May 5, 2023
19: Ukraine War Aspects & a new Battle of the Atlantic
In part two of a discussion by Mark Grove and Dr Gary Blackburn with host Iain Ballantyne, the tasty and varied menu includes naval aspects of the Ukraine War and whether or not a new Battle of the Atlantic is shaping up as Russia seeks to win its so-called ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine it has sought to establish stronger links with China, so this begs the question, which Iain puts out there: what does Moscow have to offer Beijing? Does the answer possibly lie in naval technology?
After also touching on Russia reinforcing its submarine forces in the Pacific, the chat turns to the Ukraine War itself. Among the topics touched on are Moscow effort’s to impose a distant blockade in the Black Sea and the use of drones, plus implications for the Royal Navy as it struggles to achieve critical mass in aerial capabilities. The discussion turns to the new contest in the Atlantic between Russia and the West. Bearing in mind this is the 80 th anniversary year of the Allies gaining a decisive upper hand in the WW2 struggle for that vast and strategically vital ocean, does naval history offer anything relevant to where we are now?
Would convoys of merchant vessels need to make a comeback if the 21 st Century Atlantic contest turns hot? And, as a worthwhile digression, what about the importance of safeguarding seabed infrastructure - especially in the wake of the Nord Stream sabotage attack - and how to avoid dangerous escalation? The expert analysis and commentary of Mark and Gary on all the above subjects is well worth a listen.
Also touched on in this episode is China seeking to exert sea control in oceans off its shores, via land-based ballistic missiles, but why? The conundrum of prioritising UK army or naval expenditure is mentioned, along with the folly of the UK’s notorious 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Mark Grove is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Studies specialising in Maritime Strategy, Warfare, and Security at the University of Lincoln’s Maritime Studies Centre at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he has taught for 24 years, originally working directly for the Ministry of Defence. Mark has written on amphibious warfare, the naval history of the Second World War, and the Falklands. Over the last decade or more has spent most of his research time examining the threats posed by the Russian and Chinese navies, on which he has provided briefings for several UK and NATO Headquarters and Government Departments. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJGrove
Dr Gary Blackburn is an honorary fellow of the Centre for Security Studies at the University of Hull, which seeks to enhance understanding on the nature of war and strategy while also providing guidance on best practice in war and strategy to professional stakeholders. Gary has taught Security Studies and Military History at the Universities of Leeds and Hull, respectively - and has written for Defence Studies and The Critic, and for the latter about aspects of the UK’s 2021 Integrated Review of Defence and Security. Follow him on Twitter @gjb70
• For more on Warships IFR magazine http://bit.ly/wifrmag Follow it on Twitter @WarshipsIFR and on Facebook @WarshipsIFR
• Iain Ballantyne is the founding and current Editor of Warships IFR. He is also author of the books ‘Hunter Killers’ (Orion) and ‘The Deadly Trade’ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), both about submarine warfare, with his most recent books being ‘Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom’ and ‘Arnhem: Ten Days in The Cauldron’ (new editions for Canelo History). For more details on Iain and his books visit the websites http://iainballantyne.com and https://www.bismarckbattle.com/ Follow him on Twitter @IBallantyn