Podcast Episode 1: Fleet Tactics with Lt. Col. Nate Lauterbach

In today’s episode I discuss Captain Wayne Hughes (USN) book Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations with Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Lauterbach. Fleet Tactics is the US Navy’s unofficial Bible for understanding the tactical logic of naval combat. In this episode we explore why Marine Corps officers need to think more like sailors. We discuss why  many so called “principles of war” and tactical maxims invented by soldiers do not make sense in the world of the sailor, why naval warfare is inherently a process of attrition, why the offense has the stronger hand in naval conflict, and how these tactical dynamics might lead to strategic instability in a competition with China.

Lieutenant Colonel Lauterbach is a career naval aviator serving in the US Marine Corps. He has served five combat tours, piloted Huey helicopters, and served in staff positions in both acquisitions and command and control roles. He is a recent graduate of the School of Advanced Warfare (“SAW School”) and currently serves as a planning officer for the Marines’ 2nd Aviation Wing in North Carolina.


Patreon supporters who would rather read than listen to this content can find a transcript of this episode here. An RSS feed for the podcast can be found here.

Show notes

The main book: Wayne Hughes, Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, 3rd ed. (Annapolis: USNI Press, 2018).
Nate’s twitter: @JungianThings.

Other things mentioned:

Tanner Greer, “The Tip of America’s Spear is Being Blunted,” Foreign Policy (6 July 2020)
Nathaniel Lauterbach and Heather Venable, “Between a Rocket and a Hard Place,” Marine Corps Gazette (Jan 2021)

Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication-1: Warfighting (1997)

Andrew Krepenivich, Maritime Competition in a Mature Precision-Strike Regime (2015)

Edward Miller, War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945 (2007)
S.C.M. Paine, The Wars for Asia (2014) and The Japanese Empire: Grand Strategy from the Meiji Restoration to the Pacific War (2017)

Stormtrooper Tactics in WWI
Guadalcanal Campaign
Battle of Midway-Animated
Battle of Inchon/Operation Chromite
Desert Storm–The Air Campaign, Day I
Desert Storm–The Ground Campaign, Day 2
Operation Iraqi Freedom

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5 Comments

I have some feedback regarding technical aspects based on episode 1:
1. Podcast descriptions need to be fixed. Currently only the first paragraph (from this post) is showing up. I tested this in Overcast and Apple Podcasts.
2. I would consider putting a few chapters – it’s a useful functionality that takes a only a couple minutes to add and it would be useful when revisiting an episode in search of a particular thought. On macOS a free tool called Forecast by Marco Arment is available; on iOS Ferrite app can be used (I’m unsure about Windows).
3. I would think about slightly changing intro length so that it’s either 25 or 30 seconds. Many folks skip intros and often this feature allows for 5-second increments when setting up. Perhaps an intro is actually unnecessary – there are popular shows (like Accidental Tech Podcast or The Talk Show With John Gruber) that do without them.
4. Putting “Episode XX” in the title of each episode is a bit too much in my opinion. I’m pretty sure everybody who listens to podcast knows that each entry is a separate episode. If it were up to me I would at the very least shorten it to “Ep. XX”, use just the number or even remove it completely. I think that this change would be appreciated by those whose devices don’t allow for displaying very long lines of text (for reasons of accessibility or physical constraints of the device).
That being said, the whole thing seems promising and I’ll definitely keep it in my subscriptions.

Very helpful comments, thank you! Re comment 4: That is an especially useful one. The episode title is actually a legacy of an earlier version of this site, where the blog posts and the podcasts episodes were presented on one feed and I was looking for a way to distinguish the content for readers. That problem has been solved by keeping new podcasts off of the normal RSS feed, so that might not be necessary in the future.