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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 94 of 96)

Christopher Hedges

29 November 2017 at 10:55

Being a "Hampshire Boy" I remember well the controversial decision to axe LPD capability in 1980's and the massive turnaround to get HMS Fearless and Intrepid ready for the Falklands Task Force. Amphibious operations are a historical part of RN capability for which UK Forces have world class expertise. If lost the loss would not just be to UK defence but importantly NATO. QE Carriers cannot undertake these tasks and as part of a balanced comprehensive and integrated capability amphibious operations are an essential component. The Royal Marines are an integral part of that and I am again reminded of the events at Bluff Cove in 1982 when Welsh Guards embarked on RFA Sir Galahad did not heed RM advice to disembark quickly as is RM practice and a disaster followed. That level of experience and training is vital to the balanced forces the UK requires. I am also reminded of how the Royal Navy has always accepted the burdens placed upon it regardless of the paucity, obsolescence or inadequacy of their ships and equipment and literally taken huge losses as a consequence but never turned away from the fight or task in hand. That spirit still exists in the RN/RM and unless Government accept the challenges of a volatile world where our sea lanes must be kept open and our freedoms secured by increasing the fleet and maintaining a credible force to deter not just nuclear threats but the ever present concern that any nation with a few basic submarines could blockade and hold this maritime trading nation to ransom.


29 November 2017 at 10:12

All things being equal, it would be better to retain capable amphibiosity than delete it. We have not conducted amphibious assaults for years (nor air assaults) but that doesn’t mean we won’t need to in future. The world is increasingly concentrating into coastline cities. Holistically, the Royal Marines are the best force the UK has for training, recruitment, retention, and are role models across our ‘soldiers’. They provide a great number to special forces, who are struggling for manpower. It would be a shame to reduce their numbers at a time when the Army struggles to recruit, retain. But every risk carries opportunity. For too long, the Navy has held tightly onto the RM’s majority focus of amphibiosity. It dominates their employment. There needs to be a switch back to their commando routes - for example: small teams conducting remote raids beyond enemy lines. This has become the preserve of the special forces, when it needn’t be. The SF community are overwhelmed with taskings that could be performed by the RM. After Herrick, the Paras effectively positioned themselves as SF Support, whilst the RM went back to their boats. They should change course and more routinely perform ‘tier 2’ SF tasks, thus freeing SF to conduct operations that must be deniable, and properly employing the talent we seek to retain. (From a Commando trained Defence Policy enthusiast.)

David Carver-Trotter

29 November 2017 at 09:20

We are an island nation, the waters around which are shortly to become even more critical to it's defence. On this point alone and totally ignoring the need for us to provide assistance to other nations including of course protectorates, there is a glaringly obvious need for the number of vessels large and small in the navy, most importantly those which provide an amphibious capability, with the manpower to operate them, to be increased in preparation, rather than decreased.

Roger Weale

29 November 2017 at 09:00

In 1981 I was serving in The Royal Navy as a LMEM(M),We were told that Fearless and Intrepid were going to be scrapped as there was no need for amphibious forces, In March 1982 I was on Ex Springtrain in the Med,(With more ships then than the total size of todays RN.In April we headed South to the Falklands to claim them back, with a detachment of Royal Marines on board and Intrepid and Fearless in company, also Merchant ships taken up from trade carrying RM Army and heavy armour.Thankfully more by luck than judgement we reclaimed the islands (With the sad loss of 255 personnel including some Merchant Navy. In 1991 I was on the Flag Ship in the Gulf War. Not a carrier or an Amphibious vessel but a very cramped Type 22 HMS London thankfully air and amphibious cover was from the US. 1993 and 1996 I was off the coast of Former Yugoslavia with air cover this time,but the fact that I deployed to the same area twice in 3 years on 2 different ships was showing the strain the RN was under, hats when I left to spend more time with family.I think that in 1996 when I left the Armed Forces especially the RN RM were under strain,(before Iraq Afghanistan) and since then I have seen successive Governments cut back and still talk big and expect the Armed Forces to back up the talk As one who has served front line across the decades I am worried, our place in the world is threatened,(and believe me working with other Nations Armed Forces we have a lot of respect from them)

Rob pointon

29 November 2017 at 08:50

Dear Jonny, This is one of the biggest issues second only to Brexit and I am watching W intently to see what this government chooses to do. Having served in HM Armed Forces I have always felt that the conservatives have looked after the services until now. We as a country are facing massive security threats overseas and at home and cutting the defence and security budget doesn’t wash. It should be increased and that money found, I don’t care about electrical cars and 5g I care that my family are safe on the streets and abroad. Currently I don’t think the conservatives are meeting those needs nor the safety and security of our brilliant armed forces when deployed to either counter that threat or provide emergency relief for a humanitarian crisis. Just a solution instead of paying vast sums of money to a corrupt European Union that can’t even get their accounts in order use that money to bolster our def / security and police budgets. Imagine how we’d look on the world stage as a country turning up to help or land on a beach in a P & O ferry enough is enough if these cuts happen I will not vote conservative again in my lifetime! But hey I’m just an ordinary joe

Chris Peach

28 November 2017 at 23:34

The United Kingdom is responsible for the defence of overseas territories like the Falkland islands and Gibraltar. With the United Kingdom pulling out of the EU, these territories are isolated and vulnerable. In 1982 the Royal Navy was the subject of a similar review. Cut backs at the time left the residents of the Falklands vulnerable to invasion by Argentinian forces and for several weeks were held hostage in their own homes. The Royal Navy and the Royal Marines were vital in liberating the Her Majesty's subjects of the Falkland islands. I cannot give an informed answer as to how any proposed cuts may impact on morale, however I am of the opinion that the answer to this question is evident in itself. One only needs to look at the loss of morale across the British Forces in recent years. Our service men and women need to know that when they are sent into a conflict, they have the full support of the Government, financially, in terms of numbers and logistical support. As a resident of Gibraltar, we enjoy a historic and cultural link to British Forces. Visits to Gibraltar by ships of the Royal Navy are not only a strong symbolic gesture of commitment to The Rock and Her Majesty's British subjects of Gibraltar by the Government, but also a reminder to Britains enemies and allies that Britain is fully capable of defending it's interests at home and abroad.

Peter Vickers

28 November 2017 at 23:12

As a layman I am concerned that we have become complacent about the need for an amphibious capability because we have operated for several decades in an environment very permissive of movements by air, particularly by helicopter in areas where there are ground threats. The next conflict may deny us that option, either through threats from SAMs or enemy fast air. In that situation, we would need to rely of AFVs for mobility. However, such vehicles carry increasingly heavy armour, and as such are not air portable. As a result, unless a secure deepwater port us available to move such vehicles into theatre we would be unable to deploy effective forces in many parts of the world unless we have an amphibious capability which can get at least a "bridgehead" armoured force ashore to secure a port.

Mike Chaffin

28 November 2017 at 23:08

Whilst the Army and RAF have a great deal of public exposure the RN only seems to get any attention from the media when something goes wrong. I think this has contributed to a lack of awareness from the general public about the vital role and necessity of our Naval forces. The Army has more horses than tanks and has massive exposure through it's five battalions of guards and various bands, the RAF spends plenty of time making the sky pretty at air shows. Meanwhile the Navy doesn't even hold Navy days anymore. Frankly they don't have time to as they simply don't have enough ships and especially personnel to fulfill their role. Sadly defence has become an overly politicised game, the senior service doesn't appear to be very senior when you look at the history of the CDS post. It seems that the RN has lost almost every political battle this century whilst quietly getting on with their job. So with nothing left to cut and the service already operating beyond it's means and capacity further cuts are demanded which brings us to amphibiosity. The two key capabilities that Albion and Bulwark provide are command and control facilities plus the ability to land troops or vehicles on any coastline. The former is both a technological and a speciality role which requires years to train for and perfect. Without the recently refitted platform these skills would be gone and would require years or decades of hard won experience to resurrect. As a capability it is already paid for, bar the £24m cost per annum to run the ship(s) themselves. a paltry sum in the grand scheme of things. The latter has uses far beyond any notions of storming a beach Saving Private Ryan style. Unless you can deploy vehicles you can't realistically supply troops in the field. Even the USMC with it's massive aviation capabilities has ruled out the logistics of purely aerial resupply as unworkable. Without the four Landing Craft Utility and four Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel which either Albion of Bulwark provide the actual capacity of our amphibious forces to transport supplies, troops or vehicles to the shore becomes insignificant. It also provides a threat or direct intervention which is powerful even if not used. In the Iraq war the USMC tied down numerous Iraqi divisions to defend their coast without actually deploying. The coast will always be a strategic flank so long as a viable amphibious option exists. That this option can be used anywhere in the world with a coastline makes it an aspiration for almost every regional Navy and the envy of policy makers around the world. Whilst airpower from carriers has it's uses only deploying troops on the ground actually has the capability to influence things directly on land. Whilst the Royal Marines are able to deploy globally their primary and likely area of operation is in the far north and defence of Scandinavia, something for which they train extensively. This region has received more not less attention from the the USMC with various large scale exercises conducted there in the last few years. In the face of a resurgent Russia this region is strategically vital. As a region however it's infrastructure is quite deliberately poor to hamper and invading force. Hence the ability to both land and supply forces ashore makes our amphibious fleet not only vital militarily but politically too. What message would we be sending to our Scandinavian Allies if we were to chop it in order to save a couple of hundred crew and £24m a year in running costs? The list of the world's navies who are seeking to invest in an amphibious capability is rather long and likely to grow. They are the swiss army knife of Naval forces able to provide strategic options to tactical problems and cause massively disproportional effects upon enemy forces. Since 1664 our political leaders have recognised this and prioritised these capabilities appropriately, though it does appear that this far sightedness has been lost in current generations of leaders ( both political and military). Frankly rather than seeking savings here we should be expanding this capability and resourcing it appropriately. Naval guns in the Mediterranean during WW2 were able to have strategic effects upon the campaign as most of the infrastructure and action occurred close to the coastline. That even one of our fifty light cruisers could lay down a barrage equivalent to greater than several infantry divisions artillery appears to be something lost in the history books which focus upon naval battles. Indeed our fifty escorts in the Falklands pretty much shot their gun barrels out providing naval gunfire support, we could not nearly match this today. Recent developments into the range and accuracy of fires from the sea provide a relatively cheap and ever present capability which significantly increases the ability of naval forces to influence events upon land. Precision strike too through ASMs with a dual role akin t

Peter Vickers

28 November 2017 at 23:04

As a layman I am concerned that we have become complacent about the need for an amphibious capability because we have operated for several decades in an environment very permissive of movements by air, particularly by helicopter in areas where there are ground threats. The next conflict may deny us that option, either through threats from SAMs or enemy fast air. In that situation, we would need to rely of AFVs for mobility. However, such vehicles carry increasingly heavy armour, and as such are not air portable. As a result, unless a secure deepwater port us available to move such vehicles into theatre we would be unable to deploy effective forces in many parts of the world unless we have an amphibious capability which can get at least a "bridgehead" armoured force ashore to secure a port.


28 November 2017 at 21:35

With the advent of 'career politicians' with little or no experience of the defense of our nation we are entering a period of extreme exposure to risk. Anyone advocating the reduction in the amphibious military/warfare/intervention capability has not appreciated the following:- 1. the larger portion of the human race resides within a three day march of a coast line or navigable river system. 2. disregarding warfare, the major threat to low elevation population arises from natural disaster or climatic impact. When these occur they are often exclude substantive intervention by air - flood, tsunami, weather, volcanic, seismic etc. Amphibious approach to provide rescue/aid is often the only option. 3. Amphibious troops can be deployed in conditions that render other methods non viable - poor visibility, impassable terrain. 4. With air cover and surface fleet support a substantial and effective amphibious force can be landed in a very short period of time into direct conflict. 5. RM Amphibious capability provides a rapid response force that can embody a low tech, low profile efficient and effective reaction/intervention force at an extremely low cost when compared to high tech air or heavy Armour. 6. If our egotistical politicians wish to retain the UK's previously respected position in the World Order then they should appreciate that our military capability in all area's must be returned to and maintained at a level that earns that respect. 7. The world power/influence dynamic is continually changing with established and emergent nations expanding their military capabilities. It is imperative that the UK maintain a credible intervention force to protect our and our allies interests. 8. The UK has an extensive coastline, control of population migration is becoming a major issue for developed nations. A rapid response mobile force will be required to police our borders. 9. With the expected resurrection of the UK fishing grounds, which force is going to protect our sovereign rights? In my humble opinion any politician who partakes in the further reduction of our military capabilities will be held to account in the ballot box. You have enough to hold your attention between the cost of Brexit, international trading agreements, devolution, control and reducing the debt, control and reduction of the public sector finances, resisting the far left, influencing religeous separation/segregation within the UK, support of our dependencies, the Irish border, the Irish peace agreement, the NHS, the drug cartels - and manufacturers, the failing Ambulance service, the contracting Fire service, the failing Police service, the transport infrastructure, the coming Royal Wedding, ad infinitum. YOU NEED THE ARMED FORCES - READY AND WILLING - AT YOUR BACK!

Total results 954 (page 94 of 96)