USMC Littoral Regiment

I read the USMC stood up their first Littoral Regiment. What exactly is that ?

There is an article here.

It’s like a MEU but a little different with no air but anti-air units.

Ok yeah seems like they’re smaller more mobile units with a number of different capabilities that operate near the coast. Very interesting.


Sounds like the SEALs in Vietnam working with the Brown Water Navy.

I fear smaller, lighter means less significant.


A little light on information but it might have a useful role. The second last paragraph is worrysome:

“We are constantly adjusting the exact size of an infantry battalion, the exact number of missiles a unit needs to carry so that it matches our logistics capability, the exact signature that they will put out,” Smith said.

I would have expected the logistic tail to be adjusted to ensure the deployed units had enough equipment (missiles) to give them a good chance of completing their mission, not the other way round.


That sounds like “You’ll get whatever support that we feel is convenient to higher ups. We’ll let you know the numbers once we figure it out. Probably a little while after you call in for a fire mission.”

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Reminds me of the Light Infantry division when introduced on the early 80’s. The Army needed units that were easily deployable by airlift, so they basically pared off all the heavy stuff- AFVs, support elements, etc. that was built around USAF airlift capability at the time. Not much use in major combat situations, but great for those poorly equipped and trained third world enemy scenarios.


@Colder , @barnslayer Sad, but so very true!

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The USMC is shedding its heavier Legacy systems such as M1A1 Abrams tanks, M777 tube artillery, and AAV7s for lighter, more mobile units such as JLTVs, MRZRs, ATVs, Loitering Munitions, UAVs, and drones.

The issue is that heavy M1A1s are too slow to move around and the enemy can see one coming via LCU and LCAC.

Naturally, the Marines are being very secretive as to how and what the Marine Littoral Regiments consist of and the main complaint is that they will lack direct firepower as Light Infantry with the removal of the heavy armor and punch. Instead, they will act as a tripping force and saboteurs. Even today, it is unknown what the Marines plan to buy to replace what they have retired and divested…and the trick to do it is by not asking for more funding from Congress.


I can understand this mindset for airborne, but not Marines. (BTW did Army Airborne come up with a replacement for the Sheridan tank?). The bottom line is the DOD is looking to save money by creating all these “commando units”.
It’s all part of the “we refuse to call it a war” mentality. It goes on for decades instead of years.
God help the troops caught in harms way without sufficient support.

Blackhawk Down ring a bell.


Softskin vehicles are cheaper than armored cars. Somebody figured it was good enough… but I doubt they left their desk.


While it does seem that the future promises more LIC than conventional warfare the policy may be penny wise and pound foolish. It’s much easier to scale back a larger force and tailor it to LIC than to upgrade “commando” type units to fight a conventional war. Select conventional units should be cross trained for both types. If there is need to expand the commando units these cross trained units can provide the cadre for additional forces.

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Several vehicles have been developed to replace the Sheridan since the 80’s. But none have ever been purchased. Usually for budgetary reasons. Fielding a type only used by one battalion in the whole Army is not gonna be a mass produced lower cost item. The Stryker family is probably as close as it will get to happening anytime soon.

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The BAE M8 AGS and the General Dynamics Land Systems 105mm Mobile Protected Firepower light tanks are being tested right now. Here is a photo of the General Dynamics offering.

The issue is that the US never did have any light or medium tanks for the Army or the Marines to use unlike Russia and China that has a wide assortment of T-series tanks to choose from in all weights and classes.

Even with the MPF, the USMC said that they won’t field armor and will stick with 30mm as their heaviest caliber (on the ACV 30mm). The Marines believe that Loitering Munitions and UAVs can make up for the tank.

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The Army had light tanks from the earliest days of armor until the last M551 was retired. All thru WWII, Korea, and into Vietnam, light tanks were part of Army tank unit TO&Es. Medium tanks evolved into todays MBTs when the M48 morphed into the M60.
The Marines got rid of their light tanks by 1945, and although they did have heavy tanks with the M103 until about 50 years ago. But the Marines pretty much went with the Mediums to MBTs in their tank battalions from 1945 on.

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Yes, but what I meant was that after the M1 Abrams was fielded, the US struggled to field a modern light and medium tank because the US believed that the M1 Abrams suited all purposes. I wasn’t referring to going that far back before the M1 was fielded in the Reagan Era.

So that means with the divestment of the USMC M1A1, the USMC has no other tank to pick to substitute because the M1 Abrams is THE tank in DoD…there aren’t any other US tank choices.

That goes to doctrine. The days of the light/medium/heavy tanks in doctrine ended long ago. The light tank role of scouting and screening went to other types: M114, M113/M901, then M3. Each type has their vices and virtues in the role.

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