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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.

Return to the Royal Marines and the UK amphibious capability inquiry

954 Contributions (since 27 November 2017)
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Total results 954 (page 8 of 96)

David Falvey

07 December 2017 at 19:02

I was going to write a long e-mail in reply to the questions asked, and how much of a white elephant the new carriers are,and how much the Corps will suffer due to the expense of said carriers. But do you know,if the defence committee don't realise what an incredible fighting force this country possesses in the Royal Marines and need us to answer their questions then,I suggest they are in the wrong job. . Yours in sincere bloody annoyance David Falvey former 45Commando

Guy Willoughby

07 December 2017 at 17:34

I firmly believe that any Navy in the world if it is to be taken seriously must have an amphibious capability in order to land Marines or Seaborn infantry it must be able to land troops in order to achieve the goal of securing land based targets including ports and beaches if we lose this capability then how on Earth could we possibly even consider carrying out a Falklands War type of campaign? More importantly after spending billions of pounds building to tremendous aircraft carriers what is the point of having these carriers if we have no means of landing tanks and vehicles ashore they will be nothing more than a good will gesture in support of the United States or another Aly. More concerning is the attitude of the United States towards this considered cut to the Royal navy's capabilities if we want to be taken seriously by our enemies then we must be taken seriously by our allies.

Joseph Carroll

07 December 2017 at 17:31

The Governments first priority should be the defence of the Realm. Recent Governments particularly the 2010 Defence Review were a disaster and the Services simply cannot be reduced further.

Ben Lane

07 December 2017 at 16:42

I see this issue as one of what we want to achieve as a country on the global stage? We are a permanent member of the UN security council which should mean that our government commits to maintaining a degree of conventional military power commensurate to that position. Other nations such as India may look at our defence cuts and ask, justly why does the UK deserve a position when we have an expanding and increasingly capable armed forces? Amphibious Warfare is one of the key components of blue water naval force, it sets us apart from other nations and contributes to a status as a great power. The Albion Class vessels are vital to amphibious warfare operations alongside helicopter carriers and Landing ship Docks. Removing them seriously impairs our landing capability and thus our amphibious warfare forces. We cannot rely entirely on nuclear weapons to retain our place as a global power, hollowing out our conventional forces impacts on the credibility of our nuclear deterrent by preventing us from threatening conventional deterrence before escalating to nuclear options. As the UK is leaving the EU we need to increasingly look to our armed forces to grow in capability to retain a degree of political clout on the world stage and remain relevant (when our voice is no longer heard in Brussels). The argument should be about increasing the resources our armed forces have, regain some of the unique capabilities we have lost in defence and then we can hope to remain relevant globally in an increasingly multipolar world and contribute to maintaining the post war rules based global system we all take for granted that now may be increasingly under threat from eastern powers

Paul Bancroft

07 December 2017 at 16:23

DISCUSSION IN SUPPORT OF THE PETITION: “Stop the cuts to the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy's amphibious assault ships”. Introduction. The author’s background is that I have on a number of occasions been a principal staff officer responsible for executing Royal Marines (RM) Commando level amphibious landings. Prior to that, as a junior officer, I experienced that complex process first hand. I was engaged in the landing at The Falkland Islands in 1982. My views might be possibly considered to be biased. However, they are objective, based on actual operational experience and as a Director of RM Personnal. Amphibious Complexity. The execution of amphibious landings, in peace and war, and its subsequent logistic support is decidedly detailed and complex, arguably the most complex operation of war, particularly if opposed. To acquire the ability to land sustainable military forces from the sea, such that the right men, their vital support weapons, vehicles and materiel leave the “mother” ship, such as, now HMS Bulwark or Albion, in the planned order, by the planned delivery means (helicopter, landing craft or whatever), to the planned destination (drop zone, beach or landing site) requires very considerable training and, crucially, experience from its staff and men. It is imperative that, in times when cuts in defence spending have to be identified, it should be acknowledged by policy makers that this skill that cannot conceivably be cobbled together at the last minute when any emergency to the nation’s interests arises at short notice. Once lost, this is a combination of Royal Navy and Royal Marines skills and capabilities that cannot easily be replicated once lost, if ever. For success, the many hundreds of disembarkation serials or packets of an amphibious offload have, crucially, to be delivered in the planned order, by the planned surface and air means to the planned beaches and landing sites. Failure in this can easily result in failure that reflects equally seriously on politicians and the military. The process might appear easy, but it is decidedly not. Furthermore, if a landing is opposed, the operation becomes very considerably more complex, where flexibility in the sea, air and land environments becomes paramount. That flexibility can be achieved only by intimate familiarity with the process. That is to say by national possession of the dedicated UK maritime surface platforms and specialised troops that can satisfactorily fulfil the task. Engagement in successful amphibious operations requires expertise from the most junior leaders, from section Corporal commanding 8 men, to high command at Brigade and Divisional level commanding some thousands. Deductions. To retain a viable and credible national amphibious capability at least one dedicated amphibious maritime platform, together with its landing craft and helicopters is needed to keep the amphibious skills and operational effectiveness alive. Size and Shape of the Royal Marines. It is often convenient to overlook that the “complete” operational military formation is in fact the Division commanded by a Major General. That formation possesses all the integral fighting ground forces (infantry and armour) and, necessary supporting arms and logistic services for battle. A less strong, but viable, alternative is the Independent Brigade Group, such as 3 Commando Brigade RM. However, diminution of a fully complemented Brigade Group renders ineffective an independent military operational capability of any significance. Thus, if a practicable amphibious capability is to be retained for the nation’s defence and for the pursuance of national foreign policy interests, an amphibious Brigade of 3 Battalion level manoeuver units (Commandos) is required, plus its integrated supporting arms and logistic services. Furthermore, if the nation requires the Royal Marines necessarily to commit to the security of our independent nuclear deterrent, maritime counter terrorism, anti-piracy on the high seas and anti-drugs’ importation, those forces have largely to be additional to 3 Commando Brigade RM. Deductions. Since the 1980s, as throughout the UK armed forces, there has understandably been a squeeze on RM manpower and consequently numbers have contracted. However, it for serious consideration that there is an absolute operational minimum beneath which it is counterproductive to impose. That minimum should be based on reasoned broad military operational criteria and not on arbitrary cuts made necessary by the uplift of RN manpower required to man the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. Critical Mass. In terms of manpower generation and sustainability, the RM is essentially a fourth service (comparable, not in size but in concept, the USMC). There is thus a critical mass necessary for career sustainability to facilitate succession planning, advancement, retention, continuous personnel development and recuperation from operatio

Terence Brownhill

07 December 2017 at 16:06

How important are the Royal Marines and Albion class ships to the UK? The UK is an island and relies heavily on trading by sea, in addition to our responsibilities to our overseas territories. The Royal Marines are one our oldest regiments with the heritage going back to 1664. Throughout all of the military campaigns both on land and sea the Royal Marines have been at the forefront. The world is becoming a more dangerous places both at a national and religions level. In order to be able to suppress the fire of war it is crucial to have flexible forces who are trained in all environments and able to deploy by both land and sea to any location around the world. Our amphibious capability, operated in close cooperation with the Nederland’s and USA is pivotal both to underpin our capability to deploy globally without the need to have an initial land footprint from which to commence operations. This fact is true for both Humanitarian and Security Operations. - How do you think that having fewer Royal Marines since 2010 and more recent changes in numbers have affected the Corps? The Corp has very high acceptance criteria and recruitment across all services is potentially down. The Corp could look at attracting more Commonwealth or overseas recruits and as a way of supplementing recruitment. It could also consider having both Commando (green beret) and General Duty Marines (blue beret). GD Marines will be trained to operate and crew either RM’s own maritime assets or work alongside RN crews. General Duty Marines will have the opportunity to transfer to take the Commando Course at any point in their career, subject to age and fitness. This will allow younger recruits who may be physically underdeveloped to join as a GD Marine and look at transferring if he or she feels that he can attain and tolerate the punishing Commando training. - Do you think that further changes will affect supporting units within 3 Commando Brigade? The Corp is used to operating at a high tempo and anything which detracts from their role and impinges on the integrity of the commando forces will have a demoralising effect and ultimately impact on both retention and recruitment. - What do you think the impact has been of having one of the two Albion class ships at extended readiness, so that only one is available for deployment? - What could UK Armed Forces do to match the capabilities that might be lost? Are the alternatives good enough? No. Relying on other countries to provide or loan assets to the UK is degrading us as a nation. - Are there enough exercises and training to keep amphibious capability at high readiness? Yes if we look at NATO, USA, and commonwealth operations. We should look at having one commando continually located in the middle and far east region either colocated with our new Carrier group or based in Cyprus. - What do you think will happen to unit morale and satisfaction with Service life if the reported changes and reductions happen? - It will be disastrous and the Corp may never recover - What do you think will happen to the communities where these capabilities are based if the reported changes and reductions happen? Loss of local jobs, pride in the community, reduced opportunities for youngster to join the services compounded by a reduction in revenue to local businesses.

Winston Blackwood

07 December 2017 at 11:52

As an Island we are in need of an amphibious capability, recent history has shown that when we are without the ability to affect an amphibious landing other countries will try and take advantage of this perceived weakness. Prior to the Falklands the government had reduced the amphibious capabilities of the Naval Services to an extent where two decommissioned ships had to be towed to Dock Yards abroad to be rebuilt so that they could be used in the Conflict. We should not leave ourselves in that situation in the future. The Royal Marines Commandos are a highly trained group who can be utilised in all terrains at short notice, it would be a great loss to the Defence of this Country if they were to be disbanded or transfer from the Royal Navy to the Army.

Richard Simeons

07 December 2017 at 09:53

Whilst fully appreciating the need for Government to "balance the books" nonetheless I would urge caution in any further defence cuts which would reduce the strength of the Royal Marines and remove both HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark from service. The defence of our Country is paramount and there appears little logic in the mooted cuts other than to reduce defence expenditure. For information I have no connection with the Armed Services but as a taxpayer of almost 50 years standing I am more than comfortable than my contribution to the Nations budget goes toward retaining the current strength of the Royal Marines and amphibious forces

Brian Clarke

07 December 2017 at 08:03

I feel strongly that the Defence of this country should be placed above all party considerations as it is a fundamental need. Our forces are consistently let down by their political masters as is seen in the seemingly constant cost cutting exercises and poor ministerial planning not to mention the witch hunts to curry favour with particular interest groups. Perhaps it is time for a National Government to draw on the skills of all rather than worrying about which party is top of the pecking order at the time - in the interests of the United Kingdom. My apologies for my short reply but my health at present is letting me down not helped by other matters. I hope that everyone within parliament stands beside the men and women - past, present and future of our armed forces as without their sacrifices the world would be a more dangerous place and we would have long since lost the rights so many cherish and so many others freely abuse. The Royal Marines and Royal navy as a whole in line with our Armed Forces are an important element of the United Kingdom's defence and shold be protected and expanded not continually whittled away. people should learn from History rather than repeating the errors. Time after time British forces are asked to complete tasks with little and while they constantly punch above their numbers; they are then rewarded by redundancy and harassment by ungrateful elements within this great nation. Shipyards in the UK should be producing more for the Royal Navy rather than sending any orders to foreign yards after all in time of war are you expecting those same countries to repair damaged ships and facilities?

John Topping

07 December 2017 at 00:47

Very important to a sea going nation. While other nations are building up their amphibious forces (Russia, China, Australia, France, India to name but a few), the UK intends to destroy their own capability. The Royal Marines fill 7% of the British Armed Forces, but 40% of Special Forces. This action would destroy the Royal Marines, never mind their morale

Total results 954 (page 8 of 96)