Time to send the Marines!
As usual the post will mix a little fluff and some (bad as usual) pictures.
The III Marine Expeditionary Force
The other main component of US Force China is the III MEF. Once being a full Amphibious Corps, the Vth, the III MEF has shrunken and grown according to the whim of Washington. At the moment, It has been expanded to MEF sized again, but until March 2025 it was just a single Expeditionary Brigade, the 4th. The expansion has been hurried and unit have been thrown up as fast as possible to create some sort of deterrent force in time. Still they are the most organized and cohesive force beside the PLA. The III MEF comprises the full 1st Marine Division, the 3rd Marine division (still a sort of rump, it was brought up to strength in 2015 for the China War then after the ceasefire again reorganized as a rump to save money), and the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The Two divisions comprise the Vth Amphibious Corps and the 4th MEB is the theatre reserve. The Marines have not changed much in the past 10 years. The failure of the F-35 Project has left with a legacy force of proven F-18 and AV8B. The airframes have been constantly updated and probably they are much better than the amorphous machine that was supposed to replace them (yes I do not like the Joint Silly Fighter, ask the BAE program manager…). Vehicles had stayed the same. The china war stopped the corps cold with his idea of replacing the LAV and the war expenses killed the AAV replacement program. To a certain extent the 2015 War in China has sent shock waves and almost frozen several new equipment programs worldwide. Huge losses in equipment, the realization that depending on technology for game changing miracle was a fool’s errand, and the necessity to rapidly expand conventional forces to cope with a conflict of such proportion have forced a revision of several programs (plus I got to use my toys that is the main reason of the campaign…). To a certain extent the US had been force to quickly refurbish older generation tanks (M48A5 and M60A3) for the 2015 war and it still maintain large stocks of them to allow rapid mobilization of reserve forces at bargain prices.
The 4th MEB
Having been the only resident unit in Shanghai the 4th MEB (or, like some officers called it the 4th Marines) had been a critical element in US policy in China. In the last three years the brigade has provided mainly a standing force and security patrol (mounted, dismounted, and riverine) along the easternmost part of the Blue Line. It has never been employed along the ‘Corridor’ to Beijing. While officially in a reserve posture the Brigade had several clashes with bandits that have recently escalated with the rise of the CPPW (Chinese Party of Peasants and Workers). The Brigade is made up of the 4th marines (3 battalions) one artillery battalion from the 11th Marines (usually on rotation), and company sized attachment from the 1st Tank battalion, 1st combat engineer Battalion, and other support units. The command staff was drawn from the 1st Marine division. Usually an additionally afloat MEU was on call. With the deployment of the 3rd and 1st Marine divisions in spring and early summer 2025 the Brigade had been restructured and named III MEF Theatre Reserve. It has lost the 2/11th Marines and the company attachments, but gained several reserve elements, the 1/23rd, the 4th Tank Battalion, the 4th Light Recon Battalion, the 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, the 2nd battalion 14th Marines (155mm Artillery) and elements of the 4th Amphibious Tractor Battalion. The reserve attachments are intended to be temporary while the administration and the JCS debated the idea to call to active service the whole 4th Marine Division. The speed of the Russian assault and the semi-conventional Tet style offensive of the CPPW in the area around shanghai ensure that the brigade was committed as it was, instead of being the nucleus for a third Marine Division in China.
The commander of the Brigade, General McDaniels, had been the main point of contact with the other national contingents and the PLA, often straying away from official guidance from the State Department’s Mission to keep the multinational force together. His work with other officers still ensured that when the enemy offensive came there was some kind of cohesive response. The 4th MEB had also spawned the man who, almost singlehandedly destroyed the Administration plan to cut and run.
The Marines are Eureka, bought at salute in 2012 and finally completed last April. Now have been reinforced by 2 MG and one smaw team waiting in the painting line (actually waiting until miss Mya is back into London so I can get my forward deployed painting set again). I have decided to go for a Desert Marpat theme opposed to a woodland. Well it was a quite difficult decision. I like both schemes (and you can see the images of the Recon team in Woodland) and probably I am a bit better with the woodland than with the desert. Still the troops had been secured with the aim ot employ them into Fallujiah and Anbar province first. The first fire team had been painted almost immediately after Salute 2012. I am not 100% sure of the scheme, It works from a distance but well… I am more satisfied with the Multicam and ACU. The pictures I have seen in recent books are sometime puzzling, sometime the overall impressions look more creamy (as in my guys) sometimes more sandy. The rationale is that some of the Marine Units deployed are coming from different theatres so they are saddled with the equipment already distributed. The III MEF had been hurriedly built. On the other hand the Majority of 28mm Scenarios will use only one reinforced squad usually, so probably I will be able to have sufficient troops in woodland Marpat. I will definitely do Woodland when I will get the Empress new arrivals… (well first KS has to… well… start). Supporting this force I have 2 deAgostini LAV25 die-cast (1/43 more or less) that I have repainted in three tones NATO camo and 2 Hobby master 1/56 M1A1, one desert and one NATO Camo that are quite nice. It was a real shame that hobby master did not pursue its range of 1/56 vehicles.
Well I found an old image of the desert version of the M1A1...