Too small? Or a Leadership Deficit.

The Week asks the question, is the Royal Navy too small to deal with the Iranian threat.

The Royal Navy is too small to counter the potential threat from Iran, the defence minister has admitted.

Tobias Ellwood told The Times: “The threats we’re facing are changing in front of us, the world is getting more complex. If we are wanting to continue to play this influential role on the international stage it will require further funding for our armed forces, not least the Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe.”

The Guardian says the British government is facing accusations it had “failed to sufficiently guard its shipping in the Gulf.”

The Independent says the crisis has “roiled UK politics” ahead of a “potentially contentious week” in which Boris Johnson is likely to take over as prime minister from Theresa May.

Well, OK, even Sir Humphrey at PinstripedLine sort of concurs.

The first thing to take away is not to sit there and feel despondency that the RN ‘only’ has one frigate in the region. Other than the US, no other nation has warships permanently based in the Gulf region. To act as if the RN has failed for doing something that practically no one else can do is a uniquely British characteristic.

The harsh reality is that had the tanker had flown the flag of convenience of any other state, then it is likely that said country would not have had an escort anywhere near the Gulf on the day of the incident. The RN may ‘only’ have one vessel permanently based in the region, but that’s one more than most other navies. Perspective matters here.

The RN force in the Gulf has remained relatively static for decades in its structure and size. Back in the 80s it averaged 3-4 escorts supported by a tanker and store ship. Humphreys instinct is that the reason for this slightly larger force was to provide mutually complementary air defence capabilities in a time when RN vessels had more specialised roles (e.g. the so-called 42/22 combo) and needed to work together to deliver the effect. This period also saw a reliance on the use of Mombasa as the main support base, meaning a long passage off station, reducing the number of vessels in the Gulf.

By contrast more modern vessels not only have more effective and mutually complementary weapon systems (compare a Type 23 to an Exocet Leander for example), but they are also able to rely on facilities more locally for support (e.g. Bahrain).

The actual force numbers have remained remarkably constant for decades now – with an average of 1-2 escorts in the Gulf region on an enduring basis. The real change has been the move to a permanently based frigate in the region, rather than overlapping deployments, which has increased ship availability, but reduced the number of RN hulls transiting into, and out of, the region. The overall effect delivered is broadly similar but delivered in a different way.

Suggestions that defence cuts have left the RN without enough ships in the Gulf then are wide of the mark. The RN escort force in the region has been consistent in its size and capability for decades, regardless of wider defence cuts – the RN choosing to prioritise the region over other areas to ensure a continuous presence. Perhaps a bigger challenge than force size is the problem of distances for the force.

Later on, he says this:

What matters now is the safe release of the crew and the continued safety of the Royal Navy crew in the region. Let us keep this foremost in our minds as they once again sail difficult waters and conduct challenging operations to keep this nation safe where the tactical actions of (often very young and very junior) personnel will have strategic consequences. There is no doubt though that once again our nation’s finest people will rise to the challenge admirably.

Well yeah, that is perhaps important, but somehow I doubt that Drake or Nelson would be excited by this dry bureaucratese. I find myself agreeing with CBD over at Ace’s, it ain’t the number of ships, it’s the men (and women) commanding them.

It’s not the size of the Royal Navy, it’s the size of Britain’s balls that’s the problem.

Is the Royal Navy too small to deal with Iranian threat?

Tobias Ellwood told The Times: “The threats we’re facing are changing in front of us, the world is getting more complex. If we are wanting to continue to play this influential role on the international stage it will require further funding for our armed forces, not least the Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe.”

The issue isn’t the size and reach of the Royal Navy; it has been shrinking for years. The issue is that the United Kingdom has been emasculated by its elites, who would rather kowtow to the maniacal SJWs and cultivate voting blocs within immigrant populations than defend the culture and history of their country. The result is a country without a core; one that is unwilling to defend itself even in response to a direct and obvious provocation from a country that is reeling from sanctions and is lashing out at the world.

I have no doubt whatsoever of that being true. It’s true here as well. but not as badly. The elites/ globalists or whatever you wish to call them, want us all to be what Malvina Reynolds described so well back in 1962:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Well, those people aren’t going to make Britain great again. The Brits, like the Americans, built the joint against great odds. And none of the people she described in the song are going to use Nelson’s Telescope, let along go against the standing orders to win the battle that would win Britain supremacy for a century. This is the navy that once executed an admiral for not engaging aggressively enough but now sold to middle management who only know how to tick the boxes.

But that’s not strictly a naval problem, it is the base problem with HMG, which has sold itself to the EU, and their gray dull, masters only want subservience. It a formula for losing and losers. England Expects Better. They deserve it too.

And there is the real task that Boris (and Trump) have each undertaken. And it needs the stamp “ACTION THIS DAY

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

3 Responses to Too small? Or a Leadership Deficit.

  1. the unit says:

    Guess I could google to see how small. Whatever I found would just say “E.D. was the problem.”

    Liked by 1 person

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