Friday, February 2, 2024

Immiliteracy and its Consequences - Vox Popoli

 The US military is already losing serious face around the world without even losing a ship, much less an aircraft carrier, in the Middle East:

Lost amid all the other news breaking in the last 24 hours is one particularly disturbing story: the United States Navy lost a battle at sea yesterday. CENTCOM put out an anodyne press release yesterday stating that afternoon, “Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the U.S.-flagged, owned, and operated container ship M/V Maersk Detroit, transiting the Gulf of Aden.

One missile impacted in the sea. The two other missiles were successfully engaged and shot down by the USS Gravely (DDG 107). There were no reported injuries or damage to the ship.” All well and good… but as it turned out there was a lot more to the story.

This engagement occurred while two American merchantmen – the Maersk Detroit and the Maersk Chesapeake – were attempting to run the Bab al-Mandeb from south to north while being covered by the USS Gravely. An AEGIS destroyer’s defensive umbrella should have turned this transit into a milk run – except it didn’t. CENTCOM admits that one of the Houthis’ tactical ballistic missiles – undemanding targets as far as such things go – got through the Gravely’s interceptors.

What they neglected to mention was that it struck about a hundred meters from the Maersk Detroit, and that after the attack the convoy aborted the transit and retreated back into the Arabian Sea rather than press on into enemy fire. Was retreat the correct decision at the moment? Probably, the Gravely was shepherding two lumbering merchantmen and facing unsuppressed shore batteries of unknown strength and capability in broad daylight, quite possibly without adequate air cover given the ambiguities of the Eisenhower’s exact station in the Red Sea and the limited combat radius of its air wing.

Was this operational plan inadequate? Almost certainly – reading between the lines, it reeks of a complacent assumption that Houthi missile batteries had actually been suppressed by a few rounds of air raids and that a single AEGIS destroyer could handle anything the Houthis could throw at them with no need for additional contingency planning.

In the event neither of these assumptions were correct – and because of it a convoy covered by one of the US Navy’s premier warships retreated from a battle that was going badly.

The United States Navy Essentially Lost A Battle At Sea This Week, ZEROHEDGE, 27 January 2024

Now, this decision to turn around and leave the danger zone was obviously an eminently intelligent decision by the captain commanding the convoy. At this point, the escorts aren’t there to actually protect the cargo ships, they were intended to dissuade the Yemenis from launching any attacks in the first place. Obviously, the attempt at intimidation failed, so the captain did the right thing and saved both his destroyer as well as the merchant ships that were attacked by abandoning the planned transit of the Gulf of Aden.

The problem is that the media has been relentlessly attacking the Russian generals who did precisely the same sort of thing at the beginning of the disastrous Ukrainian counteroffensive. In fact, one of the reasons the AFU counteroffensive was so disastrous was because the Russians wisely withdrew their troops from untenable positions and fell back to ground that could be better defended at a reduced cost. Which, it has

Being completely immiliterate – Is that even a word? If it isn’t, it should be – the media invariably describes every strategic retreat, tactical fall-back, or exit from an indefensible position as a defeat. So, there is no way to avoid the rhetorical consequences of the fact that a small group of desert fighters managed to drive off a US destroyer that might have even been protected by the air cover of a US carrier.

Bravely the US Navy sailed into the Red Sea
They were not afraid to sink, so brave the Navy!
They were not at all afraid to be sunk beneath the waves.
Brave, brave, brave, the Navy!

More, inevitably, to come.

And the public demonstration of weakness, too, has consequences.

It was reported, that the U.S. offered through the Swiss embassy to Iran, to strike one of their sites but Iran should not retaliate. This would allow the US to save face. Looks like it was REJECTED.

UPDATE: No wonder the captain of the Gravely decided to retreat. It was clearly the right decision.

CNN reports per 4 Defense Officials that yesterday’s interception of a Houthi ASCM by USS Gravely (DDG-107) was at a range of around 1 mile or 0.86 nautical miles and was shot down by the ships CIWS. This is the first specifically reported instance of a Houthi missile/drone interception by CIWS. This is the closest interception to date the others being within 5-10 miles away.