An Ally of a Sort

The British navy is so famous in history that no one may have recently asked just how potent it remains today.
When the Royal Navy has 38 admirals for 29 warships, the problem is not the 38 admirals, unless you are a British taxpayer (God help you). The problem, for the rest of us, is that one of the West’s great fighting forces only has 29 warships.... The Brits have no aircraft carriers, no cruisers, and a flawed and failing force of destroyers and submarines....

This is not just a problem of too few ships for the heirs of Nelson. The British Army and RAF also faced cuts in personnel and capabilities following the 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review—and the security review of 2003, and that of 1998, and of 1990. As a result, the British Army is now about half the size of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The thing about the Marine Corps is that it is a corps in size: that is, a force that comes from combining divisions and some separates. Thus, the total force available to defend the realm is only half a corps: a division or two, at most. The article estimates they could currently deploy only one brigade.


Eric Blair said...

It was an empire that needed a navy to rule the waves, so to speak.

It hasn't needed that in 50 years.

The interesting thing is, that nobody but the US has a real blue water navy anymore.

I think the Chinese are toying with the idea, but even for them, I doubt we will ever see it.

Grim said...

I think the Chinese will put together a token blue water navy, just to sail around the Pacific and make the point that they are prepared to back up their claims to their traditional area of influence. I doubt we'll see them contesting the USN in something like a second Battle of Midway, though.

For now, the US has as many aircraft carriers in service as the entire rest of the world combined. The dominance is not at all as clear in the nuclear forces. You can really use an aircraft carrier to project power, of course; nobody's used a nuke since WWII.

Eric Blair said...

And everybody should be scared of that fact.

Thing about those missiles. They tested the missiles, they tested the warheads, they never tested the warheads and the missiles together.

And I just saw an item about how awful the maintenance is in the US missile squadrons.

But, just how much worse is it in other nations forces?

E Hines said...

Well, the OR rate of the Soviet Union's LRA was around 40%, and their FA wasn't much better. Aside from parts and money, the maintainers had a habit of drinking the hydraulic fluid, which was alcohol-based.

Today's Russian economy still sucks, and they're spending potsful on flying status missions along the old Soviet Cold War routes. That's something we ought to be encouraging--they can't afford it.

It's the PRC about which I worry. They seem no longer satisfied to be the center of heaven. When we fold; throw Japan, the RP, and Vietnam under the bus; and cede the East and South China Seas to the PRC, they won't stop there. They're not building a token navy. Hawaii will be next. After all, the Chinese Navy discovered those islands long before any European round-eyes showed up. Just ask them.

Carriers project power? 200 miles in shore, maybe. That'll intimidate Europe. Russian and the PRC are big enough (and uncaring enough) not to be very impressed.

The training trend is working against us, too.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

It's true that China's big, but it's also true that its population is mostly coastal.

I don't worry about China coming after Hawaii. This piece is a couple of years old, but it lays out the structure of the developing Chinese Navy in a way that suggests that -- ambitions aside -- their capacities are going to be focused on Near Seas and not what they call "Three Seas" forces.

Grim said...

Sorry, I wrote that backwards. "Three Seas" is what they call the Near Seas.

raven said...

As our capabilities decrease, there will come a time when a Pearl Harbor 2 will seem like a rational move. not specifically Pearl Harbor, of course- a surprise first strike- probably a combination of an initial bio attack with a week long incubation, and a cyberattack to cripple our response,, a satellite strike to blind us, and followed by a nuke strike. maybe even a pre positioned EMP attack from a nuke carrying satellite, so there would be no launch signature..

Grim said...

That's a great idea, Raven. I wonder if it would work?

raven said...

I am quite sure it has occurred to many..

Eric Blair said...

I don't think that the Chinese are actually going to go to war across the seas.

Historically they never did it, and the Chinese Empire that extended the furthest, the Tang, went West, not East. West as into Central Asia.

The EMP stuff is completely overblown, and nobody is doing any sort of bio-weapons of any sort these days. It can only backfire.

Almost 15 years of conflict and nobody has managed to do anything worse to the US than what was done on 9/11/2001.

If they could have done anything else, they would have by now.

Ymar Sakar said...

Paying Scottish welfare really bites into that navy budget.