scarf (just kidding about the scarf Andy!).

Boutique aircraft? Are you referring to VSTOL? It is the wave of the future unless you want to keep depending on 10,000 foot runways vacuumed daily for FOD.

robt willmann

I have been guessing recently that since Trump made such a big production out of ISIS and going after them during the presidential campaign, it is the reason for the sudden focus on Raqqa. Trump's way of thinking is to go for the Big Score, and since Raqqa is the main crib for ISIS in Syria, if they can be kicked out of there, Trump will consider the show to be a success, and will certainly trumpet it as such.

He has obviously authorized new U.S. military activity -- legal or not -- in that area of Syria and has ordered some degree of cooperation (or maybe a lot of cooperation) with Russia in that endeavor. Russia does not want to look a gift horse in the mouth, and so is glad to go along with the new U.S. activity as long as it is not a ploy for the U.S. to occupy that area for a long time. Even though consolidating and smoothing out the western part of Syria seemed to be the main (and a sensible) focus of R+6, to make it kind of a limited R+7 takes some of the expense off of Russia and spreads out the risk. And as has occurred, a side benefit is that clearing that area some helps Aleppo on its east side.


Picking up on mike above:

Most of what the Army learned of amphib ops for the WW2 Euro landings were taught to them by PHIBLANT (Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet).

I watched a documentary about the USS Texas not too long ago. Part of her history.


Somewhat helpful reminder of the difference between the US Navy and Marines. I don't think we have the equivalent of Marines.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad