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Subject: Was the USMC the appropriate force to send to Baghdad?
towgunner1960    10/3/2003 10:46:39 PM
I submit that it might have been more efficient to send British troops north to Baghdad instead of the Marine Corps, for the following reasons; U.S. Army and U.K. troops have trained together to fight the type of war that was fought for the last 50 odd years. (Mechanized warfare). The Marine Corps armor, excepting the M1 are totally unsuited for RAPID desert armored fighting, i.e. aav, lav and M198. U.K. and U.S. Army are equipped exactly the way you need to be to fight this type of war,(M1, M2-3, M109), (Challenger, Warrier, AS90). This gives them the ability to shoot and scoot, and to slug it out if needed. The Marine Corps has never trained with the Army to fight massive Soviet style forces the way U.K. and U.S. Army have. It might have been better for USMC to have taken over the British role, attacking southern Iraq, where they could have worked as a combined arms team with naval support, the way they have for over 200+ years. Long range desert armored warfare is not a Marine mission with the equipment and the training they have. If they want to equip themselves the way the Army does to fight this type of war, then they risk losing capability to fight the littorial type of war that they are so magnificant at. This is no way a slight against the Marines, who I have trained with and admire. But what nation can afford to have two armies? If they insist on trying to compete against the Army for that mission, (mech warfare), then what need is there for a Marine Corps? You might as well combine them with the Army.
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S-2    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - Albany/GOP   10/25/2005 1:43:47 PM
GOP, not only were more Army soldiers deployed into the Pacific, but they conducted throughout W.W.II more amphibious ops. than the U.S.M.C. Fact. Harder time? It should have been harder. The U.S. Army fought Japanese armies in both the New Guinea and the Leyte/Luzon campaigns. Moreover, they carried much of the battle on Okinawa. Read about Okinawa. Marine forces certainly faced opposition as they moved north on the island. But the real battle centered around the Shuri Line, on the southern quarter of Okinawa, which Marine forces didn't join until well into that fight. Unfair, and a bit flippant. While we're at it-jungle fighting. Both the Marines and Aussies would have you think that they were the pre-eminent jungle fighters of the war, even as the U.S. Army campaigned through New Guinea and the Philippines, conveniently forgetting the entire Burma/China battles fought by the U.S. Army and the British Army. Albany Rifles, while you are correct about campaigns vs. battles, it deserves a footnote of sorts. The U.S.M.C. has recently shown both the operational acumen and force structure to conduct campaigns. Frankly, if the march to Baghdad constituted two divisions (3rd I.D. and a marine division), it could as easily been conducted by two marine divisions. Followup forces, such as the 101st and 82nd Airborne Div. could have come out of the marines just as easily-had it been required. It certainly was a campaign, and it certainly could have been conducted completely by the U.S.M.C., given the resistance faced. More than adequate firepower and manuever/operational skill now resides in the Corps, as they've learned well from the U.S. Army. It's not their congressionally mandated mission, but I'm confidant that against most forces arrayed worldwide that the U.S.M.C. would suffice. It wouldn't work all the time, as METT-T always dictates our deployment posture and I'm certain you or others can define many scenarios where requirements would exceed marine capabilities. Still, under many current conditions worldwide, the Marines would be just fine.
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shek    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - GOP   10/25/2005 2:11:18 PM
GOP, I am not that familiar with Marine basic training, but there is no way that it is comparable to Ranger School, RIP, or what Ranger privates and specialists go through prior to getting tabbed. It's simply not analagous. Just as the Marines have a better "esprit de corps" than the Army, thanks in large part to its smaller size, the Rangers certainly have a better "esprit de corps" than the Marines do thanks to their smaller size. Don't get me wrong here, this is not trying to take anything away from the Marines. However, you cannot compare the training of someone taken off the street with of someone who has already gone through six months of training between OSUT and Airborne School and are the cream of the crop in terms of motivation among all Army recruits. Your love of the Marines Corps idea is clouding your judgement.
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AlbanyRifles    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - GOP   10/25/2005 2:32:13 PM
Okinawa Tenth US Army Lieutenant Gneral S. B. Buckner, Jr. USA (KIA) XXIV Corps (Army) 7th Infantry Division 27th Infantry Division 77th Infantry Division 96th Infantry Division III Amphibious Corps 1 Marine Division 2 Marine Division 6 Marine Division 102,000 Army 88,000 USMC (USMC figures include Marine fighter squadrons on escort carriers) Iwo Jima 306 RCT took KERAMA RETTO Guadalcanal Marines land 7 Aug 42 164 RCT US Army landed 13 Oct 42 XIV Corps (Americal Division and 25th ID) relieve 1 Marine Division Peleliu 1 Marine Division and the 81st Infantry Division 81st ID took Anguar Island (next to Peleliu) then reinforced with 2 RCTs (321 RCT & 322 RCT) to assist 1 MAR DIV on Peleliu. The Solomons was a joint Army-Marine Campaign. In the Central Pacific, the Army provided 3 to 5 divisions. In the Southwest Pacific, it was an all Army show with MacArthur commanding an Army Group by the time he got to the Philippines. In fact, 4 Army divisions landed abreast on Leyte on 20 October 1944…..1st Cavalry Division, 7th Infantry Division, 24th Infantry Division (making their 6th assault landing of the war), 96th Infantry Division and 6th Ranger Battalion. If you want to know more about what the US Army did in the Pacific in World War II, go to for the Center of Military History and start searching.
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AlbanyRifles    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - S2   10/25/2005 2:47:57 PM
With a 2 Marine division assualt, you would not have had sufficient armor to get you there. Neither would you have had a Combat Support and Comabt Service Support architecture to support. 3 Battalions of Marine many battalions of armor do the Marines have? 4? 5? I have no doubt that the USMC could have handled the C2 of the point is that the Army is the only one of the services which has the capability to plan and execute long term campaigns. Teh Marines will be a part of it but they do not have the capability to open and sustain a theater of war....but then again, its not their mandate. That is the Army's mandate
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GOP    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - GOP   10/25/2005 3:20:31 PM
Ok, I am obviously wrong. I apologize. Sort of a side question... Can a Marine go through Ranger training and earn the tab? I know that some SEALs have succesfully completed Ranger training and have earned the tab, but I have wondered if it is open to all combat arms in the military (SEALs, Marines, PJ's, SF, etc)
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shek    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - GOP   10/25/2005 3:36:41 PM
GOP, Wasn't trying to beat you down, just educate you. Pride and attitude is a great thing and can go a long way as long as it doesn't cloud your judgement. As far as Ranger School, there are slots for for the SOF community and Marines, although the primary students are PFCs/SPCs from Ranger Regiment, 2LTs cutting their teeth and gaining valuable leadership skills, and SPCs/SGTs from the light infantry divisions and Stryker brigades. I had the one Marine RI that was assigned to the Ranger Training Brigade when I went through - my guess is that its their Force Recon guys that compete for the limited slots (the limiting factor is probably the willingness of the USMC to fund a large number of students). While everyone's experience is different, I would agree that Ranger School is primarily a leadership school, although it does teach great patrolling and fieldcraft skills.
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S-2    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - Albany Rifles   10/25/2005 3:55:08 PM
My contention is that two marine divisions advancing on the same axis as executed would have rendered the same end result, the capture of Baghdad. I do concede that each division would want, if not need U.S. Army CSS augmentation to assure sustainment from Kuwait into the respective marine divsuptcmd. However, if organic marine armor was adequate on the eastern axis-as it evidently was, I've no reason to assume that a second marine division operating to the west (3rd I.D. actual A.O.)would have any greater need. Simply, in this case, the opponent didn't require the power that the 3rd I.D brought to the battle. That certainly could change in a different scenario, but not in this campaign. "...but they do not have the capability to open ..." Gotta fully disagree here. Had, in 1990, Iraqi forces actually struck Saudi Arabia, capturing Dharahan and the adjoining area, we would have required a force far greater than the 82nd to rapidly conduct a forced entry into Saudi Arabia, seize Dharahan, and hold it for followup Army forces. That is exactly the marine mandate. Look forward to your comments.
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GOP    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - Shek   10/25/2005 5:14:06 PM
>"While everyone's experience is different, I would agree that Ranger School is primarily a leadership school, although it does teach great patrolling and fieldcraft skills."< From what I have read and seen about Ranger training, it definitely looks like a great leadership tool. When I join the military, chances are that I will be an officer (partly because of my Parent's push to get me to go to college), and I will definitely want to go to Ranger school regardless of what I am (a SEAL, Marine officer, or Army officer), because I definitely want to be a good leader and know how to manage stress in combat. In your opinion, is Ranger training as hard as BUD/S (although you haven't been through BUD/S)? Alot of people say that Ranger training is a real gut-check and is harder than SEAL training
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Eagle601    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - Albany Rifles   10/25/2005 5:32:57 PM
The Marines could muster a total of 4 tank battalions and 2 of those are reserve units. They could also field 4 LAR battalions as well. Finally large elements of the Corps 3 or so Amphib battalions would be needed to mechanize the infantry forces commited. If you did this though, you would strip USMC combat power worldwide to the bone in order to mount one campaign.
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shek    RE:Once again Let's get it straight - Shek   10/25/2005 10:45:17 PM
GOP, The only people who can really answer this would be those who have done both, and in a different order (BUDS then Ranger, Ranger then BUDS), but I'll give it a shot. Knowing only a little from some limited reading and the Military Channel's series about BUDS, I believe that Ranger School has a more sustained suck to it (9 weeks of two meals a day, long patrols, 2-4 hours of sleep per night with an occasional 5 hours of sleep on nights before jumps, etc.), but BUDS has a more physical orientation and Hell Week is an all out, balls to the wall suck fest. For example, three hours of open ocean swimming in 60 degree water is much more physical than a six hour movement in freezing temperatures through the TVD. Thus, I'd say that both suck in their own unique way, but BUDS probably boils down to a more physical aspect and Ranger School is more mental (can you drive through the sustained suck of little to no sleep and not enough food).
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