2002 wargame: Small Iranian speedboats sink U.S. fleet

posted at 1:09 pm on January 12, 2008 by Allahpundit

Amphibious vessels, cruisers, even a carrier were easy pickings. The military was shocked, which is itself shocking in light of recent lessons about what an asymmetrical, suicidal enemy can accomplish. If Paul Yingling’s looking for a new topic to write about, he’s found it.

In the simulation, General Van Riper sent wave after wave of relatively inexpensive speedboats to charge at the costlier, more advanced fleet approaching the Persian Gulf. His force of small boats attacked with machine guns and rockets, reinforced with missiles launched from land and air. Some of the small boats were loaded with explosives to detonate alongside American warships in suicide attacks. That core tactic of swarming played out in real life last weekend, though on a much more limited scale and without any shots fired…

In the war game, scores of adversary speedboats and larger naval vessels had been shadowing and hectoring the Blue Team fleet for days. The Blue Team defenses also faced cruise missiles fired simultaneously from land and from warplanes, as well as the swarm of speedboats firing heavy machine guns and rockets — and pulling alongside to detonate explosives on board.

In fact there was a shot fired last weekend, although only as a warning. Here’s the Only Man Who Can Save America From Martin Luther King offering his own thoughts at the debate this week about why the U.S. Navy has nothing to fear from small, suspicious craft.

Breaking on Hot Air



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TheEJS on January 12, 2008 at 4:48 PM

I’ll concede part of your point more falklands posture less okinawa, but unfortunately we have to stress the political implications a la vietnam as almost as determinative as they were prior to 9/11. The mentality of vietnam may not hold as much sway as it did prior to 9/11 but there are disingenuos and hypocritical politicians on our left who will use any incident to their benefit. Most of this country is at “the mall” and polarized to boot.

Furthermore i don’t think we can divorce the scenarios from the uniqueness of each “sector” or the implications that each bring to the overall outcome.

For example losing a number however small of US warships in the straits of hormuz would have a significant psychological and propaganda impact that may be used by our adversaries to TRY to push world opinion and markets as well as our spineless elites into some form of strategic accomodation on what is essentially a cheap asymmetric cost.

i actually hope i’m wrong though…

elduende on January 12, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Ron Paul really is the Republicans answer to Dennis Kucinich. They are both loathsome twerps.

RobCon on January 12, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Hey Ron, does the USS Cole mean anything to you?
Not to mention the Tanker War in the 1980’s which was the biggest engagement by the US Navy since WW2.

RobCon on January 12, 2008 at 7:08 PM

Hey Ron, does the USS Cole mean anything to you?
Not to mention the Tanker War in the 1980’s which was the biggest engagement by the US Navy since WW2.

RobCon on January 12, 2008 at 7:08 PM

I’ll ignore your first post as it brings nothing of substance to the discussion, but answer this one.

The USS Cole was stationary and can hardly be compared to U.S. ships on maneuvers in international waters.

Regarding the Tanker War, are you saying the U.S. Navy hasn’t learned anything since then? If they were worried about such an attack, wouldn’t they have blown these small boats to smithereens?

Fed Up on January 12, 2008 at 7:37 PM

“Ron Paul is racist because he has forgotten 9/11 and how the Iranians need to pay for it.

And so forth. Chaps – and I’m talking to the regular, right-wing commentators here – you had better raise your game. I’ve just read through the comments and this BlackCapitalist fellow above is beating your arses. He’s using a mixture of sarcasm and parody to throw your own words and opinions back into your faces, and he’s winning.

Apeking on January 12, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Apeking on January 12, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Gee, thanks for keeping us honest, Paulbot.

AUINSC on January 12, 2008 at 8:03 PM

Apeking on January 12, 2008 at 7:59 PM

No, he and couple of others just hijacked the thread away from the original subject, and ruined it for everyone. But, that was the intent, so you may be right and he did win.

a capella on January 12, 2008 at 8:16 PM

Two words…chain guns.

Speakup on January 12, 2008 at 8:16 PM

a capella on January 12, 2008 at 8:16 PM

Agreed. I just love how they are high-fiving themselves and congratulating themselves about how edgy and funny they are.

AUINSC on January 12, 2008 at 8:20 PM


Jim Treacher on January 12, 2008 at 8:24 PM


Jim Treacher on January 12, 2008 at 8:24 PM

Yeah, I don’t know either. Maybe that was Derbyshire.

AUINSC on January 12, 2008 at 8:30 PM

I can see how a swarm attack would work in an Iranian first strike mode using surprise and our unwillingness to preempt their gathering force. However after the opening hours that tactic will fade quickly.

Swarm tactics require a swarm which has to be gathered into the area of operations. I would wager in short ordered everything larger than a row boat will be hit with Naval Air and Air Force well before the first US ship makes a run.

The threat of losing some ships from the occasional mines, land based silk worms, and small number fast boats that slip through, is real and will very likely happen. I just don’t buy the end game we cannot over come it BS.

One wild card to my thoughts would be the ROE. If we cannot burn everything above a row boat with or without evidenced threat, then we are f*cked for real. In that scenerio swarms (innocent fisherman) will be able to gather then strike.

Bottom line you don’t try to kill a swarm of yellow jackets when they are buzzing around your head (you run like hell). Then you go get a long stick, some newspaper, and a lighter. Then you return when the yellow jackets are chilling in their nest and you burn their wings off. You can then squash them under foot at your leisure.

C-Low on January 12, 2008 at 10:13 PM

I’m not a naval historian nor a military tactician but I seem to recall a famous navel battle won with small fast moving ships in the midst of larger more heavily armed vessels. It was small English vessels attacking the Spanish Armada in the Irish Sea. As I recall the smaller held sway and sank a good many of the larger Spanish ships.

I also recall the military not listening to one of their own when Gen. Billy Mitchell praised the value of aerial bombing and the growing threat of a military Japan.

I pray we do not see a repeat of history such as I have noted above.

EvilRoy on January 13, 2008 at 2:08 AM

Nobody listened to Billy Mitchell either about the new fangled airplane dropping bombs on battleships, except mostly the Japanese and Germans.

Hening on January 13, 2008 at 8:06 AM

My navy son-in-law took me to see his ship a couple of weeks ago. I asked him how vulnerable it was to terrorist attacks. He said that most ships like his have few defenses and that small, fast speed boats loaded with explosives would rip through the ship’s relatively thin hull and sink it. That is why most people on his ship don’t spend much time below the water line when the ship is in an area of potential danger. The fact is that speed boat suicide bombers could do a lot of damage to our navy for relatively little cost. To be safe, the navy must stay far away from potential areas of threat to avoid this scenario. But, as we’ve seen, that certainly did not happen in the Iran confrontation.

NuclearPhysicist on January 13, 2008 at 9:12 AM


Don’t be Duped: http://www.photoactivistsforpeace.org/videos.html

Iran Attacks US Fifth Fleet! American Casualties Reported!!!


Fed Up on January 13, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Oh…and don’t forget…

The Iraqis really appreciate us franchising democracy upon them: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8189766511290964552&q=ron+paul&total=26843&start=70&num=10&so=1&

Fed Up on January 13, 2008 at 12:36 PM

I can’t believe these posts. The only problem our Navy has is the ROE they must contend with due to civilian control from the State Dept. and the pentagon. When the shooting starts and the civilian leadership loosens the reins I’d hate to be the Iranian navy. That would be a target rich environment akin to a shooting fish in a barrel. The only threat to us would be the silkworms and those wouldn’t last long in a real shooting environment. My guess is we might lose one ship because of the ROE limitations, i.e., we get sucker punched, and then we kill every target in sight.

vcunn22 on January 13, 2008 at 6:26 PM

As the only nation that has rules (ROE) we will always be an easy target for those that have no conscience and fight using an anything is fair attitude.

We must fight fire with fire to make it fair. When any unmarked vessel encroaches on a U.S. war ship in a threating manner and comes within the blast radi (500 ft.) of the encroaching vessel it must be destroyed after one verbal or waring shot is given. No if and or butts allowed in the decision making process. Just do it.

MSGTAS on January 14, 2008 at 9:24 AM

.50 cal emplacements all over the ships help. 25mm Bushmasters help as well.

But the iranians had really better hope like hell they aren’t swarming a boat with the new mod CIWS.

We aren’t helpless here. You guys might be nervous, but believe me, the Navy isn’t.

JunkCoast on January 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM