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The Royal Marines and the UK amphibious capability web forum

Defence Committee

Recent reports suggested that the Government is considering changes to the amphibious capability of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines as part of the ongoing National Security Capability Review. The House of Commons Defence Committee invited members of the public to share their views on the potential impact of these changes.

The Defence Committee asked for public views on the following questions:

  • How important is the amphibious capability provided by the Royal Marines and Albion class ships to the UK?
  • What is the likely impact on unit morale and satisfaction with Service life if the reported changes and reductions are implemented?
  • What is the likely impact on the communities where these capabilities are based if the reported changes and reductions are implemented?

Deadline for submission to the web forum was Thursday 21 December 2017.

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954 Contributions (since 27 November 2017)
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Total results 954 (page 15 of 96)

jeffrey hughes rvm

04 December 2017 at 18:06

As an ex Royal Navy Veteran and seeing the demise of our armed forces as a whole over the years and given todays climate on terrorism etc it is Totally ridiculous to cut our Forces even more as we cannot cover the work now, the Royal Marines are a very essential part of the Forces and their expertise would be sadly missed so come on you Politicians and White Collar workers in MOD wake up and smell the coffee.

Gary Callum

04 December 2017 at 17:30

The Royal Marines are an invaluable established protection force of the UK. Any cuts to the RM will be detrimental to this Country.

Victor Balsdon

04 December 2017 at 17:16

To reduce the strength of the Royal Marines even further, as well as doing away with two assault ships is nothing short of madness at a time when this nation's security is at its most tenuous since WW2. There is an empty aircraft carrier that will, in all probability, be obsolete by the time that any aircraft for it become operational and yet the short sighted decision to make even further cuts to the Royal Navy beggars belief. The Royal Marines have been the country's sheet anchor for over 350 years: always capable of being deployed at very short notice and carrying out their duties in the highest standards of professionalism, whether on active service, in a peacekeeping role or as part of a humanitarian deployment. They are no longer able to operate as a commando brigade (a formation that has proved its worth time and time again, most notably in the Falklands War) due the reduction in numbers and alteration of the function of 42 Commando RM earlier this year. Morale amongst the serving members of the Royal Marines would be dealt a further blow, leaving them wondering when the next reduction in numbers would come about, and potential recruits that want to become part of the world's elite, would be dissuaded from joining. At a time when austerity is continuing to bite even harder on the less fortunate members of our society, and when we are led to believe that matters will only get worse, the loss of yet more Royal Marines would have devastating consequences for the businesses in the local communities. Additionally, the Royal Marines contribute 40% to the nation's Special Forces (SBS and SFSG in particular), so the proposed cuts would have farther reaching consequences that perhaps have not been envisaged.

Mick Hayward

04 December 2017 at 17:01

The Royal Marines are an essential element of the UK defence capability. They are without doubt, the nation's best trained, professional and highly experienced body of soldiers. They are adaptable and versatile, with skills encompassing arctic through to jungle warfare and maritime security. Deployable at short notice either by land, air or sea. Royal Marines also comprise a substantial proportion of UK Special Forces.Their list of military achievements and operational experience is extensive. Given global insecurity and rising terrorist threats, both domestic and international, retaining an effective maritime assault capability and the ability to put 'boots on the ground' at short notice, whether in an offensive or defensive role, remains essential. Budget constraints are unfortunate but understandable. However seeking to make financial cuts by reducing the numbers of our very best soldiers will inevitably affect deployment options and consequently operational effectiveness. Such a decision is at best shortsighted, and at worst, wilful neglect of the nation's defences.

Donald Hallam

04 December 2017 at 16:44

The Royal Marines and UK amphibious capability has been compromised by cuts already. Not only would they be hard pressed to defend or retake British soil in the event of invasion our response to natural disaster has been proven to be woefully inadequate during the recent hurricanes. God help the people affected if there were 2 consecutive disasters!

Chris Clark

04 December 2017 at 16:28

The UK's amphibious fleet not only allows us to deploy Royal Marines at a moments notices in coastal areas where aircraft cannot land; but they can also deliver multiple drops of equipment (ship to shore) in short periods, whereas an aircraft has a long flight back to reload! Yes, conflicts at the moment aren't Currently including storming beaches, but it could happen again and to completely remove the ships and reduce the specialised manpower available to do this is very short sighted. It would take years to retrain the personnel and build vessels capable to do the task again. Many people use the Falklands as the "go to" example; but it is true. In the late 70's the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid were going to be scrapped... no need for that sort of warfare anymore. Then 1982 came into being and we all know what happened there. If it wasn't for the landing craft of the assault ships, not ONE British soldier could have stepped foot on Falklands. We didn't have enough helicopters to ferry them all shore. Moving to more modern times, Royal Marines and their amphibious capability secured and protected the Al Faw penisula in Iraq, allowing friendly forces to dock and deliver humanitarian aid. Which brings me nicely onto the next point id like to make. Amphibious ships not only bring war, but they bring salvation to thousands. HMS Bulwark saved hundreds of migrants in the med and is perfect for it - open the stern door and bring them in. They can also deliver humanitarian aid to areas devastated by weather as HMS Ocean did during the recent disaster in the Caribbean. Lastly, The Royal Marines are the best trained to use these ships capabilities. They are professional and incredibly capable. You can not get that experience back over night. To reduce their numbers with the demands that get put on them during recent conflicts feels so short sighted. To scrap the amphibious fleet in order to crew the aircraft carriers and therefore reduce the Royal Marines as they will have no ships to operate from would indeed save money. But at what cost? Thank you for your time from the son of an ex-Royal Marine.

Rupert van der Horst

04 December 2017 at 16:09

Recent history highlights the importance of small flexible forces to support the government's policy. Amphibious forces are most useful because they provide a friendly base which can be moved to areas of trouble. They also provide the capability of inserting a flexible force, and a highly effective force at that, at a point of our choosing where they can provide the most useful effort whether it is armed force or refugee relief. Getting rid of this immediately reduces Britain's ability to be a respected actor on the world stage. To be left with huge aircraft carriers, frigates too complex to sail,and a few very expensive aircraft seems a ridiculous option. I am an old Royal Marine, seemingly biased, but I remember how I hated Navy Minister John Nott as I sat in San Carlos Water watching simple Argentine aircraft take out our ships. He it was who wanted to cut the amphibious ships and lose our Corps. And in the end, we retained the Falklands only through the endurance and bravery of our Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines Commandos - all three of them. Forces' morale is pretty low now and in these troubled times, we actually need the opposite. Work in Portsmouth and Plymouth Dockyard will be reduced and vital skills will be lost. And shops, local services, and even train companies will suffer from loss of custom.

patrick bohan

04 December 2017 at 15:39

The Royal Marines & the UK amphibious capability needs to retained and enhanced.The global threats are growing all around us, retaining and improving our elite forces is vital. We need to work within our budgets, but that starts with the MOD, its 40k+ staff and estates. We also need to look at proven off the shelf equipment, that is commercially viable. In any future defence review, we need a radical rethink of what we need and what can afford, this should include the red arrows, battle of Britain flight, the RAF regiment, military bands,anything with horses,ceremonial troops etc We cannot afford the trident replacement, could we have 4 more Astutes with nuclear cruise missiles? I think the protection of the realm needs to include GCHQ/MI5&6/police/armed forces in a much more integrated way, whether it be floods/natural disasters or Putins new style warfare Can disaster relief aid be part of the Armed Forces brief with associated funding? Can the services Medical facilities be integrated into the NHS? Can the UK Civil aviation sector support more of the services aviation technical requirements? can we sell off MOD buildings/land in London (and barracks) move them to the regions? Do we need MOD police & Military police? How many Generals/admirals/marshal and support staff etc? do we need them and is there any economies of scale between the services?? lets get radical but do not cut our elites

John Ferris

04 December 2017 at 14:48

The Albion class LPDs and the Royal Marines they carry, are a strategic asset to the UK, which cannot reasonably be replicated by any other combination currently in service, or planned. Their core raison d'etre, being the backbone of the UK's role of supporting NATO's Northern flank will remain, unless HMG choose to renege on its commitment there. In other trouble spots around the world,the arrival offshore of a viable force has been shown many times to have an impact on proceedings on land. To be viable, however, in all but the smallest of skirmishes, heavy vehicles and equipment need to be part of the force brought to bear. This cannot be achieved solely by helicopter and will always require landing craft, either conventional or air-cushion vehicle, when port facilities are not secure. The Bay class LSD(A)s have proven to be adaptable vessels but this very virtue has lead them to be used elsewhere and so would not likely be available when required. In any case, their limited size would require at least two to match the capacity of one Albion LPD. The PM, amongst others,has expressed a desire that in a post-Brexit world, the UK's merchant marine should expand. Many commercial vessels have features that would make them suitable to act as auxiliary LSDs, and tax incentives could be used to encourage the building of British flagged vessels of this type. The replacement for the Atlantic Conveyor, sunk during the Falklands conflict was proposed to be designed so as to facilitate such usage. It should, however, be remembered that calling up ships from trade would delay their availability past the point where a small intervention was sufficient. It might also send an unintended signal as, unlike a full-time capability which'just happened to be in the region taking part in pre-planned exercises', the call-up and deployment of auxiliary merchant ships could only be seen as preparation for conflict. Apart from the LPD's logistical benefits, their biggest feature is their command and control facilities. These are much harder to replicate on another vessel and, in any case,require frequent practice to retain skills which would necessitate a permanently in service vessel. The current policy of having one LPD in service while the other is at extended readiness or refit, seems to have worked quite well,making the most of the assets while keeping costs at a minimum. It is apparent that the UK's armed forces as a whole have been underfunded for the demands made upon them. This is particularly true of the Royal Navy, who've seen ships cut to pay for more pressing needs elsewhere. Royal Marines have also faced limited resources and it does them much credit that young recruits still see it as attractive despite that.This could not be expected to continue should prospects in the Royal Marines be damaged by further radical cuts. Retention of experienced marines would also undoubtedly become problematic. Once reduced to a rump, the RM are unlikely to ever be revitalised, even if the most dire circumstances dictate that it should. My suspicion is that the talk of slashing the UK's amphibious warfare capability has come about to cover the costs of replacing the nuclear deterrent. George Osborne's decision to move funding of successor from the Treasury to the MOD's core budget is central to this and only a reversal of this policy will stabilise the defence budget. Further cuts will leave the government responsible for tipping the armed forces into institutional failure.

Bill Palmer

04 December 2017 at 14:19

The country needs these ships and men. Fundamentally we need to be able to project power consistently and in strength where and when needed in order to safeguard our assets and interests overseas and our security at home.

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