There will be other engagements in other places, sometimes littoral, sometimes not

Monday, May 18th, 2020

There is no greater danger in military strategy than shaping a nation’s force structure to respond to one specific set of contingencies, giving an adversary the ability to adjust and adapt beforehand, Jim Webb says:

If authorized, appropriated and put into place, [General Berger's] plan would eliminate many of the Marine Corps’ key capabilities. It could permanently reduce the long-standing mission of global readiness that for more than a century has been the essential reason for its existence as a separate service. Its long-term impact would undo the value of the Marine Corps as the one-stop guarantor of a homogeneous tactical readiness that can “go anywhere, fight anybody, and win.” And after the centuries it took to establish the Marine Corps as a fully separate military service, it could reduce its present role by making it again subordinate to the funding and operational requirements of the Navy.

General Berger bases his proposal on guidance in the 2018 National Defense Strategy which “redirected the Marine Corps’ mission focus from countering violent extremists in the Middle East to great power / peer-level competition with special emphasis on the Indo-Pacific . . . Such a profound shift from inland to littoral . . . will also demand greater integration with the Navy and a reaffirmation of that strategic partnership.” He then concludes that “Our current force design, optimized for large scale amphibious forcible entry and sustained operations ashore . . . are no longer what the nation requires of the Marine Corps.”

In making his conclusions, Berger emphasizes two principles. The first is that the future force should be formulated based on “approved naval concepts.” The second is that its operational practices should heavily emphasize a “hider versus finder competition” that exists in many of the highly structured DOD “war games” that he has experienced, calling the “reconnaissance / counter-reconnaissance mission an imperative for success.”

Based on a 2018 Department of Defense framework that is always subject to change, General Berger has thus decided to dramatically alter the entire force structure of the Marine Corps to a posture whose overriding emphasis would be short-term, high-tech raids against Chinese military outposts on small, fortified islands in the South China Sea. While it is certainly useful to develop contingency plans should Marines be called upon to conduct such limited tactical interventions, building a force around this concept is not a bold leap into the future. Rather, it reflects a misunderstanding of the past, as well as ignoring the unpredictability of war itself. Such scenarios are hardly a full reflection of “what the Nation requires of the Marine Corps.” The General seems to acknowledge that when he states in his proposal, “We need better answers to the question, “what does the Navy need from the Marine Corps?”


In forwarding his conclusions, the General noted that he had already decided that the Marine Corps should divest (his word) its combat structure by three full infantry battalions, a 14 percent reduction of its most important combat elements, and all of the correlative support units that would be involved. Marine Corps analytical teams were also ordered to “avoid” criteria related to the possibility of “sustained land operations,” thereby removing future considerations of the type of operational challenges the Marine Corps has predominantly faced over the past one hundred years.


Depending on how limited one views the future responsibilities of the Marine Corps, this plan is erected on a fragile house of cards: that future Marine Corps operational commitments should be shaped by the reduction of front-line infantry battalions, whose casualties in any sustained engagement would quickly require replacements that may not be available if the battlespace expands; by subjecting Marine Corps commitments to the needs of the Navy; and by an unproved reliance on the augmentation of combat units such as aviation assets and tanks from other services that may not be available and who will not have trained with the Marine Corps.

The proposal was based on extensive wargaming, in which the new Commandant has great confidence. But it is axiomatic that experimental war games (like staff studies) can be biased through subtle control of the methodology decided upon by those who design the war game. There is no greater danger in military strategy than shaping a nation’s force structure to respond to one specific set of contingencies, giving an adversary the ability to adjust and adapt beforehand. Nor would it serve the country’s long-term interests for the Marine Corps to careen from two decades of overemphasis in the Middle East to a fixation with narrow naval scenarios in places like the South China Sea.

If history teaches us anything in combat it is that the war you get is rarely the war that you game. As former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson once put it, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” In World War I the Germans were convinced they would defeat France in exactly forty-two days. Prior to World War II the French matched this folly by building a string of fortresses along the Maginot Line, leaving open the thickly forested Ardennes, which their war planners decided was impenetrable by a large-scale German attack. In 1941 the British were convinced that no military assault could overcome its shoreline defenses against an attack on their naval base in Singapore, then known as the unassailable “Gibraltar of Asia.” The Japanese army landed far to the north, then bicycled and marched its way down the Malayan Peninsula, attacking Singapore from behind and quickly smashing the stunned British and Australian defenders. Except for General Tomoyuki Yamashita the Japanese high command was not usually that brilliant. Its pre-war plan of fixed defenses on island redoubts throughout Pacific Asia backfired spectacularly, and their inability to adapt after their unexpectedly quick victories at the beginning of the war allowed American resilience and control over the sea and the air to destroy their gains.

None of these debacles were the result of a failure in new technologies. All were the failure of faulty planning and especially of the miscalculations of those at the highest levels of command.

Our present-day Marine Corps serves as the nation’s pre-eminent expeditionary force, deployable immediately in any scenario short of nuclear war. But before World War I the role of the Marine Corps was narrowly defined to shipboard duties, small “landing party” operations, and the protection of diplomatic legations ashore. Despite its well-earned reputation in those roles, from its founding in 1775 until World War I, total Marine Corps casualties in all of our country’s wars amounted to only 332 Marines killed in action. Marines were truly “soldiers of the sea,” an important but surrogate element of the Navy itself.

World War I changed that. The Marines quickly stood up two hardened and undefeatable regiments. During six months of heavy fighting they endured 2,457 killed in action and 12,379 total casualties, earning the revered title of “Devil Dogs” from their German opponents. Their discipline, unmatchable marksmanship and ability to adapt and innovate on the battlefield also earned them a larger role among America’s combat arms, from which has come a remarkable series of forward-looking contributions to our military and to our national security. But this evolution was not an easy one. The mid-twentieth century was marked with repeated efforts by competing services and politicians to either do away with the Marine Corps or to put it back inside the Navy box.

The Marine Corps first broke out of that box through its development of amphibious warfare doctrine during the 1930s after an intricate study of the ill-fated 1915 British landings and ground campaign at Gallipoli. The leaders of that period tested, trained and wrote the book on large-scale amphibious landings. During the island campaigns of World War II they demonstrated the Corps’ historic combination of leadership, discipline, and command accountability. But although the Marine Corps perfected the techniques of modern-day amphibious warfare, they did not own the concept. In fact, the largest U.S. amphibious operations in history, in Sicily and on D-Day at Normandy, were not conducted by the Marine Corps at all.

The most important evolution of the Marine Corps in our national security posture has been as an immediately deployable, fully capable expeditionary force, with an included mission of amphibious assault. And this has usually required “sustained land operations.”

When North Korea suddenly attacked South Korea in June 25, 1950, Gen. Douglas MacArthur asked immediately for the Marines, not simply because they had amphibious capabilities but because he knew that whatever it took, they would be ready. By September 15 the Marines had called up thousands of World War II veterans, formed an invasion force, deployed aboard ship, crossed the Pacific and landed at Inchon. The Inchon landing was one of the most technically difficult maneuvers in American history, subject to fluctuating sea tides and well behind enemy lines. Inchon was followed by more than two years of sustained land operations, including the most memorable engagement of the Korean War, the First Marine Division’s breakout from the Chosin Reservoir against vastly superior odds after the Chinese army crossed the Yalu River and surrounded them.

During and after the Korean War, Marine Corps innovation developed and perfected techniques of close air support and helicopter doctrine. During the late 1950s its leadership overcame intense opposition in order to retain fixed-wing aircraft so that the Corps could continue to field a fully capable, homogeneous force that could deploy immediately whenever called upon to do so, with every necessary combat component intact. This effort paid off in Vietnam with the quality of Marine Corps close-air support, a skill perfected only by continuous air-ground training.

In Vietnam the Corps fielded two full divisions and part of a third in sustained land operations, engaging a determined enemy for six years of hard combat that took the lives of fourteen thousand Marines and brought more than one hundred thousand total casualties. In the 1980’s they operated for more than a year in Beirut, Lebanon. They were among the first on the ground during Desert Storm, and again in Afghanistan and then again in Iraq. Such sustained operations as a highly integrated combat force, available to the country’s leadership on demand, has become an inseparable part of the modern Marine Corps tradition.

History tells us that in the future there will be other engagements in other places, sometimes littoral, sometimes not. If so, the Marine Corps that will be called upon to respond will be bringing with them only the weapon systems, logistics, technologies and people that our top leaders are now deciding to fund and to build and to train.

What will such a commitment look like? Where will it be? Will it involve “sustained land operations” rather than a “one and done” smack-down launched and quickly recovered by Navy ships? What kind of notice will our Marines have before being sent into harm’s way? What will be the size of that commitment?—a company, a battalion, a regiment, perhaps a division?—and over what expanse? Will it be urban or rural, or maybe in the mountains? How long will it last? Will there be adequate helicopter and other assets to insert, relocate, provide fire support, resupply and sustain the Marines, weapons systems, and logistical necessities required even to begin such an unanticipated call to duty? With such drastic “divestments” as those now proposed, will there be enough infantry Marines in the pipeline to replace and sustain the casualty flow and weapons replacements from battalions that are committed, not simply on the first day or the first week but over a much longer period, perhaps under conditions where our aviation assets and other mechanical systems are shot down, or crash, or wear out from such environmental erosions as heat, ice, sand, clay dust, monsoon rains, or the simple wear-and-tear of constant operations?

(Hat tip to T. Greer.)


  1. Adar says:

    War games are always conducted in a manner for the blue to win and the red to lose. If the red does win then someone is going to hear of it and quick and not in a good way.

    Doing away with all tanks [heavy armor] is one of the ideas [policies?]as put forward by Berger. The tank as we understand it has been an essential element of war since WW1 [at least from the latter stage of the war] and such a move [no more tanks] is extremely risky?

  2. Jacob G. says:

    It seems to me the battle Gen. Berger wants to fight is Gaudacanal, with airfield beats Naval Power being updated to mobile missile batteries beats naval power, and a lot easier to set up as well.

  3. Kirk says:

    I have a feeling that the next couple of decades are going to be hard on the Marine Corps.

    Most of the assumptions we’ve been basing our “strategy” on have proven to be faulty; nobody saw, for example, that the Soviets were just going to go bankrupt and fade away. The rise of al Qaeda was another threat “nobody saw coming”, aside from some iconoclastic types that the rest of us didn’t listen to. The fact that the Marines are now listening to the “conventional wisdom”, and reacting to it as though it were worth a damn…?

    Can’t see that working out, at all. I think these people who’ve been working on all this forecasting and prognostication are essentially useless delusionals, and that the real threats are going to be from so-called Black Swan events and things we didn’t see coming in any way, shape, or form. The Marines are prepping for something that is likely to prove out as a mirage, and the reality is going to be something far different. If you had told me in 1985 what the rest of my military career would look like, I’d have laughed in your face and called you an idiot. Hell, if you’d tried briefing what actually happened from 1989 to 2007 as any sort of legitimate intel forecast…? You’d still be trying to figure out where the rubber-lined room you were incarcerated in was located.

  4. Isegoria says:

    Ideally war games can help you learn to learn to fight.

  5. Bob Sykes says:

    It is true that amphibious and airborne assaults on defended beaches of major powers cannot succeed, and that’s pretty much the whole Eurasian coastline. However, having prepositioned, highly mobile ground forces, with armor, artillery, logistics, transport, etc., is very valuable. A Marine expeditionary unit is far more capable than the 82nd Airborne or the 101st Airmobile divisions. Berger et al are making a major strategic blunder.

  6. Wang Wei Lin says:

    What little I know of war is this: Until you have boots on the ground in control of the territory you have not won the war. Regardless of your technological advantages or how much of the enemy’s force you destroy it’s at best a deadly horrible stalemate until the enemy begs for cessation of hostilities. How is this accomplished today with all major players having a relative parity?

  7. Sam J. says:

    I see what people are complaining about but I don’t agree. Some of this must be seen in light of the coming serious budget constraints. I think they are inevitable and Gen. Berger sees this. I also think he is looking much farther in the future than most.

    “…Doing away with all tanks [heavy armor] is one of the ideas [policies?]as put forward by Berger. The tank as we understand it has been an essential element of war since WW1 [at least from the latter stage of the war] and such a move [no more tanks] is extremely risky?…”

    Tanks are mostly expensive total pieces of shit. There is no tank presently or that can reasonably be built that can’t be destroyed by a couple guys in a jeep with a missile. Many are fire and forget and it will only get worse. Now they’re putting active explosive protection on tanks as a last ditch resort. Well good luck with that. You need soldiers to watch for the tanks but you can’t have them if the tanks are always exploding every so often. The tank has run it’s course. I can’t remember where I heard this, maybe here, and my details may be a little off but the reason the Army sunk money into the Stryker was to gain speed and mobility. Better a lot of something you could get there fast than a little of nothing that takes forever to move and is so heavy it’s limited to certain known roads. To show the vulnerability of tanks General Eric Shinseki fired a kinetic tank attack missile at a M1 tank and it supposedly went clean through it and completely destroyed it. There’s just no way to make a tank no matter how heavy really safe. So you are essentially carrying around a massive amount of mass that’s impossible to move.

    If you have this in mind then Gen. Berger’s ideas don’t sound so odd after all. It doesn’t matter how good your heavy weapons are if they’re too damn big and slow to move so that you never get any quick movement at all.

    Let’s look at the artillery angle. With some money put into present computing and a bit of neural net training it’s entirely possible to build a radar guided gun system that can shoot down artillery. I Israel does it right now with rockets but I expect a gun would be cheaper. Possible alternatives are computer guided gun rounds which have already been prototyped for .50 cal. Combine this with a mass produced rocket type artillery with good accuracy to counter attack and you can defeat heavy armor and artillery with a couple guys in a Humvee carrying 5 or 6 of these rockets and another Humvee with a radar guided gun to protect the rockets.

    The biggest thing anyone who is supposing the future will be like the past and need massive huge machines is the stunning increase in computer power which can vastly improve accuracy and wring the last little bit of performance out weapons systems. Making them much lighter and more quickly designed. I keep posting this gif and everyone seems to poo poo the whole idea.

    I’ve been looking for a wi-fi capable cheap game type resource for a while. Just recently they came out with a microcontroller called a ESP32-CAM for around ten dollars that will even do face recognition. DAMN!

    People are not paying attention to the exponential growth of computer power. Here’s a graphic that demonstrates in a few seconds what most people don’t grasp at all.

    Dennis M. Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, “Future Strategic Issues/Future Warfare [Circa 2025] “. He goes over the trends of technology coming up and how they may play out. His report is not some wild eyed fanaticism it’s based on reasonable trends. Link.

    Page 19 shows capability of the human brain and time line for human level computation.
    Page 70 gives the computing power trend and around 2025 we get human level computation for $1000.

    2025 is bad but notice it says”…By 2030, PC has collective computing power of a town full of human

    The data I just provided is the same importance as fire to Cro-Mags and iron to our ancestors. It’s that big of a change.
    Large mass that can’t move fast is useless provided that we spend money on newer faster. If we don’t…then well we will get our ass kicked because others seem to be doing just that.

  8. Kirk says:

    My rule of thumb has always been that if there’s a consultant with a book to sell, and who is offering you a great deal on conferences and classes where he is going to teach you all about his wunnerful, wunnerful insight into everything…?

    Yeah; it’s a scam. You run into this all the time with the guys and girls who go off to these things like the various think tanks and “higher educational” programs. They come back, having been exposed to all these paradigm-shattering insights, and a lot of them never quite recover a lick of common sense. They see a short-term advantage in some new gee-whiz idea, and never recognize the fact that a.) it is ephemeral, and that b.) someone will come up with a countermeasure.

    Meanwhile, really important crap that’s too prosaic for anyone to take up as a cause winds up getting ignored until it’s really too late to do much about it. Mine-clearing, at sea and on land, has classically been one of those issues. Nobody in the Army wanted to procure or even examine the South African MRAP/route clearance technology until we were deep into dealing with Iraq–Despite there being dozens of us low-life enlisted scum and some company-grade officers who’d been agitating for that to happen for years. Meanwhile, the denizens of entities like the Naval Post-Graduate School were engaged in rarefied meanderings over issues that either bore no relation at all to reality, or which would not eventuate real-world issues for decades yet to come.

    Sam J, I am afraid, has fallen prey to one of these meme-trails with what he’s saying about tanks. News flash: You can’t go into a modern battlefield without heavy armor, period. And, it will only get worse. Those poor bastards manning those “lightweight and cheap missile systems” are sitting out there in the open, and all it takes to deal with them are some reasonably attentive artillery observers and ye olde multiple-launch missile systems, which can effectively remove said missileers from entire grid squares before you proceed to slash through them with your armor. Which will likely have capable anti-missile gear and armor that can cope with anything man-portable…

    I’ve played that game before, back when we thought that it would be possible to build a light-weight deployable division in the 9th ID High-Technology Test Bed. Didn’t work then, hasn’t worked since, and likely won’t work until you’re putting men into Heinlein-esque powered body armor, if we ever manage that. Artillery is a bitch, folks. Mechanized formations, properly managed, are not things you can hand-wave away, and I suspect that the Marines are gonna find that out the hard way the first time they try making all this agile maneuver-based bullshit work against an enemy who isn’t Arabic in nature.

    Someone really ought to re-run the Chosin Reservoir campaign against a China that’s got mech and armor divisions, and then do a worst-case scenario from there. Configuring to deal with an enemy that’s merely into light infantry ain’t smart, and that is, in essence, what the Marines are doing. At some point, my take is that we’re going to be going into India to either prevent a Chinese takeover, or dealing with Pakistan. Either way, armor is still going to matter. The tank is a long, long way from being a modern-day equivalent to the cavalry horse.

  9. Sam J. says:

    “…Sam J, I am afraid, has fallen prey to one of these meme-trails with what he’s saying about tanks. News flash: You can’t go into a modern battlefield without heavy armor…”

    News flash to you when the Israelis went into Lebanon last time in the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War they got their asses blown off by guys who Didn’t even have humvees at all. Hezbollah fired multiple RPG’s at tanks while pinning the Men down with machine gun fire. You can’t deny this and you can’t deny that the Israelis had ample artillery and some of the best tanks and armored personal carriers in the world. It did them no good. They might have flattened Lebanon but they never controlled any of it as a rain of rockets fell on Israel constantly the whole time the battle went on. You trying to tell me that the Jews do not have a modern military system? They can track missiles but it did them no good at all. Shorty there after they went into, I think, Gaza with special forces and promptly got their asses shot off, again, and had to back up and level the place with artillery. Doing so in that case being of no renown as the Palestinians had absolutely nothing to counter at all. What if Hezbollah or Palestine had a modern cruise control missile made from simple drone parts???? They would be easy to make. They could run them off of lithium batteries. Easy to launch using a switchblade type configuration. There’s also an even cheaper one I can’t remember the name of with only one wing that scissors(second link).

    You could make these things from plywood, cheap Asian drone computers reprogrammed and they could not be stopped. They could shut down the whole damn country while constantly pounding Israeli population centers. The primitive rockets they have now barely count at all but brought mass panic. So everything you said might sound good but clashes with…reality. If it’s so easy then why didn’t the Israelis do so? They were hit by thousands of rockets while they were on a total war footing and couldn’t do a damn thing. They also couldn’t invade with helicopters or tanks as every time they did they were shot to shit and back and accomplished nothing.

    When puffed up pronouncements collide with reality who wins…reality. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about because the exact scenario I talked about has already been tested and tanks failed spectacularly. All the Jews could do was bomb from the air and they never ever stopped the missiles. Everything you said was tried and failed even before sophisticated mass produced drone parts were even available. Maybe you don’t understand this but I bet the Israelis damn sure do.

  10. Kirk says:

    Sam J., what you know about modern combat in terms of “reality” vs. what some pundits have had to say…?

    Could be written on the head of a pin, with room to spare. Bluntly put, you have no real-world experience of these things, and you don’t know what you don’t know.

    I spent 25 years doing “modern war”. The realities are that armor is a necessity, and what happened to the Israelis in Lebanon was due to two things: One, a momentary teetering towards the defensive side of things, and two, a total lack of competence on the side of the Israelis. Also, a distinct lack of common sense and bloody-mindedness.

    Next time round, Hezbollah ain’t going to fare as well as it did, because the Israelis are a lot better at learning than they are.

    None of the crap Hezbollah pulled would work against an enemy with a clarity of mind and purpose, willing to unleash full force on them. Israeli ROE was what killed most of their troops, not Hezbollah competence or some imaginary superiority of arms. I guarantee you that if they had done in Lebanon what they later did along the Gaza Strip, the majority of the Hezbollah “heroes” would have died under precision strikes before they ever had a chance to pop up and fire their AT systems. If the Russians had been the ones to go in, they’d have done unto Lebanon precisely what was done to the same sets of idiots in Syria, and blasted them out while destroying the surrounding cityscapes at the same time.

    Your ideas are fantasies, and they don’t work. So long as there is heavy armor and the full panoply of supporting fires, there is no way that “light and smart” is ever going to win out against “heavy”. Been there, played the game, and we got rolled every damn time. Not until you’ve got some way of keeping infantry alive under direct and heavy artillery fire will you see the heavy armor stuff go away. Until then, it’s going to be the usual teeter-totter between “defense/armor” and “offense/weapon” that we’ve been playing since the beginning of modern warfare. Tanks aren’t going away, and they’re not suddenly rendered irrelevant. That siren song has been sounded since the ’73 Arab-Israeli War, and it hasn’t proven true since then, either. Other than in small, momentary campaigns where the one side of the equation has a short period of advantage due to some slight technology/tactical edge, it simply has not proven true.

    Hell, look at the Danish/Canadian experience with their Leopards in Afghanistan for examples. The tank is not going to go away just because some small set of idiot autistic geniuses think it will. There’s a long, long way to go before you’ll see an armor-free battlefield, I’m afraid.

  11. Wang Wei Lin says:

    Sam J, As you illustrated battles/wars can only be won with overwhelming, unrelenting and unmerciful force whatever the technology. Israel could win more conflicts with 3rd world Islamic jihadis, but they would have to be more cold blooded than them. Western civilization has lost it’s killer instinct when it comes to war. ROEs written by lawyers instead of field commanders will fail every time.

  12. Sam J. says:

    “…Someone really ought to re-run the Chosin Reservoir campaign against a China that’s got mech and armor divisions, and then do a worst-case scenario from there…”

    What a useless waste of time and typical mindlessness. How about we run the same scenario with the US side having one million battery powered drones with AI neural nets set to recognize humans and a cheap ass thermal camera on a battery powered drone that has a few ounces of explosive. They would fly around an area, chase down any humans they saw and blow them to pieces. Don’t think this can be done? The processor for the AI is the same as a cell phone. Around $10-$20. This company used to have a kick ass video where they could ride around in a car with a cell phone and recognize all kinds of things, people, stop signs it was major impressive with only a small cheap micro-controller. I can’t find it as Apple bought them for $200 million, but here’s one video. I assure you they could easily find a human with a thermal camera. Computer less than $20

    here’s a Thermal camera for $180

    MLX90640-D110 Thermal Camera

    You could vibrate this thing vertically and horizontally with a $1 speaker to increase resolution. Within two years the resolution at the minimum will double for the same price or cheaper. You actually could combine this with an infrared camera. The thermal looks for hot spots and the infrared is used to see the target and chase it down. Works with a $20 micro-controller.

    This cheap stuff available right now. A little software and it’s done.

  13. Sam J. says:

    “…I guarantee you that if they had done in Lebanon what they later did along the Gaza Strip, the majority of the Hezbollah “heroes” would have died under precision strikes…”

    You’re wrong because of “facts”. They used tunnels to shield the machine gun and RPG teams. Did massive B-52 strikes in Vietnam kill all the North Vietnamese in tunnels? You know damn well it didn’t. The Israelis don’t have enough bombs to flatten all of Lebanon and if Hezbollah was firing back at the same rate ANY victory would be Pyrrhic at the very best and a total disaster. I just showed you a cheap ass processor and camera for less than $20 that could be used to keep watch while they sheltered in tunnels. The really small ones could watch over the border for months with one Li-ion battery and precisely determine when the Israelis were coming and where they were going. Every time the tanks move to the border fire a cheap ass rocket with a cheap ass optical guidance system to hit a tank and boom, $2 million a pop for $500 worth of rocket and sensors. They didn’t have so many tunnels in Gaza I’m told because the water table is too high for them to be effective as they are elsewhere. Besides the Gazians are in a big concentration camp so they don’t have the ability to do long planned defense. Gaza and Lebanon are two totally different situations. Some of you are blind as bats that worship the “Holy tank” when we can see 100% that a $2 million tank can be taken out by a $200 or less RPG. Combine this with light battery powered aircraft or drones, AI and neural nets to hunt tanks and the tanks would all be sitting ducks. It’s beyond me how you people just ignore reality and what has actually happened. The cost structure of big, heavy, expensive, slow just will not add up over time with computing getting faster and faster every day. You all sound like religious nuts that worship the “Holy tank and Holy artillery”. What if during the Lebanon-Israeli war Hezbollah had 20,000 drones with 80mm mortar level explosives that looked for people, buildings, planes, military equipment, etc….instead of those cheap ass fire and pray rockets which are really, really of very little military use? I bet you could build something worthwhile for $500 so you would have 20,000 anti-tank, anti-personal, anti-whatever attack rockets that would automatically look for targets for $10 million. Less than the cost of 6 tanks. This is in no way out of the question. You could use the same rockets but with a optical guidance system on the nose. There’s also no way possible to build enough anti-missle missiles to stop them at this level. It wouldn’t even need to be rockets it could be low level planes like the switchblade I linked. It would cost very little to build this and would provide a weapon of mass destruction level damage on the Israelis.

    The “Holy tank” crew keep saying they can destroy enough of Lebanon that they will “win”. I say that’s fantasy, you people are drinking the funny spiked coolaid. Are the Jews going to kill EVERYONE because a couple of their soldiers are kidnapped. Especially since they are occupying other peoples territory??? I assure you just the cost of cheap unguided bombs alone would bankrupt the State of Israel to kill “everyone” in Lebanon and in reality they would never be able to do it with conventional weapons. The blow back would be massive. People would say to themselves ,”if they are going to kill everyone then it behooves us to wipe them out before they kill us too”. Big problem.

    What you can not and will not process is that the nature of defense has changed due to technology. There is a balance of Defense to offense but they don;t have to be equal. Offense and mass armies have been the paradigm for a long time and that is breaking down. Defense and the ability to strike back and make offense a much trickier deal are moving to a more powerful position. Get used to it.

  14. Sam J. says:

    Read this, totally biased by the Jews, wikipedia article. Statements like,”…During the war the Israeli Air Force flew 11,897 combat missions, which was more than the number of sorties during the 1973 October War (11,223) and almost double the number during the 1982 First Lebanon War (6,052)

    Israeli artillery fired 170,000 shells…” and you people are telling me,”boy we will really get tough next time”. The Israelis looked like fools. They eventually had nothing of substance to bomb and any bombing they did was of no strategic value at even the slightest. The whole time Hezbollah was firing rockets at Israel. They COULD NOT stop them.

    “…According to the findings of the post-war military investigations the IDF shelling succeeded only in destroying about 100 out of 12,000 Katyusha launchers…”.

    With the ability to fire back AI cruise missiles like I postulated there would have been complete panic. Jews would have started abandoning the country in mass.

    Look at videos of . Their stuff is amazing. They say it will run on a $2 processor and identify people.

  15. Sam J. says:

    Bob Sykes says,”…It is true that amphibious and airborne assaults on defended beaches of major powers cannot succeed…”

    Many months ago everyone was calling me the village idiot because I said that Taiwan, with some strategic planning and lots of microprocessors, could hold the Chinese off indefinitely.

  16. Sam J. says:

    Guidance for the “Holy Tankers”

  17. Huey Pierce Long, Jr. says:

    All of the great sci-fi authors of the past thought that AI — when it finally arrived, deep, deep into the future — would be used to perfect health, construct great works, invent new technologies, expand into space.

    When really it was destined to be used to install a tyranny more complete than any tyranny in all of human history.

    How naïve they were.

    How naïve we were.

  18. Sam J. says:

    Just to make sure it’s blatantly clear to all that…well those who are not so observant see how Kirk argues a point. It’s all fluff, bullshit and calls to authority. If you keep track of some of what he says he has done, OMG he’s been involved in every single battle or plan or study in the whole military damn near about. Why if you just listen to him and his “authority” then all will be well. Even if what he says doesn’t in any way have anything to do with actual, on the ground, factual, evidence and the true underlining facts.

    Listen to this,“…Sam J, I am afraid, has fallen prey to one of these meme-trails with what he’s saying about tanks. News flash: You can’t go into a modern battlefield without heavy armor…” and “…Sam J., what you know about modern combat in terms of “reality” vs. what some pundits have had to say…?

    Could be written on the head of a pin, with room to spare.,,”

    and he blathers on about consultants selling books but I’m not a consultant nor am I selling books. I just look at what’s available and even provide to the actual parts. What they can do you can look up for yourself. Everything I provided was just public accounts where tanks were blasted to fuck all, the solders counting on the tanks were blasted to fuck all, the artillery that was supposed to “win,win, win” did, according to their own accounts, fuck all. And I suppose that “LISTEN TO ME I KNOW EVERRYTHING “Kirk” will probably provide you with fuck all facts or any battles info to support any damn thing he says. I have severe doubts that all the “things” he says he has done are anything but figments of his imagination. Maybe they are maybe they are not but he has no supporting evidence to any of the assertions he makes. It’s all listen to me and name calling. If “listen to me I’m the authority and name calling” is how we run our military then no damn wonder we can’t win anything. And by the way if he was in charge of so much why didn’t we win anything???

  19. Sam J. says:

    Looking something up and this post and set of comments came up.

    So recently we have even more verified no doubt 100% confirmation of exactly what I said in Azerbaijan vs. Armenia short war. It was short because the Armenians got totally whipped by drones. The Armenians had plenty of tanks, artillery all the stuff that is supposed to be “unbeatable” yet is was all blown to hell because of a few million dollars worth of drones allowed precise targeting.

    And while I’m at it to further pile on,

    “…News flash: You can’t go into a modern battlefield without heavy armor, period. And, it will only get worse. Those poor bastards manning those “lightweight and cheap missile systems” are sitting out there in the open, and all it takes to deal with them are some reasonably attentive artillery observers and ye olde multiple-launch missile systems…”

    and yet here he is saying that a fast moving squad of say 4 humvees with missiles are in TOTAL peril by a system that is stuck in one place like artillery. Like they magically can’t be hit. Like the artillery has some sort of super power where they can blast everyone else but never any harm will come to them. I ask you in a fast moving computerized war would you rather be in a fast moving mobile humvee with super fast shooting guns protecting against artillery and rockets to fire back or would you like to be sitting around an emplaced artillery surrounded by tons of ammo???

    Look at the Iraq war. We had a huge advantage but constantly the Iraqis were moving around the desert shooting scuds. I mean scuds are not tiny things and most of the ground they covered was flat and featureless. Now things have improved but it does make my point that small squads of rapidly moving targets are much harder to hit.

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