Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

“Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

This is coolbert:

That Chinese naval base on Hainan Island is high on the planning agenda for the operations staff of the U.S. Navy?

A port facility designed to service and protect Chinese submarines, including those of the nuclear variety, must be a prime and major target for American forces in case of conflict with China. Neutralization or destruction will be A MUST!

Of particular concern must be that cave inside a mountain, affording impregnable [??] protection to a nuclear “boomer”. A cave rendering a submarine nestled inside as IMPERVIOUS??!!

The question is being asked - - right now perhaps - - by American naval planners - - “how to get at that baby [nuclear submarine]??”

[I am assuming here that both sides have eschewed the use of atomic weaponry!!]

American attackers have a variety of CONVENTIONAL MEANS available to attack that Chinese naval base and in particular that cave inside a mountain.

* Cruise missiles and JDAM's. The former fired by submarines, surface vessels, naval aviation. The latter dropped from high altitude by a B-52. Munitions of this conventional sort aided with terminal guidance [laser designators or GPS] from ground-based U.S. forces such as ANGLICO or Navy SEALS. [GPS guided munitions using signals from orbiting satellites and a ground-based surveyed radio transmitter can pinpoint location down to centimeters??]

* Naval mines laid on the ocean floor in close proximity to the Chinese naval base. Such mines can be pre-positioned surreptitiously and activated ONLY in time of conflict or impending conflict!?

An alternative form of attack also exists for U.S. naval forces? NOT out of the question. An unconventional, special operations mission, the type of which captures the imagination of the public.

Have an expendable American warship, preferably a destroyer-class vessel, laden with tons of high explosive, SAIL INTO THAT CAVE AND BE DETONATED!! Do this WHILE THAT NUCLEAR “BOOMER” IS SEEKING REFUGE IN THE MOUNTAIN SHELTER!!

There is - - precedent for this sort of thing?? From both World Wars?

(1) Zeebrugge. North Sea Belgian port facility occupied and used by the German in World War One [WW1], primarily as a submarine base. Attacked by the British Navy in 1918, neutralization of the port facility being the goal. A raid that DID NOT go as planned, results being only meager, very qualified. WITHIN ONE WEEK, THE PORT WAS BACK UP AND WORKING!! But the INTENT and CONCEPT were sound, the execution being POOR!!

"two old submarines, which were filled with explosives to blow up the viaduct connecting the mole to the shore. HMS Vindictive was to land a force of 200 Royal Marines at the entrance to the Bruges Canal . . . submarine HMS C3 . . . destroyed the viaduct as planned, by explosion . . . The plan to sink three old cruisers to block the flow of traffic in and out of the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge did not go as planned."

(2) St. Nazaire. French Atlantic seaport. Attacked by the British in 1942. Goal was to destroy the Normandie dock. Largest dock [dry dock?] in the world at the time, and the ONLY dock [dry dock?] outside of German home waters capable of servicing German battleships still afloat at the time [Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisnau]!

The St. Nazaire raid was eminently more successful than the WW1 adventure at Zeebrugge. An American WW1 destroyer [under Lend-Lease to the British], packed full of high explosive [tons!!] and having a strengthened bow, rammed the Normandie dock at high speed and was detonated, destroying the dock as planned. IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1947 THAT THE NORMADIE DOCK WAS BACK IN OPERATION!!

"The obsolete destroyer HMS Campbeltown . . . rammed the St. Nazaire lock gates and was blown up, ending use of the dock"

At St. Nazaire, ancillary attacks were also made by ground components of the raiding force. British Marine and Army commando units going ashore, placing and exploding demolitions at key facilities, further destruction of the St. Nazaire port facility being accomplished in the process WITH COLLATERAL DAMAGE AND FRIENDLY [FRENCH] LOSS OF LIFE BEING MINIMIZED IN AN EXTRAORDINARY AND DESIRABLE MANNER!!

"Commandos landed on the docks and destroyed other dock structures"

Some special comments are due regarding these types of unconventional, special operations military missions:

At least in the case of Zeebrugge, the effect was more a morale booster than anything else! Damage, as described previously, was not as planned, the port facility back up and running within a week. THE PUBLIC HOWEVER, WAS ENTHRALLED BY THE VERY IDEA OF HITTING THE ENEMY WHERE THEY LIVE, EVEN IF THE OVERALL RESULT WAS NIL!!

These special operation military missions are the sort of duty most persons in the military aspire to, but few actually ever participate in? Drama is present that is almost totally lacking during all other aspects of military duty? Volunteers are usually readily found for such endeavors? Read two accounts from Zeebruggee here and here. Good stuff!

Both at Zeebrugge and St. Nazaire, British casualties were very high, even catastrophic [??]! One must always balance, in the aftermath, the gains with the losses. THE VERY NATURE OF THESE SPECIAL OPERATIONS MISSIONS USUALLY ENTAILS HEAVY LOSS!!

Now, as for the crew, skeletal, [I am speaking facetiously here??] that will sail that American warship INTO the Chinese mountain cave - - I am looking for volunteers! C’mon now, there must be some?


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