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Coastal Riverine Squadron

DanMa1156

Land of the rising sun. Literally. There's no DST!
pilot
Contributor
I don't think this is necessarily Navy's way of saying "we don't need you," but more of "we can't afford you when we know our closest adversary outclasses us or matches us in every type of ship we have except submarines and carriers. (Maybe amphibs too...)" They are just so capable, large, and ready to compete, it's hard to call the PLA(N) a "neer peer" adversary anymore and really should be calling them a peer when it comes to ships that shoot things. Ultimately, it's way cheaper and faster to rebuild a brown water force than it is to make the required investments in our shooters in terms of both new hulls and the weapons they carry.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
I don't think this is necessarily Navy's way of saying "we don't need you," but more of "we can't afford you when we know our closest adversary outclasses us or matches us in every type of ship we have except submarines and carriers. (Maybe amphibs too...)"
Our ships also outmatch theirs by being such great jobs programs for multiple electoral districts.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Time to break out Brown Water, Black Berets and discuss how short-sighted SWOs are in their pursuit of their Mahanian, Guerre d'Escadrille, deep blue water fantasies. Paging @BigRed389.



Just like after Vietnam when we decided that we no longer needed an asymmetric coastal and riverine capability despite all of our years of experience in Southeast Asia and the many Pacific Island chains telling us otherwise. Very similar things happen to our mine warfare ships and capabilities. We practically shut down the passages between multiple island chains during WW2 with an aggressive offensive mining plan. In fact, mines sank more Japanese tonnage than submarines or surface ships did.

The more things change. . .sigh:(



We'll get to learn these lessons again, no doubt. In whatever future conflict we find ourselves in, we'll realize we should never have let the skillset atrophy, we'll scramble to shove active duty Sailors and officers and many Reservists into the role, and then we'll junk it all immediately thereafter.



The issue is that the SPECWAR and the USMC communities don't want the boats. At the beginning of OIF, we inherited the riverine mission from the Marines because they couldn't support it but desperately needed the support on the river. SPECWAR used to own PCs and many other riverine units in the 1980s and 1990s but got rid of them because they also couldn't support it and had to become lighter and more flexible. This is a Surface Navy mission but because it's not "sexy" to the admirals and Congress the powers that be pay no attention to it until it's needed.

The problem lies in the Surface Navy's inability to think beyond a deep water fight and see smaller ships and patrol boats as anything other than rag tag gunboats. We'll learn a hard lesson if we ever have to face Russia or China. I would not want to be anywhere near a swarm of Houbei-class missile boats or Tarantul-class missile corvettes. It would be a bad time.
I could go on and on and then some about how fucking embarrassingly bad Big Navy is with small craft, but maybe at a later point when I have time to think it through.

For now I’ll just say I was just amazed at how hard leadership was pimping RIVRONs (the ones stood up for OIF) to JOs hard as leadership opportunity billets while turning around so quickly to shitcan the community just a few years later. And they were - at the Company/Det and below level - you were really alone and unafraid, just you, a Chief, and a few PO1 Boat Captains. Nearly all the JOs I worked with across all 3 squadrons were shit hot.

At the same time, at O5 and above, the entire Exped Community (with the same exception of communities that had a strong service identity pre-NECC such as EOD and the Seabees) is viewed as a dumping ground for failed URLs. That’s where your leadership problem comes from: NECC is where careers go to die. If it wasn’t for the massive amount of EOD and NSW leadership we had sprinkled in during the early days to supplement the senior SWO leadership who were frankly fish out of water, it wouldn’t have worked at all.

But in hindsight, after getting some broader experience after leaving the community, it doesn’t mean Big Navy is entirely wrong with this though. Small craft are incredibly limited in what they bring to a “real” fight and the Navy doesn’t really know what they can or even want to do with them in a peer conflict.
 
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BigRed389

Registered User
None
I don't think this is necessarily Navy's way of saying "we don't need you," but more of "we can't afford you when we know our closest adversary outclasses us or matches us in every type of ship we have except submarines and carriers. (Maybe amphibs too...)" They are just so capable, large, and ready to compete, it's hard to call the PLA(N) a "neer peer" adversary anymore and really should be calling them a peer when it comes to ships that shoot things. Ultimately, it's way cheaper and faster to rebuild a brown water force than it is to make the required investments in our shooters in terms of both new hulls and the weapons they carry.
Yeah, it costs more than you think to shrink wrap and care for expensive gear then you think. And then the cost to unwrap them and get them working again. It's not the same as unwrapping a personal watercraft at the end of winter. So do you do this with boats that have been assessed as not useful in your scenarios or do you buy new boats when the need emerges? Buying some newer boats that can be COTS with war $ is better than taking current money that can be better used elsewhere to build the blue water fleet we need.

As you rightfully pointed out, in the last blue water fight we had there was a limited need for small craft. Once the war moved past the solomons the need for small craft largely went away. And as others have said the PT boats didn't really work as intended.

It's a niche capability that is only needed in very specific scenarios and that can be relatively quickly met if needed.
So...this is the part I mean by Navy doesn't know WTF it wants from its small craft community.

If you want base/harbor security of naval assets, but done in a low threat expeditionary (ie ATFP focused) manner abroad, then you never needed the Riverine force or Mark VI. MSRON already did/does that. And the force never did a good job articulating the difference between this:
29952
and this:
29953
...and why one is SO much more expensive than the other.

If you just want a brown water force to give ground forces mobility and fire support in a riverine/littoral environment, then...the MK VI was never that, and the actual "green side" of the Riverine force was gutted years ago in all but name, but...you can rebuild this stuff really quickly.

There are enough SME's and TTPs in SWCC to revive the "grey matter" side of this in a hurry if ever needed, and it's pretty easy to build this stuff up - hell even most of the material we used was borrowed from either USMC or SWCC.

If you want your small craft doing something useful for you in a war where you are contending with PLA(N) forces, then those folks need to articulate what it is that those craft will do. Proponents of small craft tend to do poorly at providing that detail beyond "boat with missiles."
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
So...this is the part I mean by Navy doesn't know WTF it wants from its small craft community.

If you want base/harbor security of naval assets, but done in a low threat expeditionary (ie ATFP focused) manner abroad, then you never needed the Riverine force or Mark VI. MSRON already did/does that. And the force never did a good job articulating the difference between this:
View attachment 29952
and this:
View attachment 29953
...and why one is SO much more expensive than the other.

If you just want a brown water force to give ground forces mobility and fire support in a riverine/littoral environment, then...the MK VI was never that, and the actual "green side" of the Riverine force was gutted years ago in all but name, but...you can rebuild this stuff really quickly.

There are enough SME's and TTPs in SWCC to revive the "grey matter" side of this in a hurry if ever needed, and it's pretty easy to build this stuff up - hell even most of the material we used was borrowed from either USMC or SWCC.

If you want your small craft doing something useful for you in a war where you are contending with PLA(N) forces, then those folks need to articulate what it is that those craft will do. Proponents of small craft tend to do poorly at providing that detail beyond "boat with missiles."
Great post. Proponents of small craft tend to be guys who like the idea of being a 25yr old in charge of a boat with a cannon, JAGM launcher, and a machine gun and going "pew pew pew!" Whether that's actually useful to the fleet is secondary to the overarching argument of "small craft are cool!" A bunch of LOS weapons make for a fun video game but not a real capability. If you start giving it real weapons it gets expensive and then it's grows into a big stupid ship like how Street Fighter became LCS.

All of this also ignores the "where do they go home to" part of the discussion.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Great post. Proponents of small craft tend to be guys who like the idea of being a 25yr old in charge of a boat with a cannon, JAGM launcher, and a machine gun and going "pew pew pew!" Whether that's actually useful to the fleet is secondary to the overarching argument of "small craft are cool!" A bunch of LOS weapons make for a fun video game but not a real capability. If you start giving it real weapons it gets expensive and then it's grows into a big stupid ship like how Street Fighter became LCS.

All of this also ignores the "where do they go home to" part of the discussion.
It's also usually people who have never been out on a boat in the Arabian Gulf or the Atlantic Ocean in winter, during a high sea state, having the weather kick the shit out of you for a day, all while trying to stay functional.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Because there are lots of things a Mark VI can do that a -60 cannot. (As you already know.)
"without clear cut missions" - I think if we look at the 2+2 state adversaries in relation to the SCS, Philippines, Senkakus, SOH, GOO, Danish Straits, Baltic, Dardanelles, and Norwegian coastline, I don't see how there isn't a clear and present need for small inshore watercraft across the continuum of military operations. One with niche capabilities, e.g. personnel recovery in a contested littoral domain, sUAS ISR, NSW support, asymmetric warfare (shoulder-launched counter-air/ surface-to-surface missiles), and counter-FAC/FIAC.
You do know that NSW (and to a lesser extent, USMC) already has pretty much all those missions already covered right?
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Which is why I recommended they receive these unwanted Mark VIs, earlier in this thread. Where would you suggest we put them?
If they'll take them, sure, but if they aren't going there already, I'm pretty sure both NSW and USMC were asked and said, no thanks.

Otherwise, sell them or just give them to any allies who we actually want doing this low intensity conflict stuff to counter China or Russia in their EEZs.
 

AIRMMCPORET

Plan “A” Retired
Eval bullet says:
- Single handedly maintained accountability for a $38,000 weapon, while employing air warfare capabilities at sea in a combat zone.
You forget to say how he got there.

Personally hand selected by the CO for watch standing during an arduous at sea period resulting in zero loss of life, and equipment.

🤣
 
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