British United
Services Club
of Los Angeles

Friday, October 16, 2015

President – Major Sandor X. Mayuga, United States Air Force Reserve

President's Message for the 2015 Navy Night
For about 150 years, through the mid-20th Century, naval strategists fantasized about “Crossing the T,” a tactic in naval warfare in which a line of warships crosses in front of a line of enemy ships, allowing them to bring all their guns to bear while receiving fire from only the forward guns of the enemy. It was one of the most useful tactics (if it could be executed) in engaging enemy fleets. It became especially possible in the late nineteenth and early twentiethcenturies with the advent of steam-powered battleships with rotating gun turrets that could move faster and turn quicker than fixed-gun sailing ships. Order of the Day: Divide and conquer. 

Perhaps the most notable example of this strategy dates back to October 21, 1805 and the Battle of Trafalgar, where with 27 ships Admiral Lord Nelson took on a line of 33 Spanish and French Ships, perfectly executing the strategy. Final Box Score: England 22, France 0, Spain 0.  Despite the lopsided victory, the British suffered a huge loss. They lost the tactical and strategic
skills, the leadership and inspiration, the persona of a larger than life hero in the pantheon of the  British nation: Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson. This Navy Night, the BUSC commemorates the 210th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of “The Immortal Memory.”

Obviously “Crossing the T” won’t work in today’s naval warfare: The tactic became obsolete when aircraft (and now missiles) allowed navies to accomplish long-range, “beyond-the-horizon” strikes. Except when adversaries intentionally play “chicken” to dramatize bravado, national space and a “line in the sand,” as a practical matter naval adversaries don’t need proximity to attack one another. They rely on a technological morass of untold numbers and kinds of sensors, frequencies satellites and weapons, all coordinated from thousands of miles around and above the Earth’s surface and from the depths of the oceans. Everyone tracks one another 24/7/365.

But even with (and perhaps because of) the advances in intelligence collection, analysis and computer modeling, now more than ever our naval leaders need to use their best skill and judgement to interpret and evaluate that intelligence and to convey and advise our strategic policymakers at the highest levels of government as to how to use and present our naval power to
preserve our future security. So even after 210 years of technological advancements and changes in tactics and weapons, the most critical decisions affecting national security - war or peace - ultimately come down to, as in Nelson’s time, the “human factor.” Someone has to develop strategy based on the best intelligence. Who will be (or can anyone be) our 21st Century Nelson?

At this month’s Navy Night, we look forward to a presentation about Lord Nelson from a very unique, very personal angle, an angle we have heard about from suspicion and innuendo but not from knowledge. Please join us for a truly enlightening presentation from our authoritative speaker, a U.S. Navy veteran who has studied Horatio Nelson for over 50 years. And, like Air Force Night, I can promise you some new and different “touches” that will inspire us all and be
great fun. See you next month. Go Navy!

Program – The Admiral Lord Nelson You Probably Don’t Know!