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Army.ca => Combat Elements => Infantry => Topic started by: Infanteer on August 16, 2004, 20:44:42

Title: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on August 16, 2004, 20:44:42
Just wanted to get the ball rolling on some reflection on the bread and butter of the Infantry; the section attack.

As a preamble, I'll offer up the reason why.   Does anyone feel that perhaps we constrain the initiative and reactive abilities of our commanders at the lowest levels, namely the Sergeants and Corporals running the Infantry Section.   The confinement to one technique of destroying the enemy, the frontal assault, could lead us to doctrinal ossification in peacetime and excessive casualties in war.

From my own experience, I've never been involved in a section or platoon attack that has deviated from the full frontal assault (Section/Group/Teams in Extended Line).   The attacks always seem to orient on a piece of ground and try to set in motion a "steam roller" concept based on volume of fire.   To compound the problem, our training methods only reinforce the concept; we fight unthinking OPFOR that is planted by the OC's ahead of the advancing force's axis of advance, only to sit and plink away at the attackers as they repeat attack after attack; even if the platoon or company performs a flanking attack, it is in a full frontal assault (ie: lined up in perfect formation for enfilading fire from depth positions).   How would are small unit tactics hold up to a thinking, fighting OPFOR (in force-on-force exercises) that refused to stay put for an oncoming company, rather exercising rear guard actions, delaying tactics, and counterattacks; in other words reacting to how we are fighting them?

The worst problem may be that this is being ingrained in our junior leadership training.   Time constraints combined with an inflexible doctrine ensure that potential section commanders, rather then being taught to to think their way through each attack, are simply checked off on their ability to react and call out the preset commands at the preset times.   It seems like this may be faulty thinking considering every small unit action has its own unique circumstances based upon terrain, supporting elements, enemy dispositions, etc, etc.

Anyways, much of what I have mentioned is covered in the following two articles that may serve as good tactical primer to the discussion.   The first is a two part article by Captain Michael O'Leary, a member of the staff here, that can be found at his personal webpage.   It refers specifically to the Canadian context and should probably be required reading for all prospective section commanders:

Here is Part I:
http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/papers/sect_atk.htm

Here is Part II:
http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/papers/sect_atk_part2.htm

The second primer is from William S Lind's Maneuver Warfare Handbook.   Since it is a rather significant excerpt from the book, I'll give the proper academic reference of sourcing:

pgs 25-28 of Lind, William S.   Maneuver Warfare Handbook.   Boulder, CO, Westview Studies in Military Affairs; 1985.

Find it here:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/086531862X/qid=1092699744/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-5837602-8634416?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

The book is an excellent "aide memoir" on the principles of fighting a decentralized, fluid "maneuverist" battle; the author geared his book toward the United States Marine Corps, but the elements of his ideas are applicable to the Profession of Arms as a whole.   This section is from Chapter 3, titled Techniques and Organization. It is a bit long, so read it at your own leisure.
----
Although combat experience should indicate otherwise, the rifle squad currently occupies a relatively minor place in Marine Corps tactical thought.   Squad level training and doctrine seem to suggest that the squad has little independent tactical value.   The squad has been relegated to the role of a subunit whose movements are closely controlled by the platoon commander.

Considered in terms of maneuver warfare, this attitude is disastrous.   Because it is often at the point of contact, the squad must be able to react rapidly to changing situations and to seek out enemy weaknesses.   This initiative, for which the German Stosstruppen became famous, demands that the squad assume a primary tactical role and that its organization and training be based on more than movement formations.

The basic structure of the rifle squad should be simple and should reflect the level of initiative expected.   Rather than having two symmetrical teams, as exist now, the squad should be organized into a probing team and a support team.   The probing team, composed of riflemen and grenadiers, should act as the probing, breeching, and, where necessary, assault element.   The support team, armed with the squad automatic weapon and grenade launchers, should provide the firepower to suppress the enemy opposition.

-Maneuver Squad Organization
-1 x Squad Leader
--Support Team
---1 x Team Leader
---2 x Grenadiers
---2 x LMG's
--Probing Team
---1 x Team Leader
---2 x Grenadier
---2 x Riflemen

Although for administrative purposes the squad may have a set structure, the squad leader should task organize his squad according to the situation.   For example, if moving through wooded terrain and uncertain of enemy locations, the squad leader might opt to place only the team leader, a rifleman, and a grenadier in the probing team, reserving the bulk of his strength to exploit the situation as it develops.   If reinforced with an anti-tank missile or a machine gun, the squad leader might again realign his squad, while retaining the functional team structure.   The simplicity of this organization allows the squad leader to react to changing situations without seeking higher level support and approval.

Some of the techniques employed by a squad organized this way will differ from those currently in use.   Most significant, only one basic formation will be needed - the overwatch column.   Much like the squad formation employed by the Army for the past decade, the overwatch column places the probing team forward and the support team to the rear.   Distances between the two vary depending upon the situation.   Individuals within the teams will be positioned by the team leader to meet tactical requirements.

The overwatch column contrasts sharply with existing doctrine, which has the squad shifting through many complex formations attempting to adjust to changing circumstances.   The advantage lies in the simplicity of the formation, which enables the squad leader to concentrate on fighting the enemy rather than controlling the gyrations of his squad.   The teams, specifically organized as fire and maneuver elements, will require minimal control during those crucial initial seconds under fire.

While dividing the squad into two task-oriented teams would appear to separate fire and maneuver, the opposite is in fact true.   Each team, organized and trained for specific tasks, will quickly come to rely on the other for tactical success.   The probing team, being more lightly armed, will search for an immediate, close range threat.   The support team, keyed to the movements of the probing team, being more will position its suppressive fire, either by rapidly shifting fires or by physical displacement, so as to present the enemy with a longer range, equally dangerous threat.   Individually, the two teams present easily counterable menaces; together, they become a combined arms team requiring the enemy to expose himself to one in order to combat the other.

The concept of combined arms can be expanded to the platoon and company level, with one important change.   In addition to forming probing - or at the platoon and company level, penetrating - and support elements, the commander also must form an exploitation element.   While this may sound like current doctrine, which calls for a maneuver element, a base of fire, and a reserve, it is conceptually quite different.   The penetrating element should be as small as possible, seldom more than a reinforced squad.   Its mission is breaching the enemy defence.   Once it has found or created a gap, the exploitation element, containing the bulk of the unit, should push through and expand both laterally and in depth to destroy the enemy position from the rear.   The support element, having suppressed the enemy so the penetrating and exploitation elements could succeed, then shifts its fires forward and to the flanks, supporting the exploitation and enabling the penetration element to continue probing.   At the platoon level this process of probing, penetrating and exploiting will generally be carried out on a single axis.   At the company level, two or three separate penetrating elements may advance simultaneously, with the commander committing his exploitation element where the penetrating element has the greatest success.

This technique requires decentralization of control.   Penetrating elements advance semi-independently, their actions guided by their missions, with control measures limited to zones of action and, sometimes (but not often), limits of advance.   Squad leadership demands initiative and boldness.   The platoon and company commanders, rather than attempting to control squad movement, make the critical timing decisions on when to commit the exploitation element or, at the company level, shift the Schwerpunkt (main effort) from one penetrating element to another.

To enable all three elements to carry out their missions, task organization is essential.   Penetrating elements, particularly those facing prepared positions, may need combat engineer, machine gun, or light mortar support to provide immediate suppression.   Exploitation elements may need anti-tank teams, mortars, and artillery.   Most situationswill entail cross-attachment, dedicated fire support (to include aviation), and minimal, by-exception control measures.   In no other way will small unit leaders be able to create and capitalize on momentary enemy weakness.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Jarnhamar on August 16, 2004, 22:00:38
Quote
To compound the problem, our training methods only reinforce the concept; we fight unthinking OPFOR that is planted by the OC's ahead of the advancing force's axis of advance, only to sit and plink away at the attackers as they repeat attack after attack; even if the platoon or company performs a flanking attack, it is in a full frontal assault (ie: lined up in perfect formation for enfilading fire from depth positions).   How would are small unit tactics hold up to a thinking, fighting OPFOR (in force-on-force exercises) that refused to stay put for an oncoming company, rather exercising rear guard actions, delaying tactics, and counterattacks; in other words reacting to how we are fighting them?

I have a little input comming from an OPFOR point of view.   On an excersise down in the states with miles gear, i was put in charge of a section of enemy force of 6 or 7 guys, 4 or 5 of whom were recruits. (facing a platoon)   While being placed by one of the officers (Stand here here and here and when you see the platoon act like a dummy by standing up and shooting off into the air). The officer caught me shaking my head a little and instead of destroying me he asked what the problem was and i was honest. "Were not really representing an intelligent enemy sir"   he gave it some thought and told me for the rest of the excersise, place the guys myself and react how i think an enemy would.

-Instead of putting our trenches out in the middle of the field, we used cover.
-Our "trenches" (fighting positions really) were often off angle to the line of advance.
-We would use kill zones and only fire when the lead section was right on top of us.
-We would have a position a little ways behind so after the attack and consolidation, the secondary trenches would open fire (I tried to do it during the ammo cas)
-I had everyone aim for the platoon commander first or if it was a section attack, aim for the section commander.
-During a section attack if my guys were still alive and the good guys were getting close (team or group movement), i had them pop smoke and pull back to a secondary position and when the team would clear the trench, ambush them.
-Sometimes in heavy cover or at night i'd have my guys shout and yell ,inclusing messed up commands to throw off the attackers. (retreat, ambush left, pull back, cease fire etc.. That was pretty cheap though)
-Some guys surrendered, some ran away

We pissed off a lot of guys doing that. A mix of looking bad and having to work 3 times as hard to clear a trench.  
The section commanders would often die before half of the section attack was done and it wasn't uncommon for our 2 man opfor team to leave 1 or 2 guys in a section alive at the end of the fight, if not wiping them out completly. The PC ended up telling us to lighten up and let the section commanders do their stuff but made sure to mention it in the after action debreif.

My opinion, "Stupid opfor" works with recruits so they get the basics down. Once troops are trained the 'enemy' should fight with the same intelligence, morale and skill as the 'good guys' do. Anything less and we're cheating ourselves. Sending our guys into harms way expecting the bad guy to fire off shots in the air giving away their position and wait in their trench for the "steam roller" to come is going to get our guys hurt.   In the future we'll likely have better equipment and training than our enemy but i'm willing to bet they have more time under their belt shooting at humans, and not with lasers chalk rounds or blanks.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Gunnerlove on August 17, 2004, 01:05:35
Technology such as Simunitions and MILES gear do something the army does not really like.
They show failures of leadership and tactics. It is very difficult to say your assault was a success when you have no men left and you miles gear is beeping. When we train against a reactive thinking enemy we train to think and react to the changing situation. We will never get that from a bunch of figure 11s stuck in trenches. I love having the leash taken off and being let loose as enemy force and always find it odd that I catch crap for baiting my enemy when that is what a real enemy would do. 

One of my major beefs with the lack of a WES system is the lack of realtime feed back for the troops from the lowest private on up. Just watching troops fire blanks at the enemy in a skirmish drives me nuts as for the most part it is point and pull the trigger. Why aim when you have no chance of hitting your target? Now with MILES gear the troops can actually get "kills" and that instant feedback/reward is what will drive our troops to develop their marksmanship under stressful conditions (the only conditions that count) as well as conditioning them to engage the enemy if they actually end up on a two way range. 

And yes I know the limitations of MILES gear but until I see something better is widespread I will want greater access to it.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: pbi on August 17, 2004, 01:50:37
"My opinion, "Stupid opfor" works with recruits so they get the basics down. Once troops are trained the 'enemy' should fight with the same intelligence, morale and skill as the 'good guys' do. Anything less and we're cheating ourselves. Sending our guys into harms way expecting the bad guy to fire off shots in the air giving away their position and wait in their trench for the "steam roller" to come is going to get our guys hurt.   In the future we'll likely have better equipment and training than our enemy but i'm willing to bet they have more time under their belt shooting at humans, and not with lasers chalk rounds or blanks."

Truer words were never spoken, except maybe for the old saying "train the way you fight, fight the way you train". MILES and other WES are invaluable and we should be spending every spare penny to get more. I remember, back around 1992, seeing my first MILES attack. It was an assault on a defensive position by a dismounted rifle coy. The position was held by about a section. The slaughter inflicted on the assaulting company was fearsome to behold. A few things I recall:

-almost all the leaders were dead within a few minutes, leaving 2ICs and then Cpls and Ptes to lead. This showed me very clearly why all ranks must understand the commander's intent, and why we should work to develop basic leadership ability in all soldiers;

-cohesion and command and control became very difficult, as leaders could no longer stand up, walk around, or wave their arms as they had been fond of doing in their pre-MILES days (days which, I might add, passed on many fatally bad habits...);

-a small group of defenders, well positioned and supplied with lots of automatic weapons, did terrible execution against a larger exposed enemy;   and

-the one medic in the company was swamped very quickly. A company needs one   medic per platoon, with lots of troops trained as combat lifesavers.

It was a huge eye-opener, and it immediately converted me to the value of MILES, even in its very early variant. In my opinion, no troops should be considered operationally ready if they have not completed a combination of live fire and MILES exercises. Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on August 17, 2004, 04:22:41
Ghost, excellent post; a theoretical debate is strengthend by a great degree when it is backed by hard, first-hand experience.   Two points come to mind from your anecdote.

1)   You probably learned more about section command in your assignment as the commander of an enemy force section then you would in the constrained, evaluated environment of a Leadership course.   Given the freedom to experiment with different approaches to the section in the defence, you were able to adapt your tactics and techniques to each unique and fluid combat simulation.   This highlights the importance of the idea of Free Play in combat training from section level up to brigade.   Since this is on the topic of the section attack, we'll keep it focused there.  
Yes, it is important to use "textbook", canned scenario's in order to give potential section commanders the necessary techniques in commanding a section (communication, fire control orders, section maneuver), but I would contend that this is only half of the requirement for training section commanders.   The other half, the tactical component, must be exercised through Free Play, in which both the Attacking Force and the Defending Force are free to experiment with the section in accordance with the particular mission given to them by their Course Officer or Course Warrant; at this point the Course Staff serves to observe, provide guidance, and critique and grade the ability of a soldier in commanding a section.  
The technique portion of the course can be evaluated by the traditional "check in the box" means (yes he gave orders correctly, no he did not effectively make use of his 2ic, yes she gave good fire control commands) while the tactical element should be evaluated by more qualitative means (yes, he make timely decisions and was able to provide a coherent explanation for his choice, no he did not present a sufficient command presence to move his section through the battle, etc).   Obviously, more quantitative means can be used to provide empirical backup to staff evaluations (MILES gear shows section wiped out = poor command decisions, run out of ammo in middle of attack = insufficient management of section supply levels)
Ultimately, Free Play forces student commanders to face eachother and act as thinking and reactive opposing forces.   This stresses initiative and decisive action by the section commanders to ensure they can react to their "thinking" enemy; to prepare students for success in Free Play training scenario's, section level tactics and techniques must be taught with the endstate of how to think, act, and react rather then what to do according to "the book."

2)   You said that you pissed off alot of guys by acting as a "thinking" OPFOR instead of just sitting around and waiting for the Seven Steps of Battle Procedure to descend upon your unfortunate position.   Good on you, because to me your actions injected a great deal of friction into your opponents decision cycle.   Perhaps the frustration with your tactics was a sign that PBI's assessment that we've passed on "fatally bad habits" is indeed correct.
The dictum "train as you would fight" demands that we introduce as much of the friction of the battlefield as we can safely and effectively do.   Only then will the soldiers and leaders of small units recognize the many different sources of friction and become more acquainted on how to incorporate this friction into their decision cycle.   I'm looking through your points and I can see that you introduced the following elements of friction into your training battles through your tactics and aided by the MILES gear:
-uncertainty (you put your trenches in concealed locations and away from the axis of advance)
-casualties (you would initiate fires at close range to wipe out the lead section)
-loss of leadership elements (you would target Platoon and Section commanders)
-changes in enemy tactics (you would launch delaying moves and counterattacks)
-confusion (you would deliberatly attempt to confuse the enemy through yelling commands)
Obviously, anyone who's read any detailed studies of small unit actions (Blackhawk Down would be a good example) knows that these examples of friction, along with others, are part and parcel of battle.   To train without these elements is setting the section commander to be overwhelmed by the uncertainties in battle that will descend upon the "textbook" solution he is trying to administer.   Through Free Play and other methods available to the Staff, friction can be brought in as an essential tool in challenging and assessing Section Commanders in training.
---

As for the points PBI and Gunnerlove bring up; the importance of WES in their ability to provide instantaneous results and feedback to soldiers on the actions they performed is invaluable.   A well ordered and cleanly administered section attack, which would pass under our current system, would be taken in a different manner if the entire section was wiped out on its approach to the enemy position.
This clearly points out the importance of acquiring WES for leadership training; it should be considered along with weapons, ammo and stores as essential to properly evaluating the students and completing the course.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on August 17, 2004, 09:28:27
Sorry if this is hijacking your thread Infanteer but does todays current organization of a section meet the needs on todays battlefields?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Jarnhamar on August 17, 2004, 19:17:32
I hope I'm not railroading your thread branching off a little.
Regarding your first point Infanteer I think a big issue dealing with intelligent enemy force (at the corporal/master corporal level, reserves anyways) is mature soldiers.   We've all seen what can happen when a dummy gets put in charge of troops. Someone gets put it charge and it goes to their head and things get out of hand very fast. They not only hang themselves with the rope their given but their buddies too.

"attacking" a position while standing on the top of an LS, taking off the BFA so shots are louder, putting dirt inside a thunder flash, removing the whistle from an arty-sim, wearing dumb costumes, shouting out *stupid* comments, fishing instead of manning an OP, running around and being invincible. You name it. This is where (drawing from another thread) a corporal irregardless of being in charge of his or her buddies, has to step up to the plate and be an NCO.   Ideally a Sgt would be an enemy force section commander with a MCpl as a 2iC but it's often a corporal is put in charge. If our junior leaders act like children we can't expect the leadership to trust them with troops, let alone making decisions for themselves.

Regarding thinking enemy, heres another example I have which i think is a very good one. I'll try to keep it short. (Most of my input just comes through examples heh)
As enemy force for JLC students in the defensive role, i had to put in two attacks. The students were digging trenches in the middle of a field, we drove up the road in an LS, dismounted, formed an extended line and walked up to the trenches and attacked, clover leafing around them to give everyone a chance to shoot us up. They saw us kilometers away. A single rifleman could have took us all out. 3/4ths of the way through the DSS staff said "alright guys, thats enough take off" so we stood up and went back to the truck.
Pretty straight forward.
On the second attack we had an idea. To the side of the platoons position was a high mound   a good 150 meters long, maybe more. (anyone who's been to the matawa plains knows what I'm talking about, near the tower). We thought we should sneak up.   I passed the idea by the DS staff and they said sure but if we *ucked around we'd be charged. (fair enough). When the time came we drove the LS out near the position, left it in a depression in the ground and with the mound blocking the platoons sight of us, walked up to the mound. (Just to point out, out of 8 i was the only infantry soldier there, the rest were armored, artillery and service guys, not one of them ever did a propper section attack). Breaking the group into 2 teams of 4, the plan was to use group movement attacking the trenchs, firing off our ammo then withdrawing 4 by 4, covering each other in bounds.   It went off perfectly. We lobbed smoke grenades over the mound which covered us and in teams we charged over the top in teams shooting at them in a pathetic looking section attack. We fired off some mags and then withdrew back the way we came using smoke grenades.
I wouldn't try to pass ourselves off as highspeed in any sense of the word but we completely took them off guard.   (Mind you this was day 4 of a field ex with little sleep of food for them, in their defense).
After the smoke grenades went off and we charged at them shooting guys were STILL digging their trenches. They had no idea what was going on. Even half way through the battle they were still confused and didn't seem to know what was happening.We took a few trenches and fought from there. The DS staff threw tear gas into the mix to make it even more fun. (I had an armored private think he was immune to the stuff and tried running through it like a hero without a mask, we had to drag him out of the green cloud heh).   We withdraw and to their credit they counter attacked the hill we were hiding behind but only after 15 minutes and us expending all our ammo from the mound, we were well on our way back to the LS. A last point. I was ordered not to have any of my guys be taken prisoner by the DS (they had to die or run). Of of my guys lost his bushhat so i sent him walking back to get it and told him to make sure they know the attack was over that he was just getting his bush hat, he didn't have a rifle. They took him prisoner anyways but they had no idea what to do with him, he wasn't even searched.

The point behind my example. They simply did not expect to fight an enemy that they were not wrned about 10 minutes in advance. The guys did fine when they saw the enemy force 2 KMs away and walking up the field like sheep. They saw us comming and had time to prepare.   When they were suddenly attacked, without warning, they didn't know how to react. These were trained privates and corporals selected for a leadership course. I understand the need to get the basics down and run through the drills but i honestly think with our training were getting into a rut.   We engage the enemylike it's a turkey shoot. The bad guys are placed right infront of us and we "kill" them then pat ourselves on the back for excellent work, when thats just not how it happens.

I really think we need to break out of this canned enemy ideal and I think we need to do a lot more, as you eluded to, than just check off a box saying private so and so did this. He was there so now he's qualified. We need to train our guys to think on their own and not just use what they read in a manual verbatim. Other wise were getting leaders using 'parade square section attacks' in the field which just doesn't work.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Pte.OShea on August 18, 2004, 15:32:04
I'm glad this topic was brought up. Constantly on my SQ I was very very curious about a casualty amount during a section attack. The only justification I could come up with was that there is a possibility with the amount of fire going downrange, the enemy won't stick their head up. That's a longshot though, because as stated in the first post, their could be counter-attacks and the like. I liked training and doing the section attack but I really wasn't sure how effective they were. Made me say to myself, "Ah I shouldn't question it, the Army has been doing these for years and know what they are doing." Have any of you had any overseas experience with a section attack in a real firefight?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Brad Sallows on August 18, 2004, 16:47:19
And that pinpoints the one thing WES can't easily do: suppress defenders.  WES are of course better than none at all, but there is still an important lesson being missed if the effective use of suppressive fires (direct or indirect means) can't be demonstrated or employed.  I am curious: with MILES gear, do defenders fire from cover with relative impunity except from well-aimed direct fire, or do umpires stand behind the defensive position and intermittently shine some sort of "god" flashlight over parts of the position to attempt to model, say, mortar fire?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on August 18, 2004, 17:39:12
Brad

These two reports on WES describe the Area Weapons Effect Simulations as well as the DFWES.  Everything  from hand grenades and mines to "Razzle Dazzle" effects.


http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/community/mapleleaf/html_files/html_view_e.asp?page=vol7-14army#e2
http://www.forces.gc.ca/dless/wes/questions_e.html

Cheers
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on August 18, 2004, 18:23:39
Brad:

MILES is only one form of WES (this is unofficial jargon I'm using).   Simunition, essentially "high speed paintball", is another form used by the Army.   With a simunition round (and the pain from getting hit by one), many of the issues you brought up regarding MILES can be addressed.   Although there are tradeoffs in using Simunition as opposed to MILES; both are very useful training tools and either is more effective then just running through the fields popping off blanks.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Slim on September 02, 2004, 23:41:29
Please all, don't laugh when I ask this but I'm a little curious...

Has anyone (read:unit) ever measured, or attempted to measure, the effects of accurate sniper fire on an advancing unit using MILES gear? Could a sniper/observer team render a unit non-functional? and how big would the unit have to be before they could overcome effective enemy fire and destroy the sniper/observer team?

It strikes me as incredibly relevant and a method that has been used in the Balkans during Peacekeeping ops by both sides. I imagine that, as we deploy around the world, we will see more "small unit engagement" of this sort.

An interesting training problem that could easily be gamed out using current training equipment. (MILES gear)

Slim
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on September 03, 2004, 21:23:27
Yes a sniper det can easily deter a coy size (they are what you call a force multiplier).   They can easily bring an attack to a dead stop.   I have been on a few good attacks where the staff purposely killed off the leadership or C9's.   Although I don't think its practiced much a infanteer should at least know the job one level up from himself.   I also find that a section that has a lot of cohesion can overcome a lot of obstacles in the short term.  
The idea of enemy force playing dumb is so that the troops can get the basic skills down.   Unfortunately the more advance skills are never really followed up.
There is also the doctrine that we use overwhelming numbers to take out said positions.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Slim on September 03, 2004, 22:31:15
There should be a point in which the commander would say "ok, we've got the basics down...Now lets carry on with some advanced level training." Whether everyone has caught on or not.

At that point the orders to the enemy force aught to be "do your best to kill as may troopies as you can, using any method at your disposal." (This would include ambushes, lay back shooters, mines and booby traps, the works!)

One of the things I have constantly heard is that troops are never really trained for war, unless the commander is very bright or forward thinking (although, from personal experience, those do tend to get stepped on!)

It shouldn't be hard to develop in practice.

Slim :D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Fishbone Jones on September 04, 2004, 01:54:45
Could a sniper/observer team render a unit non-functional? and how big would the unit have to be before they could overcome effective enemy fire and destroy the sniper/observer team?


Slim,
 While he was an extrordinary person and sniper, Carlos Hathcock was credited with holding off and killing most of a platoon, of NVA regulars, during Viet Nam. Excerpt below:


GySgt. Hathcock and his spotter held an entire
full strength NVA Platoon (confirmed) at bay
for well over 24 hours
GySgt. Hathcock and his spotter, armed with an M-14
shot nearly everyone that tried to escape
When darkness fell, they called in illumination flares
to illuminate the target area, trapping those on the run
in open territory, making the running NVA easy targets

In short, to answer your question, yes they can.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Slim on September 04, 2004, 13:49:18


Slim,
 While he was an extrordinary person and sniper, Carlos Hathcock was credited with holding off and killing most of a platoon, of NVA regulars, during Viet Nam.

Hey

Yah, that book is what got me to thinking about the question in the first place. (good book by the way, I own a copy and read it every so often)

I'm wondering whether anyone has actually tried this using miles gear or some other type of training aid? The closest I ever got to infantry stuff was Assault Troop and they don't have snipers. (not the LdSH(RC) when I was there anyway)

Slim

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: MJP on September 04, 2004, 14:21:53
During URBAN RAM in 2001, using the new miles 2000 stuff(much much better than regular miles gear), snipers proved their collective worth a few times.  They got some impressive kills %'s during the ex(MILES 2000 lets shows hits).
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Slim on September 04, 2004, 14:42:22
Does the MILES 200 gear suffer from close range misses due to the laser not spreading out enough? I've heard of guys being shot almost point-blank and the system not going off...

Slim
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 09, 2004, 00:15:08
Well, I want to kickstart this thread with an interesting quote from On Infantry:

The most brilliant plan devised by the most capable general depends for its tactical execution on the section-leaders.  Poor section-leaders may ruin the best-laid plans; first rate section leaders will often save badly devised plans.  This for one simple reason: the section-leader is the sole level of command that maintains constant and direct contact with the men who bear the brunt of the actual fighting.  It follows, then, that the section-leader is to be trained as a tactical commander and as an educator of his men.  [In the Israeli Army]...section-leaders are trained to command independently in the field in every instance in which they are required to operate alone with their units.  In "regular combat", moreover, when the section-leader acts within the framework of his platoon and under orders from his superior officer, he still requires a high standard of knowledge and an ability to sum up the situation.  Modern fire-power and the development of tactical atomic weapons may compel armies to operate in small, dispersed formations both in attack and defence...All levels of command must therefore be trained to think and act independently whenever circumstances demand that they should, and section-leaders are no exception to this rule.  Besides, modern weapons which provide small groups of men with greater firepower and more flexibility of movement, call for a high standard of command at all levels.  The section-leader is therefore to be trained technically as an officer, no as a corporal.

General Yigael Allon of the IDF


I am drawing a few conclusions from this excellent analysis of the Infantry section.

1)  The ever increasing lethality of modern firepower leads to further diffusion on the battlefield.  The space in which a battalion once occupied is today held by a platoon.  As such, the Infantry Section can be expected to fight battles on its own; purposefully as the spearhead for a company and platoon, or inadvertently through separation from its higher headquarters during the heat of battle.  The excuse to not exercise the section as a tactical unit of maneuver due to the fact that "a section will never do anything on its own" is simply invalid and pays no heed to the lessons of history.  Thus, Canadian doctrine should espouse the Infantry Section as the smallest unit of maneuver and give the Section Commanders the abilities to fight their sections as the situation dictates.

2)  Conversely, section level fighting does not exist in a vacuum.  Eight to ten men simply do not fight for the sake of fighting; small-unit combat is oriented to the goals of higher headquarters.  As such, the Section commander needs to learn the tactical framework in which his superior Officers fight their platoons and companies in.  Going on the "two-levels-up" principle, potential Section commanders should begin by learning how to fight with a company, then a platoon, and finally the section.  After that, the detailed tactics and techniques can be taught to a soldier who has been taught how to place these techniques in a larger concept of operations.  When a Section commander is given his Mission Orders, dictated by the Commander's Intent, he can get a full appreciation what he should fight his company towards (and depending on the friction of war, assume higher command as required).

3)  The Infantry Section is commanded by an NCO (In our case, a Sergeant or a Corporal).  I think that the unique fact that it is the only level of command that an NCO is responsible for is directly related to the fact that the Section Commander is the only commander who leads troops into battle, rather then units.  A Company commander has his platoons, while a Platoon commander maneuvers his sections, but the Section commander fights with his troops.  Does anyone else see this, and what, if any, implications would come from it with regards to training of sections, etc, etc.

4)  Allon alludes to the framework of training of techniques and tactics of commanding a Section to soldiers as one resembling the training of an Officer as opposed to a Corporal (NCO).  I think this comment drives at the idea that we should view NCO's as more then simply supervisors of troops and the maintainers of discipline.  With a greater system of training for section commanders which puts them on the level of commander (I guess the same could be said for a Tank Commander or a Gun Commander), does anyone see an expanded role for NCO's within the Staff and Planning at the unit level.  PBI, I know you've brought this up a few times, perhaps you'd like to expand on it?  What I am getting at is perhaps that the training of Section Commanders, and thus the training of NCO's, should underline the word Officer in the term Non-Commissioned Officer.

No, I do not advocate mixing the two levels or merging their responsibilities.  I am just alluding to the fact that a greater emphasis of initiative and maneuver at the lowest level of command, the level held by the NCO, means that there could be more to be gained from the NCO Corps of an Army.


Anyways, I'm interested to hear anyone else's thoughts.

Infanteer
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: excoelis on September 11, 2004, 21:40:29
More food for thought.........

On all the operations I have been on it was predominantly the Infantry section that conducted day to day operations.  Granted they operate within the framework of a much bigger picture, but where the rubber meets the road it is their asses on the line.  Pl, Coy, and higher operations where conducted monthly or at times weekly, but the fact still remains that the Section Commander and his boys bore the brunt of the workload, and they where expected to beat feet on a daily basis.  In the case of Afghanistan it was interesting to note how much of the 'quality of life' resources they had the time to enjoy between battle procedure, patrolling, post patrol drills, and MAYBE some forced rest before the vicious cycle started again.  Therefore, one could reasonably surmise that the success of the mission could ultimately depend on the effective operation of the sections.  IMO, another reason why the Section Commander and the members of his section need the ability to adapt, think, and fight on their own. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GhostofJacK on September 13, 2004, 22:55:03
To comment on some divertted topics here:

As for attacking the unsuspecting trench diggers and them not knowing what is going on and failing to return fire in an effective amount of time - this is because RoEs are never clear especially for a group of candidates going through the training system.

For example, during out BIQ defensive we were everywhere. Instructors were yelling at us why we were not shooting at the enemy and things along that line. First, you never knew 'what' the enemy really was during that whole ex. Aside from the fact that EnForce lived in a 10man tent about 50m away from the command tent, with them coming and going to prep for furutre activites for us didn't help since you didn't know if they were attacking or coming in from ambushing your recce unit that was out on patrol. You have their vehcicles always coming in and not (which strangely are also your vehicles that you use) along with brass coming out for a peek at the new troops by driving right across your front or something like that.

The en would have the same uni on as us, use the same tactics (ie. the frontal section attack). After attacks, they would come up on the position to talk to the PlCmdr and some who were cocky would shoot you in your trench as they passed though because you shot at them a hundred times with mere blanks, they were obviously alive and could do so. That brings up the ineffectiveness, esp during the training phase on the method of conducting the section attacks with mere blanks. We're taught the theory of it all but come time to practice it, it is less than spectacular. With a section and WeapDet laying down on their position with an impressive amount of firepower they can still go to a knee and doubletap every 3 seconds without us having the effect that 'Hey, he died under the initial doubletap-dash-down'.

The best training we did though (aside from half of it being a little outdated) was trench clearing and FIBUA. In trench clearing, EnForce was given the go to 'think'. They would throw/kick our grenades back at us, lob smoke to our position to blind us, gas us so we had to mask up, work in teams, and so on. That forced us to think as we acted and everyone learned a lot out of the day. In FIBUA, the EN was given the same freedoms, granting them the rights to toss grenades from the top floor to bounce to the bottom floor from which we were advancing, to hide behind some very good shelters protecting them from the initial grenade toss (forced you to make sure you clear your corner), or even, dare I say, move. They even left the building catching out flankguards off-guard and were able to reinsert in an already clear area of the house. After each bout (in which we used different tactics each time) we were all taken outside and shown physically the fatalities and injuries. It showed that when you didn't watch your arcs and the en popped out killing 5 of you, that those 5 people could have changed the 50% survival rate to maybe a 60%.

My four rubles
-Spooks
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on September 17, 2004, 18:32:57
Infanteer with regards to your post and emphasis on Sgt's leading I couldn't agree more.  It is sad to note however that the leadership is now not being promoted on merit but on TI or the need to fill a position.  This can lead to people who through no fault of their own are thrown to the wolves with minimal experience.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: HollywoodHitman on September 18, 2004, 09:30:03
The section attack is still an excellent means of training troops proper reaction to effective enemy fire. It's the responsibility of the commanders to ensure that their troops and NCO's aren't frontal attack drones. Imagination and effort is all it takes. Empowering NCO's to react and counter attack is also the responsibility of the commanders as is the ingenuity of the OPFor. War is not meant to be fair. There are rules of course....Or are there? The enemy will likely not fight conventionally, so the NCO needs to be able to think outside the box and fight the enemy on their level.....But the soldier needs to think inside it first, learn the conventional methods, and develop the basics in order to grow out of it. Some excellent points made by all of you. Enjoyable reading.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: rw4th on September 20, 2004, 20:43:46
I'd like to add one thing here I didn't see mentioned. I think in any force-on-force training it's important for the OPFOR to have a designated mission of their own, and to â Å“play their roleâ ? so to speak. What does this mean? Well, if the ex calls for an assault on a defensive position, then the OPFOR should have a designated area to defend.  They can and should defend it intelligently, but they need to be â Å“in characterâ ? and remember that their job is to defend it, and not use â Å“guerillaâ ? tactics to ambush the attackers and then fade away. As part of the training scenario, the theoretical context they are operating in should be expressly stated: for example â Å“They are manning trenches as part of defensive position that covers area Xâ ?.

When playing OPFOR it's easy to just make an a** of yourself, but it's much harder to be an intelligent enemy that provides soldiers with a valuable training experience.

The problem as I've experienced it, is that very few leaders are properly trained to plan and organize force-on-force training. As stated the enemy force is told to just sit there like fig. 11 targets while they are attacked. If they are given more freedom then that, they are rarely given any context for their action, resulting in disorganized chaos.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 20, 2004, 21:02:57
Your 100% correct RW4TH.

Freeplay training, if unconstructed, can result in a glorified and expensive game of paintball - with the end result of know real training value involved for any of the participants.

The Maneuver Warfare Handbook gives good references to successful freeplay exercises run at various levels by the US Marine Corps during the 80's.  The biggest success story was 2nd Marine Division; it CO, General Al Gray (future commandant), managed to surprise his unit by parachuting a formation from the 82nd Airborne into the middle of his units force-on-force exercise.

A free play, force-on-force exercise should be structured for each participating unit to learn certain aspects of the phases of warfighting; they can be given orders from higher up (defend this bridgehead, take the junction, advance to that grid) while the free-play aspect of the exercise allows the commanders to use their head to figure out the best way of doing so.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on September 22, 2004, 23:01:16
Hey all--

Unfortunately, thinking about the "section attack" as something unto itself is somewhat specious.   It is extremely unlikely that a single section would ever undertake an attack on its own (specific instances, maybe--a fighting patrol, for instance, or a fleeting opportunity, or reaction to an ambush).   The "section attack" is a useful training vehicle for teaching soldiers the fundamentals of individual fieldcraft (selection of fire positions, fire and movement in pairs, groups and teams, etc.)   It's also good for teaching, and building the skill-levels of section comds.   But a section would operate in the context of a platoon, and that of a company, etc.   That's a key point to remember when discussing the section attack as an actual offensive operation, and not just a training device.

When I was a sect comd, and was taking part in, say, a pl attack, I would work with my fellow sect comds (including the wpns det comd) to coordinate our actions, and that in the framework of direction from the pl comd, the pl WO.   As we worked together more and more, we got used to operating as a team, using sections and the wpns det as components of something greater than the sum of its parts.   This stuck with me later on, as a pl and a coy comd.   I'll be the first to say that a division attack is really a series of coordinated section attacks, but the fact is that they're coordinated, with each piece benefitting from the contributions of its fellows.

To me, the more interesting question is, are we approaching offensive operations generally from the correct philosophical direction?   We are pretty fixed in our idea of frontages, combat power ratios, etc.   But MILES is a brutal and unforgiving player in the game; it isn't unusual to finish a "successful" attack with 20, 30 or even 40 percent friendly casualties.   That simply isn't acceptable.   Rommel, in his book "Infantry Attacks", underscores the role of some fundamental principles of manoeuvre warfare normally applied to much larger scale ops to the small unit.   He demonstrates the use of intense firepower and deception to isolate small pieces of a larger enemy, gain lodgements by pushing forward small groups of attackers, and exploit with other through the resulting gaps.   This wasn't theory; Rommel employed tactics like this against Italian defenders in WW1 time and time again.   This wasn't the head-long steamroller...this was a carefully orchestrated, very deliberate picking apart of defenses by creating gaps and exploiting through them.   Rommel's idea was to fix the enemy, both physically and psychologically.   Individual enemy soldiers, or small groups of them, would retain the ability to manoeuvre, but Rommel strove to make that manoeuvre largely irrelevant by defending or doing economy of force things in those areas he hadn't chosen to isolate and attack.

Do we view the battlefield at the small-unit level correctly?   Do we consider how to properly use suppressive fire?   Do we look at ways to break the battlefield into smaller, more manageable pieces, or do we simply hope for a flank or else resign ourselves to going "up the middle" (again)?   And do we really give adequate weight to things like deception and psychological fixing at sect, pl and coy levels?   Frankly, I think it's time to reconsider our whole philosophy of ops at the low tactical level, because in many ways, that's where the war is really fought and won.   How much of what a section does should be drills, and how much should be given over to the creative thought and imagination of its leader and its members?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 22, 2004, 23:52:43
Quote
It is extremely unlikely that a single section would ever undertake an attack on its own (specific instances, maybe--a fighting patrol, for instance, or a fleeting opportunity, or reaction to an ambush)...
But a section would operate in the context of a platoon, and that of a company, etc.   That's a key point to remember when discussing the section attack as an actual offensive operation, and not just a training device.

Unfortunately, that is a misconception that history seems to delight in proving wrong.     The notion of the "emptiness of the battlefield", the increasing diffusion of soldiers on the ground due to the increasing lethality of modern firepower, will only serve to further exacerbate this trend.

Despite the fact that we may intend for a set-piece battle utilizing the coordination of platoons and companies, at times the friction of combat intercedes.   English and Gudmundsson, in On Infantry site numerous examples of where German tactics prevailed over more linear French and British approaches which insisted on viewing the squad/section as an indivisible, linear unit in the field that was incapable of handling an independent task.   The larger, clunkier platoons were tactically out-maneuvered by independent sections utilizing fire and maneuver and driven by their commanders intent to outflank their opponents; this was implicit in doctrine which gave each German platoon a healthy number of belt-fed machine guns and the impetus to get get in behind their opponent and break down any sense of cohesion.   As On Infantry points out;

For the Germans, who explicitly rejected linear forms of warfare in the first postwar edition of their infantry training manual, the metaphor corresponding to the French idea of the barrage was the pincer.   At every level, from squad up to the division, the idea underlying tactical action was trapping the enemy in both claws of the pincer.   In the attack, this often took the form of fire and maneuver, with the fire of one element occupying the enemy while the other worked its way forward to a spot from which it could deliver a decisive blow.   In the defence, the pincer idea underlay both the way in which counterattacks were conducted and the manner in which they fit into a larger scheme for trapping the enemy....
What was different about German tactics that emerged from the Great War was the integration of small pincer maneuvers into larger ones.   that is to say, the pincer maneuvers of squads and platoons formed the arms of the pincer maneuvers of battalions and regiments and the maneuvers of battalions and regiments formed the arms of pincer maneuvers of divisions."

On Infantry: pp 40-41"


Obviously, the underlying tenet is that the Infantry is capable of greater tactical success if it infuses into its doctrine the notion that the Section is an independent unit of maneuver.   German tactical advantage, both in the evolution of Stosstrupp tactics in WWI and its natural progression into WWII, provides weight to this claim.   The Russians and the Japanese also excelled at section level tactics when they were not committed to suicidal charges, although they focused more on the infiltration as opposed to the envelopment and assault.   The Israelis have also shown tactical expertise in the past at using independent sections to seize difficult objectives.

Quote
We are pretty fixed in our idea of frontages, combat power ratios, etc.   But MILES is a brutal and unforgiving player in the game; it isn't unusual to finish a "successful" attack with 20, 30 or even 40 percent friendly casualties.   That simply isn't acceptable.

Exactly the point I am trying to make.   Perhaps the fact that their is a very real belief in our Army that the section is not a maneuver unit has led to what Captain O'Leary highlights in his article; namely, tactical stagnation, looking at the section attack, as you say, only as a mean to instruct on fire and movement and not as a way for the section to achieve tactical dominance in battle.   In refusing to recognize the Section as such, we limit its capabilities and the capabilities of our Section commanders and have regressed to the point where we line up in extended file and advance, no different then the tactics of the Great War.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on September 23, 2004, 00:31:46


Unfortunately, that is a misconception that history seems to delight in proving wrong.     The notion of the "emptiness of the battlefield", the increasing diffusion of soldiers on the ground due to the increasing lethality of modern firepower, will only serve to further exacerbate this trend.

Despite the fact that we may intend for a set-piece battle utilizing the coordination of platoons and companies, at times the friction of combat intercedes.  

No dispute, and I think we run the risk of ending up in heated agreement.   I by no means suggest that sects are "sealed" into rigid lock-step with one another, as are pls with pls, and so on up the tactical scale.   I fully believe that the sect is capable of a degree of independent manoeuvre.   But that manoeuvre, even in the "empty" battlefield, will be in a context and will be subject to inputs from things like tactical info and direct and indirect fire from sources outside the section.   We can't go TOO far down the road of enabling the sect as an independent entity, because a sect has very limited capabilities re SA, C2 and, in particular, sustainment.   Your quote from On Infantry even states "the pincer maneuvers of squads and platoons formed the arms of the pincer maneuvers of battalions and regiments".   That's the context piece I'm talking about.

Now, having said all of that, I still think that the basic philosophy underlying our smallest-scale inf tactics are flawed.   We have developed sect "tactics" as a series of stilted, predictable drills.   I think this is where we agree...there needs to be much more flexibility in the sect, with its soldiers and leaders being given the latitude to use their knowledge, experience and imagination.   I remember, for instance, learning as a young C2 gunner, to maneouvre the C2 group around separately from the riflemen, under the comd of the sect 2ic.   I've heard some discussion about using the C9s the same way (and they're much better suited for this, being belt-fed and not the clunky 30 rd mag monstrosity that was the C2), but I've never seen it tried (maybe it has been, in which case I'd be keen to hear some WES-enabled AAR)   Actually, the most innovative and interesting sect tactics I've seen are in FIBUA; sect comds in my coy on URBAN RAM came up with some weird and wonderful solutions to the tactical problems posed by the urban environment, all on their own.   But they still did so in concert with their fellows, when and how it was appropriate.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 23, 2004, 03:56:07
DGlad:

I think we are both arguing for the same thing here, we just hammered at it from a different angle.

Quote
We can't go TOO far down the road of enabling the sect as an independent entity, because a sect has very limited capabilities re SA, C2 and, in particular, sustainment.   Your quote from On Infantry even states "the pincer maneuvers of squads and platoons formed the arms of the pincer maneuvers of battalions and regiments".   That's the context piece I'm talking about.

I concur.   I do not argue that Infantry Sections will be out fighting their own battles a la Starship Troopers style.   I think you addressed the crux of this issue best with your questions of "Do we look at ways to break the battlefield into smaller, more manageable pieces, or do we simply hope for a flank or else resign ourselves to going "up the middle" (again)?   And do we really give adequate weight to things like deception and psychological fixing at sect, pl and coy levels?

The need for section training to train smart commanders who are flexible with the fighting tactics of their section is that the tactical situation may require the platoon commander to break his platoons up and have his sections fight independently (I can think of a few attacks in my time where this would have been the better way) while other situations may call for the platoon commander to dispense with section movement altogether and conduct a platoon infiltration.  Even within the context of a platoon attack, however, the terrain or the enemy disposition may leave the section without the support of it sister sections.  In this case, the section commander has to be smart, recognize that a full frontal will not generate the requisite amount of suppressive fire, and alter his tactics accordingly while keeping his commander's intent in mind.

The thrust of my argument is that we need to train section commanders to be prepared to do any and all of these, to think about the tactical situation he is entering.   Situations won't always be one section supports, two and three section flank; yet for some reason this is all I've done both platoon and company attacks.   As Ghost pointed out earlier these approaches fail quickly when casualties start to mount.

What I gather from our posts is that we are both trying to say that:

Yes, the frontal section attack is useful for training troops on the basics of fire and movement.
Yes, the frontal section attack is useful introducing leaders to the basics of section command.
Yes, the frontal section attack has applications to some sorts of tactical situations (sudden flank contact...dare we say, ambush?).
No, the frontal section attack isn't the only acceptable way of handling a section in battle, whether it be an isolated attack (section infiltration) or part of a company flanking.

Nicht ein Schema!

Quote
Now, having said all of that, I still think that the basic philosophy underlying our smallest-scale inf tactics are flawed.   We have developed sect "tactics" as a series of stilted, predictable drills.   I think this is where we agree...there needs to be much more flexibility in the sect, with its soldiers and leaders being given the latitude to use their knowledge, experience and imagination.   I remember, for instance, learning as a young C2 gunner, to maneouvre the C2 group around separately from the riflemen, under the comd of the sect 2ic.   I've heard some discussion about using the C9s the same way (and they're much better suited for this, being belt-fed and not the clunky 30 rd mag monstrosity that was the C2), but I've never seen it tried (maybe it has been, in which case I'd be keen to hear some WES-enabled AAR)   Actually, the most innovative and interesting sect tactics I've seen are in FIBUA; sect comds in my coy on URBAN RAM came up with some weird and wonderful solutions to the tactical problems posed by the urban environment, all on their own.   But they still did so in concert with their fellows, when and how it was appropriate.

If you have the time and energy (and if you haven't already), I would recommend reading Captain Michael O'Leary's two-part article on the section attack that I have linked to on the original post in this thread.   It covers in detail the points you have brought up here.


Anyways, let me formally welcome you to Army.ca.   You picked a good topic to make your entrance on.

Cheers,
Infanteer
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 23, 2004, 10:53:04
Great thread - and I will read Capt O'Leary's article in the next couple of days.  Having said that, I have observed that this discussion seems to have assumed that tactics at any level will be conducted in a contiguous battlespace - which I believe to be a false assumption.  In the complex non-contiguous battlespace, we will spend much less time worrying about frontages and the like, as we shift our focus from the ground to the effects that we will have on the enemy (a la Effects Based Operations, the mantra of the USAF).  Moreover, in a Krulak 3 Block War battlespace, I believe that tactical commanders at all levels (including the section) will need greater latitude in how they achieve their mission, and a much greater understanding of the higher commander's intent.  If we are to change anything about the way that we train, I recommend that we focus first on truly inculcating (vice institutionalizing the level of lip service that we pay to) the concepts of Mission Command.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on September 23, 2004, 11:34:06
I think part of the problem is that we really do consider the section attack to be a simple drill.  We don't, institutionally, give due consideration to creative tactical thinking at sect level (or pl, for that matter.  You should have seen the reaction I got as a coy comd when I suggested my pls experiment with putting the pl WO in the assault element, rather than in the firebase.  But we've always put him in the firebase...!)  Your point about pushing msn comd down to the lowest tactical level is well-taken.  I actively pushed msn comd thru professional devt in my unit, and always included the sect comds.  I think the result was more empowerment among my sect comds and more confident NCOs as a result.  I'm very pleased that some of those NCOs are now employed on ATHENA, doing things one wouldn't have expected from a Res F NCO even just a few years ago.

I also agree that the realities of the new sorts of security environment in which we'll likely be employing our forces include asymmetry, non-contiguity, uncertainty and a healthy dose of "non-traditional" elements (civilians, neutral combatants, "hands-off" buildings like places of worship and heritage sites, etc.)  Oh, and don't forget the media.  We talk a lot about the "strategic corporal"...now we have to start incorporating him/her into our training!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 23, 2004, 12:27:09
Hmm.  I'm not so sure about assuming that drills are a bad thing, and would hate to through out the baby with the bath water.  Drills, like a plan, give you a "common basis for change".  Moreover, in a pinch, you can always fall back on a drill.  If you can activate a drill (or prearranged play for those who like sports analogies) quickly and efficiently, is it not just possible that you will get inside the OODA loop of the opposing Comd, who is busy trying to develop a detailed plan?

As to Mission Command, I had a lot of exposure to it when commanding a Coy in the Royal Green Jackets (who profess to have invented mission command style leadership - they call it the "Thinking Rifleman").  Translating the buzzword into action is difficult, and calls for a true culture shift.  If you can schedule a Regimental Parade for 1300 hrs, and at 1257 the parade square is empty, and at 1300 the Regiment is formed up - then you have a unit that truly understands mission command.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on September 23, 2004, 12:49:18
Hmm.   I'm not so sure about assuming that drills are a bad thing, and would hate to through out the baby with the bath water.   Drills, like a plan, give you a "common basis for change".   Moreover, in a pinch, you can always fall back on a drill.   If you can activate a drill (or prearranged play for those who like sports analogies) quickly and efficiently, is it not just possible that you will get inside the OODA loop of the opposing Comd, who is busy trying to develop a detailed plan?

Drills form a useful point of departure, I agree.  In some cases (Ambush right, charge!) they're definitely the way to go.  But my experience with sect tactics in the Cdn Army is that they rarely go beyond drills.  And that rote application of the section attack "recipe" is what often leads to the horrific casualties in WES-enabled exercises.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 23, 2004, 18:59:06
Quote
Having said that, I have observed that this discussion seems to have assumed that tactics at any level will be conducted in a contiguous battlespace - which I believe to be a false assumption.  In the complex non-contiguous battlespace, we will spend much less time worrying about frontages and the like, as we shift our focus from the ground to the effects that we will have on the enemy (a la Effects Based Operations, the mantra of the USAF).
 

I don't think that assumption is here, rather I think that is part of the reason why we are discussing this topic.  As I said previously, as firepower increases, infantry combat may be seen to increasingly move towards more dispersed fighting in complex terrain.  Command and Control and reliance on higher unit support will put more responsibility upon section commanders to think and act with regards to employment of tactics.

DGlen's example of Rommel's experience in Caparetto serves as an excellent example of this idea.  The German Fourteenth Army faced brutal terrain that did not support linear tactical and operational approaches.  As a consequence, initiative was pushed down (the German Army's development of the Stosstruppe tactics facilitated this) and units where given the notion that maneuvering to the next crest or peak was more important then throwing one's strength against the dug in Italian positions.

Quote
Moreover, in a Krulak 3 Block War battlespace, I believe that tactical commanders at all levels (including the section) will need greater latitude in how they achieve their mission, and a much greater understanding of the higher commander's intent.  If we are to change anything about the way that we train, I recommend that we focus first on truly inculcating (vice institutionalizing the level of lip service that we pay to) the concepts of Mission Command.

Agree with you 100%.  However I believe that in order to truly inculcate such principles, they must be viewed as part of the whole in which they originate from, Mission Command (Auftragstaktik) and its opposite, Order Command (Befehlstaktik), were two complex ideas from a whole framework which the German's referred to as Kampfkraft (Fighting Power).  As such, you can't cherry pick and take one without consideration of the others, you must consider the entire system, how it evolved and how it is applied, to see how each piece fits.

Quote
Hmm.  I'm not so sure about assuming that drills are a bad thing, and would hate to through out the baby with the bath water.  Drills, like a plan, give you a "common basis for change".  Moreover, in a pinch, you can always fall back on a drill.  If you can activate a drill (or prearranged play for those who like sports analogies) quickly and efficiently, is it not just possible that you will get inside the OODA loop of the opposing Comd, who is busy trying to develop a detailed plan?

Drills are good for techniques.  When we teach weapons handling, we teach drills so that soldiers acquire an automatic response to a stimuli.  Drills are effective in this case in that there is very little variation in the stimuli (bolt fully forward, bolt fully to the rear, bolt partially forward) so as to allow the drilled response to be an effective "catch-all".

Tactics demand more then drill.  Every tactical situation is unique based on factors such as terrain, enemy situation, friendly situation, mission, weather, etc, etc.  As such, the variation in stimulus and requirements for successful reaction is so varied that a clear thinking process is required.

Like I mentioned before, tactical drills have utility for elementary training purposes and basic field SOP's (seek cover under effective enemy fire), but I wouldn't want to go to far from there.  Even tactical drills that seem to make sense (Ambush Left!) can be dangerous, as any smart enemy can recognize a drill as a predictable automatic response devoid of thought and plan accordingly.  I've seen written accounts or Vietnamese forces, knowing full well how American ambush drills were carried out, would purposely set an ambush off to get Americans to charge in extended file into the ambush in order to funnel them into prepared killzones.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on September 23, 2004, 19:20:02
Quote
don't think that assumption is here, rather I think that is part of the reason why we are discussing this topic.  As I said previously, as firepower increases, infantry combat may be seen to increasingly move towards more dispersed fighting in complex terrain.  Command and Control and reliance on higher unit support will put more responsibility upon section commanders to think and act with regards to employment of tactics

Infanteer, further to your notion of increased firepower, you might want to refer to current US Arty/Army thinking.  http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,19730.msg103085.html#msg103085.

This, from this months National defence magazine suggests that a UA-Heavy, with four infantry companies, will not only have 4 squadrons of Abrams (Cdn/UK usage, US troops/companies) in support but will also have on hand and in direct support two BATTALIONS of 155s and one BATTALION of MLRS Rockets.  Even if they are only two Company(Battery) battalions, that is an awful lot of firepower.  (This could be a misprint but the magazine seems to be well connected and has been accurate in the past).

It really does suggest the notion that infanteers primary role will be to protect the guy carrying the binoculars and the radio.  Back to your dispersed battle field right enough.  But - at least for the
UA-Heavy the intended operational protocol is locate the enemy, neutralize the enemy without having to fix him (get him on the move or while he is on a self-administered pause - rapid response) and then advance to occupy sterile ground.

UA-Lights by contrast, seem to be intended to be more infantry centric organizations designed to confront the enemy face-to-face, with less fire support.  Assuming an urban or close terrain environment for operations that suggests to me sections operating "independently" in close proximity to each other.  Not being aware of where the forces on their flanks are.  To prevent blue-on-blues, and also to prevent the enemy forces exploiting seams don't you need a high degree of centralized control?

I find it interesting to keep in mind that under the new thinking a US div can have a mix of light and heavy UAs.  Eg 3 light , 1 hvy for urban terrain, the reverse for open country.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 23, 2004, 23:30:30

  Agree with you 100%.   However I believe that in order to truly inculcate such principles, they must be viewed as part of the whole in which they originate from, Mission Command (Auftragstaktik) and its opposite, Order Command (Befehlstaktik), were two complex ideas from a whole framework which the German's referred to as Kampfkraft (Fighting Power).   As such, you can't cherry pick and take one without consideration of the others, you must consider the entire system, how it evolved and how it is applied, to see how each piece fits.


Fair enough, as an analytical approach.   I have to be honest though, I have an allergic reaction to continual references to the Holy Grail of German Operational thought - must be from all that time I spent at the knee of "Cougar Chuck" (a play on Panzer Guderian) at Staff College.   Mission Command has become a brand name in many ways.   I was unclear in my use of the term.   What I am referring to is adoting a manoeuvrist approach to fighting in a complex battlespace, that will perforce mean that commanders at all levels have a deep understanding of higher commanders intents - in effect, a command-centric approach.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 24, 2004, 01:05:18
Quote
I have to be honest though, I have an allergic reaction to continual references to the Holy Grail of German Operational thought - must be from all that time I spent at the knee of "Cougar Chuck" (a play on Panzer Guderian) at Staff College.

I will admit, I've developed a keen view of their style of doing things.   I've been reading alot of literature that looks highly upon their successes.   I believe that it is not so much that they invented a better method of approaching some things (at the cost of others of course), but that their organizational culture allowed them to put theory into practice alot better.

If you have any recommendations on books that attempt to reign in the "Germanophile" outlook, I'm all ears.

Quote
I was unclear in my use of the term.   What I am referring to is adoting a manoeuvrist approach to fighting in a complex battlespace, that will perforce mean that commanders at all levels have a deep understanding of higher commanders intents - in effect, a command-centric approach.

Quite clear on what you were trying to say with your reference to mission command.   I was just trying to say that an Army will run into difficulties if it attempts to cherry pick doctrine.   Do you think "a deep understanding of commanders intents" will be as truly effective as it could if we did not, as an institution, adopt other practices such as going against orders as the tactical situation dictates (read PBI's sig line   :)) and reducing much of the details out of the orders process so as to give junior commanders a better opportunity to use their initiative.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: robmika on September 24, 2004, 12:02:14
Does anyone have a link to either a CF or other document on the net, which outlines the step by step drills that are the latest and greatest for the CF... as opposed to some PAM written in 1979?

I would like to review the source of our current teaching, so as not to confuse it with what some members maybe teaching right now and maybe either "mutated" or simply not current.

Thx
R
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on September 24, 2004, 12:07:47

From the Army Electronic Library (http://armyapp.dnd.ca/ael/main-acceuil.asp):

B-GL-392-002/FP-001 
VOLUME 3 - THE INFANTRY SECTION AND PLATOON IN BATTLE
96/08/16 
Publication not available online

B-GL-392-002/FP-Z01 
Infantry, Section and Platoons Commander Aide Memoire 
Not Yet Published 
Publication not available online
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 24, 2004, 12:17:53
"reducing much of the details out of the orders process so as to give junior commanders a better opportunity to use their initiative."

Infanteer:

I believe that we are already getting there - mostly due to the fielding of a true digital capability, complemented by the changes in the Military Education curricula that have taken place at both Kingston and Toronto's Staff Colleges.

I will give you an example:  As G3 of BTE 03, I was responsible for generating the orders that would put 2 CMBG HQ through its paces during the 5 day FTX portion of the Ex.  We issued a formal set of orders to start off the deiberate OPP cycle (as an aside, after completing the orders (the basic building blocks were provided by CALLIAN), I decided that we should translate them into US staff formats, to avoid a cut and paste capability at the Bde level.  That decision cost me (and especially my staff) much gnashing of teeth and many man-hours of work - and I'm not sure that I would do it again).  The second OPP cycle was initiated using Div Radio Orders, and the third and fourth cycles were intiated with one page graphic orders - and there was a fifth one-pager graphic that I was not allowed to issue that initiated the move into Post Conflict posture).

All of that to say that we can, and do, issue less detailed orders than in the "so called good old days".  Add in the fact that the Bde was able to use Athene as a collaborative planning and SA tool, and SAS to issue graphic orders to the section level, and I beleive that we may be well on our way to acheiving a true knowledge based command centric Army, down to the lowest level of command.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: pbi on September 24, 2004, 13:30:57
PPCLI Guy: thanks for that inside view on the BTE: I didn't know much about it. How was it?

Here in CJTF76, just about everything at CJTF level (approximately Div equiv but in some ways more like Corps) is FRAG'd off an initial OPORD. FRAGOs are usually two, maybe three pages max. (But the OPORD is a beast). At the level of the TFs (roughly Bde-size TFs, but again more complex than that) one page graphics are quite widely used. A JOG or other map graphic product is overlaid with tac symbols, phase lines, etc. A few text boxes overlaid on the margins give key portions of the FRAGO, and that's it. The product is posted to a SECRET webpage  for all higher and lower to view.

In general a Cdn staff officer would have little trouble fitting in here: I believe we are equally competent, although we would require a bit of terminology immersion (the US dont seem to like using any NATO terms...)

Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on October 10, 2004, 13:42:44
There's a thread that offers some recent historical perspective on our section tactics here    worth taking a look at. http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,20878.0.html

During the walk down memory lane while I was thinking op my comments there I remembered my first exposure to MILES and as it was brought up earlier I thought it relevant. It was in the middle 1980's in Gagetown. Several officers and NCOs were brought out to see a demo (I guess we were there for AMA /LFAA Concentration.)

An average section (can't recall if they were regulars or reserves and really doesn't matter) began to ATC across a field towards a tree line. In the tree line, or somewhere near I never did find out where, was the enemy. As far as I know there was only guy, equipped with an FNC1.

The section were moving in standard arrowhead when they came under effective enemy fire. In this case that was the first guy getting hit. It wasn't the section commander. He had enough sense not to be at the apex of the formation, waving his arms about or otherwise drawing attention to himself. That saved him for all of one or two minutes.

The section went to ground using normal drills, double tap, dash, down, crawl, observe fire etc, and slowly shook themselves out into extended line. Then it fell apart. Of course no one could see where the shots had come from. The grass was about knee high and the section commander got on one knee to better observe and control and direct his section, and bang bang that was him gone.

I can't remember if the 2ic was the third of fourth guy to get it, but after half of them were casualties they kind of lost interest in the attack and things came to a screeching halt. They still hadn't located where the enemy was, and for all I know after he dropped the fourth guy he pulled out of there.

One guy, not a sniper, just one rifleman with an ordinary wpn and less than a full mag expended and he had effectively taken out a section in a matter of minutes. Half of them were casualties and the others for obvious reasons were really not effective. If that had been for real they probably and understandably would have remained there, trying to dig into the ground, or gone mad stood up and tried to charge the enemy in vengence and been cut down.

When we got back to the lines I did a lot of thinking re our drills. I was a Pl 2ic and my Pl Comd and the Section Comds had seen the demo too and were equally affected. We began to think about it and how to counter it, and that lead to working with the troops. The OC and CO had also seen it and let us and the other platoons run with it.

We began throwing in all sorts of curves over the next couple of days in our section attacks. Section Comd â Å“killedâ ? at the beginning, and 2ic not in a position to take over. Could the Number 1 rifleman take over and fight the section until the reorg? Did he have the basic skills? What happens if the initial enemy fire takes out 30 or 50% of the section? A lot of practice, lots of sitting around after an attack and talking through scenarios and what ifs. A lot of â Å“free playâ ?.

Overall I think it brought our skill set up a level. Almost every rifleman could take over as Section 2ic or Comd if needed. A lot of communications in the attacks and reactions to different scenarios became the norm. Aw also moved away from the set piece standard exercise enemy of one or two CSS sitting under the one tree/bush in the field who stays put until you overrun him. The sections were being hit on the flanks as they moved past and forced to react, enemy pulling out after one or two rounds and forcing the lead section to deploy and stuff like

I took that with me when I switched units a few years later and tried again to get it across to my new unit. Not quite as successful overall I think in retrospect, but in Gagetown we had a really good CO who encouraged all troops to become proficient at our bread and butter and think outside the box.

You have to start with the basics, and that is why we have set piece drills. Hey it's been over ten years since I last saw let alone led a section attack, but I still remember how. Once you get those basics down though you have to build on it, and that includes as pointed out here some free play and developing initiative at the lowest level. We're talking working with trained troops here right, not recruits.

It's like drill. You don't hand some new recruit fresh in the door a pace stick and say go plan and execute a ceremonial parade. You teach him the basics like standing at attention and marching first and then over the years he/she learns the more complex stuff that builds on that.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 10, 2004, 14:59:17
Ack.  I don't dispute drills as foundation.  But, in my experience, we never tended to take the Section attack past the "drills" stage.  In your own example, they used all of the drills, it would appear, and we see where it got them.  The problem was probably crossing the open field of knee high grass to begin with.  Perhaps the only solution available to them at that point was to go firm and get the pl or coy comd use manoeuvre and/or fire/smoke to extract them or take another COA, rather than launching into the entirely orthodox set of section battle drills of the day.  The best that that little scenario, with MILES, was going to do was show how incapable a single section is of manoeuvering effectively on open ground, unsupported and alone.  If the enemy in your example had had a sniper rifle or a larger automatic wpn, there may very well have been NO way for that section to effectively engage, even if they had known where the bad guy was.

For teaching the basic drills, fine.  In such a case, MILES is a good way of showing soldiers who aren't adopting good fire positions, using proper cover/concealment, etc. the error of their ways.  But at some point, the teaching has to go past the drills, and do two things:

-teach soldiers, and especially leaders, to think critically and constantly and seek innovative ways of approaching tactical problems; and
-incorporate the rest of the battle, including the remainder of the pl and coy, the fire sp components, etc.

Only in a very restricted setting (woods, urban and similar) is a section likely to actually have to manoeuver on its own, and then the ranges and intervisibility would be far more equal.  Mind you, I've seen some impressive virtual slaughter in that sort of scenario as well (a single rifleman virtually obliterating one of my platoons on URBAN RAM, for instance), but it's not NECESSARILY as one-sided as the lone section in the open field.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 10, 2004, 16:24:12
dglad

Quote
The problem was probably crossing the open field of knee high grass to begin with.  Perhaps the only solution available to them at that point was to go firm and get the pl or coy comd use manoeuvre and/or fire/smoke to extract them or take another COA, rather than launching into the entirely orthodox set of section battle drills of the day.

A buddy of mine who went through RESO ph2 and 3 at Gagetown in the 80's before me earned himself the nickname of CE for following your advice.  In similar situation to that described by Danjanou he was leading a platoon in advance to contact. He had one section and his wpns det go firm while he led the other two sections out of the field, past the trees, over the road and up the enemy's flank before moving forward to a new FUP and launching a classic assault followed by a text book reorg.

He was sent back to the original startline to do it all over again with some very weary and pissed-off coursemates.

He had left the bounds of manoeuvre available to him as a platoon commander.  Doing what he did could very well have put him into a flanking Pl/Coy/Bn/Bde area of operations. 

He had to work within the terrain assigned and come up with a workable plan, or decide the attack wasn't workable at all. 

By the way CE stands for "Corps Envelopment".

If he is monitoring this site, apologies if this brings up embarassing memories mate ;D :salute:

Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on October 10, 2004, 19:03:46
 dglad,

I agree, In that scenario probably would have been better off to set up as firebase and call up the Pl to take him out, however the drill at the time didn't give him the flexability to make that call I guess. Or better yet not cross that field in the first place unless as kirkhill suggests it was the only way to go without crossing into some other units area of operations.

Funny how you only remember stuff that goes really good or horribly wrong. I was a section comd on a TQ1/QL3 Infantry a few years before that MILES incident and had a similar experience.  We were out iaround Carbonear Nfld doing Pl ATC and  practicing section quick attacks each section taking it in turn as point and , and getting bumped. I'm in the lead and we're crossing some fairly open rolling hills, not a loyt of cover, just some gorse and heather, small folds and the occaisional clump of trees. Naturally we come under fire and we go through the drills , get the guys into a "good" fire position in fold in the ground and locate the eneny.

The enemy had a really good commanding position on a knoll and to get to them by a frontal fire and movement would have disastrous. So would have breaking off and coming at them form the flank. They had excellent fields of fire on three sides as I remeber and probably a good covered escape route on the fourth.

Where I was we had a good fire position that could have supported a Pl attack and that's what I suggested to the Pl Comd over the radio. His response was that we were practicing section attacks that morning, not platoon ones and to go ahead. I did and had it been for real I probably would have lost the whole section including moi.

The Pl Comd, normally a good guy and good commander I'll admit was so fixated on a set training schedule that there was no room for deviation (that may have come down form on high too). He also seemed (at least then) to not trust/believe that his subordinate commanders were capable of making good calls. I mean some snot nosed 22 year old M/Cpl (Me) who hasn't been through RESO Ph2 can actually read ground and formulate simple tactics. ::)

As far as I was concerned that attack was a waste of time effort and ammo, and no real training value and my troops were well aware of it. And to be honest then, as I'm sure now, ammo, and training time were at a premium and not to be squandered. Probably why it like the MILES thing still sticks in my mind years later.

Most of us are on the same page in this discussuion, which is a good thing. Question what is the next step?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on October 10, 2004, 21:04:32
Quote
Only in a very restricted setting (woods, urban and similar) is a section likely to actually have to manoeuver on its own, and then the ranges and intervisibility would be far more equal.

I'm not sure I buy this.   Looking at the plethora of historical examples provided in some of the literature I've got concerning section level tactics, countries which adopted section level maneuver within their doctrine used it to great success throughout a variety of situations.   The weapons of a section include grenade launchers, machine guns, rifles, grenades, and cold steel if need be; as such, a section is clearly capable of utilizing a combined arms approach to an enemy threat.   The key of a combined arms is not that different systems are used in concert, but that they are combined in both time and space to present multiple and yet different threats to the enemy in such a manner that to adequately deal with one he must expose himself to the other.

In the scenario that Danjanou presented above, the lone rifleman hiding in the grass is clearly able to counter the threat posed by the section advancing across the grassy field because the section tactics were used in a the fashion of "supporting arms"; each group within the section took turns at presenting a threat to the enemy in the form of a smattering of rifle fire and LMG bursts.   However, properly concealed and with a good firing position, the enemy was clearly able to deal with the each individual threat (1 Group or 2 Group) in succession and was not very vulnerable in his position to the equal firepower presented by either group - end result, his superior position and a poor use of tactics resulted in clear defeat of a superior force (8 - 1).

A lone rifleman should not be a platoon sized objective.   Looking at it from the standpoint of a combined arms approach by a maneuverable section, the situation may have panned out differently.   Rather then fanning out in arrowhead en masse and moving together across the field, the section, in an unequal, two-element format as described in the first post in this thread, leapfrogs its assault group and its support group across the field.   When effective enemy fire is encountered, the section commander quickly assesses the situation and determines the course of action.

The support group, armed with two LMGs and two Grenade Launchers, is capable of putting down a high degree of suppressive fire.   Even if it cannot determine the exact location, the indirect nature of machine gun bursts and 40mm grenades lobbed in the general direction of the enemy should provide an appropriate threat to the enemy.   The assault element, with three or four men armed with grenades (offensive and defensive) and rifles, is quick and mobile and relies on its ability to quickly close distance and assault as its threat.

In this situation, the support group may go firm and start flinging down some ordinance in the direction of the enemy fire.   The assault group may pull back and attempt to skirt around the position.   Even if the assault group cannot determine the exact position of the enemy, by the fact that it is quickly moving into the enemies rear should provide a good psychological effect on him due to the fact that his rear has suddenly become his flank.

The combined arms approach is utilized perfectly.   If the enemy rifleman moves to escape the firepower of the support section or to suppress it somehow, he leaves himself open to the quick moving riflemen of the assault section.   If he attempts to ward off the assaulting rifleman, he risks encroachment by the fire of the support section.   In this situation, the platoon commander may elect to come up with the Platoon Marksmen, presenting a third form of threat (long range, accurate fire) to the enemy and making his position even more untenable.

The key is to give section commanders the capabilities and the leeway to figure out what solution will work best.   Saying that "section boundaries will always be X meters" or "this tactic will probably only be used in close terrain" acts to limit the usefulness of a technique and the creativeness of a commander.   It assumes that we will always engage the enemy on our terms.

Clearly, each tactical situation is unique and as such demands its own approach for success.   I believe the key to doing this is to train section commanders to use good judgement and to train them to be unorthodox if they have to; their overall goal is to defeat the enemy.   Since they are the sharp end of the spear, they will often have a good idea on how to do so if they are adequately prepared, tactically and doctrinally, before going into battle.   The section level battle (and these do exist, there are many examples in this thread), like any other battle, is won by the creativity and boldness of the commanders, not by the breadth and depth of manuals, PAMs, and drill solutions.

Most of us are on the same page in this discussion, which is a good thing. Question what is the next step?

Good point Danjanou.   We can all state our positions until the cows come home, but unless we propose solutions, we are just "spinning our tires in the mud."

From my understanding of history, following the development of the section in WWI, there were three paths taken.   The French Army looked on the section as an indivisible whole; the lowest level of independent action was to be the Platoon.   The Germans were the opposite.   The Section was the lowest level of tactical maneuver; as such, they were always attempting to use maneuver to successfully exploit the notion of combined arms (like the pincers quote I put above).   The British took a middle road, and this is the path we naturally followed and inherited.

As Michael O'Leary so clearly points out in his essay, our Army has left this notion and gravitated to the path that the embodied the tactics of the French Army.   The Canadian Infantry section is not seen as an independent unit of maneuver, but rather an indivisible block that is used by the platoon commander.   All the section commander does it determine at what level and pace the section advances forward at.

I believe this is the wrong approach to tactics.   As I quoted before, there are two types of tactics "good tactics" and "bad tactics".   Reducing a section to only being able to advance in extended line upon the enemy is as foolish as ordering a platoon commander to line his sections up and attack frontally in every scenario.   Not only does the historical record show that section level manever often leads to more effective platoons (in the case of German and Israeli infantry tactics), but the ever increasing diffusion of the modern battlefield as a response to modern firepower makes the likelihood of the section level battle even more pronounced.   Here are a few examples that come off the top of my head:

- An urban scenario in which the platoon is fragmented among different buildings
- Difficult terrain, in which the immediacy of a battle and the possibility of a platoon flanking may be impossible due to terrain realities
- The advance may be so fast that to deploy a platoon in a hasty assault may waste valuable time in taking out a lone enemy that the section is capable of defeating if employed correctly (using combined arms).   Likewise, a section may be scouting or patrolling and find itself required to defeat an enemy on its own.
- Even in more simple terrain (like the plains of Wainwright) the Platoon commander may be faced with more then one threat, as a result his section commander must deal with the lone position while the Platoon commander takes his support and the other sections to face a more immediate threat.   Battle on open terrain will not always be laid out according to standard Canadian practice like so:

                                                                                                      Y - lone enemy position
  
                                                                                                     X - support section

                             X   X - flanking sections

The tactical situation becomes completely different when the following is inserted

                                                                                                     Y - lone enemy position

                                                                                                     X - support section
     Y - flanking enemy fireteam     X X - flanking sections

(In this case, the Platoon may have advanced into a "cauldron", effective platoon level tactics breakdown in the face of multiple threats and company level tactics may be unavailable in the near future)

To me, the solution starts with the idea that tactical training should be based upon instilling the notions of tactical understanding, sound judgement and decisive action upon section commanders.   The current approach is to ground repetitive procedure, methodical textbook approach, and checklist solutions to tactical training.   Although, like we have all agreed, this is useful for developing an elementary understanding of section level tactics, it quickly becomes irrelevant to a more advanced appreciation of the topic.

There should be no right or wrong methods of utilizing the section in battle; the validity of one's method can be judged by its results (for which WES like MILES are very helpful).   If a section commander failed to check off all the boxes in the evaluation and yet kills the enemy without a casualty, he passes; likewise someone who personifies school-defined standards and gets high grades for the school solution and yet has his entire section destroyed should be considered a failure.

As well, section tactics should be taught and evaluated using a variety of enemy postures.   Enemies will not always be dug in on a hill by themselves.   Enemies should counterattack, withdraw, attack, cover eachother, etc, etc - just like we would fight.   Some may argue that this reduces the objective nature of evaluations in that some may get harder tests then others, but if structured properly, a good commander who thinks should be able to consistently come out successful while a poor commanders lack of tactical ability will become apparent, no matter how easy a fight he is given.

One method I've seen constantly pop-up in literature on tactical training is the notion of the "staff ride".   Not even requiring troops or enemies, the instructor takes his troops into the field and walks through the terrain.   Throughout the walk he will put a student on the spot.   "What would you do a lone enemy started firing from this direction.", What would you do if you heard enemy tanks on that ridgeline".   Students are timed and must make spot decisions.   As scenario's develop, the instructor can throw "curve balls" in to assess how the student will adapt to friction and sudden changes in a fluid battle.   "You've moved to attack and encounter a minefield, what do you do now?"

The purpose of such training is to evaluate and refine the capabilities for judgement within the aspiring commanders.   As a course moves into actual exercises with troops, weapons and WES, and enemy forces, the focus on the judgement of the leader will still remain formost in what the instructors should evaluate, only now the scenario has become much more demanding with confusion, casualties, and a thinking enemy who reacts to ones decisions.

Battle is a form of human interaction.   As such, it is not a "science" that can be taught and formulated through concrete laws; as a form of human interaction it is made up of a multitude of psychological, social, cultural, political, moral, and physical factors which give every battle its own unique nature.   Our teaching of tactics at any level should reflect this idea.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 11, 2004, 04:41:08
Good post.  In part, and as suggested, we're in complete agreement...keeping sect-level trg at the level of a series of battle drills, a recipe, as it were, for battle, is a fundamental error in our approach.  Drills are useful for teaching new soldiers the essential framework.  However, we rarely advance beyond that point.  We have to start doing as you suggest--teaching our section comds and their soldiers to think and act in unorthodox and innovative ways.  I actually believe the sp ground concept is a good one; I learned sect attacks in the days of the "C2 Group", which manoeuvred around under the Sect 2ic more or less independently of the aslt gp.  Having said that, I'm not convinced that your suggestions for dealing with the threat of the lone rifleman were the best ones (well, maybe they were, once the sect had got itself into that situation)...the problem was the sect crossing the open grd to begin with.  Unless there was a good tactical reason to do so (making time, maybe), why would you?  Again, we don't put enough emphasis on teaching our jnr ldrs to read and use ground as the tool it is; instead, we teach them to adapt their formations to the ground (so the ground becomes the driver).  It's all part of the same malaise--sect tactics as rote drills.

The area I'm not so quick to agree on is the section as independent manoeuvre element.  I maintain that, except in specific circumstances, the sect lacks the C2, firepower and sustainment to function truly independently.  Yes, today's section has the firepower of, say, a WW2 pl.  But that applies to the en as well.  Your point about combined arms is well-taken, but the actual combined arms effects a section can produce independently are fairly limited.   Perhaps the solution to this lies at pl and coy level, where tactics are, to a certain extent, also treated as drills.  If the pl comd is taught to focus on the effects his sects are to achieve on the en and that those effects are coordinated, he can free up his sect comds to pursue their own solutions to their specific tactical problems.  I would go so far as to say that, in the end, we can't really talk about the sect attack in isolation; we have to consider the whole continuum, at least up to coy level, because changing the approach at one level will have impacts at the others.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on October 11, 2004, 05:04:04
Quote
In part, and as suggested, we're in complete agreement...keeping sect-level trg at the level of a series of battle drills, a recipe, as it were, for battle, is a fundamental error in our approach.   Drills are useful for teaching new soldiers the essential framework.   However, we rarely advance beyond that point.   We have to start doing as you suggest--teaching our section comds and their soldiers to think and act in unorthodox and innovative ways.   I actually believe the sp ground concept is a good one; I learned sect attacks in the days of the "C2 Group", which manoeuvred around under the Sect 2ic more or less independently of the aslt gp.

Yep.   We are in agreement here.

Quote
Having said that, I'm not convinced that your suggestions for dealing with the threat of the lone rifleman were the best ones (well, maybe they were, once the sect had got itself into that situation)...the problem was the sect crossing the open grd to begin with.   Unless there was a good tactical reason to do so (making time, maybe), why would you?   Again, we don't put enough emphasis on teaching our jnr ldrs to read and use ground as the tool it is; instead, we teach them to adapt their formations to the ground (so the ground becomes the driver).   It's all part of the same malaise--sect tactics as rote drills.

I presented the solution simply as an alternate example of how to deal with the threat.   It may have been as inappropriate as a straight out frontal assault; the purpose was to merely to highlight that their are other options available and these should not be constricted by a narrow-sighted doctrine.

Obviously, as you stated, terrain is a big player in the unique nature of every tactical engagement and perhaps in this situation the best course would be to call in a quick mortar or arty strike to blow the lone gunman sky-high.   A smart and well trained commander should be taught how to make the judgement based on the conditions on the ground rather then the scripture of the PAM.

(As well, I really agree with your statement on the nature of terrain.   Many of the excerpts on tactical training I've seen put much emphasis on mapwork, conceptualization, and terrain appreciation.   Every good Machine Gunner is taught to look for Defilade...)

Quote
The area I'm not so quick to agree on is the section as independent manoeuvre element.   I maintain that, except in specific circumstances, the sect lacks the C2, firepower and sustainment to function truly independently.   Yes, today's section has the firepower of, say, a WW2 pl.   But that applies to the en as well.   Your point about combined arms is well-taken, but the actual combined arms effects a section can produce independently are fairly limited.     Perhaps the solution to this lies at pl and coy level, where tactics are, to a certain extent, also treated as drills.   If the pl comd is taught to focus on the effects his sects are to achieve on the en and that those effects are coordinated, he can free up his sect comds to pursue their own solutions to their specific tactical problems.   I would go so far as to say that, in the end, we can't really talk about the sect attack in isolation; we have to consider the whole continuum, at least up to coy level, because changing the approach at one level will have impacts at the others.

I can see what your getting at here and I agree with you.   I am not trying to advocate that we make the section independent in the sense that the section commander will do a recce and give orders and launch deliberate attacks on positions on his own; rather I'm trying to illustrate the fact that often in the heat of   battle the situation can break down to section level fighting and you want to make sure you give your Section commanders maximum flexibility when commanding their battlespace within the larger Platoon and Company context.

The Section Commander must be prepared to fight if an immediate threat comes up or if he radios a contact report up to his Pl Commander and gets the response "We are tied down with a pillbox 50 meters this way, you'll have to deal with it yourself."   Look at the Sgts of the 3rd Ranger Battalion who fought section level engagements in Mogadishu; they had to do this within the larger fight of the Ranger Company due to the complex urban terrain.

Simply teaching our section commanders to line up for a full frontal is inappropriate and dogmatic, it'll only lead to failure (This is something I know you and me have already agreed upon).   Hence we must give them the ability to breakdown their section and provide superior, combined arms fire and maneuver if required.

I am not sure if you've read it before, but I'd highly recommend reading our very own Col. John English's On Infantry; this book discusses the theories of employment of the infantry platoon and section from WWI on.   He gives extensive arguments on the idea of the section as a unit of maneuver.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 16, 2004, 01:09:43
Like so many people posting on this board, I can think of many exercises where we would all have been wiped out through the unthinking use of battle drills. The primary problem is most people won't "think out of the box", and will walk blindly into the enemy kill zone even if they suspect it is there. Trying to invent something new, explaining it to your section/platoon on the fly (or under fire), then executing without any testing or rehersals is a recipie for disaster as well.

The short answer for me (and the many leadership candidates I taught through the years) was to change the wording slightly to open up new possibilities. Instead of insisting a section attack was frontal, I taught a "section attack is conducted AS IF it was a frontal". Once the candidates figured out what I ment, the change was amazing. They would use some means to fix the enemy (anything from a detached C-9 team to requesting the platoon's GPMG), then manouevre closer to the enemy position using cover if possible. The only real stipulation was they should hit the enemy in an extended line formation, if they came in from the covered flank, then so be it...

Future section attacks will be different though. I like many of the suggestions for revamping the section, and I hope some of them are going to be seriously tested in the new MTC in Wainwright. I would like to offer another wild-card thought on what will change things: individual and section level comms.

Imagine a platoon where every leadership position down to section 2I/C has something like a GARMIN RINO. Each leader will have a digital map on the display, and can locate all his comrades whenever they transmit. In this environment, the flow of information will be mostly "horizontal", with Section commanders being more interested in the location and disposition of the flanking sections, and the 2I/C's looking to the location of the assault groups (in today's terminology). Once contact is made, everyone will have a visual sense of where the rest of the platoon is, and can use this information to spontaniously "swarm" the enemy. Individual team members being able to talk to each other will be "iceing on the cake" in this scenario.

There will still be "battle drills" after a fashion, perhaps with soldiers being trained to advance to protect the flanks rather than move towards the enemy if certain conditions are met (i.e. "If your team is inside of the weapons effect arc, advance towards the enemy, outside of the weapons effects arc, move forward on the axis of advance").

The two nice things about this vision are:

a. It can be tested right now using off the shelf FRS type radios, and;
b. This brings high levels of situational awareness at the platoon level without being bogged down with the complexities of higher level command and control systems.

I would actually go so far as to say a totally "ground up" command and control system (Platoon commanders using a "RINO+" to keep in touch with the other platoons while the Company Commanders have RINO++ and so on) might be simpler and more robust than the current idea of "Top down" command and control systems.

If anyone has been trying this idea, or some variation, I would be interested to hear how it worked

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Michael Dorosh on October 16, 2004, 02:33:02
Seems to me I recognize our last poster's name from INFANTRY JOURNAL, or perhaps the DOCTRINE AND TRAINING BULLETIN?  Nice to see another "heavy thinker" among us, looking forward to reading more of you!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 16, 2004, 12:18:00

Future section attacks will be different though. I like many of the suggestions for revamping the section, and I hope some of them are going to be seriously tested in the new MTC in Wainwright. I would like to offer another wild-card thought on what will change things: individual and section level comms.

<snip>

If anyone has been trying this idea, or some variation, I would be interested to hear how it worked

A few years ago, as a coy comd, I let the sect comds draw and deploy with the small 521 radios, thus enabling comms to sect level.  The ex was an adv to contact, designed to practice dismounted sect offensive ops as a foundation for later pl and coy ops.  Two things became immediately apparent:

1. The sect comds couldn't properly manage the flow of information; the combined inputs of visual, external auditory and electronic auditory information were overwhelming; and

2. Our radio voice procedure sucks.

Point 2 is, unfortunately, almost universal.  It is rare to work with a non-Sig whose voice procedure is decent to begin with, and particuarly someone whose voice procedure doesn't collapse completely when the adrenaline starts flowing.  I think this is an under-trained and under-exercised skill throughout the army.  But that's probably another thread.

Point 1 was very interesting.  At the risk of sound a little Luddite-ish, I'm leery of any attempt to push more information at our leaders, without carefully considering what the information is going to be used for.  In the case above, it was voice only, no data; the result was fine while the pls were advancing, because it allowed the rather leisurely exchange of information about ground, formations, etc. and did what you suggested--it gave the sect comds better overall SA.  However, they had to use the coy frequency because we didn't have additional ones allocated, so frequency management became a problem, exacerbated by the generally poor voice procedure and radio discipline.  Once we had contact, however, things went to s**t completely.  The flood of information--most of which was superfluous (I was listening in on the net)--actually degraded the performance of the sect comds.  I'm not sure what the addition of visual/data input would have done, but I doubt it would have led to anything good.

Okay, this was hardly a rigorous experiment.  But it did underscore some important points regarding any sort of CIS at the lowest tactical levels:

-training.  It is absolutely essential that ind trg be designed to incorporate not just the use of the hardware, but also the management and use of information
-interface.  The audio-only interface is a surprisingly poor way of communicating information rapidly and efficiently (considering how much we depend on it), probably because every user has a different frame of reference.  It's much better for communicating information that requires minimal interpretation.
-discipline.  Related to training above; users have to be rigorous in their use of the technology, to avoid filling the medium with useless "white noise" or, worse, information that is wrong or misleading
-frequency management.  The more we rely on communication by RF means, the more of the frequency spectrum we have to use.  There are already a lot of users of the RF spectrum in the battlespace, so we would have to decide who would share frequencies and who would have their own (does everyone use the coy net?  Are there pl nets?  Section nets?)

Finally, I have a few general qualms about CIS at the ind or low tactical levels:

-interface (again).  Visual interfaces have to be well-designed.  Current small displays tend to be difficult to use in many light conditions without backlighting; they use much more power with backlighting and present light discipline issues.  Moreover, map-view type interfaces at these levels aren't necessarily all that intuitive.  Much better for a member of a section would be a "heads-up" display that displays, only brightly enough to see given ambient light, the locations of key objects (comd, other sect members, pl HQ, whatever) superimposed over his field of view.  Such a thing is hardly COTS, however, and is probably on the bleeding edge of military-style human interfaces;
-power.  Everything that needs power needs batteries, which have to be replaced or recharged, and often don't function well in temperature extremes.  Newer battery technology is on the way, which should help.
-signatures.  More EM radiation from all this kit, plus possible thermal and visual signatures, depending on the technology
-security.  Will these devices operate in the clear, introducing COMSEC concerns, or will they be secure, adding overhead to both the technology and its administration?
-reliability.  Signals degrade in built-up or particularly rugged areas of close country, just the sort of terrain in which you would most want this sort of capability.
-default.  As always, how dependent do we want to become on this kit?  The more alternatives and fall-backs we introduce, the higher the training bill

I think the future is coming, but I'd like us to approach this sort of thing with careful consideration and LOTS of field testing by the troops.  And, frankly, we should be prepared to decide, if the evidence suggests it, that it doesn't work.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: paracowboy on October 16, 2004, 12:51:34
we played with some of those very items, in similar manner, down in "Jawja". They're mostly testing prototypes, but they do open up some very interesting doors. (Although, I don't like the fact that it tends to make people rely on technology -which can fail- instead of skill.)

Instead of 521 radios (*coughJUNK!cough*) we're starting to get a smaller, and vastly better, personal radio, right down to the individual troop. We used them on Roto 0, in Kabul. I loved them. My troops and I didn't bother with radio procedure, we simply talked the way you would if you were face-to-face. I was originally concerned that it would lead to 'clogging up' the net, but the troops know when to talk and when to shut up. They were really handy when I would go into a building to talk with some honcho (be it KCP, a mullah, or local gangster). My security dude and myself could radio our location to the rest of the section outside, and they could keep me info'd on events out there. When we actually did some interesting things, it made for far better comms, and far better execution of plans since you could make stuff up on the fly, and the entire Platoon would know and respond accordingly.

They caused a kind of mini-revolution in the section attack. The flow of info made the attack faster and let you react quicker as a section.

my two pennies
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on October 16, 2004, 15:58:06
I would like to see persoanl radios (esp between the section commander and 2 i/c) with throat mikes.  A problem we faced when doing a combined attack with the tankers is that the were on the same freq as us and the platoon commander couldn't get any info up to the OC and vice versa.  Those tankers love to talk.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: George Wallace on October 16, 2004, 16:09:45
..... Those tankers love to talk.

It depends on the Unit.  I have found the opposite to be true......Infantry tying up the Net with incessant yammering.

GW
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Rounder on October 16, 2004, 18:15:45
The most important weapon in the infanrty section is the radio.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 17, 2004, 11:13:15
The most important weapon in the infanrty section is the radio.

DS answer to that...it depends on the situation  ;D

Actually, the point about dispensing with voice procedure is an interesting one.  I think that passing information in "plain talk" is actually more efficient, because it's more naturally in accordance with the way people process information.  At the level of the Personal Role Radio (yeah, the 521 is less than stellar, but it was all we had to play with at the time), dumping strict voice procedure and just talking may be the better way to go--OPSEC isn't as big an issue and the radios generally have a pretty weak EM signature.  At higher tactical, and operational levels, where response times don't necessarily have to be measured in seconds, stricter VP is probably desirable from an OPSEC and EMCON point of view.  There's still the matter of frequency management, of course.

The closest I've come to a PRR is using a COTS FRS which, actually, we're not supposed to do (I think there's a CANLANDGEN or CANFORGEN saying that somewhere).  Being hand-held  with no mike or headset made them too cumbersome to use during, say, an attack, but they offered a lot of flexibility and generally improved SA.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Rounder on October 17, 2004, 12:28:25
Quote
At the level of the Personal Role Radio (yeah, the 521 is less than stellar, but it was all we had to play with at the time), dumping strict voice procedure and just talking may be the better way to go--OPSEC isn't as big an issue and the radios generally have a pretty weak EM signature.


Well Sir let's not forget about encryption too. Your with SFOR... Good luck, wish I was there.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: paracowboy on October 17, 2004, 12:34:52
yeah, at first, my 2I/C and myself were worried about not using VP, but then we realized that the section use so much 'street slang' mixed with 'official army talk',and 'army slang', that no way would anyone not in the CF understand what we were saying. Also, we had certain key words that were only used for Real Situations, eg. instead of using STOP or HALT, we would use "Ya wanna hold up a second?" or some such, reserving shorter commands for emergencies, (ie. scary man with gun).

Someone saying "GO" would immediately cause a rapid desertion of the area, but someone saying "Let's roll" would just mean 'everyone in this jeep is ready, we can leave whenever you are, and by the way you forgot your helmet in our jeep again and if the RSM sees you in a veh without your helmet once more he's going to charge you, stupid'.

Using plain speech was quicker in that, troops, (especially the brand new ones - which was the majority) wouldn't have to pause to think about what they wanted to say. Then, I would have the new guys practice their VP while in the camp, so that they could talk on the 522s and get the required results. The biggest thing was just making sure your troops understood when they could chat amongst themselves, and when to shut up, what points were relevent in a Real Situation, and what points were irrelevent.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 17, 2004, 14:16:17



Well Sir let's not forget about encryption too. Your with SFOR... Good luck, wish I was there.

Thanks!

Re encryption, understood.  However, it does add overhead, both technical and administrative.  More radios with encryption mean more radios in which crypto has to be installed, updated, etc.  As is usual in life, you don't get something for nothing.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 17, 2004, 23:35:22
Interesting feedback on the "real life" use of 521, FRS and PRR. It reminds me of an article I read (sorry, forgot the reference) of a USMC exercise, where the use of "high tech" actually increased the casualty rate. Typical example: the platoon commander being picked off by a sniper when he opened his laptop in low light situations....

It seems with what we have in the here and now, the main issue is training (VP, when to talk and when to zip it), followed by frequency management. Future issues would include Crypto, EMCON (EMissions CONtrol for the uninitiated) and information interface.

Quick question for PRR and FRS users: are you formally training your troops in veiled speech, where and when to use the radios etc. or is this evolving through experience on exercise and deployment?

Looking forward to your feedback
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 18, 2004, 03:21:17
Quick question for PRR and FRS users: are you formally training your troops in veiled speech, where and when to use the radios etc. or is this evolving through experience on exercise and deployment?

Well, we didn't have PRR when I was in an inf unit, only FRS (which we're not supposed to be using, I'm pretty sure).   There was nothing formal about it.  They were used in a completely ad hoc way, mostly as an adjunct to the military VHF radios, for when they failed.  And it's hard enough trying to achieve and maintain a decent level in regular radio VP, much less then allowing tps to drop back into veiled/normal speech.  It's obviously a topic area we, as an army, need to consider more carefully and wrap some rigour around.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on October 18, 2004, 05:31:04
Interesting feedback on the "real life" use of 521, FRS and PRR. It reminds me of an article I read (sorry, forgot the reference) of a USMC exercise, where the use of "high tech" actually increased the casualty rate. Typical example: the platoon commander being picked off by a sniper when he opened his laptop in low light situations....

I read that too; it was called "They Died at their Keyboards" or something like that.  It was a FIBUA ex; much of the fancy communications went down due to buildings causing interference.

Since this discussion has moved to technology in the section attack, I'll attempt to drag it up.

PS:  I used the PRR on a training ex with the British and I thought they were the cat's meow (Except for Dutch soldiers trying to sing wrap lyrics over them....)/
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 18, 2004, 09:09:10
Sorry about getting "technocentric", but the integration and use of technology does change things. I have been around long enough to remember 11 man sections and "C2 group right!", just the introduction of assault rifles and LMGs totally changed the character of the section attack.

I think much of what has been said about the layout of a section and different tactics for sections needs to be properly tested in Wainwright using WES so we can see what works, I am interested in thinking through the communications aspect (which also needs to be tested in Wainwright, BTW)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 18, 2004, 10:34:19
Quote
I think much of what has been said about the layout of a section and different tactics for sections needs to be properly tested in Wainwright using WES so we can see what works, I am interested in thinking through the communications aspect (which also needs to be tested in Wainwright, BTW)

You know, I have heard a number of briefings about CMTC, and the topic of conducting scientific tests of TTPs has never come up.  Definitely something to think about.  Maybe Devil 39 or Mark C can shed some light?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 18, 2004, 23:37:05
Now I really regret a big houscleaning I did some years ago. There was an article in the old Infantry Journal which described a section attack by rebel Rwandan troops, but I don't remember the edition and title anymore.

The Rwandans used a combination of tactics and psycology to mentally unhinge the Hutu soldiers facing them, rather than relying on the shock effect of direct assaults on the position.

The gist of this article was the Rwandan section was a 12 man unit broken into three parts, a support group with RPK's and an RPG, and two four man assault groups armed with rifles. While the support group fixed the enemy, each assault group would atempt to flank the enemy position...on each side!

Moving on either side of the position, the Rwandans were attempting to outflank the position and cover any potential escape routes by fire as well. This required superb training and fire dicipline (single aimed shots), otherwise the two assault groups could end up destroying each other. Faced with accurate fire coming from three sides, and the threat of being outflanked, the Hutu soldiers would normally loose their nerve and attempt to escape, only to be gunned down by the concentrated fire of the assault groups.

This is a great example of attacking enemy morale (and if the Hutus were brave or stupid enough to stay put, they could be bypassed, putting them out of the battle anyway, or dug out by bringing up bigger guns, like jeep mounted HMGs), with a potentially much lower cost to the attacking side in terms of manpower, casualties and logistics (single aimed shots). An eight man Canadian section might be a bit small for this tactic, but perhaps nine (3 X 3man groups) would fit into a LAV, or the LAV itself would be the "support group", slowly picking apart the bunker with single 25mm rounds while the two assault teams moved in left and right....

If anyone has that article and could post it somehow, I think it would be very interesting to readers of this thread.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 19, 2004, 01:41:30
The Infantry Journal articles were accessible online a while back (c 1998-99) but then apparently someone became coy.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on October 19, 2004, 04:26:35
Some thoughts on technology and the Section Attack:

Two items that come to mind are those fancy Heads-Up Displays on the windshields of Cadillacs and the stupid glowing hockey puck that they tried for TV audiences in the US.

I see something good coming from some of the items that A Majoor has brought up.   The Rwandan tactic sounds familiar; I remember reading that the Zulu Impis under Shaka used the three way envelopment to great success (they had some animal name for it) to destroy the linear forces of other opponents.

It makes sense.   The more angles you attack an opponent from, the more confusion will be sown and the more panic will spread; this is why encirclement is regarded as disastrous.   In fact, on the mental level, an attack from multiple directions can so thoroughly defeat the cohesion of an enemy that physical force is not required - they simply breakdown as a fighting unit, either offering scattered and ineffective resistance or surrendering.

This idea can be applied to the section level.   Obviously the main weakness of the frontal section attack, which has doctrinally become the only trick up our sleeve, is that it is linear and only represents one threat to an enemy, that of an extended line of troops utilizing differing levels of fire and movement.   A good foe, utilizing combined arms (instead of supporting arms), using superior tactics or having a better grasp on terrain and defensive positions will be able to easily dispatch with a single threat.   When the section approaches its objective, even when operating withing a platoon or company level tactical situation, the more opportunities for attack that exist can lead to a more flexible approach, thus increasing chances of success while reducing chances of casualties.

Where does technology come in?   As A Majoor mentioned earlier, superior information flow can allow for "swarm" tactics to exist while reducing the danger of friendly fire due to a non-linear section attack.   Perhaps two simple technologies could aid in this development.

1)   The PRR, which allows for quick, informal communications amongst the section through a light, simple and reliable radio.

2)   The second element (referring to the hockey puck) would be some sort of simple, clear display that a soldier would wear (perhaps a set of goggles or ballistic glasses).   Within the glasses would be a small HUD.   Whenever one looks at their sectionmates, they give off a "glow".   This can allow soldiers to instantly identify where their fellow soldiers are when approaching an objective from multiple directions.   It is simple, like the HUD on a Cadillac, which offers information without distracting the user from their main focus (in this case; driving.   As well, it provides information and situational awareness at the section level in a simple and effective manner.

Of course, this is a whimsical and may be completely unworkable due to technology constraints.   As well, it could be a disadvantage if the enemy is able to use the same technology, easily exposing infiltrating infantryman in a night raid into a bunch of glowing blobs.

Anyways, just some thoughts on how to incorporate technology and tactics to multiply the combat power of a section.

Cheers,

Infanteer
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 19, 2004, 11:12:01
BAsically you are talking about improving Situational Awareness to the point of Battlefield Visualization,   From TRADOC Pam 525-70: https://134.11.61.26/CD8/Publications/TRADOC/TRADOC%20Pam/TRADOC%20Pam%20525-70%2019951001.pdf

Quote
Battlefield Visualization is the process whereby the commander develops a clear understanding of the current state of all forces and the environment, envisions a desired end state which represents mission accomplishment, and then subsequently  visualizes the sequence of activity that moves  the commander's force from its current state  to the end state.

The US considers this to be primarily of use for Commanders and Brigade and higer, but the tenets can certainly be applied at the section level.

Quote
To be successful in battle, the commander must apply experience and intuition to sort through the myriad of information available on the battlefield. Determining critical information requires focus on three aspects of the commander's vision.
(1) The first is understanding the current state of friendly and enemy forces. This knowledge extends beyond the physical location of forces, environmental factors, and combat readiness (equipment and supplies). It also includes human factors such as fatigue, morale, and the decision-making processes and information requirements of both forces.
(2) The second aspect of the commander's vision is the ability to clearly discern a desired end state. Initially, this involves foreseeing a feasible outcome to the operation which results in mission success and leaves the unit postured for the next mission.
(3) The third aspect of visualization is the ability to see and understand the dynamic relationship between the opposing forces as the commander leads forces through the sequence of activity from current situation to final end state. This includes envisioning possible enemy moves and counters to those moves to defeat or destroy the enemy force. The commander decides when to shift the main effort, when to change priorities, when to reinforce, when to request additional forces, or when to disengage. During the execution
of the mission, the commander continually assesses the envisioned end state to ensure
that it is still desired and achievable.

If one were to apply the criteria above to your ideal HUD, then I would add in the location and movements of the enemy, as well as the section members.  We have all been on attacks that have foundered with "locating the enemy", and on ones that have "lost track" of the enemy whilst making an approach or flanking manoeuvre.  This is about fusing the different types of Situational Awareness, or SA.  At the higher levels, Brown SA (georeferenced data) is critical - it would be less so at the section level.  Blue SA is obviously critical - and is covered by your "glowing puck" analogy, showing location of own troops.  Red SA would add in the enemy location, once identified (and the technological challenge of putting that into your HUD on the fly would be significant.  Finally, some (Gen Nordick is a big proponent) have suggested that we need to consider White SA as well, which refers to non-combatant information - location of refugees and non-combatants, a big glowing X over the mosque etc.

With the combination of SAS (Situational Awareness Suite) and ATS (Athene Tactical System), we are very close to being able to fuse Brown, Blue and Red SA in a single display, with "icons" for each vehicle (and icons can obviously be grouped).  The limitation on displaying individual soldier icons is quite frankly weight - I know that SAS has been deployed on individual soldiers recently, but the kit (think GPS and a radio, along with a display screen, all lashed to your body) is heavy and unwieldy.

Havind said that, I am sure that weights will come down.  Once that is the case, it is simply a matter of having information processed higher, and transmitted (digital capacity of the tactical net is obvioulsy an issue) to the indicidual HUDs.

What you are proposing may not be all that far off - and will obviously have a significant impact on our TTPs.

I will throw in one last quote from the pam:

Quote
c. The successful future commander must possess an intuitive feel for combat developed through repetitive training, experience, and exposure to experienced mentoring and leadership. This intuition is based on a timely and accurate view of the battlefield if the unit is to be successful in battle.

This is about raising the bar when conducting section attacks while training - simply repeating the drill over and over again addresses none of the points listed above.




Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 19, 2004, 12:16:44
Quote
I see something good coming from some of the items that A Majoor has brought up.  The Rwandan tactic sounds familiar; I remember reading that the Zulu Impis under Shaka used the three way envelopment to great success (they had some animal name for it) to destroy the linear forces of other opponents.

Chaka envisualized the force as a bull in three parts horns (out flank and encircle - recce in force?) head (heavy vanguard to try the line and find or create weaknesses) body (main body/reserve to exploit opportunity and destroy the enemy in place)  - David Clammer "The Zulu War".   The one big difference between the Zulus and the Rwandans is that the Zulus on the 1820s didn't have to worry about fire discipline. They had no projectile weapons. The Stabbing Spear (assegai) was the primary weapon.

By the time Cetewayo clashed with the Brits in the 1870s some of the Zulus had rifles and muskets (considerably more after Isandhlwana) but fire discipline was not perceived as a problem.  A contributory factor here could have been the "medicines" that were administered before battle that convinced the Zulus that bullets would bounce off.  If the bullets didn't bounce off at least the didn't "hurt" them.  I would venture that many Zulus died "feeling no pain".

Just as a sidebar here with respect to mobility and what is possible. Zulus with no kit to speak of (1 shield, 2 assegais, maybe a knobkerry or club and a monkey skin blanket) routinely marched 50 miles a day, moving faster than the cavalry of the day.

And now back to the main thread ;)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 19, 2004, 12:24:12
I like the idea of an SA display in each soldier's visor, sort of what Heinlien described in "Starship Troopers". Top down systems like SAS and ATS are fine for higher level formations, but the "techno centric" section should only be tied into a "platoon net" to keep the system simple and fast (imagine the latency if the section commanders movement is passed up to the Bde level ATS, then back down the chain to the section 2I/C).

That said, for the soldiers display, there should be a very simple overlay on what he sees in front of him: a blue icon for friendlies in his field of veiw, red and yellow icons for threats and potential targets, a pipper for where his weapon is currently aimed at and maybe a set of "arc markers" input by the section commander at the start of the trace. In an urban ops environment, this might just be stripped down to "blues" and the pipper.

The section commander and 2I/C should have the options to pull down map displays or other graphics to assist in orientation and command and control, with maybe a miniature projector to display the map on a suitable piece of ground or the back of an FMP when required.

The other thing the display should be capable of is displaying text messages (i.e. sitreps or other updates, and which the section commander can use to compose messages.)

Most of these things are available now, although not in a singular package which is lightweight, rugged and "soldier proof", and unless derived from som existing COTS system like the GARMIN RINO mentioned earlier, would probably cost a fortune. Simulation and testing should be very interesting and I think the results would be unexpected.

I think there are now two parallel threads here, one about actual tactics, and the other about how technology may drive tactics. Should we start a new thread?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PikaChe on October 19, 2004, 12:31:09
IIRC, the Brits version of sect attack is mini version of our pl attack with a firebase and the riflemen trying to flank the enemy to the best of terrain/effective en fire allows.

If we are to adopt something like a flank attack for our section attack, the C9s will need to be more effective and put more accurate hail of lead down the range.
I was shocked that a basic battle load for C9 is only 2 boxes according to doctrine. (Unless I'm wrong) For the amount of emphasis we put on that MGs are the most important wpn, we don't see to allow them to have much ammo...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 19, 2004, 12:40:56
Quote
I think there are now two parallel threads here, one about actual tactics, and the other about how technology may drive tactics. Should we start a new thread?
 
 

I'm just watching you discuss this issue.  The two threads, although parallel, appear to be so intertwined that I wonder if you are not better to keep considering the two together?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 19, 2004, 13:50:15
IIRC, the Brits version of sect attack is mini version of our pl attack with a firebase and the riflemen trying to flank the enemy to the best of terrain/effective en fire allows.

Hmmm.  Let's not forget that they do that without a useful section support weapon (basically they have a C2), and with out grenade launchers (at least when I served with them 96-98).  Moreover, the Pl has no integral fire support assets - all of the GPMGs are grouped at the Bn level.

the organisation and equipping of our sections and platoons make them infinitely more lethal than those of many of our Allies.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 19, 2004, 15:03:29
Quote
Hmmm.  Let's not forget that they do that without a useful section support weapon (basically they have a C2), and with out grenade launchers (at least when I served with them 96-98).  Moreover, the Pl has no integral fire support assets - all of the GPMGs are grouped at the Bn level.

I'm trying to find it, but I can't.  Over on ARRSE (Army.ca's UK counterpart) one character who went by the name of "Gravelbelly" was extolling the virtues of the LSW.  Essentially he was arguing that its high single-shot accuracy, and ability to supply automatic fire made it a great system for low intensity warfare like Northern Ireland.  It basically combined some of the characteristics of the C7CT and the C9 in one weapon, sharing a common ammunition supply with the rest of the "brick".  Now for high intensity conflict it has its severe limitations.  To that end the Brits have aquired the Minimi (C9) and have been using it at "brick" level in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Its used by all infanteers in theatre including the RAF regiment.

As to grenade launchers, I am less sure about those but I believe those have been issued as well.

As to the Pl fire support that appears to be one of those things that Brit CO's are given some flexibility in. 
http://www.army.mod.uk/devonanddorset/org.htm

This site on the Devon's and Dorsets indicates that they at least have devolved the GPMGs down to Platoon.

The organization they describe is a 4 section Platoon with the 4th section being 2 GPMGs

They have 3 Platoons to the Rifle Company with each Company having a permanently attached  8 man section of Engineers and a 4 man section of "snipers" (their words Kevin) presumably armed with the Lapua LRR.

In addition they have a Mortar Platoon (which I believe has 9x 81mm tubes), a Medium Range Anti-Tank Platoon with Milan (currently being replaced with Javelin) and a Recce Platoon equipped with about 8 unarmoured,  open top Land Rovers fitted with the WMIK frame for mounting heavy weapons.

Generally speaking, as I understand it, Light Role Battalions can be assigned light vehicles according to task assigned.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 19, 2004, 15:31:37
>IIRC, the Brits version of sect attack is mini version of our pl attack with a firebase and the riflemen trying to flank the enemy to the best of terrain/effective en fire allows.

If memory serves, the article about the section attack in Africa struck me as a criticism of the loss of fire and movement (manoeuvre) skills at the section level in our own army.

I have heard a few infantry officers lament the death of F&M at the section level.  What is the truth of the situation?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 19, 2004, 23:36:51
I like the idea of an SA display in each soldier's visor, sort of what Heinlien described in "Starship Troopers". Top down systems like SAS and ATS are fine for higher level formations, but the "techno centric" section should only be tied into a "platoon net" to keep the system simple and fast (imagine the latency if the section commanders movement is passed up to the Bde level ATS, then back down the chain to the section 2I/C).

Fair enough - I was looking for a simple way to input RED and White SA.   AS to latency - filters are definitely the answer - along with the discipline to use them.

Quote
That said, for the soldiers display, there should be a very simple overlay on what he sees in front of him: a blue icon for friendlies in his field of veiw, red and yellow icons for threats and potential targets, a pipper for where his weapon is currently aimed at and maybe a set of "arc markers" input by the section commander at the start of the trace. In an urban ops environment, this might just be stripped down to "blues" and the pipper.

That sounds very clean.   There are no doubt many studies on the amount of information that a human can process, especially while in a sensory rich environement (it is one thing to be in a cockpit at 20,000 ft - another to be walking, smelling, hearing, feeling - and leading.

Quote
The section commander and 2I/C should have the options to pull down map displays or other graphics to assist in orientation and command and control, with maybe a miniature projector to display the map on a suitable piece of ground or the back of an FMP when required.

Agreed

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 21, 2004, 01:22:06
Going back to Rwanda for a moment, a "Canadian" version could have the C-9s and the 2I/C as the support base, the section commander rifleman and grenadier in one assault group, and a senior corporal/qualified MCpl, rifleman and grenadier in the other (3 X 3 man groups). This section should fit a LAV, and not unduly strain the existing system in terms of new kit etc.

The Sgt and his senior corporal lead with the flanking groups not only to engage the enemy, but also to be far enough forward to see the next bound. The 2I/C controls the fire, but should also be able to direct the flanking sections if they are going off course by virtue of his observation position.

Add-ons: PRR for the reasons discussed in previous posts, and maybe a supply of M-72s or better to the fire base to deal with those annoying hardened bunkers and light armour. It might even be worth investigating a C-6 instead of 2 X C-9 for the fire base, given the greater range and penetration.

This would be interesting to try out in Wainwright
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 21, 2004, 01:45:30
Sort of echoes the rule of three as well
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 21, 2004, 11:42:14
Continuing the thought process; If the three section support groups are heavily armed with C-6 and some sort of "bunker buster" rocket launcher to support the flanking assault groups, then it follows the platoon 's employment in battle will also change.

Will the platoon have another GPMG in the weapons det? Will the platoon commander/2I/C's job shift more to supplying fire support with bigger and better weapons in the weapons det (ERYX today; Javelin or Gill/Spike tomorrow, plus improved 60mm mortar rounds) and vectoring in Coy and above assets?

Almost all of the posts have looked at the section by itself (guilty, guilty guilty), without taking the next logical step...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PikaChe on October 21, 2004, 12:38:00
I'm thinking you're talking in terms of mech inf?

What about poor sods in light infantry? :)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Booya McNasty on October 21, 2004, 13:07:10
In my sect, I've been trying this work for the last little while and it's been working.  Rather than the textbook B A C D frontal that we all know and love, I have two independent teams - my support team & assault team.  My two C9s, 1 grenadier and 1 2ic are in the support, everyone else is in my assault team.  Sup keeps the en head down, aslt flanks and attacks.

I've found that you need a very switched on 2ic to control the support.  And good communication.  I've also found that it's very easy to get the assault team over extended, esp if the en force waits until you're right up on them or if they have hidden positions. Four guys aren't enough - an extra fire team w/ assaulters would sure help.  With FRS radios between the 2ic and myself, it's easy to C & C.

With the good Sgts point, about changing platoon tactics, this would definitely change the platoon.  Rather than one firebase and three sections to kick around, th Pl Comd could have more than one smaller firebases, each able to concentrate fire on different positions.  The Pl 2ic would need to have a very reliable method of controlling the sect 2ic / secondary fire base comd, as would the Pl Comd when they're assaulting though.  Am I making sense here?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 21, 2004, 20:12:26
That's the problem; unless you are doing the experiments (and proper experiments with WES or Miles gear and O/C's to record the action), it is really hard to describe some of these things. I may think I understand what you are saying Booya, but until I see the video, I may just be blowing smoke. BTW, good work on the experiments. Also well done for your unit giving you the leeway to try this out.

One possible way to think of this is to "stack" the sections, so the lead section outflanks/neutralizes a position, then the next two slide through the hole and continue the advance. Since the ideal is to demoralize the enemy and force them to abandon the positions through fear and panic rather than at the point of a bayonet, the platoon 2I/C's job may be to husband the resources to deal with potential counter-attacks, and drop off the resupply "package" to the re-orging section as the platoon moves past.The Pl Comdr will be near the front of the stack to monitor the action, vector in outside resources if req, and prep the two sections for the next bound.

I think something like this would work both for mech and light. Mech units have the luxury of attached firepower from their LAV, while light forces should have speed and stealth on their side.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Rounder on October 23, 2004, 10:42:03
Quote
I have two independent teams - my support team & assault team.  My two C9s, 1 grenadier and 1 2ic are in the support, everyone else is in my assault team.  Sup keeps the en head down, aslt flanks and attacks.


    Sounds good, but in my opinion, I tell my section that they will probably never be a scenario where a lone section has to conduct a frontal. Especially when there are larger weapons assets within the Pl. A section attack, in my section, is rehearsal of a Pl attack. I'll explain battle drills 1-4 are if the section is in the support base within the platoon, and 5-7 are id they are in the assault group. To spend the time and energy on "experimenting" is lost effort, you should be doing that at the platoon level. I do agree with Majoor.. good for you for at least making training more fun.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 23, 2004, 11:51:09



      Sounds good, but in my opinion, I tell my section that they will probably never be a scenario where a lone section has to conduct a frontal. Especially when there are larger weapons assets within the Pl. A section attack, in my section, is rehearsal of a Pl attack. I'll explain battle drills 1-4 are if the section is in the support base within the platoon, and 5-7 are id they are in the assault group. To spend the time and energy on "experimenting" is lost effort, you should be doing that at the platoon level. I do agree with Majoor.. good for you for at least making training more fun.

You know, I hate to sound like I'm contradicting points I made earlier in this same thread (I also believe that you can't entirely separate the sect attack's "format" from that of the pl or coy), but I don't entirely agree.  I concur that frontals at any level are usually to be avoided, but I don't agree that there will NEVER be a scenario in whch a lone section has to conduct an attack, frontal or otherwise.  In very close country or urban terrain, it's a very definite possibility.  And even in more open country ops, the sect having some ability to conduct independent manoeuvre, within a zone of responsibility that, itself, is part of a pl's zone of responsibility, which is part of a coy's, etc. is a good thing; the job of the higher levels is to keep things joined up and coordinated with higher assets (more direct fire wpns, indirect fire, etc.)  The essential thrust of this thread was that the sect attack should evolve beyond rote drills (which are useful for teaching the basics) to more flexible, more innovative approaches.  As long as the bigger picture is kept in mind, that's probably a very desirable thing.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on October 23, 2004, 12:01:58
Just my two cents. I think the idea we teach troops that a section is never on the battlefield by itself and therefore in war would never perform a section attack (be it frontal or flanking) is WRONG !
We should really look at how we are doing operations these days.
How many times (be it Bosnia, Kosovo, A-stan or East Timor) do we find a section out doing a patrol even if it is with a LAVIII ? It happens quite alot. Now think about the current threat wich is most likely going to p@ssed off beligerents with AKs or a suicide bomber. This more than likely would happen (or has in some cases) in an urban setting. The idea of the "lone enemy OP engaging us on a plain empty field" is silly.
However IMO, those drills we teach troops on QL3/SQ/BIQ (depending on what generation you are) is a good training tool. Once in an operational unit (battalion) then section commanders should practice "out of the box" scenarios.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 25, 2004, 23:35:56
Quote
Once in an operational unit (battalion) then section commanders should practice "out of the box" scenarios
.

Agreed.  Moreover, the chain of command must give junior leaders the time and space to try out those ideas, and in the spirirt of mission command, accept when things don't go as planned - in training.

I have a theory that if a Coy has 5 trg days, 2 go to the Sect Comd, 2 to the Pl Comd, and only one to the Coy Comd.  Trg is about trying stuff out, and perfecting what works.  In order to do that, a comd needs both time and space...

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 26, 2004, 00:20:56
The biggest problem with that scenario is the "hit all the check boxes" mentality. I did five months of pre training for ROTO 13, and to tell the truth, it seemed rushed because of all the directed training we were to do, and all the various "check box items" (for want of a better term), that we had to hit. As a result, our training was broad, but not very deep. If a leader was not good at a task (and I fumbled on a few occasions), there were very few opportunities to go back and do the task over again, much less try various permutations.

Perhaps an analogy is in order: A peasant on a battlefield in the middle ages could flail away with a bill hook or other large, sharp agricultural instrument and be quite dangerous to anyone who got in the way. If the peasant was lucky, his lord may have arranged for some limited training by a Sergeant or mercenary soldier, so he would know a set of offensive and defensive moves, increasing his effectiveness against the opposing rabble.

Of course a knight or samurai warrior, with a lifetime of training behind him had the knowledge of parries, blocks, countermoves and strikes to weave through the simple strikes and blocks a peasant could use. One on one, the trained warrior had the knowledge and practice to mow down lesser opponents, and could comport himself well against multiple opponents as well.

My advice to anyone planning an exercise or training scenario is to SLOW DOWN and exercise a few things very well, rather than try to cram in too much. We want to make contact on our terms, not be mowed down like a bunch of peasants on teh 21rst century battlfield.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Rounder on October 26, 2004, 17:00:20
Quote
I concur that frontals at any level are usually to be avoided, but I don't agree that there will NEVER be a scenario in whch a lone section has to conduct an attack, frontal or otherwise.  In very close country or urban terrain, it's a very definite possibility.



    In a PSO we're trained to form an inner cordon and break contact. You are right, it isn't impossible, but it is seeming more unlikely.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on October 26, 2004, 18:28:13
Rounder, send me an email would ya please ? I am curious who you are? Cheers Rick Waechter.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: kjmead on October 27, 2004, 14:17:30
An interesting topic, as seen by the varied replies and potential threads.  I am new to the forum, and Army.ca in general, so take my comments as you will.  I will state that I am currently posted to CMTC, in Wainwright.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure, wainwright appears to be a prison camp, form out of the 40's, wait a second that's what it was.  Anyway, CMTC's concept is to put tactics to the test, utilising the newest and most up to date WES system.  Now I could go into all kinds of detail about the system, but that could take a while, I will answer any questions to the best of my abilities, as they roll in.

Now, the WES system here will enable the OC(Observer Controller) to properly debrief the troops at all levels, right down to the lowly Pte.  This will allow all to see the effects of a sect atk on an OPFOR, that will have varying mandates depending on the training required by the unit going through at that time, anywhere from terrorist type atks, to full fledged force on force of equal capabilities.  The system tracks every player on the battlefield, including Vehs, and will allow AAR's to include what the attack looked like tactically on a map displaying the units movement down to the individual.  So the doctrine of the Sect Atk, will be put to the test repeatedly, and allow CMTC to upgrade or change doctrine as required.

In my opinion, and my experience the Sect Atk has changed over the last 16 years, from flankings right through to frontals, which from my perspective are only limited by the leader of the Atk, the leader and individual soldier must still use his/her initiative to use the ground to the best of thier abilities, leaving the 'frontal assault' to much interpretation, it's only a frontal in the sense that the section remains inline with itself, for the most part, but can, and does, approach the En from whichever direction is most tactically sound.

So should there be changes in doctrine, all I can say is that in the next few years that answer will be addressed by the activities at CMTC, starting next week with the first trials of the system and techniques of the OC's

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: SHARP WO on October 27, 2004, 15:09:36
This is just my 2 cents worth.  There are a multitude of ways to conduct a section attack, but I think that Jnr Comds do not get enough practice to try new ways of doing them, especially in the reserves. In my unit it's about keeping the young soldiers interested and lesser to improving Jnr Comds. Does anyone else have a similiar perspective from the Reserves.

Some of my Jnr Comd only get to do section attacks while attending or teaching on courses, and with the limited training and attendance we have in the reserves, some comd's may only do 1 or 2 attacks per year. I guess what I am saying is that Jnr Comd's need practice as do all soldiers, and what we as Comd's can provide for them and not burn them out either.

 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on October 27, 2004, 16:59:47
DGlad has expounded repeatedly on what I think is a very valid point - that section attacks for the most part do not occur in a vacuum.  Even if a section is forced to fight its own tactical battle at some point, it will do so as part of the larger platoon and company battle.

Going on this idea, and applying the principal of preparing all your leaders to fight two levels up, perhaps our training of the section commanders should start at the company level.  Teach prospective section commanders the principles of company and platoon level tactics and techniques; only after this is done does the course move into a detailed examination of what the section can do.  The purpose of using a philosophy like this is not so much to ensure that section commanders can lead a company if need be (although in a truly FUBAR situation, it may be necessary) but to ensure that section commanders are given a framework with which to guide their tactical decision making by.

I think that simply taking prospective leaders into the field and having them fumble around with a rifle section does nothing to teach them on how the section fits into platoon and company battlespace and doctrine.  By adhering to a "two-level up" philosophy, we are giving our section commanders a better appreciation for how their level of command interacts with notions such as the commanders intent and the main effort, etc, etc.

Cheers,
Infanteer
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on October 27, 2004, 20:15:28
Ah the thread that never dies. What are we up to now 2100 + pages views and over 90 posts. One hopes that amongst those lurkers are some that can actually take the ideas being put forward here and implement them.

I've been meaning to add another two cents worth to this debate for a bit now and every time I sit down to write it out, someone beats me to the punch, or adds another point that is worth a comment.
So bear with me a bit as this post may make Le Miserables look like a bathroom break read.

First of all let's deal with the gadgets and high tech ideas floated about like HUDs   to improve command and control. Lets try not get too wrapped up on the Starship Troopers gear. It will eventually come at it's own pace. The Infantry has been around since the first Neanderthal picked up a piece of lumber and went to take and hold the second Neanderthal's cave.

Some of the kit presently issued and talked about elsewhere on the board makes me a bit jealous
when I compare it to what I was issued in the 1970s and 1980s. I'm sure a WWII vet would make
similar comments about the "kit" available in the seventies and eighties.

Lets also not get too impressed with the gee whiz kit in and of for itself. History is full of examples of motivated â Å“stone ageâ ? armies defeating well equipped â Å“modern high tech onesâ ?, Abyssinia, Afghanistan, and Vietnam come to mind. Or as a old crusty Sgt once put it to me. A modern GPMG with all the bells and whistles is absolutely useless if the gunner is blazing away in the wrong direction and the enemy sneaks up behind him and bashes his head in with a rock.
      
Re improved comms at the section level an excellent idea to improve the tactical flexibility and options at that level. I've never understood why in this day and age I can have a cell phone that can call almost anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world, take pictures, play games and a bunch of things I still haven't figured out at an almost unbelievable cost, and is small enough to continually misplace, Yet the Army can't come up with a decent personal radio?

Again though there are/will be some drawbacks that will need to be worked out.

I had a keen section commander in my company who went out to Radioshack and grabbed one of those walkie talkie sets usually used by parents to keep track of the rugrats at Canada's Wonderland. We gave him the ok for him and his 2ic to use it on an FTX and afterwards I asked him how effective he thought it was.

He said that while it improved direct comms between the two of them, overall comms in the section was less so. Also his situational awareness was lower. They were so busy chatting that they were not able to watch their arcs, the ground etc. Sort of a tunnel vision effect. Mind this is something that could be worked on with training.

Re comms security, encryption, and proper voice procedure. Is this really an issue at the section level in a quick attack. We're not talking Bde HQ here. If some Intelligence types on the other side pick up the following conversation tidbit:

"Joe watch right"
"Bob pop a couple of rounds into those bushes to your left."
"Harry cover, I'm changing mags"
"Everyone we go on three, ok"

and then can use it to seriously hamper an entire formation then we have more important things to worry about than the section attack.

More than one person has suggested going away from the present 2 "mini sections" fire groups back to the old style fire support group, manoeuvre group. Personally having used both, I think that the present two mini sections each built around a C9 is a better more flexible organization, but the whole idea is to allow the comander on the ground the option to use what he feels best as warranted by the situation ( bear with me on this).

That organization was needed with the old C2 because honestly you needed two of them grouped together to provide a decent amount of firepower. With a belt fed real machine gun backed by 3 automatic assault rifles one of which has an integral grenade launcher, do we really need that formation?

It was suggested at one point that the Brits were going back to it. Can't remember if that line of thought was followed up on here though. Last I heard the Brits were adopting the FN Minimi (M249/C9) at the section level in addition to their LSW, at two per section. I presume that the mag feed LWS would then become a designated marksman wpn in the section with it's heavier barrel, bi pod etc.

This seems to go with the org they and we now use of 2 fire groups. Incidentally this was first used by 2 Para in the Falklands. Prior to that the Bits used the fire group/rifle group with the former built around an FN Mag 58 GPMG at the section level commanded by the section 2ic. 2 Para doubled the number of GPMGS per section, developed tactics to go with this new org and the rest is history.

Incidentally the after action report from that conflict makes good and still valid reading for the employment of light infantry in a low intensity conventional conflict.

Infanteer (I believe) brought up the classic Zulu tactic. This know as the Horns of the Buffalo or Horns of the Bull Buffalo was actually a "brigade" level formation/tactic using 4 or more Zulu Impis or regiments (bns). Mind it could be adapted to a Coy or even Pl level tactic.

Basically they would advance in a three up one in reserve formation. The centre unit (the head) would initially engage the enemy and try and lure them forward. The two flanking units (the horns) would make a classic pincer movement to cut off and surround the enemy. Then the fourth unit, (the loins) usually the largest r heaviest would then move forward and destroy the enemy. As a character in the movie Zulu said" bloody simple" but also "bloody effective."

There has also been put forward the idea that sections will never fight by themselves so therefore developing/improving   section tactics is not needed. I noticed someone beat me to it in debunking this. Two example in modern conflicts that involve a "section commanders war" were the Brits in Northern Ireland in a mainly urban (Belfast and Derry) but some rural (Armagh) environment. Second was the bush war in Rhodesian from 1965-1980. The Rhodesian Light Infantry and other security forces units often fought at the section/stick level (4-8 men usually commanded by a very junior NCO) without immediate support from higher (Pl or Coy)levels.

I choose both as similar to the type low-level operations we may see ourselves involved in, and arguably have been in the past 10 years.

Even if the others and I are wrong and the only conflicts the Canadian Army sees itself involved in are large sweeping conventional battles ala the Second Canadian Corps in Western Europe in 1944-45,
does anyone seriously believe that at some time a section commander is not going to find him/her self stuck out there and forced to think and fight on his own.

Even if not it's a moot point. One of the underlying ideas of this thread was to develop good leadership skills. Last time I checked good section commanders often go on to be good platoon commanders and/or 2ics. Bad ones presuming they live past their first mistake do not.
(end pt 1)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on October 27, 2004, 20:17:14
(Part 2)

I knew this board wouldn't let me get away with posting all this in one thread.

So where do we go from here. We need a multifaceted approach to training the section and section commander. At the first level we stay with the basics, as is the case now. Weapons handling (all weapons), marksmanship, fire control, fire and movement, field craft, etc etc.

At this level we stay with the â Å“text bookâ ? scenario noted often enough here of one or two enemy crouched under the tree or bush right at 12 o'clock on the axis of advance. They'll stay there unthinking, unmoving and not reacting and â Å“dyingâ ? gloriously for the cause as the section overruns them. Noting new at all here and what is taught at the Battle School (TQ1/QL3 or whatever it's called this week) level right.

We keep working on these basics, using blanks, MILES, Simmunition and eventually live fire to hone and maintain these skills. The simple drills we've developed are taught and practiced until the soldiers are so comfortable with them that they react instinctively, like oh a drill movement.

Now we move it up a notch. Same text book scenarios, not too imaginative but we change the environment. Section attacks in thick woods and/or jungle, urban settings, mountains (if available). We also do them at night.

Sure odds are that we won't be conducting a section attack in these conditions but there are always exceptions to the rule, and the purpose of this level is to build the self-confidence in the basic drills and to start people thinking outside the box. At the very least I'd include winter ops here if nothing else. Someone noted on another thread it's a skill set that has atrophied recently due to other demands. Anyone remember how much fun fire and movement was in snowshoes.

Next and final stage is where the â Å“text bookâ ? goes out the window. By this time the section and section commander is pretty confident in their skills so we need to challenge them before they become overconfident, stale, and ineffective.

Now the notional enemy may not be hiding under the lone bush at 12 o'clock. They open fire from the left/right or both flanks. They are dug in maybe in depth and/or there are more than one or two of them. They don't stick around but fall back and hit and run if the suppressing fire isn't sufficient to keep them pinned. During the reorg, an enemy force then immediately hits the lead section having just gone through the attack while they are vulnerable. All the scenarios and horror stories noted earlier can be tossed into the mix at this stage.

The initial result may well be chaos. With control breaking down and that's fine. This is training and we want to make mistakes here and not on the two way range. From this the section now begins to come up with options. What works, what might work, try it, debrief, talk about it, and try something else? After awhile the skill set and confidence in the skills and capabilities will again be high.

At this level with â Å“enemyâ ? popping up all over the place you obviously can't use live fire, but MILES and other simulations will help somewhat. The idea to is to show options to improve the ability to react to differing situations and apply those parts of the basic drills that will work.

Also at this level you'll see the section commander trying new organizations (and being allowed to do so) to suit the ground and/or tactical situation such as discussed here, fire groups with both C9s, designated section marksman etc.

Here too we can really increase the realism of the training too. How often do we really practice the resupply, and dealing with casualties and POWs? Toss them into the mix, so that they are not unknowns. Everyone should be up on their combat FA skills and simulated casualties in the middle of the attack are another factor that has to be practiced and dealt with. Odds are you are going to lose some people in a section attack. How do you deal with it, how does it affect you plan especially if they are key people that go down (M203 or C9 s or the Sect Comd or 2ic)?

You'll note I keep saying section and section commander. For this to be really effective the sections have to remain together as long as possible to really develop a group cohesiveness. I realise that's not an option especially with under strength reserve units who often may have to cobble ad hoc sections together for weekend training. The better the troops know each other and their commander the faster and easier goes the training and overall the more effective it is. Mind that's not rocket science and we are all aware of it.

Even if you have to break this rule, use it as a training aid. Sections platoons etc that have taken casualties will have replacements right and the level of training, experience and expertise may not be the same. Another factor that can be â Å“practiced.â ?

Concurrent with this is the development of thee leadership skills. I've seen too many threads and comments here about â Å“I'm only a Cplâ ? or â Å“it's a gimme rank.â ? That is so much Bovine fecal matter. The reality of the situation is that M/Cpls and Cpls in the Army are in command roles. In combat that reality will become even more so.

Some do well some do not. For most it's a matter of training, confidence in their skills, attitude, and experience.

In an ideal world we would have all our Sections with Sgt commanders and M/Cpl 2ics both qualified (ISCC) and all sorts of other skills. Better yet every 031/R031 would be qualified ISCC immediately after they become qualified Infanteers. Unrealistic I realise for many reasons, logistics, costs, and the simple fact some people are just not capable of the decision-making and leadership skills required.

What we have to do to the best of our ability is continue to try and train two up. As noted A Rifle Company is four casualties away from being commanded at least for a while by the CSM, a section two from being run by a Private. More importantly if you're taking those sorts of casualties the person who steps up to the plate better be really good at it, because obviously the original plan has gone seriously wrong.

Anyone who's reading this and or contributed to the thread who is a section commander stop and ask yourself this question. Can everyone in my section do my job? And I mean in a firefight for a few rather hectic and frightening minutes, not 7/24 in garrison. Can they call in and direct indirect fire support? Can they look at ground, and make a good combat estimate? Can they make changes quickly in plan (as I said if you're out of it chances are your original plan is kind of useless too)? Can they control the section? Can they give orders and expect them to be followed? Basically can they lead?

If they can't all or some, who can? Can the others be brought up to that level? How? If only some are they in a position to take over?

Those not in a command role ask yourself the same questions, could you do it? If no why not? Could you be trained taught to do so? How much effort and/or time would it take?

Remember if that trained Sgt or M/Cpl (presuming that there was one in command in the first place) is hit, the 2ic is usually not in a position to immediately take over. After the firefight and the objective is taken, then he/she becomes the section commander. Before that odds are it will be someone else a senior (or not) rifleman.

Integrating this into the training at the earliest levels is really not that hard to do. I know of some units that have done so in the past. You start at the tes\x book level giving everyone a shot at being 2ic or Sect Comd just as you do being the C9 gunner once they've learned the basics. Move up to the level where the text book is tossed our and repeat. Time consuming yeah, but this is our bread and butter.

At the very least you are talent spotting and beginning to develop your NCO cadre early on. Better yet you know you have effective sections that can do the job if and when the boss goes down.

The Canadian Corp came up with this concept prior to Vimy. Studying the Imperial British Army techniques of everyone follow the educated chap with the swagger stick into the MG fire and when he gets chopped stand around with your finger shoved up a convenient orifice until killed worked so well at the Somme, that us amateur colonials decided to try something else. Realising that in war one might actually take casualties, the units at Vimy went through extensive prep training where everyone knew everyone else's job. Cpls and Sgts had the basic idea of how to command and fight Platoons and Companies and Ptes Sections just in case they had to. Time to get back to that.

Ok thanks for bearing through that 2,800 odd words of drivel. If I'm way off base here or just restated the bleeding obvious let me know and I'll crawl back under my rock.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 27, 2004, 20:44:22
Just to add a comment here from reviewing some stuff on the RAF Regiment and it pertains both to Danjanou's comments pertaining to MaxFlex and also to the discussion about the use of the G-Wagen.

The RAF section is 8 men organized in two identical 4 man bricks.  They conduct foot and vehicle patrols.  They have access to both Open and Hard top Landrovers.  Two Land Rovers are assigned per section, 1 per brick.  For airfield security missions the seem to use the open  Land Rovers - presumably because the enemy is at a distance.  In urban settings they use the armoured hard tops - protects them from kids throwing bottles and bricks amongst other things. 

Same section different vehicles for different duties.

Another variant for section operations is when an urban area patrol is conducted two rifle men will dismount from each vehicle and form a composite brick of 4 while the two vehicles each with a driver and a man out the hatch will orbit the area the foot patrol is operating in as a pair.

Just another couple of observations -  how many situations and how many drills are we up to now?  Anybody keeping count?

Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 27, 2004, 22:52:44
Danjanou,

Great post - obviously it aged with time, as you pondered whether or not to post.  It has given me a lot to think about in terms of how to train, and many elements of this post may appear in the future should I ever be in the position to implement them.

Dave
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 27, 2004, 23:42:34
We are all orbiting around the same basic ideas: more and better training, focus on the leadership aspects, give the section commander more flexability to experiment with doctrine, and take a look at how emerging technologies can help/hinder the soldiers in the fight.

What is needed to really keep going with this is for readers/posters of this thread to get out and actually implement these ideas at whatever level is possible. (Since I work in the G-6 branch of a Bde HQ, I will have to conduct the mission with briefing notes and emails while setting up for a deadly flanking in the CAJ).

Given the speed and flexibility of modern communications, those of you in the field either in units or working at the MTC in Wainwright can keep us appraised of your ongoing experiments and work. Not only will lessons learned be passed on faster, but it should also spark new ideas. Prediction, if we work at this seriously, section battle drills and Pl level tactics could be reformulated in about two years. This wouldn't be CTC DS solution type stuff, but more a corporate understanding that the majority of sections and platoons have and use.

If the idea of "Two Up" training is seriously entertained at unit level (even just taking section commanders into the Coy CP during a TEWT or CAX), then we should start seeing benificial results in a three to five year period, as these sergeants and MCpls are promoted and move into higher level positions (especially those who CFR)

Since technology is not going to wait for the CF, personal investments in "field" items will have dividends. During pre training for ROTO 13, I found myself as acting Pl Comd in a defensive position, which was "bumped" that night. With the lack of TCCCS radios and NVG's in the Pl, I pulled in people to act as runners a la WWI, while savvy troops used their digital cameras in "night" mode as NVG substitutes, and FRS radios to keep section integrity. It was a complete kludge, but it worked. Find what works and share it !
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PikaChe on October 28, 2004, 00:20:04

Re improved comms at the section level an excellent idea to improve the tactical flexibility and options at that level. I've never understood why in this day and age I can have a cell phone that can call almost anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world, take pictures, play games and a bunch of things I still haven't figured out at an almost unbelievable cost, and is small enough to continually misplace, Yet the
Army can't come up with a decent personal radio?

Again though there are/will be some drawbacks that will need to be worked out.

I had a keen section commander in my company who went out to Radioshack and grabbed one of those walkie talkie sets usually used by parents to keep track of the rugrats at Canada's Wonderland. We gave him the ok for him and his 2ic to use it on an FTX and afterwards I asked him how effective he thought it was. He said that
while it improved direct comms between the two of them, overall comms in the section was less so. Also his situational awareness was lower. They were so busy chatting that they were not able to watch their arcs, the ground etc. Sort of a tunnel vision effect. Mind this is something that could be worked on with training.

Re comms security, encryption, and proper voice procedure. Is this really an issue at the section level in a quick attack. We're not talking Bde HQ here. If some Intelligence types on the other side pick up the following conversation tidbit:

"Joe watch right"
"Bob pop a couple of rounds into those bushes to your left."
"Harry cover, I'm changing mags"
"Everyone we go on three, ok"

and then can use it to seriously hamper an entire formation then we have more important things to worry about than the section attack.

I think with more practice on when to use radio or not, troops will figure out when to use radio (ie when the noise is too loud or a fireteam is detached from the sect, etc). Troops jabber probably because they're not used to having a radio.

I personally don't like yelling long distance to get a message across, it having to pass through several people and precious seconds to get to me. :)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: westie47 on October 28, 2004, 01:03:42
Danjanou - I wish we had officers that believed in realistic training.  Myself and a few of the other Snr NCO's in my Regiment were 'brought up' by a WO that served in Africa (RLI and South Africa), and he tried to teach a lot of these lessons to us, but he ran into constant roadblocks both by the officers (who I think were intimidated) and by the old school reg force guys who had the attitude of "that's the way we did it in 1978 so that's the way we do it!" Unfortunatley those young officers are now in command roles and they want to get to coy/bn level ops right away, forgetting that they still have only a platoon or two to work with. Another roadblock is the concept of 'rehearsing' for evaluation exes. Last year all of our patrolling ex's were basically dress rehearsals for Cougar Salvo. There was no imagination or originality at all. After 17 years a guy starts to get frustrated, I believe it's only a matter of time in this modern world when our tactics will get tested. I have had a taste already (Medak) but it was only a whiff. I agree with you, we need to train hard, and realistic. The two maxims that come to mind are - 'you fight how you train' and 'the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war'. Anyway, rant aside, we try to implement this type of training at some level, but they want to do too much with not enough training days.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Fishbone Jones on October 28, 2004, 01:42:28
<OK. here comes the black hatter with his hands in his pockets>

First, I have to say I'm very impressed with the length and expertise that has evolved here. I've tried to drop in from time to time, and have to admit, I haven't thoroughly read through it all. So that's my disclaimer.

I'm not overly versed in section attacks for obvious reasons and I hope I'm not oversimplifying things with my next comment.

In the Corps we also have "Drills" for doing our various tasks. One of the hardest things we have to do is to train the young Crew Commander that a "Drill" (not talking gunnery here BTW) is not the hard and fast way a particular task has to be done. It is to be used as a guide, but changed for the particular situation. We use - Warning, Security, Recce, Plan - as the way of doing things. Where the - Plan - is how to best apply the particular "Drill", modified or not. Perhaps one of the ways to change the rigid mindset of "it has to be done this way, cause it's the "Drill" would to simply stop calling it that. Just my $00.02

Hope that made sense, and now, I'll let India get back to sorting his world :)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on October 28, 2004, 02:09:59
Quote
Last year all of our patrolling ex's were basically dress rehearsals for Cougar Salvo. There was no imagination or originality at all. After 17 years a guy starts to get frustrated, I believe it's only a matter of time in this modern world when our tactics will get tested.

Yep.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: dglad on October 28, 2004, 08:21:24
So a common theme developing here is that our leaders--particularly our officers--need to adopt the attitude that:

-the basic sect attack, composed of its essential battle drills, is a useful trg tool, but only represents a foundation or start-state;
-that sect comds need to be given the latitude to explore newer, more innovative ways of using fire, manoeuvre, info ops and C3 in their sects;
-that sect comds need to be familiar with the conduct of ops two up (i.e. coy), so they understand, even while being innovative and imaginative, their role in the bigger picture (even if they do end up conducting an independent sect op unsupported by pl or higher, because of terrain, etc., they have to do so in a way that supports the higher intent i.e. msn comd is just as important at this level as any other)

On top of this, we really need a way of capturing best practices from other armies around the world that have more and different experience than us, sharing it amongst our sect comds, and then likewise sharing our own best practices and lessons amongst ourselves.

A lot of the above sounds like what we would like to believe is our basic doctrine, with the sect-level innovation added in.  Truly, though, it's not; I think it's been amply demonstrated that there's a lot of inertia in the trg system that makes many leaders want to stay in their comfort zones.

This sounds, actually, like a good topic to propose for discussion at the Canadian Infantry Association, perhaps with a view to pushing it into LFDTS.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on October 28, 2004, 12:28:56
Hmm I guess I can out from under my rock now.  :)

Glad to see that some of what we used to call the â Å“high priced helpâ ?  no offense meant BTW ;)) who are in a position to use this are reading it and realising that things ain't perfect and therefore need to be if not fixed at least tweaked a bit.

Where I work now I see on a daily basis the results of mediocre or poor leadership on getting the job done, or not, and no one is shooting at us here (well at least not most days)  ;)

A lot of what I noted in my previous ramble re innovations and "training up" was from personal experience. I was fortunate enough in my career to belong to two units that took the concept of soldier seriously. To me this is not a job, P/T or F/T it is something that must take seriously. If not I suggest you may a wrong career choice and should instead be looking at the joys of the fast food industry. Basically my thoughts on the matter were/are similar to a certain younger former Cpl soon to be junior officer know to more than one on this forum.

My first unit (Seaforths) taught me how to be a soldier and rather well I thought. We had high standards. Later in the second unit I could build on that base  (1st RNFLDR) and was again fortunate to learn how to be a fairly good small unit (sect/pl) commander (IMHO) and even implement some of my ideas on training for war (thinking out side the box).We had a CO who fostered ( pun intended for those from LFAA) that kind of thinking in his young subordinate commanders ( officers and NCOs) and I think it paid off. Despite the limitations imposed on reservists ( time money) we were pretty damn good at our job.

The reality was a I was in a section comander position as a Cpl long before my courses and by the time I got to take them I had most of it through hard won OJT. I was far from the exception to the rule either as I remember M/Cpl Pl 2ic at one point, and even one as Pl Comd.

I think once, maybe twice after making Sgt was I employed as section commander (what I was officially trained to do) And that was for special exercises where we hand picked a platoon for the company ( my "section" was the cream of th crop from my platoon and included the section commanders and 2ics). Don't remember screwing the pooch too many times either and if I had i'm sure it would have been pointed out to me.

By the time I made WO I knew I could run a rifle platoon pretty comfortable and that meant leading it if needed. By the time I made MWO I was sure that if the need arose I could fight a Company. I may not have have been the best CSM in the army ( far from it) but I could do the job.

Later as I went up in rank and hit my last unit (Toronto Scottish) I was actually in a position to begin to implement these ideas on training especially the development of leadership. Naturally I begin to hit the proverbial brick wall of the old guard re this, but I think some of the message got through. Had things been different and I been able to stay longer who knows.

A majoor, interesting point on the innovation. A tradition amongst Canadian troops throughout history. Runners still work eh, and I have to remember that trick with the digital camera.

BTW Westie if that WO is who I think it is I'm more than familiar with him. I had the privilege of serving under him in the Seaforths and he's part of the reason regarding that high standards I speak of. Bumped into him again on our MWO's were his experiences were invaluable.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: westie47 on October 28, 2004, 12:56:07
Danjanou - you are probably right in wondering who that WO (now CWO)was. I credit him with the way I turned out. He had a bit of a rough time this summer with the army and it's too bad really. Right now he is doing what he loves someplace hot! Anyway I too am glad that some senior type officers are reading this, it's high time for some changes. The funny thing is, my WO would teach us what worked during a sect type assault and we would do it. He learnt the hard way, under fire, many times. When our unit or NCO's would go on course or callout, we would be told in no uncertain terms that we were f****d and that's not the way it's done! Some of the battalions (reg) have have been forward thinking for a few years now but as you know that wasn't always the case! One thing I always liked about the reserves, at least my unit, is there was more latitude (most of the time) with kit and training. We should be trying evrything and deciding what works for us. The conventional sect attack is a great learning tool, fire control, target indication, fire and movement, comms, etc. But the fact remains, we need to move to the next levels.  Especially with the new three block war concept.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 28, 2004, 13:30:48
Just another example from another army of how flexibile organizations can be and possibly still be effective.

Apparently in the German Army all Infantry (All Non-Armoured that is - Para, Mountain, Line (equipped with the Fuchs WAPC)) is organized with the same 10 man section.

Using the Fuchs Model that means a driver, a Section Leader, 2 MG gunners, a marksman and 5 Riflemen.  The section can also deploy a Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon. 

Three sections are commanded by a Platoon HQ which has addiitional support.

When mounted the sections leave the driver and one of the MG gunners on the vehicle  and dismount the Section Leader, one of the MG gunners with one of the MGs, the marksman and the five riflemen.  Based on the fact they only dismount the one MG that seems to suggest they fight the section as a section and not as a pair of teams.

However when conducting the FIBUA battle the entire platoon goes through a complete restructuring.

2 sections lose both their MG gunners and their marksmen.  These are grouped in the 3rd section along with the 3rd sections MG gunners and its marksman.  The 3rd section loses its riflemen and they are divided between the other two sections.    The Platoon has now gone from 3 equal sections to 2 assault sections and a support section.

The assault sections then regroup into three teams of three, all armed just with the service rifle and one team per section having a grenade launcher.

The support section is regrouped with the Pl HQ  and two other dets are formed.  One 3-man det, presumably from existing HQ personnel effectively becomes a Sapper det, responsible for blowing holes using charges and possibly one of the Panzerfausts.   Another det is formed, probably from the drivers to act as a combat supply det (large pack fraimes, lots of ammo, a ladder and a sledgehammer - was it Scharnhorst that said every infantryman should carry a sledgehammer in case they have to knock down a door?) 

As in all other operations this force can be augmented from higher but the interesting point here, with respect to this discussion is the demonstration of how one organization, the platoon, can be radically reorged to fit the situation.  And this goes far beyond even the section or the brick but right the way down to the individual.

I have no way of knowing what effect this flexibility has on cohesion or how effective the troops are in battle.  I just post the example for consideration and to add to your discussion.

(Cork reinserted  ;))
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: rifleman on October 28, 2004, 13:37:00
I don't think there is anything wrong with the Section Battle Procedure we use.
I just question the way in which we train and how inflexible we are with the formations. Let the ground and situation dictate.

Someone else mentioned earlier the "thinking rifleman" I think we are at the same point as the Experimental Rifle Corps were in the 1800s . Alot of senior people then used to believe a soldier could only fight if he was in a column and the sergeants were in the rear with pikes.

Imagine skirmishing with soldiers, allowing them to use camouflage and cover...How unsporting!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 28, 2004, 14:53:07
As some people have attested, there are still "Bosses" who are thinking in terms of the proverbial thin red line and Sergeants with pikes waiting in the supernumerary position behind the line.

Restating the obvious, the only reason people can get away with this is there is no imperative to change (i.e. rounds snapping past your head). Using MILES gear or WES in "free play" exercises for unit evaluations is really the only practical way to jump-start evolution for most of our units and leaders. A unit which ends the BTE being mown down in a series of frontal assaults should have a thorough housecleaning of the leadership.When planning exercises and training scenarios, we really do need to fast forward past "Genforce" and their like (Hey, we WON the Cold War back in 1989!), and start putting in realistic enemy forces; "technicals" driving across the range in pick-up trucks mounting GPMG or HMG's in the back; suicide bombers; snipers concealed in crowds...

Training "two up" is very much more important than I thought at first, thinking about it I realized that unless the section commanders understand what is going on in all "three blocks" of a complex operation, they may inadvertently screw up the higher plan. Horizontal communications for enhanced SA is also more important to operate under these scenarios.

I am also thinking the "mental" aspects of combat should be added to section commander training. If we focus on how and why people are motivated, savvy commanders can gear their techniques to demoralizing the enemy rather than defeating them through shock action at the point of a bayonet (which might be less costly in terms of our casualties and logistics as well).

Pl comd do need to be given a good shake so they do not fall into the "two up, one back" mind set. Once again, all the things we are talking about here are totally applicable to all leaders
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: rifleman on October 28, 2004, 15:29:40
Thats one of the problems holding back the evolution of the offensive 'drills'. People think of it as 'free play' It isn't its the use of the ground and situation.

Remember 'Select and maintain the aim" I got away from the so-called frontal only by saying whatever way I was facing was my front. It's not important where your Delta team is as long as it is being effective!!

btw IMO drills are what you do on a parade square and when conducting IAs. not when fighting an enemy that doesn't know where you want them to be.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 29, 2004, 21:36:35
Butting in again folks but I just came across this interview of General Schoomaker, the US Army Chief, the SOF type that was pulled out of retirement to take over.  He has some interesting comments on leadership, training, structure and doctrine as they pertain to transformation.

You might find some of it interesting. 

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1004/102904nj1.htm
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 30, 2004, 00:29:51
I found it ALL very interesting, but especially this:

"So I've been most impressed with the adaptability of our leaders and soldiers, especially the ability of relatively junior leaders to take on roles that were far beyond the traditional scope of a company or battalion commander. Those officers are running towns in Iraq, helping organize and working with civic leaders, making tough decisions day and night, even while conducting combat operations around the clock. Much of that goes beyond the normal portfolio of these officers. I think that kind of adaptability and sophistication is something we need to fold back into the batter here as we think about shaping the future Army.

My larger point is that transformation is not about equipment. It's about intellect; it's about judgment; it's about the development of leaders and soldiers. You've got to make that intellectual transformation before you can make the visible transformation. "

And the General sums it up quite well. In Ancient Mycenaean warfare, warriors were equipped with bronze armour, thrusting spear, sword and tower or circular shield, and celebrated combat as a series of individual duels between champions with a crowd of attendants who could form a shield wall to protect their man between duels. About 800 years later, the same people, using much the same language, culture and military equipment fought in organized bodies of troops, and knew success or failure was totally dependent on everyone maintaining their place in the phalanx during contact. Individuals who broke away to duel as individuals were not only likely to get killed, but fatally weaken the phalanx as well.

Once we can get the mental transformation well underway, the "how" we use troops, ground and kit will be thouroughly changed. When writing training scenarios:

"Because of what we've learned in combat, we're now putting people through training scenarios where there's no solution. In the past, you were measured on how you complied with doctrine and used it to organize and accomplish your objective. Today, we're designing training scenarios that put people in a continual zone of discomfort. If they start getting comfortable, perhaps because they're very good at certain tasks, then we ratchet up the pressure so that they're back in the zone of discomfort. That's where we want them. That's how you stretch yourself. And that's the kind of organization we want the Army to be. We want an adaptive organization full of problem solvers. We want them to know how to think, not just what to think."
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on November 01, 2004, 17:10:03
So in the end it comes back to leadership, not a set play book of tactics or drills but the ability to think and resolve a situation quickly using some set basic drills as a baseline tool. Who here didn't see that coming.

Westie47   the freedom or latitude to do what you want in the Reserves that you note isn't really that. I know( knew) of more than one reserve unit that was shall we say a bit too structured in their in their way of doing things (form square), and regular Bns that are more open to change. What it is most likely is the simple fact that Reserve Infantry units often have to make do with less (time, money, and troops) than their Regular counterparts and have become through necessity masters of improvisation.

For example how many times is a   Section, Platoon, or company have it's full TOE for weekend exercise? Say some Cpl or M/Cpl finds himself with a total of 5 troops in the section including him,/her and due to another shortage only 1 C9.

The bad leader might look at the situation and say â Å“the book states I need 8 persons and 2 C9s to do the job, and we don't have it so why bother, lets call it a day and go for a beer.â ?

Conversely the good leader is going to turn around and say; â Å“Well I know what the book states, but this is what I have to work with and odds are if it were for real this is all I may have then too. Therefore lets try and figure out how to do it with the resources at hand. Ruck up guys and follow me.â ?

A mild exaggeration, yes but it gets my point across. And yes I realise that there probably times when Regular Bns are in a similar situation and (hopefully) react the same way.

Good point though re the importance of combat experience. Nothing makes the troopies sit up and pay attention more than someone who's been there, done that for real. During the Cold War the Infantry in this country had few soldiers with actual combat experience still serving from say the 1960s to the 1990's. There may have been a couple of crusty old Korea Vets floating about, we had an RSS WO in the 1980's in Nfld, and a few members of the CAR who were in Cyprus when the Turks invaded but that's it.

Most of the Infantry though in this period and for that matter all Combat Arms types had little or no time on the two way range. Your either served in Canada or in W Germany with 4 CMBG. It was even possible to miss a UN tour as with 14 Combat Arms Units ( 8 Inf Bns, 3 Armd Regts, 3 Arty) rotating through Cyprus that added up to in theory a unit going on tour once every 7 years. Mind transfers and attachments to CSS and Sigs units etc did account for more UN tours in this period.

Ironically during this time you were more opt to find someone with combat experience in a Militia unit than a Regular one, the CAR in the mid 1970s excepted. Some of the older Korea vets may have finished their 20 and stayed in uniform on a P/T basis. Also especially in larger cities one often found all sorts of interesting characters who either went a soldiering in far off places and or had just returned from same, in some Militia Units. The Vancouver garrison was full of guys like this in the late 1970's early 1980s including the WO you noted and a few others if memory serves me.

The Rifle Coy I was CSM of in Toronto in the early 1990's seemed to have a larger than average percentage of older than average recruits in it. Most were 1st generation Canadians and many had previous military service in their country of origin. Some of those countries were in a continual state of war, so it was easy to confirm that more than a few during their 1-2 years National Service had â Å“seen the elephant.â ?

The end of the Cold War changed all that though. Now while unfortunate from a world diplomacy point of view, but fortunate for training, we have Infantry soldiers with current combat experience, Medak, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and unfortunately will continue to have so for the near future I would guess.

We need to continue to exploit this valuable training resource at all levels, collectively and individually, and by that I don't mean we bump everyone who has heard had rounds crack over their heads to Sgt and transfer them to the Infantry School to go over old copies of 309(3). AS we been continually stating here training has to be innovative and that should include the use of our living breathing training aids.

Westie47 you said in your post that learning from that particular WO was easy because of his experience. You also mentioned you were at Medak I would hope that means that you use what you learned the hard way there to teach your troops.

We should not automatically dismiss drills per say. I think the negative connotation comes from the term drill which we most often equate with the Parade Square. One of the purposes of Drill as we all know is to ensure immediate automatic response to a word of command and/or situation (weapons handling drills). Something that we would consider of value when the rounds are whipping past your head.

It's been a bit, as I said, since I was in uniform but I can assure you from personal experience that automatic responses to certain critical situations are still there. Pavlov should have given up on dogs and experimented on old grunts. For further examples I suggest you check out the old vets at the Cenotaph. Some of them learned drill over 50 years ago. Most probably also stopped doing it on a regular basis a few years after that. However, when the someone yells â Å“Parade.... Parade Attentionâ ? there is no hesitation there.

The problem is thinking that drills are the end result and not the means to an end. A tool that is used to build on as we've been saying here.

I've given a lot of thought to the concept of too much information pushed down to the Section Commander since we started this debate and would like to put forward a theory as to why we have been reluctant to do so in the past and therefore limit their ability to think and plan independently.

We inherited a lot from the Brits, regimental traditions and the like, fortunately we did not also inherent their class system as it applied to the military, well at least not to the extent that it existed there until it bled to death at the Somme and Ypres. You know the theory that officers and leaders were surplus scions of the aristocracy and born to it, while the troops were the wretched scum of the earth.

That said there was however until very recently, say 10-20 years ago, an unofficial system here mainly based on formal education. Officers came from the middle and upper middle classes in this country and went to higher reading and writing school either RMC or a Civy university. Troops and therefore NCOs, (sorry I'm a dinosaur and therefore have the privilege of choosing not to use NCM which sounds like an appendage on a soldier that has not received a pretty piece of paper signed by the Queen) only required â Å“Grade 8" from Newfoundland or Cape Breton or wherever to be an infanteer and the edujumucated types were looked at in a funny and suspicions manner.â ?

Well that may have been true then it is not the case now. First the advanced technology that has come into use over the past 30-50 years has meant that the poor dumb grunt must not only be at least functionally literate but more often possessed of some technical skills too.

We have seen a shift in our NCO cadre in regards to both age and formal education over this past generation or so. Look around the board or your unit and you will see that now Sgts and Cpls and even Ptes with some sort of post secondary education are becoming increasingly the norm rather than the exception.

Now I am not automatically equating a formal post secondary education with good leadership skills, in fact far from it. Where I work a basic baccalaureate is the minimum entry level requirement here and many of my colleagues have gone well past that to the point where their business cards have veritable whole alphabets after their names. Most of them, including those nominally in supervisory positions, I wouldn't trust leading themselves to the bathroom along a cleared path marked with glow sticks, let alone a section of 031s on the two way range.

That said there is something to be said about education helping the human mind to process raw data. Even for those without a set of post nominal letters there is another factor. The information revolution we have recently experience as forced us especially the younger generation to absorb more information than ever before and at a faster pace, satellite TV, and the Internet being the most prevalent examples.

The problem as I see it as that like so many other things our doctrine has failed to keep up with these social changes. Whoever penned the old 309(3) and probably did so on parchment in Sanscrit, failed to foresee a time in the future when the average young Cpl would be as informed and educated as a 2/Lt if not more so. Hence the presumption that while a Platoon or Company Commander can think and react to changes in a tactical situation, a Section Commander was not.

Time to rewrite or at least update the whole darn book.

darn I see I almost hit the 200 word mark again. Time to crawl back under my rock.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on November 02, 2004, 23:59:31
Leadership first, last and always.

I do not thinks "Drills" are bad, per se, but the underlying assumptions behind the drills. If wars are fought by enemies who always dig in section minus groups, and who never pull back or react in any way except to fight to the death, then the current set of drills and methodology of training is probably sufficient.

A casual newspaper reader, or someone watching TV will quickly realise wars are not fought that way (if they ever were), and wonder why we are training that way. So, for any high ranking readers who can make this happen, outfit your troops with MILES or WES, and give the enemy "free play" to raise the discomfort level as high as possible. After the troops are mown down using the seven battle drills, start experimenting with organizations and techniques.

We need to discover ways to unhinge the enemy and collapse their ability to fight without getting ourselves killed or trusting in some technological "magic bullet" which might not be available when we need it.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: pbi on November 05, 2004, 12:14:34
Here is a related comment.
Last night, I started the first of a series of interviews with US Infantry junior leaders in preparation for a piece I'm hoping to do on the evolution in their tactical leadership as a result of experiences in combat and SASO  ops here in Afgh. After a very interesting couple of hours with a Pl Sgt (SFC) and two team leaders (Sgts), I have collected a few salient points that might surprise Canadian readers:

-they stressed the importance of training everybody "two up" and making sure that everybody is, at a minimum, ready to do the job of the person above them. This includes riflemen acting as Team or even Squad Leaders (=Section Commander);

-the vital need for cross training on weapons and vehicles. They stressed that everybody(all ranks) in the platoon must be a HMMVW driver, and all drivers must have a good grounding in basic vehicle mechanics;

-the ability to accept specialist attachments at platoon and even squad levels; and

-the importance of training Inf soldiers in some basics of what we would call CIMIC (= US "CA).

Alot of other things were discussed, and I had a great insight into the mind of the US Infantry NCO that I had not previously encountered. I think that we may be in for the death of some of our fondest stereotypes of US soldiers, as the US Army learns and changes in Afgh and Iraq. Cheers.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on November 05, 2004, 12:41:05
Very interesting indeed.

My own (limited) experience with the US Army had convinced me thier approach was to deal with problems using progressively bigger hammers, and MArines were more flexible and innovative. Please fwd your piece when it is done. I will be most interested to read it.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: WProhphet on November 05, 2004, 17:28:12
Being a recruit right now basically, and nearing the end of my SQ course here in Meaford I'd have to agree with the assessment of many of the more experinced guys here.  To myself I've often wondered what would happen if the Enemies we're fighting intelligently and efficiently.  My section commander keeps telling me just to focus on the execution and the battle drills for the attacks, and "not to worry about the bigger picture just yet"  But the simple fact is, the section attack would sink in better if they encorporated more information pertaining to the bigger picture.  IE:  Platoon level/company level/ battalion level attacks.  I'm glad there are guys out there who agree that the steam rolling method seems more like a war of attrition.  But then, its more geared to WW2/1 type combat then todays situations where FIBUA is more of a prime concern.

Must go, I have field Ex's tomorrow and a whole crap load of section attacks to do through tank ruts...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on November 06, 2004, 20:55:16
Thaedes, I will say my bit here. We teach you guys at M-ford to do drills in a BASIC manner to introduce you to the concept. As I have said before the current section attack doctrine is perfect for teaching SQ/BIQ. Once you get to an operational unit then you can focus on "thinking outside the box". In a BN, you can then do more focus (using SATS, simunition, live, etc) on instinctive shooting, reaction to attacks on patrols during security ops, etc...
I think you should gain some expirience before you pipe up here.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on November 06, 2004, 23:34:21
Rick's right, section level tactics aren't really crucial for teaching individual skills; most of this conversation has been geared towards leadership training.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: WProhphet on November 11, 2004, 19:17:36
Forgive me, I did not intend to sound like a ignorant arse.  I realize the point of how it is being taught in the SQ/BIQ level.  From my own observation, if you threw in anymore material in these courses you would quite easily overwhelm some of the guys.  The concept of teaching the basics before going into progressively larger and more difficult areas is not unique to the military, and as such does not require military experince for insight.

The only problem I have with the teaching method, is that more often then not even when you demonstrate the ability and interest to progress, it is squelched rather rapidly.  Unique thinking is not at all encouraged, we must always work as a "team" and function as a "collective".  For reasons of efficiency and discipline this is a must have, but again it leads to areas of stagnancy.  As you more experinced fellas have pointed out, the cookie cutter section attack has its flaws, and I'm sure unique thoughts are a must when dealing with an adaptive and ingenuitive enemy.

Just my thoughts anyways.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on November 11, 2004, 21:03:46
The Army is not the Borg collective, but it really does help to have some experience under your belt before trying out "unique thoughts". We have the collective experience of over 5000 years of written military history to draw from, and down at your level, you are probably dealing with at least one NCO who has been on an operational tour and seen how things work "for real". Trust them, they know what they are talking about.

This is the time for you to learn the basic techniques, keep notes and think about what you are doing and why things work the way they do. As you progress in rank and experience, these thoughts, notes and experiences you have will be the basis of how YOU will approach and solve problems. Stay at it, your day will come.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on November 12, 2004, 13:24:50
Thades,

Please don't think that everyone is piling on you here. I'm sure it's quite the contrary. A new Infanteer such as you are who appears to be switched on and interested in what will be the bread and butter of his profession is something to nurture and develop.

That said as pointed out throughout this thread no one is advocating tossing out all the 5000 yrs of collective cookie cutter training because as we continually noted it is the best method we have for teaching you the basics, if only that. Check out the profiles of those who are discussing thinking outsdide the bos and leadership styles here. You'll see individually and collectively we have literally decades of expereince and expertise.

Your ideas are valid and keep them in the back of your head as you learn the basics. Odds are someday you'll have your own section and then you can take to heart some of the ideas floating around here.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: WProhphet on November 28, 2004, 14:30:14
Thanks for the advice guys, I'll definently keep that in mind as I start my BIQ course in January, and in my future career.

Things here in Meaford are going well, I just finished my SQ and though I didn't get top canidate one of the guys who I think definently deserved it did.  Like you guys said, I just paid attention to what my Sgt was saying and focused on that, it ended up in some very positive feedback for my course review and it turned out that my strong points were the dismounted offensive and defensive operations in the field.  I can honestly say I had blast in the field, even with the sleep deprevation, hehe.  Take care.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Hylander_ca on December 09, 2004, 05:41:56
Thaedes....Always remember that training is based on building blocks. As your career progresses you will find out what works and what doesn't...But that time will come. Always use what is taught to you as a foundation and build up from there, but don't think that every idea will work....I've had a couple back fire on me, lessons learned. I'm a better soldier for it. I am sure others here will agree with me....If not, I'm open to feed back from them. And always be open to humility by your peers.

Trial by fire.

 :mg:
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: mainerjohnthomas on February 10, 2005, 17:03:09
Experience is the most important resource for training young soldiers.  In basic, we had a Brit Sgt (Reynolds) who was doing basic with us so he could transfer in grade into the CF.  His experience in Northern Ireland made him quite the resource for us.  When we were bitching and complaining (as recruits always do) about how unjust/unrealistic some field problem or criticism was, Reynolds would relate something from his time in Ireland illustrating how someone making the same mistake got men killed, or someone doing what the Sgt's were trying to get us to do had stopped someone getting killed.  During our advanced infantry, we were blessed with non-coms just rotating back from truceline duties with the UN on the Iran/Iraq war.  When they talked, we listened. Keeping men who have "been there and done that" in our fighting regiments is vital to keep our doctrine realistic, and our young soldiers aware of the way the game is played today.  We also need realistic simulation systems so that all levels can experience what the result of their tactical doctrine is; finding out your tactics will get you killed is embarrassing at battleschool, its deadly in combat.  If our junior and senior leaders can test and develop doctrine with realistic feedback, then when it has to get applied for real, we won't be bleeding our way up the learning curve.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on February 11, 2005, 17:32:11
Wait for it. The CF has been strongly hinting at new changes in the SQ and DP 1 Infantry FTX staying away from fighting out in the bald *** open fields or wood lines and emphasing more OBUA stuff....


Watch and SHOOT!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Argyll on February 13, 2005, 19:33:31
In response to the question about sniper attacks/effects:

Think about where the section attack starts from, say about 300-400 meters, the max. effective range of most small arms.  From there standard doctrine has us pepperpot those 300-400 in relatively straight lines, possibly slightly zig-zagging.  Realisticly we'd get slaughtered as long as the enforce has decent training.  Now think about what would happen if some well trained jerk with an SVD took a few potshots at us from say 500 or 600 meters, lets also say that he has a PK off to one side for flank support.  We start our advance sprinting from cover to cover to try to nail that sniper, then as soon as we start to converge, which always happens unless you just finished practicing not doing it, that PK lets off a few 50 round bursts.  Not a pretty picture, anyone disagree? :sniper: :fifty: Ugly... 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on February 13, 2005, 20:18:27
Adair, lets go over this one more time.

The section battle drills are more of a tool for training soldiers to use fire and movement in a section quick attack scenario (Basically the worst case scenario). The principles we teach for section battle drills and the individual soldiering skills it develops transfers over to raids, ambushes, platoon, OBUA or company quick attacks.

I have seen some of the footage of Iraq and I have seen
-US troops doing their fire and movement to enter a building
-Proper frag out drills as they call them (Their slightly different drills then ours)
-Initial reaction to fire during the battle of Falluja (Double tap, dash, down, etc) keep in mind their drills are a little different then ours
-Using their form of target indication to locate an enemy across a street (Locate the enemy)

Do you get the picture? Your scenario of the lonely p*ssed off russian deciding to tackle a section of CF troops advancing all by themselves in a bald*** open field is not (no offence) realistic.

Remember the 7 section battle drills are a training aid more than anything, used to teach basic battle field skills. However they may be a time, when you will have to perform a section or platoon frontal.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 14, 2005, 14:00:42
all this talk about section attks , gets me to think that here in the infantry we have not evolved this part of our trade in ages! i was down in North Carolina and saw the Royal Marines in action and i tell ya, i was blown away with the speed , fire power. Once they had contact they moved to one knee , started firing and once the section comd said move. they were off , still on one knee and firing all the time and were on the object and had the enemy killed within mins. It was unreal, why have not gone to this? i think its because the section attk we use is more for teaching and assesing purposes, not real fighting!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: big bad john (John Hill) on February 14, 2005, 14:07:47
IMHO Canadian Forces I have seen are not trained to be aggressive to the same level that Royal Marines are.  We are taught to be very aggressive.  It does save lives in the long run.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 14, 2005, 14:43:21
oh don't get me wrong , we are not even close to there level, but i think we have to start looking at lessons learned! i try to do that with my section , on a live fire less the one knee portion and well i was told i was moving to quickly! not like momentum wins battles or anything! :salute:
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: big bad john (John Hill) on February 14, 2005, 14:54:25
Lessons learned is the basis of improvement.  The problem is that Canada has not put enough of its' Officers into combat situations, IMHO.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on February 14, 2005, 14:57:58
Silentbutdeadly,
I agree with you and if you look at some of my earlier post, I advocate different ideas and methods of doing section attacks or other offensive actions, for trained troopies in battalions.

However, for new troopies I put through SQ here at M-ford, I stick to the basics.

As far as aggression goes, I force my troops to keep their bounds short and fast, all the good stuff we teach our troopies.

I have seen how aussies do section battle drills and I found them really interesting and probably effective.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on February 14, 2005, 14:58:58
BBJ, your quite right, we in the CF lack true battle expirience  IMO.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on February 14, 2005, 15:07:56
I think this is more a matter of detail than substance. Troops moving to the kneeling position do move faster, and I would think (a la SLA Marshal) that troops going prone may not be as inclined to get up again, although this is only opinion on my part. SBDs comments about moving "too fast" might have been as compared to the rest of the formation (wasn't there so I can only guess), hitting the enemy ahead of the flanking section or before the firebase has opened up also has negative consequences.....

Royal Marines, Canadian soldiers, US Army troops etc. use the section attack to deliver a shock assault to minor enemy units or formations, in both urban and "woodland" settings. (Yes, you can assault across a street into another building). Going back in these threads, some issues have emerged: Is a shock assault even nessesary? Is the section the "immutable" minimum force on the battlefield? How should sections (an by extention platoons and companies) be organized. What sort of weaponry and technology would add/detract to the section's ability to function?

Working in a more complex security environment means looking at the tools we have to use and deciding the best way to use them. Have fun thinking of a solution, but be prepared to explain the "hows and whys" of your proposal.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 14, 2005, 15:19:00
yes i think we might have to change our make up of sections and platoons, i just feel we are always one step, wait a sec 10 steps behind everyone else in this thinking(ie Royal/US Marines) and of course we have to blame ourselves for this. The attk i was involed with was just a section attk live fire , so no flanking element. We were told to come up with something new. The OC liked what he saw, gave me some pros and cons , but once he left the CSM said i was wrong in what i did. I figured that he troops went on there or only shoot when there lying down problems will occur with soldiers being scared thats all.I have to think about the last thread and i will get back to you.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 14, 2005, 15:22:34
also i think with the world becoming more urban and our fights happening in towns and cities, the section attk and sections have to change in some shape or form, but the section attk is the basics for new troops but at unit levels and deploying units we have to come up with something more advanced for the changing face or warfare in our time.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on February 14, 2005, 15:30:45
I remember reading some wheres that the USMC is big on suppression during attacks (something like 2:1 support:assault elements or something like that).

Anyways with that mind, I personally think we should make it official doctrine to add a second C6 to the weapons detachment (I have heard of this maybe happening for years, but still hasn't?). Also add speed up the acquisition of the ALAWS and add that to the wpn det and maybe call it spt wpns section?

Then at leat, at very least, for platoon level attacks during light inf ops we could have a fire base of a section + spt wpns sect and the assault element consisting of 2 sections. In my mind of how I see the world (take that for what it worth!), thats alot of suppression !!!

What about 60mm mortars? good question. Still a valuable a weapon system and keep the three of them in a coy weapons detachment along with 2-3 sniper teams.

I am not totally up to speed on our current sniper detachments but i beleive one with a .50 MacMillan and one with the C3 would be great IMO.


As for individual battle field skills (fire and movement, trench clearing, selection of fire positions, etc) I think we need to hear from some grunts who have seen some of the worst of the action from say the US Army, USMC and maybe the aussies as well?

Ideas? Opinions?

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 14, 2005, 15:35:58
the question of a C6 in a section has come up here in my unit and it looks like it might happen if and when we go back to afghanistan
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on February 14, 2005, 15:49:29
As a Sect comd, I would welcome  a C6 to the section if we are operating on our own. Maybe a 12 man section is not a bad idea either (The USMC use 3 x 4 man teams plus a Squad leader, 13 in total).
You could put 8 guys as we do now plus a 4 man fire support team under the 2IC. Also I would give the 2IC two mags at least of tracer so he could easily control C6 fire. The fourth guy in that support group would be used for security and as an ammo bearer/3rd barrel carrier (need lots of 7.62).

What do you think of that idea?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on February 14, 2005, 16:40:14
Howabout giving the 2ic a scoped 7.62 rifle, in fact make the entire support det 7.62 to supply stand-off support?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 16, 2005, 15:49:14
i think two 4 man tms would be more ideal within our infantry, being that it is more flexible with the lav and dismounted ops such as urban ops and room clearing. Attach a C6 to the section , but not make one soldier the C6 gnr, and with the new small arms in the infantry section, having a 7.62 for the 2ic is not needed.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on February 18, 2005, 00:11:00
So are you suggesting the C-6 remain a platoon weapon?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on February 18, 2005, 15:43:56
oh no ! have each section have one , but use it say only on dismounted ops(urban patolling) but it won't be needed when you have a Lav with you. But keep one in the pl wpns det to. More hard hitting fire power the better. A infantry section now has more fire power and range , then a coy back in WW2.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 02, 2005, 09:21:02
I'm a British Infantry Soldier and I'm quite interested in the way other Armies do things.  We work generally in 2 four man fire teams with the follow weaponry, 2 Minimi LMGs,  4 Rifles ( 2 with underslung grenade launchers) and 2 Light support weapons (heavy barreled SA80s - yeah we know, big heap of rubbish with bipod legs).  The only problem is only 2 people in the section can fit bayonets - we still like them even though they aren't PC anymore. 

We did toy with having a forth section, a manoeuvre support section, for a while with 2 GPMGs and a 51 mm light mortar but it was scrapped for some reason.  This was to help with the suppression of the enemy especially during a platoon attack, to take some of the pressure off the contact section.

If anyone wants to know our angle on things - fire away.  I'm conversant on most thing Infantry wise, including 81mm Mortar and STA.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on March 02, 2005, 22:31:22
Ready40, what regiment are you from?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 03, 2005, 05:04:29
1ST Bn Devonshire and Dorset Regiment soon to be the 1st Bn the Light Infantry with the latest round of our left wing governments cut backs, (we have gone from 55 Infantry Battalions to 36 in the last 15 years).  I know we aren't fighting the Cold war anymore but they are renting us out to just about every little conflict they can think of at the moment.  I guess it's the same for you guys.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on March 03, 2005, 14:20:37
Hello readyfourzero.

Grandad was a Devon - 11th Battalion - Boy soldier in the Cycle Corps from Stoke-Fleming in 1914, shot-up and gassed Captain in charge of a PW camp by 1919.

Sad to see the Regiment die.   Any notion as to whether 1LI will be able to keep any of the D&D traditions or hardware? Or are you going to be totally subsumed in the Light Infantry culture?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 04, 2005, 06:50:41
So I'm not the only Brit here then - I didn't think I would be! I don't know if you know we have a web site similar to this, an unofficial one-it's far far better than our official one. It can be found at www.arrse.co.uk it's called the army rumour service, but beware you need a sense of humour-definitely for grown ups only!

As to the name changing yes it will be sad to lose our identity and there are discussions going on at the moment as to what we may be able to retain on our uniforms, such as the Croix De Guerre etc but nothing is firm at the moment.

The plan at the moment is for the Gloucester element of the Royal Gloucester, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment will join the Devon and Dorsets, we will then become the basis of the 1st Bn Light Infantry (1LI), The present 1LI will become 2LI and 2 LI will become 3LI, (we are going to be 1LI as we are senior to the rest (11th of foot).  These 3 Bn will then become part of the Rifle Regiment along with the Royal Green Jackets so this gives soldiers a choice of 5 different Bns in which they can rotate, the units will be permanently posted to wherever and soldiers will trickle post in between.  Just like other arms.  The same is happening throughout the Infantry.  It allows us more flexibility in deployable Bns where as the old Arms plotting of moving whole units took about 8 Bns out of operation per year.

So in a nutshell that is the future of the Brit Infantry.  Another round of cuts by our masters-what was it Kipling said

it's Tommy this and it's Tommy that kick him out the brute
But it's the saviour of our country when the guns begin to shoot.

Only thing is we are still fighting and yet theres no war....apparently!

Do you guys feel the same as us
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on March 04, 2005, 14:09:29
Judging from the tone around here I think they do.  I am not in.  An Ex-Weekend Warrior me.

A question for you though, do you know the Devon and Dorset website? It has a page on the organization of the Battalion.  Here's the link.

 http://www.army.mod.uk/devonanddorset/org.htm

Is that the situation on the ground or the staff picture?  If it is, how well does it work? 

Cheers
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 10, 2005, 06:58:43
I think its a bit of both, I know the Inf toyed with the idea of having 4 sections in a rifle platoon, one being a manouvre support section but i think it's not going to happen for one reason or another, mainly manning i think also it's a bit more difficult with Mech Bns like we are at the moment (not enough room in the back of a platoons allocation of APCs) I think it will be mainly Light role Inf that will do it.  I know the Marines have tried something similar and called it commando 2000, we called it the 2010 ORBAT.  I'm not sure what is going to happen post cut backs but it seems to work on our section commanders and platoon sergeants battle courses, it would give us a bit more flexibilty in the attack and we would have something like the following at our disposal in the attack: 2 x GPMGs, 1 X 51mm Mortar, 6 x Minimi LMGs, 6 x Light Support Weapons, 19 Rifles (6 with Grenade launchers) per rifle platoon.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on March 10, 2005, 09:06:39
For SG05, the "support platoon" concept is still "on" for now in the light Infantry companys, although there is no real doctrine to go with this yet. I also have not seen any modified ORBATS, so the three manoeuvre platoons still seem to have the usual compliments of mortars, 84mm and GPMGs. I suppose this will change in the next few months.

Support platoons will not be getting any real heavy weapons (.50 cal, "Javelein" fire and forget missiles, 81mm mortars) because we don't have any. Should be a great ex for those guys...... >:(
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on March 10, 2005, 09:10:20
For SG05, the "support platoon" concept is still "on" for now in the light Infantry companys, although there is no real doctrine to go with this yet.

I am a few months out of date, but was involved in the original discussions.   I think you will find that the intent is to mirror the DFS platoons of the Light Battalions, mixed with the ideas being floated out of the Infantry School last year.

Dave
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 10, 2005, 09:25:25
I still haven't got over the fact that you guys have lost all of you own Support Weapons Platoons, I cannot believe you have to rely on the Arty, Armour and Engineers etc.  The good thing about us Brits is at least we know we have guaranteed support from our own people.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on March 10, 2005, 17:23:20
i am not really big on the ideal of a support platoon per say. I am just going off a more urban setting when its just pretty much your section , and it wouldbe nice to have a heavy mg with me, to cut down some of those mud huts, instead of waiting for a platoon to show up! i will have more on this next week , since we are have a leadership symposium and a Lt Col for the marines that fought in Falluajah anf several of his Pl comds and sect, comd are coming up to talk to us about COIN ( counter insergency) and how there section aka squads fought that urban battle!~  >:D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 10, 2005, 17:35:50
I still haven't got over the fact that you guys have lost all of you own Support Weapons Platoons, I cannot believe you have to rely on the Arty, Armour and Engineers etc.   The good thing about us Brits is at least we know we have guaranteed support from our own people.

I'm glad that other professionals (from outside of our Canadian box) can see the foolishness in this.   I'm not so much wrapped up around who's providing the support, but that the integral nature of the support is now gone - its an attachment (meaning, the unit commander doesn't always have it when he needs it).

i am not really big on the ideal of a support platoon per say. I am just going off a more urban setting when its just pretty much your section , and it wouldbe nice to have a heavy mg with me, to cut down some of those mud huts, instead of waiting for a platoon to show up! i will have more on this next week , since we are have a leadership symposium and a Lt Col for the marines that fought in Falluajah anf several of his Pl comds and sect, comd are coming up to talk to us about COIN ( counter insergency) and how there section aka squads fought that urban battle!~   >:D

Do take notes and post them here!

That being said, I'm beginning to see the utility in perhaps beefing up our sections as opposed to making strength increases further up the chain.   As diffusion on non-contiguous battlefields continues to grow, I have a feeling that a Section of 12 soldiers, with a variety of armaments and tactical flexibility, may be more effective then an 8-man cookie-cutter section that is forced to wait for the Platoon or Company support assets....
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on March 10, 2005, 17:44:12
i am not really big on the ideal of a support platoon per say. I am just going off a more urban setting when its just pretty much your section , and it wouldbe nice to have a heavy mg with me, to cut down some of those mud huts, instead of waiting for a platoon to show up! i will have more on this next week , since we are have a leadership symposium and a Lt Col for the marines that fought in Falluajah anf several of his Pl comds and sect, comd are coming up to talk to us about COIN ( counter insergency) and how there section aka squads fought that urban battle!~   >:D

Then again who's to say that it is cast in stone that said Support platoon/section will alsways operate as a formed unit. Depending on the situation/need couldn't a portion say a 2 man (opps excuse me person) GPMG team be tasked attached to a section as needed.

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and we had integral support weapon platoons in our Bns one would rarely see all of say ADP deployed as a unit. More often than not dets would be attached to Coys/Cbt Teams as needed/required.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on March 10, 2005, 18:53:13
Then again - 3 large companies with 3 rifle platoons and a 4 mounted support platoon OR 3 small rifle companies with a 4th mounted support company?

Where is most of the fighting to be done?  As a unit, a company, a platoon or a section?  And which structure offers maximum opportunity for training in all configurations to allow for "Max Flex".

The "traditional" model has the advantage of Concentration of Forces for training on common systems as well as keeping everybody on the same base so that they can train with "all-arms".

After all, it seems to me that if a company commander can figure out how to employ his company in concert with machine guns on jeeps it is not too much of a leap to convert the jeeps to LAVS and the MGs to 25mms, or even to convert to "Co-operation" with MBTs.  Likewise, if he can co-ordinate 60mm mortars and 81mm mortars how difficult is it to learn how to appreciate and incorporate 105s, 155s, MLRSs or Harpoon IIs, or for that matter TACAIR or greater?

The USMC battalion is a great model for my money.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: silentbutdeadly on March 11, 2005, 16:52:55
i agree on the USMC model , we as an army relate to them the most, hence maybe them coming up here to talk to the senoir and jr leadership in the 1st and 3nd bn's PPCLI. I like the 12 man sections also , but we have to include the Lav also , when not in a urban setting. Like i said before , i like the C6 when in a urban setting , not in mounted ops , for the reason that you have a 25mm. We were all talking about this in our office here between the sect comd's and agree it would be nice to have a C6 in the section, so when the crap happens right there , there is no waiting time for heavy wpns support(urban) until the lav rolls up. I have on me a req reading for visit by the marines and it lays down alot of lessons learn, ask and you shall receive! >:D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on March 12, 2005, 14:27:53
The emphasis in this forum seems to concentrate heavily on the use of the LAV family of vehicles, with little attention given to their many significant weaknesses and inability to be used in many types of complex terrain and especially urban settings.

The LAVs do not offer significant protection for crew or mounted section in terms of the most common weapons being used by our enemies (or enimies of our allies) being the RPG 6 and 7, and no protection in terms of the newest - the RPG 29 (vampire), which is already popping up in Iraq, albeit in limited quantities.

The LAVs are used primarily for convoy escort, when they are not down with maintenance problems, and secondarily as rear security at dismounted temporary satellite patrol formations. (USMC Lessons Learned) When possible, the Marines prefer to use Humvees w/ no doors and more Heavys (Mk19 M2), due the far smaller target and ease of dismounting the bullet magnet that all vehs are when the rounds start flying.

The emphasis for the Marine Infantry and light armour over the last few years has shifted in a big way to Low intensity conflict and the skills associated with patrolling and controlling exclusively urban areas, in which the LAVs have been spectacularly ineffective, due to a high profile, large size, limited fields of vision and fire and serious maintenance problems which are difficult to rectify in a fwd location. The Humvee has in fact become the tpt of choice... leading them to believe that light forces are the way of the future.

I can already hear rounds coming downrange for this one...

All of this is available on the USMC lessons learned site though.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 12, 2005, 17:31:47
I don't think the ideal arrangement is a "cookie-cutter" section that can do the Light Force game and the Mech game with the same structure.  A Mech section, by having integral fighting vehicles and protection, does not need to be as extensive in terms of what the dismounts need to be able to do.

Perhaps "Light Infantry" would be better off with a large section (12 troops) that allows fluid and independent action by the section in complex environments may be the better path to focus on.  It can and should be designed (as the Light Force doctrine states) to act independent of any platforms.

Mech Infantry (or as some theories have designated as Cav) is, by nature, constricted by the platform from which it deploys and fights with.  Look at the discussion over changing Infantry doctrine and structure with the movement from the M113 to the LAV III.  I think mech sections and platoons can allow for the Zulu callsigns to provide the suppressive capabilities that we are giving extra boots to Light Infantry structures.

Now, I think any "mech" force structure should give thought to independent action of the dismounts if the vehicles are unable to take part in the fight (disabled, complex terrain, etc, etc) but conversely, I don't think we should limit the capabilities of our Light Infantry by holding these sections and platoons to being able to fit into an IFV.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on March 13, 2005, 22:52:55
Infanteer, you make a valid point. Especially when you consider that the LAV III accomadates how many? according to the PAM 7 passengers.
At least with the M113 (A vehicle I have lots of expirience with) we could cram in 8-10 troops plus driver and crew commander. Keep in mind that is CRAM in their.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on March 15, 2005, 00:28:24
Section sizes may be similar in the Light and Mech Infantry, it is just the skill sets that are different (the driver and gunner still belong to the section, after all).

I see things moving in a slightly different tangent, with TTPs, training and standards modified to reflect operations in complex terrain, and de emphasising heavy firepower for "accurate" firepower. In one of these threads is a description of a scout/sniper unit which has both the ability to find targets via stealth and mobility (the "scout" part of the equation); but also is able to deal with targets directly (the "sniper" half). I cannot imagine them going out without a fairly heavy helping of comms gear, and would guess they have lots of assets "on call" in case they discover a great target, or need to get out of a hot situation.

An eight man section is still possible, with each assault group moving in short bounds from cover to cover, while the alternate group provides cover. Four men would be about the minimum to cover the arcs "left/right" as well as "high/low". Improved weapons optics and PRR or similar communication devices between the section members would allow the members to pick up targets and pass on target data to their mates. A bigger organization such as proposed by Infanteer increases the number of "eyes on", so perhaps with ten or twelve man sections observer or spotter teams could also be added.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 15, 2005, 16:54:59
A bigger organization such as proposed by Infanteer increases the number of "eyes on", so perhaps with ten or twelve man sections observer or spotter teams could also be added.

Although we thrashed around the concept in "The Infantry of Tommorrow" and didn't really seem to come up with a concensus, I think the issue may be worth exploring again.

Here is what Kevin had to say over there:

Okay maybe I did not ellaborate very clearly.  I don't consider the Wainwright/Sufield section and Platoon attack likely to occur in the near future...

 Section and Pl attacks in build up ares - I do - however gaining lodgement and operating in built up area the 4 man team is a more flexible building block than a 8 or ten man section.  The idea is with the four members one can be a specialist - breacher,DM,LMG,cooms,medic etc.  I fail to see why it requires more leadership trg  - we used to have no hook private runing section attacks (live) during the RV days.  I dont like the sepaerate leader idea as it make us inflexible in that set piece.

I actually prefer a 12man section for Light Inf ops (adding a DM, C6team and a medic).

As for the Cav issue - I dotn see hwy a 011 crew cannot be a team with a 031 dismount section - but it make it more flexible to be able to conduct different type of missions that the curent set-up - it takes away from the inf system to expectthem to specialize in both light in vehicle operations 9crewing a LAV is a full time job and it will degrade your light skills accordingly)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Chags on March 15, 2005, 17:35:28
As a comment to Kevin B..  Wainwright will have a number of built-up areas that should be completed by summer 06. These will not be instrumented for WES (Weapons Effect System) yet, but that will come in the future, along with a few other fully instrumented villages.

So far this is what we have in the works:

Terrace Village - cut into a hillside (like in Kabul)
Subterranean Complex
Farm Compound- with perimeter wall, a few buildings
enhancement of Vernonberg Village


lots more to come.. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on March 15, 2005, 19:15:03
What about 12 man sections to allow LOBs...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 15, 2005, 19:31:39
What about 12 man sections to allow LOBs...


LOB?

Left out of Battle?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on March 15, 2005, 19:37:55
LOB?

Left out of Battle?

Yep.  I didn't want to just refer to those on LTA (Leave), although that is certainly a concern in our current climate of six monthitis.  LOB would include

sick
parental leave
career course
leave
etc etc.

With a 12 man section, you could train in the sure knowledge that you would always go out the gate with 8 soldiers that you had trained with.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 18, 2005, 19:44:17
Reviewing an AAR from the USMC in Fallujah, I see that the Marines fully support the 12 man squad as a good urban fighting organization.   Perhaps this could be fit within a 12-man section that Kevin B pointed out in the Infantry Forum :

1 x Commander
1 x 2ic
2 x LMG (C-9)
2 x Riflemen
2 x Grenadier
1 x C-6 team (gunner and assistant)
1 x Designated Marksman (equipped with accurized full-length rifle)
1 x "Tactical Casualty Care" trained Infantry soldier (a medic trained Rifleman) who is equipped with a 12-gauge shotgun - this guy has the advantage of being a medical pers who is expected to fight and not be constrained by the Red Cross brassard.

This would be a twelve man section.   In the urban environment, it could be formed into (keeping flexibility in mind):

Assault:
1 x Section Commander
2 x Riflemen
1 x Grenadier

Support:
2 x LMG
1 x Section Combat Medic (with Shotgun)
1 x Grenadier

Security:
1 x C6 Team (2 pers)
1 x DM
1 x 2 ic

Plus add any section atts in there.

This 12 man section could easily be rearranged by the commander for a more conventional section attack outside of an urban environment (Again keeping flexibility in mind - tactical situation can merit sending guys to either groups):

Flanking element (could be split in two if doing envelopment):
1 x Section Commander
1 x LMG
2 x Riflemen
2 x Grenadier
1 x Combat Medic

Suppressive element:
1 x 2ic
1 x C-6 (gunner and assistant)
1 x DM
1 x LMG

Quite a flexible and robust section.   If numbers aren't up to TO&E levels (which they almost never are), there is still breathing space for the section to maintain fighting power when down to 8 men - you just have to start husbanding the more specialized tasks (DM, Medic) - perhaps at the Platoon level.

Question is, with all this power at the section level, what should the Platoon have for integral support?   An extra C-6 team or two?   Definitely an anti-armour team.   Perhaps a small mortar (60 mm)?   Atts and dets are important for the platoon, especially in an urban environment?   Perhaps the Platoon Commander can be given a section or a 4-man det of Sappers in the Pioneer role - these guys are on call for specialized demo, booby traps, or perhaps they have some specialized weapons (flamethrowers, man-portable Fuel-Air Explosive launchers).

At the company level, I'm supportive of a specialized platoon using the "Company Armoury" approach, bringing a variety of support weapons that are suited towards the mission to aid the company commander.

The more I reflect on this, the more I see it as a really solid Light Force Infantry Section/Platoon organization.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on March 18, 2005, 21:54:59
I like it  ;D

 My only concern is that you with the 4-4-4 split have a 4man assault det out of 12men.  Ideally I'd like 8-9 men available to enter the structure - that way you can do simos and/or floods to maintain the intiative - with the 9th being the medic/breacher.

Given the Mk46 / C9A2 - it is easier to place the LMG gunner (but admittedly not ideal) into the stack.


Additionally with the demise of Pioneers - the method of entry has become VERY limited - clearly identified was the need for a Explosives Entry course or Pioneer SME to instruct in low level demo.  Having been on the giving and receiving end of DD's - you know the doorway is still the "Fatal Funnel" regardless, it would be nice to knock through a different and selfmade door.

 

 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on March 18, 2005, 21:57:57
How about a 12 man section with a similar to what we do now flavor?

Assault Group One
SGT, 3 x Troops (by troops I mean CPL or PTE) standard 3 x C7, 1 x C9, 1 x M203
Assault Group Two
MCPL, 3 x Troops (similar to AG1)
Support Group
MCPL C7 heavy barrell and scope (decent one)
C6 GPMG Team
Designated marksman with 7.62mm rifle or .338 weapon (brits like this caliber)

For Platoon, have three 12 man sections plus 4 man HQ (LT and WO, with 2 x Signalers) and a 4 man javelin team (use 1 effectively)

For pl ops , group all the Support groups with the PL 2IC to form a wicked platoon fire base

For LAVIII Platoons, those vehicles have kick @ss fire power with 25mm so eliminate all but 1 support group for the entire platoon...
This puts the platoon (for light infantry) at 44 full strength (not unreasonable)

Did any body notice that in the FCS concepts for the US Army infantry platoon they are looking at 5 IFV platoon (HQ C/S, WPNS SQUAD C/S and 3 x SQUAD C/S the link is here http://www.army.mil/fcs/factfiles/icv.html
 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Otto Fest on March 18, 2005, 22:36:26
Wow!   So LAR/C2 group retro.   I recall the micro managed section attacks that got to the point that if you strayed from the method of the last successful attack you were failed.   Might I suggest that before this becomes choreographed to death the principles of attack are reviewed?

1.   Locate the enemy.
2.   WIN THE FIRE FIRE FIGHT
3.  Always keep one foot on the ground (and a small reserve if poss)

I apologize for being so blunt, but after over 12 years in a platoon/section, I got really tired of 7 battled drills being resold as 6 or 9 and being exactly the same thing...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 19, 2005, 05:15:27
I like it   ;D

 My only concern is that you with the 4-4-4 split have a 4man assault det out of 12men.   Ideally I'd like 8-9 men available to enter the structure - that way you can do simos and/or floods to maintain the intiative - with the 9th being the medic/breacher.

Given the Mk46 / C9A2 - it is easier to place the LMG gunner (but admittedly not ideal) into the stack.

Yeah, I felt that the assault element was lacking enough boots as well; however, don't forget that the support actually goes in with the assault, only they roll up behind them.   I was structuring the section with the AAR principles in mind:

- The assault element must contain no SAW's if that is possible. A SAW gunner must never clear rooms. The assault element should contain the most number of Marines because every room must be cleared with two Marines. The support element will supplement the assault by falling in the stack and peeling off to clear rooms.

- Support should include any engineers or assaultman attached to the squad. A SAW gunner should be included in this section in order to provide massive firepower in the house if contact is made. The corpsman is also located in support because he can use his shotgun to breach as well as provide quick medical attention to casualties. The support section will fall in the stack behind the assault element to assist in any way.

Perhaps, with the C-6 providing the heat in the Security team, we can ditch 1 or both C9's from a section and put them in as assaulters.   Instead, these guys would draw (from the "Company Armoury"), prior to going into an urban situation, Automatic Rifles - essentially C-7's with heavy barrels and bipods (as the one Marine Corps Gazette article talked about).   This way, these guys can be useful on the assault element but can rock-and-roll if need be.   This leaves the support element rather slim - a Grenadier and the Section Medic with the Shotgun, but I am assuming that we would stick Pioneer/Sapper atts or any other folks that tagged along into that element.

I have a funny feeling that in an urban environment, your structure is going to be pretty fluid and a section commander is going to have other assets coming and going to his section or to the platoon.

Quote
Additionally with the demise of Pioneers - the method of entry has become VERY limited - clearly identified was the need for a Explosives Entry course or Pioneer SME to instruct in low level demo.   Having been on the giving and receiving end of DD's - you know the doorway is still the "Fatal Funnel" regardless, it would be nice to knock through a different and selfmade door.

With you here buddy.   I think doorways have been out of style for the last couple decades since the IDF figured the game out.   Those Marines had some interesting ideas on improvised pyro.... >:D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on March 19, 2005, 15:17:20
Another solution, lose the C-6 in the Section Urban battle, letting the Platoon handle that.   Send the two gunners as riflemen to the Assault team.   Organization is:

Assault (6):
1 x Section Commander
4 x Riflemen
1 x Grenadier

Support (3):
1 x LMG
1 x Section Combat Medic (with Shotgun)
1 x Grenadier

Security (3):
1 x LMG
1 x DM
1 x 2 ic

Now you got 6 boots up on the assault, followed by three (and any atts) rolling in behind.   Both security and support teams have an LMG to turn on the heat if need be.   Only changes are to trade in a C-6 for a C-7.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: sqn_medic on March 21, 2005, 12:27:23
Trust me you'd be able to find A LOT medics who'd love to be attached to a unit who would employ them in the support role of a 12 man section attack.  If we could just rub off those pesky red crosses!!!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on March 21, 2005, 23:59:37
I have always found C-9s inside the building to be very cumbersome, not to mention very dangerous when you consider just how "real" buildings are made (the concreate cinder block walls of FIBUA sites are quite deceptive, in a real town or village in most of the world, the C-9 gunner's burst would rip through the walls and into the street beyond. Leave them with the security teams.)

Blasting through walls is a problem if you forgot your Carl G, especially if you don't have any of the HEDP rounds. I hope someone is considering making and issuing pre-packaged "frame charges" which can be set and used with a minimum of training (just follow the cartoon instructions on the back.... :o). Doors and windows don't have to be no gos, firing a Carl G HEDP round into the doorway or window will probably detonate or destroy any IEDs positioned around them, and probably kill or disable any troops covering the entryway as well. Don't make this a regular occurance, though.

I still think one of the principles behind Urban Ops should be to get away from the notion of FISH (Fighting In Someone's House) and suppliment it with attacking morale (i.e. making it seem better to leave the house and area than to stand and fight). There probably is no 100% solution, but certainly using manoeuvre, effects and threats to drive the enemy out of an area would cut down on the high casualties and resource allocation that Urban Ops require in the hear and now.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 22, 2005, 08:42:09
We Brits generally have 8 man section (less Armoured Infantry who have 7 - not enough room in the back of a Warrior) but generally patrol with 12 in COIN ops, 3 teams of 4, lead by either a SNCO or an officer but can be led by an experienced Cpl (MCpl I think you call them).  I should imagine you do alot of things the same way as us anyway in the attack. ie  1. Preparation for battle (PAWPERSO) 2. Reaction to effective enemy fire (RTR - return fire in the general area - Take cover - Return fire into likely enemy positions), 3. Locating the enemy, 3. Winning the firefight and supression of the enemy, 4.Attack (Appraoch, Assault and Fight through) and Regroup (PACESSDO).  I think thats about the general NATO way of doing things
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on March 22, 2005, 09:02:24
Sorry sent that without finishing. 

We did toy (as mentioned earlier in this forum) about having a forth section with 2 GPMGs and a 51mm light mortar to help with winning the fire fight but I'm unsure we are going to go down that road.  It would be good but I'm not sure the Brit Army can afford the extra vehicles etc. 

For urban we break down into 4 pairs for the attack; 2 assault teams (2 x L85A2), 1 Command team Section Comd and link man (don't really need him now with personal radios) - POE to FSp team (L85A2) and a FSp team - section 2ic plus 1 both (minimis).

The main idea for us when coming under contact is to get lead straight down the range as soon as possible to try and regain the initive by firing at likely enemy positions to try and force his hand which, I should imagine you chaps do as well.

Before I finish this do you guys use that vast expanse of ground at Suffield as well?  I have had some very hairy moments out there, excellant training facility though.  The last time I went (97) I think for the 24 days we spent on the prarie I think I only average about 4 hours sleep a night - absolutely on my chinstrap as we say, quite dangerous as well I was a part of the ISTAR grouping doing the SAT team for the Mortars, great fun!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Jarnhamar on March 26, 2005, 12:26:48
Quote
Trust me you'd be able to find A LOT medics who'd love to be attached to a unit who would employ them in the support role of a 12 man section attack.  If we could just rub off those pesky red crosses!!!

All the medic's i've worked with from Petawawa seem to have felt this way as well. They were always ready to jump into whatever we were doing and helping out however they can.  One of the guys said they get in some hot water though because how the army figures, if they guy hurt while playing infantry soldier then they cannot do their primary job as a medic. (Which i guess makes some sense).
I'd still rather have a medic (who has trained WITH the section) right up front working along side me that back at a coy or plt HQ area.
While i'm sure it would never fly, it would be nice to be able to send infantry soldiers on a ql3 medic course (or some heavy medical training) and be the section firstaid guy.

Quote
I still think one of the principles behind Urban Ops should be to get away from the notion of FISH (Fighting In Someone's House) and suppliment it with attacking morale (i.e. making it seem better to leave the house and area than to stand and fight). There probably is no 100% solution, but certainly using manoeuvre, effects and threats to drive the enemy out of an area would cut down on the high casualties and resource allocation that Urban Ops require in the hear and now.


If we give them an escape path, we could set up an ambush somewhere along the way couldn't we?
Gets them out of the houses with less casualties and damage, and if they stumble into the ambush we can fight them on better prepared terms.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on April 04, 2005, 03:01:05
Just a quick note on the individual taskings of individuals within a section;

1. Splitting your elements into strictly seperate groups is counterproductive. Support-Assault-Security is gone - just like the cold war. Get over it. The new war is urban. Your support and security are the units within your formation, and are a temporary tasking, not a set position.

2. C9 Gunners can and should clear rooms. Keeping them out of the stack is a waste of manpower and causes needless shuffling of troops - causing a loss of momentum. There is nothing special about a C9 Gunner. A rifleman can grab the spare barrel and ammo and do the job just fine. I know - I've done both.

3. Stop trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole with the whole section formation. The marine sections (squads) have 3 teams of about 4 guys each which are independently commanded by a corporal or MCpl equiv. A Sgt commands all three teams as section, but a section is a cumbersome formation in FIBUA/MOUT

4. A Combat Lifesaver/TCCCs qual guy per section (min) is a must, as is a Pl and Coy Medical team.

5. Every member of the team must be able to breach - and dont kid yourself on how this is done. Generally, engineer support is slow, and best left as a Coy asset, and used seldomly. 99% of Breaching is done with a boot and a blast of rifle fire.

6. (I saved the best for last) The best way to attack morale is to kill all those who challenge you. Nothing saps morale like all your freinds dying horrible deaths.The time for deterrence has passed when the section is stacked outside the door.  As the USMC proved in Fallujah, which was touted by various Arab groups as the showdown between east and west, in which Islam and Chirstianity would clash, with terrible consequences. Two weeks after the battle started, the Marines had inflicted a 22-1 kill ratio and the insurgent leaders were sneaking out of the city dressed as women. This was because the USMC was able to restucture itself to deal with the current conflict instead of just jury rigging the status quo so it would work in the meantime.

We need a major shift in thought here gents, not a slight adjustment of tactics.

All of this is available in the USMC lessons learned, and was further proven on a recent 3VP ex in California.

Hoist that aboard.





Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 05, 2005, 15:32:44
I agree with the majority of GO's post - the only issue with the C9/C9A2 clearing is for precision clears it is not a system that acceptable for that - I think you will have to shift in that case - worst case the gunners can come up/in if a precision turns to a straight clearance.

 the use of DD's must be reinforced - trained with.  Throwing a pop can filled with sand and hoping the OPFOR will give you a three count before hosing the doorway with sims is not on.

The biggest issue the conventional army has is with our current training restrictions as we can't practice breaches (especially explosive ones) in our facilities.  So the #4 MOE / #5 Medic/Breacher does not get experience.  So when you get shotguns for breaching overseas no one really knows how to properly employ them.  Ditto to the Slegde/Halligan tools etc.

So you get a few NCO's who have the JTFjr UOIC - but it is very hard for them to get them whole team online with entries etc. let alone the related activites.  In our given trg environement.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on April 06, 2005, 23:14:53
The use of C9s for precision clearing is often sold short.

We had some time on the instinctive shooting range last season, and a few of us did the c7 shoot with the c9 - It can be done - with some practice and a bigger guy handling it. Clearing stoppages is not fun though.

Practicing with DDs is a non issue for me. We dont have them, and other than for the secret squirrel types, they are not available - on ops, exercises or anywhere else. Why practice with something we dont use?

As for breaching, a bag of nails, a hammer, and an institutional type place (Griesbach?) is all you need. Breach the door, nail it shut and do it again.

There needs to be something in place for the shotgun and explosive breaching though, even though it is so rarely done.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: PPCLI WO on April 06, 2005, 23:49:43
Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have a question:

For several years I have observed various members of my unit attempt to justify going down on one knee, vice the guts, on a section attack.  Apparently "The Brits in the Falklands found out that when their troops went to the prone they would refuse to get up, therefore they would only take a knee." 

Now I accepted this argument as gospel for the last 8 years, but the other night I decided to do a little more research.  I cannot find any literature or AAR's supporting this theory.

Is there a grain of truth to this "lesson learned" or is it a much propagated myth used by lazy NCO's?

Any comments would be most appreciated.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 07, 2005, 04:02:35
I have spoke to a few Brits who championed the one knee - to keep the momentum going -- as mentioned elsewhere the theory about "gee this is a nice spot to hide" going to ground can take away troops who simply shut 'er done.


GO - DD's are in the system - of course until the CCO guys (you reading this Mike?) officially standardize the Nico 9 Banger I dont know if they are orderable domestically. 
 The other problem is proper breaching will result in the door being typically N/S afterwards so you need a pretty good supply of doors and frames.

I've seen guys do the house with a M240[US C6] live - does not mean it is a wise concept - espeically when we have a role for security that they (C9 gunners) can be more adventageously employed in - if you have to punch into another room your 9gunner makes a shitty DD man or Doorman - and he is not going to be fast enough to be the #1.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on April 07, 2005, 09:25:12
Go on one knee, I'd like to see them explain that to one of the instructors at Brecon, they'd probably get a swift one aimed at the rear end and told to get on their 'belt buckle' to put it in polite terms.  Different positions for different cover I say, I found the Australians do everything on their belly once under fire even when stuck in secondry jungle and don't do what we do 'we're up we're running we're down' sort of fire and movement until you're close up to the position then it's 'belt buckle' all the way.  I can imagine it does allow for faster movement though.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on April 07, 2005, 10:39:00
Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have a question:

For several years I have observed various members of my unit attempt to justify going down on one knee, vice the guts, on a section attack.   Apparently "The Brits in the Falklands found out that when their troops went to the prone they would refuse to get up, therefore they would only take a knee."  

Now I accepted this argument as gospel for the last 8 years, but the other night I decided to do a little more research.   I cannot find any literature or AAR's supporting this theory.

Is there a grain of truth to this "lesson learned" or is it a much propagated myth used by lazy NCO's?

Any comments would be most appreciated.

I've got a copy of 2 PARA's AAR from the Falklands somewhere in my den (interesting reading BTW especially along some of the ideas in this thread). As I was going through ISCC back during that war, a lot of us did some serious research on this conflict. Never found anything about one knee. No mention in documents, no pictures of it anywhere, and there were a lot of pictures/video of that war, and none of the Brits I spoke to said anything about it.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on April 07, 2005, 15:19:57
I have heard this story for a long time, and it intuitively makes sense (you can get up a lot faster from one knee than from the prone) untill you try it with MILES gear....

The observation of troops going prone and refusing to move actually dates back to SLA Marshall's "Men Against Fire". The idea that a rifleman would feel helpless to influence the battle and therefore tend to hide (stay prone, and often not even fire the rifle) was counterbalanced by his other observation that the presence of comrades would raise the mutual morale of the soldiers, and that soldiers with more powerful weapons like the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) would continue to fight and advance, since they felt they had a chance of influencing the battle. Crew served weapons like the GPMG were the best of both worlds, since the crew had the most powerful and influential weapon, and each soldier had his partner right with him. (Although I don't remember if Marshall raised this point, it also explains the age old tendency for troops to close up).

We work with two man fire teams, and even the C-7 rifle is much more powerful than any infantry weapon of the WWII period (and that is before you add the M-203, C-9 gunners etc), so the factors of isolation and feeling of relative helplessness have been much reduced in the modern battlefield.

If you want to advance faster across the battlefield, detaching individual fire teams to move forward and cover the remainder of the section in a series of bounds seems to work very well, so long as the fire teams are not movig so far ahead they are out of contact with the remainder of the troops, and they take sensible positions to observe and provide cover for the remainder of the section. The section commander also needs to keep one foot on the ground, his next team should be forward and "firm" before he picks up the covering fire team.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on April 08, 2005, 18:54:59
As to the c9 for clearing rooms - it can be done effectively - seen it done, done it - blank and live - nuff said from me.

As to the taking a knee instead of a buckle - I've always been taught that the taking of a knee is for high cover, clearing of stoppages/reloading or to fix/rearrange (pull out a grenade) kit, DEPENDING upon the terrain. Taking a knee on a forward slope being far from ideal of course.

The idea of a knee instead of a buckle is based in FIBUA/MOUT where the prone position restricts lines of sight, fire, and mobility in extremely complex terrain.

Basically - knees in the built up areas, and prone in the field, or just use your common sense!

As to the "myth propagated by lazy NCO's"  this probably only applies when they are required to go prone - it's OK if the troops do it though! ;D



Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Danjanou on April 08, 2005, 21:15:36
Go I think your right re knee vs prone, urban areas and basically any other thick cover, ie jungle.

Re the lazy NCO, you're not suggesting that anyone would dare teach "the do as I say not as I do"  method now are you ;D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on April 09, 2005, 23:58:22
The "do as I say, not as I do" approach is not used in the CF.

There is ample evidence of this simply by observing the fine standards of physical fitness that many of the NCO's posted to Wx (WATC) maintain.

Demonstrator!.....
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Infanteer on April 14, 2005, 16:55:45
Regarding C9's and room-clearing - from the USMC lessons learned in Fallujah:

Quote
The squad should be organized by using the traditional three elements of assault, support, and security. The amount of Marines contained within each element will vary according to the squad's number of Marines, the skills and abilities that each individual Marine possess, and the weapons systems that each Marine employs (M249 SAW, M203, and ACOG scoped M16A4's).

The assault element must contain no SAW's if that is possible. A SAW gunner must never clear rooms. The assault element should contain the most number of Marines because every room must be cleared with two Marines. The support element will supplement the assault by falling in the stack and peeling off to clear rooms.

This is as "from the horses mouth" as it gets.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Braz on April 18, 2005, 11:55:12
I was a C9 gunner for an exercises down in Virginia and our MOUT instructor who had recently returned from Iraq said that the C9 is effective for clearing rooms. However it should never go in first, It should be third or fourth in the stack (Preferably 4th because in the case of a "short" room, It provides much better hallway security.)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GerryCan on April 19, 2005, 21:34:55
So what is the reasoning behind the C9 never going in first and being back in the stack? I'm sure that eventually while clearing through urban terrain C9 gunners and riflemen alike are going to end up in every imaginable part of the stack sooner or later.

As GO!! said, the C9 can be employed very effectively IF it is being used by the right soldier. We just recently did instinctive shooting with C7's and 9's and the C9 gunners found out very quickly how much upper body is req'd to properly employ the weapon in that role, but it can be done and some guys did it better than others. Again though, clearing stoppages and changing boxes gets a bit tricky on the fly, but practice makes perfect.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 19, 2005, 21:47:54
The #1 should be your best instictive shooter - the #2 your second.

 A C9 even the A2's are not going to be as quick into action - nor are they easy to manuver if the tgt is too close and it become a dogs breakfast.

 That said it all depends upon how you are clearing - if it is precision work with non combatants the C9 is not the tool to use PERIOD. 



Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Braz on April 19, 2005, 21:51:11
The reasoning was that no matter how much practice you get a C7 will always have a slight speed advantage over the C9 when it comes to positive target aquisition. And in a CQB environment, oftentimes whoever shoots first wins.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GerryCan on April 20, 2005, 22:13:32
Quote
The #1 should be your best instictive shooter - the #2 your second.

I understand that, but as you know, it's not going to turn out like that everytime you enter a room or wherever you're clearing through. You have the set order of your section or team when you start, but it quickly changes as you progress through the situation as men are left back for security/casevac etc.. so sooner or later one of your 9's may end up in the front of the stack. In this event would you deliberately change the order and risk slowing down momentum and causing confusion or can it slide to a certain extent?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on April 21, 2005, 23:03:55
In the past, what sometimes happened was either people or weapons were traded so the section assigned to cut offs and other cordon tasks in the street were almost all C-9s while the assaulting elements were almost all rifles. This depended a lot on the initiative of the 2I/C and the situation you worked in. Sometimes a few C-9s were taken with a view of placing them in the upper stories to help defend the position during consolodation, especially if the building was particularly tall or provided longer sight lines.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 22, 2005, 13:01:26
GerryCan - It all depends - ideally I'd take a sec and switch - but that is not always possible.  We found in the States that breaking Platoon's up prior to entering the dwellings work best - that way ALL your troops are similar - then we'd just try to use the M203 guys last...

 Doing "El presidente" drills the C8A1 EOTECH guys are noticebaly quicker - then the C8SFW EO's then the C7's and worst the M203 equipped either SFw or C7.
I've actualy shot my fastest reflexive and ElP's with an old C8 carry handle - no light/laser or sight - in close it just is that faster...

Unfortunately We don't have the kit DH does and as such can't have 4+ carbines for each guy in the ready locker - so we have to take the best GP system, and run that.

 That said I saw a run with a suppressed Mk46 (SF version of the Para C9) with a can an that guy WAS FAST...   But a lot more rounds than one would want (the can ups the RoF...) in a precision or surgical clear.

For unrestricted clears - I have always been a fan of burning it down, much safer for the 'onlookers'  ;)...

 
 

 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Braz on April 23, 2005, 13:11:32
Whats this "can" that youre talking about? Ive never heard of it.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 24, 2005, 01:54:29
this sort of can...

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.canadiantactical.ca%2FImages%2FC9T4.jpg&hash=9903ccff6b8de8a1a25fa16f85e0f99a)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: TCBF on April 24, 2005, 02:14:43
"For unrestricted clears - I have always been a fan of burning it down, much safer for the 'onlookers'"

If it's concrete, I'd consider having my gunner put a few 105mm APFSDS-T into it first to crack up the structure, then HESH to collapse it or empty it out. Then - if we (meaning all you 'Gangsta' grunts) aren't going to sit in it - WP.

Sit may dictate no FS due to penetration/templating, and perhaps no WP due to obscuration of retreating/manoeuvering enemy.

in domestic ops, templating would be critical, so I would recommend TPFSDS-T, or plain old TPDS-T . Yes.   Training ammo.   Also SHPrac-T for door kicking.  

Also for domestic ops or a sensitive case, lurching the Leopard up to the door or window, inserting the muzzle of the main armament through said aperture and letting go with a 105mm Blank would 'stun' the occupants.   Then you lot can budda-budda-budda and root the bastards out. ;D

Tom
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on April 25, 2005, 11:46:00
TCBF, this is a great plan if the Infantry uses Merkava Mk 1s as their IFV, but we need to think in terms of how to do this with stuff we can carry in our hot little hands (sorry).

Since the focus of this thread seems to have shifted to Urban Ops, maybe TCBF and KevinB have a point: the enemy will most likely be holed up in some sort of structure, and section and platoon attacks will resemble reducing a series of fortified bunkers. The support group needs something between a M-72 and a Carl G in terms of size, weight and effectiveness to help shoot in attacks or reduce fortified positions and kill the occupants. I believe FFV once offered a sort of alternative Carl G; one 84mm round packaged in a disposable launcher. If there was a way to really increase the power of the 40mm M-203 grenade, or issue a special "bunker buster" grenade, that might work as well.

In Urban Ops the platoon can then be arranged with a "security section" (C9s forming cut offs around the building), "support section" (adding firepower to the weapons det's GPMG and Carl-G/Eryx) and the "assault section". This also implies the sections might not be symmetric in size, perhaps 6 in the security section, 4 man support section adding their fire to the weapons det and 2 X 7 man assault sections (still = 24 troops before weapons det and HQ)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 25, 2005, 16:32:47
JD has info on a breaching grenade that went overbarrel on the C7/C8 for making entry...

 I'll see if he or others have more on it as I lost the stuff he sent me.


Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: TCBF on April 25, 2005, 17:04:00
" most likely be holed up in some sort of structure, and section and platoon attacks will resemble reducing a series of fortified bunkers. The support group needs something between a M-72 and a Carl G in terms of size, weight and effectiveness to help shoot in attacks or reduce fortified positions and kill the occupants. I believe FFV once offered a sort of alternative Carl G; one 84mm round packaged in a disposable launcher. If there was a way to really increase the power of the 40mm M-203 grenade, or issue a special "bunker buster" grenade, that might work as well."

One word:  Thermobarics.....
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: baboon6 on April 26, 2005, 12:00:30
There is now a thermobaric version of the M72, somewhere on this site
www.talleyds.com
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on April 26, 2005, 13:30:16
" most likely be holed up in some sort of structure, and section and platoon attacks will resemble reducing a series of fortified bunkers. The support group needs something between a M-72 and a Carl G in terms of size, weight and effectiveness to help shoot in attacks or reduce fortified positions and kill the occupants. I believe FFV once offered a sort of alternative Carl G; one 84mm round packaged in a disposable launcher. If there was a way to really increase the power of the 40mm M-203 grenade, or issue a special "bunker buster" grenade, that might work as well."

One word:  Thermobarics.....


Don't forget we may also be working in a restricted ROE environment. Thermobarics would be great in the "third block", but the guys in blocks one and two might not apprieciate dealing with the overpressure effects.  I was thinking along the lines of the 84mm HEDP (High Explosive Dual Purpose) round, which can be fired as a wall breaching round (load it with the "immediate" side up), or used to clear/neutralize bunkers (load it with the "delay" side up). Given the size/weight issues, perhaps a disposable launcher with a larger warhead (>66mm, <100mm ) and "programmable" with the flip of a switch would fit the bill.

As an aside, HEDP rounds work just fine against APC/IFV class vehicles as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 26, 2005, 13:35:25
US Breaching PDF (http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2002infantry/fields.pdf)


Thx to Jd  the Israeli Simon round is what I was refering too.  I don't like the way it need a special blank to fire...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on April 28, 2005, 00:07:09
a sort of alternative Carl G; one 84mm round packaged in a disposable launcher. If there was a way to really increase the power of the 40mm M-203 grenade, or issue a special "bunker buster" grenade, that might work as well."


Are you talking about the AT-4? It is a disposable Karl G in principle - but with a more limited selection of rounds (HE only)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Thucydides on April 28, 2005, 14:17:54
Are you talking about the AT-4? It is a disposable Karl G in principle - but with a more limited selection of rounds (HE only)


The AT-4 is a good starting point, if it was pre-loaded with a HEDP round and a simple selector switch for immediate/delay then the section and platoon would have an effective wall breaching/bunker neutralizing weapon.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: GO!!! on April 28, 2005, 20:49:33
On the issue of using armour for breaching, the USMC told us about a new cannister round that is being developed for the Abrams. It is filled with tungsten balls, and will demolish brick, cement and cinder block houses at 1km or less, along with an incendiary "effect"
Title: Re: Thinking about the Section Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 20, 2005, 05:30:17
Gentleman, I have read into this thread as best I can, but I feel there is one crucial element of information missing.

What follows may be uncomfortable or even unacceptable to some but it's not intended to be.

1.   The section attack (in commonwealth armies from 1941-2003) was a teaching tool developed by the UK, to reveal Officer or NCO potential in recruits. IT WAS NEVER TO BE USED ON OPERATIONS.
2.   The gun group rifle group scheme of manoeuvre was to get the Bren gun as close to the enemy as possible, as part of the PLATOON attack.
3.   Due to the fact that this was never explicitly stated, it began to be taught as minor tactics, and persisted from 1941 (first draft of the Battle School manual) until nearly the present day.

The UK still makes the same mistake today in focussing on section organisation, instead of group range capabilities across the platoon and company. If you want constructive discussion in this area, then focussing on the section, just become a doctrinal straight jacket. â Å“How do I best organise for operationsâ ? is a far better question, than â Å“How big should a section be.â ?

Hope this helps

JSG.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on May 22, 2005, 05:58:59
First of all, I changed the title of the thread to be more reflective of the content - we have lurched out of the realm of the Section and it is clear that their is a sense of continuity between Section-Platoon-Company.  May as well broaden the thread.

Next, give this article a read - very good stuff that supplements much of what we have touched on here.

http://www.defence.gov.au/army/AbstractsOnline/AAJournal/2003_W/AAJ_w_2003_04.pdf

Here are a few highlights.

Quote
This cycle of observe-suppress-move-clear-observe was not based on lines of advance, forward lines of own or enemy troops, or indeed anything linear at all.  Instead it was based on "points" - points of observation, firing points, jumping-off points for assaults.

-  First, the principle of an very non-linear and disjointed tactical battle is highlighted.  This seems to be the general trend in modern combat, especially against an asymmetric foe.  We should build our training around the fact that tactical engagements are blobs of fighting rather than a set-piece engagement.

Quote
By the end of my time on the Battle Course, and through experimentation with tactics and formations, I had found a formula that worked.  This formula involved employing almost three-quarters of the company in fire support, with only a small assault element comprising an overstrength section.  This section was lightly equipped but carried engineering and demolition stores.  A "reserve" of firepower was also constituted, comprising several general-purpose machine-guns and light 51mm mortars rather than a reserve of assault troops.

-  Second, the notion seems to be that suppression is the key to the tactical battle.  This has certainly been demonstrated in recent times with the primacy of the M1A1 Abrams in close combat in Iraq - the behemoth would essentially act as a suppressive firebase for the infantry.  I would bet that the German Infantry Platoons of WWII, which are highlighted in English's On Infantry, utilized the same principle by building their strength around the high-volume (ie: suppressive) capabilities of the MG-42.

Quote
Doctrinally, we tend to organise groupings into neat thirds: assault, fire support, reserve.  However, my personal experience indicated that this gave insufficient suppression, while making the assault element a bigger target and consequently increasing casualties.  We tend to regard reseves as primarily manoeuvre forces; in the company assault, however, we learnt that, where the initial assault failed, more assault troops alone would not succeed.  Australian doctrine tends to express tactics in terms of lines - lines of departure, axes of advance, limits of exploitation.  My experience would tend to suggest that (certainly in complex terrain such as urban environments) what matter are not lines but points.

-  Thirdly, the notion of flexibility is demonstrated - this has been a favorite of mine in this entire thread, and the article only serves to strengthen it.  The Infantry should change its motto from Ducimus to Semper Gumby (Alway Flexible  ;)).  Commanders should be highly flexible with their units, organizing them around sound tactical principles (suppression, primacy of points, advantageous maneuver, etc, etc) in a manner that is relevent to the unique tactical situation.

Quote
Experience at Sennybridge was quite different: tactical success for infantry in complex terrain seemed to founded on suppression....

Effective manoeuvre allowed the company to commence the battle under the most advantageous circumstances possible, and this was clearly essential.  Once actually engaged in close combat, however, suppression became the key.

-  Finally, the primacy of suppression does not disqualify maneuver.  Tactical maneuver is essential for setting the scene and finding the best points to win the battle.

My overall impression is that the article does a great job of summing up the nuts-and-bolts of the tactical battle the Infantry will face.  To sum it up:
1) Battle is a non-linear and disjointed process - the unit moves like a "flock of birds".
2) Suppression is the key to winning the tactical battle.
3) Commanders must be flexible with their soldiers, organizing them in a way that is determined by the requirements of the tactical scenario.
4) Maneuver remains essential before and after the battle - it is required to "set up" a tactical victory by finding the right points and to secure the tactical victory by properly exploiting the gains of the battle.

Anyways, that's it for now,

Cheers,
Infanteer
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on May 22, 2005, 06:16:50
Forgot to add, Lt Col David Kilcullen's follow up article to the one above in which he expands on his analysis of close-quarters tactics.

http://www.defence.gov.au/army/lwsc/AbstractsOnline/AAJournal/2004_S/AAJ_s_2003_08.pdf

I like how he introduces the concept of infiltration.

More to follow,
Infanteer
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 23, 2005, 02:36:37
Forgot to add, Lt Col David Kilcullen's follow up article to the one above in which he expands on his analysis of close-quarters tactics.

http://www.defence.gov.au/army/lwsc/AbstractsOnline/AAJournal/2004_S/AAJ_s_2003_08.pdf

I like how he introduces the concept of infiltration.

More to follow,
Infanteer

I know Dave Kilcullen, and correspond with him. His main point is that Manoeuvre enables Fire, and not Fire enabling Manoeuvre, which is useful. He does some good work. The problem is that the loss of the 51mm and GPMG from the Platoon has screwed the engagement geometry for the UK Platoon attack. All we have now is the LMG/C9, which is failing to deliver, in my opinion.

 Lt Col Jim Storr, from the British Army, has done excellent work on infiltration, which has been trialled by the Royal Marines and the Swedish Army combat school, with some success, however trying to progress useful discussion on minor tactics here in the UK, is a steep up hill struggle, so anything from an Australian helps!!

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: baboon6 on May 23, 2005, 23:59:56
I thought the British rifle platoon now had a manouevre support section with two GPMGs?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 24, 2005, 03:25:35
I thought the British rifle platoon now had a manouevre support section with two GPMGs?

Correct, but plan is that the Manoeuvre support section has/is going to be dropped, when we get rid of the 51mm mortar. We only got the MSS as an interim measure, because of the opinion that the Section lacked the abiliity to suppress. It was an excellent idea, poorly executed.

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on May 24, 2005, 15:45:44
This is interesting in the context of the light infantry company organizing in a four platoon organization with a heavy weapons platoon. I also advocated a more asymetrical breakdown of the platoon (although I was going in the opposite direction with more troops (14) commited into the assault group and the remainder split between the cutoffs and fire base).

My concern with this concept is the ability of the supression group to provide the volume and depth of supression in complex terrain, since the enemy will be masked in depth by buildings or folds in the ground (think of the "Tet offensive" scene in "Full Metal Jacket". Joker's squad unloads a massive amount of firepower against the structures, yet continue to take casualties from enemies hidden in little pockets and cul de sacs). In a more conventional setting, a platoon in a reverse slope position can inflict horrific casualties since they will be unmasked at very short range without the opportunity to supress them. Clever plans to play hide and seek with UAVs and other high tech devices will provide some relief, but the enemy will make every effort to develop tactics and techniques to defeat these means. (Blackhawk down is a good primer, even complete air control and the presence of a PC-3 Orion providing camera support to the JOC did not identify the enemy AA threat or allow the rescue collumns to close on the crash sites).

I am thinking some sort of hybrid system where sections "infiltrate" from point to point, but have enough on board firepower to act as effective fire bases when bumped might be what we need. As the contact is prosecuted the other sections can see if they can fire from their location, move in support of the lead section or manoeuvre. The platoon should be laid out differently, with the lead section followed by the 2I/c and the firebase so heavy fire can be brought to bear quickly, and the trail sections following along  the path cleared by the lead section (rotating positions as required) so the Pl commander can decide to supress or engage.

This article also has implications for our armoured friends, since light vehicles with limited on board ammunition will not have very much ability to supress. Direct fire weapons like TOW, ADATS and 105mm will also need to be supplimented by smart rounds or FOG-M type weapons which can be used aginst hidden targets. We will need well protected DF platforms which can provide intimate support (Tanks, anyone?), and some very impressive IF (FOG-M and lots of mortars) support as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: baboon6 on May 25, 2005, 20:35:17
Correct, but plan is that the Manoeuvre support section has/is going to be dropped, when we get rid of the 51mm mortar. We only got the MSS as an interim measure, because of the opinion that the Section lacked the abiliity to suppress. It was an excellent idea, poorly executed.

JSG

Getting rid of mortars? That's just crazy! Our guys over here (in South Africa) used to go out with M79s, RPG-7s and at least one 60mm patrol mortar in a platoon (and  one or two MAGs per section).
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 26, 2005, 03:49:39
Getting rid of mortars? That's just crazy! Our guys over here (in South Africa) used to go out with M79s, RPG-7s and at least one 60mm patrol mortar in a platoon (and   one or two MAGs per section).

Oh, it gets better! We're getting rid of the 51mm bbecausethe so-called experts say that the 40mm UGL does the same job! 40mm illum and smoke are near useless in my opinion, and only shoot to 350m. We now also think that rifle grenades are bad, because we managed to buy the wrong rifle grenade, as a result of our last trials. This is all aresult of concentrating on SECTIONS and not PLATOONS.

I guess if they were smart they'd have good jobs.... :-[

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on May 26, 2005, 04:19:32
Oh, it gets better! We're getting rid of the 51mm bbecausethe so-called experts say that the 40mm UGL does the same job! 40mm illum and smoke are near useless in my opinion, and only shoot to 350m. We now also think that rifle grenades are bad, because we managed to buy the wrong rifle grenade, as a result of our last trials. This is all aresult of concentrating on SECTIONS and not PLATOONS.

Yowza!  Who let that happen?  Sounds like the kind of thinking that stripped our Infantry battalions of their integral support platoons.... :-\
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 26, 2005, 16:06:31
Yowza!   Who let that happen?   Sounds like the kind of thinking that stripped our Infantry battalions of their integral support platoons.... :-\

Who indeed. Why did we buy the FN-Minimi? Why did we buy the 40mm UGL? Essentially we bought weapons systems that don't work that well, or worse, weapons systems we don't understand how to use (and nor do most other armies).

The whole new weapons set screw up, is very sensitive over here, so the best we can do is suck it up and try and make it work, but that's not helped by the fact that the great and the good still seem to be asking the wrong questions.

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on May 29, 2005, 21:31:27
Not a big fan of the FN Minimi? please elaborate...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on May 30, 2005, 14:56:00
Fighting the supression battle with hand held weapons is a tough proposition, weapons that a soldier can easily man pack tend to lack penetrating power and range, while weapons which can deal with bunkers and improvised fortifications are large, bulky and heavy, and usually require a lot of large bulky and heavy ammunition. (A WW II American .50 cal required an entire section to move around in its dismounted role, with the 3 man gun crew carrying the body, barrel and tripod, while the remainder packed the ammo and acted as bodyguards for the gun on the move and while it was being assembled or taken down.) Given this reality, armoured fighting vehicles have to be looked at carefully in order to asses their utility in a supression battle.

Tanks and heavy AFV's have lots of intrinsic advantages, but a LAV-25 or LAV III is able to engage targets from beyond the range of most light anti-armour weapons. This advantage drops away in complex terrain, where you need to close in on the target in order to engage it due to the short sight lines. The MGS is depressing due to its poor armour protection and gun performance, but more importantly, its limited on board ammunition. Even if we intend to use the MGS in a close fire support platoon attached to the infantry company as per the SBCT model; it only carries 18 rounds, and will not be able to supply the volume of fire required. From what I have read, trying to improve things by using "magic bullets" like smart shells or through tube missiles is not even possible. The MGS simply cannot fight the supression battle!

If the MGS program is dying in the US, then we have an opportunity to try to specify a different fire support vehicle, going from a simple solution like putting a different turret on a LAV-III, to advocating a new wheeled platform (Centurio comes to mind), to making a stand for a tank (even a light tank like the CV 90120 or M-8). The key thing is whatever is chosen, it needs to carry a LOT more rounds than the 18 contemplated in the MGS in order to fight the supression battle in concert with the infantry.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on May 30, 2005, 15:59:35
Please excuse this intrusion by a blackhat, but I've been thinking about the same issue that is in three threads right now and this one seemed to be the closest fit.  The article above by LCol Kilcullen is a very interesting piece and certainly an excellent piece of professional development to read.  While I agree with most that he writes, I am a little confused about his point regarding "firing to support manouevre" vs his preferred  "manouevre supporting fire."  If he is saying that the aim of movement is to get into a better firing position then I guess I am with him, but the catch phrase can be a little misleading.

It reminds me of a conversation I had down south with my US instructor about fire and movement.  My DS stated that some people "shoot to move" and others "move to shoot."  While I got his point, to me it is a false dichotomy.  Manouevre to me incompasses both fire and movement.  It is a cycle.  We shoot, someone moves to a new spot with an advantage and shoots some more.

That being said, I think that he is right that we need more firepower for our attacks (in all types of terrain).  I was reading a book last year (The March Up) that described USMC actions during OIF.  It appears that roughly 2/3 of a given USMC Coy conducting an attack was in a firebase role, while the manouevre element often moved to a new fire position as opposed to sweeping the position (although some attacks did end up in classic trench clearing ops).  This is the inverse of our peacetime combat team attacks with one Tp in the fire base and the rest of the combat team assaulting. 

One potential problem could occur, however, if facing a peer enemy with mobile reserves.  A small assault force could find itself in a bad spot if immediately counter-attacked.  Good cut-off positions can mitigate this, but perhaps the assault force has to be closely followed by a consolidation/exploitation force with support weapons.  The author alludes to this with his exploitation force, but the threat of counter-attacks must be a primary consideration in offensive planning (something that our Army had problems with in Normandy).  We also may find that some large scale urban battles might still be somewhat more linear than we suppose.

I agree wholeheartedly about infiltration.  I would argue that even our mounted forces can employ this technique whereby we sneak around in the gullies and low-ground in order to reach good fire positions.  This was the meat and potatoes of Phase III Armour with tanks.

Please excuse my straying from my lane and I regret any tank ruts that I have left behind.

2B

p.s. I like his support for tanks!



Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on May 30, 2005, 22:53:20
The way I understand LCol Kilcullen's article; manoeuvre happens before contact (i.e. getting there "firstest with the mostest", prefferably before the enemy is aware of your presence or intentions), but once you bump the bad guys, tactical manoeuvre is difficult and dangerous. At that point you engage the enemy with all available fire assets (CF= win the firefight) before you engage in tactical manoeuvre, in his examples, to the next point of observation and engagement. This reflects the point you made from the book "The March Up", where 2/3 of the company assets were engaged in supressive fire (vs 3/4 of the company in LCol Kilcullen's experiments).

Hopefully the way to deal with peer or near peer opponents with mobile reserves is DF and IF assets in the fire base, the LAV TOW and MMEV in our futures. Hopefully sanity will break out and a more capable fire support asset will be developed to replace the other 2/3 of the "troika" (See MMEV and Combat Team of Tomorrow for that debate).

The infantry soldier's best weapons in the scenarios described by LCol Kilcullen would be a good radio; a tank or other capable fire support vehicle and some sort of tactical UAV and local down-link to assist in seeing targets and shooting in the attack. The next best things would be powerful and light-weight support weapons; a lightened GPMG, a Carl G M-3 with "bunker busting" rounds or a modified AT-4, mortars and perhaps an AGL. Tabbing to battle festooned with all that firepower and ammunition won't be a treat...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 31, 2005, 07:20:58
Not a big fan of the FN Minimi? please elaborate...

Correct, I'm an C9/LMG sceptic.

The LMG is less accurate, heavier, and more expensive than an LAR, using 100-round C-MAG or even 30 round magazine. C-MAGS work just fine. The the Royal Dutch marines use a Diemaco C-7/LAR with a C-MAG.
The LMG short barrel puts less energy into the target, than a C-7, so 5.56mm from a LMG does no more than 5.56mm from a C-7.
Rate if fire does not suppress. Suppression is fear of harm, so merely fast spraying does not suppress any better than accurate fire. 790 rounds per minute suppress no better or efficiently than 200 rounds per minute.

Belt bags or boxes take longer to changer than a 30 round magazine for a weapon crewed by one man.

S4 wise, you now have two types of 5.56mm in the platoon, and you need some specialist LBE to carry the 200 round box, and adds weight to overall amunition load carried by the platoon, for no increased effect. (still 5.56mm with no extra energy!)

Having the GPMG instead, cures all, using 7.62mm that can degrade cover and suppress at greater distance. OK, it needs to be crewed by 2-3 men, but it just does everything better.

Not a popular opinion I know, but I was a big fan of the Minimi, until logic and experimentation educated me.

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 31, 2005, 07:29:45
The article above by LCol Kilcullen is a very interesting piece and certainly an excellent piece of professional development to read.   While I agree with most that he writes, I am a little confused about his point regarding "firing to support manouevre" vs his preferred   "manouevre supporting fire."   If he is saying that the aim of movement is to get into a better firing position then I guess I am with him, but the catch phrase can be a little misleading.

I know Dave Kilcullen and that's exactly what he meant, as we discussed it some detail. It's an excellent explanation of what actually make an attack effective, and very like the UK's 1919 "Soft spots" TD Note.

The problem is that Fire and Manoeuvre does not adequately explain what is going on in the attack or even defence. Talking about Fire, Manoeuver observation and Communication is far more useful. F&M is pretty simplistic is the ways that it's most commonly expressed.

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on May 31, 2005, 08:15:13
JSG,

Seen.  I understand his point that the aim of moving should be to get into a better fire position.  I guess he is one of the "move to shoot" folks!

I've only dabbled in infantry tactics, but to me the hardest part is finding the enemy (with the detail to actually engage) and also getting that information passed around.  I feel that is the reason why we need so much in the "firebase/bases".  Rifle mounted thermal sights (if they get developed, perhaps they already are?) will certainly help in the rural context but detecting in the urban fight will still have to be done the old fashioned way.  I really liked his part about complex terrain being where you can see less than you can shoot.

The ideas in the article can also be applied to mounted operations.  On various exercises I have found that the best "attacks" were launched after the enemy had been clearly defined by two tank Troops who were in contact.  The worst ones were launched off information gained from other sources without first getting "eyes on" by the lead tanks.  The way we liked to "charge" with tanks and LAVs makes we wonder why we haven't tried to attach bayonets to the gun barrels.  In simulations I have found more success with winkling around positions and picking them apart with long range fires (although the ground does not always allow this).

I do wonder, however, if this might take us down the path to the "methodical battle" due to the emphasis on the application of firepower? 

Cheers,

2B
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 31, 2005, 10:17:07

The ideas in the article can also be applied to mounted operations.   On various exercises I have found that the best "attacks" were launched after the enemy had been clearly defined by two tank Troops who were in contact.   The worst ones were launched off information gained from other sources without first getting "eyes on" by the lead tanks.   The way we liked to "charge" with tanks and LAVs makes we wonder why we haven't tried to attach bayonets to the gun barrels.   In simulations I have found more success with winkling around positions and picking them apart with long range fires (although the ground does not always allow this).

2B

There is a very valid body of opinion that suggest that there is no difference between the "mounted attack," and the "dis-mounted." Having studied it in some detail, I subscribe to this view. Fire can come from any weapon, be that on a vehicle or not. Common sense really. You need to get the weapon to a point in time and space where it can cause the most damage. Anything involving a bayonet is a screw up.

Fire is what breaks the enemies will to fight, most of the time, and the "Assault" is a figment of the imagination caused by mis-understanding how humans act in combat, or rather poor teaching of the core functions.

Sorrry to sound like a heretic!  8)

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on May 31, 2005, 11:25:46
JSG,

While I was usually a participant, I was struck watching one combat team attack with the impression that we were doing little more than assaulting in successive waves.  Its hard to make judgements on peacetime exercises, but I never felt quite right about our urge to sweep across the enemy position.  I know that we can shoot on the move, but why not have the flanking Tp manouevre into a second firebase to shoot up the enemy position some more instead of just bashing through his obstacles and rolling over his trenches?  I also figure that we could incorporate our infantry into our firebases a little more (both 25mm and some certain support weapons).

Nobody was shooting at me, but I have been able to work a Leopard up quite close to an "enemy" position and bring fire on him from an unanticipated direction (you need some gullies and hills but it can be done).  Infantry can employ this tactic even more effectively.  Perhaps we dispense with advancing in platoon arrowhead and finding the enemy by having him shoot at us.  Instead, sneak up with "scouts" and infiltrate up close before shooting the heck out of the enemy with some C6s and 60mms.

Cheers,

Iain

p.s. Several parts of the article struck me as familiar.  I really liked the "blobs" bit.  One US instructor I had said that there is only one tactical formation: the Blob.  I suggested that there are two: the Close Gaggle and the Open Gaggle (or Blobs in US army doctrine).
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on May 31, 2005, 11:30:00
I am not entirely convinced that "anything involving a bayonet is a screw-up". Although I certainly subscribe to the view of gaining fire superiority is the best way to win battles, there is a history of 5000 years of warfare when firearms did not exist and you really had to "close with and destroy" with the thrust of a spear or sword.

Even in the age of "black powder" warfare, the bayonet charge had a terrible effect on enemy morale (read "Forward into Battle" for a description of British bayonet use during the Penninsular campaign, turns out the "thin red line" was mostly a myth). Bayonet charges died in WW I since they were mostly delivered into the teeth of unshaken defenses (i.e. machine gun positions in concrete bunkers that were not neutralized by artillery, or fresh German troops rushing from deep shelters as the artillery barrage passed over them), but have been used sporadicly since then, including recently in Iraq, collapsing the enemy morale. (Details seem scarce, but most examples I can find the charge is usually the last straw for an enemy already pummeled by other fire).

We need to have a big toolkit of tactics in order to respond to the wide variety of possible threats we face in today's security environment. Blasting a building with 2/3 of the company delivering fire might be appropriate in many cases, but if the enemy is occupying a mosque or hospital, a sniper team may be more appropriate. I have heard many stories from British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland that "Fixing" bayonets was usually sufficient to deter crowds in "block two" scenarios. The main difference in my mind between mounted and dismounted involves speed and the weight of available fire-power rather than any intrinsic difference.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on May 31, 2005, 13:05:46
I am not entirely convinced that "anything involving a bayonet is a screw-up". Although I certainly subscribe to the view of gaining fire superiority is the best way to win battles, there is a history of 5000 years of warfare when firearms did not exist and you really had to "close with and destroy" with the thrust of a spear or sword.

Yes, this is always highly contentious. My points are basically this:

1. If you are RELLYING on the bayonet to break the enemies will, you are taking a vast risk. - especially an enemy with a functioning assault rifle.

2. I don't believe the aim of close combat is to "close with and destroy". It is merely to defeat. Defeat, means the other guys gives up the fight and surrenders, runs or dies. I'm not being semantic or pendantic. I just don't believe that close combat is well characterised or explained.

3. No encounter with ancient weapons could have lasted more than 6-8 minutes, before exhaustion set in, so defeat had to be a product of things other than mere close combat.

4. You mention "Forward into battle" by Paddy Griffith, who is also a close combat sceptic. Basically the will to fight is lost in most men long before a physical encounter. Watch tapes of crowd or football violence. It shows the actual combat is done by very few, with others only joining in once they are sure they can do harm with little risk to themselves.

Essentially, i ask the question, Lbs for Lbs, would you rather take a bayonet or another 30 round magazine?

JSG

Maybe we should start another thread, "Is the bayonet useless?"
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on May 31, 2005, 13:22:12
Correct, I'm an C9/LMG sceptic.

The LMG is less accurate, heavier, and more expensive than an LAR, using 100-round C-MAG or even 30 round magazine. C-MAGS work just fine. The the Royal Dutch marines use a Diemaco C-7/LAR with a C-MAG.
The LMG short barrel puts less energy into the target, than a C-7, so 5.56mm from a LMG does no more than 5.56mm from a C-7.
Rate if fire does not suppress. Suppression is fear of harm, so merely fast spraying does not suppress any better than accurate fire. 790 rounds per minute suppress no better or efficiently than 200 rounds per minute.

Belt bags or boxes take longer to changer than a 30 round magazine for a weapon crewed by one man.

S4 wise, you now have two types of 5.56mm in the platoon, and you need some specialist LBE to carry the 200 round box, and adds weight to overall amunition load carried by the platoon, for no increased effect. (still 5.56mm with no extra energy!)

Having the GPMG instead, cures all, using 7.62mm that can degrade cover and suppress at greater distance. OK, it needs to be crewed by 2-3 men, but it just does everything better.

Not a popular opinion I know, but I was a big fan of the Minimi, until logic and experimentation educated me.

JSG

You aren't the only one - a Marine CWO recently wrote of USMC experimentations which utilized AR's and LMG's in different roles.  His conclusion - that Marine rifle teams are better served by a beefed up AR while the LMG's are in the third fire team for support (or given to the platoon commander).

In your context, getting rid of 2 LMG's for a GPMG team and 2 AR's would probably work well.

Here is a link to the articles:

Right now there is some discussion being done in the Marine Corps regardig reorganizing the rifle squad, a big proponent of change is CWO 3 Jeffrey Eby, Marine Gunner for the 7th Marine Regiment.  He's published several pieces in the Marine Corps Gazette on the subject:
http://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2004/04eby1.html
http://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2004/04eby2.html

One of the things that he argues for is consolidating the M-249 at the squad/section or even platoon level to lighten up the squad/section.


Maybe we should start another thread, "Is the bayonet useless?"

Already have 11 pages of fun on that, Joint Service Guy.... :)

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,28762.0.html
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Britney Spears on May 31, 2005, 13:26:52
Quote
Maybe we should start another thread, "Is the bayonet useless?"

Woohoo, a new member of the bayonet hater's club.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: PikaChe on May 31, 2005, 16:45:48
I've only dabbled in infantry tactics, but to me the hardest part is finding the enemy (with the detail to actually engage) and also getting that information passed around.  I feel that is the reason why we need so much in the "firebase/bases".  Rifle mounted thermal sights (if they get developed, perhaps they already are?) will certainly help in the rural context but detecting in the urban fight will still have to be done the old fashioned way.  I really liked his part about complex terrain being where you can see less than you can shoot.

Well, I am a proponent of deadliest weapon combo in modern warfare is Human Eyeball, Mk I and a radio.

I find it that a lot of troops do not get enough practice at calling GRIT and therefore when they have to call out an enemy position, they either forget, or get it wrong, or stumble over it, losing precious seconds that the sect comd needs to make his decisions.
Also I don't know if it's just me, but I find it that because I don't hear GRITs often enough, it gets hard sometimes to hear a GRIT and see the target that is being called out simply because I don't get enough practice. If you don't practice it enough, you don't become proficient at it. *shrug*

As for radio, I think I've said it on this thread before, but I think every member of the platoon should have a radio, simply because passage of information should be quick and precise. Instead of a relay of information which can take long, a quick transmission ensures that everyone gets the info and orders performed more quickly.

The sect comd should have a radio in contact with the pl comd, while alpha team member has a radio set to sect frequency. Needless chatter is eliminated by radio discipline.

Esp. during FIBUA and other ops when a sect comd has hard time controlling his section because they are scattered everywhere, I don't see why a modern infantry platoon is not well equipped with radio.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on May 31, 2005, 17:04:56
RHF

Radios for all could certainly ease communications when not next to each other.  PRRs (Personal Role Radios) might help out here, although I'm not sure if an en masse 1 to 1 ratio of issue will be possible.  Intra-section comms can certainly be a problem in the "empty battlefield."  As a tanker I am used to having everybody "on net" and having to be in three conversations at once.  It would take some training and net discipline for eight or so riflemen to have a workable net with the section commander on another.  Having enough freqs might also be an issue.  Perhaps some Sig types reading can help me out here.

I think that you are bang-on about the importance of the individual soldier with the Mk 1 eyeball and a radio. 

All,

I'll throw my black hat in the ring and go with the C6 as a section/team weapon.  Easy for me to say not having to carry it except from the vault to the vehicle!  Sorry, I'll get back in my lane.

Cheers,

2B
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: PikaChe on May 31, 2005, 17:34:58
RHF

Radios for all could certainly ease communications when not next to each other.  PRRs (Personal Role Radios) might help out here, although I'm not sure if an en masse 1 to 1 ratio of issue will be possible.  Intra-section comms can certainly be a problem in the "empty battlefield."  As a tanker I am used to having everybody "on net" and having to be in three conversations at once.  It would take some training and net discipline for eight or so riflemen to have a workable net with the section commander on another.  Having enough freqs might also be an issue.  Perhaps some Sig types reading can help me out here.

I think that you are bang-on about the importance of the individual soldier with the Mk 1 eyeball and a radio. 
I don't see how radio discipline would be a big problem. I was taught that if you don't have anything important to add, you keep your mouth closed and listen. Granted, it'll take some training and hand on with the radios to ensure smooth working section net.
Quote
All,

I'll throw my black hat in the ring and go with the C6 as a section/team weapon.  Easy for me to say not having to carry it except from the vault to the vehicle!  Sorry, I'll get back in my lane.

Cheers,

2B

Gents (and ladies if any),
New doctrine has this support platoon with a section (3-4 GPMGs) for a company.

Is it possible that there may be *too* much firepower, esp. with platoon wpns det also having now 2x C6, instead of 1 as before. Also having to take into effect that for light infantry guys, you have to hump everything and I don't enjoy the prospect of carrying my share of ammo of 5x C6 plus whatever else kit I have to carry. :D

I guess the question is how much do we want a section worth of troops to do.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Britney Spears on June 01, 2005, 03:00:20
I've nothing to add to the Machine-gun-shuffling game you guys are droning on about, but I should point out that radios have a rather limited use in Fibua enviroments, since buildings absorb radio signals.

One idea from G2mil that I'm partial to is the Combat Bullhorn (http://g2mil.com/bullhorns.htm)

I've seen pictures of Chinese PLA  commisars run around the battlefield on excercises with (no joke) bullhorns mounted on helmets. Probably not the best way to stay un-shot, but I think a small rugged bullhorn for every other soldier would be better than everyone yelling themselves hoarse. If the idea of some kind of ultra-sonic frequency could be incorporated to make the bullhorns secure it would be even better.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on June 01, 2005, 03:58:13
British Infantry are now all issued PRR. Works fine, once folks know when and when not to use it. Urban terrain cuts down the 500m LOS but so much as to cause chaos. It's doing well in iraq.

Machine Guns: RHF is right. What is the sections and Platoons most likely task? It sure as hell isn't the dismounted attack, and even if it was, the Platoon is not going to ever act in isolation.

There needs to be some honest work on training and capability, that recognises that things have moved on since 1944, and even back then, we weren't very good - or as good as we think.  :-[

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on June 01, 2005, 08:01:28
RHF,

I do think that PRRs are your answer, I am just mentioning that it will take some training and net discipline to implement properly.  As an aside, our Iltis/SUV drivers overseas used PRRs to talk to each other in town and it worked very well.

JSG,

What is the section's and Platoon's most likely task?  Is it to act as a firebase?

Cheers,

2B 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: PikaChe on June 03, 2005, 03:53:29
I've seen pictures of Chinese PLA  commisars run around the battlefield on excercises with (no joke) bullhorns mounted on helmets. Probably not the best way to stay un-shot, but I think a small rugged bullhorn for every other soldier would be better than everyone yelling themselves hoarse. If the idea of some kind of ultra-sonic frequency could be incorporated to make the bullhorns secure it would be even better.

During the Korean War, the Chinese used whistles to communicate basic orders and to a degree, it worked well. Considering how... fickle 521s can be, I've seen officers using whistles as back up communication method to ensure that an attack goes well.

Funy how keep it simple, stupid works well even in modern days.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Joint Service Guy on June 03, 2005, 14:37:19
JSG,

What is the section's and Platoon's most likely task?   Is it to act as a firebase?

Cheers,

2B  

The sections most likely task is patrolling, and the platoon is just a bigger patrol, for exploiting complex or close terrrain. Depends on context, but you can't do anything with out infantry, but infantry are just part of the solution.

JSG
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: c4th on June 06, 2005, 12:05:18
Next, give this article a read - very good stuff ...

http://www.defence.gov.au/army/AbstractsOnline/AAJournal/2003_W/AAJ_w_2003_04.pdf

My overall impression is that the article does a great job of summing up the nuts-and-bolts of the tactical battle the Infantry will face.   To sum it up:

2) Suppression is the key to winning the tactical battle.

4) Maneuver remains essential before and after the battle - it is required to "set up" a tactical victory by finding the right points and to secure the tactical victory by properly exploiting the gains of the battle.

Anyways, that's it for now,

I agree with infanteer that Col Kilcullen's article is a good read and highlights some of the basics that we as Canadians due to largely ineffectual training are apt to forget.

Why does suppression work?  Soldiers don't kill soldiers, bullets kill soldiers. 

I had a similar experience last summer in an Urban Coy attack using simunition and miles.  Our fire base could not ssuppressthe enemy because miles does not shoot through walls.  7.62 will. The result of lack of suppression was utter failure.

It makes sense that if we could have created enough fire support in order to inflict casualties on the enemy with miles gear, live rounds would have been even more successful.

The lesson here seems to be don't move until you have located the enemy and won the fire fight.  Section battle drills 3 and 4.  Anything less will result in lots of our soldiers dying.

Col Kilcullen does not advocate changing doctine and I agree.  In 12 Coy Attacks the Colonel refined small unit tactics within a doctine framework to achieve the mission. 12 Coy rehearsals is a pretty small investment in order to save lives, accomplishthe mission, and end up with top to bottom a better trained coy.

The Canadian Infantry at all levels should train allot more with miles gear or any other simulation system.  Until we see the effect of ignoring common sense and doctrine we are wasting our time ever going into the field.

In principle I agree with the employment of observer/controllers but what may be of more use is including SME's who can guide the commanders thought process to a method such as Col Killcullen's that works for his unit or sub-unit down to the section level.

Lastly we must have the discipline and perseverance to keep hammering away at it until it works.  "End Ex" is not the main effort.  The main effort is training the unit to be an effective fighting force.  If the mission takes six, twelve, twenty or a hundred attempts so be it.  Of any time, peace time affords us the luxury of training until we get it right.

Soldier on.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on June 06, 2005, 13:07:57
The bit on bayonets and 1944 reminded my of something I read a few years back in English's "Failure in High Command."  He quotes an 8th Army divisional commander, who, remarking on battles in the Western desert, states that "The British, reckoning that their infantry should  be able to take on anything with the bayonet, kept on setting theirs out for Rommel's combine harvester."  I'll add that the Germans also had more integral machineguns and a coherent combined arms doctrine.

I had a debate with some infantry officers one day about "support" weapons.  They stated that the purpose of machineguns and mortars was to support the rifleman.  I felt that the purpose of the rifleman was to support the crew served weapon.  Perhaps a silly argument in the end, but it did reveal to me the depth of emotion felt about the concept of the "rifleman with the bayonet" and the thin red line.  My side of the arguement was taken to the extreme somewhat, and I think the real anwer is that all the pieces must work in close conjunction.  I'll shut up now about machineguns and go back to the Armour threads.   ;)

c4th,

Good points.  You raise some of the flaws of simulation with WES/MILES.  Since nobody actually dies there is little value in suppressive fire.  As you point out, with MILES cover from observation equals cover from fire.  Still, more MILES/WES training is needed and is coming.

Cheers,

2B
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: c4th on June 06, 2005, 13:15:30
I had a debate with some infantry officers one day about "support" weapons.   They stated that the purpose of machineguns and mortars was to support the rifleman.   I felt that the purpose of the rifleman was to support the crew served weapon.  

You're both right depending on the type of operation.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: PikaChe on June 06, 2005, 23:26:24
c4th,

Good points.  You raise some of the flaws of simulation with WES/MILES.  Since nobody actually dies there is little value in suppressive fire.  As you point out, with MILES cover from observation equals cover from fire.  Still, more MILES/WES training is needed and is coming.

Cheers,

2B

The solution seems to be simple to me. Have refs walk around, and if they judge that the firebase is doing a good job of suppressing an area, he tells the enemy force in that section that they're dead.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on June 07, 2005, 01:08:17
Umpires with god-guns are indeed the usual way around.  The problem is that we are then back to "judging" effects.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but we still need to be a little careful when analysing lessons learned in simulation.  In addition, I think that most people will act a little different when the stakes are real.  That being said I do think that we are going the right direction with WES.  Live fire exercises on their own can also teach bad lessons and habits.  I think that the work being done with WES at CMTC will do great things for our training.  I guess I'm taking this down a tangent so I'll sum up.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: c4th on June 07, 2005, 10:21:29
The solution seems to be simple to me. Have refs walk around, and if they judge that the firebase is doing a good job of suppressing an area, he tells the enemy force in that section that they're dead.

I doubt I've ever seen a ref do anything other than kill off the biggest guy on an attack so the troops have to litter him to the CAP.

Not saying they have all been a waste of rations (and coffee) but if the shoe fits...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on June 07, 2005, 14:19:50
The book The March Up has some good accounts of small unit actions conducted by the USMC during the drive to Baghdad in Mar/Apr 03.  One interesting chapter that has some relevance here describes a drill that the units developed after a few engagements.  The drills seems to flow along the lines of establishing contact and then sending a flanking force to shoot up the contact some more.  M1s are included in both elements, and it is found that the flanking M1s end up killing many of the enemy with machinegun fire.  This goes along with the concept of using manoeuvre to get to a better fire position, as opposed to setting up for a charge.

There are engagements, however, where the Iraqis hold onto trench lines and the infantry go in and clear them out at close range.  Still, as noted earlier in the thread the ratio of firebase to assault force was certainly in the favour of the firebase.

This also brings out the value of combined arms groupings at the lowest levels.

2B
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on June 08, 2005, 00:03:37
I wonder if anyone at the Infantry, Armoured or Artillery schools is contemplating this?

If the basic assumption behind this is true (and I suspect it is), then the load outs of LAVs will have to change to incorporate a much larger amount of ammunition for the turret mounted weapons, the MGS concept has to be rethought at the basic level (a vehicle with only 18 rounds of ammunition won't be providing a lot of supressing fire) and any artillery weapon will also have to be able to carry a large basic load, or go over to FOG-M and other "magic bullet" types of rounds. (The Swedish FH-70 6X6 SP carries a 155 on a modified Volvo articulated truck chassis, and has 24 rounds in the magazine, and I think another 24 ready rounds. It is fast, mobile and using the automatic loader, can attain a high rate of fire: an excellent supression weapon)

The section will be perched uncomfortably on even more ammunition containers, and perhaps one man will have to be left in the section compartment to assist the gunner in serving the weapons by passing up extra belts. Stowage must be protected, or some pretty spectacular "brew-ups" are a distinct possibility.

In the short term, organizational and TTP changes are needed to ensure there is enough firepower and mobility (perhaps an overstrength platoon structure with a 3 car Coyote DFS section to supply the extra firepower); while in the longer term, LAV SLEP programs and eventual LAV replacements need to address the need for extra firepower.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on June 09, 2005, 20:29:33
Cross threading back from the Armoured forum, if tanks or future DFSVs need to be modified or designed from the ground up to carry extra MGs and main gun ammunition in order to carry out their part of the supression battle, both as the firebase and acting as mobile cut offs, then should this be an "Armoured" task at all, or should the Infantry get some sort of "assault gun" such as the WWII German army had (or the proper role of the MGS: attached directly to the infantry company)? In the short run, the only platform which we have available in the CF is the unmasted Coyote, which can supply extra 25mm and gpmg fire, and can be more mobile in the supression battle, since they don't have to drop or pick up troops but are free to move to supporting or flanking fire positions as the battle evolves.

Certainly some sort of Infantry "gunship" could be optomized for short range fights against a more restricted range of targets; Matt Fisher's "CAT" modification of the Leopard is one way to go http://www.sfu.ca/casr/id-fisher1-bio.htm or other ideas could be explored, such as a weapons platform bristling with GPMGs and AGLs, or even  assault guns like the "Hetzer" or Sturmgeschutz III. This could be  an addition to the mechanized battalion in the form of a "fire support company", down to fire support sections in each platoon, depending on the layout you choose. If this is recognized as an Infantry function, then the Armoured Corps can be optomized with more specialized DFSV and Recce vehicels, and be able to take on a wider range of tasks as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on June 09, 2005, 21:21:50
should this be an "Armoured" task at all, or should the Infantry get some sort of "assault gun" such as the WWII German army had (or the proper role of the MGS: attached directly to the infantry company)?

Plus ca change, plus ca le meme chose

Funny that we are debating the utility of things that the Brits, Germans, Americans and Soviets were debating about in 1942....

Anyways, it seems that this is what the Americans are doing with the Stryker IBCT - pushing direct and indirect support down to the company level - a true "all-arms" small unit optimized for the combined arms battle.

We one the other hand, have consolidated everything into one unit, ruining it as a 12th maneuver unit of the CF (it now serves as a support function) and relying on it to back the rest of the Army in a "reach-back" role, despite the fact that the Aussies have rightfully pointed out in their "Complex Warfighting" document that "reach back" shouldn't be relied upon by small, combined-arms teams in a complex environment.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: c4th on June 10, 2005, 10:19:57
We one the other hand, have consolidated everything into one unit, ruining it as a 12th maneuver unit of the CF (it now serves as a support function) ....reach back" shouldn't be relied upon by small, combined-arms teams in a complex environment.

With armoured assets consolidated into a reach back role how does this affect the ability to field multiple cbt teams?  Is this encoraging planners to cook our capability books?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on June 10, 2005, 17:24:27
I think the yanks are to on to something.

I do beleive (checking out their FCS and brigade combat team re-restructuring program) they are aiming to form combined arms units (Down to the company level).

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: mo-litia on July 11, 2005, 23:38:43
There's been rumblings of combined arms units at the reserve level for quite some time now.  IMO, this MAY be an effective solution for small centres that have major personnel retention issues...one strong unit instead of three weak ones.  On the other hand, it has the stench of more fiscal cutbacks adding to the CF's 'death of a thousand cuts'.  :-\

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on July 12, 2005, 01:07:59
There's been rumblings of combined arms units at the reserve level for quite some time now.  IMO, this MAY be an effective solution for small centres that have major personnel retention issues...one strong unit instead of three weak ones.  On the other hand, it has the stench of more fiscal cutbacks adding to the CF's 'death of a thousand cuts'.  :-\

The "Army of the West" is somewhat ahead of us in this regard, but for "Vigalent Guardian 06", instead of Brigade wide composite units (31 LIB, 4ARR, 41RCA etc.) the plan is to have one or more "Task Forces". My personal guess, based on logic and the types and numbers of units in the brigade (yes, I know, poor planning choices when making this sort of decision) is there can be "Task Force 31 East" with Infantry components drawn from the Lincoln and Welland Regt, RHLI and ASH of C, combined with an armoured squadron from the 1rst Hussars, an artillery or mortar battery from 11 or 56 Fd Regt, and a FSG/CSS hard point centered on 23 SVC BN. "Task Force 31 West" would then be built around the remainder of the 31 CBG units, with 31 CER centrally located in the "MNBHQ" structure to provide engineer support to the Task Forces as required.

Naturally, any number of premutations can happen (what task force gets the band, for example  ;)) More details to follow.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on October 28, 2005, 11:19:06
Suppressing the Enemy is the key to victory.  Not necessarily killing him, but convincing him to "tap out".  And MGS with 6 rounds ready, 12 more "stowed" can do little in this regard.  In a fight vs a "peer army" (eg: vs another nation state), the so-called "cold war" model is king, IMHO.  A true infantry battalion with a full complement of "old school" combat support company (used to find the enemy with recce, and fix him in place with TOW and Mortars) and then strike with 2 or 3 coys with Pioneers.  Tanks are also needed, as the battalion, no matter how "robust", just can't do it all alone.  And let us not forget 155's coming down on "the bad guys".  I acknowledge that the current ops in Afghanistan are the focus; however, let us not forget the mandate to be able to fight and defeat other nation states.
Let us also not forget that we are in Afghanistan ONLY because JC and the boys didn't want to play in the sandbox in Iraq.  Remember in summer 02 how we couldn't replace 3VP because we were stretched thin?  Remember how some six months later we pledged 1800 (!) for Kabul?  Also don't forget that GW and his lads were planning OIF at that time.

OK, that's off topic, but anyway, the point is that had we gone in on OIF (or even Desert Storm in 91), our army would look a WHOLE LOT different today (and please don't say "we WERE there in 91", because we weren't: a coy on hospital defence duties, PWs, and some token CF18s isn't "being there")
*rant mode off*

Go Argos!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 28, 2005, 23:53:41
The MGS as currently planned is a non starter for this type of fight (in fact, almost any type of fight... :o), but a technical solution can be found by replacing the dreadful LPT with the CT_CV turret. Interested readers can follow the various arguments in the "Future Armour" thread starting with http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,28961.msg281321.html#msg281321.

This would work well as an Infantry DFSV integrated into the company in the same fashion that the MGS is supposed to be in the SBCT. The bustle holds 16 ready rounds, feeding into the 105mm cannon's autoloader. The gun can elevate up to 420, allowing the team to deal with those annoying RPG gunners and snipers up on the rooftops. In the Infantry DFSV role, the ammunition loadout should be heavily biased towards HE or HESH, alternatively HEAT-MP is said to have a salutory effect on everything from enemy bunkers to troops in open (provided there is a hard surface to detonate the round). If that dosn't work, the crew can fall back on the co-ax and roof mounted OWS.

If both the Infantry and Armoured community were to make a concerted "push", perhaps we could receive a fire support vehicle with the ability to move with the LAVs and still pack a real punch when needed.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: twentyand1 on November 21, 2005, 17:46:12
As von garvin said, the enemy must be fixed. once he is fixed and supressed any type of workable move to his position, preferably covered by fire will work. once there take him with what ever is required for the objective. but he has to be "fixed". the proverbial winning of the fire fight.

 :cdn:

" on the 30/ 30 plan"
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on January 23, 2006, 16:30:39
Since tanks, assault guns and other protected fire support vehicles are not going to be available to us in the short to medium term, being able to perform parallel engagements might provide the type of high speed high impact (sorry) supression needed to carry the fight in complex terrain. Parallel engagements were demonstrated by the HMMVW/LOSAT, but it isn't the ideal combination (the vehicle having protection and moblity issues with the extra kit, and each LOSAT was like a section of telephone pole; a bit unweildy to handle in the field), but it gives a taste of the idea.

Most of the time, the crew would only have to deal with serial engagements (i.e. one at a time), but in an overwatch position or firebase, they will have a better ability to discover and lay on multiple targets. Target designation can come from outside sources, and the FCS could have software filters built in to prevent the system from being overwhelmed by multiple calls for fire. Some of the ramifications would be a bit hard to work out, but a LAV DFS vehicle with this capability should be a bonus when shooting in an attack (Possibly a modifies LAV-TOW, with high levels of situational awareness and advanced fire and forget missiles). With conventional weaponry (according to the Australians), up to 3/4 of an Infantry company must act as the fire base to assure success. Being able to hit four enemy bunkers or strongpoints within miliseconds of each other would tear a big hole in their coverage, and make the supression of the remainder and the actual assault much easier and more likely of success.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on January 24, 2006, 14:43:48
With conventional weaponry (according to the Australians), up to 3/4 of an Infantry company must act as the fire base to assure success. Being able to hit four enemy bunkers or strongpoints within miliseconds of each other would tear a big hole in their coverage, and make the supression of the remainder and the actual assault much easier and more likely of success.
Funny that you mention that.  In the MAIS trial report, they noted that the best outcome in terms of friendly cas/enemy cas was 2 pl in firebase vice 1 pl. 
Funny thing that MAIS trial.  The report came out just in time for the former MND to announce the purchase of the MGS (2.5 years, still in concept mode!)
Oh, for those of you who don't know: the MAIS trial was a field trial conducted in Gagetown using 2 RCR  and RCD troops, validating the TTPs for LAV III/Leopard C2.  It was conducted in autumn 2001.  It determined some funny, well, hilarious stuff, like "infantry company with no tanks does not survive", etc.  Man, I laughed and laughed when they got the MGS! ;D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on January 25, 2006, 00:21:47
It seems lots of people have come to the same conclusion, I am looking for the ref. but I remember reading the USMC used up to 2/3 of their company strength in the firebase during OIF.

A fire support system capable of parallel engagements could provide the commander with a means of getting that volume of fire in a more compressed time frame. This could save valuable time over shaking out the fire base (or allow the fire base to get set, depending on the situation). Even without such a system, we will need to examine such things as the soldiers basic load (They will need to carry a lot more ammunition both individually and as a platoon), vehicle load outs (troops sitting on more ammo crates), new and improved ways of working the echelon to keep the guns and rifles supplied, and perhaps different layouts for the section, platoon and even company to provide firepower in many and varied situations.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 25, 2006, 01:22:01
Quote
we will need to examine such things as the soldiers basic load (They will need to carry a lot more ammunition both individually and as a platoon),

I know we are raising supermen these days but how come the infanteers basic load has started at about 60 lbs per man and topped out at about 100 lbs per man since the days of Marius's mules?  There is only so much carrying capacity in a human spine.

And if you want to increase the number of "mules" in the platoon doesn't that mean more mules to feed, water, clothe and supply with rifles and web gear? 

If vehicles can get into the terrain with supplies why can't they get into the terrain with a heavy weapon with coax and umpty-ump rounds of link?

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on January 25, 2006, 01:54:34
The load carrying capability of the human body is one limiting factor (although most of MY sergeants did not believe that concept.....), so everything around also needs to change. Advanced weapons like the hypothetical parallel engagement fire support vehicle are one possibility, those troops can contribute a sufficient volume of fire in a sufficiently compressed time to overwhelm local opposition, speeding up the suppression phase of the battle.

Even if it is decided that the section/platoon/company org is maxed out, streamlining command and control to pass through new units for exploitation faster will have a similar effect (the bad guys will face a succession of closely spaced assaults faster than they can fall back and reorg).

The supporting echelons also need to be examined in order to resupply and replenish combat units and sub units faster, keeping a continuous pressure on an enemy force (even an irregular force, which will no longer see breaks in the action as attacking/persuing units can seemingly continue without letup).

This topic sort of bleeds into the Infantry of the Future thread as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 25, 2006, 02:08:35
Quote
(although most of MY sergeants did not believe that concept.....),
   ;D LOL

I am still a great fan of air mail - whether by mortar, gun, missile (cruise, ballistic or guided) helo, aircraft, UAV or even satellite.  Why carry it in when you can call Fed Ex and have it delivered direct to the customer?  You have already stipulated you need to improve the supply chain - why not shorten it up by getting rid of all the middle men driving trucks and stuff and getting shot at into the bargain (thereby necessitating armour, which reduces the load, increases gas consumption, wear and tear on the roads and generally increases costs?) 

I know the counter is persistence - but UAVs can loiter overhead above the weather for up to two days now and guided missiles like the LAM/PAM types can loiter on the ground up to 40 km away or loiter overhead for 30 mins.  Another counter is weather, but GPS/INS is reducing that problem....etc ad infinitum ad nauseum.

Just sayin', there are a lot more tools in the tool bag these days and not all of them need to be hand delivered.

 :)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: mainerjohnthomas on January 25, 2006, 10:38:24
The biggest change I would like to see is not equipment, but doctrine.  Right now when you need fire support, you have to go a long way up the chain to get it.  If you want a position suppressed, then having a section leader being able to call and direct  105mm or mortar fire on the target works as well as tasking a SAW team or Carl G, and you don't have to carry it.  With GPS and the growing ability to link targeting information from sensors on scout vehicles, and even some rifle mounted systems, there is a hugely greater ability for infantry to direct accurate and realtime fire support than our forebearers had, but to call fire we are using the same ponderous procedures that WWI and WWII vets would recognize. 
     If we shortened the loop for fire support, we would have all of the punch required to support an infantry attack, without forcing the pongos to hump it all in.  Swap the 105mm direct fire POS MGS for a 120mm mortar, and you would have a vehicle that might be worth buying.
    It means that we will have stress the individual initiative of low level leaders more, but using 21st century technology with 20th century tactics has left us using 100% of our backs, and 60% of our skills.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 25, 2006, 14:04:57
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,38090.0.html

Further to MJT's post on doctrine - it might be worthwhile taking another look at this posting.   It's all about shortening the loop when calling for fire support.

Also:

Quote
Swap the 105mm direct fire POS MGS for a 120mm mortar, and you would have a vehicle that might be worth buying.

Regardless of the MGS-105's merits, money spent there might be better spent on laptops as described above, mortars that can be mounted, towed, airlifted or humped and a pile of ammunition.

Here's a question, logical absurdity time - supposing that reaction time for fire support was reduced to zero,  would a soldier need to carry a weapon?  As I said this pushes the bounds of the absurd but suppose that when confronted with an enemy force (1 or 1000 it makes no difference) all the soldier had to do was tap a button on her wrist to call for support and designate the target and immediately have the target removed (dead, neutralized, hoisted into another dimension etc).  Would the soldier be able to do her job?  Would she be a police officer? Would she convey the necessary threat and sense of authority being unarmed except for the "button"?  Or would the "button" itself become the threat?

Maybe that should go into the "Infantry of Tomorrow" thread but the attack is surely one of the things that will define the infantry of tomorrow.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: MdB on January 25, 2006, 14:49:13
The biggest change I would like to see is not equipment, but doctrine.

I heard they are currently reviewing ALL the doctrine documents to comply with the Transformation. What's done and what's to come is not for me to say. Some people are way better informed than me.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: rifleman on January 25, 2006, 15:31:18
Unfortunately, by the time the doctrine is released for transformation, we will be in re-transformation.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: dapaterson on January 25, 2006, 15:47:32
Rifleman:

I think too many people are thinking of "transformation" as a process vice an endstate.  We stagnated in a cold-war mindset for two generations - "The Soviets are coming through the Fulda Gap!"  Now, we're being told that situations change, and that me must be able to respond to changing circumstances.  So transformation will be the norm, an iterative process designed to learn and change as the world around us changes.

I think the endstate will have the Canadian Forces as good Maoists - embracing a process of continuous revolution.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: rifleman on January 25, 2006, 16:08:57
I think too many people are thinking of "transformation" as a process vice an endstate.  We stagnated in a cold-war mindset for two generations - "The Soviets are coming through the Fulda Gap!"  Now, we're being told that situations change, and that me must be able to respond to changing circumstances.  So transformation will be the norm, an iterative process designed to learn and change as the world around us changes.

I think the endstate will have the Canadian Forces as good Maoists - embracing a process of continuous revolution.
[/quote]

I'm a bit confused. Transformation isn't a process but it is an iterative process.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: dapaterson on January 25, 2006, 16:16:12
You're not confused - I'm just unclear.  :P  (That'll teach me to type without sufficient caffeine in my system!)

What I meant to say:

Transformation isn't a process leading to a final endstate, with that endstate as the goal.

Rather, it's the transformation process itself that is the goal - the institutional ability to learn and change on a continuous basis.  The world will continue to change - the CF and the Army must be able to change and adapt as well, rather than fixating on a single possible threat.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: rifleman on January 25, 2006, 16:23:58

Rather, it's the transformation process itself that is the goal - the institutional ability to learn and change on a continuous basis.  The world will continue to change - the CF and the Army must be able to change and adapt as well, rather than fixating on a single possible threat.


Well, thats nothing new, We've been doing that since I been in. Someone must have copied my estimate.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: mainerjohnthomas on January 25, 2006, 22:11:10
Kirkhill wrote:
Here's a question, logical absurdity time - supposing that reaction time for fire support was reduced to zero,  would a soldier need to carry a weapon?  As I said this pushes the bounds of the absurd but suppose that when confronted with an enemy force (1 or 1000 it makes no difference) all the soldier had to do was tap a button on her wrist to call for support and designate the target and immediately have the target removed (dead, neutralized, hoisted into another dimension etc).  Would the soldier be able to do her job?  Would she be a police officer? Would she convey the necessary threat and sense of authority being unarmed except for the "button"?  Or would the "button" itself become the threat?
     
In reply I would have to say that a weapon would still be required.  Refer to the bayonette thread for the reasoning.  If a civvy, or guerilla sees me with a tac radio that is allready on the arty net, with a tasked battery awaiting my call for fire, and a rifle in my hand, they will recognize the threat of the rifle, when it is the radio that can call for the hammer of freaking Thor to take out everything in the area.  In some respects, the purpose of a weapon can be to intimidate.
    If one day a glance with a targeting helmet system and muttered command "HE, execute" will suffice to wipe out your target, then I guess dress swords will come back into fashion; to keep the bad guys aware that we are not to be trifled with, and to remind us that we are still soldiers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on January 26, 2006, 09:44:21


Regardless of the MGS-105's merits, money spent there might be better spent on laptops as described above, mortars that can be mounted, towed, airlifted or humped and a pile of ammunition.

Well, such a beast exists, and, with minor adjustments, could be da' bomb.  The 81mm Bison carrier thingy (Wolf?  Dragon?)  Anyway, add an INS into the beast with a killer GPS (so that it knows where it is and which direction it's facing), and computerise the base such that when firemission comes in, punch in the target grid (depending on distribution of fire, naturally), and the base rotates and elevates the barrel in seconds.   That would seriously close the loop. 
Imagine driving down the road in A'stan and then you hear "Fire mission group.  Grid 123456, direction 1600.  Insurgents in open.  10 rounds, fire for effect".  The vehicle stops, the control post operator digitally transmits the grid and distribution of fire to his four mortars, and within 15 seconds, bombs are being dropped down the barrels and then on their way.  The technology exists today
Here's a question, logical absurdity time - supposing that reaction time for fire support was reduced to zero,  would a soldier need to carry a weapon?  As I said this pushes the bounds of the absurd but suppose that when confronted with an enemy force (1 or 1000 it makes no difference) all the soldier had to do was tap a button on her wrist to call for support and designate the target and immediately have the target removed (dead, neutralized, hoisted into another dimension etc).  Would the soldier be able to do her job?  Would she be a police officer? Would she convey the necessary threat and sense of authority being unarmed except for the "button"?  Or would the "button" itself become the threat?

Maybe that should go into the "Infantry of Tomorrow" thread but the attack is surely one of the things that will define the infantry of tomorrow.
Sounds more like the "Infantry of Star Trek", but very interesting concept.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 26, 2006, 13:54:36
Quote
Sounds more like the "Infantry of Star Trek", but very interesting concept.

Remember "Star Trek" brought you your cell-phone and Arthur C. Clarke (science fiction writer and WW2 RAF radar tech Sgt) brought you your comms and GPS sattelites.

50 years goes by in a real hurry.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: MdB on January 26, 2006, 15:36:46
Anyway, add an INS into the beast with a killer GPS (so that it knows where it is and which direction it's facing), and computerise the base such that when firemission comes in, punch in the target grid (depending on distribution of fire, naturally), and the base rotates and elevates the barrel in seconds.

Well, now how come it's not already in the field. It's a lot less complicated than other systems, let's just mention ISTAR (though I think the coordinates would be transferred through it...), and it's completely workable today! GPS-positioning howitzer isn't Star Trek technology at all, we have robots building cars for 10 years.

I read somewhere that Navy and Air Force technologies have made a quantum leap since WWII, whereas the Army jumped a lot less far than her counterparts. Yes, there's NV googles, flash-bang and smoke grenades, but overall I wouldn't say that the leap is the same as the two others. I'm also aware that next generation (no hint to Star Trek here ;D) of infantry weapons is already in testing, but it's not in the field yet.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 26, 2006, 15:45:59
Quote
I read somewhere that Navy and Air Force technologies have made a quantum leap since WWII, whereas the Army jumped a lot less far than her counterparts. Yes, there's NV googles, flash-bang and smoke grenades, but overall I wouldn't say that the leap is the same as the two others. I'm also aware that next generation (no hint to Star Trek here ) of infantry weapons is already in testing, but it's not in the field yet.

Perhaps it is related to the fact that the Royal Navy went into WW1 with both computers (mechanical for calculating fall of shot) and long wave radios.  Both the Air Force and the Navy are focused on their platforms.  As crowded as those platforms are they can make space for critical capabilities so that they can carry them with them.

Armies, by contrast and despite their current focus on gadgets and gizmos, may still be focused on "equipping the man" rather than "manning the equipment" and thus consciously/unconsciously limit themselve to the 60-100 lb weight limit that the individual soldier can carry.  Interestingly the artillery, which "mans the guns" has historically been one of the most technologically advanced portions of the army.  Wasn't the Bison fielded as infantry kit?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: dapaterson on January 26, 2006, 15:59:33
Wasn't the Bison fielded as infantry kit?

(covers head, crouches down and whimpers as the "Militia LAV" discussion rears its ugly head again)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 26, 2006, 16:01:37
(covers head, crouches down and whimpers as the "Militia LAV" discussion rears its ugly head again)


Nasty man, Sir.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  No such impure thoughts crossed mine.  ;D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on January 27, 2006, 08:35:57
Wasn't the Bison fielded as infantry kit?
Yes it was, but it has since evolved.  It is a great piece of kit.  Now, regarding the bison mortar and why it's not digitised: I don't know why.  Go ask the Gunners, cause we mortarmen were told to drop our baseplates and fix bayonets.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on January 27, 2006, 12:28:53
I'm realising, belatedly, that my screw up is in danger of taking this thread far off topic.  When I typed in Bison I was thinking about the Bison-Mortar variant which I believe was sometimes designated Wolf.

The issue I was trying to get at in a back-handed manner was whether the Wolf came out of an Infantry background or an Arty background. 

As you said though,  vonGarvin, in some respects the matter is moot because of the transfer of the mortars to the Arty.

Cheers and 'pologies.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on January 27, 2006, 13:39:26
The "Wolf" mortar carrier is a perfect example of using existing kit in innovative ways to provide what we need without paying a huge bill. The basic Bison was well thought out and if it had been purchased in sufficient numbers, it could have been the "M-113" of the LAV family, adaptable for all kinds of roles. I could even picture a scratch fire support version mounting the venerable 106mm recoilless rifle as part of the family (with modern sights, laser rangefinders and ammunition you could reach out and touch someone from quite a bit further, although the 1800m effective range I vaguely recall will suffice for most purposes).

vonGarvin has indirectly pointed out the real problem. In the Canadian Army we are stripping away capabilities, going 1800 from all our allies who are integrating weapons and capabilities farther and farther down the food chain. Our Infantry companies will have to call "G" to get mortar support; a SBCT or USMC LAV Coy has these assets integral to the company. Given the idea that suppression is the key to winning battles (regardless of the platform you are mounted on), then assets like mortars and direct fire should be in the Company commander's hip pocket
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on January 27, 2006, 13:54:25
The issue I was trying to get at in a back-handed manner was whether the Wolf came out of an Infantry background or an Arty background. 
The Wolf (redesignated "Dragon" for some reason) came out of an Infantry background, with the Inf School, in conjunction with the Trials and Evaluations unit, ramrodding the show.  Following extensive testing, and deployment in Bosnia with the CANBAT du jour over there, it was quite the beast.  Fast into action (even using the prismatic compass to sight them in), no need to bed in rounds, and actually had a smaller beaten zone due the stability of the vehicle surpassing that of it in the ground mount.  In a country with a decent roadway system (the Bison can go off road fairly well), the Dragon can keep up with the fastest of battlegroups/convoys/whatever.  Yes, the range is limited vis a vis 105mm and 155 mm, but in terms of flexibility, I am of the opinion that it surpasses both.  It can be put on someone's back, and two or three rounds given to each rifleman in a company means enough rounds for a day's action.  
So, as a quick response to a convoy in say, oh, I dunno, Afghanistan, and you want the capability to have guaranteed integral indirect fire, pack a group or even a platoon of mortars in the convoy, one up front, one towards the rear, digitise them with a data link to the CPO so that distribution of fire is passed on at the speed of light.  Now imagine that this convoy is going all, minding it's merry way, when suddenly (and, without warning, I may add), the front of the convoy is ambushed, and the enemy are beginning to cause mounting casualties on us.  A platoon commander up front is feeling outgunned, and calls on the Coy net for mortars.  The MFC sends the fol:
"Fire mission group.  Grid 237 435.  Direction 3200 over"
"Fire mission group.  Grid 237 435.  Direction 3200 out"  (At this time, the CPO is punching in this data to his onboard computer.  The data is not yet sent to the group as his distribution of fire is not yet resolved.  The other Dragons have stopped and they are prepping ammo.)
"Insurgents in hill.  Linear 200, attitude 2500.  10 rounds, 1 round fire for effect over"
"Insurgents in hill.  Linear 200, attitude 2500.  10 rounds, 1 round fire for effect out"  (The CPO now types in the distribution of fire, confirms safety with the group commander electronically, and hits "Transmit".  IMMEDIATELY the mortars in the other dragons whirl into action, rotating and elevating to the proper solution.  The Det Comd's verify that their mortars are ready.  They all give the thumbs up to the line NCO, who then drops his arm and four rounds are on their way)
"Shot 25 over"
"Shot 25 out"
24.8 seconds later, the MFC observes the fall of shot.
"Right 50, add 50, fire for effect over"
"Right 50, add 50, fire for effect out"
(The MFC went to his final correction so quickly, because with his LAV OPV, INS, Lasers and all that, combined with the GPS, INS and others on each of the Dragons removes the greatest variables to indirect fire: survey)
The CPO types in the corrections, his "Transmit", and IMMEDIATELY the mortars do their minute corrections.  The Det Comd's again verify that they are ready and give thumbs up tothe line NCO.  He drops his arm and the mortars all begin sending their 9 packages each to the enemy.
Now, had the only fire support been 155's, they better hope that they are within range of base camp!  And I doubt that the response time would be that quick.  
This scenario is totally made up, but with technology availabe TODAY, this could be reality tomorrow (not the "poetic" tomorrow as in "Army of Tomorrow", but rather the literal tomorrow, as in "today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday"

Now, where do I patent this idea and sell it to the CDS? ;-)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: readyfourzero on February 24, 2006, 09:49:38
Right 50 add 50 fire for effect!!!! surely with 4 barrels that are in a line 40m apart giving you a spread of 120m and build in the danger area (providing they are all paralleled properly - sorry we don't do that any more do we with the use of GLS) the target will come within the beaten zone anyway and their will not be any need for such a small adjustment.

I take it when you send the adjusting round that's just one barrel firing and not all four so as to save unecessary expenditure.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on February 24, 2006, 13:21:31
Right 50 add 50 fire for effect!!!! surely with 4 barrels that are in a line 40m apart giving you a spread of 120m and build in the danger area (providing they are all paralleled properly - sorry we don't do that any more do we with the use of GLS) the target will come within the beaten zone anyway and their will not be any need for such a small adjustment.

I take it when you send the adjusting round that's just one barrel firing and not all four so as to save unecessary expenditure.

As I remember it, the 50 m correction was for "finessing" on the objective.  Given the 30 killing radius, it was the smallest correction available: it puts the beaten zone directly on the target, and in this fictional case, perhaps the met was the only unknown (or the most "fuzzy" variable).  Now, remember, in my fantasy Bison Dragon, each vehicle has GPS/INS/Inertial Dampeners/Dilithium (whatever it is that says "I am here": is it an Inukshuk?  Whatever).  So, no need for paralell by sight unit or bugger all.  They could be 20 m apart (the usual) or 40 m apart, whatever.  The computer in the CPO "shack" sends the target info to the software in each carrier, and the computer in each carrier calculates bearing and distance for it's own share of the pie.
The adjusting fire didn't happen: it was one round, fire for effect.  Again, in my made-up-land, first round accuracy is more commonplace, so no more "Adjust fire.....drop 800.....add 400.....drop 200....drop 100.....drop 50, FFE"
It also allows the MFC to confirm attitude, in this case, of the linear mission
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on February 24, 2006, 13:41:05
As I remember it, the 50 m correction was for "finessing" on the objective.  Given the 30 killing radius, it was the smallest correction available: it puts the beaten zone directly on the target, and in this fictional case, perhaps the met was the only unknown (or the most "fuzzy" variable). 

It was also the smallest correction that could be effectuively managed by most CPOs on the manual plotter. Though I did know a few NCOs who were artists at making and reading the finest dots you ever saw come off the point of a Staedtler pencil.

I do remember the early days of the HP-41C, teamed with good L16 barrels, NM123 HE and you would find people experimenting with, and seeing on the ground, 25 metre corrections.  Even the occasional 10 metre correction on a point target was tried occasionally on calm days - though it wasn't exactly a practical application.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on February 26, 2006, 01:19:49
In these discussions of a mechanized mortar carrier, it seems the carrier is "smart" while the ammunition hasn't changed all that much since Korea. Perhaps I am talking through my hat since my own mortar experience is limited to hand held 60mm, but given the need to snap shoot elusive targets, shouldn't some thought be given to including "smart" mortar rounds to the package as well?

BaE had the Merlin 81mm round with a milimetric radar "seeking" warhead, and Sweden has the STRIX 120mm mortar round with an infa red seeker, so the proof of principle is there. Smart mortar rounds can take out the problem of making fine corrections since they do that last part themselves, shortening the cycle of performing a fire mission. Frightened or confused soldiers calling for fire to break an ambush need only to specify the target "box" in the ideal case. For mortars that are fixed in position at the FOB or in a conventional defensive position, "dumb" rounds can still be used, since the corrections are more or less known and pre plotted.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GO!!! on February 26, 2006, 01:37:42
majoor,

The mortar carrier idea is a good thing, but I read an article awhile ago (although I cannot find it to source it for you >:() that you might find interesting.

It was a Russian "lessons learned" of  a motorised rifle company which was either moving through, or patrolling in Chechnya. They were travelling in BTR 80s, and were ambushed by dismounted insurgents with RPG, an HMG, IED and rifle fire. The Russians called for mortar fire to break the ambush, but the rounds that were fired (the article was not too clear) were of a "large chunk of metal seeking variety".

This had the effect of making the Chechen's ambush exponentially more effective, as a platoon of armoured vehs was destroyed with the opening volley!

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on February 26, 2006, 03:24:32
majoor,

The mortar carrier idea is a good thing, but I read an article awhile ago (although I cannot find it to source it for you >:() that you might find interesting.

It was a Russian "lessons learned" of  a motorised rifle company which was either moving through, or patrolling in Chechnya. They were travelling in BTR 80s, and were ambushed by dismounted insurgents with RPG, an HMG, IED and rifle fire. The Russians called for mortar fire to break the ambush, but the rounds that were fired (the article was not too clear) were of a "large chunk of metal seeking variety".

This had the effect of making the Chechen's ambush exponentially more effective, as a platoon of armoured vehs was destroyed with the opening volley!

Ouch!

Fire procedures for "Smart" rounds will have to be smart as well, including some sort of IFF system to discourage the round from seeking you, and making sure you don't go into the target box. The actual mechanisms to do this are beyond me, but if the MFC can bring rounds within 25-50m of the target, the seeker should be able to do the last part.

Of course, firing anti-armour or metal seeking rounds at dismounted insurgents firing infantry small arms is a pretty dumb thing to do in the first place..... :o
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on February 26, 2006, 14:30:24
Smart Rounds are indeed the future: it's just a trade off of HE versus the smart stuff.  Having said that, I imagine it's possible.  But, not being a techno geek (my version zero "blackberry" consists of a pack of players with the calendar on the back), I wouldn't know how to build it, or even know 'what' I would want it to do.  Vs tanks, perhaps Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs) when the wave finds a "target", I dunno.  But my point is that perhaps existing technology be applied to a mortar carrier would be the first step.
All the software would need to know in each carrier is
(a): where am I?
(b): which direction am I facing?
(c): how far is the target?
(d): which direction is the target?
After all, that is the info that a CPO needs to engage a target.  The software would then take these answers, "convert" it to bearing and elevation and charge for the ammo, apply said bearing and elevation to the tube and tell the loader what charge to apply to the round, and BAM!  There's all you need.
Now, vs personnel, a bigger spread (beaten zone) may be what you need.  Vs very point targets, it may be possible to try to put one down the pipe, literally.
So, take what we have now, and then begin the work on smarter ammo.
Now, where do I apply for the patent? ;-)

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on February 26, 2006, 15:06:43
Von Garvin:

Here may be part of your solution - targeting data.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,38090.0.html

This is for coordinating Air Force assets but I don't see why putting the same system in your mortar carrier with a GPS wouldn't work as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: rampage800 on February 26, 2006, 16:06:26
Kind of an interesting article so I figured I'd throw in here. Back to the Wolf/Dragon thing, I've heard that the reason (and I'm not bilingual)they changed the name was "Dragon" is the same thing in English as it is in French whereas "Wolf" is translated differently. Anyhow could be urban myth and I probably should have researched it a bit more but ah what the hell eh......With regards to the "smart ammo" it probably can be done, however in the case Von Garvin is making it wouldn't be very practical, reason being that someone still has to set those rounds ie fuze, marking the tgt with a laser, confirming coords, etc.(all the stuff or combination thereof that makes the dumb bomb smart)That stuff takes time I would believe and I think if I read the thread correctly we're trying to suppress or neutralize ASAP. The targeting data would work that Kirkhill was talking about if you had a UAV or plane on station but if not how do you get an overhead view(sure you could use a "moving map" with Falcon view but someone still has to confirm where the tgt is, just like what the JTAC was doing by drawing big arrows to the tgt) So what does all this mean.....? Well maybe we just do it the old fashioned way using a ref pt method and polar coords onto the tgt. It may not be bang onto the tgt but at least after the first rounds are off you have positive data on the ground and can adjust from there. Even with all the computer gizmos and no met I think mortar round being so light your chances of a first round hit are slim anyhow and if things are really bad the tube comds canbypass the CP all together and revert to the "crank"method. Anyhow I'm no SME but I thought I'd throw that out there.
                                                                                                                                                                     
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on February 28, 2006, 12:43:48
The point on beaten zones is well taken, although based on recent activity the enemy is likely to be firing out of rock sangers, inprovised bunkers or the local schoolhouse, where even a near miss might not put them out of comission. Smart rounds which need to be guided on target by laser designators are probably too "slow" for what we are talking about (although the follow up volley by a Hellfire packing Apache will do the trick  :)), so I am suggesting this:

1. A "dragon" mortar carrier tricked out with VonGarvin's kit list so the vehicle can reference and prep the moment they get a fire mission (even while the driver is pulling off the road). This gets the barrel pointed in the minimum amount of time.

2. The gun commander grabs a "smart" round off the ready rack, pulls the saftey pin (which should also activate the seeker) and drops it down the tube.

3. At the top of the arc, the round's seeker goes active, and starts looking for the target while avoiding IFF or ambiguous signals. The "box" can be pretty narrow, since the launch vehicle has good target data to start. Given what I am reading here, a 50X50m box should suffice, but a 25X25 would be better.

4. BOOM! Insurgents are scattered in small pieces.

5. If there are more/bigger targets then can be supressed with the sudden appearence of a smart bomb, the mortar crews carry on the mission with the usual compliment of "dumb" bombs.

In essence, this is a very scaled down version of what the M 777 artillery crews will be doing in Afghanistan with the 155 smart rounds.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on February 28, 2006, 17:23:06
The point on beaten zones is well taken, although based on recent activity the enemy is likely to be firing out of rock sangers, inprovised bunkers or the local schoolhouse, where even a near miss might not put them out of comission. Smart rounds which need to be guided on target by laser designators are probably too "slow" for what we are talking about (although the follow up volley by a Hellfire packing Apache will do the trick  :)), so I am suggesting this:

1. A "dragon" mortar carrier tricked out with VonGarvin's kit list so the vehicle can reference and prep the moment they get a fire mission (even while the driver is pulling off the road). This gets the barrel pointed in the minimum amount of time.

2. The gun commander grabs a "smart" round off the ready rack, pulls the saftey pin (which should also activate the seeker) and drops it down the tube.

3. At the top of the arc, the round's seeker goes active, and starts looking for the target while avoiding IFF or ambiguous signals. The "box" can be pretty narrow, since the launch vehicle has good target data to start. Given what I am reading here, a 50X50m box should suffice, but a 25X25 would be better.

4. BOOM! Insurgents are scattered in small pieces.

5. If there are more/bigger targets then can be supressed with the sudden appearence of a smart bomb, the mortar crews carry on the mission with the usual compliment of "dumb" bombs.

In essence, this is a very scaled down version of what the M 777 artillery crews will be doing in Afghanistan with the 155 smart rounds.

OK, it's a deal.  The Bison Mortar carrier will be "tricked out" with my kit (I prefer "pimped out", but hey, that's alright), and it will be called the übervonGarvinmörserschützenpanzer (üvGmsPz).  The rounds will be the "Ultra-Majoors", Mk I. 
This post, copyright vonGarvin, 2006

But, in all seriousness, THAT is exactly the kind of stuff we could need.  Sure, the beaten zone has it's moments, but in the case mentioned above (or a million like that), a 25x25 "box" would rock (and through rocks everywhere).

PS: other than the "übervonGarvin" Part, that would be (close) to proper German: huge sausage words.

Garvin out.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on September 05, 2007, 15:10:18
Been a while since this thread got the attention it deserves.

Israel is beginning production of a new heavy IFV based on the Merkava 4 hull and mechanicals (although I did read the first batch of Namera's were getting rebuilt power packs from Merkava 1's to speed production. No word on the fate of the tanks, though). The Namera embodies the heavy armour protection and mobility of a tank philosophy that the earlier Achzarit and numerous Centurion tank conversions introduced on a purpose built hull.

We have seen this has been very advantageous for the IDF when working in complex terrain, either built up areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as southern Lebanon. Since engagements are at close range, the mounted troops have very little time to react to incoming weapons fire so the heavy armour allows them to survive the initial impact. From our point of view these vehicles seem very under armed, usually carrying one OWS mounted weapon, a number of GPMG's and an on board 60mm mortar rather than the power operated turret carrying an automatic cannon and machine gun which most western armies favor.

Personally, I believe a balanced force should have something like this for the assault (Infantry carriers, Engineer section vehicles as well as some "funnies" to deal with difficult targets and situations. An armoured ambulance version is also a must have), as well as more general purpose vehicles for other tasks like rear area security, exploitation and patrolling. Who many and where they should go is an interesting conundrum.


Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on September 06, 2007, 11:36:51
When you think about it, maybe for heavy infantry forces (Bradley, warrior, puma, etc, etc) They should just do like the israelis and go real heavy and opted for protection.

I wonder if they will expand on the merkava concept and have a MBT that carries a full 8 man sectiobn in the rear?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on September 06, 2007, 15:51:28
When you think about it, maybe for heavy infantry forces (Bradley, warrior, puma, etc, etc) They should just do like the israelis and go real heavy and opted for protection.
Makes sense to me.  Think of an M-113 in terms of firepower (eg: not much, if any), but a Leo 2A6M in terms of protection and mobility.  Given that the APC would not be alone on the battlefield, "someone else" (eg: tanks) would deal with most of the bad guys at 50+ metres.  Closer than that, the APC disgorges its load and the infantry close with and destroy.  An all signing, all dancing LAV is nice, but if you can build 3 of these types of APCs for the industrial effort for one LAV 3 type, then to my simple mind, the choice is obvious:  sacrifice firepower in order to have better mobility and protection.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on September 06, 2007, 16:08:37
The HAPC concept makes the most sense in complex terrain, but there may be an argument for upgrading the firepower of such a beast. I would suggest that in complex terrain, the escorting vehicles might not be in a position to cover your HAPC; being screened by buildings, terrain features or vegetation. An engineer vehicle based on an HAPC should have a powerful, if short range weapon to reduce barricades and fortifications, and the HAPC itself needs firepower sufficient to suppress enemies in buildings and improvised fortifications.

A Merkava 1 *could* be used as an HAPC (or HIFV), but the down side would be the rear ammunition compartment would be sacrificed for the mounted section, and the section's situational awareness would be rather minimal. The section commander would still be able to shoot in an dismounted attack with a 105mm cannon, and be supported with multiple machine guns. The PUMA with the level "C" uparmour kit has about the same protection (and weight) as a Leopard C2, and comes with a turret mounted 30mm cannon. It is probably possible to do something similar to an Achzarit or Namera if desired.

The real downside of these machines is both the cost (especially the turret and associated FCS) and the logistical bill for any sort of HAPC/HIFV, not to mention tactical limitations due to size and weight. HAPC/HIFV's are most useful for complex terrain and assaults, but smaller "general purpose" machines are still needed for other roles.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on September 06, 2007, 16:49:46
The real downside of these machines is both the cost (especially the turret and associated FCS) and the logistical bill for any sort of HAPC/HIFV, not to mention tactical limitations due to size and weight. HAPC/HIFV's are most useful for complex terrain and assaults, but smaller "general purpose" machines are still needed for other roles.

That's the point (for me, anyway) is the logistical bill for such a beast.  Ideally, Firepower, Mobility and Protection would all be "A+".  Now, I realise that even within a combat team of 4 tank troops, 3 infantry platoons, field engineer troop, arty tac and so forth, there will be times that a carrier would be on its own.  So, for firepower, perhaps something like the Kongsberg RWS with a .50 cal (firing SLAP-T, of course)?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 07, 2007, 01:48:24
Ideally, Firepower, Mobility and Protection would all be "A+". 

It is a trade off.  You just described a tank. 

A Mech Inf Sections greatest strength is not the "A+" factor - it it the section that dismounts...so lets focus on the whole, not just the parts.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: mainerjohnthomas on September 07, 2007, 02:08:37
I worry about investing in such a heavy vehicle for infantry deployment.  My worry is that the vehicle will become central in the thinking, and the infantry will become no more than a screen for the bus, and not an arm of attack.  Combined arms wins battles, yes, but by focusing on the infantry carrier, it is easy to quickly find the infantry tactics being based on the vehicle, and not on the men.

Mechanized infantry are a great tool, but the mechanized part is their to support the infantry.  Too expensive a tail soon wags the dog.  It is hard to justify exercises and training for mechanized forces that do not employ the expensive and highly visible equipment.  This limits the ability to train your infantry, and its leaders, to explore the uses of the dismounts as a weapon, and not as attachments to the heavily armoured behemoth that began as a bulletproof taxi.

Likewise, if the vehicle becomes the accepted heavy weapons for the infantry section, what happens when terrain or mines forces the infantry to fight without the vehicles.  If we become too reliant on vehicle systems, our infantry is forced to fight at a disadvantage when employed alone. 

Lastly, this is Canada.  I would rather see us have a larger number of general purpose hulls and the doctrine to employ them in a variety of roles, than a small number of absolutely fabulous hulls that exist in such low numbers as to limit the size of the forces equipped and trained with them, making them just expensive hanger-queens, and undeployable.

I'm probably talking out my a$$, but when I see a heavy tank as an APC, I have my doubts that the owners will still think like infantry, and not turn into closet blackhat treadheads.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 07, 2007, 02:44:39
I worry about investing in such a heavy vehicle for infantry deployment.  My worry is that the vehicle will become central in the thinking, and the infantry will become no more than a screen for the bus, and not an arm of attack.  Combined arms wins battles, yes, but by focusing on the infantry carrier, it is easy to quickly find the infantry tactics being based on the vehicle, and not on the men.

Mechanized infantry are a great tool, but the mechanized part is their to support the infantry.  Too expensive a tail soon wags the dog.  It is hard to justify exercises and training for mechanized forces that do not employ the expensive and highly visible equipment.  This limits the ability to train your infantry, and its leaders, to explore the uses of the dismounts as a weapon, and not as attachments to the heavily armoured behemoth that began as a bulletproof taxi.

Likewise, if the vehicle becomes the accepted heavy weapons for the infantry section, what happens when terrain or mines forces the infantry to fight without the vehicles.  If we become too reliant on vehicle systems, our infantry is forced to fight at a disadvantage when employed alone. 

Lastly, this is Canada.  I would rather see us have a larger number of general purpose hulls and the doctrine to employ them in a variety of roles, than a small number of absolutely fabulous hulls that exist in such low numbers as to limit the size of the forces equipped and trained with them, making them just expensive hanger-queens, and undeployable.

I'm probably talking out my a$$, but when I see a heavy tank as an APC, I have my doubts that the owners will still think like infantry, and not turn into closet blackhat treadheads.


It's all been done before - by us. As all you history geeks well know, Canada was the first country to deploy APCs made from turretless tanks. The Kangaroo was first deployed by the Canadian Army in Normandy. Why shouldn't it work now?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_(armoured_personnel_carrier)

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: mainerjohnthomas on September 07, 2007, 09:38:53
The Kangaroo and the Priest were all modifications of tanks that were built by the Canadian army in wartime mode.  We had tanks rolling off the production line, and divisions of troops in the field.  At the time, we had a wartime economy, and were lavishing our monies on getting all the tools for a job that the whole world knew needed to be done, but which no one was sure could be done.

Now we have a military that struggles to get the tools to do a job that a large portion of the public refuses to admit needs to be done and which our politicians mostly lie about what is actually being done.  Thus stated do you see an unweaponed tank being used by the Canadian Forces as an APC to safely deploy Canadian troops to the point of attack?  Or do you see an unweaponed tank being used to "keep the troops safe" and buttoned up, thus totally useless as infantry.

Already at any casualties the public cries that our military equipment must be the problem, that tanks are useless because Canadians are still dying, that LAVs and Nylas are death traps, and we should bring the boys home because the Afghans could stop the Soviet armour.  Infantry finds and fixes the enemy, so that the heavier weapons of the troops and that can be called and directed by the troops can destroy them.  If we tie our troops to an elephant, they will find and fix only what an elephant can catch.  If we tie our troops to wolves, they can find and fix whatever can be caught, and can whistle up their elephants when the armoured punch is needed.

Infantry is the tool for going anywhere, the tool for presence wherever the enemy could be.  Heavy armour is awesome and unmatchable at the direct assault, but that is the smallest part of the infantry role, and tying us to a heavy assault IFV is pissing away the mobility that is the infantry assest. 

When we were looking at the channel forts the Kangaroo was a godsend.  Were we looking at storming St Petersburg today, then the heavy tank hull might be a good idea.  For our procurement levels and deployment needs I just don't see it. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on September 07, 2007, 12:24:37
It is a trade off.  You just described a tank. 

A Mech Inf Sections greatest strength is not the "A+" factor - it it the section that dismounts...so lets focus on the whole, not just the parts.
Exactly my point.  In an ideal world with unlimited funds and unlimited logistics, having all three would be, well, super.  We live in a non-Euclidean plane, and for a mech infantry vehicle, Mobility and Protection are what's needed (so that it can keep up with the tanks and be able to take a hit to protect the infantry in the back).
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on September 09, 2007, 02:25:54
The real downside of these machines is both the cost (especially the turret and associated FCS) and the logistical bill for any sort of HAPC/HIFV, not to mention tactical limitations due to size and weight. HAPC/HIFV's are most useful for complex terrain and assaults, but smaller "general purpose" machines are still needed for other roles.

I was trying to suggest that specialized machines should be considered for the assault role since they are the only practical way to conduct a close assault in complex terrain. If we agree on this, then there are several ways to go about it:

Get a machine like the Puma, TLAV, M-113 for all roles and invest in up armour kits to layer on the vehicles before we get into situations like Ortona or Fallujiah. This might be considered HAPC-

Buy a small number of real HAPC's and parcel them out into the battalions (one company in the Combat Support Company). We can buy ambulance, Engineer section vehicles and so on to get some economy of scale

Buy the same total number of HAPC's and designate a unit to be the assault unit which gets them all.

Each solution has certain advantages and disadvantages (as some have already pointed out). Having only two tools in the toolbox (the LAV III and RG-31) leave several gaps in the ability of the Infantry to close with and destroy the enemy, and the HAPC option covers close terrain.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on September 16, 2007, 01:28:27
An interesting video on another thread: http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,65730.0.html

At about 3:03 you actually see some footage of the Merkava 4 being used as an HIFV (although that is not the primary purpose of the rear compartment and hatch; that is the ammunition stowage area and crew emergency escape).

Just as a note, the Centurio armoured car can also be modified to carry a four man "close support squad" by removing the rear ammunition racks, and a modified Ukrainian version of the T-84 is also able to carry a five man squad alongside the engine compartment. I would doubt the Ukrainian soldiers would be in great fighting shape after a day stuck in the back. In any event, these soldiers might not be considered "Infantry" in the same sense that we think of them, they more resemble the squires of Knights and mounted soldiers of the middle ages, there to protect their mounted counterparts.

Going even farther back, the concept existed in late classical Greece, with a form of light Infantry who were trained to grasp the mane of a horse and run alongside in order to protect the horse and rider from attack. These troops were known as "Hamippos", and I will propose to reintroduce the term to distinguish them from "Panzer Grenadiers" or "Dragoons"
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 16, 2007, 13:41:03
Interesting.

Maybe we need to think less of our APCs/MICVs as armoured mobile homes (complete with hammocks, sleeping bags and Cheez Whiz) and more as true 'assault vehicles' e.g., from the LD to the Objective only.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: TCBF on September 16, 2007, 17:29:39
... and a modified Ukrainian version of the T-84 is also able to carry a five man squad alongside the engine compartment. I would doubt the Ukrainian soldiers would be in great fighting shape after a day stuck in the back. ...

- They, like us in the old days, would be drunk.

"Dragoons"

- The term "Dragoons" used as mounted Infantry only lasted maybe a hundred years as a British tradition.  Thereafter it was applied to some (usually heavy) cavalry regiments (unless as "Light Dragoons").  It retains it's mounted infantry flavour possibly only in the US Army.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on September 16, 2007, 23:59:53
- The term "Dragoons" used as mounted Infantry only lasted maybe a hundred years as a British tradition.  Thereafter it was applied to some (usually heavy) cavalry regiments (unless as "Light Dragoons").  It retains it's mounted infantry flavour possibly only in the US Army.

The only other English language term which is suitable might be "Mounted Rifles", but the historical context is soldiers combining a high degree of mobility (comparable to Cavalry) with the fighting power of dismounted Infantry. A LAV III + Coyote force could fill this role.

"Dragoons" or "Panzergrenadiers" would indicate Infantry soldiers who are trained and equipped to fight both mounted and in conjunction with their vehicles, perhaps to the point of considering the vehicle to be a support weapon. The LAV III would be about the minimum IFV, heavier vehicles such as the Warrior, Bradley or PUMA would be more appropriate here.

"Hamippos" would be close protection troops for AFV's, so these vehicles can operate in complex terrain and provide direct and indirect fire support to the assaulting troops without being disturbed. These troops would be attached to (or part of) Armoured regiments operating suitable AFV's (like the Merkava or Centurio armoured car)

For a small army like ours, this degree of specialization would be very difficult to support. General purpose "Mech Infantry" have proven they are quite capable of fulfilling these roles in the past, so the real argument here is how do we want to conduct the assault in complex terrain?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on November 28, 2008, 18:22:48
If we wanted to keep the armoured vehicles to have support for the dismounted troops, then couldn't we have maybe smaller vehicles? Or if that isn't feasible, there could be a resurgence of aircav, where we would have mobile heavy support from the air, and an ability to insert quickly.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: HighlandIslander on November 28, 2008, 21:36:32
there could be a resurgence of aircav, where we would have mobile heavy support from the air, and an ability to insert quickly.

Resurgence of aircav? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Canada never had anything of the like - sure, TacHel has been around for a while, but not as dedicated infantry vehicles.

What are you suggesting by "mobile heavy support"? A Griffin, even with the new minigun, isn't going to the do the job of the 25mm.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on November 29, 2008, 01:16:59
Highlander Islander,
No, I believe you are correct that Canada never had aircav. I was meaning in a sense of using it by Canada, since it did have some success with the Americans and the Brits still have a component of the infantry called air assault. Yes you are also correct that we would have not even close to the fire power of mechanized support with griffins, but what if we were thinking of changing the materials used? We could then think of acquiring a gunship for ground support and support the aircav itself. Just a thought,
MPF
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on November 29, 2008, 02:14:25
Highlander Islander,
No, I believe you are correct that Canada never had aircav. I was meaning in a sense of using it by Canada, since it did have some success with the Americans and the Brits still have a component of the infantry called air assault. Yes you are also correct that we would have not even close to the fire power of mechanized support with griffins, but what if we were thinking of changing the materials used? We could then think of acquiring a gunship for ground support and support the aircav itself. Just a thought,
MPF

OK, now you get referred to this thread (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,44917.0.html).

Let's try to put this thread back on it's core topic.


MIlnet.ca Staff
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on November 29, 2008, 13:02:09
Seen thanks for the reference,

MPF
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 30, 2008, 13:44:15
These two videos are pretty instructive with respect to what really happens during the infantry attack. They happen to be Royal Marines, but there are similar videos out with Canadians doing pretty much the same things under fire.

In these film clips, as opposed to grand flanking movements or daring frontal 'pepper poitting' type assaults, we see small groups (sections) moving together quickly - led from the front - while covered by other sections and support weapons. They close with the enemy, as sections, firing and moving. I find it odd that, during many of our infantry training courses, we avoid training troops at the section level to operate in this 'realistic' fashion, and tend to favour the 'grand startegy at the section level' approach.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FcXWZ0XVuw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UIqRxzgtyo&feature=related
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on November 30, 2008, 14:04:59
It's interesting, since the method of moving in to attack in sections with a firebase is about the same as it has been since WW2, we have changed our doctrine to use pepper potting to get more lead downrange, but sacrificing a bit of momentum and cover in order to do so. Well the video says it all, we use the non pepper potting technique.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on November 30, 2008, 14:13:41
Just to add to what I said, the best way to move into a TIC or to take a position would be as fast as possible (as long as there are preparations for this speed). So to move in and take the enemy as fast as possible requires a sacrifice of a bit of protection. Isn't that why in pepper-potting (I may be wrong here) the Brits never go prone, they stay kneeling to be able to move faster. So with the heavy support of a firebase and of the LAV-III, then there is enough heavy lead to make quickly and sacrifice a bit of cover. Just putting it out there,
MPF
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on December 01, 2008, 06:51:59
Yes you are wrong, the brits use prone just as much as we do. Look at the video plus I have trained with brits and they were not shy about hitting the dirt. Next time on the range, at 200 or 300 meters, check out how easy it is to hit the upper half of the fig 11 target and then ask yourself if prone position is valuable. the answer should be a clear yes.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Digger Hale on December 01, 2008, 07:14:28
Just to add to what I said, the best way to move into a TIC or to take a position would be as fast as possible (as long as there are preparations for this speed). So to move in and take the enemy as fast as possible requires a sacrifice of a bit of protection. Isn't that why in pepper-potting (I may be wrong here) the Brits never go prone, they stay kneeling to be able to move faster. So with the heavy support of a firebase and of the LAV-III, then there is enough heavy lead to make quickly and sacrifice a bit of cover. Just putting it out there,
MPF
As a cavalry dismount, i work, almost always with LAV's within direct support. For us, the biggest part of it is the ground we're moving through and the fire support behind us. I teach the boys to use cover and pick fire positions appropriate to the ground around us. Our job is to find the enemy for the LAV's to destroy in detail. And all the 25mm's in world wont help you if you've already been cut apart because your standing up. Like Army Rick said, the top half of a figure 11 target is pretty big, especially if your the figure 11!
We make it dependant on the ground we're in, however. In Australia and where we train, we have a lot of jungle or simply long, tall grass and bush. If in tall grass, our SOP is to take a knee so as to be able to still have battlefield awareness and be able to take a sight picture. Sometimes in the prone, all you'll be doing is a really bad impersonation of a lawn mower, you wont be able to see the enemy and, more importantly in training, you wont be able to see your mates. This is obvious though. All i'm really trying to say is that often it'll be dependant on the ground and the cover avaliable. Again though, like ArmyRick said, for the most part, getting on your guts is your best bet to avoid perforation. Its just that it's not always simple.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on December 01, 2008, 08:15:28
Well obviously I don't really know what I am saying. Thanks for the corrections I should read more into how things are being done over there,
MPF
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on December 01, 2008, 11:20:12
Don't worry padawan, keep soldiering on. You will learn with every exercise, course or operation you go on. I was "sorted out" many times by my Cpls, MCpls and SGTs many a times. Now I am an infantry sgt that has taught several DP1 courses and I still mentor young soldiers. Its part of developing as a grunt.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on December 01, 2008, 13:02:00
Thanks,

ArmyRick,

In that case I was wondering if I could pick your brains a bit (ask some questions). I have read a lot about the TICs in Afghanistan and of the things that occur, but I still don't see a lot of the big picture. If I see some footage of a contact I have very little idea of what is going on (since I only see troops shooting behind a wall). What are the TICs like over there, when do they normally hit you guys, and what type of activities are you exactly doing? I hear of guys on patrol and getting hit, but what do their patrols consist of? Maybe this would fit better in the "Lessons learned in Afghanistan", but I was just wondering. Any info would be great thanks,
MPF
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: helpup on December 01, 2008, 13:16:40
Double tap, dash, down, crawl, sights observe, indicate, "seen" rapid fire, win the firefight, the approach, assault. or hold and call in support.

Of course all of this must take in ROE's and identifiable Tgt's.  use of dead ground, cover,
Some don't shoot, immediately they seek cover first and locate the En.  Others who do double tap would of been better to not fire as rounds go 3 feet in the ground in front of them or high in the hills.  Still it is a system we have all trained on and variations of it work.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: NFLD Sapper on December 01, 2008, 13:23:21
Double tap, dash, down, crawl, sights observe, indicate, "seen" rapid fire, win the firefight, the approach, assault. or hold and call in support.

Of course all of this must take in ROE's and identifiable Tgt's.  use of dead ground, cover,
Some don't shoot, immediately they seek cover first and locate the En.  Others who do double tap would of been better to not fire as rounds go 3 feet in the ground in front of them or high in the hills.  Still it is a system we have all trained on and variations of it work.

Take 2 well aimed shots
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on December 01, 2008, 14:14:48
Talking to those who've just returned, it's also important to note that the 'fight through' can take several hours. One particular punch up that was described to me lasted 8 hours - at 50C. Locating the enemy and winning the fire fight sounds good in theory, but can take hours in reality. We seldom practise this in training, and the strains it puts on the troops in contact, as well as the indir fs, ops, med and log systems, are hard to replicate.

This is in line with what colleagues of mine told me about the battles they fought in the Falklands War e.g., the Battle of Goose Green was an 11 hour fight through, against an enemy 3 times the strength of the attacking force, with few people really understanding what was happening across the whole battle. I went through the Pl Comds Battle Course at Warminster after the Falklands and they had incorporated this 're-learned' reality of the infantry battle into the training. We were therefore subjected to very complex battle scenarios, at the coy gp level, lasting several hours, most of it spent on my belly going 'WTF?'.

Unfortunately, in my experience, our training programs tend to prefer nice, neat, fast little attack scenarios so we can quickly assess a candidate before we change command roles and take on the next 500m segment of the Lawfield corridor. This may have changed since my time there (back when the earth was still cooling), but based on what I'm hearing from my subbies, probably not much.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on December 01, 2008, 14:34:11
OK, jumping in here.
Reaction to effective enemy fire is pretty well a very good drill. 
Double Tap
Dash (to cover)
Down (into said cover)
Crawl (to a position of observation)
Observe (to see where the bad guys are)
Sights (as in set your sights to the range to the bad guys)
Fire (as in fire at the bad guys: don't light a fire to warm your tea)

So, thus ends battle drill number 2.
Key here is to aim your shots.  If you just blast away, you may as well light that fire for the tea.  OK, so what's next?
Locate the enemy.  This is a tough one, especially when bad guys don't want to be located! ;D  This is a group effort, but let's not forget that it takes people observing (see above)
Win the Firefight.  As mentioned, this could take hours.  And could involve anything from rifle to 155 Artillery (or more)
So, just remember that these are drills, set in a logical manner (eg: you can't win the firefight before you've located the enemy, unless your side has nukes and you can use them safely, perhaps, but I digress...)
Which brings me to the following point:
Take 2 well aimed shots
See above.  I ask: how can you take two, well-aimed shots before you've located the enemy?  I'm just guessing here, but the double tap is probably more for psychological effect than for lethal effect on the enemy.  In other words, it gives the shooter (eg: you) the knowledge that you are still in the fight, even though those two rounds will either (a) go in the ground to your front or (b) go into orbit.

The thing to remember is that even though it's in Afghanistan, and we have big guns and jets on our side, some old lessons still apply.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: NFLD Sapper on December 01, 2008, 14:54:47
True on that Mortarman, was just going on what was corrected of me by people that returned from TF1-07  :-\

EDITED TO ADD

I have done a far share of Section Attacks but I will leave the correct information/tactics to the Infantry SME's here.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: HighlandIslander on December 01, 2008, 14:59:53
What I was taught was that the double-tap was not only to "keep you in the fight" but to get the enemy's collective heads down, if even for a second, so you have time to dash for cover.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Teflon on December 01, 2008, 15:47:45
Not a poke at anyone but just a thought,...

Quote
See above.  I ask: how can you take two, well-aimed shots before you've located the enemy?  I'm just guessing here, but the double tap is probably more for psychological effect than for lethal effect on the enemy.  In other words, it gives the shooter (eg: you) the knowledge that you are still in the fight, even though those two rounds will either (a) go in the ground to your front or (b) go into orbit.

... Or possibly into some afghani civi unlucky enough to be around you when you believe you are coming under contact - adding yet another name(s) to list of unintentional injuries that certain members of the masses love to wave about as bad PR for us and the mission.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on December 01, 2008, 17:15:41
I was strongly advised at one time, by those far more battle experienced than I will ever be, 'not' to train soldiers to double tap when coming under contact. The reason? If you do, the enemy will know exactly how many troops you have, and where they are - at least in the lead wave. The assumption we make is that the enemy knows where you are whern he opens fire. More often than not, he may see one or two troops but may not know where the rest are, or how many are actually in the area.

The 'double tap' was supposed to get you conditioned to start shooting back immendately, following on from the observations of those such as SLA Marshall in his book "Men Against Fire', who suggest that very few troops actually use their weapons in a fire fight. This thesis has since been questioned viz:

"Some 20 years later, the validity of Marshall’s analysis was called into doubt. Respected researchers interviewed those who had accompanied him in World War II and also pored over his personal notes during the mid-1980s. Convincing evidence pointed to his having fabricated his World War II ratio-of-fire values, still so widely accepted at the time. The question seemed inevitable: Had there been a problem with Americans’ willingness to engage the enemy in World War II? If so, had it actually been rectified during the Vietnam War as Marshall claimed, or was the research done there just as flawed as had been the case a quarter of a century before?"
http://www.historynet.com/men-against-fire-how-many-soldiers-actually-fired-their-weapons-at-the-enemy-during-the-vietnam-war.htm

A well trained, agressive, professional infantry unit will try to get the enemy to fire first, thereby revealing their strengths and locations, after which they can be singled out for destruction through well planned fire and movement at various levels.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: HighlandIslander on December 01, 2008, 17:24:51
A well trained, agressive, professional infantry unit will try to get the enemy to fire first, thereby revealing their strengths and locations, after which they can be singled out for destruction through well planned fire and movement at various levels.

That is by far the smartest thing I've read all day.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on December 01, 2008, 17:34:32
I was strongly advised at one time, by those far more battle experienced than I will ever be, 'not' to train soldiers to double tap when coming under contact. The reason? If you do, the enemy will know exactly how many troops you have, and where they are - at least in the lead wave.
Of course, the enemy is counting the exact number of rounds being returned to them, and dividing by two (or more, in the case of MGs firing...) ::)

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: WB on December 01, 2008, 20:36:14
Quote
A well trained, agressive, professional infantry unit will try to get the enemy to fire first, thereby revealing their strengths and locations, after which they can be singled out for destruction through well planned fire and movement at various levels.

A well trained, aggressive, and professional infantry unit should strive to mow down the bad guys before they have their boots on.  A "reaction to effective enemy fire" is what you do when the bad guys get the drop on you.  I'd prefer to have good int, JDAMs on C2 nodes, then an ambush of the bad guys as they flee the area.  Firefights are dangerous.  Shootings are a better idea.

In the event that you do need to react to effective enemy fire, my opinion is that the section should be letting rip on rapid rate as it moves out of the killzone and into fire positions.  Forget doubletap dash down.  Just keep squeezing the trigger at the bad guy while you're moving towards him and towards cover.  If you can't see the bad guy, spec fire.  The enemy should be wondering how such a small element is putting out so much suppressive fire.  Take back the initiative through speed of movement and violence of action.  The bad guy didn't open up on you because he thought he could only hit part of your patrol.  He waited to fire untill he thought that he could maximize your casualties.  That is the definition of effective enemy fire.

In the event that you receive ineffective enemy fire, that is when you save your ammo and your position.  If the fire is ineffective then it is because the bad guy doesn't know exactly where you are.  Find cover, find the bad guy, and communicate.  In a fighting patrol, some parts may be receiving effective enemy fire while other parts are receiving ineffective fire in their general vicinity. 

This means that when you hear gunshots you have to decide on one of only two choices:

Effective fire? Fire and move!

Ineffective fire?  Orient yourself!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: helpup on December 03, 2008, 07:48:24
Take 2 well aimed shots

I get your meaning but will also point out you can well aim a double tap.  (2 rds, .45 sec  X ring )  However in Trg ( that falls out of tour work ups) the double tap ( correct me if I am wrong here as haven't taught BSL in a couple of years) is still a quick aim ( see also in the general direction) of the direction of fire.  Having said that I have always been a proponent and teach if you don't see the enemy don't fire a double tap until you do.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: helpup on December 03, 2008, 07:54:12
Talking to those who've just returned, it's also important to note that the 'fight through' can take several hours. One particular punch up that was described to me lasted 8 hours - at 50C. Locating the enemy and winning the fire fight sounds good in theory, but can take hours in reality. We seldom practise this in training, and the strains it puts on the troops in contact, as well as the indir fs, ops, med and log systems, are hard to replicate.


Your right on the timeline of course and the stages I stated do come across as quick and we do teach at the BSL level quick with out the emphasis that all this will take time.  A good deal of this is to emphasis a drill and make it a sequence.  In reality not wanting to get ones A$$ shot off slows it down and can ground depending reduce pepper podding to a crawl or a hold for a flanking unit.  Add to that you do now have to work on redeploying your forces for a likely En Flanking maneuver. 

Still the basis we were on was the Sec Atk and the sequences are still the same and at any stage you may have to go back to start it again as you have not kept putting down more rounds then the enemy has.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: helpup on December 03, 2008, 07:59:50
Not a poke at anyone but just a thought,...

... Or possibly into some afghani civi unlucky enough to be around you when you believe you are coming under contact - adding yet another name(s) to list of unintentional injuries that certain members of the masses love to wave about as bad PR for us and the mission.

I added on the bottom of my post about ROE's  the drills are just that and they can, have, will be modified to suit the Deployment.  But I maintain that a Double tap can still be well aimed and fast when you can see the Tgt and if ROE's allow in the general direction of where your coming under fire from. ( that mindset I firmly believe can be turned off and on especially with the work up time we have to train.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: helpup on December 03, 2008, 08:10:07

This means that when you hear gunshots you have to decide on one of only two choices:

Effective fire? Fire and move!

Ineffective fire?  Orient yourself!

Agreed to a point, Ambush drills are better reaction in many cases but not all cases of comming under contact.  and the subsequent Inf Atk.  Depending on terrain Pepper podding can be A$$ crawling ( not fun with FFO) duck and hug ( better still not fun) one Knee ( he wont shoot at me ) or advance firing ( he is too close for us to get to ground )
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on December 03, 2008, 12:08:43
Agreed to a point, Ambush drills are better reaction in many cases but not all cases of comming under contact.  and the subsequent Inf Atk.  Depending on terrain Pepper podding can be A$$ crawling ( not fun with FFO) duck and hug ( better still not fun) one Knee ( he wont shoot at me ) or advance firing ( he is too close for us to get to ground )

Which reminded me of an idea that Patton advocated: Marching fire...

MARCHING FIRE: One of General Patton's favorite tactics was known as "marching fire". It is often described in books about Patton, usually in terms indicating what a wonderful tactic it was. The general idea was a fairly dense skirmish line of infantry, with armored vehicles following closely behind them. The men and vehicles marched forward toward the assumed enemy defenses as artillery fired in support. Each man would, two or three times a minute, fire a round from his rifle in the general direction of the enemy (aimed if he had a target, into a likely spot in the brush if not). The soldiers were taught to shoot low (most soldiers tend to shoot high in brush or smoke) so that bullets would strike the enemy or ricochet off the ground and scream into the enemy positions as they tumbled in flight. The armored vehicles fired bursts of machinegun fire at likely points of resistance at odd intervals.
The tactic has its uses, mostly when advancing in fairly flat or rolling country where brush or trees obscured enemy defense lines. By constantly pumping out bullets, the entire formation would keep the enemy's heads down and could reach the point for a determined assault without becoming pinned down, since it was in effect constantly pinning down the enemy. In its purest form, Marching Fire was the 1944 equivalent of the traditional "push of pike".
The problem was, it didn't always work, and often the more traditional tactics of scouting forward and making a deliberate assault when the enemy was found produced the same results with fewer casualties. Marching fire gave up the advantage of shock. It placed more troops into the range of enemy weapons and denied them cover. When an enemy strongpoint was found, units could not concentrate to destroy it or maneuver around it, since the entire front was occupied by the advancing wave of infantry. Some units ended up on poor ground where they could not maintain the speed of the advance, forcing other units to slow down while under fire.--Stephen V Cole

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htinf/articles/19990927.aspx
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on April 26, 2009, 21:21:20
In a few posts throughout this conversation Lind's Maneuver Warfare Handbook has been brought up.  He advocates that sections should consist of a support, assault, and exploitation element.  In reading the "Future of the Infantry" thread I believe I saw that Marine Corps was looking at a 'breeching' element in the section, which I think was referring back to Lind's exploitation element.

I was hoping that someone could shed some light for me on the actual employment of this exploitation element.  As I currently conceive the infantry attack, a limit of exploitation is set by the higher commander and then the assaulting forces would exploit to that limit, then consolidate.  I am under the impression that Lind intended that assault elements would capture/destroy the intended enemy position and then the exploitation element would carry on the exploitation which would be much more extensive than the traditional "X meters past the objective."  Am I close with this?

I tried Amazon for his book however they are currently sold out, however, I intend to get my hands on this book!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: KevinB on April 27, 2009, 10:31:41
IIRC Breeching the USMC is talking about is for Urban CQB
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: ArmyRick on April 28, 2009, 07:48:43
I personally don't agree with a specific breaching element. I would much rather see the infantry sections equipped and PROPERLY trained to breach (make it a mission specific task based on your estimate).

My personal feeling towards infantry and really thinking about it alot, this for me would be the ideal platoon (dismounted role) 36 strong Close Combat Platoon

Platoon HQ
LT (Commander), WO (2IC), Signaller, Medic (Actually OPCON to PL)

Support Section
Sgt (SPT Sect COMD/Gun Controller), 4 x PTE or CPL (manning 2 x C6 GPMG)
MCpl (SPT Sect 2IC/Targetting NCO), 2 x CPL Marksman role (equipped with 7.62mm HK417 or something similar)

3 x 8 man sections as they are currently equipped and organized (I think it is very flexible).

The key to making this platoon structure work would be training the men properly. If your going to do an OP requiring breaching, then train the men to do so. I also beleive that every soldier on a DP1 infantry should do basic demo course (1 week). But thats me.

Now for added fire power at Coy Level, I would add in a Stand Off Combat Platoon
PL HQ (Same)
60mm Mortar Section (8 pers) 2 x 60mm mortars (Get the american modernize ones and bin the ancient things we use)
2 x ALAWS Section (8 pers) Use 2 x Javelin/Spike each when threat is AFV. In place have them use the good ole fashion 84mm SRAAW(M) and its FULL family of ammo availible (3 types of HEAT, HEDP, HE, Smoke, Illum, Canister). 84 still has a very deadly effect on enemy in open and fortifications.
Finally a Coy GPMG Section (8 pers) use 2 x GPMG.

The Coy would be Coy HQ, Stand off combat platoon and 3 close combat platoons.

I beleive my ORBAT would be ideal. If you do an estimate for threat situations out there, I think you will find my suggested ORBAT very flexible and capable. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on April 28, 2009, 08:10:17
ArmyRick:
I like the ORBAT you put forth.  Now, I'm not sure about the ALAWS' capability, but if it has a HEAT warhead (which I believe that it does), then it, combined with the modernised 60mm (which you also propose, and makes perfect sense), would give all effects capabilities less canister without having the 84.  I do like the 84 for its simplicity, effectiveness, etc; however, I would hate to have to find some place to put "the other one" when using one of the systems in the ALAWS section.  Ideally, have both, but there are manning issues...
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on April 28, 2009, 14:02:56
I like the new 'Commando 21' orbat the Royal marines use. Hurray for 4 x manoeuvre companies!

http://www.armedforces.co.uk/navy/listings/l0038.html

•   There are 4 x Manoeuvre Companies:
•   2 x Close Combat Companies each with 3 x Fighting Troops (5 x officers and 98 other ranks).
•   2 x Stand Off Combat Companies one of which is tracked (Viking armoured vehicle) and the other wheeled. Each Stand Off Combat Company has 1 x Heavy Machine Gun Troop with 6 x 0.5 HMG, 1 x Anti-Tank Troop with 6 x Milan and 1 x Close Combat Fighting Troop (5 x officers and 78 other ranks).
•   Total personnel strength is 692 all ranks.
•   A Troop (Tp) roughly equates to an army platoon and consists of about 30 men.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: baboon6 on April 28, 2009, 16:49:33
I like the new 'Commando 21' orbat the Royal marines use. Hurray for 4 x manoeuvre companies!

http://www.armedforces.co.uk/navy/listings/l0038.html

•   There are 4 x Manoeuvre Companies:
•   2 x Close Combat Companies each with 3 x Fighting Troops (5 x officers and 98 other ranks).
•   2 x Stand Off Combat Companies one of which is tracked (Viking armoured vehicle) and the other wheeled. Each Stand Off Combat Company has 1 x Heavy Machine Gun Troop with 6 x 0.5 HMG, 1 x Anti-Tank Troop with 6 x Milan and 1 x Close Combat Fighting Troop (5 x officers and 78 other ranks).
•   Total personnel strength is 692 all ranks.
•   A Troop (Tp) roughly equates to an army platoon and consists of about 30 men.

Javelin has now replaced Milan in the anti-tank troops. Since this orbat was introduced the HK 40mm GMG has come into service- presumably in the HMG troops. Also the Hirtenberger M6 60mm "Commando" mortar which has replaced the 1x 51mm mortar in each close combat troop. (These weapons are also used by the British Army)

It is also worth mentioning the Command Coy:
Commando Tac and Main HQs
Coy Hq
Recce Troop (including sniper section)
Anti-Tank Troop (6x Javelin firing posts)- OC of this troop acts as the CO's anti-tank advisor
Mortar Troop (9x 81mm mortars + 4 MFC parties)
Medium Machine Gun Troop (? x GPMG-SF, I have seen the number as 6 and 13. Close Combat Troops also include GPMGs in the light role).

The sixth coy in each commando is the Logistic Support Coy.

What seems to happen in practice is that there is a lot of mixing and matching between the various heavy weapons troops and then, like in a British Army rifle coy, each of the  coys ends up with what is termed a "Manoeuvre Support Group" or "Fire Support Group" (not to mixed up with Fire Support Team, which combines FOOs, FACs and MFCs), made up variously according to what is needed, can include Javelins, sniper pairs, 81mm and 60mm mortars (another version of the Hirtenberger M6 has been issued in some units when the 81mm is considered too heavy), GPMGs, .50-cals and GMGs. In the army the HQ for each MSG or FSG comes from one of the fire support coy platoons; in the RM there are of course ready-made HQs in the stand-off combat coys.

How would you outline your role?

I am commander of Manoeuvre Support Group within the Commando Unit and manage a team of about 45 heavy-weapons personnel. We use Javelin anti-tank missile systems, 50 calibre and general purpose machine guns, together with grenade machine guns.


http://www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u/index.cfm?pid=85&catalogueContentID=2400&parent=2212

Corporal Birch was a proud 'Tankie', a Heavy Weapons Anti-Tank Specialist. As a Section Commander within 6 Troop, X- Ray Company, his responsibilities placed him at the vanguard of troop and company action. With his specialist skills he provided intimate fire support to the front line of the fighting troops with a variety of Crew Served Weapons; Heavy Machine Gun (HMG), Grenade Machine Gun (GMG) and the JAVELIN missile system. As an experienced Corporal he was instrumental in the success of his Troop and Company.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/84788821@N00/3108504449/

The section on Z Coy 2PWRR in Afghanistan in the PWRR 2008 journal has a lot more on this unfortunately it is no longer available to download on the regimental website.

EDIT:
Here is an excerpt from it though:

An MSG is a platoon sized group with a section from each of the Support Platoons: Mortars, Machine Guns, Javelins and Recce (including snipers). Each MSG is commanded by one of the support platoon commanders with the 2IC coming from another of the platoons- to give a spread of knowledge. The Mortar Platoon HQ was kept integral to run a Fire Planning Cell for Battle Group deployments. Each MSG was allocated to a rifle company to form a "Company Group" giving the numbers and fire power required on operations.

A lot of cross-training was done before the deployment to Afghanistan so that all soldiers in the MSG could at least operate the Javelin and the GPMG-SF, if not the .50-cal and GMG too (dosn't mention cross-training in mortars, though I presume this happened as 60mm mortars were included as well as 81s). MSG soldiers also brushed up on their rifle platoon tactics so that they could operate in this role if necessary.













Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Ducimus23a on June 20, 2009, 02:48:03
The infantry attack taught and executed at section level is meant for training on fire and movement and comm, it is not realistic to think that a section would be out somewhere in an offensive posture, wondering thru a FIBUA or Open area in ack ack - all alone.....

 , the frontal is used to define your DEBTH, and since you are in an offensive posture, you need your frontal section to actually engage with the EN, not perform an individual action on two lone soldiers under a tree, this is a big picture thing, once a pocket or sniper is recognised, that is the markings of a KZ that you just tripped on, at that point, section level actions may be considered, such as probing, flankings, withdrawl, and cont the advance TO CONTACT....(EFFECTIVE).

Therefore, I have an issue with the question, why a frontal at section level....because unless you are advancing on a known obj and can define the size and DEBTH of the EN, you had better be sure that the right flanking is not in their KZ and the sniper fire is not effectively performing it's msn of disrupting your advance.

This is my opinion.......simple words to explain how I see it......(OK, open fire on my line of thought...., I am waiting....)

Hhahahaha
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: tango22a on June 21, 2009, 00:17:00
I may be out of my lane but Lind's "Maneuver Warfare Handbook" is available at  www.abebooks.com

Cheers,

tango22a
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 21, 2009, 01:44:58
The infantry attack taught and executed at section level is meant for training on fire and movement and comm, it is not realistic to think that a section would be out somewhere in an offensive posture, wondering thru a FIBUA or Open area in ack ack - all alone.....

 , the frontal is used to define your DEBTH, and since you are in an offensive posture, you need your frontal section to actually engage with the EN, not perform an individual action on two lone soldiers under a tree, this is a big picture thing, once a pocket or sniper is recognised, that is the markings of a KZ that you just tripped on, at that point, section level actions may be considered, such as probing, flankings, withdrawl, and cont the advance TO CONTACT....(EFFECTIVE).

Therefore, I have an issue with the question, why a frontal at section level....because unless you are advancing on a known obj and can define the size and DEBTH of the EN, you had better be sure that the right flanking is not in their KZ and the sniper fire is not effectively performing it's msn of disrupting your advance.

This is my opinion.......simple words to explain how I see it......(OK, open fire on my line of thought...., I am waiting....)

Hhahahaha


Say again sober, over  ???
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on June 21, 2009, 02:09:29
The infantry attack taught and executed at section level is meant for training on fire and movement and comm, it is not realistic to think that a section would be out somewhere in an offensive posture, wondering thru a FIBUA or Open area in ack ack - all alone.....

 , the frontal is used to define your DEBTH, and since you are in an offensive posture, you need your frontal section to actually engage with the EN, not perform an individual action on two lone soldiers under a tree, this is a big picture thing, once a pocket or sniper is recognised, that is the markings of a KZ that you just tripped on, at that point, section level actions may be considered, such as probing, flankings, withdrawl, and cont the advance TO CONTACT....(EFFECTIVE).

Therefore, I have an issue with the question, why a frontal at section level....because unless you are advancing on a known obj and can define the size and DEBTH of the EN, you had better be sure that the right flanking is not in their KZ and the sniper fire is not effectively performing it's msn of disrupting your advance.

This is my opinion.......simple words to explain how I see it......(OK, open fire on my line of thought...., I am waiting....)

Hhahahaha

Did you happen to start your review of this topic with post No. 1?

My opinion papers are linked from there, so I'll refrain from a detailed rebuttal.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on October 31, 2009, 14:11:50
Well, as my first post on this thread I'll stay focussed on Post #1.

First, I think that the primary reason a Section has only been focussed on a one-directional attack is that there isn't really a manouevre element.  Being the devil's advocate, one could say that you could theoretically have the Sect 2IC control the 2 x C9s as a firebase and the IC take the 4-5 or so remaining riflemen on the assault, and that may in fact happen in some small cases like OMLT cases when you don't have a Combat Team to work with.

Either way, when you get to Platoon level doctrine, you'll almost always do flankings (at least as trained), be it Ph3 (DP1.1) for officers or 3B for Sgts soon to be WOs.

The reason is that the Pl is the first (smallest) organization that can realistically be expected to have support weapons, and then an assault that includes its own integral foot on the ground fire and movement with sections, and then another reserve section for contingencies.

I fully agree with you that it will rarely happen step-by-step as taught, but you need to do it properly by the book before you can start cutting corners.

No you're not going to get a section who is fixed in place, with a ridge to site your MGs 300m away with a convenient treeline on one side that you can do a perfect flank through that miraculously doesn't have obstacles or an OP for your 90 degree flanking.

However, once you understand the DS solution and you've practiced it, even at the section level you can shape your assets in such a way that if you did come under contact you could still do an oblique frontal with the same advantages of a flank.  Take a look at this extremely simple 5-minute MS Paint asset shifting:

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi63.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fh143%2FSeanNewman%2FOblique.jpg&hash=6638b6ccf01343f968c52d9222fd9dc2)

Whatever your formation on the move, if you have a general idea where an enemy will be you can have your support assets pushed to a flank so as soon as you take any fire they are almost immediately in place and winning the firefight, and your assault only has to do a quick re-orientation but for the most part is still right into a relatively quick and easy to control frontal.

The anti-thesis with this is of course "What if you get hit from a different direction?", and "Well we get taught from day 1 not to converge", but no solution solves every contingency.  This is not a Rommel solution, it's just a quick example of a way that you could get the benefits of a fixed firebase and perpendicular assault without the added time and pain-in-the butt of working out a full set of hasty attack orders.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 31, 2009, 18:10:27
For those of us with Grey Hairs that remember the C2s, the section assault that you describe looks awfully familiar.  The C2s were grouped as a pair so that one gun/rifle was always firing.  Fire discipline required that bursts and magazine changes were staggered. That was necessary because of the limited magazine capacity - 30 rounds per.  But wouldn't that same type of fire discipline with a pair of LMGs make the LMGs more effective - especially if under the control of the 2ic equipped with a grenade launcher.

With the advent of the fire team and each team having its own LMG has something been lost?  Flexibility perhaps?  The concept of the section being able to act independently within the platoon?

Also,  a couple of threads on here have made reference to the Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Emma Gees.... by putting the LMGs within the fire team, rather than concentrating them as a support base, does that contribute to a loss of appreciation for the full capabilities of MGs generally?  Does it mean that skills that could be employed at section level (fixed arcs, target registration....) are not passed along?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on October 31, 2009, 19:27:56
Yes, also a good point.  Whether you say "always site MGs in pairs" or "two is one and one is none", you are certainly dividing your forces by putting one per team (as well as the M203s).

Nothing is ideal though, if you ended up putting the M203s and C9s together and the 4 x C7s together, you'd have some people saying it's not flexible enough and now you don't have two equal teams that can support each other by taking turns...you'd almost be fixed into always having a support and assault element only, instead of each group being able to walk the other on with fire and movement.

Either way, I think the answer is just being flexible in general and if the commander wants to group them equally or support / assault, they can both be justified depending on what effect he's going for on the bad guys.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on October 31, 2009, 19:44:00
Either way, I think the answer is just being flexible in general and if the commander wants to group them equally or support / assault, they can both be justified depending on what effect he's going for on the bad guys.

Well, within 24 pages we have once again come full circle.

Quote
In any tactical situation, the section commander must balance the platoon commander's intents and tasks against his (or her) own preferred tactical solution. At times, anticipated tasks may cause the platoon commander to direct the section to adopt a particular organization, otherwise it may remain open for the section commander to select an appropriate organization. This degree of flexibility is complemented by the requirement to assess each situation for assigned tasks, the threat, the personnel and weapons available in the section, the encountered enemy and the ground over which the section will execute its task. These conditions rarely result in repetitive circumstances, the section commander therefore needs alternatives to meet each situation with a tactical solution best suited to success.

The Canadian Infantry Section Attack, Part Two: Initiative is Always an Option (http://regimentalrogue.com/papers/sect_atk_part2.htm)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 01, 2009, 00:16:16
For those of us with Grey Hairs that remember the C2s, the section assault that you describe looks awfully familiar.  The C2s were grouped as a pair so that one gun/rifle was always firing.  Fire discipline required that bursts and magazine changes were staggered. That was necessary because of the limited magazine capacity - 30 rounds per.  But wouldn't that same type of fire discipline with a pair of LMGs make the LMGs more effective - especially if under the control of the 2ic equipped with a grenade launcher.

With the advent of the fire team and each team having its own LMG has something been lost?  Flexibility perhaps?  The concept of the section being able to act independently within the platoon?

Also,  a couple of threads on here have made reference to the Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Emma Gees.... by putting the LMGs within the fire team, rather than concentrating them as a support base, does that contribute to a loss of appreciation for the full capabilities of MGs generally?  Does it mean that skills that could be employed at section level (fixed arcs, target registration....) are not passed along?

If we had 2 x GPMGs per section, like the Parachute Regiment still does, then it wouldn't be an issue as each group could blast their way through just about anything. This is true flexibility!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 01, 2009, 06:54:20
Well, within 24 pages we have once again come full circle.

Hey, sorry about that.  Like most annoying people, I came into this conversation late and injected my opinion that may or may not have already been said a dozen times.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on November 01, 2009, 08:17:44
I have come to really like the work of J Boyd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop).  We advance in circles.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 01, 2009, 09:48:13
Pfft...not really sure we're winning the OODA loop in our current theatre.

We've found a lot of caches, and still waiting for the Annex of Found Items to read:

4 x 100-page op orders;
3 x projector screens;
5 x OPP charts; and
1 x OrBat with 5:1 support/command:fighter ratio.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on November 01, 2009, 11:59:18
Pfft...not really sure we're winning the OODA loop in our current theatre.

We've found a lot of caches, and still waiting for the Annex of Found Items to read:

4 x 100-page op orders;
3 x projector screens;
5 x OPP charts; and
1 x OrBat with 5:1 support/command:fighter ratio.

Actually what you describe is the antithesis of Boyd's OODA Loop.

If we acted according to Boyd's thesis then you would have section commanders Observing - Orienting - Deciding - Acting and Platoon Commanders and higher facilitating their operations.

Or as Wellington would apparently have had it "....no officer......(should be) debarred......from.....his primary duty - which is, and always has been, so to TRAIN (my emphasis) the private men under his command that they may, without question, beat any force opposed to them in the field".

Privates as in private individuals, privately held companies and privateers - competent individuals hired of their own free will, not coerced, trained to perform a task and then released to perform the task with "higher" training, equipping and supplying direction.  Or as has been noted elsewhere Rugby not Football.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 01, 2009, 12:45:07
Actually what you describe is the antithesis of Boyd's OODA Loop.

Thank you Captain obvious.

Did you not get it that I was suggesting that is what we do and it's why we're losing the OODA loop race?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on November 01, 2009, 13:11:59
Sorry mate..... I'll pack it in.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 01, 2009, 13:17:37
No need to be like that, buds.

I fully agree with you that the OODA loop give the winner s decided advantage; I'm just saying that its not us.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: KevinB on November 02, 2009, 00:50:10
No need to be like that, buds.

I fully agree with you that the OODA loop give the winner s decided advantage; I'm just saying that its not us.

While I like using the OODA loop to describe gunfighting (and I guess we need to credit the AirForce from its Dog Fighting origins), I'm not sure you can relate it to a COIN operation where one side has a huge (and partially required) logistical tail, while another has a scratch your *** and come to work if you feel like it ability for an 'insurgency'.

  Secondly just because the conventional side requires a mountain of paperwork to slide over, don't mistake that when a HVT tgt pops up, they get theirs in spades quite quickly.


Now back to the attack.


 I've never likes firebasing LMG's (or the C2's and yes I do remember them with not a lot of fondness) I think that we (as a western military force) where taught to place to much emphasis on "suppression".  Frankly effective fire suppressed when it causes casualties.  I think your a much more flexible entity with a dispersed armament, worse case for a specific role that is identified you can always group things. 
 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 05, 2009, 17:47:26
I don't know, it's hard to argue against the strengths of the fix and strike benefits that a firebase offers.  I compeltely agree that killing them is the best method to supress them, but I think that is best offered by 2 x C9s laying down belt after belt of rapid rate...while the lighter C7/C8 force moves in to mop up.

Keep in mind that we're not talking about a not-really-that-hasty platoon attack flanking with orders and moving way to the side.  An oblique attack still gives you that approx 90 degree angle and a firebase set and blazing, but the assault force is advancing almost immediately so it's not a 10 minute rapid rate.  The whole thing is theoretically over with in 1-2 minutes (assuming no inevitable casualties, etc).

Remember the other disadvantage to a frontal being that it allows the enemy to find cover to some extent.  Unless they have a prepared defensive position, it's very unlikely that they will have cover from the multiple sides of the C7s and the flankers.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 05, 2009, 19:04:12
Interesting article by an 'egghead jar head' that supports a heavy fire base with a lighter, faster manoeuvre element:

Suppression is the Critical Infantry Task

by

Major Brendan B. McBreen

      The three keys for a successful attack against a prepared enemy position are:

·         A covered approach. The assault element needs a covered approach to protect the force from enemy observation and enemy direct fire.

·         A vulnerable penetration point. The commander must recognize and assault the enemy’s most vulnerable position. Ideally, he recognizes where the enemy has poor mutual support, a point where subtle terrain features conspire against the enemy to isolate and weaken his position. This allows the suppression element to concentrate maximum suppressive fires against specific enemy defenses and not disperse fires across a wide front of multiple threats.

·         Overwhelming suppressive fire. The assault element cannot exit their covered approach to assault the penetration point until enemy weapons have been destroyed, obscured or effectively suppressed. This is the critical task. Effective suppression is a pre-requisite for the assault, and in turn, the entire attack.

      Currently, Marine infantry units are not trained sufficiently on direct fire suppression. This represents a critical deficiency in the lethality and offensive combat power of our infantry.

World War I: 1917
      In 1937, Erwin Rommel published Infantry Attacks, a tactical primer based on his combat experiences in World War I.1 Of its many lessons on small-unit combat, the book is especially clear on suppression in support of the assault. As a young combat leader, Rommel displayed a “masterful use of direct-fire weapons to gain nearly total fire superiority…in narrow sectors in order to effect a breakthrough…”2

      Infantry Attacks describes a series of attacks that Rommel led during 1917. He organized his forces into three elements: a suppression element, an assault element, and an exploitation element. The assault element was small in relation to the suppression element. As he gained experience, he further decreased the size of his assault element.3

            Date             Location      Ratio of Suppression to Assault Elements

7 January 1917                        Gagesti                         2 : 1

10 August 1917                        Carpathians                         3 : 2

11 August 1917                        Carpathians                         3 : 1

19 August 1917                        Carpathians                         9 : 1

25 August 1917                        NE Italy                         4 : 1 4

      His large suppression element placed overwhelming suppressive fire on specific enemy positions. Rommel closely supervised every detail of the suppression element, personally directing the emplacement and assignments of his soldiers and weapons. The assault element maintained a covered approach, and usually assaulted less than 100m from its last covered position to the penetration point.5 Once the penetration had been made, Rommel would then lead the exploitation element into the enemy position.

U.S. Army: 1976
      In 1976, the U.S. Army conducted a series of combat tests with the experimental MILES laser system, which was then being developed to simulate small arms fire. Over seventy attacks, day and night, were made against a dug-in enemy. All soldiers and weapons were instrumented to record casualties. One analysis examined the most successful tactics for small-unit assaults:

               Units / Scheme of Maneuver      Success Rate
(1) Base of Fire      (2) Maneuver      25% success

 No Base of Fire      (3) Maneuver: On-line assault      33% success

 (1 + AT) Base of Fire      (2) Maneuver      56% success

 (2) Base of Fire      (1) Maneuver      88% success6

Notes the last line. Heavy suppression, with a small assault element was successful almost 9 out of 10 times. Two up and one back was successful only 25% of the time. This result paralleled Rommel’s tactics.

            One of the strengths of mechanized infantry is that in addition to mobility, the unit carries significant organic firepower. The attack by a well-trained mechanized infantry unit should place a small assault element against a vulnerable penetration point, supported by the overwhelming firepower of a vehicle-mounted suppression element.

http://www.2ndbn5thmar.com/CoTTP/Suppression%20McBreen%202001.pdf

 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: KevinB on November 05, 2009, 20:11:52
I don't know, it's hard to argue against the strengths of the fix and strike benefits that a firebase offers. 
with the exception is a visible target thats a bigger priority for the enemy especially with RPG or AGL...

Quote
I compeltely agree that killing them is the best method to supress them, but I think that is best offered by 2 x C9s laying down belt after belt of rapid rate...while the lighter C7/C8 force moves in to mop up.
  Shoot less, hit more.  Unless your enemy is the Red Chinese running over a hill in Kapyong, the idea that beltfeds are show stoppers is delusional.  Mountainous or Urban terrain will quickly prove what a falacy is of the C9 or even C6 is a show stopper.

Quote

Keep in mind that we're not talking about a not-really-that-hasty platoon attack flanking with orders and moving way to the side.  An oblique attack still gives you that approx 90 degree angle and a firebase set and blazing, but the assault force is advancing almost immediately so it's not a 10 minute rapid rate.  The whole thing is theoretically over with in 1-2 minutes (assuming no inevitable casualties, etc).

Remember the other disadvantage to a frontal being that it allows the enemy to find cover to some extent.  Unless they have a prepared defensive position, it's very unlikely that they will have cover from the multiple sides of the C7s and the flankers.
You've lost me, as you seem to think your 6-10man element is capable of flanking an enemy position, now, in a an urban battle it may be possible to breach a house and enter to flank a opponent but its jighly unlikley that your going to be able to fix an oponent with a small iunit, and I still beleive that 'supression' especially against our current foes in Afghanistan and Iraq, that supression is highly overrated,  and pretty much impossible.

I'm quite willing to conceed for large attacks, where one can bear support weapons and indirect fire assets and fast/close air assets - when then you can grind them down in scale, however 6-10 people "supressing" the enemey may make you feel good, but your just sending ammo downrange for no real return.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on November 05, 2009, 21:10:43
Interesting article by an 'egghead jar head' that supports a heavy fire base with a lighter, faster manoeuvre element:

Suppression is the Critical Infantry Task

by

Major Brendan B. McBreen

      The three keys for a successful attack against a prepared enemy position are:

·         A covered approach. The assault element needs a covered approach to protect the force from enemy observation and enemy direct fire.

·         A vulnerable penetration point. The commander must recognize and assault the enemy’s most vulnerable position. Ideally, he recognizes where the enemy has poor mutual support, a point where subtle terrain features conspire against the enemy to isolate and weaken his position. This allows the suppression element to concentrate maximum suppressive fires against specific enemy defenses and not disperse fires across a wide front of multiple threats.

·         Overwhelming suppressive fire. The assault element cannot exit their covered approach to assault the penetration point until enemy weapons have been destroyed, obscured or effectively suppressed. This is the critical task. Effective suppression is a pre-requisite for the assault, and in turn, the entire attack. .....
     
            One of the strengths of mechanized infantry is that in addition to mobility, the unit carries significant organic firepower. The attack by a well-trained mechanized infantry unit should place a small assault element against a vulnerable penetration point, supported by the overwhelming firepower of a vehicle-mounted suppression element.

http://www.2ndbn5thmar.com/CoTTP/Suppression%20McBreen%202001.pdf

Saw that and couldn't help bringing this back to the fore:  Hand-to-hand horror = http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1299447/posts ( My Hyperlink doesn't seem to be working)

Not the best account - other accounts describe 4 Warriors suppressing a line of dug in jihadis while Corporal Byles and one other soldier assaulted across open ground to take the trench line in the flank and then rolled up the line hand to hand.

4x 30mm + 4-8x 7.62mm suppressing with 2 bayonets assaulting.


Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 05, 2009, 21:37:16
Quote
4x 30mm + 4-8x 7.62mm suppressing with 2 bayonets assaulting.
Makes sense to me.  If all the enemy are doing is ******** their collective pants, you can send in the proverbial "Angry boyscout with a sling shot"
(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Flearn.bowdoin.edu%2Fitalian%2Fdante%2FGet-Smart-Photograph-C12142148.jpeg&hash=2a51d916a43e5a00009b7403b4a161e3)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on November 06, 2009, 20:56:39
Wouldja baleeve...... ;D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on November 07, 2009, 01:05:50
We seem to be running around in circles here (the new section manouevre?)

WRT using small sub and sub sub units to flank or otherwise attack by manouevre rather than assault. go back to this post: http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,18270.msg111544.html#msg111544.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on November 13, 2009, 22:45:18
I realize I'm coming in late with this and I'm sure you guys will set me straight.  I only sped read the 25 pages of posts.  I did not see any mention of the 40mm AGL, be it MK19(US), MK47(US), Vektor Y3 AGL(SA). 
,
 believe if suppression, high rate of fire, quick response and relative accuracy is whats needed any one of those provides te answer.  1/Plt. 4/Coy with the potential of a Coy heavy weapons det if necessary.

The MK19 is basic but tried and true.  The MK47 is an updated version with airburst capability and the Vektor brings an indirect capability.  I see the indirect being viable because with my experience there are occasions where the Zulu vehicles were essentially useless in a harbour for a number of reasons.

With an indirect or semi-indirect capability reminiscant of old indirect .50 cal drills they would be a suppresion asset immedialtely at the Coy Cmdr or Plt Cmdr fingertips.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 13, 2009, 22:50:43
I realize I'm coming in late with this and I'm sure you guys will set me straight.  I only sped read the 25 pages of posts.  I did not see any mention of the 40mm AGL, be it MK19(US), MK47(US), Vektor Y3 AGL(SA). 
,
 believe if suppression, high rate of fire, quick response and relative accuracy is whats needed any one of those provides te answer.  1/Plt. 4/Coy with the potential of a Coy heavy weapons det if necessary.

The MK19 is basic but tried and true.  The MK47 is an updated version with airburst capability and the Vektor brings an indirect capability.  I see the indirect being viable because with my experience there are occasions where the Zulu vehicles were essentially useless in a harbour for a number of reasons.

With an indirect or semi-indirect capability reminiscant of old indirect .50 cal drills they would be a suppresion asset immedialtely at the Coy Cmdr or Plt Cmdr fingertips.

That will never work. Gagetown DS would never let you use it on an assessed sect/pl attack because it probably doesn't have blanks, and you can't hand carry it on the fight through.  ;D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on November 13, 2009, 23:47:38
LOL. I am becoming Gagetown DS (Arty).  Don't step on me yet.  Yes any AGL is capable of being hand carried and your probably right about the blanks. 

My business is suppression and helping you guys win your fights. 

What you have now is M203 (short range and slow rate of fire).  60mm (higher rate of fire but short range 800m without bipod and a really bad accuracy).  Any of the AGLs that I mentioned bring 2000m and a helluva lot more more rate of fire than the M203 and a lot more accuracy than the 60mm. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Journeyman on November 14, 2009, 01:44:56
What you have now is M203...
Well, each battalion had a whole platoon's worth of indirect fire too, but someone (raised wearing your capbadge), felt a need to find employment for gunners, so.......    :deadhorse:
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on November 14, 2009, 02:20:05
Cmon now,

I doubt it was my Cmdr that made that decision seems how MY Cmdrs don't do go much above Col.  The Infantry should keep the 81s.  I'm just trying to provide some experienced advice (my job) that best assist you for a immediate reaction, direct and/or higher trajectory weapon. 

If you want to talk about even higher weapons with higher ROE than I am willing.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 14, 2009, 02:28:38
Cmon now,

I doubt it was my Cmdr that made that decision seems how MY Cmdrs don't do go much above Col.  The Infantry should keep the 81s.  I'm just trying to provide some experienced advice (my job) that best assist you for a immediate reaction, direct and/or higher trajectory weapon. 

If you want to talk about even higher weapons with higher ROE than I am willing.

Damn you customer service focused people; don't ruin our illusions about non-infantry types! We'll have nothing to ***** about at happy hour at this rate   ;)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on November 14, 2009, 02:39:23
I am willing to help.  You just have to look beyond your sights.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 14, 2009, 06:52:47
What you have now is M203 (short range and slow rate of fire).  60mm (higher rate of fire but short range 800m without bipod and a really bad accuracy).  Any of the AGLs that I mentioned bring 2000m and a helluva lot more more rate of fire than the M203 and a lot more accuracy than the 60mm.
You're comparing apples and hub caps here.  If you wish the AGL to bring 2000m and that ROF of which you speak, bring a really big logistical trail, and not to mention Jesse The Body Ventura to lug that bad boy around. 
Listen very carefully:
"We Infantry Don't Want the AGL/CASW at the expense of the 60mm.  We want a new 60, COTS."  That's experience talking there.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 14, 2009, 12:45:13
You're comparing apples and hub caps here.  If you wish the AGL to bring 2000m and that ROF of which you speak, bring a really big logistical trail, and not to mention Jesse The Body Ventura to lug that bad boy around. 
Listen very carefully:
"We Infantry Don't Want the AGL/CASW at the expense of the 60mm.  We want a new 60, COTS."  That's experience talking there.

Agreed! :camo:

And I refer this discussion to the comprehensive CASW thread http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=28805.0
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 14, 2009, 14:20:17
"We Infantry Don't Want the AGL/CASW at the expense of the 60mm.  We want a new 60, COTS."  That's experience talking there.

Normally we see eye to eye my friend, but I have to admit that as much as I used to worship the 60mm, I am a CASW convert after recent experiences...both in practical seeing 42 Cdo use theirs and our recent foray.

Old-timer 60mm fans might as well just be old-timer bow and arrow fans.  Yes longbows were better than muskets, but the writing was on the wall and very shortly there will be no going back.

I'll start with the counter-point to my argument, which is that there are a couple things that the 60mm can do better, like have a bigger boom or potentially puncture some ground cover that a CASW can not.

But ask yourself this...if you are fighting against a defended position, don't you think that air power would hit it first?  No you can't 100% count on the airforce and the Infantry likes to do things for itself, but even still...even if the air force doesn't show up I'll give you that one small check in the 60mm's "Pro" box.

However, compare that to all of its cons compared to the CASW:  Takes almost infinitely longer to get rounds on target than the CASW.  Deploy the weapon + load + time in the air = say 1 minute (if your first round is a hit).  If it's not a hit, then you have guys scattering and have fun hitting a running target even with a Coy's worth of 60s.  Compare that to the few seconds of flight time for 40mm rounds, being lobbed at auto.

Not only are you far more likely to hit something with the first shot, even if it's an area target you can blanket the area and then it's extremely easy to change your point of aim to get rounds on escaping targets.

Also, the huge "Pro" for the CASW is being so pin-point accurate, even at ranges of kilometers.  If a known insurgent stops his Hi-Lux for 5 seconds to talk to a buddy 1,500m away, a CASW will be destroying that truck and nothing else around it.  Good luck quick-deploying a mortar for that kind of sniper shot and not hitting anything else in the vicinity.  Even if you manage to bullseye the round, the truck would be gone for 30 seconds by time of impact.  Heck, the CASW could even track and hit the truck moving with simple ambush leading fire methods.

I'm not saying the CASW is better than the 60mm at everything, I'm saying that it would beat it at 8/10 of my most important things, and for those other 2/10 things I could take the risk of the airforce not playing that day because of how much better the CASW is at doing the other 8 things.

Assuming I could only take one, I'll take the CASW and never look back, even if I had to give up the Comd's tent for space to put it on the toboggan.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 14, 2009, 14:43:56
I'll disagree 100%, simply because I cannot disagree more.  The CASW is junk.  Yes, if it works, it can lob those shells in; however, the 60 is much more accurate than you know.  Also, the CASW is more akin to a .50 than a high-angle weapon system (eg: mortars). 
The main thing is this: logistics.  Who is going to carry around the ammo and the system?  Where will it go?  Now, an AGL mounted on a vehicle, that's fine; however, you cannot replace a mortar with a machine gun any more than you can replace a tire with a gas tank.

So, to keep this on topic, let us consider a company attack on a defended locality, with no external support.  For fun.  The 60 is, as I stated, much more versatile in hitting things out well beyond 2 km, things that you don't have to see to hit.  And this means that "they" cannot hit back at teh 60s.  Yes, I hear that the CASW is able to do so as well; however, the lower mass of the rounds means that they are more vulnerable to atmospheric effects than the 60mm rounds=less dispersion ("PE") on the target area for the 60.   But I revert back to "who carries what?"  The 60 can be broken down, and the rounds as well. 
Now, if a vehicle shows up with a 40mm AGL on it, and it joins in, it can supplement the fires of the machine guns quite well.  The dismounted atrocity that DLR wishes to thrust upon us?  No thanks.


And as for "modernised weapons", we can bin the current in-use 60 and upgrade to any of the variants out there.  Hell, we'd probably get more range. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 14, 2009, 15:28:08
... let us consider a company attack on a defended locality, with no external support. ...

I already covered that, and it's a damn-near impossible hypothetical.  You have seen this yourself, how often do we do deliberate ops with real lives in danger without 10 layers of coverage in the air to bomb anything that moves? 

The image of a company doing an isolated attack on a static platoon dug-in position the open is so old-school in thinking that it is almost cute because of how silly it is.  It's okay, I understand, you were sold on the mortar when you were in Germany fighting last century's war.

You using that example of why we still need the mortar like saying we need X new machine gun in case tens of thousands of Zulu Warriors advance on us in extended line.

In fact, I even granted you that one specific example in my devil's advocate point.  Then I stated that even granting that last-century warfare example presents itself, for the other 8/10 things that a CASW is better I'll take it with me.

And logistics?  Yes it may take two (I'll even grant you 3) men to carry a CASW with the FCS, the ammo is completely reversed.  For the few mortar bombs that you can carry, I can have dozens. 

When our two units have a meeting engagement in the open, we'll see how many mortarmen you still have left to fire any rounds at all after your position is blanketed with 20,000 rounds of 40mm HE :-)

As I said, the biggest CASW advantage is the time it takes to get rounds on target, and we're honesty talking 5-10 seconds vs a minute. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 14, 2009, 17:34:51

As I said, the biggest CASW advantage is the time it takes to get rounds on target, and we're honesty talking 5-10 seconds vs a minute.
That is its only advantage.  Now, FWIW, "Cold War" is not a dirty word, and the straw man of a company with no external enablers is just that: to see what a company can bring to the table.  By your logic, we should stick to rifles for self-defence and just carry radios and bomb the crap out of everything.  You look to Afghanistan where we are the Rich Dude on the block, with stacks and stacks of "stuff".  That's nice, but it's the guerre du jour, not war.

Enough of trying to say "either/or" for CASW/Mortar.  Your relative inexperience is showing here, and this isn't a slight against you or anyone for that matter.  Talk to the dudes who were in our BG who used the mortar as it was intended to be used, not as a hand-held bomb launcher.  They wouldn't have traded it for anything.  And remember, to avoid your waves of CASW, I'll just hide behind a wall and log bomb after bomb at your opposing forces (in between doughnuts, naturally: after all, that's what mortarmen do).

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 14, 2009, 20:29:13
As I wrote in Post #1 on this topic, you are not talking to someone who hates the mortar.  I have long been a huge fan of it and what it can bring to the table.

However, when I hear people saying that the CASW is worthless and "Long Live the 60", I think it's ludicrous.

As for rounds on target being its "only advantage"...giving you the benefit of the doubt here, perhaps you've heard of Shock Action, Surprise, and Offensive Action?  Kind of hard to achieve Shock Action or Surprise when you see an enemy of opportunity and yell to him "You just stay right there while I get this thing ready and fire bombs that will take a minute to get where you are when I fire them, but whatever you do, don't move in the meantime!".

What you call its only advantage I would be willing to call that a game changer.  Getting rounds on target in 5-10 seconds vs 60 seconds is almost insurmountable.  To make up for that much of a disadvantage, the mortar and ammunition should have to weigh nothing, drop 1000 pound bombs, and shine my boots.

The next CASW advantage is the ability to do precision strikes, which isn't even an option on the 60mm.  You can still use the CASW for area suppression, but you can also use it to hit one guy standing in the open.  So not only do you have a weapon system that is far faster, but it can do more things.

As for my "relative inexperience", the counter to that is that the guys with too much experience are the ones who end up getting everyone killed because they fight the last war.

In WW1 they didn't take machine guns into account.  In WW2 France was overran for relying on area defence.  And now, we are losing in a COIN environment because of people who were trained to fight the Russian hordes.

They can't adapt.  Guys like Rommel can.  The Comd just finishing up in TFK can, and has drastically changed things for the better, specifically because he's not fighting the last war.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on November 14, 2009, 21:27:57
As for my "relative inexperience", the counter to that is that the guys with too much experience are the ones who end up getting everyone killed because they fight the last war.

In WW1 they didn't take machine guns into account.  In WW2 France was overran for relying on area defence.  And now, we are losing in a COIN environment because of people who were trained to fight the Russian hordes.

They can't adapt.  Guys like Rommel can.  The Comd just finishing up in TFK can, and has drastically changed things for the better, specifically because he's not fighting the last war.

And, inevitably, you too will be labeled a dinosaur by the next generation.  Try not to take it badly when it happens.   ;D

I'll take my 81s back now, along with Technoviking's proposed updated 60s, and we'll start with actually educating the corps on the use of a family of mortars in conjunction with other weapon systems (including CASW when they are available and appropriate to the task).
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 14, 2009, 21:50:01
As for rounds on target being its "only advantage"...giving you the benefit of the doubt here, perhaps you've heard of Shock Action, Surprise, and Offensive Action?  Kind of hard to achieve Shock Action or Surprise when you see an enemy of opportunity and yell to him "You just stay right there while I get this thing ready and fire bombs that will take a minute to get where you are when I fire them, but whatever you do, don't move in the meantime!".
......
In WW1 they didn't take machine guns into account.  In WW2 France was overran for relying on area defence.  And now, we are losing in a COIN environment because of people who were trained to fight the Russian hordes.

They can't adapt.  Guys like Rommel can.  The Comd just finishing up in TFK can, and has drastically changed things for the better, specifically because he's not fighting the last war.
First of all, it's not a case of only 60's or only CASW.  When the enemy is spotted, in a non-descript war, you engage immediately with direct fire weapons.  Shock action, offensive action and all that.

Next, in WW1, they did indeed factor machine guns.  Hence the Machine Gun Corps of Canada and other armies.  In WW2, France was overrun due to shock action and deception by the Germans.  People who were trained to fight the Russian hordes aren't losing the COIN fight in Afstan.  Don't look to Rommel as an adaptor, look to him as a sycophant.  Talk instead of von Manstein, who used his training (from pre-war) to conduct a proper estimate and conduct o proper wargaming to come up with a COA that employed shock action, deception and other factors to outwit his enemy (e.g., US).  Same with the incumbent Comd TFK.  He hasn't had an epiphany, he's simply putting his staff training into effect and using his will to make it happen, much as any commander would.

So, with any infantry attack, there are those who simply place firebases and the like, then there are those who employ their tools to hit the enemy's centre of gravity (Schwerpunkt) and go from there.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on November 14, 2009, 23:05:59
And while the debate swirls around the notion of support weaponry:

Extra bunker-buster missiles for Afghan front line (http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/EquipmentAndLogistics/ExtraBunkerbusterMissilesForAfghanFrontLine.htm)

Quote
Sergeant Ross Jones, Royal Marines, from 42 Commando, who was on the exercise, said the weapon was 'awesome' and added:

"For the people that we support, they know that we have got their back and we are their angel on their shoulders watching their every move and this gives them peace of mind when they move on the ground below us.


Quote
Speaking from Afghanistan, Captain Warren Marginson, Second-in-Command of B Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, said:

"Javelin is an invaluable asset to troops on the ground. Its accuracy and firepower mean we are now able to handle many more situations on the ground ourselves and reduce the need to call in close air support.

"The weapon is versatile and has the ability to deliver the warhead accurately on target. We now have the ability to strike in day or night and in all weather conditions but more importantly Javelin gives us the ability to identify insurgent activity in all conditions."

Alternatives


Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on November 15, 2009, 14:09:36
Yes, I hear that the CASW is able to do so as well; however, the lower mass of the rounds means that they are more vulnerable to atmospheric effects than the 60mm rounds=less dispersion ("PE") on the target area for the 60. 

I gotta disagree with this point.  Yes they are lower mass but they are travelling through a lot less atmosphere as the 60 would be.  That is a reason mortars are unreliable and unsafe in windy conditions and to fire them in those conditions in a danger close situation would be suicide. 

An AGL could be adjusted for wind a lot easier.  I would like to see firing tables for any of the AGLs and have looked with no success.

Also, when we buy the AGL I hope it is at least the MK47.  I have not witnessed it but, I think all will be pleased with it's timed fuse and airburst capability for enemy who hide behind walls.

I can make one guarantee. The persons who are truly hoping we don't get this capability in action are our enemy.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: George Wallace on November 15, 2009, 14:22:50
I can make one guarantee. The persons who are truly hoping we don't get this capability in action are our enemy.

I could comment "Get off your High Horse." but think instead that you are simply confused.  Are you confusing the people who are disagreeing with you, over the fact that they do not want to see the loss/sacrifice of one or more capabilities to the expense of purchasing your "dream" piece of kit with those who truly oppose the ravings of CASW?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Target Up on November 15, 2009, 14:47:08


I can make one guarantee. The persons who are truly hoping we don't get this capability in action , are our enemy.

Try reading it now, George.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 15, 2009, 15:34:26
I gotta disagree with this point.  Yes they are lower mass but they are travelling through a lot less atmosphere as the 60 would be.  That is a reason mortars are unreliable and unsafe in windy conditions and to fire them in those conditions in a danger close situation would be suicide. 
I don't have the firing tables handy; however, for high angle shots, I'm fairly certain that the max ords for the CASW would be similar to those of the 60, given similar ranges fired at those angles. 
As for "mortars are unreliable and unsafe in windy conditions", I'm well aware of the limitations of any high angle shots, and I'm also quite aware of the danger-close procedures for mortars. 
Now, for mass, remember that the definition of mass to which I am referrring is as follows:
Quote
...property of matter equal to the measure of an object's resistance to changes in either the speed or direction of its motion. The mass of an object is not dependent on gravity and therefore is different from but proportional to its weight.
So, a vehicle-mounted CASW would be ideal.  A ground mounted CASW at the expense of a mortar is folly.  It would hinder the echelon of an infantry company, not to mention be rather limited in its ability to support an infantry attack with no external fire support, the topic of this thread.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on November 15, 2009, 16:28:08
To all that think I am suggesting the AGL replace mortars, I am not.

Quote
I don't have the firing tables handy; however, for high angle shots, I'm fairly certain that the max ords for the CASW would be similar to those of the 60, given similar ranges fired at those angles.

I gotta disagree again on your guess at ballistic info.  I will check on the DWAN tommorrow and get back to you but, judging by some of the Met data sheets for mortars I was able to find at home on the internet the 60 will go well above 1000m max ord. Just a guess but, I can't see the AGL going even above 100m.

I am not sure why so many are snubbing the AGL.  It seems it's been that way since it was first mentioned a few years ago.  Every other army in the world uses them why shouldn't we.

Here are a couple of links on the MK47 if anyone is interested.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/mk47.htm (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/mk47.htm)
http://www3.ausa.org/webpub/deptarmymagazine.nsf/byid/kgrg-6cuqgt (http://www3.ausa.org/webpub/deptarmymagazine.nsf/byid/kgrg-6cuqgt)
http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/smallarms/Lambr.pdf (http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/smallarms/Lambr.pdf)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Old Sweat on November 15, 2009, 16:39:38
I know Petard and Gny Hwy as well as the mortar guys are aware of this formula, but the maximum ordinate can be calculated by squaring the time of flight in seconds and then multiplying by four. This gives you a figure in feet and can be converted to metres by a simple calculation - divide by three and subtract 10%.

I had to teach this formula, demonstrating how it was achieved, in a mutual in the ballistics and ammunition phase of my IG course. Theoretically it only works in a vacuum, but it also applies in air and is most accurate for mortars and other high angle fire.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 15, 2009, 16:45:24
I had to teach this formula, demonstrating how it was achieved, in a mutual in the ballistics and ammunition phase of my IG course. Theoretically it only works in a vacuum, but it also applies in air and is most accurate for mortars and other high angle fire.

Cool... mortars in space. Look out Klendathu!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 15, 2009, 16:50:15
To all that think I am suggesting the AGL replace mortars, I am not.

I gotta disagree again on your guess at ballistic info.  I will check on the DWAN tommorrow and get back to you but, judging by some of the Met data sheets for mortars I was able to find at home on the internet the 60 will go well above 1000m max ord. Just a guess but, I can't see the AGL going even above 100m.

I am not sure why so many are snubbing the AGL.  It seems it's been that way since it was first mentioned a few years ago. 
Hey, I'm not opposed to an AGL.  I am opposed to a CASW replacing the 60, which is the current plan.  The CASW is intended to be able to deliver high angle fire, much like a mortar.  For low-angle shots, similar to those used by a machine gun, of course the max ord is going to be low; however, the CASW is what I am talking about.
Quote
Every other army in the world uses them why shouldn't we.
Same can be said of mortar platoons in the infantry, yet we don't have those either  :(

Anyway, for infantry attacks, even on Klendathu, it comes down to firepower.  In most cases, we employ direct fire weapons (machine guns, rifles, insults, etc).  For infantry to be able to attack effectively on its own, indirect fire weapons (mortars, artillery satire, etc) only add to the fight.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on November 15, 2009, 16:59:03
Michael, you are right that I will be labeled a dinosaur by future generations, if I do not adapt.  All of my training involved the Grenovians, Stromians, Ventorans, and even a bit of the Fantasians.  Everything I did in training involved two up one back full throttle kill all the enemy.

However, I just got back from a tour doing everything I could (on deaf ears) to convince some key pers to get out of that mindset because of this mission.  Some adapt, some don't.

Techno, I still grant you the advantages that you're offering for the mortar over the CASW.  The biggest problem though with it is that those few advantages that the 60mm has over it are all last century advantages and are all better met by assets that 99% of the time are going to be available any time we ever put 100+ dismounted soldiers in danger.

No you can't guarantee anything, but for the PITA-factor of carrying 2 mortars per man in the Coy, I'll pass thanks.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: KevinB on November 16, 2009, 10:41:33
You cannot dismount an AGL and expect it to keep up in a fight, it is a static position or vehicle mount system.
 
 Secondly having been in a position where the Hk GMG was not deployable, and the small unit also happened to have a next gen 60mm, the 60m was very effective in dealing with the tgt.

 I wrote about that little issue in the CASW thread.

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Troopasaurus on November 27, 2009, 03:05:06
Interesting to note that the British Army has reinstalled the light mortar into its kit in Oct 08. This is after doing away with the 51mm Mortar which was to be replaced by the 40mm UGL and the 40mm GMG. Are going to need to go through the same lessons?


http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/285986_ARMY_VEHICLESEQUIPMENT_V12.PDF_web.pdf
Page 9 of above document.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: RIFLES on February 11, 2010, 12:14:29
I've been reading this with some interest being a British Infantry Soldier who prior to being put out grass spent serval years in a Mortar Platoon from Cpl/Sgt MFC to the 2IC running the FDC and G4 for my Platoon.

The 51mm was due to be phased out when we were equipped with the UGL, however we hung onto it when AFG kicked off as it was an ideal system that quickly brought down indirect onto the enemy and allowed assaulting troops to still have fire/smoke in the gap that exists between Last Safe Moment from the Arty/81mm and the forward edge of the enemy position.

We have now adopted a 60mm but unsure as to it's performance, I've not seen or played with it - yet! but I gather that it's been used to good efect.

Interestingly I saw the 51mm being used in a TV programme the other night from last years summer tour in AFG called 'Road Warriors' - a programme about a Transport Regiment from the Royal Logistic Corps.  Interesting viewing when 3 of the vehicles take a wrong turn, get lost and end up putting a truck in the canal.  Four soldiers (incl an 18 year old female) up having a fight with the Taliban while 1 of the vehicles run for help.

Can be seen on the ITV player

http://www.itv.com/presscentre/roadwarriors/ep1wk05/default.html
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on February 11, 2010, 12:49:44
WRT UK employment of the 60mm.
In short, the 51mm was phased out because BAE found it no longer profitable to make the rounds (The UK was its sole customer). 
In 2006, the UK went to Helmand and experienced something similar to what Canada experienced in Kandahar at the same time: two way ranges unlike those experienced for some time (since 1982 for the UK).  With the 51mm on the way out, and the GMG not yet online, an interim replacement was needed as identified in a UOR that went out.  A 60mm Mortar was available so they went with it, FOR AFGHAN EMPLOYED UNITS ONLY.  Well, the squaddies were so impressed with it that it is now being taken on establishment across the UK army.
The GMG (aka "CASW") has its niche, normally mounted, as it is about as man-transportable as a .50 calibre MG. 

I predict that we will realise this, many years from now, and try to find "something" to fill that gap from contact to FFE by the artillery AND something that can outrange DShKs, etc.  I also predict that any 60mm mortar will be denied, "just because".  In other words, DLR will get involved and mess it all up.
Just my opinion: it was free and worth every penny.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on February 15, 2010, 14:12:54
I will continue to restate what I already have:  There are a few circumstances where a 60mm mortar makes sense than a CASW, however there are more circumstances where a CASW is better, and in those cases is a lot better (namely precision).

Anyway, that dead horse is flogged, and it doesn't matter anyway because there's no rule that says we can only have one.  That would be like saying "would you rather have a rifle or a MG?", or "Would you rather have a pistol or a grenade?".

Now that I think about it, why not just combine the best of both and ask for a grenade machinegun!  Wait a minute, now we're back to square one.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on February 15, 2010, 14:50:12
One thing that is clear is a successful infantry attack needs lots of man portable firepower. The CASW (grenade machinegun AKA automatic grenade launcher) has lots of firepower, but is not portable. The M-203 fires a low velocity grenade, which has issues in range, accuracy and volume of fire needed to suppress the enemy.

Two technological lines of attack are possible. Making smaller DF grenade launchers such as the XM-25 or 12 gauge grenade shells fired from an AA-12 provides portability and high volumes of firepower at the expense of yet another weapons system for the section/platoon to carry.

The other is to make a man portable weapon capable of firing the 40mm high velocity grenade. The ARPAD 600 was such a weapon (designed around a 35mm grenade, but the weapon can be engineered for other calibres), and is small and portable enough to be carried in a vehicle and taken along when the section dismounts (along with the existing 40mm ammunition). This is perhaps the lesser of two evils, since it uses existing ammunition in a man portable format. See more details here (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=28805.msg901037#msg901037)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on February 15, 2010, 17:01:24
WRT UK employment of the 60mm.
In short, the 51mm was phased out because BAE found it no longer profitable to make the rounds (The UK was its sole customer). 
In 2006, the UK went to Helmand and experienced something similar to what Canada experienced in Kandahar at the same time: two way ranges unlike those experienced for some time (since 1982 for the UK).  With the 51mm on the way out, and the GMG not yet online, an interim replacement was needed as identified in a UOR that went out.  A 60mm Mortar was available so they went with it, FOR AFGHAN EMPLOYED UNITS ONLY.  Well, the squaddies were so impressed with it that it is now being taken on establishment across the UK army.
The GMG (aka "CASW") has its niche, normally mounted, as it is about as man-transportable as a .50 calibre MG. 

I predict that we will realise this, many years from now, and try to find "something" to fill that gap from contact to FFE by the artillery AND something that can outrange DShKs, etc.  I also predict that any 60mm mortar will be denied, "just because".  In other words, DLR will get involved and mess it all up.
Just my opinion: it was free and worth every penny.

As I recall, the 51mm was also one of the most complex 'simple light mortars' in existence, with a weird little trilux sight for night firing, and a variety of attachments that fell into the 'what a good idea' column etc. The bomb was also pretty small, although they had a myriad of different ammo natures when it first came out. I recall that the illum round was quite good. Bring on the 60!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Petamocto on February 17, 2010, 13:41:06
Thucydides,

What you have stated is correct and has been identified by those responsible for the small arms replacement program.

Due to the way the M203 loads its ammunition, only shorter low velocity rounds can be used for the most part.  Replacements are being considered with a side-load capability that allow for longer rounds, which opens up the range and types of ammo that can be fired.

As with all procurement projects, do not expect a replacement tomorrow.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on March 26, 2010, 14:04:21
Things have been quiet on this site and it's been awhile since I have posted so, I'll stir the pot a bit.

I think we all agree it's best to have everything.  The M203 or XM-25 for short range. Roger out.  Which brings us to the next range band, greater than 400m.  What weapons can do it? MGs yes, 60mm yes, CASW/AGL yes.

Next criteria in my mind would be time from target identification to effects on targets.  MG is fast but target maybe in defilade.  60mm is slow but can hit a defilade target maybe, depending on wind.  The CASW/AGL yes to speed and yes defilade.

To revert back and respond to an older comment.

Quote
The CASW is intended to be able to deliver high angle fire, much like a mortar.  For low-angle shots, similar to those used by a machine gun, of course the max ord is going to be low; however, the CASW is what I am talking about.
.

High angle is defined as greater than 800mils or 45 degrees.  Once you get above that your range decreases anyway.  The CASW/AGL would not be fired above 800mils as it would lose accuracy to wind much the same as the 60mm and even more so because of the weight of the projectile.  The CASW/AGL would be fired below 800mils which might seem like high angle but is not and the time of flight would be considerably less.

As well, the CASW/AGL has timed ammunition for firing at low angles and hitting those hard to reach places that no other weapon can reach with speed and accuracy.

I would not suggest the CASW/AGL being considered a dismount weapon. I would leave it on the cars and have it be fired direct or like old 50 cal semi-indirect drills.  There are AGLs, in particular the MK47 and XM 308 that will calculate the ballistic data for semi-indirect. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Colin P on March 26, 2010, 17:33:53
If I recall the first thing the Taliban did when they assaulted one of the US FOB's was to take out the mortars and prevent their crews from returning fire. It didn't help the US that the pits were exposed to the hilltops. Seems the Taliban have a appreciation for the effect of opposing mortar fire. As an ex-gunner  I am still baffled as to why the 81mm went to the artillery, I can understand assets like 120mm and up, but 81's and 60's clearly need to be organic to be effective.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on March 27, 2010, 02:55:42
If I recall the first thing the Taliban did when they assaulted one of the US FOB's was to take out the mortars and prevent their crews from returning fire. It didn't help the US that the pits were exposed to the hilltops. Seems the Taliban have a appreciation for the effect of opposing mortar fire. As an ex-gunner  I am still baffled as to why the 81mm went to the artillery, I can understand assets like 120mm and up, but 81's and 60's clearly need to be organic to be effective.

How dare you talk like someone who knows what's required at 'the front'? I suggest that you vague up those suggestions and make reference to at least two corporate initiatives designed to waste millions of dollars on things that have nothing to do with increasing the effectiveness of the combat arms in battle  ;D
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Greymatters on March 27, 2010, 13:14:30
I detect sarcasm - nicely put!
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Colin P on March 27, 2010, 14:53:49
I intend to present myself as a consultant with "Many years of experience with indirect weapon systems" and I also have nifty powerpoints to ensure no one knows what the hell I am talking about. Rest assured that hiring me will remove the need to make a informed decision for at least 2 years.  :nod:
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Digger Hale on August 16, 2010, 17:09:11
I just watched "Transformers" and they shot the baddies with 40mm Sabot rounds. Perhaps our Army's should invest in them? A sabot round kicking along at 76mp/s is pretty tops in my mind. Someone ought to buy some.
Back to the seriousness though.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 24, 2010, 12:53:16
I would also like to stir the pot a bit.

The real question here is not weapons systems per se but how they are allocated and used.

The original post noted that section-level, and implied hat even pl-level leadership is beomcing confined to being a mere node for a larger attack ordered by an OC cmding a coy. This, to some extent, is true. The so-called RMA has allowed for an increasing level in comms systems that allow a commander at a higher level to "grip" the battle more effectively.

The problem here is that even the fastest communications technology can replace lateral co-ordination by two section commanders, facilitated by the pl commander providing assets when needed (ex/ 1 section secures fold to protect 2 section's flank in operation vs MG posn. Pl comd orders wpns det to use 60 mm to isolate 2 sect's target and is there to reinforce 2 sect w/ 3 sect if necc.)

At this point, it doesn't really matter so much if you have a 51mm, 60mm or CASW. What matters is the freedom of action afforded the pl cmdr.

But can you blame the OC? What else does he have to do? The assets that should be consuming his time - co-ordinating low-level eng (ie, pioneer) support an bn-level AA/indirect capabilities to work within his plan is now out the window, as the 81mm and pioneers are gone; attached arty and eng assets are now routed through bde, out of the OC's immediate CoC. So he now has to work very tightly with the platoons to make the plan work.

New weapons systems really ought to empower the Coy-level to provide support to platoons, which would probably result in a lessening of micromanagement - there would be no time for it. I would propose that the CASWs be concentrated at the coy, or perhaps even bn level, to give extra support to the main effort when needed and allow the OC and CO to do their original intended jobs, much like how the HMG was concentrated as a support arm in the First World War.

And, yes, I'll say it. Let's get the pioneers back.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on October 24, 2010, 19:45:16
I would also like to stir the pot a bit.

The real question here is not weapons systems per se but how they are allocated and used.

The original post noted that section-level, and implied hat even pl-level leadership is beomcing confined to being a mere node for a larger attack ordered by an OC cmding a coy. This, to some extent, is true. The so-called RMA has allowed for an increasing level in comms systems that allow a commander at a higher level to "grip" the battle more effectively.

The problem here is that even the fastest communications technology can replace lateral co-ordination by two section commanders, facilitated by the pl commander providing assets when needed (ex/ 1 section secures fold to protect 2 section's flank in operation vs MG posn. Pl comd orders wpns det to use 60 mm to isolate 2 sect's target and is there to reinforce 2 sect w/ 3 sect if necc.)

At this point, it doesn't really matter so much if you have a 51mm, 60mm or CASW. What matters is the freedom of action afforded the pl cmdr.

But can you blame the OC? What else does he have to do? The assets that should be consuming his time - co-ordinating low-level eng (ie, pioneer) support an bn-level AA/indirect capabilities to work within his plan is now out the window, as the 81mm and pioneers are gone; attached arty and eng assets are now routed through bde, out of the OC's immediate CoC. So he now has to work very tightly with the platoons to make the plan work.

New weapons systems really ought to empower the Coy-level to provide support to platoons, which would probably result in a lessening of micromanagement - there would be no time for it. I would propose that the CASWs be concentrated at the coy, or perhaps even bn level, to give extra support to the main effort when needed and allow the OC and CO to do their original intended jobs, much like how the HMG was concentrated as a support arm in the First World War.

And, yes, I'll say it. Let's get the pioneers back.

The 'revolution' shouldn't about some new fangled toy giving senior commanders the ability to micromanage each section commander. The revolution has to be about 'giving the power to the people' and investing in the things - technology, training etc - that will help platoon and section commanders have instant access to the same information and fire sp assets that Generals control right now.

This means training our soldiers to think like Generals... or rather, think like the better Generals ;D It also means training senior officers to do what they need to do to allow enourmous assets and levels of responsibility (and trust) to be delegated as far forward in the battle as possible without flinching back into micro-control mode. THAT is frequently the hardest part of the transformation to manage... unfortunately.

The Germans didn't beat France and Poland in a matter of weeks in 1939-40 because they had the best weapons. They beat them because they had the best delegative doctrine (mission type orders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission-type_tactics )  backed up by the communications that allowed a platoon commander to call in a squardon of Stukas at a moment's notice if required.

I wonder how far, if at all, we've progressed from that time and place? There's alot of lip service given to 'mission command' but few have the guts to fully follow it.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 25, 2010, 07:58:36
The 'revolution' shouldn't about some new fangled toy giving senior commanders the ability to micromanage each section commander. The revolution has to be about 'giving the power to the people' and investing in the things - technology, training etc - that will help platoon and section commanders have instant access to the same information and fire sp assets that Generals control right now.

This means training our soldiers to think like Generals... or rather, think like the better Generals ;D It also means training senior officers to do what they need to do to allow enourmous assets and levels of responsibility (and trust) to be delegated as far forward in the battle as possible without flinching back into micro-control mode. THAT is frequently the hardest part of the transformation to manage... unfortunately.

The Germans didn't beat France and Poland in a matter of weeks in 1939-40 because they had the best weapons. They beat them because they had the best delegative doctrine (mission type orders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission-type_tactics )  backed up by the communications that allowed a platoon commander to call in a squardon of Stukas at a moment's notice if required.

I wonder how far, if at all, we've progressed from that time and place? There's alot of lip service given to 'mission command' but few have the guts to fully follow it.

Be careful about using German tactics throughout history as a justification for mission orders. The German use of mission-type orders in the spring offensives of 1918 was a disaster  - although they made significant tactical and perhaps operational inroads, they took tremendous losses to virtually no strategic effect. Their gains could simply not be consolidated and the huge loss of aggressive troops laid the foundation for the Allied offensives which rolled them over later in the year.

If one takes a look at the Canadian offensives of 1918, you can see a dispersion and concentration of firepower: LMGs were pushed down whereas HMGs (Vickers) were pushed up, with the idea of having a strong reserve of fire that battalions, brigades and divisions could use to reinforce success.

Obviously, mission-type orders are the way to go, but this has to be connected with lateral and vertical communication in order to ensure adequate support and the provision of the main effort. The much-vaunted blitzkreig through France in 1940 would not have been possible if higher formations did not have access to significant firepower and shock resources (armoured formations) to reinforce success and support the main effort. This combination of concentration and trust in lower commanders allowed for junior leaders to create openings and higher authority to exploit them. Much of the early German successes were facilitated by the extensive use of radios and co-ordination, not just initiative.


Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on October 25, 2010, 09:13:05
Be careful about using German tactics throughout history as a justification for mission orders. The German use of mission-type orders in the spring offensives of 1918 was a disaster  - although they made significant tactical and perhaps operational inroads, they took tremendous losses to virtually no strategic effect. Their gains could simply not be consolidated and the huge loss of aggressive troops laid the foundation for the Allied offensives which rolled them over later in the year.
That the "MICHAEL" offensive failed strategically lay not so much because of their mission-type orders, but rather the German inability to sustain their gains, due to years of blockade, amongst other things.  It was too little, too late.

I would offer that the argument is that there were significant tactical gains, where before they were stymied, much as we were, with some notable exceptions, of course.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 25, 2010, 10:43:44
That the "MICHAEL" offensive failed strategically lay not so much because of their mission-type orders, but rather the German inability to sustain their gains, due to years of blockade, amongst other things.  It was too little, too late.

I would offer that the argument is that there were significant tactical gains, where before they were stymied, much as we were, with some notable exceptions, of course.

Michael was the first of a series of offensives. The gains were just tactical, that's the point - there was no means of communicating or reinforcing their gains with fire and reserves and they incurred huge losses. They would have incurred similarly huge losses in 1914, 1915 or 1916, and while the blockade was a factor, the fact of the matter is that they ended up with a bunch of strung-out positions with no support. What won the war was good tactical knowledge at all levels combined with some really solid set-piece battles, good staff work, and probably, superior generalship.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on October 25, 2010, 11:35:28
Michael was the first of a series of offensives. The gains were just tactical, that's the point - there was no means of communicating or reinforcing their gains with fire and reserves and they incurred huge losses. They would have incurred similarly huge losses in 1914, 1915 or 1916, and while the blockade was a factor, the fact of the matter is that they ended up with a bunch of strung-out positions with no support. What won the war was good tactical knowledge at all levels combined with some really solid set-piece battles, good staff work, and probably, superior generalship.

So your argument seems to be that Michael was Cambrai in reverse - that tactical innovations could get you the first five miles as a cohesive force but after that there was a lack of means of communication (both in the common sense and in the sense) to maintain cohesion AND a rapid pace.

Now there are few physical limits on pace - but can the organism think fast enough to keep up with the action?  Can it think well enough to exploit the advantages the field offers as it offers them?

I can see hard charging section commanders recreating another very common feature of WW1 battles - the salient, of which the most notorious was the Ypres salient.  Hyper-extended forces, surrounded on three sides, consuming enormous resources to hold them in place.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 25, 2010, 14:08:02
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal. Mission type orders should be one aspect of a developed system whereby leaders who trust each other can pursue their part of the pie and use higher assets when they are necessary/advantageous.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on October 25, 2010, 14:15:35
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal. Mission type orders should be one aspect of a developed system whereby leaders who trust each other can pursue their part of the pie and use higher assets when they are necessary/advantageous.

E.g.,

"Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results."

George S. Patton
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_s_patton.html
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 25, 2010, 21:14:36
Exactly.

My own disclaimer. The Infantry Section and Platton in Battle, B-GL-309-003/FT-001 is remarkably well-written. Perhaps it is more of a cultural difference - a commander who isn't bust co-ordinating soem other asset will invariably get his fingers into the Pl's attack.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Michael O'Leary on October 25, 2010, 21:35:41
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal.

The Infantry Section and Platoon in Battle, B-GL-309-003/FT-001 is remarkably well-written.

You may be contradicting yourself.

What edition of Section and Platoon in Battle are you using?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on October 25, 2010, 21:40:48
The role of communications cannot be underestimated. The Germans had effective tactical communications in WWI (using runners, flares and other means during Operation Michael), but once they moved into operational and strategic communications, they were as SOL as anyone else.

The offensive floundered due to the inability of the High Command to understand the changing nature of the battle, causing the Germans to continue to attack strongly defended positions instead of funneling the troops into areas where the Allies were retreating. While they may not have been able to achieve their objectives even if they had been able to shift troops correctly, they probably would have had more success and upset or even delayed the projected Allied offensives in 1918.

I wonder if we are not facing a similar situation today, given the importance of political intervention and the speed at which images and media reports can be spread by the legacy media and the blogosphere. Do high level commanders have the ability to make the correct decisions with a chorus of voices shouting and distorting the picture on the ground? How about information overload as they sort through massive amunts of information and endless briefings? On again, off again ROE's, rapidly changing priorities to satisfy political imperiatives at home or appease hostile media certainly make it difficult to sustain operations. For troops closer to the ground, this could breed frustration and confusion since the overarching mission aim becomes unclear to them. The other point is the troops can also receive unfiltered material from the legacy media and blogosphere, so the messages they receive are also full of "noise".
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on October 25, 2010, 22:23:12
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal. Mission type orders should be one aspect of a developed system whereby leaders who trust each other can pursue their part of the pie and use higher assets when they are necessary/advantageous.

Are you saying that Mission Command is over-rated or that it is not practiced?  I don't see the linkage between mission command and higher assets.

p.s. Here is a thread from two years ago that looked at German and British/Canadian tactics in WW1.  http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,70754.0.html
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 26, 2010, 08:17:29
You may be contradicting yourself.

What edition of Section and Platoon in Battle are you using?

I am  - I began by looking through some TAMs and then referenced the PAM. My fault; will give myself 15 mins mark time. Also looked through course notes which were very big on control measures.

Quote
The offensive floundered due to the inability of the High Command to understand the changing nature of the battle, causing the Germans to continue to attack strongly defended positions instead of funneling the troops into areas where the Allies were retreating. While they may not have been able to achieve their objectives even if they had been able to shift troops correctly, they probably would have had more success and upset or even delayed the projected Allied offensives in 1918.

The German offensives began with no appreciable political or operational aim and the lack of higher co-ordination made it very difficult to really find a purpose for them. In the end, they burnt out their most aggressive troops in the matter of a couple of months.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 26, 2010, 08:36:19
I am  - I began by looking through some TAMs and then referenced the PAM (1996 version - it's all I have in PDF at the moment). My fault; will give myself 15 mins mark time. Also looked through course notes which were very big on control measures.

The German offensives began with no appreciable political or operational aim and the lack of higher co-ordination made it very difficult to really find a purpose for them. In the end, they burnt out their most aggressive troops in the matter of a couple of months.

Quote
Are you saying that Mission Command is over-rated or that it is not practiced?  I don't see the linkage between mission command and higher assets.

I'm not saying that Mission Command is a bad idea, I'm saying that it has to be one idea among many to make for effective operations. Once a term begins getting bandied about the army, it quickly has its context lost in the rush to attach the buzzword to everything. Rather than training out "strategic" corporals to "think like generals," I would argue that we ought to make sure the role of the corporal is consistent with modern doctrine and then train our corporals to be good corporals, just like we should should train our subalterns to be good subalterns, and generals generals.

See? My argument has been synergised!

Mission-type orders are nothing new, nor are they the be-all, end-all. I would make the argument that while initiative is vital, having assets that the bn and coy level is also key. As of now' they're lacking - mobility and indirect fire can only really be gained through the bde level and the removal of the AA Pl at bn level means that all Pl comds have to rely on the availiablity of tanks, which we nearly scrapped. Mission-type orders ultimately create opportunities for exploitation, but, if these opportunities have no means of being reinforced, then there's virtually no point. Without dets of 81mm, AA or pioneers, how can the OC really influence the battle without getting his fingers the pl attacks?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on October 26, 2010, 12:03:30
Mission-orders are indeed fairly new to our Army. We adopted them with the zeal of the converted, but I am not sure if mission-command is universal.

I agree that there is more than one way to do things. The German doctrine from which manouevre warfare sprang recognized directive control (mission-type orders) and detailed control. Under directive control you have a mission with intent along with the tasks for subordinates.  You don't tell the subordinates how to do their tasks, and you even give them the freedom to abandon their tasks during the battle if by doing so they achieve the mission and intent.  Under detailed control, however, you assign tasks (and perhaps tell them how to do their task) and expect subordinates to execute them.  You prepare and rehearse until everybody knows their part and success rests on the battle unfolding as you have prepared.

Both can work. I prefer directive control, but I believe that our military culture actually prefers detailed control. 

I don't think that mission-orders create opportunties for exploitation. Instead, they allow subordinates to recognize and exploit opportunities without relying on communications with their superior. I've seen this work at very low levels (within a Troop).

I agree that infantry battalions should have their old combat support companies back, but I don't see the linkage to directive vs detailed control. A commander who uses directive control will do so whether his only attachment is a 2Lt with a empty jerry-can or a tank squadron, an artillery battery and the marching band attached. A commander who employs detailed control, on the other hand, will simply enjoy having more assets to control.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on October 26, 2010, 12:32:47
We can find directives of intent as early as the Second World War - I'll agree with you that it's largely a matter of culture. We have PAMs from 1996 preaching the need for mission command, I would think that 14 years is well enough time to have doctrine recognised.

Current doctrine sees a need for both detailed and mission-type orders, depending on the situation. I see what you're getting at wrt creation vs exploitation - it's largely a matter of scale. A platoon commander has, basically, 1 section in reserve (if not depth) and can therefore only exploit so much. What a Pl-level breakout can do, however, is disrupt the enemy enough for the OC to exploit that gap with his reserve or additional assets, or, for that matter, to create a lane for the depth coy to move through. Higher assets are vital to making these small gaps into bigger ones  - if the tanks are too busy protecting flanks (something that an the 8 anti-armour dets in the CS Coy would be able to achieve), how can they be used to build on the rather minor gap created by a successful pl attack?

Having concentrated fire and mobility assets further down the chain allows for a faster reaction to small but important gains which are enabled by mission-type orders, or, in toher words, letting people who are actually there make decisions. Without this support, having loosely directed sub-units going all over the place is inviting disaster.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Tango2Bravo on October 26, 2010, 13:22:50
We can find directives of intent as early as the Second World War - I'll agree with you that it's largely a matter of culture. We have PAMs from 1996 preaching the need for mission command, I would think that 14 years is well enough time to have doctrine recognised.

Current doctrine sees a need for both detailed and mission-type orders, depending on the situation. I see what you're getting at wrt creation vs exploitation - it's largely a matter of scale. A platoon commander has, basically, 1 section in reserve (if not depth) and can therefore only exploit so much. What a Pl-level breakout can do, however, is disrupt the enemy enough for the OC to exploit that gap with his reserve or additional assets, or, for that matter, to create a lane for the depth coy to move through. Higher assets are vital to making these small gaps into bigger ones  - if the tanks are too busy protecting flanks (something that an the 8 anti-armour dets in the CS Coy would be able to achieve), how can they be used to build on the rather minor gap created by a successful pl attack?

Having concentrated fire and mobility assets further down the chain allows for a faster reaction to small but important gains which are enabled by mission-type orders, or, in toher words, letting people who are actually there make decisions. Without this support, having loosely directed sub-units going all over the place is inviting disaster.

We still liked nice deliberate shows as taught by Monty.  Regarding today, manuals only go so far.

Spreading your assets out can also lead to disaster.  Dispersion/concentration is a separate issue from mission command.  You say that having "concentrated fire and mobility assets further down the chain" allows for faster reaction, but it is hard to be both (concentrated and attached out further down the chain) unless you are uncontrained with resources.

Mission command does not need an "exploitation" and pursuit. It can be used for all tasks, even ones where you don't fire a shot. A recce troop leader who gives a good mission and intent can have a patrol commander who abandons his task without permission to achieve the Troop's mission/intent. 

I agree that the infantry battalions should have their combat support platoons back, including anti-armour.  Having integral combat support can, perhaps, enable each tactical grouping to have some combat support while concentrating the tanks/engineers/artillery on the main effort. I just don't see a linkage to mission command. A set-piece deliberate attack using detailed control can result in a breach in the enemy defences that needs to be exploited.

p.s. Going back over this I think that we are in violent agreement here.  As a tanker I would very much like the infantry to have anti-armour, so that tanks can be concentrated without leaving infantry without tanks helpless.  The same can be said for mortars/artillery and pioneers/engineers. Going with this, are there things that platoons/companies need integral that they do not have now?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on November 11, 2010, 00:07:50
Going back to the issue of technology and micromanagement by higher. If I seem somewhat vague during this post I apologize but I don't want to breach OPSEC. Here in Afghanistan battle space comds ie. the infantry coy comds have been given an excellent tool in the "balloon."  There is one at almost every major FOB, they can be tasked almost instantly to provide real time imagery. It is like being able to watch the companies patrols constantly as if watching tv. These have been used to provide ground forces with detailed reports on pattern of life and walk them right on to an objective. However, numerous times during the tour it has also been used as a tool of micromangement. This has resulted in frustration within the companies NCO's and junior officers and precious air space on the companies means being eaten up.  During the post operational report the issue was identified and it was decided that it was likely an issue of training and experience.  This asset was not available nor was it simulated during training resulting in CP staff becoming slightly heavy handed in its employment. I wish I could say I was optimistic about the future of technology like this, however, I believe it is likely that future sect comds and pl comds will be subject to a great deal of control from the CP due to the fact that they can, and (this has already began) it will become the responsibility of the CP to be glued to the video feed and report anything they believe to be operationally relevant (and what is relevant and what is not will vary from person to person). This technology can also result in information overload very quickly.  A sect comd on the ground attempting to control his sect, attached pers (ANA, ANP, ANCOP), and report to higher will become overwhelmed very quickly if every smallest detail is reported to him constantly. CP's will have to be very disciplined in their reporting of information if they are to prevent this.

With regards to employment of mission command in the army today, I am torn and perhaps it's because my understanding of mission command is not strong enough (time for another read through of Manoeuver Warfare Handbook). Control measures here are often used.  There main purpose is for positional awareness IOT prevent fratricide and to hasten the employment of CAS and CCA. Is this contradictory of mission command? I don't think so. It is an attempt to bring the battlefield, which is inherently chaotic, under some kind of control. BUT they do put restrictions on subordinate's actions. When I am tasked by my coy comd to clear a village I'll break it down into numbered compounds, and allocate them to sects, with particular coordinating instructions to prevent fratricide, but I won't tell them how to clear the particular compound.  During coy level ops, my coy comd gives me a lane which entails numerous villages. He doesn't tell me in what order I should clear the villages, however, he does dictate to me my avenue of approach and the boundaries of the lane itself. Are these examples of mission command?  I believe so. Ultimately during pl level ops I have to deconflict the actions of sects IOT ensure they achieve mine and highers intent and ensure they do so without hurting eachother. Just as my coy comd must ensure that his pl's actions are deconflicted. To do this some level of control must be applied. Mission Command and Mission Orders work best I suspect when delivered to the highest comd on the ground, as he is the person who truly has the freedom of action to come up with the best way to tackle a problem.  For example, the CO tasks my coy comd to Clear obj X. It is an independant coy obj, by this I mean that there are no flanking coys to be worried about and it will be the OC's plan with little to no planning guidance from the CO other than his intent and mission (like most clearance operations in Afghanistan). Once the OC decides he's going to take Obj X by a right flanking, I'm pretty much locked in. There is of course room for me to exercise initiative within this manoueuver but not nearly as much as the coy comd had, and this continues down the line until sect comds are left with little room for initiative. Once your boss is on the ground with you and other call signs your initiative is slightly constrained.  Always has been, always will be... I think.  :)

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Technoviking on November 11, 2010, 00:15:10
Mission Command does not mean "total freedom".  instead, remember that there are indeed freedoms, but there are also constraints.  Let us not forget that your superior has a task, and you are part of it.  In his plan, he is leaving the details to you, but in the end, you still have to achieve "x" by time "y" in order to "z". 


As for the balloons/eyes in the skies, etc...I'm not a fan of them.  Why trust subordinates when you can micromanage them???

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on November 11, 2010, 11:59:27
Roger Technoviking.  So is the predominant view that mission command is something your either practicing or your not, or is it seen more as a continuum where there are varying degrees of its practice, with complete control on one end, and little to no direction on the other?

I'm inclined to see it more as a continuum based of the inclinations of the comd and the capabilities of his subordinates.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on December 18, 2010, 00:55:50
Quote
As for the balloons/eyes in the skies, etc...I'm not a fan of them.  Why trust subordinates when you can micromanage them???

Why wouldn't you take advice and direction from Someone who may have been in your position before?

Balloons are better than kites?  Oui?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: KevinB on December 18, 2010, 12:45:19
Why wouldn't you take advice and direction from Someone who may have been in your position before?

Balloons are better than kites?  Oui?

The problem is two fold (and more) one they can get sucked int tunnel vision concentrating on a portion of the battle and neglecting the larger picture, and also seeing the ground is not the same as being on the ground. 
  While sitting somewhere will digital imagery is nice, it does not give you the actual feedback of what the soldiers on the ground see, and while can can see somethings they cannot, it also does not display the actual terrain and what can and cannot be seen from there.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on December 18, 2010, 14:34:32
There is also the problem that if we constantly rely on someone who's been there before, we can fall into the trap of forming patterns and hence becoming vulnerable.

Before anyone loses their mind,  of course, I take the advice of those who have been before very seriously, but new information and freedom of action ensures that nothing becomes fossilised in our doctrine or our habits.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: George Wallace on December 18, 2010, 15:24:56
There is also the problem that if we constantly rely on someone who's been there before, we can fall into the trap of forming patterns and hence becoming vulnerable.

Before anyone loses their mind,  of course, I take the advice of those who have been before very seriously, but new information and freedom of action ensures that nothing becomes fossilised in our doctrine or our habits.

For those who remember the First Gulf War, you may also remember that all of a sudden many military institutions started to focus on it and the tactics used there as the model for the future.  I just went  ::) .  The First Gulf War was comparable to a large modern army lined up on one side of a parade square against a smaller less equiped army and then going at it.  Next Stop!  Afghanistan.  Not exactly the wide open desert of Kuwait and Iraq.  All those Gulf War scenarios had to be revisited and either adapted to new terrain and enemies or completely thrown out.

We, all the Cbt Arms, teach Tactics.  We teach the BASICS, not what the current or next war are using.....Just the BASICS.  Lessons learned from current, past and new technology being developed can be discussed, but in the end we will teach only the BASICS.  It is the guys in the Field who will take those BASIC lessons, combined Lessons Learned and with study of history, etc., and then adapt them to suit their needs.  Not every enemy will be the same.  Not all Ground will be the same.  Not all your equipment, nor all your support will be the same.  What worked today, may not work tonight.  As long as we have a good grounding in the BASICS, we will be able to adapt to changing situations.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on December 19, 2010, 00:01:22
Just an interesting find here; H.G. Wells forecast Stormtrooper tactics (and by inference directive control) in the 1903 story "The Land Ironclads". This was written in 1903 and published in "Strand Magazine", so it is unclear what, if any, influence the story had on military developments in the future (the Land Ironclads also forecast the AFV, although in a technically impractical form).

Quote
"What would you do if you were the enemy?" said the war correspondent, suddenly.
        "If I had men like I've got now?"
        "Yes."
        "Take these trenches."
        "How?"
        "Oh-dodges! Crawl out half-way at night before moonrise and get into touch with the chaps we send out. Blaze at 'em if they tried to shift, and so bag some of 'em in the daylight. Learn that patch of ground by heart, lie all day in squatty holes, and come on nearer next night. There's a bit over there, lumpy ground, where they could get across to rushing distance-easy. In a night or so.. It would be a mere game for our fellows; it's what they're made for. . . .Guns? Shrapnel and stuff wouldn't stop good men who meant business."

Many people have pointed out there is a large "cultural" element involved. We can say we are for directive control, but I have been involved in the publishing and dissemination of exercise orders and instructions that literally fill a CD, as well as communications and information feeds that theoretically provide instant SA across the battlespace (and are used to reach down from great heights), both rather incompatible with directive control.

The problem is actually familiar. In economics it is called the "Local Knowledge" problem, and basically states the people on the ground have undifferentiated "local"  knowledge of the situation and their preferred outcomes which is difficult to quickly summarize, transmit to centralized outside or higher authorities and be acted upon in a timely manner. Non military solutions include the market economy and flocking/schooling behaviour by birds or fish.

How to translate this into military solutions is an interesting problem. Flocking and schooling is a complex behaviour which is triggered by some very basic rules, so by analogy we could "swarm" the enemy by giving each section commander a set of "responses" to various conditions (always maintain a space between distance "x" and distance "y" from the other section, for example). The evolving trend of placing more and more powerful weapons in the hands of platoons, sections and individual soldiers would tend to support this trend, since there would be much less need to call on higher levels for assets to deal with hard or difficult targets. In theory, most of what the higher levels of command would be involved in would be related to operational issues (placing the flock of soldiers where the enemy is) and logistics (supporting the flock in the field).

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on December 19, 2010, 11:00:50
The problem is that we have been stripping away assets from lower levels of command - beginning with the pioneer platoons, then going into the AT platoons and even the mortar platoons. The replacement (as opposed to its supplement) of the highly mobile 60mm with the CASW - heavier, with a longer logistical tail - combined with a reliance on air and arty assets controlled at a higher level, seriuously impedes the platoon commander's ability to support section actions.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on December 19, 2010, 12:18:25
The evolving trend of placing more and more powerful weapons in the hands of platoons, sections and individual soldiers would tend to support this trend, since there would be much less need to call on higher levels for assets to deal with hard or difficult targets. In theory, most of what the higher levels of command would be involved in would be related to operational issues (placing the flock of soldiers where the enemy is) and logistics (supporting the flock in the field).

The problem is not just one of capability.  It seems to me it is also one of responsibility - or in the words of the accountants - risk management.

The good news is that it takes fewer bodies to disrupt enemy forces and to conduct a credible defence often that is all that is required.  The bad news is that all that destructive power has the chance to create an unintended level of mayhem. And as we see regularly unintended mayhem, in constabulary operations, is not desirable.   

So is it appropriate to leave all that potential in the hands of a junior officer or should it be held by a more experienced hand?

The fire of a WW1 artillery brigade can be supplied by couple of gun dets and a uav.  Should that be a Brigadier's command or a Sgt-MFC?

40 troops can now deploy resources that weren't available to battalions in WW1.  In WW1 that number of troops would be handed to a lieutenant because he couldn't get into much trouble as he was learning his trade.  Now, he can destroy an entire strategic plan for the season by carelessness.

Perhaps as the power available to the platoon increases then the rank associated with the command needs to go up, from Lieutenant to Captain.  Or perhaps the unit of 40 to 50 troops under the command of a Captain gets redefined upwards as a company with battalions of 250 under Majors and reintroduce the regiment as a tactical unit of 750 to 1000.   None of this, as most readers here know, is revolutionary.  Most armies have done this in past, including the Brits and the Yanks.  In some instances - specialist forces - they are doing it today.  Many other armies have already gone down that path and made those changes.

It would impose a structure much more akin to the original 1 SSF or the CAR  with its big company/small battalion Commandos. 

A byproduct of the change to a smaller Captain's command would be a handier unit of deployment capable of managing smaller operations independently and that could be brigaded for larger operations.  And one that could be planted in the back of one of HM's Canadian Ships for a stretch of Sun and Barbeques.

A down side to all of this is there would be fewer "training slots" for young lieutenants fresh out of Gagetown.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on December 19, 2010, 21:32:53
The problem is two fold (and more) one they can get sucked int tunnel vision concentrating on a portion of the battle and neglecting the larger picture, and also seeing the ground is not the same as being on the ground. 
  While sitting somewhere will digital imagery is nice, it does not give you the actual feedback of what the soldiers on the ground see, and while can can see somethings they cannot, it also does not display the actual terrain and what can and cannot be seen from there.


With regards to tunnel vision and ISR assets I might have an anecdote that might interest this audience.  Back in October I might have found 2 of my vehicles to be hopelessly mired and requiring some very heavy equipment to get them out. Due to the level that this resource was held at it became an interst to higher ups.  During the recovery I was told over the means that both Battlegroup and TFK were monitoring the extraction. Probably wasn't the most important thing happening in the battlespace that day, just the most embarrassing.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on December 19, 2010, 21:47:17
I think these are examples not of adverse technology or an increased desire to meddle but of a conflict where everybody above the rank of Major is somewhat, at most times, superfluous.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on December 20, 2010, 09:43:37
Quote
I think these are examples not of adverse technology or an increased desire to meddle but of a conflict where everybody above the rank of Major is somewhat, at most times, superfluous.

For anyone who hasn't read this, it is a humorous article about US Army Col that was fired for his comments about the Afghan HQ because he didn't clear them through the PAFO.

I know this off topic but, it is just in response to the quote from Infanteer above.  It's funny cause it's true. Tee hee hee.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/09/army-colonel-fired-for-powerpoint-rant-090210w/ (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/09/army-colonel-fired-for-powerpoint-rant-090210w/)

Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: KevinB on December 20, 2010, 11:04:28
FYI I know a rather senior DoS PRT personality that was told by Gen P to stop her presentation as her font's where not all the same and he found it distracting and annoying...

 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: dapaterson on December 20, 2010, 11:16:49
FYI I know a rather senior DoS PRT personality that was told by Gen P to stop her presentation as her font's where not all the same and he found it distracting and annoying...

As the short, old, wise, green man who talks funny because he has someone's hand up his *** once said "That is why you fail."

 
I guess the first principle of war needs to be restated:  "Selection and maintenance of the aim font"
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: jhk87 on December 24, 2010, 01:31:53
I think these are examples not of adverse technology or an increased desire to meddle but of a conflict where everybody above the rank of Major is somewhat, at most times, superfluous.

Interesting. I remember hearing a speaker at a conference talk about the frustration coming from trying to co-ordinate operations between so many different nations and agencies when everyone wanted their piece of the war under their belt.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on May 09, 2012, 23:48:28
B-GL-392-002/FP-001 INF SECT AND PL IN OPS

I am told that this is undergoing a rewrite and comments are being solicited. Has anyone got a copy handy? I'm not sure if it's available online or not. Hopefully we've reintroduced the drills for 'Form Square'... if not I've got some writing to do.

Cheers  :salute:
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: dangerboy on May 09, 2012, 23:50:47
My OC mentioned he received a draft copy but I don't know if he is making comments on it or not.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on May 10, 2012, 22:30:14
I took a very quick look at the draft that was available on the Army Electronic Library and there did not appear to be a whole lot of changes.  I believe it did recognize the fact that there is (and has been for years) three positions in the sect tied to the vehicle but other than that I didn't see anything really different.  Still spoke of frontal section attacks and little recognition that the sect might operate independantly of the platoon despite a decade of operations with sects doing just that.  All the diagrams still had 8 man sects and what not.  My overall impression was that it was far from polished and I would hope that the one that I saw was still far from being publishing.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on May 10, 2012, 23:26:33
I took a very quick look at the draft that was available on the Army Electronic Library and there did not appear to be a whole lot of changes.  I believe it did recognize the fact that there is (and has been for years) three positions in the sect tied to the vehicle but other than that I didn't see anything really different.  Still spoke of frontal section attacks and little recognition that the sect might operate independantly of the platoon despite a decade of operations with sects doing just that.  All the diagrams still had 8 man sects and what not.  My overall impression was that it was far from polished and I would hope that the one that I saw was still far from being publishing.

Hmm... sounds like 'form square' wouldn't look out of place then?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on May 11, 2012, 23:13:47
Hmm... sounds like 'form square' wouldn't look out of place then?

Perhaps not.  But like I said, it was very quick.  Perhaps there is someone else here who is either closer to the development process or has given the document a closer read.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: GnyHwy on May 11, 2012, 23:32:22
A formed square is exactly what is called for, when in a probable hostile environment; would you do anything else?

Doctrine is not TTPs or reaction to the enemy; doctrine is the answer to problems that will always exist; not necessarily the problems of the present. 
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on September 25, 2018, 22:11:03
Interesting read here that I think fits under this (rather old but classic) thread.  Bit of tease of some research to come but worth the short read.

https://wavellroom.com/2018/09/25/slaughter-manoeuvre-infantry-and-psychology/

Quantification of tactical actions is always difficult but, I think, a worthwhile process to figuring out how combat is actually supposed to work.  It interesting that according to his data a flanking attack seems to have diminishing returns as the size of the force gets larger than a coy or two, however, his methodology is far from clear in this article.

His point on closing with the enemy is interesting and probably something most of us agree with and understand intuitively.  It would be nice to see his research on this.  This shows why sitting back with standoff weapons is insufficient against a determined defender.  Until we can gain a perfect understanding of the enemy and hit them all with precision munitions then assaulting infantry (and likely tanks?) will be required.  He attributes this to the fear of close combat and death but I'd say shock is part of the process as well.


Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Infanteer on September 26, 2018, 21:38:14
Nice find Haligonian.

The nexus of assault-flanking surprise-enemy casualties is probably another poorly understood concept by the profession, because it's something we just simply can't train or simulate in training very well, if at all.  Victory isn't about killing the enemy, it's about convincing him he's beaten, and he'll run away or cower in his hole.  There are so many case studies out there that indicate that when a key position is taken down, or a key leader killed, the defender just throws in the towel.

On diminishing returns for flanking action, he's probably right with the idea of the "big hook" being easier to spot.  An enemy's flank can become his frontage fairly easy - he just needs to turn 90 degrees.  Easy (or easier) to do if he sees it coming.

Dermot Rooney is a smart guy - I corresponded with him a while back and he provided me with some research material on a few things.  I recommend reaching out to him and getting more on his research - it's probably worth digging into.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Haligonian on September 26, 2018, 22:20:48
Dermot Rooney is a smart guy - I corresponded with him a while back and he provided me with some research material on a few things.  I recommend reaching out to him and getting more on his research - it's probably worth digging into.

Roger.

As a bit of an aside I was struck by a bit of a dichotomy between the tactical and operational levels and the strategic.  At the lower levels we want to defeat the enemy's will as it's less costly to do, however, at the strategic level we may need to destroy the enemy's capabilities if we need to ultimately change the balance of power between us and the enemy.  I'm reading Martel's Victory in War right now and this has come up a few times.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 26, 2018, 22:27:58
Nice find Haligonian.

The nexus of assault-flanking surprise-enemy casualties is probably another poorly understood concept by the profession, because it's something we just simply can't train or simulate in training very well, if at all.  Victory isn't about killing the enemy, it's about convincing him he's beaten, and he'll run away or cower in his hole.  There are so many case studies out there that indicate that when a key position is taken down, or a key leader killed, the defender just throws in the towel.

On diminishing returns for flanking action, he's probably right with the idea of the "big hook" being easier to spot.  An enemy's flank can become his frontage fairly easy - he just needs to turn 90 degrees.  Easy (or easier) to do if he sees it coming.

Dermot Rooney is a smart guy - I corresponded with him a while back and he provided me with some research material on a few things.  I recommend reaching out to him and getting more on his research - it's probably worth digging into.

Way back in the School of Infantry at Warminster in 1983, right after the Falklands War, they changed the attack portion of the course to reflect the lessons learned.

Before the war, there was a lot of emphasis on maneuvering and not much on the 'fight through'.

After the war? Well, the fight through at Goose Green lasted 11 hours. So we did about a 6 hour fight through during a Coy Gp deliberate attack, mostly on our bellies, and by the end we had taken over 50% casualties who were umpired out then fed back in later as battle cas replacements.

After doing that three more times we were getting the hang of it.... as well as p**sed off with crawling ;)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Thucydides on September 27, 2018, 01:41:37
Nice find Haligonian.

The nexus of assault-flanking surprise-enemy casualties is probably another poorly understood concept by the profession, because it's something we just simply can't train or simulate in training very well, if at all.  Victory isn't about killing the enemy, it's about convincing him he's beaten, and he'll run away or cower in his hole.  There are so many case studies out there that indicate that when a key position is taken down, or a key leader killed, the defender just throws in the towel.

There are all kinds of ways to skin that cat. An article in an old edition of the Canadian Army Journal, Morale in Battle: The Theories of Colonel Ardant du Picq (http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2015/mdn-dnd/D12-11-16-1-eng.pdf) spoke of crushing the enemy morale by advancing so quickly the troops in depth could see the collapse before they could react or contribute to the fight. Old Cold Warriors might remember the independent Tank Battalion actually trailed the Moror Rifle Regiment, it's role was to exploit any breach in the defence and attack the rear (this could be scaled down with a classic two up formation, the depth section or platoon moves into the breach to attack the depth and disorganize the enemy). I'm sure there are dozens of historical examples or modern TTPs by other armies which achieve the same ends.

The trick for us is to emphasize whatever parts of our training which can be used to "convince him he's beaten". I personally would suggest marksmanship, since being able to put down rapid and accurate fire with all weapons systems is applicable in every situation, and really doesn't require much change to anything else we do, except for a much more intensive training bit on the SAT, the known distance range and especially live fire section and platoon attack ranges.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on September 27, 2018, 13:08:48
Quote
"I have been shot at quite a few times and could tell the enemy was close. Gravel and dirt were flying up all around me from the bullets."

Caught in the killing zone and unable to advance into the hail of fire, the soldiers withdrew to the relative safety of the water-filled ditch to return fire but were trapped as the insurgents moved in to try to overwhelm their position.

"We had to react quickly," said Cpl Jones.

"There was something different about this. It was obviously a well-planned ambush and they overwhelmed us with fire from three points initially."

Firing a rocket at one of the insurgent positions, Cpl Jones ordered three of his men to fix bayonets before breaking cover and leading them across 80 metres of open ground raked by enemy fire.

"I asked them if they were happy. They were all quite young lads and the adrenalin was racing. I shouted follow me and we went for it. I got 'Commander's Legs' on and was going very quickly. I realised I'd left them behind a bit so had to slow down and was engaged again, so I organised my guys who started attacking the enemy firing points," he said.

As two of the soldiers provided fire support, Cpl Jones prepared a hand grenade for the final assault. He raced towards an alley and was about to throw the grenade but said he realised that the buildings were occupied so put the grenade away. But the speed, aggression and audacity of his response caused the insurgents to fall back in disarray.

Princess of Wales's Regiment, Afghanistan, 2012  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/9571522/Soldier-who-led-Afghanistan-bayonet-charge-into-hail-of-bullets-honoured.html

Same regiment Iraq, 2004

Quote
Wood and other troops from the 1st Battallion of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment were on their way to aid Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who were attacked by 100 militiamen from al-Sadr's Mahdi Army when their vehicle struck an IED. The surprise attack actually hit two vehicles carrying 20 troops on a highway south of Amarah. Mortars, rockets, and machine guns peppered the unarmored vehicles.

Rather than drive through the ambush, the vehicles took so much punishment they had to stop on the road. The troops inside dismounted, established a perimeter, and had to call in some help of their own. Ammunition soon ran low.

The decision was made: the British troops fixed bayonets.

They ran across 600 feet of open ground toward the entrenched enemy. Once on top of the Mahdi fighters, the British bayoneted 20 of the militia. Fierce hand-to-hand combat followed for five hours. The Queen's men suffered only three injuries.

"We were pumped up on adrenaline — proper angry," Pvt. Anthony Rushforth told The Sun, a London-based newspaper. "It'’s only afterwards you think, 'Jesus, I actually did that’.' ”"

What started as a surprise attack on a British convoy ended with 28 dead militiamen and three wounded U.K. troops.

Jihadi propaganda at the time told young fighters that Western armies would run from ambushes and never engage in close combat. They were wrong. Irregular, unexpected combat tactics overwhelmed a numerically superior enemy who had the advantage in surprise and firepower.

https://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/these-british-troops-launched-a-proper-angry-bayonet-charge-during-the-iraq-war

Some place between "sending bullets instead of men" and "l'attaque a l'outrance".  Or, as others might put it picking "horses for courses".

And, while I'm at it:  How does one statistically quantify "surprise"?  Surely "surprise" is "unpredictable" or else it wouldn't be a surprise.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on September 27, 2018, 13:28:31
Edited from a nicely detailed but rather histrionic account of the 2004 action:

Quote
It was an ungodly-hot afternoon on May 14, 2004, when a convoy of British FV-510 Warrior armored personnel carriers raced down the highway 150 miles north of Basrah, Iraq.

If it was a hundred ten degrees outside, it seemed double that inside the non-air-conditioned armored vehicles, where a squad of six British infantrymen from C Company, 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment sat anxiously, rifles at the ready.  On the radio came frantic calls from a platoon of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, pinned down by enemy forces in the city of Al-Amara not far away.  The Argylls had been ambushed by over 80 fighters loyal to the radical Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and it wasn’t going well.  Every radio transmission made the men in the back of the Warrior IFV even more desperate to get there and assist....

...Wood was triple-checking his standard-issue British Army L85A2 assault rifle when suddenly the vehicle was rocked by a powerful blast that sent everyone inside reeling like they'd just hit the emergency stop on a roller coaster mid-corkscrew.  Within seconds, the radio was alive – “RPG!” – and the Iraqi highway was quickly crowded by muffled screams and the unmistakable sounds of ripping automatic weapons fire ruining peoples' days....

...Outside the coffin-like confines of the Warrior, it was pretty goddamn clear that the British convoy had rolled straight into a well-prepared ambush.  Hardcore, dedicated, resilient Iraqi troops had staked out positions in front and to the right of the British convoy, taking cover behind roadside embankments and irrigation ditches, and the Brits had rolled into their trap like those cops in Con Air getting jacked by Cyrus the Virus.  Over 100 warriors loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr fired down on the disoriented British forces with everything they had – rocket-propelled grenade launches, heavy machine guns, AK-47s and mortars.  The lead Warrior had been rocked hard, setting it on fire and knocking out its primary gun and power systems, leaving it basically dead in the water in an exposed position where Iraqi RPG troops could rocket-hump it with high explosive warheads....

....Unload your squad see what you can do.

Lance Corporal Brian Wood of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, British Army kicked open the back hatch of the APC and gave the only order that could logically be given:...


....With bullets zipping past their heads and cracking by their ears, Wood and his Brits – who were, according to one of them, “proper angry”, (which is a very awesome and very British thing to say, particularly when referring to a 21st-century bayonet charge) – ran screaming towards the crapping-their-pants Iraqis, bayonets gleaming in the burning-hot Middle Eastern sun.  Moving up in short bursts, Wood and his guys would race up ten meters, drop to the ground, fire a few bursts, then get up and sprint another short burst towards them.  Covering almost two hundred yards in a little over a minute, Wood then ordered his men to “CHAAAARRRRRGE!!!!” (I assume) and ran 30 meters up a goddamn embankment while AK-47 bullets tore up the ground around him.

When they reached the top of the embankment, Wood and his five squadmates broke into three teams of two and leapt feet-first into the trench, bayonets at the ready, screaming with furious British blood rage.

They landed in a body-strewn trench with over a dozen Iraqi fighters, none of whom were really expecting to be goddamned involved in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy on the field of battle in the year 2004.

According to one of the guys who was there, “Basically it was short, sharp, and furious.”

"I wanted to put the fear of God into the enemy.
I could see some dead bodies and eight blokes, some scrambling for their weapons.
I’ve never seen such a look of fear in anyone’s eyes before.
I’m over six feet; I was covered in sweat, angry, red in the face,
charging in with a bayonet and screaming my head off.
You would be scared, too."....

...When the smoke cleared, three enemy were dead, four were wounded/captured, and the rest had run for it to take cover in another trench nearby.  Not one of Wood’s men were injured, except one guy who got a mild blister on a finger of his non-stabbing hand.

Of course this was just the beginning.  After leading a bayonet charge and having some up-close hand-to-hand with the enemy, Wood, jacked up out of his mind on enough adrenaline to power a Red Bull processing plant, then repositioned his men in the trench and directed fire on the main body of the Iraqi troops, who were taking cover behind another drainage ditch nearby.  Those guys had obviously shifted their fire to the half-dozen stab-happy Brits at this point, but before long the APCs got their 30mm cannons up and running, and those beasts laid down a pounding covering fire while Wood and his squad moved up onto the next position.

Firing with their own rifles as well as AK-47s they’d picked up off dead enemy troops, Brian Wood and his guys cleared two more trenches over the course of the next four hours of straight-up combat.  They took out over 30 enemy fighters, forced the surrender of nine more, called in a friggin' tank to blow the crap out of a concrete bunker full of explosives, and destroyed the Iraqis' well-prepared ambush without taking a single British casualty.  One of the British APC drivers describes Wood’s actions better than I ever could: 

“The Iraqis were hidden in little bends in these channels, and they kept jumping out with their rifles and every time Brian and Dave would put them down. Then another bunch of guys would stand up and the same thing would happen. And gradually, we got the upper hand and it all started to quieten down, until there was just sporadic fire.”

http://badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi?id=905475926435

Apologies for the histrionic vocabulary..... but there again, are bayonet charges possible without histrionics? 

"exaggerated dramatic behavior designed to attract attention."
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 27, 2018, 14:03:45
‘Stab happy’ thats A keeper :)
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Colin P on September 27, 2018, 14:12:51
So what we need is a company of underfed, underpaid squadies who are constantly pissed off and ready to put it to anyone that crosses their path?
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: SeaKingTacco on September 27, 2018, 15:21:57
So what we need is a company of underfed, underpaid squadies who are constantly pissed off and ready to put it to anyone that crosses their path?

Historically speaking, there is a great deal of truth in that statement.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 27, 2018, 17:56:53
So what we need is a company of underfed, underpaid squadies who are constantly pissed off and ready to put it to anyone that crosses their path?

'Infantry duty meant one was always hungry.'

Lewis Higinbotham

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/15/the-debate-continues-being-in-the-infantry-means-you-have-to-decide-which-of-your-close-comrades-might-die-today/
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: Chris Pook on September 27, 2018, 22:24:49
Historically speaking, there is a great deal of truth in that statement.

Curious, thinking about that in terms of morale.  Which makes a more effective soldier?  Someone whipped into a frenzy?  Or someone completely fed up that knows the only way home is right over that hill over there and the only thing stopping him is the bugger on top?

Some folks break.  Some folks get angry.
Title: Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 13, 2018, 20:53:31
Curious, thinking about that in terms of morale.  Which makes a more effective soldier?  Someone whipped into a frenzy?  Or someone completely fed up that knows the only way home is right over that hill over there and the only thing stopping him is the bugger on top?

Some folks break.  Some folks get angry.

I recall an occasion when we were involved in some longer term nastiness and my signaler looked at me, through the p&ssing down rain in the dark, and said 'Hey Boss, thank f&ck at least we had a good scoff before this all started.'  (I made  a mean mess tin curry back then).

I have never since then doubted that well fed fanatics are better than starving fanatics :)