USMC Swap: Rotors for Drones

There is more here.

The first helicopters of a Hawaii-based CH-53E squadron were transported off the island as the unit prepares to divest itself of aircraft and decommission over the next year as part of the Marine Corps’ force redesign.

Two of the 10 CH-53E Super Stallions in Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 were transported off Hawaii by the U.S. Air Force 517th Airlift Squadron on March 4, according to Stars and Stripes.

I realize that there is a value to predator/reaper drones, but their value is in an air supremacy environment. If airspace is contested, the first casualty is the slow and high flying drones. I thought that the USMC wanted to fight the Chinese on the Pacific Islands. Do they imagine that the Chinese won’t bring aircraft?

The USMC may rue the day that they turned in their organic air support.


Michigan to host first Space Force Militia

(From the Duffle blog)  You know, with DRJIM designing new and better missiles for the use of the Colorado and Arizona Space Force Militias, we could see this transformed from satire to reality. Would LSP be prepared to transform the Dallas Light Cavalry into a space force outfit? It could be a nationwide trend.


Operation Mercury

During World War II, Crete, the last Allied stronghold in Greece, was captured by German forces (Operation Mercury) at high cost to both sides.

In late 1940, the Greek army, reinforced by the British air force, decisively repulsed an Italian invasion of their nation. In April 1941, these triumphs turned to defeat when Nazi leader Adolf Hitler turned his undefeated German Wehrmacht against the country. The German army advanced so quickly in Greece that the British were forced to cancel plans to send reinforcements to the country.

On April 23, the Greek king and his government evacuated to Crete, an island south of the Greek mainland. For the next six days, the Germans bombarded the Allied ships streaming to Crete, killing some 15,000 Allied sailors and troops. By April 29, however, almost 50,000 British, Greek, Australian, and New Zealand troops had reached the safety of the heavily fortified island.

Three weeks later, the German invasion of Crete began, and more than 20,000 German parachute troops landed on the island within a few days. Under heavy resistance from the Allies, the Germans succeeded in gaining control of an airfield and were thus able to fly in a steady number of reinforcements.

On May 26, the Allies began to move to the southern coast of Crete, where an evacuation to British-controlled Egypt began. By June 1, the last of some 20,000 surviving Allied troops had escaped, and Crete fell to the Axis.

Operation Mercury was a pyrrhic victory for the Germans. They faced not only the Greek and British military, but nearly the entire civilian population. Had Yiannis Metaxas (Greece’s dictator) not confiscated most of the populace’s firearms, the invasion would have been a disaster for the Wehrmacht.

Old men with rusty shotguns and weapons from the previous century shot at descending German paratroopers. Shepherds used their staffs on soldiers whose parachutes got tangled up in olive trees to club them to death. Even old women came out from behind doors to slit German throats with butcher knives. The Cretans were a hard, fierce people.

Hitler never used paratroopers in large numbers after this assault. The Luftwaffe subsequently lost air supremacy, lost the transport aircraft that were needed for this sort of operation, and the Fallschirmjäger were brigaded with the Wehrmacht and fought as leg infantry for the balance of the war.


  1. I can see adding drones to the Marines’ arsenal. But get rid of heavy lift?

    One of the many reasons the Marines had to fight so hard early on in WWII in the Pacific was they were so friggin underequipped and the Navy didn’t want to risk their precious ships (reasonable at that time) and their precious planes and didn’t want to ‘second’ Air Support to Marine control.


    Does anyone in General Command remember all the times in the Marine’s history where the Navy refused to provide support?

    • Apparently they have all forgotten Guadalcanal, though the Marines should not. (For the Navy, it’s a convenient lapse in memory)

      • One of the main failures at Tarawa, Bloody Tarawa was the Navy’s insistence on doing shore bombardment the old fashioned way, unlike what the Marines wanted.

        After Tarawa, Bloody Tarawa, new doctrine (based upon what the Marines wanted in the first place) stated the ships were sent in as close as possible to fire almost point-blank, while surrounding islands (not the main base islands) would be captured first and conventional artillery would be set up for direct on-call bombardment.

        And… The Marines and the Pacific Army people wanted the same tactics used in the Italian campaign and in Normandy and Southern France, but the big brains in the Navy (and the ETO Army) said no.

        Can you imagine how much better all those European landings would have been if naval gunfire support was, instead of way back lobbing using forward observers, instead was close in using the ship’s own rangefinders and optics, with support from on-ground FOs?

        The ETO Navy was way too stubborn and way too stingy with the use of ‘their’ ships even in areas already secure. The jerks…

        • Some destroyers did come in close on D-Day after hearing the pathetic cries from GI’s on the beach. They disobeyed orders and threw direct-fire 5″ A/P rounds into the pill boxes and tore them up. But it was too little, too late. As you suggest, the Admirals were more interested in preserving their ships than making the landing successful.

    • We need to arrange for weightless training on the Vomit Comet so that we’re better prepared for militia action, toe-to-toe with the godless Red Chinese hoards. Starship troopers (Dallas Rgmt.)

      • It will mean a complete change in the uniform, dumping the saber and swapping it for a phaser, etc.

      • Don’t need weightless training if you’re using an Orion drive and can get up to 1/2 grav accelleration. Just saying. What fun we could have with an Orion ship armed with 5″/54s!
        (Yes, the original Orion battleship had 4 5″/54 naval guns, seriously.)

        • Beans, this is true and a very good point. But we have to start the recruits off somewhere. As in, “Do you really want to be here?” Enter the VC.

          That aside, uniform change is important. I see… black… with silver.

  2. My Opa’s brother (great uncle?)was in the 5th mountain division that landed in gliders in Greece and later Crete and was wounded there. Later in the war he was wounded again in Italy and captured. He closed out the war as a POW and survived it all. He died in the early 80s.

    • The USMC has their own aircraft carriers/LPH/LHA and much rests on their success. They have rotors, F-35’s, etc. But the mud marines have historically been left on their own.

  3. It gets worse. The Corps just turned in the last of their MBTs, and count on th Army to provide them when needed. This puzzles me, as witness accounts state how useful Shermans, or even M3 Stuarts, were in the Island hopping campaign. And in Jungle warfare, as in Burma. While USMC Artillery adopting missiles wholesale is good, I fear they’ve cut their tube batteries too far: 155mm shells, especially guided ones, hve their uses and are cheaper than missiles.

    • This is the problem. The USMC is preparing to fight the next war and hope that the Chinese do what they want them to do, and offer their fleet(s) up for destruction at the hands of USMC shore based missiles. The M-1 Bradley platform is very big, very heavy, and consumes a LOT of fuel. The USMC has been toying with a smaller, yet advanced, amphib MBT for decades now. They’re very expensive to develop and once deployed, are very vulnerable to aircraft. I’m not a Marine but I think that something like the old M-48’s, brought up to modern standards, would be very useful in their expeditionary warfare. Keep them simple. For the artillery, mount 155’s on the modified M-48 chasis to make them mobile. But that is not the direction that the USMC is headed.

      I hope that the Red Chinese oblige them.

    • Marines were designed to: Keep the crew in line (they were paid more in the Royal Navy), marksmen in the fighting tops, and landing parties when needed – to fight as infantry. During the age of fighting sail, they were parced out to the fleet so didn’t operate in large numbers. Of course, things changed during WW2 with an amphib/Navy war in the Pacific.

      I understand the argument that they shouldn’t be augments to the Army in land warfare and they’re struggling to find their own place in the modern world. Amphibious expeditionary warfare is their place. What does it take to do that (on this planet)?

  4. Roald Dahl, best known as a writer of wonderfully twisted fiction for adults and kids, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” , etc., grew up in Africa, and was a Hurricane pilot with the RAF in Greece. His account of the frenetic retreat down the coast was interesting- his squadron was moving almost every day to stay ahead of the Germans.

    With what passes for our leadership now, I give a 50% chance we will surrender to the Chinese rather than fight them.

    Here is a nearly perfect description of the current people running the country.
    “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an
    abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed
    innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste
    to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows
    discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19.

    • Raven, I was brought up on Roald Dahl, amongst others. Thanks for the remembrance! Will we surrender? Or to put it another way, do we have a national government that’s capable of such a thing? i.e. a US government as opposed to a transnational elite oligarchy.

      Sorry, LL, to dive bomb your comments.

      • I’m sure that Our Masters will say “it isn’t surrender if you’re on the payroll”.


          • Our betters have a plan for us, and it’s not the plan that we have for ourselves. You can be assured of that.

  5. I just read today that Denver is going with fencing around the capitol, and armed troops.

    WTF is going on with these people?

Comments are closed.