Author Topic: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"  (Read 118491 times)

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Offline Infanteer

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"Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« on: October 15, 2005, 18:01:27 »
After recommendation from Matt Fisher, who caught the author's presentation, I read "Trading the Saber for Stealth: Can Surveillance Technology Replace Traditional Aggressive Reconnaissance?" by Major Curtis D Taylor.   The document can be found on the ILW site and is a highly recommended read:

http://www.ausa.org/pdfdocs/LWP_53.pdf

The paper is highly critical of the Modular Force design which focuses almost entirely on passive surveillance assets that rely upon stealth to find out information about the enemy.   Using case studies from actual military campaigns (Operation Torch, Gulf War, Iraq), Taylor questions the rationale behind many popular notions of information dominance based upon the idea of stealth surveillance that are so prevalent in military dialogue today.

His conclusions are summed up in 6 themes:
  • Tempo drives reconnaissance
  • The Movement to Contact is the most common type of offense
  • Adaptive enemies often do not fit doctrinal templates
  • Commanders require human intelligence more than imagery
  • Most useful intelligence is bottom up
  • Lightly armoured scouts cannot support high-tempo operations
I feel the themes that he explores have a high degree of relevance to how the Canadian Forces is approaching many different ideas, especially with the Armoured Corps.   This relevance can be put into two broad themes that are the focus of Major Taylor's study.

First off, Maj Taylor is not critical of surveillance systems per se (in fact the opposite appears true, he has praise for the LRASS system and the capabilities it offers) but rather he is critical of their abilities due to how they are employed.   This includes both ground based sensors (such as our vaunted Coyote mast) and UAVs.

His reasoning is deduced from the relationship of a few factors that were prevalent in the case studies he looked at.   The first big one was tempo.   As you go up the Spectrum of Conflict to all out warfighting, the tempo of the battle increases (tempo is defined as "the rate at which a commander must solve tactical problems").   Maj Taylor found that the tempo was simply too much to allow surveillance assets to be properly employed, especially when the vehicle they were employed by was concerned.   From this, he derives the fact that Light "Mud" Recce is almost useless in high-tempo war.

The tempo of a fast-moving gunfight at the far end of the Spectrum of Conflict was too much for lightly armoured vehicles as they risked being destroyed by being rushed into getting surveillance in manner inappropriate for their capabilities.   Commanders had three options: slow the tempo down, put their "stealth" recce vehicles at extremely high risk, or use another method/platform to gather intelligence.   They used the third option, fighting for their information; slowing the tempo down was unacceptable as it was driven by the plan and was a key asymmetrical advantage for US forces and putting recce vehicles at high risk gain was unacceptable for a variety of reasons (questionable ability to get what was needed, low tolerance for casualties, etc).

The second big factor was that of "battlefield density", to which he breaks down into 2 components; terrain density and and enemy distinctiveness.   A battlefield that is more dense in these two factors means that the terrain acts as a larger inhibitor of sensor capability.   The first one is obvious - a physically cluttered or sheltered battlefield (cities, mountains, jungles) will be one in which the ability of sensors will be degraded.   As well, if the enemy seeks to avoid our strength by dispersing, taking on indiscreet dress, and using insurgent hit-and-run tactics then he is less liable to be properly "templated" (the alter of templating is amusing derided in the paper as "iconology").   This relates very closely to what the Australians are working with regarding complexity and the notion of the "ISTAR Threshold" - in order to avoid our strengths an adaptable enemy will use complex physical, human and informational terrain to get under our ISTAR threshold.   From this, we can derive the notion that Sensory Surveillance has limited utility in high-tempo, complex operations.

They only way to get around these problems?   Humint and the good old-fashioned advance to contact - yes folks, the US military in Iraq in 2003 still had to fight for its information.   This leads me to some following thoughts on our own Army:

1.   Is our Army Reserve chasing the lame duck with the notion of "Armoured Recce" with the G-Wagon?   Maj Taylor states the the HUMVEE should be taken entirely out of reconnaissance tasks.   His assertions in the paper seem to indicate that "Light, Mud Recce" as a concept is largely useless, which I guess entails our own G-Wagon, the French VBL, the Eagle, or even the German Fennek.

2.   The Coyote seems to be on the lower-end of vehicles that are acceptable in high-tempo operations (definitely better than a HUMVEE); are we limiting its utility by using it as a surveillance vehicle?   The tempo of Peace-support operations seems slow enough to allow its superb surveillance suite to be gainfully employed, but it seems to me that the LAV/Coyote must be given a role/doctrine that is useful and appropriate for it capabilities in wartime - from Major Taylor's case studies, it seems we simply won't have the time to properly employ the surveillance suite.   Although the Coyote seemed to excel in warfighting operations in trials at the NTC (see here for details; it now appears that Maj Taylor's essay seems to completely undermine this article), Maj Taylor has pointed out that case studies from Iraq show that the tempo of warfighting was higher in orders of magnitude over that experienced by commanders going through the NTC.   I feel that a LAV-CAV model that we have explored here would be the correct avenue to pursue.

3.   Is our doctrine being lulled/influenced into the notion of "perfect situational awareness"?   MarkC's excellent criticism of exercise "Perfect Kill" along with other things I've seen (ie: The Army Force Employment Plan) seems to indicate that we are and that we are wrong to do so.   Advance to contact and HUMINT were the two biggest factors in developing and idea of the enemy ("templating") in both conflicts in the Gulf.   And it is not a factor of not enough sensors - low level commanders stated that they simply had too much junk information passed down from above.

4.   I know we've went over this before, but I think this serves to underline the point that we are foolhardy to lose our MBT capability.   Major Taylor explicitly states that Advance to Contact is still the premier method of fighting for information and getting a tempo that is faster than the enemies Decision Cycle.   This is an asymmetric advantage of our high-tech, professional military forces and we are foolhardy to sacrifice it to an enemy who knows how to fight us.   Woe to us, I guess   :-\.

Anyways, very interesting paper with some (what I feel) valid conclusions.   Time for a little PD; read the article and contribute your thoughts and criticisms.

Cheers,
Infanteer
« Last Edit: October 16, 2005, 02:28:38 by Infanteer »
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2005, 19:37:20 »
Lets not blame the "Army Reserve chasing the lame duck with the notion of "Armoured Recce" with the G-Wagon?" Where they are and the coming under gunned regulars are is the low intensity training force as shown in the article by Maj Taylor. I hate to say it but the highest levels of the CF are not saying keep the tank. Pretty sad state of affairs in our transformed state.

Maybe we should coin a new term - you say say Transformation - I hear Transylvania. That should get inside the leadership's mind.

One can transition up to a Tank as was done by Germans in WW2

But with no Tank - it seems to me that there is a limit to the hard nosed means you have to get the information ends. So we are in a fix - and unlikely to get out of it - is what I gather.

A classic catch 22 summed up by Theme 4 -  Commanders require human intelligence more than imagery. You must be able to go see the customer's site - where the enemy is eating lunch.

All in all a great article which does much to drive home the concept of recce to this Bn Train type!

You can visit me when I retire to the Island of Sayonara - but if the tide goes out - you go too - OK?

Offline Infanteer

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2005, 23:18:14 »
Lets not blame the "Army Reserve chasing the lame duck with the notion of "Armoured Recce" with the G-Wagon?" Where they are and the coming under gunned regulars are is the low intensity training force as shown in the article by Maj Taylor.

It's not "blame", it's a questioning of direction of not only the Reserve Force and the Regular Force as well.   Whether it be the light-skinned mud recce vehicles (The Reserves in the G-Wagon) or the notion of information dominance with surveillance-by-stealth platforms (The Regular Force and the Coyote), the paper seems to do a good job of shooting up both.   Are we setting ourselves up for trouble?

As for "low intensity training"; I'm not going to settle for that.   We are hearing "Three Block War" and "Full Spectrum Ops" thrown around like candy these days and I assume that   these mean the farthest block or end of the spectrum, warfighting.   If we aren't preparing for that, then saying and doing are two different things in the CF and we've got a problem.   It is easier to gear down from "warfighting" to the other levels than it is to relearn our lessons the hard way.   The Aussies have managed to figure out how to do this, so why can't we.

Quote
I hate to say it but the highest levels of the CF are not saying keep the tank. Pretty sad state of affairs in our transformed state.

Yes; it is my understanding that, unlike the last time when Trudeau tried to shut the CF down, the decision to get rid of MBT capability and jump on Gen Shinseki's train was an internal punch to the nose (which shows a total lack of the context of the Interim Brigade Combat Team).

Quote
One can transition up to a Tank as was done by Germans in WW2.

Remember, the Germans had a Tank Training site in the Soviet Union and had armoured warfare ensconsed in their new doctrine (Regulation 300: Truppenfuhrung) even while they lacked the actual tank.   We've written that off, gunning for a reserve force of Light Recce (which the article says is of very limited utility) and a regular force built around surveillance (which the article says is of very limited utility).

Anyways, that was the heart of my argument.   I guess the next step is (I alluded to it) how can we make what we got work better?

« Last Edit: October 16, 2005, 01:03:03 by Infanteer »
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Michael Shannon

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2005, 01:40:51 »
I hope no one believes that the equipping of militia armoured units is based on "doctrine". They had to have something to drive in. AFVs & G Wagons were out because of cost. Disbandment was out because the reserves are already well below the LFRR goals for numbers and you'd naturally lose some people on being re-badged. Re-rolling would be a possibility but again would be expensive. Voila! Pick-up truck regiments. A complete waste of time...although it's probably jolly good fun & quite comfy having a crew cab to live out of in the field on ex.

Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2005, 01:53:33 »
MS,

The Reserve Armoured Recce units are slated for the G-Wagon C&R version. We still use the Iltis in the interm.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2005, 02:34:31 by recceguy »
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2005, 02:21:00 »
I hope no one believes that the equipping of militia armoured units is based on "doctrine".

No - infact, I'd argue that much of the equipping Army wide isn't based on doctrine either for the very fact that our Army lacks a comprehensive doctrine (we have nice, tasty, zero-nutrition cognitive doctrine though).   However, going with the "train as you fight" mantra, the Reserve armoured units are given the G-Wagon's and are designated "Armoured Recce" units; so they'll develop tactics, techniques and procedures along those lines.   The analysis provided by Major Taylor is that "Armoured Recce" and "Light Wheeled Vehicle" shouldn't go together (at least in the high-tempo, warfighting environment) - this analysis is still up for dispute though (one reason why I put this up).

Regarding the reserves, I believe this leaves us with a few alternative options.   We either state flat out that Armoured training in the reserves will continue to focus on "Armoured Recce" but only in a permissive environment (ie: two out of three blocks).   I don't think this is a very good idea; as I stated earlier we should train for warfighting first and gear down for lower tempo operations on the spectrum of conflict.   The other option to explore is to reroll Armoured Reserve units into DFS units mounted in the G-Wagon to work along with the reserve Infantry in a Light Forces context.   They would train to operate heavier weapons systems (M2, Javelin, AGL) in both mounted and dismounted rolls, providing their bretheren in rifle companies with supporting fires.   The third option of course is to kit them out in AFVs/MBTs like the Americans do, but I think this is off the plate for now.

Anyways, just some more thoughts on the issue,
Infanteer
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Thucydides

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2005, 21:54:20 »
G-wagons and Coyotes represent spots on the recce/conflict spectrum, but we need to be able to tune into "Sirius" radio, not just two stations on the dial.

I would say that for the lower end of "full spectrum ops", something like a G-wagon or HMMVW works very well, since they resemble SUVs and are thus not very threatening. By this logic, Toyota Land Cruisers would be even better, since they are ubiquitous and will attract less attention than a seven foot wide camoflaged HMMVW. Personal contact and presence patrols are best served up in this sort of vehicle (which leads to the question is this really the role of the Armoured?). In Block two, militarized vehicles like the HMMVW can be armed and up-armoured, without being as overtly threatening as an AFV.

On the other hand, as the Major points out, there comes a time when you have to get in there and fight for the information. The US Army had the M-3 CFV (what did happen to them, I wonder?), and Marine LAR battalions use the LAV 25. These platforms give a good balance of mobility and firepower, and also carry dismountable scouts. The 25mm cannons can deal with most threats, and in a LAR battalion the LAVs are backed by mortars and TOWS. The SBCT model provides fire support at the company level, and conventional Cavalry regiments have organic tanks and attack helicopters.

From the context of the paper, it would seem the proper "here and now" recce vehicle for the US Army would be a version of the M-3 with the TOW launcher removed and replaced by the LRASS system. For our purposes, a LAV III with the LRASS or something similar would be a good direction to go. A recce squadron might have a LAV recce troop and a G-Wagon troop, with an LAV III mounted Assault troop to provide close protection when needed and a surveillance troop with Coyote IIs to lay back and supplement the eyes on. (For logistical reasons, the vehicles should be LAV III hulls). As Infanteer says, this is a pretty thin organization, and a full fledged "Cavalry" regiment might be needed, with several squadrons of recce assets. In the future, American Cavalry regiments will probably have to be aggressively reorged from the FCS template of manned and unmanned surveillance vehicles to include the FCS IFV and Tank variant used in the same manner as the M-3 and M-1 was in the past.

As an aside, since many armies like Sweden and Norway issue reserve troop with vehicles like the CV-90 and Leopard II (and they only train two weeks a year), arguments that our Reserve Recce regiments could not handle Coyotes or similar vehicles seem rather like union job protection rackets.

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2005, 23:15:56 »
arguments that our Reserve Recce regiments could not handle Coyotes or similar vehicles seem rather like union job protection rackets.

Best Post of the year goes to you!  :)
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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2005, 00:16:51 »
FWIW - I would bet that the reserve will never see their meager allocation of G-Wagons (and they never where entitled to a 1:1 swap with the Iltis -- hence the MILCOTS Chevy)

 1) Operational Usage - regular and reserve (CIMIC) pers are using these overseas

 2) Fleet Rotation - due to Operational Usage they replace Op vehicle at a certain km/hrs point (that way our entire fleet ages equally - good or bad? I'm not sure its a good idea)

 So get ready BOHICA  welcome to BISON II

 As for employing reservists in Coyote/LAVIII
Trainging
Maintenance

 There are simply not enough hours in a day in a reserve unit to do it -- It does not happen enough in the regs.



Where does that leave the CF - a ghost shell of an Army.  To many people in love with the LAV platform -- Just imagine attempting a Combat Team attack in a LAV "combat" team
 Ring of Tin not steel - who plows the minefield?  Gives Intimate support? etc?


Unfortunately our Army is neither a Light Force nor a Mech Force we have become a mired and entangled swamp of bankrupt doctrine based upon brass and politicans that have no clue of how to fight an Army since we have never had to fight anything since Korea.
 Somalia, Crotia and Afghanistan combat operations where juggled to fit our capability gaps.

We are at a crossroad and either jump headfirst into become a niche army -- or continue to meander aimlessly.

I got my money on continuance with the WE ARE LOST, BUT MAKING GOOD TIME   ::) plodding.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2005, 09:43:51 »
Alas, Kevin, you are quite right in your assessment, but the issues here are more of a "what if" nature (like so much of our Army).

Major Taylor has written a pretty good critique of the concept of using passive surveillance as the replacement for aggressive armed recce, and backs it up with real life examples from WWII, the Persian Gulf War and OIF. If our theories were correct, then we would have seen a huge change in the way operations were conducted between examples as surveillance technologies advanced and matured, but this did not happen. Commanders always had to revert back to advancing to contact and fighting for their information in the 1940s, 1990s and 2000s.

Given this, the idea of G-wagons and certain types of Mud Recce vehicles (i.e. HMMVWs and up-armoured versions like the Eagle) becomes dangerous in mid to high intensity conflicts. If Reserve Armoured "Recce" regiments are consigned to using G-Wagons, then almost by definition they are no longer Armoured Recce but rather a branch of CIMIC. In order to maintain a true Armoured role, they would have to be issued an AFV like a dismasted Coyote with a four man recce team in the back. If cost were no object, specialized vehicles like the Fenick might work (it has a higher level of protection and fire power), or going very high up the scale, M-3 CFVs.

Giving the Reserves "high tech" vehicles like the LAV should not be considered impossible for reasons of training or maintenance. Nordic countries use CV-90 and Leopard II with largely reserve armies, and with a two week annual concentration, they have even less training and maintenance time than we do. American National Guard units have stocks of M-1, M-2 and other front line AFVs, and I believe they only parade one weekend a month. I am sure there are lots of other armies with reserve components that use advanced kit, so to say we would not have enough training or be unable to perform the required maintenance begs the question of how do "they" manage to do it with even less time than we do?

I understand the frustration of trying to figure out how to use an "all LAV" army, the LAV is suitable for many, but not every task. Jumping around this site there are lots of threads devoted to this question ("Combat Team of Tomorrow", "Armoured Cavalry", "Should the Army adopt the LAV III as the sole armoured platform?" are among the most insightful), so we have lots of good ideas which are not constrained by the current "cognitive doctrine". After walking through the AUSA exhibition hall, I saw lots of ideas which could be adopted to mask the weakness of the LAV or overcome critical deficiencies (i.e. the CV_CT turret which successfully mounts a 105mm cannon on a LAV chassis, unlike the current MGS). For the moment we will have to act as evangelists, spreading "the word" and hoping we can effect some change before a future task force runs into a disaster.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Michael Shannon

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2005, 10:56:07 »
There's no place for a separate corps (with all the costs involved) that specializes in patrolling in jeeps and pickups. The infantry already do that. Either give the reserve armoured corps AFVs or rap it up.

On the infantry side it should be made clear that, if AFVs aren't to be provided, the militia infantry are part of the "light" force and not "dismounts" who career aspirations stop at C9 gunner.

Since I don't believe that AFVs are coming to either corps the next step for the infantry would be to be reorganized on the basis of numbered "independent rifle companies" equipped and trained to a level that would justify much shorter pre-deployment training periods and allow for the eventual deployment of cohesive sub-units.

I know that none of this could happen...but it should.

Offline DOOG

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2005, 13:16:29 »
Greetings..
Just a point on Militia using AFVs..some of you must have short memories since about 10 or 12 Reserve units just finished up 20+ years of using AFVs. Some had more success than others. In N.B. the 8CH had a troop of class B pers at LFAA TC gagetown to do the maintenance. The troops bussed to the trg area, did their thing and left. The immediate post ex maint was done by the crews and the follow on was done by the maint troop. This worked fine. As for technical ability, unlike many units out west, there was no Reg Force unit around to help out so the Res units here did all their own instruction on gunnery and D and M. This also worked. Give the Reserves a vehicle and they'll get by. Yes Coyotes and such require more "hands on". That is what simulators in the armouries are for.

G-wagon..an SUV for aggressive soccer moms.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2005, 13:57:44 »
The paper certainly runs counter to some trendy ideas that have been floating around for a couple of years.

I took away several key points (pretty much like Infanteer's):

   a.   lessons learned from simulations and execises (including MILES war) that result in doctrine and equipment changes must be viewed with some suspicion.

   b.  we will still have to deal with uncertainty (for a wide variety of reasons, see my favourite Biddle article) about the enemy and as a result we will still need to put soldiers in harms way to find out (advancing to contact being one method of doing so). 

   c.  leading from that point, we need to make sure that the soldiers out looking have a chance of survival

   d.  related to that point, the soldiers out looking need to be able to fight from time to time

I think that our Coyote/LAV force are a very effective modern reconnaissance force, although I'd like some long range firepower included.  I think that we have a pretty good Cavalry force if we convieve it that way and not as Battlegroups without tanks.  I still worry about protection in close terrain (cities etc).  I'd like the scouts to be able to survive their bad moments (and the enemy's good ones).

In certain theatres there is certainly a place for light vehicles (Rat Patrol in Land Cruisers) for patrolling, but don't rely on those same forces to conduct recce in more high threat/conventional settings.

As for the Reseve issue I will hold fire for now (although I will say "why not?" to having Reserves get Coyote training).  I will say, however, that mounted patrolling sure looks like a Cavalry task, as opposed to an Infantry one.

Cheers,

2B
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 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

Offline Eland

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2005, 23:10:14 »
My thinking is that all you will be able to realistically do with lightly armoured vehicles like the proposed Duro APV, G-Wagen C&R, MOWAG Eagle, and so on is rear echelon or extreme flank recce and security. These vehicles are simply too lightly armoured to be employed successfully in even low-intensity warfare. Then again, I suppose they are a step up from the M38CDN and M151 jeeps I trained in some 25 years ago - with just a pintle-mounted GPMG as the primary weapon and a crew commander holding a pair of binoculars as the main 'sensor suite'. I'll admit that such vehicles may still have some value when intelligence must be obtained by stealth and the threat or risk profile is low to moderate. But even so it looks like a good way to ask for a lot of trouble. Even the Coyote, as useful as it is, has me scratching my head. What happens if you are crewing one of these things and you have to exfiltrate in a big hurry, mast-up? The idea of pairing sophisticated sensor suites with a vehicle not designed to handle them in the first place seems to turn classical reconnaissance doctrine on its head.

The insistence upon employing these Duros, G-Wagens, etc. as if they really could be used as full-fledged armoured recce vehicles seems symptomatic of a government (and military HQ) which is just coming around to the realization it must do something, and soon to reverse the rot in the Canadian Forces - but has little will or ability to spend the proper sums of money needed to do the job right. On top of all that you have the problem of the mostly ignorant Canadian populace who don't want to let go of the Canada-as-helpful-Boy-Scouts fantasy they've lived with for far too long and may be liable to view appropriate purchases in a negative light.
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2005, 23:40:31 »
Gimme back my Ferret.........and add some missles ;D





« Last Edit: October 21, 2005, 23:48:35 by recceguy »
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2005, 23:51:47 »
It seems to me that the ideal "mix" of high and low would be a LAV III with a four man dismount scout team in the back.

The dismounts can do foot patrols and generate HUMINT in low intensity operations, as well as "Sneak & Peek" if there is a need for a low profile in other scenarios. The LAVs provide presence in medium intensity operations, and can fight it out with other light and medium vehicles and enemy Infantry if required in high intensity operations. The dismounts can also supply extra firepower in the form of hand held Anti-Armour weapons (anything from the Carl-G to the Spike will do). A useful addition would be a powerful thermal imaging sight, or even a sort of "periscope", but nothing as complex as the Coyote mast. A recce troop equipped with LAV IIIs in this fashion would be able to operate in the Full spectrum environment, and this could be one of the building blocks of a true armoured Cavalry unit (Direct fire with LAV III hulls mounting 105mm CT_CV turrets, Indirect fire with LAVs carrying turret mounted 120mm mortars, and a mix of surveillance systems and pioneer troops backed by CSS in protected vehicles would complete the picture nicely).

Smaller vehicles like the Fennik "might" do, although they would be deficient in fire power if the enemy is determined to resist, and have much less ability to carry a sufficient number of dismounts. On the plus side, they will be harder to see and can get into places a LAV would not. Otherwise the arguments remain the same.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Matt_Fisher

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2005, 23:08:37 »


His conclusions are summed up in 6 themes:
  • Tempo drives reconnaissance
  • The Movement to Contact is the most common type of offense
  • Adaptive enemies often do not fit doctrinal templates
  • Commanders require human intelligence more than imagery
  • Most useful intelligence is bottom up
  • Lightly armoured scouts cannot support high-tempo operations

Just to flesh out the 'Adaptive enemies often do not fit doctrinal templates' theme  I will quote from Maj. Taylor's article:

"In Operation Iraqi Freedom, most...conventional forces crumbled  quickly and a new unconventional threat emerged:  enemy forces dressed in civilian clothes and abandoned their military vehicles for 'technicals' -- civilian trucks and cars  armed with explosives or heavy weapons.  Because these technicals were virtually indistinguishable from the vehicles of the civilian population, they were almost impossible to detect through observation alone.

Future enemies have certainly learned from the experiences of the Iraqi military in the last two wars.  If a BMP is easily destroyed at two kilometres but a pickup truck with an RPG can infiltrate to within 100 meters of a U.S. tank company, it makes little sense to continue to build battalions of BMPs.  We can expect hat future conventional  enemies will attempt to blend in with the local population by employing forces in civilian clothing and mounted in commercial vehicles."

The civilian population/infrastructure devoid wilderness of military training areas that are Lawfield Corridor or CMTC has led to a false belief in the value of 'stealth/mud' recce.  On the battlefield, the local civilian population will largely continue to go about their daily lives, despite the fighting going on around them. This will result in in a tremendously high rate of 'battlefield density' and gives the enemy a tremendous advantage that he now has the ability to achieve 'true stealth' on us.  No matter what a good job the crew of your Fennek, VBL or similar 'mud' recce. vehicle is at bounding from hull down to hull down position, the enemy dressed in shepherd's garb will be observing, planning and executing his course of action against you.  What is required is a vehicle significantly armed and armored to fight and survive this fight against an enemy armed with light/medium machine guns and manportable anti-tank weapons (RPG-7).

If we want a true 'stealth recce.' vehicle, we should be talking about us dressing recce. troops in local civilian pattern clothing and using beat up Toyota pickup trucks or orange Mercedes dump trucks which would blend in with a civilian population better than a NATO camouflage pattern painted military vehicle.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2005, 23:22:36 »
Matt,

You may be on to something.  In Kabul I felt very comfortable in the rental Land Cruisers that we had for the first bit.  They were beat up and a little broken down but they sure blended in.  Doubt it would work in a full-on shooting war but there is something to be said for it.

Cheers,

2B

p.s. My first Tp WO said "Always bring civies!"
Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

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Offline Infanteer

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2005, 01:03:44 »
p.s. My first Tp WO said "Always bring civies!"

Better yet, "Always buy civvies as soon as you hit the ground".  We should have all been kitted out with Adidas track pants and a Woodland camo jacket when we went to the Balkans.... :warstory:
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline RecceDG

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2005, 12:51:02 »
As long as the vehicles are capable of the same sort of tactical movement (or at least a reasonable approximation) one can move from an ultra-light, ultra-low-surviveability recce vehicle like an Iltis or GWagon to something more capable/surviveable/expensive without too much difficulty. I've done recce in Iltis, M113, and Bison and the skillset was pretty much portable between each vehicle. There was a little bit of a learning curve as one adjusted to the quirks of each individual vehicle, but those were overcome pretty quickly.

The hardest part about moving (for example) from Iltis to Bison was learning to use the ICS and the D&M differences. The tactics didn't change much at all. We just got stuck less often. ;)

So even though something like a GWagon isn't particularly surviveable in high-tempo ops, I don't see that as a major failing, because the crew skills in GW should be directly transferable to a tougher vehicle. If the GW Recce is equipped with ICS, then with the commander in the hatch you can squint at it and see Bison or Lynx or Ferret.

If the recce vehicle of choice is to be a LAV varient with a turret, then give us a turret trainer/gunnery simulator and we'll adapt.

The trick is deciding exactly what vehicle will be used as a "recce trainer" and a "recce deployment vehicle", then buying a lot of them in a hurry and getting them distributed to the units. That was SUPPOSED to happen with Bison, then it was SUPPOSED to happen with LAV, now it is SUPPOSED to happen with GW. Enough with the "tease the soldier" crap, we can't milk the Iltis any longer. Get us SOMETHING!

DG 

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Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2005, 15:14:30 »
If we want a true 'stealth recce.' vehicle, we should be talking about us dressing recce. troops in local civilian pattern clothing and using beat up Toyota pickup trucks or orange Mercedes dump trucks which would blend in with a civilian population better than a NATO camouflage pattern painted military vehicle.

Better yet, "Always buy civvies as soon as you hit the ground".   We should have all been kitted out with Adidas track pants and a Woodland camo jacket when we went to the Balkans.... :warstory:

As long as the vehicles are capable of the same sort of tactical movement (or at least a reasonable approximation) one can move from an ultra-light, ultra-low-surviveability recce vehicle like an Iltis or GWagon to something more capable/surviveable/expensive without too much difficulty. I've done recce in Iltis, M113, and Bison and the skillset was pretty much portable between each vehicle. There was a little bit of a learning curve as one adjusted to the quirks of each individual vehicle, but those were overcome pretty quickly.

While these may be valid points, I think they overlook the thrust of Major Taylor's article. What is being described is variations of HUMINT, or Infantry foot recce. "Dressing the part" is a time honoured technique used in Kenya and Oman by the British (with white troops, no less) with great success, and Robert Kaplan mentions this as a great weakness in current US deployments, since most natives are not tattooed white men with bodybuilder physiques chewing Skoal or Redman...

Armoured troops can do these things, but is this really the primary role of the armoured? Going to Major Taylor's article the main strength of Western forces is the sheer speed at which we can move, and the ability to rapidly adapt and transition between one thing and another. Fast moving armoured fighting vehicles are the key in this model, and if they have the ability to transport (or escort) dismounted scouts then so much the better. Being able to move tactically will not count for much if you have little or no protection or fighting power when discovered, which was proven again and again with "jeep" recce in Tunisia, or HMMVW recce platoons in the Persian Gulf War and OIF. The situation was only resolved in the 1940s with the introduction of "Stuart" light tanks and by pressing combined arms formations or Armoured Cavalry units forward in 1991 and 2003. When the overt resistence dies down, the Armoured recce can still maintain the initiative by presence patrols, and rapidly inserting and extracting dismounts (disguised or not) into areas of interest to develop the HUMINT we desire.

By this reasoning, we need to discount the Illtis, G-wagon or proposed Duro APV as possible recce vehicles, and concentrate on a real AFV with at least a moderate level of protection and on board fire power. Our recce also needs a dismounted component, either carried on the recce vehicle itself (i.e. a LAV with a four man scout team) or in a protected vehicle for insertions and extractions (i.e. the ADI Bushmaster)
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline ArmyRick

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2005, 17:40:02 »
after reading Major Taylor article I have a few thoughts.
(1) Complacency kills. I wonder if after so many years of not being in a true slug it out war, if the yanks were not making decisions based on theory and not practice. I am refering to them putting scouts into Humvees. Then commanders are hesistant to commit them  to block three war fighting. Whats the point in having this kind of recce? I wonder if the SBCT Stryker RV will be a good compromise. Its the stryker carrier with the LRAS sight on it and a 6 man crew that dismounts 4. It is armored, fast and has good OP tool on it. It is better protected than a Humvee and faster than a M3. A compromise?

For more info on this stuff during the Iraq war, read "Generation Kill" its about a marine force recon platoon in Humvees and all the ups and downs that went with it.
M'eh

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2005, 19:00:12 »
HUMINT - this is getting overlooked while crew survivability is getting hoisted to a unrealistic expectation.  The M1A2 may be a good High Intensity Battlefield ATC recce vehicle -- but it is not a COIN tool -- other than a fortified pillbox to react from.

 Boot on the ground - US ODA's operating in the neighborhoods -- or a similar Canadian setup will the the only way to gather intel on the enemy.  Set up covert sniper positions in the neighbourhood - run Inf recce dets in local garb and Nissan Terrano's or Toyota Land Cruisers.

 Once again I cannot understand why we got rid of the Iltis - as it had the visibility and ability to interact with the populace -- nothing short of a LAV or perhaps not even that, requiring a M1 to be secure against Anit Armour weapons and VBIED threats.  However in COIN ops we then loose the ability to interact and win the hearts and minds - thus denying the enemy the safety of the community to hide.
 Yes we are softer targets and in the short term may lose more soliders from those attacks -- but in the long run it will serve to bring the populace onboard.

 
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2005, 07:27:04 »
ArmyRick, the Stryker recce vehicel is a good compromise between an unarmoured truck and an M-3 CFV, the major weakness in that design is the lack of on board fighting power, since the sight unit uses the OWS as a mount, leaving the examples I've seen with a pintle mounted GPMG. Other than that, it would meet the needs identified by Major Taylor in the paper, and we are discussing here.

Kevin, what you are saying is true, but what I think is being overlooked (at the risk of sounding parochial) is who is supposed to do these things? If we are concentrating on running HUMINT operations out of jeeps and light trucks, do we need the Armoured Corps to do this? The Composite Reserve Company was doing this mission mounted on Illtis out of Bihac in 2003, with no black hats embedded/attached or otherwise involved at the Coy level.

Moderatly protected AFVs give the speed to swarm and dominate areas, fighting power to stay effective if things so wrong, and if they have a proportion of dismounted scouts available, then the Armoured recce has the ability to generate HUMINT, do low profile "sneak and peeks", or even dismount and continue fighting, giving a much wider range of flexability than currently exists.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony?"
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2005, 08:47:09 »
OK.  I think we should totally ignore HUMINT in this discussion.  It is a form of Intelligence Gathering that anyone can do; not solely a Recce Task.  There are so many types of Int gathering organizations out there, that if you start factoring them in this equation, you will get totally lost and thrown off track (as we can see this discussion going). 

In ISTAR, the new "improved" name for what we have been doing all along, (it seems we are reinventing the wheel all the time).  Recce is Recce.  We have new tools to do the job, but the job has not changed.  Humint is Humint.  Like SIGINT, IMINT, etc., HUMINT is another tool altogether in the Intelligence gathering process.  You bring them all together and come up with your INTREPs and INTSUMS.  It is not RECCEs job to do HUMINT, as it is not HUMINTs job to do RECCE.  They each have their own special niche and role in developing the big picture.

Just to side track for a second; in ISTAR (like everything before us) we are gathering information from our Recce people, our HUMINT people, our EW people, our IMINT people, our SIGINT, people, our flanking Allies, our Higher Comds, etc., and compiling it all together to develop a clear picture of what we are facing.  In saying that, do we need to give them all the same vehicle to gather info?  Of course not.  Therefore, arguing that the guys in HUMINT need the same vehicle as Armd Recce is a mote point.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2005, 08:57:03 by George Wallace »
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