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One-third rule for naval vessels?

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One-third rule for naval vessels? - 12/13/2017 2:24:34 AM   

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Writing a small scenario to simulate how fleet rotation works for a long period of battle. But I have difficult to find more references beside Wikipedia, which have citations for some examples.

My current method is just split an entire Navy/Fleet into 3 battlegroups, one active, one standby or patrol and one is ported. The active group will run out from the first battle as the second one jump in, then retreat the first group to port for replenishing, while the third group come up to patrol or act as long range support when the battle will reveal most of the enemy positions. The first two groups will have multi-role loadouts while the third group is mostly armed with longer ranged missiles for finishing exposed/damaged targets.

But I cannot be sure this is how real life navy works, especially for a naval battle that last so long to fight in 3 vollies. What do you guys think? Is one-third rule also ideal for large-scale naval combat, and have better idea to operate?


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RE: One-third rule for naval vessels? - 12/14/2017 8:00:09 PM   

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According to the US Navy ( they have 279 deployable ships with 93 deployed battle forces including submarines which happens to be exactly 1/3. The rotation scheme seems awful complex with carriers and I believe most large combatants have just a single crew while some submarines and smaller combatants have 2 crews that rotate in order to limit the down time of the ship. Carriers have rather long and extensive overhauls which may be the reason for more US carriers than fleets. As I remember back around the '90's we (USS England CG-22) were deployed 6 months with an approximate 14-18 month time frame for SRA, SOH, OPPE and so on which works out to be more than the 1/3 rotation but that was with a 600 ship navy. That though is subject to change with upgrades such as for weapons system like NTU in the early and mid-80's.

For all practical purposes, the 1/3rd rules sounds reasonable in a perfect world but why not toss a few imperfections into the scenario like collisions or battle damage which would force a ship out of rotation and straining capacity? If your active combat group is deployed for 6 months and is damaged, will their be enough time to perform repairs to get it back into the rotation with its battle group?



“There are no extraordinary men...just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.”
Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr. 1882-1959

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RE: One-third rule for naval vessels? - 12/14/2017 9:02:10 PM   

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Another one I have in my mind is the core-group can stay longer than other rotation units. As you said the aircraft carrier usually don't run out quicker than smaller warships (especially nuclear powered). In that case the carrier, amphibious assault ship and few destroyers with AA-centric loadout will stay in the frontline while the rest of them will send back for replenishment. I think this one is more favorable for non-US navy that have less than 3 servicing carriers.

The problem is to ensure the core-group cannot be damaged, otherwise it will cripple the entire fleet.

The submarine however is kinda tricky, if the defending side is persistent enough to light up the whole sea, the latter subs in rotation will need to be redeployed outside the potential anti-sub area. So the second and third rotations will be more likely armed with SLASM rather than torpedoes.

At least it's kinda proving the 1/3 rule for fleets isn't flawed, as long as it's well-planned for some circumstances. I will go try that out in the weekend.


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RE: One-third rule for naval vessels? - 12/14/2017 9:52:22 PM   


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The issue with CVs staying on station is magazine depth and aviation fuel stores. US CVNs were expected to sustain for 72-hours in the North Atlantic against the Soviet's before they would need to withdraw to UNREP. Escorts are more difficult since the USN abandoned VLS UNREP, and I don't think any other navy has tried it.

As to your original question about the 1/3rd rule for surface ships, it's generally what you'd expect for peacetime operations when maintaining presence is more important than immediate combat capability. The consensus for combat (mostly going off of Fleet Tactics by Hughes) is that you do not want to hold naval forces in reserve like you might ground units. This is due to the fact that there are generally increasing returns to scale and a small advantage in combat power is tactically decisive. Hughes biggest conclusion is that the side that strikes effectively first will be the victor, and smaller, ineffective salvos decrease a fleets firepower, making it harder for follow-on salvos to be effective (assuming constant defensive power).

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RE: One-third rule for naval vessels? - 12/15/2017 12:01:36 AM   

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Well, I don’t doubt the swift, all-out operation is the best option to win the battle because it has bigger output of force projection, and lower the risk during the transition. Most cases and scenarios I saw is e.g. the US will have decisive and indisputable advantage to defeat the shore/littoral resistances, even they have some extent of counteroffensives.

But if that is lasting more than combat hours and the defense still stand, or worse case scenario, their ally/backup comes to aid to equalize the firepower (possibly also all-out), you will run out or even suffer some damages and eventually to be replaced. Of course, intercepting any potential route to support the enemy is the better option, but it will be difficult for a multi-theater naval battle.

Both offense and perseverance should be considered, and I am not saying 1/3 is the only way. Scaling up to a bigger fleet, or use bombers from Air Force to soften them up are also there, just planes are more intensive for resuppling.

< Message edited by Dysta -- 12/15/2017 12:13:29 AM >


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