Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:14 pm

As we are all playing around with our toy spaceships, I stumbled across a reality check of what it looks like to put a fully functioning. Cohesive fighting force on the ground. The Marine Expeditionary Unit:

https://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Amph ... erview.pdf

A little dated but gets the point across:

Marine Expeditionary Unit: 2,059 marines and sailors:
Command Element:
169 marines
Recon platoon, naval gunfire, intel, comms, civil affairs, etc.

Ground element:
1200 marines
4 main battle tanks + 1 tow vehicle
15 assault amphibious vehicles
8 ITVs (light jeeps)
31 medium tactical vehicles (lightly armored trucks for cargo or troop transport)
18 LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles)
105 Humvees
6 howitzers or heavy mortars
8 medium mortars
6 light mortars

Aviation:
417 marines & sailors
12 Ospreys
4 Sikorsky Super Stallion transport helicopters
3 Hueys
4 cobra Attack helicopters
6 Harrier jump jets
2 Hercules refueling aircraft
5 drones

Logistics:
273 Marines and Sailors
15 medium tactical vehicles
18 Humvees
2 wreckers
2 bulldozers
3 forklifts
4 fuel trucks
2 water trucks
1 amphibious tow vehicle
Generators, flights, power, refrigeration, trailers, etc.

All of this is supported by another 2,000 sailors in three ships with supporting landing craft and aircraft.

It takes a village, as they say.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3815
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:52 pm

Don't forget the carriers needed to provide air superiority...
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:02 pm

If air superiority is even a question, an MEU is very unlikely to be the solution to the problem. But, yes, a carrier group is always a force multiplier.
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 853
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:23 pm

A modern force as a tooth-to-tail ratio of about 1-10 (10 support personnel like chefs & mechanics for every combat soldier).

This has got better over time, and will likely get much better by TL 15. :-)

Also ask yourself this:

1) How many weeks supply does that MEU have? (I don't know)

2) How many hours can a carrier conduct intensive air operations for? (Estimates say they will be out of jetfuel or "bombs" within 72 hours)
Last edited by Moppy on Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7334
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:33 pm

GURPS Ground Forces and Star Mercs kinda deals with that.

The point is, that a fully equipped modern combined arms expeditionary force can only be afforded by a nation state. And that's not counting the ancillary units attached.

I think Franklin can barely afford to maintain a brigade of armour, I think a brigade of Covenanters, and a division of Earth recruited mercenaries on New Washington. New Washington is paying the operating costs of the Forty Second, with a success bonus of planetary real estate, which would consist of three battalions of light infantry, combat support battalion, artillery and some assault shuttles hired from the Israelis for a one time drop.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3815
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:33 pm

Old School wrote: If air superiority is even a question, an MEU is very unlikely to be the solution to the problem. But, yes, a carrier group is always a force multiplier.
Who are you going to invade, that does not have even a rudimentary airforce or navy?

A few old Migs and a submarine would kill the air and sea component, and hence the logistics.

This force obviously assumes a supporting carrier group, so is the very thin tip of a very long spear.


It does give a nice view of the size of the logistical tail needed to support 1200 troops.
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 853
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:06 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:33 pm
Who are you going to invade, that does not have even a rudimentary airforce or navy?

A few old Migs and a submarine would kill the air and sea component, and hence the logistics.

This force obviously assumes a supporting carrier group, so is the very thin tip of a very long spear.

It does give a nice view of the size of the logistical tail needed to support 1200 troops.
They'd be more than OK against "a few old Migs". Could drive right into Grenada again if they wanted to. Some places east of Africa too, assuming the French didn't want to. France gets first dibs on anything in that area. There's fighters and actually decent[1] SAMs included with those 3 ships.

The submarine would be a problem assuming 3rd world submarines actually work and the crew know how to use the weapons.

However those 3 transports ships normally deploy with an attack sub and a couple of AEGIS escorts. With that added, submarine is countered and wouldn't really need a carrier but they'd send one anyway. (edit: Probably)

[1] against old migs
Last edited by Moppy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:45 am

This force obviously assumes a supporting carrier group
No it does not. MEUs have deployed many times without carrier support. Something along the lines of an Aegis that can provide both missile support and defense from submarines is fairly standard, but carrier support is not the rule.
Last edited by Old School on Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 853
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:55 am

Old School wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:45 am
The naval component typically has submarine and missile cruiser/destroyer excorts, but no, it does not assume carrier support. As with any mission, additional pieces can be attached if needed. So carrier support is possible, but it is the exception, not the rule.
If you don't include disaster relief (which isn't a combat mission), I believe operating with a carrier or under friendly land-based air cover is more likely than not.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3815
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:59 am

Moppy wrote: They'd be more than OK against "a few old Migs".
I meant more than five, How about ten or twenty not entirely incompetent Migs?

Moppy wrote: Could drive right into Grenada again if they wanted to. Some places east of Africa too, ...
Why would you use high end Marine troops against someone that basically couldn't shoot back? The NG could do that nearly as well?

A real challenge for such a unit would be to establish a beachhead in Crimea or take the artificial islands in the South China Sea?
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:05 am

You want 2,000 marines to invade Russia or China? WTF? That’s not a challenge for an MEU, that’s suicide. Invading Chinese or Russian territory is a job for many divisions, essentially the full for e of the US Military. I have a fairly high opinion of the US Marines, but damn, that’s crazy.

You completely misunderstand the mission of an MEU, to the point I regret starting the thread.
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 853
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:28 am

Old School wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:05 am
You want 2,000 marines to invade Russia or China? WTF? That’s not a challenge for an MEU, that’s suicide. Invading Chinese or Russian territory is a job for many divisions, essentially the full for e of the US Military. I have a fairly high opinion of the US Marines, but damn, that’s crazy.

You completely misunderstand the mission of an MEU, to the point I regret starting the thread.

You may regret this thread even more when you realise you just accepted Russia's claim to Crimea and China's to the south china sea artificial islands :-)
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:30 am

Lol. Thanks for the laugh. “Possession is 9/10ths of the law” is never more true than when dealing with international border disputes. :)
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3815
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:05 am

Old School wrote: You want 2,000 marines to invade Russia or China? WTF?
Not the mainland, but as I stated some islands, or an isolated peninsula.

If 2000 Marines can't defeat 10000 Russian conscripts, what's the point of expensive high-end professional troops?

Old School wrote: You completely misunderstand the mission of an MEU, to the point I regret starting the thread.
Yes, quite possibly. Is it just intended for light colonial action or real war with a near-peer enemy? I assumed it is supposed to be able to fight a near-peer enemy.
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 853
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:19 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:05 am
Old School wrote: You want 2,000 marines to invade Russia or China? WTF?
Not the mainland, but as I stated some islands, or an isolated peninsula.

If 2000 Marines can't defeat 10000 Russian conscripts, what's the point of expensive high-end professional troops?
Image
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3815
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:47 am

Old School wrote: You completely misunderstand the mission of an MEU, to the point I regret starting the thread.
OK, I scanned the pdf. I can't interpret the buzzword bingo in the beginning, I'm still confused.

The ToO seems to say fairly heavy combat unit, the example missions seems to say light colonial police unit.

If it is just a colonial police unit, it has way too much heavy equipment, Including a helicopter carrier if I understand correctly, and over-qualified troops?

The generous logistics and vehicle allocation seems to enable "land on a beach and keep fighting inland", yet the mentioned 15 days of intrinsic supply seems inadequate for that.

Care to explain?
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4768
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby phavoc » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:25 am

Dunnigan has a great book about logistics and fighting.

But to the question about defenses, an MEU would be assigned a DD plus others for escorting into any sort of possible contested area. It would make quick work of any airforce below 1st work standards. Best option they would have is to launch standoff missiles. Whether they could make it through ecm and point defense is questionable, but also depends on if they were bought from someplace that has credible arms. Always a toss up as the brits found against the Argentinians.

For supplies that level probably assumes a relatively high level of combat, thus ammunition stores would be exhausted, and possibly fuel. High tempo operations can burn through a lot of supplies. Which is why logistics wins wars and doesn't focus on battles. Lots of commanders through the centuries ignored this and lost the wars.
baithammer
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby baithammer » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:25 am

The US has a unique position in air projection as it has the most foreign bases of any country, with this it allows air power projection without resorting to carrier groups. ( Similar to the USSR / Russia using the whole of its territory as a giant carrier.)

If things escalate beyond a show of force, then you'd see a carrier group mobilized with army units being prepped.
Linwood
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:41 am

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Linwood » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:44 pm

What would this look like in Traveller terms?

I could see the equivalent of one MEU being sufficient to establish control over a Lo Pop world or colony. Tech advantages could provide enough combat power to defeat much larger lower-tech units. I’m not sure how that would scale into maintaining control once the opposing field units are out of action.

Then again, MEUs aren’t usually tasked with long-term occupation. They’re more valuable as a mobile asset.
Old School
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Putting a self sufficient fighting force in a strange land

Postby Old School » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:40 pm

Linwood wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:44 pm
What would this look like in Traveller terms?

I could see the equivalent of one MEU being sufficient to establish control over a Lo Pop world or colony. Tech advantages could provide enough combat power to defeat much larger lower-tech units. I’m not sure how that would scale into maintaining control once the opposing field units are out of action.

Then again, MEUs aren’t usually tasked with long-term occupation. They’re more valuable as a mobile asset.
Agreed, an MEU is a rapid response force, capable of being anywhere in the world in short order. It can supply itself for two weeks, which gives time for supply lines to be established.

I posted it to show a little reality as to what a true, self contained force would look like, not to start an argument over their role in the world. What struck me is the large variety in equipment used. This might be simplified in a high TL traveller setting. Grav technology significantly blurs the line between vehicles. The MEU has fighter-attack jets, attack helicopters, general purpose helicopters, supply helicopters, tanks, amphibious personal carriers, floating supply bases, and a variety of ground based non combat vehicles, plus construction equipment. A grav based unit could simplify that list significantly, but not completely.

This is the kind of force that the Imperium would want to be able to deploy to deal with a local hotspot. Its not going to defeat the Zhodani, but it will quickly quell an insurrection by some low to mid tech troublemakers.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests