Whilst I wrote Code Name Lucy, GMJ 28, still with the editor and a different kind of GMJ Book, it being counter espionage orientated and not counter terrorism as the rest, I took a hard look at history to see what we can learn today. All GMJs are like this, we harp back to history, a subject I know a lot about and have the ability (which I am told is rare) to link history with current events to warn about future events. So let us see what I wrote:
The Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle is interesting and takes us back in history to 1906 and a battleship of that name, HMS Dreadnought. She was the first battleship to have her main batteries front and aft and a dedicated secondary battery of smaller guns, also grouped together and directed from a central gunnery command post. She was fast, she had steam turbines and was heavily armoured. She could sink any other known ship and sail away at a speed only a much lighter cruiser type could follow at and that cruiser would be dead if she engages with her much heavier main guns long before the lighter armed and armoured cruiser could even reply with her own guns. This was simply amazing; no words can describe how HMS Dreadnought changed the naval scene for the next four decades and altered the balance of power.
What was worse by far, bad news for everyone else including the Royal Navy and many others, was that every other battleship in any navy was now so outdated even if brand new or still being built, that they would need to be replaced. In effect the entire world’s battleships had to be replaced, they became obsolete overnight. This started an arms race. Whoever could build dreadnoughts fast enough and all navies started doing so, each having no such ships, would be dominant. For once, it was felt, the immensely huge Royal Navy could be defeated, everything was back at zero, each navy starting afresh building dreadnoughts. History showed us that the UK out built everyone else, especially the German Imperial Navy and kept their supremacy until 1943 when the US Navy finally replaced them. HMS Dreadnought herself would become famous again in 1915 by sinking a German submarine, something no other battleship ever did, she rammed U-boat SM U-29. In 1921 she was sold for scrap and broken up, a real pity, she should have been preserved as the ship was so revolutionary that it represented a paradigm shift in naval technology. From now on all battleships would be classified as “dreadnoughts” and “pre-dreadnoughts.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, Theodore Roosevelt, uncle of the more famous Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the Great Depression and World War Two fame, was planning a powerful US Navy. Unlike Adolf Hitler and many others today, he got the power of a navy, the way how such an instrument of war can influence events and if you think about it, it is logical. Visualize a US Carrier Task Force with hostile intentions close to your shores as is happening in the Middle East, it is frightening and even more so if you are American and you note how the Russians and Chinese are increasing their own carrier groups relentlessly. You don’t want such a military force close to you, really not, they simply appear and they can cause havoc, bringing death and destruction. On the other hand, such a fleet will prevent another from getting close to friendly shores, it is as much a projection of power as a warning and defensive measure to have a powerful fleet (giving the main turd options, Angelique).
* I must explain here that we call politicians of all parties “turds” in the GMJ Books since they float in what they talk. Their foolhardy statements are often highlighted and the Mickey taken out of them – in a follow up blog I may explain their retaliation strategies. We also refer to the US Democratic Party as Demorats (they don’t like that). GMJ Books are conservative in nature.
In history, I am sure you will recall, that once the US Navy sunk and defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy, Japan and her island conquests were there for the taking. Yes, to be fought for bitterly but Japan could not prevent the US Task Forces from arriving and could not really reinforce her trapped soldiers, they were always going to lose in the end. That is sea power for you. Now imagine, and I am not a patriot but I want you to understand the principle, imagine such Chinese carrier groups around the East and West Coasts of the USA… not a nice idea at all. It should worry you very much. Ships, these days, cannot be built and made operative in a few months, you better be ready before the shooting starts or it is too late. Things can change, the balance of power can shift in one war, history shows us that for many decades no one challenged the Royal Navy dominating the world’s oceans, today the Royal Navy (until their carriers becomes operational) is a zero on a contract. The US Navy is dominating and they are being challenged, have no doubt. The Chinese it seems have realised what sea power means to trade and to war. All indications, from the South China Sea island grabbing, turning the Philippines into their sphere, the South African and Russia connection and other places, show the pattern clearly enough for me to write about it, this is but the first steps.
Theodore Roosevelt succeeded in 1898, eight years before HMS Dreadnought was completed, when he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and involved in the war against Spain (for the so called sinking of the USS Maine in Cuba), to have Cuba, Guam and the Philippines conquered, all strategically situated for coaling stations (refueling ships). He had much more success as 26th President between 1901 and 1909, to increase the US Navy. He created what became known as the “Great White Navy” (because the ships were painted white, not because of the crews, Angelique). This fleet of sixteen battleships and other vessels, really impressive, sailed around the world between December 1907 and February 1909 to show the world that America came of age, that she was a powerful country that should be taken seriously. Unhappily though, the American battleships were of the “pre-dreadnought” era and although almost new, obsolete and that is the point - the dreadnought technology scrapped all battleships to zero. The navies had to restart their building programs from scratch or face certain defeat. Positively speaking, the US Navy did learn a few things, it was not a wasted exercise. Firstly, they adopted the flared clipper bows in all new battleships and increased freeboard forward – the original pre-dreadnoughts were horribly wet in even moderate seas. They would increase the dreadnought types in size and weight by one third, always keeping in mind the Panama Canal for rapid movement between the two oceans. Constant and realistic gunnery exercises doubled the fleet's accuracy and they realised they need to be able to replenish at sea or find new shore bases across the world. From this came the fast battleships of World War Two fame, magnificent ships in every sense of the word.
Yet, at the end of the day, when all was said and done, Roosevelt’s Fleet had to be rebuilt because of HMS Dreadnought making it obsolete and that is the Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle explained in the honoured African way of going back into history. Today, as an example of the principle working against America, you can look at the current Chinese Air Force.
* The following is taken from Code Name Mel’s Choice, GMJ 25, it demonstrated the Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle perfectly:
The rise of the Chinese Air Force is something which you reading here should take seriously. General Mark Welsh III, the Chief of Staff of the USAF, said in March 2001 that “China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will be poised to overtake the US Air Force by 2030.” In fact, many believe that they are even now coming close or did so already. What is clear is that in the last 20 years they got themselves over 800 Fourth Generation fighters, equally matching the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassualt Rafale, and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon or JAS39 Gripen but they have better missiles (see Code Name Blue Tang why I say so). Their pilots fly on average 130 hours a month and in some squadrons, 180 hours. That is a lot, the US Marine Corps fly 4 hours and so does the USAF per month if lucky. The USAF also acknowledged that it is unable to keep its fighter pilots. Four hours, to put in perspective for you, is less than what a Third World Air Force like Nigeria is flying. How on earth did we get there? I am telling you, the lack of flying practice alone will slay innocent pilots by the dozen if up against those flying constantly. We saw this in history when the inexperienced German Luftwaffe pilots went up against experienced Allied ones at the later stages of World War Two, they were shot down by the hundreds and the same happened in Korea. Training is everything, ask the Israeli Air Force why they are rated so highly, the answer is that they fly combat all the time. When they take off they are operational.
Also, because of China’s rapid economic growth in the nineties, most of the Chinese Air Force Fourth Generation aircraft are relatively new and they have no need to scrounge museums for spare parts like the US Marines are forced to do, shamefully so. They have sufficient parts available and the mechanics to service the aircraft, you may comprehend, if the aircraft fly more, the maintenance are more, the entire Air Force must then up its game dramatically. The aircraft they fly are the locally built (and they are built well) Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker B+, the Sukhoi Su-30MKK Flanker-G as well as the Mikoyan MiG-35 Fulcrum-F and they are developing two types of Fifth Generation fighters - the prototypes already flying. As such they expect the Fifth Generation fighters to be operational from 2018 onwards, called the Shenyang J-31 and the Chengdu J-20, both of which will be equal to the US F-22 and F-35. What is more, they are busy developing, with Russian help, a large strategic stealth bomber.
We look for patterns in my world, ask yourself, why would China want a large, long range strategic bomber incorporating stealth technology? Who are they going to target? Russia? Their major BRICS partner? Nah, contemplate also on their expanded nuclear submarines, attack and missile boats, the aircraft carriers and the expansion into the South China Sea and Africa for the reasons I mentioned and make you own conclusions. In fact, the RAND Corporation did, they brought a report out, you can research this as you can with everything I say in my books, that shocked those briefed on it. They stated that as recently as in 1996 the US would have needed 2.1 air wings of between 66 and 72 aircraft each to protect their vassal, Taiwan, from Chinese air superiority. Right? We can quite get that thinking, a MIG-21 is no match for a F-16, F-15 or F-18. But because the Chinese increased their own capabilities so much, the situation turned on its head, by 2003, that number became 10.6 wings, by 2010 you needed 19.6 wings and by 2017, 29.9 wings, 2,000 aircraft. Flatly put, the US don’t have such resources available and probably never will again nor the pilots to fly them. Taiwan is gone. She cannot be defended and mark my words, every country in that region has every reason in the world to worry about China. The RAND Report concluded that the results of their scenario were “staggering.” I dare say, it is going to get much worse.
* Now back to Code Name Lucy:
I had a feeling though, SAS Mendi was using her surface warfare capabilities here, the Chinese vessel, the Type 052D or Kunming class, is what is known as a Chinese Aegis ship and you better take note if American, she can track stealth fighters and shoot them down. Yes, we know, I have been warning in most GMJ Books that stealth is a myth. She uses flat-array AESA radar (originally Israeli in concept, see Code Name Mel’s Choice) combined with VLS (Vertical Launch System) and modern long-range anti-air missiles. These ships and the class that followed them, have better electronics and weapon systems than what the ageing US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers have and exactly the same role, to protect the aircraft carriers which China is building. Without air superiority, either via aircraft or deniability of enemy aircraft and missiles close to you via long range surface-to-air missiles and CIWS (Close-In Weapons Systems), you will be sunk, it is that simple. In this respect they have the H/PJ-11, an eleven-barrelled 30 mm CIWS system shooting 10,000 shells per minute with a 96% success rate in downing missiles coming at them at Mach 4. That is much better than the older US Navy Phalanx system, still in the old 20 mm calibre. It seems to us that the Chinese thought long and hard on what they wanted and then started building at a rate which will make the Chinese Navy larger and more powerful than the US & Royal Navies combined and with modern vessels (the Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle again, Angelique) within the next two decades. What is particularly impressive is that they are doing so in a very planned and systematic way. Again, let us analyse the patterns here – first came the smaller escort vessels in large numbers combined with advanced submarines using the best technology from anywhere (Russia, South Africa, Israel and home grown). Then only the large aircraft carriers, experimenting to see what works for them in a combination of size and quality, the age old Chinese outlook of more is better. My sources tell me that they would rather have twice as many aircraft groups as the US Navy, even if smaller, than risking all on a few vastly expensive Ford & Nimitz & Queen Elizabeth class carriers. Ironically, what the West jeer at – the Russian designed 61,000-ton heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser – is seen by them as the baseline to start from. Their aircraft carriers will be smaller, I am told, but they will have many more of them and they will have steam catapults, time will tell. However, what we see right now is smart, really smart, thinking, they are setting up the groundwork very methodologically. We also note that the same CIWS is to be found on their carriers and other vessels, meaning a standardisation of parts and ammunition, again, smart thinking. What is odd though is that the main deck gun on their surface vessels is upgraded to 130 mm, most Western ships have a 76 mm deck gun. This means gunnery support to their Marines to me, trying to get a multi-role functionality going and Marines are not defensive troops, they attack first and talk later. (Let us also then contrast this with current American thinking, the new $4 billion USS Zumwalt destroyer fires a 100-pound shell further than anything else, yet, at $800,000 per shell even they US Navy is scratching their head at the costs – beyond stupid and in no way smart thinking, it is insane, Angelique.)
In history, Theodore Roosevelt truly deserved his Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Imperial Japan versus Imperial Russia War of 1905 unlike Barack Obama that got the award to “strengthen him” according to the chairman of the awarding committee, as explained in a recent book published by the fellow. Why Mr Obama needed to be “strengthened” no one knows. The idea is an insult or should be to Americans, far more than the so called “Russian” interference with the Trump election, I mean, was the man seen as so weak even at that time that he needed to be “strengthened?”
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in sub Saharan Africa, a military and war historian and published author of 43 books. His late wife was an American Patriot that served with the U.S. Navy. His books are widely read among military veterans of many nations.