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Keeping The "Gunfire" In Naval Gunfire Support

Keeping The "Gunfire" In Naval Gunfire Support

 

AUTHOR LCdr. Mark C. Kelsey, USN

 

CSC 1991

 

SUBJECT AREA - Operations

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Evolving concepts of the amphibious assault will exploit

capabilities to land forces in relatively unopposed areas from over-

the-horizon (0TH) wherever and whenever possible. However

circumstances may still require assaults against defended beaches and

landing zones. In a worst-case combat environment, the seaward

approaches to the objective will be defended by a combination of

surface-to-surface missiles, coastal defense guns, and mines.

With budget pressures expected to reduce the aircraft carrier

force level to 12 carriers -- and possibly as few as 10 -- in FY-95

and with dramatic reductions in forward-deployed forces, the Naval

Surface Fire Support (NSFS) platforms may be the only supporting arm

available to provide the responsive, close and continuous all-weather

fire support during the early phases of the amphibious assault.

Unfortunately, the current NSFS inventory cannot satisfy this

requirement. First, the range of the current 5-inch/54 and 5-inch/38

guns is too short to isolate the beachhead from coastal defense

weapons. Second, the accuracy of the 5-inch gun is insufficient

against mobile armored forces and hardened point targets. Finally,

the lethality of the 5-inch gun is inadequate against these same

targets.

Increases in the present level of NSFS, now at its lowest since

the late l94Os, are necessary. The technology is available for large

improvements in the very near future. Just as the "amtrac" provided a

technological answer to a crucial tactical requirement that led to a

strategic victory, so to can the adoption of the imaginative,

practical solutions provided herein, make up for the shortfall in

NSFS.

But if we are not prepared to pay for fire support on a scale

which is adequate to underwrite success in opposed landings, then we.

should accept squarely that, whatever capability we now possess, it

will no longer be one of power projection ashore.

 

 

KEEPING THE "GUNFIRE" IN NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT

 

OUTLINE

 

Thesis Statement: The currect inventory of Naval Surface Fire Support

(NSFS) platforms is inadequate to support Marine Corps requirements

due to primary dependence on 5-inch guns.

 

I. U.S. Navy's Mission

A. Power Projection

1. Amphibious assault

2. Naval Bombardment

B. Fire Support

l. Naval Guns

2. Aircraft

 

II. Contribution of Naval Guns

A. World War II

1. European Theater

2. Island Campaign of the Pacific Theater

B. Korean War

C. Vietnam War

 

III. Threat

A. Growing Land-Sea Interface

B. Amphibious assaults

l. Unopposed Landings

2. Defended Beaches and Landing Zones

C. Soviet-style Coastal Defense Principles

D. Weapons of War

1. Common Weapons and Weapons Systems

2. Proliferation

 

IV. NSFS Capabilities

A. Nature of War

B. Power Projection

1. Aircraft

2. Naval Guns

 

V. Requirements

A. Enhance Amphibious Forcible Entry Capability

B. Develop Long-Range Surface Fire Support Capability

l. Near-Term (High Pay-off Improvements to Existing Systems)

2. Mid-Term

3. Long-Term (Evolutionary Replacement of Existing Systems)

 

VI. Conclusion

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Title 10, U.S. Code, defines the U.S. Navy's mission as " . . . to

 

be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained

 

combat operations in support of U.S. national interests." (24 :913)

 

The Navy's functions are to conduct sea control and power projection

 

operations. Power projection operations are those aspects of naval

 

operations which attack the enemy's homeland, bases, or defensive

 

positions. They include amphibious assault and naval bombardment of

 

enemy targets ashore in support of land campaigns. Although Mahan,

 

the preeminent naval historian, generally disregarded the utility of

 

naval artillery and of sea-borne infantry assaults against targets

 

ashore, power projection from the sea is a mission of growing

 

significance. (2: 83) Naval commanders need to pay more careful

 

attention to the interaction of sea forces with the events on the

 

ground. One good reason for this: there will be more interaction in

 

the future.

 

Complete understanding of the amphibious operation must include

 

recognition of its chief limitation -- the vulnerability of the

 

landing force during the early hours of the assault. Strength ashore

 

must be built-up from zero combat power ashore to a coordinated,

 

balanced force capable of accomplishing the assigned mission.. The

 

build-up must be quick and uninterrupted and must include forces

 

strong enough to overcome the enemy. In an amphibious operation, the

 

total combat power available to the commander is the sum of maneuver

 

and fire support. All amphibious operations rely upon fire support

 

from the sea. It is the only surface support available during the

 

initial stages of the landing. The effective use of fire support

 

 

available from the various supporting arms is often a deciding factor

 

in the success of the Amphibious Task Force (ATF) mission. The three

 

available supporting arms are aircraft, artillery, and naval gunfire.

 

The general mission of naval gunfire is to provide responsive

 

fire support for the assault of the objective by destroying or

 

neutralizing the following:

 

(1) Shore installations that oppose the approach of ships and

 

aircraft.

 

(2) Defenses that may oppose the landing force.

 

(3) Defenses that may oppose the post-landing advance of the

 

landing force. (7: 1-1)

 

Efforts to bolster the Navy's power projection capabilities have

 

focused on getting the TOMAHAWK Ship-/Submarine-Launched Cruise

 

Missile (SLCM) to sea and replacing the aging, carrier-based A-6E

 

INTRUDER all-weather, day-night attack aircraft. There have been

 

no corresponding improvements in naval gun systems since the Korean

 

War. (20: 9)

 

In 1983, responding to a question posed by Senator Sam Nunn

 

(D-GA), then-Marine Corps Commandant General Robert H. Barrow said:

 

The current Naval Surface Fire Support inventory is inadequate

to support Marine Corps requirements. First, the range of the

current 5-inch/54 and 5-inch/38 families is too short to isolate

the beachhead from Warsaw Pact artillery. Second, the accuracy

of the 6-inch gun family is insufficient against mobile armored

forces and hardened point targets. Finally, the lethality of the

5-inch gun family is inadequate against these same targets. (23)

 

Unfortunately, the 5-inch/54 MK 42/MK 45 rapid-firing gun will be the

 

largest caliber gun carried by U.S. warships when the two remaining

 

battleships, the USS WISCONSIN and the USS MISSOURI, with their

 

16-inch/50 guns, are retired in FY-92.

 

 

In the opinion of many people, opposed amphibious landings are a

 

type of naval warfare that is now only a part of history and that any

 

fire support requirements beyond the capability of the 5-inch gun

 

could be assigned to carrier aviation or deployed Marine air assets.

 

History books are replete with reminders that the key to successful

 

amphibious operations lies in close partnership between the landing

 

force and the forces afloat. The most important aspect of that

 

partnership was ample, responsive firepower; firepower which could

 

kill, suppress, disrupt, and cause dispersion. The British learned

 

that lesson at Gallipoli during World War I. When the Royal Navy was

 

unable to support key attacks with naval gunfire, the Anglo-French

 

landing forces were driven back to the crowded beaches, where they

 

suffered appalling casualties before the final evacuation.

 

These same people believe the size and configuration of the U.S.

 

Navy should be based on scenarios for the most likely intervention or

 

crisis management rather than the worst-case threat of general war.

 

However, a fleet which is designed to meet only the most probable

 

threat may be incapable of surviving the worst. Doctrine and tactics

 

can be adjusted, but attempting to scale up less capable or incapable

 

ships to fight against an overwhelming threat won't work.

 

It is through the use of violence -- or the credible threat of

 

violence, which requires the apparent willingness to use it -- that we

 

compel our enemy to do our will. (6: 11 ) The current Naval Surface

 

Fire Support (NSFS) capability doesn't present a "credible threat" of

 

violence.

 

"A good gun causes victory, armor only postpones defeat."

 

-- Vice Admiral S. O. Makaroff (1l: 270)

 

 

HISTORY

 

On March 9, 1847, General Winfield Scott made the first

 

amphibious landing in American history at Veracruz, Mexico. The

 

landing was unopposed and 10,000 troops came ashore without loss

 

of life. (16: 147)

 

In the early 19:30's at Quantico, Virginia, Fleet Marine Force

 

(FMF) leaders began to work on the problems of conducting amphibious

 

operations, which they found required new combat techniques and a

 

high-degree of combined-arms coordination, as well as special landing

 

craft and weapons. The fundamental problems of seizing a defended

 

beachhead were initially addressed by Major Earl H. Ellis, a protege

 

of Major General John A. Lejeune. Major Ellis foresaw that naval

 

gunfire and air strikes would provide the fire superiority that

 

conventional artillery could not provide while waves of landing craft

 

brought infantry, machine guns, light artillery, and tanks to the

 

beaches. It was expected, and history has shown, that the

 

concentrated violence of the beach assault could carry the Marines

 

through the beach defenses.

 

The contributions of naval guns in various World War II

 

amphibious operations, such as the landings on Sicily and at Salerno

 

in Italy, clearly demonstrated the decisive role of naval gunnery in

 

blunting major infantry and armored reserve counterattacks against

 

landing forces. In Sicily, naval gunfire supported our own advancing

 

troops, up to eight miles inland. "So devastating in its effective-

 

ness," wrote General Eisenhower, was this shooting, "as to dispose

 

of any doubts that naval guns are suitable for shore bombardment."

 

(17: 258) During the initial stages in the European Theater, the major

 

 

caliber gun (8-inch and larger) platforms defeated axis armored

 

counterattacks, primarily by stripping them of their infantry and

 

engineer support. On 14 September, 1943, after naval gunfire from (at

 

least 16 to 18) battleships, cruisers and destroyers had helped to

 

blunt the German counterattack at Salerno, Panzer commander General

 

Vietinghoff wrote, "with astonishing precision and freedom of

 

maneuver, these ships shot at every recognized target with over-

 

whelming effect." The next day, Marshal Kesselring ordered a general

 

retirement, "in order to evade effective shelling from warships."

 

(17: 356) Success of the Normandy operations hinged on the avail-

 

ability of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers for gunfire support.

 

Nothing was more certain than that very heavy naval gunfire would be

 

necessary to break down Germany's Atlantic Wall. The beginning of a

 

massive buildup began on 7 June. Although the troops had scant

 

artillery and tank support from their own elements that day, they

 

enjoyed ready and accurate naval gunfire support, which frustrated the

 

enemy's attempt to counterattack. At Omaha beach, two fire support;

 

ships, the 32-year old ARKANSAS and the TEXAS, shot off 771 rounds of

 

14-inch on D-day. "Without that gunfire," wrote Rear Admiral J. L.

 

Hall, Commander XI Phib Force Omaha, "we positively could not have

 

crossed the beaches." (17: 403) The destructive punch and accuracy of

 

observer-adjusted 16-inch fire facilitated the landing at Utah beach.

 

The U.S. battleship NEVADA even reached 10 miles inland in answer to

 

calls for fire support. In addition, experimental LCTs (Landing

 

Craft, Tank) carrying tanks and self-propelled artillery, delivered

 

8,000 rounds of unaimed 105-mm during the run to the beaches. Just

 

prior to touchdown of the leading waves, nine rocket craft fired a

 

 

9,000-round barrage. After the war, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt,

 

commenting on the numerous occasions when naval gunfire support had

 

prevented German counterattacks at Normandy, stated, "the fire of your

 

battleships was a main factor in hampering our counter-stroke. This

 

was a big surprise both in range and accuracy."

 

The value of naval gunfire in support of the amphibious landing

 

and subsequent operations ashore was particularly evident in the

 

islands campaigns of the Pacific Theatre. The Japanese penchant for

 

concealing heavily reinforced defensive positions required an

 

accurate, high velocity, major caliber weapon system to ensure the

 

assault would not be stopped at the beach. On Iwo Jima, Lieutenant

 

General Kuribayashi built a network of emplacements either deep under

 

concrete cover or underground. Pre-D-day bombardment was conducted by

 

six battleships and five cruisers who employed 14,000 rounds of major

 

caliber ammunition. The ships defeated over 76% of the beach

 

defenses during only ten hours of bombardment over three days. Had

 

those defenses not been silenced, a difficult but successful

 

amphibious assault would, instead, have been a failure. On D-day

 

alone, seven battleships, eight cruisers, nine destroyers, and 39

 

gunships delivered 3,000 rounds of major caliber ammunition, more than

 

10,000 rounds of 5-inch and 6-inch, and over 20,000 5-inch rockets.

 

Throughout the Iwo Jima campaign, naval gunfire supported the V

 

Amphibious Corps with a total of more than 251,000 naval projectiles.

 

LtGen Kuribayashi reported to the Japanese General Staff in February

 

1945, that, "the power of American warships . . . makes every landing

 

possible to whatever beachhead they like." (10: 28) Another successful

 

amphibious assault in the Central Pacific, made possible by prolonged

 

 

naval gunfire support against fortifications ashore, occurred at

 

Okinawa. Before the first troops touched shore at Okinawa, the Navy

 

had fired a total of almost 45,000 rounds of shells, 30,000 rockets,

 

and 22,500 mortars. On D-day, LCI (Landing Craft, Infantry) gunboats

 

led the amphibious assault to pound the beaches with a last-minute

 

barrage of 4.5-inch and 5-inch rockets, 4.2 inch mortars, and 40-mm

 

shells. A hundred yards astern came a wave of armed (and armored)

 

LVTs (Landing Vehicle, Tracked), their 76-mm howitzers ready to take

 

up the effort when the gunboats reached the abutting reefs and had to

 

turn back. (1)

 

The Korean War confirmed the importance of ample supporting fire-

 

power for operations such as the Inchon landing and the naval

 

evacuation of Hungnam. Long-range naval gunfire (battleship missions

 

averaged 32,000 yards; cruisers, 22,000 yards) support was directed at

 

hard targets (blockhouses, covered artillery emplacements, and

 

personnel shelters). 5-inch guns had little or no effect against

 

coastal defense positions. An indication of the relative lethality of

 

various naval rounds follows:

 

Naval Gunfire Amphibious Operations (19: 43)

 

Projectile Relative Value per Round

compared to 105-mm HE

 

5-inch HC 1.3 to 1.4

 

8-inch HC 2.8 to 3.7

 

16-inch HC 7.6 to 14.9

 

Viewed from a different perspective, as approximate equivalents in

 

terms of neutralization capability:

 

(1) One 16-inch HC (high capacity) round is 5.4 to 11.5 times as

 

 

deadly as a 5-inch HC round.

 

(2) One 8-inch HC round is 2.0 to 2.8 times as deadly as a

 

5-inch HC round.

 

Consequently, assigned missions were designed to harass, interdict,

 

and neutralize infantry and light armored vehicle movement.

 

Amphibious operations proved their viability again in Vietnam,

 

where they were used to provide flanking and blocking maneuvers.

 

Naval guns performed important missions during the Vietnam War -- in

 

amphibious assault, gunfire support, and shore bombardment. Most of

 

the fire support ships were destroyers whose 5-inch guns were too

 

small to do much damage and too short-ranged to do it far inland.

 

However, the battleship NEW JERSEY, reactivated at great expense, was

 

on station from September 1968 to March 1969 and fired 3,615 16-inch

 

shells, mainly to support the 3rd Marine Division operating along the

 

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the 101st Airborne Division during bloody

 

fighting in the A Shau Valley. (14: 144) Naval gunfire support

 

requirements in Vietnam reconfirmed World War II and Korean War

 

experiences with the 5-inch gun. Specifically:

 

(1) The 5-inch gun could not meet range requirements which

 

routlnely exceeded 30,00 yards.

 

(2) The 5-inch gun projectile lacked the essential punch to

 

defeat typical hard targets. (26: 7)

 

 

THREAT

 

Amphibious landings since World War II have demonstrated the

 

growing land-sea interface and have made use of new equipment and new

 

tactics. Recall the stunniny operations at Inchon, the Falkland War

 

where the British destroyer GLAMORGAN was struck by land-based

 

missiles, the United States swift use of airciaft and warship mobility

 

in taking Grenada and, most recently, the amphibious operations in the

 

Persian Gulf that were confounded by minefields. The trends of

 

increasing weapon range, accuracy, and lethality foreshadow:

 

(1) A change in the form of defense.

 

(2) A further erosion of the distinction between land and sea

 

forces.

 

As a result, power projection by amphibious forces is evolving into a

 

struggle between land forces, which have greater recuperative power,

 

and sea forces, which are less easily targeted because of their

 

mobility. (11: 157) For example, during World War II, the Japanese

 

gradually learned that a more effective defense against landing

 

assaults backed by overwhelming naval firepower was to develop inter-

 

locking positions rather than to expend their forces at the beaches.

 

The postwar period has seen technology enhancing the ability of

 

amphibious forces to penetrate to their targets, and at the-same time

 

for defensive systems to prevent that penetration. The measure-

 

countermeasure cycle places a premium on surprise, since once a system

 

is known to exist and its characteristics are understood, it is

 

usually possible to devise countermeasures that will reduce or

 

completely negate its effectiveness. The cycle is analogous to that

 

which began in the late 1830's when the United States adopted the

 

 

shell gun. The answer to the incendiary shell gun was iron. The

 

"race" between guns and armor -- between penetration and protection --

 

has become a war between increasingly sophisticated scouting and

 

antiscouting sensors. (16: 125)

 

While evolving concepts for the conduct of the amphibious assault

 

will exploit the capabilities to land forces in relatively unopposed

 

areas from over-the-horizon (0TH) whenever and wherever possible,

 

circumstances may still require assaults against defended beaches and

 

landing zones. Moreover, the landing force once ashore in the

 

objective area must be prepared to face the type of violent counter-

 

attacks using highly mobile, mechanized forces that the threat

 

espouses.

 

In a worst-case scenario, the seaward approaches to the

 

objective will be defended by a combination of multiple rocket

 

launchers and surface-to-surface missiles, coastal defense artillery,

 

and mines. A perfect example can be found in Southwest Asia, along

 

the Kuwaiti coastline, where Iraq employed classic Soviet coastal

 

defense principles. The intricate defensive system is designed to:

 

(1) Engage at long range to destroy the enemy in the water.

 

This includes using not only the weapons organic to the motorized

 

rifle division, but also all other assets that can be brought to bear

 

on the ATF while it is in transit to the amphibious operations area

 

(AOA)

 

(2) Employ overlapping crossfires just off the beaches.

 

(3) Push the enemy back into the sea. If the enemy manages to

 

land, an effort will be made to literally push him back into the sea

 

by bringing maximum firepower to bear, and launching a decisive

 

 

counterattack before the enemy landing force can build-up power

 

ashore.

 

(4) Maneuver weapons and manpower behind the beach to shape the

 

battlefield.

 

The Marine Corps Weapons of the World Handbook highlights the most

 

common weapons and weapons systems available in the worldwide

 

expeditionary environment (and used by Iraq) to support this defense

 

in-depth strategy. (25) They include:

 

(1)            Artillery

 

100-mm Field Gun M-1955 21,000 meters

100-mm Antitank Gun MT-12 21,000 meters

122-mm Howitzer D-30 21,900 meters with RAP

122-mm Field Gun D-74 24,000 meters

130-mm Field Gun M-46 27,490 meters

152-mm Gun-Howitzer D-20 24,000 meters with RAP

152-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer M-1973 30,000 Meters with RAP

(2)            Multiple Rocket Launchers and Surface-to-Surface Missiles

122-mm Multiple (40) Rocket Launcher BM-21 20,500 meters

SS-1C/SCUD-B Surface-to-Surface Missile 300km

FROG-7/VOLGA Surface-to-Surface Rocket 70km

(3)            Tanks

T-54/T-55 Medium Tank 21,000 meters

T-62 Medium Tank 20,000 meters

T-72 Medium Tank 20,000 meters plus

 

 

Each year the weapons of war become more destructive, more

 

accurate, more transportable, more numerous, and more available. The

 

proliferation of technologically sophisticated weapons, combined with

 

 

the demonstrated willingness of the recipients of these weapons to use

 

them, poses a dangerous threat to U.S. naval forces deployed overseas.

 

Limitations on the ability of warships to operate within range of

 

land-based weapons of comparable [or greater] striking power have

 

never been greater than they are now. For example, more than 30

 

Third World countries possess some combination of ship-, air-, or

 

submarine-launched antiship cruise missile, and more than 10 of those

 

countries have coastal defense missile batteries. (25)

 

The days when the poor and destitute countries of the world

 

equipped their military units with only antiquated arms are long gone.

 

The ATF today may find itself facing a foe with weapons every bit as

 

modern and deadly as its own. Security and peace will need to be

 

earned in the future, just as they have in the past.

 

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with

the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

 

-- Thomas Jefferson (1l: 223)

 

 

CAPABILITIES

 

Maneuver warfare and attrition warfare represent alternative

 

ways of thinking about the nature of war. Attrition warfare, a mutual

 

casualty-inflicting and absorbing contest where the goal is a

 

favorable exchange rate, focuses on the successful delivery of fire-

 

power. It is the protection of fire[power] that allows us to move in

 

the face of the enemy and it is the destructive force of fire[power]

 

that adds menace to our movements. (6: 27) Unless the Navy is able to

 

fight and defeat opposing forces at the beachhead, the ability to

 

launch deep strikes will be of limited value.

 

In any discussion of power projection, the fire support

 

capabilities of aircraft must be considered along with those of naval

 

guns. Since 1946, naval forces have been called upon in 187 occasions

 

-- ninety percent of those in Third World countries. Amphibious

 

forces have participated in 100 incidents; carrier battle groups

 

(CVBGs) provided sea-based air support to the amphibious task force

 

(ATF) about 76% of the time. (9: 330) Nevertheless, aircraft suffer

 

from inherent limitations, such as the lack of an all-weather, day-

 

night support capability, a significant response time, and a lack of

 

lethality essential for destruction of hard targets. More

 

significant, however, is the question of the future availability of

 

carrier-based (and in some environments, land-based) aircraft to

 

support forcible entry on a hostile shore. Budget pressures are

 

expected to reduce the aircraft carrier force level to 12 carriers --

 

and possibly as few as 10 -- in FY-95. (3: 67) In addition, the

 

rapidly changing security environment has dictated changes to the

 

forward deployment of U.S. forces. This will be most noticeable in

 

 

Europe where a dramatic reduction in U.S. forward-deployed forces will

 

occur. Even in Asia, where potential regional aggressors have long

 

presented a more likely threat to stability than has superpower

 

competition, some reduction will occur. U.S. forces will face reduced

 

access to overseas bases as well as unacceptable restrictions on our

 

operations from those bases. Consequently, aircraft will shoulder

 

less of the fire support burden in future amphibious operations.

 

The unique qualifications of naval guns remain essential to

 

power projection ashore. Even so, the Navy would be hard pressed to

 

muster the kind of firepower that was available during World War II.

 

In 1946, the U.S. Navy had 23 battleships, 71 all-gun cruisers (with

 

6-inch or 8-inch guns), and 372 destroyers. As late as 1968, there

 

were still some 280 fire support ships, including one battleship and

 

ten cruisers. However, in the 1970s the Navy decommissioned more than

 

100 fire support ships.

 

Today, there are some 143 battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and

 

frigates with a fire support capability. The following table shows

 

the characteristics of the primary gun systems carried by existing

 

U.S. warships:

 

Naval Gunfire Weapons Capabilities (18: 14)

 

Gun Maximum Projectile Burst Rate of

Range Weight Radius Fire

(meters) (lbs) (meters) (rapid/sustain)

 

16-inch/50 38,000 (full) 1,900/ 200 2/1

22,999 (reduced) 2,700

 

5-inch/54 21,887 (full) 70 45 30/20

(MK 42) 12,200 (reduced)

 

5-inch/54 21,887 (full) 70 45 20/15

(MK 45) 12,000 (reduced)

 

5-inch/38 15,900 (full) 55 30 20/15

8,100 (reduced)

 

 

Current programs contain no real remedy for what has become a

 

critical shortage of naval gunfire support. The only significant

 

improvement will be in reliability' as additional CG-47 class

 

cruisers (two 5-inch/54 MK 45 guns) and DDG-51 class guided-missile

 

destroyers (one 5-inch/54 MK 45 gun) join the fleet. They will

 

replace the remaining DDG-2 class guided-missile destroyers (two

 

5-inch/54 MK 42 guns) and 40 FF-1052 class frigates (one 5-inch/54 MK

 

42 gun) as potential fire support platforms. Modern gunfire control

 

systems (GFCS) like the MK 86 GFCS may give them better accuracy, but

 

this does not begin to compensate for the reduced number of guns in

 

the fleet.

 

 

REQUIREMENTS

 

. . . it is not the free creation of the mind' of generals of

genius that have revolutionized war but the inventions of

better weapons and changes in the human material, the soldier;

at the very most the part played by generals of genius is

limited to adapting methods of fighting to the new weapons and

combatants.

 

-- Enqel

 

Third World conflicts have become more hazardous to our health.

 

Sophisticated weapons are eagerly marketed throughout the Third World,

 

adding to the potential violence of all forms of conflict regardless

 

of the opponent. Future belligerents are likely to be armor heavy,

 

rich in long-range artillery, and capable of tenacious defense of

 

their homeland. (13: 25) They will employ coastal defense weapons and

 

mines to fix, delay, and destroy the landing force and to create a

 

deadly no-man's land between the beachhead and the ATF.

 

The Marine Corps is pursuing alternatives to landing entirely

 

over the beach so that a foothold can be established ashore without

 

crippling casualties robbing the assault of its momentum. In the

 

initial Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Master Plan (MMP),

 

General A. M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, addressed

 

enhancing amphibious forcible entry capabilities through attainment of

 

a full over-the-horizon (0TH) amphibious assault capability.

 

.Specifically, Gen Gray said: "The use of new vertical take-off and

 

landing (VTOL) aircraft, advanced amphibious assault vehicles (AAAV),

 

and landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) will allow MAGTFs to conduct

 

amphibious operations from over-the-horizon distances of 26 miles or

 

more." (15: ES-2) In this manner, "we are able to avoid opposing

 

strength and attack from an advantageous position of our choosing

 

 

toward selected enemy weakness." (6: 59) To preserve the tactical

 

surprise, it will be necessary for the NSFS ships to remain over the

 

horizon until the point of attack is revealed.

 

The MMP recommended that the Navy develop a long-range surface

 

fire support capability. The principal fire support requirement being

 

to neutralize enemy artillery and highly mobile, mechanized forces

 

that may threaten the assault element during the initial phase of the

 

assault. The goal: provide surface fire support with a 60 nautical

 

mile (NM) range and the accuracy, responsiveness, and mobility to

 

counter enemy fire support and to support troops in close contact.

 

(15: 6-1)

 

There are a number of possible solutions. Some can provide a

 

good deal of capability in the short term at a surprisingly affordable

 

cost, others require a long-term commitment and ample resources. The

 

common thread is technology; utilizing or adapting off-the-shelf

 

technology to fill the requirements. The following NSFS improvements

 

should be pursued:

 

(1) Near-Term (High pay-off improvements to existing systems).

 

Although existing gun weapon systems do not provide the range,

 

accuracy, or lethality mandated by the 0TH concept, cost effective,

 

near-term programs exist to bridge the gap between the TOMAHAWK,

 

HARPOON, and aircraft on the one hand and the 5-inch/54 gun on the

 

other. Synopses on the two 16-inch programs are provided to show that

 

quantum enhancements in battleship firepower are possible by implemen-

 

ting the proposed range and lethality improvements. My recommendation

 

is to retain the USS MISSOURI and the USS WISCONSIN; forward deploy

 

them to the 6th and 7th Fleet, respectively; and sit back and reap the

 

 

benefits!

 

(a) 16-Inch/50 Extended Range (ER) Program. The program

 

was designed to provide a 16--inch ER projectile and a GFCS for the

 

BB-61 class battleships. The projectile was designed as a 13-inch

 

subcaliber projectile, saboted to the 16-inch bore diameter and loaded

 

with either M46 or Sense and Destroy armor (SADARM) submunitions. The

 

concept was tested by Naval Surface Weapons Center (NSWC), Dahlgren

 

and several candidate rounds were recommended which extended the

 

6-inch range capability to 70,000 yards.

 

(b) 16-Inch/50 Product Improvement Program (PIP). The

 

16-inch/5O MK 146 improved conventional munition (ICM) projectile was

 

developed to provide submunition projectile capability for the BB-61

 

class battleships. The two types of ammunition that showed the most

 

promise for improving 16-inch gun lethality at extended ranges were

 

the M42 and M46 submunitions for use against anti-personnel/light

 

armor targets. An extremely effective area weapon, each of the over

 

500 M42/M46 submunitions will penetrate over two inches of steel, as

 

well as throw shrapnel over a wide area. The SADARM submunitions,

 

under development for the Army, will be dispensed over a target area,

 

descend by parachute, search the battlefield below them, and fire a

 

self-forging slug down at detected targets. The SADARM submunitions

 

will give the 16-inch guns their anti-tank capability. (12: ES)

 

(c) 5- Inch/54 Semi-Active Laser-Guided Projectile (SAL-GP).

 

Another improved munition, the 5-inch SAL-GP is a very accurate rocket

 

fired from a 5-inch gun tube. First shot hit probability was said to

 

be greater than 82 percent. It was designed to provide a one-shot,

 

hard point target, e.g., tank or bunker, killing capability. (12: B-1)

 

 

(2) Mid-Term. 8-Inch/55 MK 71 Major Caliber Lightweight Gun

 

(MCLWG). The 8-inch/55 MK 71 MCLWG was designed to provide fire

 

support out to 40,000 yards and is capable of employing base-bleed

 

and/or discarding saboted projectiles for much greater ranges. The

 

gun was operationally tested and evaluated on the USS HULL (DD 945) in

 

1970 and was approved for service use. The 8-inch/55 MK 71 MCLWG is

 

an "off-the-shelf" design, although considerable research and develop-

 

ment will be required to update the design. (12: C-11) The 8-inch/55

 

MK 71 MCLWG should be installed on all DDG-51 class guided-missile

 

destroyers during construction. In addition, the forward 5-inch/54 MK

 

45 gun on the DD-963 class destroyers should be replaced with the

 

8-inch/55 MK 71 MCLWG during regularly scheduled maintenance

 

availabilities.

 

(3) Long-Term (Evolutionary replacement of existing systems).

 

Don't expect to find a great number of new gun systems being

 

developed. Instead, look for greater refinements in the range,

 

accuracy, and lethality of existing gun systems. Also, look for

 

greater application of land-based systems for use at sea, e.g., the

 

shipboard variant of the army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

 

(a) Assault Ballistic Rocket System (ABRS). The army's

 

Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is being evaluated for possible

 

use at sea. Designated the Assault Ballistic Rocket System (ABRS),

 

the weapon system can blanket an area the size of four football fields

 

with submunitions to create a killing zone. The baseline 9-inch

 

rocket carries.. 644 M77 or M46 submunitions, or bomblets, about the

 

size of a hand grenade. Research is underway to increase the 18.6

 

mile range to 60 NM using an 18.5-inch rocket and to improve the

 

 

warhead to make it suitable for heavy armor and hard targets such as

 

bunkers. (23)

 

(b) Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) . The Senate

 

armed Services Committee, in a mid-July report, authorized $30-million

 

to "explore adapting . . . the newer, longer-range Army Tactical Missile

 

System (ATACM) to Navy use to provide fire support to Marines ashore."

 

The ATACMS is a surface-to-surface missile system with a range of more

 

than 150 miles. A Block II warhead that would contain 26 infrared

 

terminally guided submunitions (IRTGSM) is under development.

 

(c) Reconnaissance (Scouting/Antiscouting) . Indirect fire

 

weapons will require greater accuracy, which will demand better

 

reconnaissance and target acquisition capabilities. In Southwest

 

Asia, the reconnaissance/surveillance and target acquisition mission

 

was handled by the "Pioneer" unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). 26 out of

 

40 used were damaged: 6 lost, the remaining 20 repairable. The pay-

 

load: TV, Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), laser designator, thermal

 

imager, EW, and still photos. The endurance can vary up to 7+ hours

 

or approximately 700 miles.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Just as the "amtrac" provided a technological answer to a

 

crucial tactical requirement that led to a strategic victory, so to

 

can imaginative, practical solutions make up for the shortfall in

 

naval surface fire support. (1: 247) The technology is available for

 

large improvements in the very near future.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

1. Bailey, Maj Alfred D., USMC (Ret.). Alligators, Buffaloes, and

Bushmasters. University of Utah, 1976.

 

2. Barber, James A. "Mahan and Naval Strategy in the Nuclear Age,"

Naval War College Review, March 1972'.

 

3. Cheney, Dick . Annual Report to the President and the Congress.

Washington, D.C. : Department of Defense, January 1991

 

4. Concepts and Issues. Washington, D.C. : Headquarters, United

Marine Corps, 1990.

 

6. Dupuy, R. Ernest. World War II: A Compact History. New York:

Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1969.

 

6. FMFM 1, Warfighting. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, United

States Marine Corps, March 1989.

 

7. FMFM 7-2, Naval Gunfire Support. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters,

United States Marine Corps, April 1981.

 

8. Garden, Timothy. The Technology Trap: Science and the Military.

London: Brassey's Defense Publishers, 1989.

 

9. George, James L. Problems of Sea Power As We Approach the Twenty-

First Century. Washington, D.C. : American Enterprise Institute

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10. Heinl, Col Robert D., Jr., USMC (Ret.). "The Gun Gap and How to

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11. Hughes, Capt Wayne P., Jr., USN (Ret.). Fleet Tactics.

Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1986.

 

12. Improved Naval Surface Fire Support System. Dahlgren, Virginia:

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13. Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East. Ft.

Leavenworth: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies

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14. Lewy, Guenter. America in Vietnam. New York: Oxford University

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15. Marine Air-Ground Task Force Master Plan. Washington, D.C.

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16. Millet, Allan R. and Peter Maslowski. For the Common Defense.

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17. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Two-Ocean War. Boston: Little, Brown

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18. Naval Gunfire and Supporting Arms Planning Reference Handbook.

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19. Naval Gunfire In Amphibious Operations. Quantico, Virginia:

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20. Report of the Task Force on Gun Systems Acquisition. Washington,

D.C.: Department of Defense. Office of the Director of Defense

Research and Engineering, November 1976.

 

21. Summers, Harry G. , Jr. Vietnam War Almanac. New York: Facts on

File Publications, 1985.

 

22. Thompson, W. Scott. Power Projection: A Net assessment of U.S.

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Information Center, Inc., 1978.

 

23. Truver, Scott C. and Norman Polmar. "Naval Surface Fire Support

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24. United States Code (U.S.C. 1988 ed.) Volume Three. Title 10 --

Armed Forces. January 3, 1989.

 

26. Weapons of the World Handbook. Quantico, Virginia: Marine Corps

Combat Development Center. Marine Corps University, August 1990.

 

26. Weller, MajGen Donald M., USMC (Ret.). Gunfire Spport of

Amphibious Operations: Past, Present, and Future. Dahlgren,

Virginia: Naval Surface Weapons Center, October 1977.

 



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