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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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Brian Coates

12 December 2017 at 09:28

Successive governments have slashed our defence capabilities to the core.The decisions all seem to be made by Politicians who cannot see beyond the end of their noses and only seem to looking to further their own careers at the expense of others. With the current World situation who in their right mind would consider cutting our elite forces to the bare bones yet again. The Albion class ships are still up to date and are desperately needed for conveyance of men and machines to any part of the globe. The morale in all our forces be it MOD, Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance are all at rock bottom low, we should be looking to build up not slash further. We now have have one Aircraft Carrier, hopefully back in surface, we have just been very lucky that we have not needed one quickly since the MOD disposed of our other three. What a ridiculous decision that was to dispose of both all the Carriers and the Harriers before the new ones were ready. We need to show the world that we are still a force to be reckoned with and not a third world country

Simon Uren

11 December 2017 at 22:17

We should be careful of degrading both our rapid reaction and land projection capabilities. I live in Plymouth and the value of retaining current defense-asset levels goes beyond ensuring an effective military capability. It is the cultural, historical and literal lifeblood of this city. In all honesty if it's access to the 'high seas' a Government wants then Plymouth is geographically ideally suited for it.

Alan Port

11 December 2017 at 22:09

The government must consider very carefully the implications of removing amphibious capabilities from the RN/RMs. There is no other substitute for this world class force within the British military. Depletion of amphibious capability would act as an indication to countries such as those with ambitions on the remaining British protectorates worldwide that the door is wide open for them to walk in. I personally lost good friends in the Falklands conflict and their sacrifice would be to no avail if the current amphibious forces of our country were wiped out. Such a move would certainly prove to be far more costly than could ever be contemplated by an out of touch government department who are simply looking at the 'bottom line' of the balance sheet to justify such a decision.

Michael Witheridge

11 December 2017 at 20:49

I would like to quote from a recent letter to the “Daily Telegraph” written jointly by Maj-General Thompson and his fellow Commander in the Falklands, Michael Clapp. In the letter they are repudiating the views of a certain Dr. Mark Campbell-Roddis, a naval designer. They say he (Campbell-Roddis) suggests that the way to land troops in 1982 would have been by helicopter inland and on a smaller scale under air cover. They say that they considered that approach, but rejected it on the grounds that they did not have air superiority, or enough helicopters to land enough troops and their supporting artillery in sufficient strength, in the time required, to fight off counter-attacks by the Argentine Army.. They state that that the only way to achieve a quick enough build-up was by landing craft. They proceed to annihilate Campbell-Roddis' arguments, pointing out that the main opposition came from the Argentine air force, and go on to say: ”Had we attempted major helicopter moves in daylight, the Argentine fighters “would have had a turkey shoot among our helicopters.” Their last paragraph is a comprehensive dismissal of the view that helicopters are enough: “The major factor that armchair warriors forget is logistics. You cannot hope defeat an army equipped with artillery by landing a few troops with sandwiches in their pockets and what ammunition they can carry, unsupported by artillery. It takes 30 medium helicopter sorties to move a battery of six Light Guns and sufficient ammunition for one battle.” I would like to add a point of my own. I have been following recent developments in the design of amphibious ships in America. The Americans certainly seem well aware of the need for over-the-beach landings and for having well decks in their vessels and have actually dramatically changed the design of their latest landing ship to provide for this. The US Marine Corps, generally acknowledged to possess the world’s most powerful amphibious forces, has recently been bringing a new type of amphibious landing ship into service, the “America”- class LHA (or Landing Ship Assault). At first it was thought that because the Marine Corps wanted to keep the amphibious ships farther offshore, the emphasis in the design of the class should be on sending Marines ashore in long-ranged MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft. However, before he became Under-Secretary of the Navy, Robert O. Work, started to question the usefulness of an amphibious warfare ship without a well deck. Apparently, the concept of the Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) had proven unsatisfactory when their helicopters encountered enemy anti-aircraft systems off Lebanon. They have therefore re-designed “USS Bougainville”, the planned third ship in the “America” series, which will now be the first in its class with a well deck for deploying amphibious craft and vehicles! Add to these two powerful arguments the fact that our tow LPDs (“Albion” and Bulwark”) possess superb command-and-control communications capability and you have three irrefutable reasons why both ships must be retained. If the Royal Marines are pared back any further, we shall lose our amphibious capability and consequently another deployable brigade.

Sue Crouch

11 December 2017 at 19:46

Defence of the nation is the first duty of government and with continued budget reductions we are at serious risk if ending up with impotent armed forces and obviously weakening NATO in the process. To discontinue the amphibious capability of our country is pure folly. We may currently see muslim extremism mostly in desert environments, but there are also many dangerous extreme groups operating in Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria's deltas to name just a few. Removing or reducing Britain's amphibious capability would mean we would be unable to assist benign governments in such areas. Not to mention closer to home. The Royal Marines provide roughly half of all the UK's special forces (not just the SBS). Currently special forces are the tool of choice in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. These forces are supplied from the Royal Marines which make up only approx 4% of the country's armed forces. A reduction in their numbers would be catastrophic, as government would be faced with either using fewer special forces or less well trained personnel with the resultant risk of failure of mission and loss of life. The cuts in 2010 were bad enough, but further reduction of personnel and training budgets will mean the Royal Marines, our elite fighting force will no longer be able to continue to uphold their unasailable reputation, (well documented throughout history especially from WW11 to the Falklands and beyond) morale will tumble and they will fail, and we the citizens of Britain will be left unprotected. Even those in this country who have no interest in defending it, should be working to preserve our Royal Marines and amphibious capability which is an essential humanitarian aid after natural disasters such as their recent deployment after the hurricane in the Caribbean

TJM Paterson

11 December 2017 at 16:22

I have a son serving as a Royal Marine. I understand morale in the RM as poor at present. It is unlikely to improve if the proposed cuts to RM numbers and RN amphibious shipping are confirmed. RN amphibious shipping is a key asset to NATO. The RM have a unique capability in Arctic warfare, gained from longterm training in Norway and cooperation with Norwegian forces - another key asset to NATO.

david baldwin

11 December 2017 at 11:48

One of the outstanding reasons for the military success in the Falkland Islands - from the planning phases, to the landings, to the ground war - is that 3 Cdo Bde was (and still is) a well balanced, powerful military unit of Brigade size. Its strength was that all its units belonged permanently to the Bde - and it is important to emphasise ALL its units - the Commandos, Engineers, Logistics, Helos, Artillery - a total, organic package of formidable and confident military capability. Its also important to state that this large unit, and all its components, constantly trained together - at Bde level at least twice a year (national, NATO and Arctic deployments). We all knew each other and our capabilities - we were not some ad hoc unit cobbled together for a vital national operation. Our ability to land from the sea, and our continuing expertise in this area also contributes hugely to the flexibility that our nation needs to protect our interests world wide - a good insurance policy doesn't come cheap! ANY degradation of the Cdo Bde will lose this unique capability.

Ian Whitfield

11 December 2017 at 11:14

The current Conservative government seem to be totally preocuppied with a slash and burn austerity policy whether that is cutting the armed services ,also Police ,Fire Service and NHS to unacceptable levels. Loss of the two amphibious vessels plus virtually a full Royal Marine Commando would be nothing less than disastrous and would weaken the UK ability to intervene in and support overseas operations that require an amphibious capability . Likewise the pathetic number of escort vessels to support the two carriers I think a total of 19 is nowhere near enough to support operations involving the two new carriers and the amphibious ships plus supporting allies such as the US and others in joint operations . A question also hangs over the future of UK shipbuilding ,successive governments have contributed to the demise of UK shipbuilding paticularly on the Clyde also the Tyne where shipbulding skills to build ships both military and commercial have to some extent been lost,I hate to think that we would have to rely on oversea's interests to build Navy ships . Unfortunately in an increasingly dangerous world with increased threats from Russia and China further reductions to the UK Defence Force would be taken as a sign of weakness from both major and even middle powers ,the UK Defence Forces should be strengthened not weakened .

Robert Durrant

11 December 2017 at 10:41

I believe the time has come when fiscal prudence is now harming the defence of the realm And the treasury needs to be stopped now Years of cuts and no clear strategy either geopolitical or industrial have led to an unbalanced shop window Royal Navy which cannot fight and win against today's naval threats Fund defence adequately and remove the SSBN program from the core defence budget and move it back with thre treasury. Additionally, set defence spending in law st 3% to avoid it becoming a political football which chancellors or priministers can raid to fund vote winning quick fixes

Nick Kettlewell

11 December 2017 at 09:33

The Army is supposed to be 82,000 strong but with poor recruiting are only 78,000 so why sack 1,000 fully trained RMs? If you do then RM recruiting will suffer as who wants to join an organisation that is being run down. As to the ALBION and BULWARK, they are at less than half life and represent a capability that is virtually irreplaceable given the run down state of British shipbuilding. As a former Chief Naval Signal Officer I was much involved in the requirement for and implementation of their Command, Control and Communications. Described By Lord West as superb these ships are capable of commanding anything from an opposed landing on a joint and combined basis to power projection and disaster relief. Following the disgraceful scrapping of the Harrier Force and the Type 22 Batch 3 frigates, the best equipped we ever built let us not make the same mistake again in destroying a capability in which we have invested so much.

Total results 954 (page 5 of 96)