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The Quartermaster's Stores => Weapons & Ammo => Topic started by: Meditations in Green on November 22, 2001, 15:08:00

Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Meditations in Green on November 22, 2001, 15:08:00
Has anyone taken a look at the Patria Advanced Mortar System (AMOS)? It has twin turret mounted 120mm mortars mounted on a chassis that looks very similar to a LAV chassis.

 http://www.army-technology.com/contractors/artillery/patria/index.html
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on November 24, 2001, 20:59:00
Sir,
This system was looked at here in Australia when we were still involved in the stupidty of the Army 21 concept.

It was an expensive, complex piece of equipment, which if mounted on the lAV II chassis would have resulted in a extremely overweight vehicle, with no off road ability.

It has no real advantage over the standard 18/120mm vehicle mounted systems.

There is a number of similar systems, all with similar problems.  Whilst I know no details it is said that the kinetic energy displaced when both barrels fired similtanously will result in damage to the carrying vehicle chassis, over a period of time.

Yours,
Jock in Sydney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Meditations in Green on November 26, 2001, 14:39:00
That makes sense to me.  I was wondering if it actually worked out well, or if it merely looks interesting. What do you think would be a better approach?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Brock on December 05, 2001, 20:52:00
It is interesting to here from an Australian.  I am actually very impressed with the Australian military.  The Australian Government seems to have a much better understanding of what a multipurpose combat force is to look like.  The new Astralian Defence white paper called for 20 new 120mm amoured mortar systems built by Delco Defense.  They appear to be a good close self-propelled fire support system. They do not have problem being utilized in the LAV II.  The system is fully tested and developed.  It has a range of close to 10km and is excellent for use in urban and open/closed terrain due to the inherent advantages of mortar fire.  A turreted mortar system also reduces potential injury due to enemy fire.  This looks to be a better set up than the Patria mount, which seems to be overkill.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on December 06, 2001, 04:30:00
Sir,

The purchase of the 20 120mm mortar systems was thankfully stopped, it was part of the ludercious Army 21 concept that has now gone by the board.

Apart from the change in the military concept (it was intended by our then Labor Government that all military actions should be reactive and NOT proactive), the system was just too expensive, the weapons, their spare parts, and the ammunition would all be purchased from overseas, with nothing being contributed to the Australian economy.

Really for mechanised/motorised formations a 120mm system is a overkill, if you have self propelled artillery.  For support of the infantry battalion in all its forms, the L16 81mm tube is still ideal.  And we make the ammunition and spare parts in country.

Yours,
Jock in Sydney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Brock on December 06, 2001, 18:56:00
Mr. Mackinlay:

I am not so sure that I am wrong about the Australian Army‘s acquisition of the 120mm Armoured Mortar System from Delco Defense not Patria‘s AMOS.  Jane‘s Defence Weekly reported shortly after the release of Australia‘s 2000 Defence White Paper that contract negotiations were taking place.  Also I think that the 120mm AMS is for your ASLAV cavalry units and not an infantry support weapon.  Thus the need for more artillery support.  Please respond, maybe you have some inside information that I can not find.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on December 07, 2001, 03:35:00
Sir,

I have the latest Defence Report (2001-2002) in front of me at the moment, just received today.  A 120mm mortar system is not on our list of requirements.

Besides we are broke, what with the UN owing Australia some 4.9 billion US Dollars for East Timor as of the end of the last financial year (30 Jun 2001), and is not paying any of it‘s bill‘s in Australia since.  Add to it the illegal refugee invasion, and our financial committement to the Americans under ANZUS for their playing at cowboys in Afghanistan!!!!!

I umpired on Exercise Tamdem Thrust  in May of this year in central Queensland, part of the with 2nd Cav Regt (the rest unfortunately with the USMC).  The subject of fire support brought up, the regt wants the L16 system.  The new ammunition take the range up to 6800 metres for the HE round (if the Merlin round is purchased it has a range of 6400), an efficient, rapid response weapon that is easy to use and maintain.

The purchase of a 120mm system is not in our interest, due to its small numbers would have to be purchased from overseas (as would all spare parts), the ammunition being the same, it would require substantial modification of our version of the Bison, plus the number of bombs required is limited and would require extra Bisons for ammo carriage.  We have better and more things to spend our money on.

Besides tactically if a light armoured regiment (whose role is recce) gets involved in fighting which requires such heavy fire support, it‘s not doing it‘s job.

Yours,
Jock in Sydney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on October 25, 2002, 12:56:00
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Whilst at dinner tonight we were talking about how the NATO Allied Mobile Force (Land) has been recently been disbanded.

The conversation veered upon the 1960‘s and how only the British, German and Italian armies actually provided their infantry battalions with artillery support (L5 105mm Pack Howitzers in each case).  Of the other three battalions, only the Canadian one had close support.  This being provided by a battery from 4 RCHA equipped with M107 4.2inch mortars.

The question being, was this battery solely equipped with the 4.2inch mortar, or was this a secondary weapon to their normal field piece (be it M101 or M114)????

Yours,
Jock in Sydney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on March 07, 2003, 04:19:00
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must apologise for not placing a response to my own question so long ago, but, my time is finite and other demands are made upon it.

When Canada, as one of the original signatories to the Allied Mobile Force Agreement in 1961, some major thinking had to occur at NDHQ.  The 12 inf bns of the regular army were at that time all motorised (apart from the rifle coys that existed in three battalions as the Defence of Canada Force), and apart from Ferret scout cars in the RCAC none of the support equipment was airportable.   The direct supporting batteries of the RCHA were equipped with the C1 105mm howitzer, which by no stretch of the imagination was a light, easily portable weapon.

In order to give the inf bn allocatted to AMF fire support it was decided to have one battery in the airportable support role, this being L Battery.   The battery being equipped with the M107 4.2inch mortar, having 12 baseplates.  It also still held the normal complement of 8 C1‘s.

The infantry battalion rotated through the role in each of the three Canadian based infantry brigades.  This having it‘s 4.2inch mortar platoon lose it‘s weapons, and having the 81mm mortars of each coy support platoon coming under command (giving it 8 81mm mortars) (the 106mm anti-tank guns of the coys went to the bn level anti-tank platoon giving it 12 weapons).

Until the major changes of 1970, the battalions constantly redeveloped their organisation for the AMF role.

1968 saw the purchase of 12 L5 105mm Pack Howitzers from the Italian company OTO, to replace the 4.2inch mortars.  These however went straight off to equip the Airborne Field Battery.

The field Battery which was the ACE support battery (have not found out when L Battery reliquished the role) ended up using the stripped down version of the C1.

If any more information could be given would be most grateful.

Yours,
Jock in SYdney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on March 07, 2003, 10:00:00
When I joined D Bty, 2RCHA in 1978 we were the ACE Mobile Force battery and we still had L-5‘s then. For   some unknown reason,[alcohol?], I can‘t remember when we switched to C-1‘s but it was before 1986. I hope this can help in some way.  CHEERS
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on March 10, 2003, 09:13:00
Thanks for that Mr Monkhouse.

When the L5 were bought for the Airborne Battery, it was established for eight guns.  Since 12 guns were bought this proportionately links with a training pool and a maintenance pool of weapons - one or two guns in the School, one with the RCEME Centre, one or two in the reserve pool.

With the Airborne Battery reduced to six guns with the CAF formation (as with all batteries), then the AMF battery acquiring six guns, it leaves no training, reserve pool - SO was there additional weapons acquired?

In 1968 there was a British Army training pool of weapons which were held at Gagetown.including L5‘s.  Is it possible that such were transferred to CAF stocks???


Yours.
Jock in Sydney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on March 10, 2003, 18:00:00
That I could‘nt say but I know that we had no extra L-5‘s around. When a gun went down you became a 5-gun Bty. On the upside you could actually have a full gun crew for a change. CHEERS
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: muskrat89 on March 10, 2003, 23:10:00
For what it‘s worth - there was always one (maybe 2?) L5 at the School‘s gun park in Gagetown. Well, that was between 83-96, at the K Lines...
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on March 12, 2003, 02:07:00
Thanks,

It does not seem logical that there were only 12 L5‘s - equipping two batteries.  What about the armourer in training, did they have to go to the batteries to learn about depot level maintenance, whilst the school would have had to have at least one gun for the officer courses to train on?

Yours,
G/.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: J. Shortt on March 13, 2003, 13:33:00
HMMM Interesting Jock,  But I am fairly sure that only pers posted to 2 Horse actually did the conversion trg.  Somewhere between 86-87 F Bty was formed with 4 L5‘s.  E Bty (Para) remained with 6 L5‘s.  In 1993 The 2nd Regt went Mech with the M 109 A4.  F Bty took one D Btys 105mm C1‘s X 6.  The L5‘s were put into preservation and were eventually taken out of Canadian service all together.  The Regt still has some for Gun Racing but they are and never will be able to fire (Live) ammo due to some gun race mods made.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gordon Angus Mackinlay on March 14, 2003, 05:07:00
Thankyou for that.

WIth the two L5 batteries concentrated at Gagetown, this makes sense in regard to school level training.

Also the reduction in the AMF battery to four guns would allow a sensible depot level maintenance, by having two guns in reserve.

Yours,
Jock in Sydney
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on January 19, 2003, 00:01:00
Quote
Now if you argue that the arty will try make the mortar a more complex wpn system than it has to be, I might agree with you. (Gunner, in Infantry/Mortars topic)
This may well be the most serious shortfall of the artillery approach to adopting mortars. The Artillery Corps will simply approach the problem as one more indirect fire system, for which they don‘t need to change any other aspect of the fire control system, training or manning. Traditionally, one of the greatest strengths of mortars in experienced "mortar" hands as been its immediacy of response based on relatively simplistic systems of navigation/orienation by map and Mark I eyeball, coupled with the inherent knowledge that the high trajectory and time of flight defeats most available algorithms for electronic met corrections. (Frankly, the HP 41-C Mortar Fire Data Calculator was a failure for most functions beyond what the manual plotter could achieve, both in effectiveness and speed.)

The basic Artillery approach to consider mortars as simply a different weapon to calculate data for, using the same computational systems as for guns, will be a limitation, not a strength. In short, shooting mortars well (in a combat support sense) compared to Artillery gunnery is like shooting a sub-machinegun by instinctive firing compared to shooting a service rifle at Connaught ranges. The approaches that make mortars most effective run against the grain of good artillery gunnery.

Michael O‘Leary
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: J. Shortt on January 19, 2003, 00:38:00
I would have to agree that the computer systems available are no more accutate than the plotter.  However I would say that the 81mm mortar is not a very consistant wpn.  It is accutate at times but not consistant. In ballistics there is a definate diffrence between consistansy and accuracy.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on January 19, 2003, 00:52:00
You‘re right, there is a difference between consistency and accuracy. Keep in mind the relative elevations and times of flight of artillery compared to mortar rounds. The long flight time of mortar rounds and the numbers of ballistic elevation meteorological atmospheric layers they penetrate create incredible variances on fall of shot compared to artillery guns. I have fired current mortar ammunitions in stable met conditions that were accurate enough to have surprisingly small probable errors (PEs), both for range and elevation. At the time, I considered this almost a limitation, mortars (both medium (81 mm) and light (61 mm)) are area suppresion weapons, most effective against light targets and troops in the open. For best effect, good dispersion is required, not simply desired.

 
Quote
…, and the medium mortar, one of the [Second World] war‘s major casualty-producers, gave the infantryman the ability to reach out to the other side of the hill. - Keegan/Holmes; SOLDIERS: A History of Men in Battle
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Ralph on June 20, 2003, 20:27:00
Sorry for the new flame-like subject title, but nobody answered my original (lame) query:
How has the takeover of the mortars affected artillery so far? Are the recruits learning mortar drill during their MOC course, or are all the tubes sitting in a back room somewhere? Are batteries being tasked with specific mortar capability?
Cheers,
Ralph.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Infanteer on June 24, 2003, 03:54:00
I will need confirmation from one of the gunners, but last bit of RumorInt I got was that Mortors were being handed back to the battalions.  Can anyone confirm this?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: SHELLDRAKE on June 26, 2003, 12:39:00
For the record, the Artillery has never stolen the mortars from the infantry...A mortar is an indirect fire weapon which is essentially what the Artillery is.Currently in the RCHA the mortars are distributed amongst the LG1 howitzer detatchments and a quick conversion course is all thats required to qualify serving gunners.Since the principles of indirect fire is our bread and butter, a five week course on the mortar can be turned into 3 days of familliarization.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunnar on June 26, 2003, 16:02:00
Yeah, he knew that.  He just didn‘t get any replies to his first message, so he wrote something guaranteed to stir up a response.

Nothing against your abilities to handle a mortar...just that it was the only piece of "heavy artillery" actually in the trenches with the boys on the sharp end.  Makes for instantaneous support, and more control over targeting when HQ has other priorities for the Arty...  :cool:
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: harpoon02 on June 27, 2003, 20:11:00
Ref: RCHA sealing the Mortars. We are training with them on a regular basis and have developed methods and drills that are in line with the way we use Arty. As to the question of Command and Control they remain under the I9ers. This means that we have had to meet the Inf BTS up to Platoon level.
Title: Mortars
Post by: Michael O'Leary on January 18, 2003, 00:22:00
There are two issues that led to (supported, if you will) the decision to remove the mortars from the infantry battalions.

The first is that for a number of operational tours, shortfalls in available infantry soldiers resulted in the artillery providing personnel to fill the mortar platoons. This also had the effect of balancing the operational tasking load to a corps with less than average participation among the combat arms, a situation that could potentially have led to questioning their numbers if they weren‘t "pulling their weight" in the current operational environment.

Secondly, the argument was put forth in NDHQ that there was a degree of redundancy of indirect fire support capability with both mortar platoons and close support artillery.

These arguments led to the removal of mortars from the Regular Force battalions. As far as I know, there was no supporting study to examine the roles and values of the mortars in the existing battalion and brigade organizations, or an analysis of historic example and employment against current operational intentions to verify or refute the validity of maintaining the weapon system.

The fate of the weapon systems at this time is to transfer them to operational stocks once the orders to do so are promulgated. The artillery‘s plan is to pull them out annually for refresher training but not to man them continuously in the Regular regiments. I guess the associated SAT equipment for mortars will also be summarily retired.

There has been no discussions that I know of to consider any of the Reserve Artillery regiments to take over mortars.

Sadly, one of the hidden casualties of this system is the one long-standing success story for support weapons in the Reserves. The Princess Louise Fusiliers (PLF) in Halifax has had a mortar group for over 25 years, including maintaining Reserve Advanced Qualified mortarmen throughout this period. It is only with the recent decisions to remove mortars from the infantry that the PLF have ceased pursuing their own mortar program. (This unit has produced a number of soldiers who transferred to Regular service as NCMs and as officers with these skills, including three members that went on to become RCR mortar platoon commanders, one even becoming the Subject Matter Expert (Mortars ) at the Infantry School.)

Mortars are the one support platoon task that can easily be maintained on the Armoury floor by a committed unit (infantry or artillery). With a 20-day basic qualification course, very portable weapon systems and available simulator training systems, skills can easily be maintained in an Armoury to support twice annual live firing exercises.

For now, however, for all the infantry mortarmen, its:

"END OF MISSION"

Michael O‘Leary
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: portcullisguy on January 19, 2003, 18:31:00
I have asked about mortars and the sudden appearance of M203‘s among res regt‘s while I have been on BMQ.

Instructors opinions varied, but mainly went along the lines of: "The M203 is replacing mortars in the infantry regt‘s".

Reading between the lines, could this possibly mean that M203‘s are cheaper than mortars?  I would imagine the training is less time consuming and costly in ammunition, more ammunition can be carried by the individual soldier, more soldiers can be equipped with this weapon, and the M203 fulfills _almost_ the same need, short range indirect fire support?

Something to think about!
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: Gunner on January 19, 2003, 19:36:00
The M203 is NOT a replacement for the 81 mm Mortar.  

Just as the 81 mm provides an indirect fire asset to the BG Comd, the 60mm Mortar provides it at the pl level and the M203 provides a mechanical means of "lobbing" a grenade a greater distance than arm thrown grenades, with a greater chance to hit the target.
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: Fishbone Jones on January 19, 2003, 20:08:00
Just look at the difference in the size of the charge (round), distance attainable and amount of ordnance that can be put down range. That should be proof enough that the 203 is not a replacement for the 81 or even the 60mm. The Mk 19 belt fed 40mm may provide the required firepower, but I think, if anyone in the CF has access to this weapon, only the Secret Squirrels do. May be wrong. Just never seen one in the normal Canadian army.
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: Jungle on January 19, 2003, 20:58:00
... and don‘t forget: the M-203 is a DIRECT fire support weapon, available at the section level.   :cdn:
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: Jarnhamar on January 20, 2003, 03:21:00
I was a part of the testing team who did the user trials on the M203 a few years back (Under human systems)
There were 4 choices. Colt, Dimaco, R&M (out of flordia) which were all basically the same style and the 4th was an H&K.  The H&K Looked really weird because instead opening the breach by sliding the hand guard forward the H&Ks barrel would pivot (drop)downwards on about a 37degree angel at the back. The hinges being at the front.
After testing them for 3 weeks doing an obsticle course twice a day with webbing and then the new TAVs we would spend the rest of the day shooting the grenades  (ceremic practice rounds that never worked properly)down range. (Also spent 2 days doing the PWT3 with each launcher attached to see how it affected accurcy).
At first we did not like the H&K at all but by the end 90% of our team chose the H&K as the best launcher. It never popped open by accident like the m203 style ones did and no word of a lie the accurcy was 4 or 5 times better then the m203s (because of the rifle like sight used, completly different then the others). Someone said somewhere that a skilled shooter can get a grenade in a large window at 400 meteres. Thats a joke. We were missing a 6 to 8 foot wide target at 150 meters 50% of the time.

In the end they went with the dimaco anyways.
(We rated it 3rd out of 4)
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: PikaChe on January 20, 2003, 13:51:00
Is 60mm mortars being taken out of infantry too?

Because hand held role for 60mm mortar is taught during BIQ and it won‘t make any sense otherwise.
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: Michael O'Leary on January 20, 2003, 14:09:00
There‘s been no indication that there is any consideration to remove the 60 mm mortar. I wouldn‘t be surprised if some units make the effort to ‘capture‘ the collective medium mortar knowledge (before it disappears) in the units to improve the potential to employ grouped company mortars using the large (square) baseplate, bipods and the C-2 sight units. Some units were experimenting with this as long as a decade ago and it does give one employment alternative, especially in the defence, to individual platoon mortars in the handheld role.

Mike
Title: Re: Mortars
Post by: Jungle on January 20, 2003, 21:50:00
A number of troops in R22R Batts received training in operating the 60mm mortar in a conventional role ie: with bipod and C2 sight. As Michael Oleary stated, they were grouped at the coy level and became a mortar "group". This is how most R22R rotations deployed to the Balkans during the 90s. Note that you can fire the 60mm mortar with full charges when dressed up with large baseplate and bipod. The 60mm is a very good weapon, but we rarely use it to it‘s full potential.   :cdn:
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Crazy_Eyes on July 10, 2004, 21:34:30
Hey all, just wondering if you could answer a quick question for me, whats the maximum effective range of mortars? and does it change depending on the size of the shell?

    :cdn:
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on July 11, 2004, 01:01:45
The range for a particular mortar will depend on which mortar bombs are being fired.

60 mm mortars will fire in the 200-1200 metre range band in the handheld role (if the system is restricted to only the lower charges in this role) and may reach to 2000+ metres when tripod mounted.

81 mm mortars usually cover the 200 - 5000+ range band, though there are some longer ranging barrel/ammo systems in the world.

120 mm mortars generally fire to 7000-8000 m. There are some systems with rocket assisted ammo that can reach to 13000 m, though the type of ammo and payload is limited as a result.

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: CTD on July 11, 2004, 12:19:34
i think this is just a general mortors question , not of Canada's in particular, here goes 81mm out to 8000m, 120mm top loaded up 11000m, 120mm breach loaded up 16000m. these are the maximuim ranges and they may be even more now with new ammo. just because its max range is 16000m does not mean you will use it  at that range, as it is less predictable as to where it will land. remember mortors and artillery are total guess work where they will land, although the guess work is very percise it still has error in it. the further it travels the less stable it will be  and thus the more errors you will have. not that their are many errors. hope that helped a bit you can get all that info from the library if you like to read about it
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: muskrat89 on July 11, 2004, 12:32:55
CTD - I'm not sure of the amount of actual experience you've had, but I wouldn't classify artillery fire as "total guess work". I cannot speak for mortars, as I have never fired one. The biggest uncertainty usually lies with the first round - laser corrections can usually make 2nd round a target round. A good FOO party, without a laser, can often have a target round within 2-4 rounds of adjustment. The only "guess" involved (and it's an extremely educated guess) is the initial data the FOO issues for the Fire Mission. Grid reference, etc. Things like survey level (including CPFC data), met data, etc. all positively affect fall of shot on FFE.

Granted, artillery is an "area" weapon, meant to deny the use of ground - maybe that's what you meant by guesswork. I'm sure Bruce, Gunner, and some of the others can elaborate...



Speaking of which - I did my Arty Tech course with an HP41C - I guess I'm old, huh?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: devil39 on July 11, 2004, 13:11:06

Speaking of which - I did my Arty Tech course with an HP41C - I guess I'm old, huh?

I did Adv mor with the HP41C.   Hated it.   Most of us were believers in the plotter board.  

Eternal damnation (this site will not allow me to say H.e.l.l ) could very well consist of a CP in Gagetown, with a 41C, with no ammo data in the machine, and calculating endless fireplans.


Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on July 11, 2004, 13:34:03
I'm not sure I like the term "guesswork" either, but maybe what he means is you don;t get a line of sight on target. Well thats just another part of our superiority, as that we don't require it. :D
I also did my basic on the 41-c but "progressed" to the 41-c eprom for the advanced course.
As for basic plotting, except for the time,[well for SOME people 8)] it still works just fine.
I remember being in Suffield, doing the double check on a civilian company's test round[ Belcan, I believe]. Well they payed big money to fly a bunch of eggheads and their computer from Switzerland to compute all this data, but, if little Brucey and his plotter/firing table didn't come up with the relatively same data they went back to the drawing board.
PS. Just occurred to me, we need a "smiley" for the Artillery
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Art Johnson on July 11, 2004, 15:05:16
It has been a long time since I did any mortar work in fact I was directing a section of mortars when I was wounded. If I recall correctly there was a Beaten Zone that measured X yds wide by X yds deep and that 50% of the bombs fired would land within 25% of  the area of the Beaten Zone. Does that sound right or have I been away too long?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Crazy_Eyes on July 11, 2004, 15:17:59

hmm, thanks, i didn't think mortars could reach ranges of up to 13000 metres, well on the topic of mortars, correct me if i'm wrong here but i think i remember reading somewhere that the Arty "stole" the mortars from the infantry, i thought mortars were always an arty weapon? Aren't they used frequently in the arty? forgive me if these have been answered or otherwise, but as always i'm looking for more info, lol :)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: CTD on July 12, 2004, 21:43:50
i have a bit of time with the guns and would have to say as a det commander you learn real quick when the guess work is in or out     < #1 open action/ sniping gun> .(also applys as a foo tech) we have tons of data that tells you were the round is suppose to land but that thing called probable error pops up everynow and again. we have fired millions of rds to calculate data with artillery fire through out the years in NATO and it never stops,  the data always changes and the errors always get smaller, and the guess work gets better. that is not to say artillery or motors is not accurate, lots of time and energy has been invested to ensure that the rds land in the area they are suppose to. bit is is still guess work althogh a REAL GOOD EDUCATED GUESS
the advent of laser guided rds will ensure a 95% accuracy rate of first rd target rd eliminating the need for large adjustments and so on. it still all comes down to "we think the projectile  will land here",
as for foo partys getting 2-4 rds on target during adjustment that is best case, put those same people in the mountains (not hills) and see how much difference it makes.its real easy to shoot when you are familiar with your target areas and can navigate the training area blind folded. i am not trying to start an argument here but i  am saying that artillery and mortor fire are guess work. alot of well educated guesses but still guess work as for motors having a range of 16000 m yes they do and we dont have them. but other countries do, they may not shoot that far as it places stress and lots of wear on the tubes. but they do have the abilities to.
have a good evening all
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunnerlove on July 12, 2004, 23:38:06
Ouch, guess work?


We work out exactly where we are (GPS),then we laze the target to get its range and bearing so we know where it is, then the guns who know where they are (GPS) put a round in the air. If conditions are correct we kill our target. If reality adds some chaos to the equation we are forced to adjust.

Our tools are far better than ever. Which is going to be more accurate a piece of string or a micrometer?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Firepower on July 13, 2004, 12:04:06
Yeah, thought MSTAR has taken alot of the guess work out of it. Very little, if any, adjusting now when it comes to indirect fire.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: RCA on July 13, 2004, 15:23:49
Art is correct, their is an elliptical beaten zone (aligned with the range) both for arty and mortor rds and its size is dependant on range and charge. All FOO and FOO techs know this as the dreaded "zone" (4 PERs = 82%). Even with MVs, GPS and lasers, rds can "wander" , however we can accurately predict were the rd will land taking out the guesswork. But remember we are an area weapon and we do not do pinpoint targets (other the destruct missions) and our tgts should be at least 100m x 100m.

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mortar guy on July 15, 2004, 19:11:40
As for mortar accuracy, on the Adv Mor Crse we were able to do 1-2 adj rounds and the FFE when doing polar missions with the LRF. When I was with 1 RCR Mor Pl we did an ex with E Bty and Recce Pl 1RCR using MSTAR and a trial version of the LAV OPV. We were consistantly getting 2nd round FFE with the MSTAR and with the thermal/LRF in the LAV turret. On a couple of shoots we could have gone FFE on the first round but we were still unsure of the system and didn't yet believe it was as good as it is.

Alex
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Art Johnson on July 15, 2004, 20:22:51
OK Mortar guy that is impressive we certainly didn't do that well in my time.
Maybe you could answer some questions for me. Some time during the late 50s or 60s a Screwed Barrel 81mm was introduced in the Canadian Army. What in the world is a "Screwed Barrel" ?
Presently I see pictures of mortars with the mouth of the barrel flared. What is that all about?
Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: AmmoTech90 on July 15, 2004, 21:40:36
Its a Blast Attentuation Device (BAD). Designed to make life more comformatable for the crew.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Art Johnson on July 15, 2004, 21:52:38
Thanks Ammo Tech, I can see the possibilities, are there any downsides.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on July 15, 2004, 21:59:05
The blast attenuation device (BAD) does a very good job of shielding the mortar detachment members from the worst of the concussion tha used to roll off the muzzle with each shot. You didn't forget to put an ear defender down more than one a day.

The biggest problem crews had with the BAD was the way it opened the muzzle for some distance above the end of the staight bore. This meanst that a bomb had to be lowered inside the BAD to get the full diameter of the ogive into the barrel mouth and fingers had to hold the upper part of the tapered body or even be down inside the BAD to hold the round while waiting the order to fire (especially tricky in cold and wet conditions).

It is a good addition to the weapon, firing with it just took some practice.

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: AmmoTech90 on July 15, 2004, 22:02:54
Beat me to it...

Question for Mr. O'Leary.  Do the new gloves for mortar crews really help (especially in cold and wet conditions  ;) )?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on July 15, 2004, 22:13:58
Good question. I don't have any personal experience with them, I was getting out of mortars as the BAD, and the gloves were coming in. The rumours I've picked up is that some of the troops weren't overly happy with them; but I don't know the details, i.e., whether the compliants were isolated gripes, or if the causes were material based or quality of fitting (or a few each of all of the above).

There were certainly a few long cold days in Gagetown when I would have welcomed the chance to try some purpose designed mortar crew gloves.

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mortar guy on July 16, 2004, 22:28:48
At least one version of the CTS Mortar Glove was trialled on my Adv Mor Crse in 2001. The mortarmen from 2 RCR seemed to like them, especially when we did our last shoot of the course in December and it was well below zero. I tried a set on but didn't use them during any shoots. They seemed pretty good to me and the CTS guys who were there were genuinely interested in making them work.

As for the "screwed mortar" I have never heard of such a thing. Could it be referring to the cooling fins on the base of the mortar? Or was it some type of rifled mortar?

Alex
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on July 16, 2004, 22:56:42
I don't have a specific reference, but I believe that there was an 81 mm mortar where the "cooling fins" was actually a continuous thread that ran the length of the barrel.

It may be a reference to the M-29:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m29.htm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/images/m-29-dvic507.jpg
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Chris Pook on July 17, 2004, 16:36:18
Any chance that the "screwed 81" is a confusion with the "rifled 120"?

Even if it is two different beasts, maybe somebody could fill me in on the "rifled 120"?  I recall seeing info in Janes' years ago mentioning that we had about a dozen rifled Brandt (French?) 120s, apparently to support the CAR, maybe they were with E-2RCHA?  Anybody know anything about them?  Any good? Why discontinued? Pluses/Minuses vs 105mm/81mm combination?

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on July 17, 2004, 17:41:32
In the mid-80s, the Infantry School was involved in the trial of a couple 120 mm mortar systems.

One was a four barrel arrangement that was mounted to the ramp of an M-113 APC. When the ramp was lowered it became the baseplate and the muzzles could be reached for loading by a soldier standing on the top deck. It could fire the four rounds (electrically fired, not drop fired) in a four round salvo or individually.

Also tested were a lightweight Israeli Tampela towed mortar and the Thomsom Brandt 120 mm rifled mortar. The T-B 120 mm rifled mortar is the one that advertises a 13,000 metre range with rocket assisted ammo, will fire smooth bore or rifled ammo and takes up to a seven-man crew to operate.

The Statement of Requirement for the 'competition' had been written to see the T-B rifled mortar win, the essential and desirable requirements matched that weapon system like they were cut and pasted and no others. After becoming the SME Mortars at the School I reviewed some of the very few documents that were still available, and compared the requirements to every mortar system listed in Jane's to determine that.

Although some folks involved had been convinced we were going to a 120 mm system (one of the reasons for the abortive two-tier advanced mortar course 1985-89) none of the weapon systems were found to meet the requirements for battalion fire support at the time.

I believe one of the principal reasons for the project's cancellation is that there had been no doctrinal requirement established. Although the 120 mm mortar was the representative battalion fire support weapon in the Corps '86 establishments, that was only ever supposed to be a training model for Staff Colleges, not an acquisition plan.

From a reality perspective, one of the greatest limitations of the 120 as a battalion weapon was the significant increase in logistic support required (based on comparative ammo weights) to maintain a similar weight of suppressive fire. If you can equally keep a soldier's head down with an 81 mm or a 120 mm mortar bomb, why use the one that takes four times the logistic effort to deliver it. Some of the promises for new and interesting types of ammo sounded good, but you can only carry a limited total, and how much HE and WP do you trade for sexy single-purpose rounds?

The various 120 mm systems available certainly have their niches, and whether they are manned by infantry or artillery troops is immaterial in the long run, but the case wasn't made at the time to continue pursuing the test program for the Canadian Army.

We haven't had a heavy mortar in service since we withdrew the 4.2 in mortar. I'm not sure when we saw its last bomb go downrange, perhaps one of our more experienced gunners remembers.

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Chris Pook on July 18, 2004, 00:01:00
Thanks Michael
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on July 20, 2004, 14:52:28
Would the 107 used by the US fulfill the requirements for a heavy mortar?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Matt_Fisher on July 21, 2004, 12:24:47
The M30 107 is being replaced by the 120mm.  I believe it's already out of service in Active Duty/Regular units, and may be found in some National Guard formations still.

If the CFs were to go with a heavy mortar, they'd be better off investing in 120mm, as that's where the current research is being focussed towards in terms of guided projectiles, fire control systems, etc.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on July 22, 2004, 00:31:25
I think 1/3 to 1/2 of all reserve artillery regiments should be converted to mortar.  I think the reserves would be able to make good use of this weapon.

Reserve Gunners would take a QL3 unique to their weapon and continue on seperate streames until a common FOO Tech course. I recomend the NCM MOC become:

R021A Artillery Soldier - Howitzer

R021B Artillery Soldier - Mortar

I do not like the idea of splitting the officer MOC, but it would mean that reserve Arty officers would have to find a way to achive a practical understandig of whichever system thier regiment did not use.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Firepower on July 22, 2004, 01:09:34
It would be easy to teach them both to Gunners. Just do the same QL3 with the C3 an learn Mortars at the home unit, after you know the basics of indirect fire you can be taught other systems quite easily. Just ensure they learn the more complex Gun system first so it's a top down approach.


I don't think the officer MOC get's split because of this, do they not learn all the systems on their course to begin with? Maybe an Arty Officer would care to comment :)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on July 22, 2004, 01:12:40
The problem is that most reserve units will not have the time to train on & become proficient with both weapon systems.  Split MOCs would allow reserve artillery to focus on one weapon.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Firepower on July 22, 2004, 03:03:16
It would not be that difficult to maintain proficientcy with mortars, a few training nights an a weekend in the training year where the unit signs out the mortars from the base to train would suffice. Mortars don't require quite as much Logistics as guns do to get out an train. You know how to ruck? Now take this tube out with you also, you lay it just like the guns, heck units could add it to their winter Indoc weekend.

There is alot more problems then just the unit level training, splitting MOCs may cause less instructors to be available to run courses where instructors came from multiple artillery units in the same training area. Also getting Gunners to seperate from their guns will be a difficult task, an I think you'll find units that get turned into mortar platoons will have a hard time getting recruits. Why would I join mortars if all I am is Infantry with more weight but I don't get to do the fun Infantry stuff. One of the best way to get recruits for Artillery is to tell them about the guns, hell I was going Infantry when I entered that recruiting office, look where I ended up.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on July 23, 2004, 00:20:36
I am not against rerolling some of the Reserve artillery units to mortar. Mortars are a farily simple weapon system and it would fit in with the limited training time most reserve units have.  You could certainly combine aspects of infantry and artillery training into new mortar units.  I would not support giving both roles (mortar and C3) to the reserve artillery as they simply don't have enough time/money/resources to adequately fulfill one role, let alone two.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on July 23, 2004, 00:25:22
Quote
If the CFs were to go with a heavy mortar, they'd be better off investing in 120mm, as that's where the current research is being focussed towards in terms of guided projectiles, fire control systems, etc.

I would be surprised if the CF was even considering purchasing a new mortar system.  Mortars have been relegated to a secondary role for the artillery, in effect, to be taken off the shelf when needed. Why invest significant funds into a system that is not used in a primary role?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scotty884 on July 25, 2004, 12:10:18
Gunner you put a HUGE smile on my face by saying that mortors are to be used in a secondary role   ;D    im kinda tired of carrying the things everywhere lol.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scotty884 on July 25, 2004, 12:13:12
I'll have to say training on the mortors is easy, and u dont have to fire live to get the point we got 4 SAT trainer mortors that we actually drop bombs into and it has recoil and all the goods.  Great idea to train without leavin the building, But nothin beats the real thing of course
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on July 25, 2004, 13:24:26
Quote
Gunner you put a HUGE smile on my face by saying that mortors are to be used in a secondary role       im kinda tired of carrying the things everywhere lol.

Well  it was the army commanders intent that the mortars would be given to the artillery without any additional resources to man them. They would be "taken off the shelf" when required on operations.  Comd 1 CMBG/CO 1 HA may have other plans, all in the spirit of mission command of course!

Happy lugging!  ;D
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scotty884 on July 25, 2004, 21:57:56
TY Gunner for ur pitty (curses them mortors). lol
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mortar guy on July 26, 2004, 10:29:12
The Future Indirect Fire Capability (FIFC) program is looking at getting 120mm mortars as an option. That deosn't mean we'll actually get them though!

Alex
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on July 26, 2004, 13:07:17
Are SAT mortars available to the reserves?

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scotty884 on July 26, 2004, 13:56:20
i dunno but i sure hope they are it would make sence huh?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mansell on July 29, 2004, 12:21:04
Yard Ape,

Are you in the Militia? I have been in 5 Field for over 6 years and while we don't have a lot of time to do tons of cross training I think that we could handle mortars quite easily. There are so many facets of the field artillery that we have to stay boned up on that we would be able to do it. I think that if you split the MOCs you would find it even harder to get recruits so now that troops. If some 105 regiments went mortars then you would lose those howitzers in those cities and some troops might not want to go mortars.
My suggestion is if mortars ever make it to the militia level then most Militia 'Regiments' have 2 'batteries'; in Western Area anyways. One of these batteries, which is more Troop size, could go mortars and have the other 'Battery' get more howitzers and try to go that way. Equipment could switch yearly or every 2 years.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunnerlove on July 29, 2004, 19:55:08
If we can pull a quick conversion course and be qualified to operate an M-109 I don't think mortars would be much of a problem for us.
After all we are the smartest, best looking group in the combat arms.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scott937 on July 30, 2004, 00:26:55
No, spliting the MOC would definately not be the answer, if the reserves were going to use the mortars primarily, then just use the mortar to attain their QL3. They can always do a conversion crse later on, if required. Now for the Officers, absolutely not, the principles of indirect fire are the same. I mean, they should be qualified on the wpns system, so that they can command on the gunline/ mortar group, but thats what an 8 day conversion crse.
Remember the mortars are a residual skill set, that was thrown to the artillery because we have the ability to force generate mortarmen. Personally, I think that the reserves should concentrate on an aspect of TA, a specific skill set that the regular force does not have, and in the event that there is an operational requirement, then the Reserve Regiments are there to provide.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on August 12, 2004, 17:58:17
No, spliting the MOC would definately not be the answer, if the reserves were going to use the mortars primarily, then just use the mortar to attain their QL3.
But what if it were half and half.  Would all reserve gunners have to learn both weapons & then only ever train on one or the other, or would everyone learn one of the weapons and half the soldiers would go back to their units unemployable until a QL4 mortarman is locally run?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scott937 on August 12, 2004, 22:10:31

But what if it were half and half. Would all reserve gunners have to learn both weapons & then only ever train on one or the other, or would everyone learn one of the weapons and half the soldiers would go back to their units unemployable until a QL4 mortarman is locally run?


Think of it this way, one reserve Regt would field mortars, another guns. If you are in the first regt your QL3 would consist of Basic mortarman, if you were in the second... C3. Much the same as the AD, when they had 3 weapons systems, unit's would train thier reservists to QL3 standard depending on the weapons system the regiment had. Ideal, definately not but functional.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on August 13, 2004, 03:39:55
So, if you would train them differently then why not distinguish them as unique sub-MOCs?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Scott937 on August 13, 2004, 13:03:42
Initially, we would train them differently but if thier taskings went outside this weapons system. They all would understand the principles of the other systems and be familiar with their proceedures, but the live fire would be on their own system...
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on August 26, 2004, 02:55:40
Initially, we would train them differently but if their takings went outside this weapons system. They all would understand the principles of the other systems and be familiar with their procedures, but the live fire would be on their own system...
Right, this is why I am not suggesting a separate MOC, but a split MOC.  They are trained differently, but a conversion course would qualify an individual in the "other half."  This could be used to select most appropriately trained candidates suitable to augment overseas missions (based on weapons in theater).
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Yard Ape on August 28, 2004, 02:27:49
This could be one of the MOSID sub-occupations that are planned, but it could be unique to the reserves.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: slickguy1 on September 26, 2004, 19:47:51
The problem is that most reserve units will not have the time to train on & become proficient with both weapon systems.   Split MOCs would allow reserve artillery to focus on one weapon.

Not at all true: 56 Field has use of both the C3 how and the C3 mortar (81mm Mortar) and ran about 70-80% of the reg't through three conversion courses done in under six months. The conversion course can be done in about 3 days not including a day or two of live fire.  Gunners in 56 are not having retention problems with the C3 how or the 81mm mortar - it's just like having to use the C7, C6, C9, etc etc or the conversion course to the M109 or C1.Drills for the 81mm mortar are not difficult and are fairly similar to respective drills on the C1, C2 or C3 howitzer.Gunners on SG04 not qualified on the 81mm were put through a course on the first Friday,Saturday and Sunday w/ firing live by Sunday night.

56 proved that a simple conversion course can result in accurate tgt rounds wrt time on target as well. There is no need of a conversion for recce, arty techs or foos because most of their respective drills and theories are still the same or have a minor altercation.


In addition, why wouldn't soldiers sign up for a mortar platoon? Have you seen a mortar fire or heard the hollow sound of the base plate slamming into the ground? Hundreds of USMC and US Army personal have signed up to be just Mortarmen in their respective service and I know if I decided to join either service I would have no regrets doing so because the mortar is just as effective with it's high rof, simplicity and ease of transportation. Heck, by setting the bipod on the ground a single personal camcover can hide the mortar anywhere and most of it's eis.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 27, 2004, 19:21:41
56 Fd has already re-roled, and 11 Fd is about to.  The decision was made not to have a separate MOC - in fact all career courses are still done on the gun vice the tube.  We will see how it works out...
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Rocky 88 on September 28, 2004, 14:23:31
I think they should learn the Gun first and then when they get the there unit they can convert over to the Tube... yes the money is a big issue.. but a sight is a sight.. and more flexablity for the troops once they understand Gunnery... :salute:
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: FOO TECH G11 on September 28, 2004, 22:34:21
So true Rocky 31

The artilleryman should first be trained on the C3 then move to the mortar if the unit is so equipped. In 2 RCHA right now, all the gunners are quallified C3 and depending on the battery (Delta - mortar, Fox - LG1 and Echo - ????? for now) can be quallified other systems. I am quallified C1/C3, LG1, M109 and 81 Mortar as well as other non-Canadian guns (M118/118. M119/L119, M109 Pallidon, AS-90) and I could go to any of the other batteries and do a layers test on any system today.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mountie on November 25, 2004, 21:07:40
What do you guys think of eliminating the mortar platoons in the infantry battalions (or not reinstating them for those that have already been eliminated) and reorganizing the RCHA regiment to include three small close support batteries each with 6 LAV-III 120mm Armoured Mortar Systems and a general support battery with 6 LAV-III Denel 105mm SPHs.

 
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Chris Pook on December 03, 2004, 20:14:13
More ammunition for fans of the 120mm mortar.

A new Precision Guided round.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bin/client/modele.pl?session=dae.4308111.1089903978.QPadasOa9dUAAESlMZk&modele=jdc_34
http://www.defense-update.com/products/x/xm395.htm

Laser guided.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Art Johnson on December 04, 2004, 01:16:29
I have not been following this thread too closely but as an "Old Mortar Man" It seems to me that the control has been moved further and further from the scene of the action. In my opinion I think a battalion commander needs to be in control of his own mortar unit. It is bad enough trying to call up the Arty for a stonk when they are involved in a Mike shoot, give the Mortar back to the infantry.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: readyfourzero on April 06, 2005, 07:25:58
I'm a British Infantry Mortarman (mainly on the STA side of things) and only recently found out you guys had taken on the Mortars from the Infantry, it's been something I found a bit startling!  How do you solve the problem of guaranteed indirect support? do you attach Btys to Bns when operational and do you have separate STA teams or is this all handled by the FOO?

On another note we were toying with a 120mm AMS but the Mortar people at the Infantry Training Centre Warminster were against the idea due to lower rates of fire, less and heavier ammunition to carry (definately not a good idea for Light Role Infantry anyway) and also the distance from Last Safe Moment to the forward edge of the enemy position would increase from 250-300 to somewhere in the region of 4-500 metres, which is alot of ground to cover underfire without any indirect support.  I think it would be something that would be adopted by Armoured Bdes if it was taken on but I think everyone else would retain the 81.

We had some German soldiers visit one of our live firing sessions on Salisbury plain who were taking great interest in the 81 for their light troops, Gebirgsjaeger and Fallshirmjaeger, something lighter that they could carry without vehicles - well for those who have to it's not exactly light is it?  I feel sorry for the Rifle Companies who end up carrying our ammo, boy they ***** about it!

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: CommonSenseNCO on April 20, 2005, 02:13:56
WRT 81 mm Mortar, the reserves should have a C3 QL3 followed by a 81mm conversion to increase the available manpower.

As for the artillery having the 81mm mortar systems they are attached to the infantry and used as their lackeys as well as mortarmen.

If any infanteer could arrange  it I could arranget to have the mortars, including all spares and related stores transferred back to them tommorrow. Please, oh please ask for them back
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Rocky 88 on April 21, 2005, 13:38:45
well guys, i don't think the Artillery will be giving up the tubs any time soon, if you guys read what Rick had to say in his letter the other day you would under stand much better, the Army is in a transion period like always and there is no money so you can see why trades are slowly losing there equipment, look at the Tanks there will be all gone soon we will only have 8 in CMTC and as well as the sky guard, so if you look back to WW2 you will see again that we will be on the road hitch hiking and hoping that the US will give us a ride and hopfully give us Air and Armoured support as well, All's we will have is a small Navy and some Ground Force that will be able to attend anything, i think all trades and Arms are grasping at the pecking order and fighting for equipment who will win ???? who knows  but i now the troops will Lose!!!!
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Infanteer on November 22, 2005, 23:54:59
Ok, simple question here.  Do smoothbore and rifled mortars of the same caliber (81/120mm) require different types of ammunition or can the same round be utilized in either tube?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on November 23, 2005, 00:04:38
Rifled mortars (such as the 120 mm RT-61 Thomson Brandt (if I recall the designation correctly)) have purpose built ammunition for maximum capability, i.e., their obturation rings engage the rifling. Smooth bore ammunition can be fired in rifled bores with some decrease in capability (range) due to the less effective seal.  Rifled rounds may not effectively work in smooth barreled tubes.  It really all depends on the design charactiristics of the particular tubes and ammo.

As an example the RT-61, which was much vaunted as the "Corps 86 heavy mortar" claimed a range of 13 Km - that was with rifled, rocket-assisted ammunition. The end result was a terminal payload about equal to an 81 mm round. The same mortar firing smooth-bored ammo ranges to 7-8000 m, about the the same as a smooth bored mortar firing the same rounds.

IIRC, the same company (TB) was also marketing a long-range 81 mm mortar (smooth-bored) in the 7500 meter range band at the time as well.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: J. Shortt on December 19, 2005, 16:38:16
Just got back from my TSMs crse. The attitude of the School seems to be that we (arty) want to move away from mortars all together.  This I think will be a good thing except maybe keeping a Bty that has the ability to employ it like the Para bty did.  Maybe the SOG will have that.  Who knows.  But in the end I think that the battalions should get them back but it maybe a PY issue.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on December 19, 2005, 18:26:28
So offer the PYs to the infantry.   ;D
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on December 19, 2005, 20:10:58
No PYs were involved....Mortars are supposed to be an off the shelf capability.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on December 21, 2005, 22:32:34
No PYs were involved....Mortars are supposed to be an off the shelf capability.
Pretty pathetic, when you think about it.  It's hard to take an 81 off the shelf and try to parallel by sight unit!
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Michael O'Leary on December 21, 2005, 23:28:52
No PYs were involved....Mortars are supposed to be an off the shelf capability.

No, not directly in transferring the capability out, but since all those soldiers have been employed elsewhere it would take PYs to bring it back on top of everything the battalions are currently doing. I'm sure the Artillery wouldn't mind giving up 500 PYs to let the infantry stand up nine mortar platoons and the School's mortar cell once more.  :-)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on December 22, 2005, 00:04:25
Let the infantry fill up their current PY billet, then look for additional PYs!   

I like mortars, its a simple and flexible piece of equipment, however you would have to provide me with a persuasive argument to resurrect them as a standing capability. 
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Infanteer on December 22, 2005, 18:20:21
I like mortars, its a simple and flexible piece of equipment, however you would have to provide me with a persuasive argument to resurrect them as a standing capability.

Fallujah, Najaf, Ramadi, a host of funny-named vallys and ridges in Afghanistan....I'd hate to see an Infantry unit scrambling for intimate indirect support while the Artillery is too busy playing with UAV's and 4 155mm howitzers to take a simple mortar off of the shelf.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on December 22, 2005, 19:14:54
Quote
Fallujah, Najaf, Ramadi, a host of funny-named vallys and ridges in Afghanistan....I'd hate to see an Infantry unit scrambling for intimate indirect support while the Artillery is too busy playing with UAV's and 4 155mm howitzers to take a simple mortar off of the shelf.

You are confusing a traditional battalion structure with our current task force construct.  If the mission calls for mortars and heavy artillery, the artillery will provide both if required.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: CommonSenseNCO on March 04, 2006, 02:24:52
While A Bty currently deployed is using the M777 a lot. I have heard, and seen some pretty cool pics, of the guys out training with their mortars near Tarnak Farms. It's not so difficult to be mortars one day, guns the next and mortars the day after. A HL has a lot of room for kit.
When employed as a mortar platoon or troop, the boys are much more contrtolled by the infantry commander and we really work very closely together. Close enough to hear them complaining about how heavy the ammo is ....
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: 3rd Horseman on March 07, 2006, 11:21:58
It's not so difficult to be mortars one day, guns the next and mortars the day after. A HL has a lot of room for kit.

I am sure knowing the gunners I have that you can do that....but the issue is how well....to survive and shot well on the battlefield is what counts to re role from kit to kit mid mission will reduce capability enough to kill you and the supported call sign. Better IMHO to select a Bty to conduct a function and let them be the experts at it.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mountie on March 07, 2006, 13:31:18
What happens when both are needed at the same time.  Guns are 20 km in the rear supporting the infantry battalion and then suddenly a threat emerges that requires mortars.  The gun battery can't instantly change to a mortar troop and race forward.  Or perhaps the guns are engage with longer range targets and the infantry need mortars in close to engage other targets.  Enough of this, give the mortars back to the infantry.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on March 08, 2006, 10:58:21
What happens when both are needed at the same time.  Guns are 20 km in the rear supporting the infantry battalion and then suddenly a threat emerges that requires mortars.  The gun battery can't instantly change to a mortar troop and race forward.  Or perhaps the guns are engage with longer range targets and the infantry need mortars in close to engage other targets.  Enough of this, give the mortars back to the infantry.
They could give it back to the infantry, and yes, I would love that, or they could increase the PYs for the Artillery so that they could man both simultaneously (and at the same time, I may add ;) )  And it's more than just the tubes to be manned: the mortar platoons of old had 54 (or so) all ranks, which included two groups of four mortars, two MFC parties, the echelon and, perhaps most importantly, the battalion  battlegroup   battaliongroup  task force FSCC.  Remember that the FSCC did more than process calls for fire: it CO-ORDINATED fires from all sources.  As far as I understand it, given the shortage of PYs in the Arty, combined with ever increasing tasks (TF HQ FSCCs, UAVs, etc etc), it is becoming ever increasingly difficult to man all.  So, two options (I'll throw in a third "throw away" option as per):
1:  Give the arty enough PYs to man their positions
2:  Give the mortars back to the infantry
3:  Have naval gunners take over the UAV task (remember, this is the throw away third option, so please disregard)

Regards!

Hauptmann
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mortar guy on March 08, 2006, 11:33:07
100% behind you vonGarvin! Why they gave an infantry weapon to the artillery will forever confuse me. What's next? Only qualified engineers can operate our picks and shovels? Assault boats will have to be crewed by navy coxswains?

Vruh
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on March 08, 2006, 11:35:15
...pssst,shhh, keep it down, will ya.. ;)

though the picks and shovel thing.......
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on March 08, 2006, 11:59:15
Picks and shovels to the Engineers?  LOVE IT  ;D
One reason why pioneers and mortars went their merry ways:
$
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mortar guy on March 08, 2006, 12:46:02
Yup, money and the ethnic vote. No wait, that was the last referendum....  :-\

Seriously though, we were our own worst enemies. The dillettantism and amateurism in our army directly contributed to the loss of mortars, pioneers and now anti-armour platoons in the inf bns. Because so few people understand why these platoons were useful or even why mortars, pioneers and anti-armour are different from artillery, engineers or the armoured corps, we let these capabilities go with barely a fight. It always stuns me when someone who is supposedly a 'professional' will say things like "Pioneers and engineers do the same thing, right?" or "Why does a bn need support platoons anyway?" If you don't know the answers to those questions, its time for a little remedial training!  [/rant]

MG
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 08, 2006, 12:47:53
Only qualified engineers can operate our picks and shovels?

Well, the Pioneers went with the Mortars. Yet, the thumperheads are so stretched that the latest A'stan roto took clearance divers to help with the EOD tasks. But that's a separate thread.

Give us back the mortars......and pioneers.....and TOW.....
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mountie on March 08, 2006, 15:07:01
Here is another option for you?  I've discussed it on the thread "Whither the Artillery" so I won't go into great detail.  Arm the artillery with a heavy 120mm mortar, such as the self-propelled Armoured Mortar System on the LAV-III.  The 120mm mortar has greater lethality then a 105mm howitzer, precision ammunition exsists and is being further developed, and it has a range of 10,000m.  Four batteries of eight mortars (a battery per Task Force) or three mortar batteries and a M777 155mm battery.

Battery Headquarters
-Tactical Headquarters (BC attached to TF/BG HQ)
-TF/BG FSCC (BK/Fire Effects Synchronization Officer)
-Echelon
3 x Fire Effects Detachments (FOO/FAC Party)
2 x Mortar Troops (4 x LAV-III 120mm AMS and 2 x MSVS ammo vehicles each)

For light infantry options there is a towed 120mm mortar.  It has slightly less range however.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on March 08, 2006, 15:28:00
Here is another option for you?  I've discussed it on the thread "Whither the Artillery" so I won't go into great detail.  Arm the artillery with a heavy 120mm mortar, such as the self-propelled Armoured Mortar System on the LAV-III.  The 120mm mortar has greater lethality then a 105mm howitzer, precision ammunition exsists and is being further developed, and it has a range of 10,000m.  Four batteries of eight mortars (a battery per Task Force) or three mortar batteries and a M777 155mm battery.

Battery Headquarters
-Tactical Headquarters (BC attached to TF/BG HQ)
-TF/BG FSCC (BK/Fire Effects Synchronization Officer)
-Echelon
3 x Fire Effects Detachments (FOO/FAC Party)
2 x Mortar Troops (4 x LAV-III 120mm AMS and 2 x MSVS ammo vehicles each)

For light infantry options there is a towed 120mm mortar.  It has slightly less range however.
Only effect would be the procurement process, so we would see this in what, five or more years?  That notwithstanding (or barring a miracle COT purchase on the order of the M777), the only disadvantage to the 120 for light efforts would be the lighter ammo load you can bring to the fight. (vs 81mm).  But, imagine the arty having 120mm as above, and the inf having the 81's at the coy level.  Or, just go back to the way it was (Tac HQ *was* the BG/TF FSCC, and a place for the BC to hang his hat)
Nice *real* third option (as opposed to my "naval gunners" option from before)  ;D
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 09, 2006, 05:43:40

Odd, you would expect mortars to be there.

A WW2 Royal Artilley Methods site http://www.hypospace.net/equipment/methods/maindoc.htm (http://www.hypospace.net/equipment/methods/maindoc.htm)
Quote
...
In late 1944 anti-tank regiments in Burma became dual equipped, every anti-tank detachment had a 3-in mortar. Australian tank attack regiments received both mortars and 75-mm howitzers. Given the Japanese lack of tanks all this was a sensible use of resources.  However, the same thing was sometimes done in Italy from early 1944 using 4.2-inch mortars, most notably by the Polish Corps at Monte Cassino and in other cases anti-tank batteries were effectively converted to 4.2-inch mortar batteries.  In that theatre divisional commanders had 4.2-inch mortars available for issue as required.
...
The were occasions, particularly in Italy, when LAA batteries temporarily operated mortars.
...

Anti-Tank troops would probably not be the way to go, but a dual Anti-Air/mortar troop?!

Having dual howitzer/mortar units (or howitzer units that may be switched to mortars) might not be a useful idea if the guns are required. If indirect fire is required, then might there not also be a coinciding mortar requirement?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: SHELLDRAKE!! on March 09, 2006, 12:48:39
 Maybee Im missing something but the "Gun" Batteries arn't all co located at one grid. The concept of having a designated mortar battery (or two) and the other batteries with M777's, would mean only the cap badge on the mortar line is different.

 Weather its PPCLI or RCHA manning the tubes, essentially nothing changes except the fact it now becomes easier for commanders to coordinate all indirect fire more easilly.

 When the 81's belonged to the infantry, the mortar troop's ran nearly identical to the way the Arty run their mortars. How do I know? I did my mortar course with PPCLI and deployed to bosnia with the Artillery mortar troop.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mountie on March 09, 2006, 16:00:16
I don't think anyone is arguing there is a difference between and infantry mortar platoon and an artillery mortar troop/battery.  What is being argued is that both a gun battery and a mortar battery/platoon are needed within a TF/BG at the same time.  I am currently re-reading the book "The March Up" about the 1st US Marine Divisions operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Infantry battalions often requested supporting fire from both their 81mm mortar platoon and their supporting 155mm towed artillery at the same time.  Canadian units cannot do this when the same battery hold both the guns and mortars. 
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mountie on March 10, 2006, 18:22:28
It actually makes a lot of sense to have mortars manned by the gunners.  But put the mortar platoon back into the infantry battalion and man it with gunners.  Same thing with the Pioneers if you want.  Man them with engineers but put them back into the infantry battalion.  The assault engineer platoon would provide the infantry with immediate close support while the field engineer squadron conducted other engineering tasks not directly related to close support of the infantry battalion (camp construction, road building, EOD, etc).  Give the anti-armour platoons back to the infantry as well and you have a combined arms infantry battalion ready to go without a lot of add ons.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Chris Pook on March 10, 2006, 19:12:25
Tell you what Mountie, why wouldn't you do exactly as you suggest but call it a Task Force?  You could even permanently assign the different hat badges, station them in one location, have them train and live together and possibly even give them a common shoulder patch.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 10, 2006, 21:26:28
....and possibly even give them a common shoulder patch.

T-shirts. It's all about the t-shirts. Lots of daggers and skulls and stuff   ;)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mountie on March 11, 2006, 06:08:25
That is exactly what I suggested months ago on the thread "Diffusion of Combined Arms" or something like that.  My suggestion was for a combined arms battle group / task force permanently organized as such.  I suggested numbering the BG/TF and give them their own patch.  Basically the brigade's can take on the history/tradition of former divisions and the BG/TF can take on former brigade history/tradition to maintain the former units fought in the world wars.  Within each combined arms task force there would be individual sub-units of various regiments/corps.  Such as:

1 CMBG (1,2 & 3 CATFs)
2 CMBG (4,5 & 6 CATFs)
5 CMBG (7,8 & 9 CATFs)

1st Combined Arms Task Force
-Task Force Headquarters (non corps specific)
-A, B & C Companies, PPCLI
-A Squadron, LdSH (2 x MGS Troop & 1 x TUA Troop)
-11 Field Engineer Squadron (Assault Engineer Troop & Close Support Engineer Troop)
-A Battery, RCHA (mortar battery organized as in previous post)
-1 Service Company (signal, admin, quartermaster, transport, maintenance and medical platoons, plus chaplain and MP sections)

A brigade level there would be:
-General Support Task Force with supply, transport and maintenance companies, plus an engineer support squadron.
-Command Support Task Force with signal, military intelligence and armoured reconnaissance squadrons, plus artillery target acquisition battery/troop and a military police platoon.
-Field Ambulance organized like a USMC surgical company as a 60-bed forward surgical hospital.

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: horsegunner353 on March 11, 2006, 20:07:05
It actually makes a lot of sense to have mortars manned by the gunners.  But put the mortar platoon back into the infantry battalion and man it with gunners. 

This doesn't solve the problem that drove the army to task the artillery with mortars.  The available PYs didn't increase, they decreased.  By giving the task to the artillery, at least the army kept the skill "in house" by double hatting the gunners.  If you post them to an infantry battalion, then you lose the gun battery from the ORBAT.

The Americans tried permanently embedding things like FOO parties etc into the supported arm organization and found it didn't work.  They became the Queen of RSM's detail and tended to do anything but their combat job.  In addition, they were unable maintain skills associated with lower-level Battle Task Standards.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 11, 2006, 21:34:25
This doesn't solve the problem that drove the army to task the artillery with mortars. 
This assumes you know the reason for the task transfer. I've never seen a justification.

Many, however, believe that it was merely to keep gunners employed in our recent series of deployments - - M109s aren't going anywhere, but mortars may still be handy. Give mortars to the arty, and they don't get cut as "obsolete"; this keeps the cap-badge around in case the pendulum swings back to large-scale combat ops.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Mortar guy on March 11, 2006, 22:04:44
I know the reason for the transfer - at least the official reason. The PYs were taken out of the infantry battalions so they could be used to form new Command Support Battalions and flesh out CMTC. How are those Command Support Battalions working out in the Brigades anyway?

MG

Edited for spelling
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on March 11, 2006, 22:10:07
This assumes you know the reason for the task transfer. I've never seen a justification.

Many, however, believe that it was merely to keep gunners employed in our recent series of deployments - - M109s aren't going anywhere, but mortars may still be handy. Give mortars to the arty, and they don't get cut as "obsolete"; this keeps the cap-badge around in case the pendulum swings back to large-scale combat ops.

Of course the most recent series of deployments to Afghanistan negates your argument that mortars went to the artillery simply so they could deploy. 
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 11, 2006, 22:55:08
I know the reason for the transfer - at least the official reason. The PYs were taken out of the infantry battalions so they could be used to form new Command Support Battalions and flesh out CMTC. How are those Command Support Battalions working out in the Brigades anyway?

Is that official reason published anywhere?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: little jim on March 14, 2006, 09:18:48
Of course the most recent series of deployments to Afghanistan negates your argument that mortars went to the artillery simply so they could deploy. 

Of course the fact this change was made in the middle of the never-ending Bosnia deployments, where the guns didn't start deploying with LG1s till roto 7 sort of negates yours...how many tours went over without an inf mortar platoon and had instead one from the guns?

I believe it wasn't until almost two months after the Wng O for APOLLO went out that the bulk of the 031's in 3 VP's mortar platoon were replaced by 021s.

If the move was made in anticipation of Afghanistan then someone in the Arty should have spoken up that they knew about 9-11....
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: 3rd Horseman on March 14, 2006, 12:27:38
Arty was deploying to Bosnia as Inf Coys and as the Mortar Pl as early as 94. So I think the argument is mute.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 14, 2006, 17:06:19
It would be surprising to find out that a major consideration wasn't how few deployed tasks were artillery at the time compared to infantry tasks.

Here in the now though - if the deployment allocates one battery - then the 155 covers off a lot more tasks than the 81.

But, given the one battery then, if there was a limited requirement for mortars, would the battery task out 3 tubes? Granted it couldn't be done without some notification. Which also makes me question why one gun crew ends up being one mortar crew? Is the crew of a 155 that small?


As for the infantry regaining the medium mortar role, I would say no. If the problem now is the limited number of available batteries then the artillery should be allocated more personnel to cover the role - not the infantry.

Besides, you join up to be infantry, and although I valued being in mortars; somehow firing an indirect weapon system at an unseen target area a few kilometers away never seemed like an infantry task.

As for the mortar platoon in the hip pocket - it was often disbanded entirely prior to deployment, as were Aslt Pnrs and AAP. It makes much more sense having the artillery use mortars then having them as an ad hoc rifle company.

Probably the greater loss to an infantry battalion, from losing Mortars and Aslt Pnrs (and to some extent AAP), would be the knowledge base of the Advance Qualified NCOs.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on March 14, 2006, 21:11:40
As for the infantry regaining the medium mortar role, I would say no. If the problem now is the limited number of available batteries then the artillery should be allocated more personnel to cover the role - not the infantry.
Besides, you join up to be infantry, and although I valued being in mortars; somehow firing an indirect weapon system at an unseen target area a few kilometers away never seemed like an infantry task.
As for the mortar platoon in the hip pocket - it was often disbanded entirely prior to deployment, as were Aslt Pnrs and AAP. It makes much more sense having the artillery use mortars then having them as an ad hoc rifle company.
Probably the greater loss to an infantry battalion, from losing Mortars and Aslt Pnrs (and to some extent AAP), would be the knowledge base of the Advance Qualified NCOs.
I disagree with your first point.  The Arty has more to do than just lob shells at the enemy beyond the horizon.  The fact remains that manning and firing the guns is their primary role, but there are more.  As for mortars not being an infantry weapon, check this out:
"mortar, in warfare, term originally applied to certain types of artillery with high trajectories, but later applied to an infantry weapon that consists of a tube supported by a bipod that fires a projectile at a very high trajectory. The mortar is not usually classified as artillery. Unlike standard types of artillery, mortars need no complex recoil equipment and are usually smoothbore and muzzle-loaded. Their weight is light in relation to the weight of shell delivered, but at the expense of range and accuracy. First developed by Sir Frederick Stokes during World War I, the mortar was used by infantry in trench warfare and is standard equipment in modern armies.
This is from http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/Mortar+(disambiguation)
Infantry is much more than bayonets and blood.

Anyway, my $0.02
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on March 15, 2006, 01:14:45
Of course the fact this change was made in the middle of the never-ending Bosnia deployments, where the guns didn't start deploying with LG1s till roto 7 sort of negates yours...how many tours went over without an inf mortar platoon and had instead one from the guns?

I believe it wasn't until almost two months after the Wng O for APOLLO went out that the bulk of the 031's in 3 VP's mortar platoon were replaced by 021s.

If the move was made in anticipation of Afghanistan then someone in the Arty should have spoken up that they knew about 9-11....

Actually the LG1 was deployed to Bosnia as part of Roto 6(+) which increased Canada's commitment to Bosnia based on NATO's Balkans Rationalization. 

The deployment to Op APOLLO and the transfer of the mortar role to the artillery are entirely mutually exclusive. 
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 15, 2006, 09:49:12
Arty was deploying to Bosnia as Inf Coys
This is completely irrelevant to any discussion of infantry's tactical requirement for integral support weapons, such as mortars.

It does however seem to reinforce the view that the decision to transfer mortars to Arty was based more upon finding some deployable role for them. Re-roling Arty to an infantry role merely demonstrates both the benign nature of the Bosnian theatre by that point, and probably the perceived need to get more gunners, besides FOO/FAC parties, some overseas time.

Arty was deploying to Bosnia as Inf Coys and as the Mortar Pl as early as 94. So I think the argument is mute.
The argument is therefore not moot, although perhaps the contribution to this discussion would have benefitted from "mute."
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on March 15, 2006, 10:19:08
Quote
It does however seem to reinforce the view that the decision to transfer mortars to Arty was based more upon finding some deployable role for them. Re-roling Arty to an infantry role merely demonstrates both the benign nature of the Bosnian theatre by that point, and probably the perceived need to get more gunners, besides FOO/FAC parties, some overseas time.

It was more a reflection of the state of the army and poor force generation practices that trying to find a deployable role for the artillery.  1 RCHA was scheduled to deploy to a "hot" theatre in 1995 on OP HARMONY...hardly a benign theatre at the time.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 15, 2006, 10:49:50
1 RCHA was scheduled to deploy to a "hot" theatre in 1995 on OP HARMONY...hardly a benign theatre at the time.

Agreed. 1 RCHA's slice of Op HARMONY was to be a complete Bty, plus the artillery-specific support elements....for artillery tasks. This is not the same as the statement, "Arty was deploying to Bosnia as Inf Coys," which I contend is irrelevant to the stated title/purpose of this thread.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 15, 2006, 16:33:49
...
As for mortars not being an infantry weapon, check this out:
...
 http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/Mortar+(disambiguation)
Infantry is much more than bayonets and blood.
...

True enough - most militaries view the 81mm as an infantry weapon.

But consider:
   - FSCC
   - Baseplate Survey (Group Recce)
   - MFCs
   - the continuously increasing range and
   - capability of the 81mm round
   We're no longer simply lobbing explosives from trenchline to trenchline. :)

To have the Infantry concentrate on generating battalions of rifle companies and the associated recce, and the Armoured concentrate on generating regiments of tank squadrons and the associated recce, probably allows for the more modular deployment approach while still upholding regimental bonds.

What is the main concern with the Artillery providing mortar units: That the Army won't allocate them the resources to generate them, or that the Artillery can't/won't coordinate/integrate with the Infantry effectively?

However, from what I've read in the Artillery forum here, it is a shame that the Artillery seems to see little prestige in providing mortar support.

And, I am still curious how a 6 gun battery would only be able to crew 6 mortars - does it really only take 3xCpl/Pte to crew a 155mm howitzer? :)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on March 15, 2006, 17:44:39

True enough - most militaries view the 81mm as an infantry weapon.
But consider:
   - FSCC
   - Baseplate Survey (Group Recce)
   - MFCs
   - the continuously increasing range and
   - capability of the 81mm round
   We're no longer simply lobbing explosives from trenchline to trenchline. :)

To have the Infantry concentrate on generating battalions of rifle companies and the associated recce, and the Armoured concentrate on generating regiments of tank squadrons and the associated recce, probably allows for the more modular deployment approach while still upholding regimental bonds.

What is the main concern with the Artillery providing mortar units: That the Army won't allocate them the resources to generate them, or that the Artillery can't/won't coordinate/integrate with the Infantry effectively?

However, from what I've read in the Artillery forum here, it is a shame that the Artillery seems to see little prestige in providing mortar support.

And, I am still curious how a 6 gun battery would only be able to crew 6 mortars - does it really only take 3xCpl/Pte to crew a 155mm howitzer? :)

With regards to FSCC, that was always a BHQ asset: ALWAYS plugged right into callsign zero.  It did more than process calls for platoon level fires and the like, it more importantly coordinated all fires.  Basically the traffic cop of the battalion.  Is it necessary to have infantry man it?  Of course not.  But given the arty's task to man the TF FSCC's as well as regimental FSCC's, all without increase to PYs, well, the math begins to get blurred.
Baseplate survey: three guys to do that: both group comds and the 2IC.  I say: so what?
MFC/FOO combination was a killer at coy gp/cbt tm level.  One would anchor, the other go fwd with the OC.
The range is actually a good thing (over 5 km now for HE rounds out of the 81), especially given the contemporary operational environment.  Consider ATHENA.  Virtually all of the southwest urban area of Kabul could have been covered from JULIEN by 81's.  Put a group further north, and that whole side of town is covered.  The dutch used them on an op when I was there (June 03), providing continuous illum for their lads.
The current capability of the 81mm round is virtually unchanged since the 80s, but you're right, it's no longer from trenchline to trenchline.  Given the "blind spots" behind mountains, hills, crags and everything else, in some cases a high trajectory shot is much better than a low one.
As for infantry battalions "focussing" on infantry companies, well, that's a misunderstanding of what infantry does.  Not by you or me, but by "them". ;)
I guess the only concern with Arty doing mortar stuff is the worry that the arty would relegate the 81 to the QM, and only reluctantly bring them out when told.  Having a crew man both 81 and 155 is like telling a GPMG gunner to have a rifle as well (FYI: GPMG gunners have pistols for side arms, they don't have rifles).
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 15, 2006, 20:27:45
...As for infantry battalions "focussing" on infantry companies, well, that's a misunderstanding of what infantry does.  Not by you or me, but by "them". ;) ...

No doubt I am in the minority on this one, as I actually find myself agreeing with "them" - I'm sure it doesn't make me a bad person. :)

My list of FSCC, MFCs, Grp Recce, etc, was just to emphasize the similarities between a mortar platoon and artillery units (vice most infantry sub-units). I'd also like to point out that I have nothing but good things to say about the 81mm's usefulness, versatility, and portability (all support weapons can be awkward - but the 81mm sure breaks down better than the TOW system).


...I guess the only concern with Arty doing mortar stuff is the worry that the arty would relegate the 81 to the QM, and only reluctantly bring them out when told....

Agreed - however, there are plenty posts about how going from the guns to the mortars is just a simple conversion course for the gunners, so I'm wondering if there is an actual example of an artillery mortar battery not fulfilling the role as the infantry would like them to? Or at least any perceived differences?


And - still, anyone know how each gun crew ends up crewing only one mortar?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: rampage800 on March 15, 2006, 21:03:15
Iterator

The current TO&E has actual gun batteries down to 4 guns vice 6. I've been told that was a 2 Horse concoction from when they deployed to Kabul and the army thought it was such a splendid idea that they haven't gone back to 6 guns since. With regards to your question each gun det is 8 guys and then breaks down to 2 mortars with 4 guys each for either a 4 gun bty or an 8 mortar battery.  I think now the troops(what the arty guys call their platoons)work independently so you can kind of plug and play what kind of support the OC's need (ie they can have 2 guns and 4 mortars for an attack) Going back to the gun thing it should be noted that the arty had to give up positions somewhere because they've created larger OP parties (6) and added a third OP party as well, the only thing is the US and Brits have realized that 6 gun bty's are too small and have actually gone to 8 I'm led to believe. The whole idea of the mortars being given to the arty for trade preservation and that people actually believe that though still kills me  :-\
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on March 15, 2006, 21:06:38
No doubt I am in the minority on this one, as I actually find myself agreeing with "them" - I'm sure it doesn't make me a bad person. :)
My list of FSCC, MFCs, Grp Recce, etc, was just to emphasize the similarities between a mortar platoon and artillery units (vice most infantry sub-units). I'd also like to point out that I have nothing but good things to say about the 81mm's usefulness, versatility, and portability (all support weapons can be awkward - but the 81mm sure breaks down better than the TOW system).
Agreed - however, there are plenty posts about how going from the guns to the mortars is just a simple conversion course for the gunners, so I'm wondering if there is an actual example of an artillery mortar battery not fulfilling the role as the infantry would like them to? Or at least any perceived differences?
And - still, anyone know how each gun crew ends up crewing only one mortar?
Well, for infantry, it has always been perceived as a bunch of dudes with rifles and bayonets.  The majority of infantry killing power comes from the support weapons, from machine guns to mortars to TOW to LAV, etc etc.  Anyway, I digress
NOW I get why you listed the components of the mortar platoon.  It was laid out virtually exactly as an eight tube arty battery, as far as I know.
I know from experience that there have been problems using the 81 as far as gunners has gone.  It's all about procedures on the gun line.  OC Mortars in Khandahar in 02 was an infantry officer, and he actually had to pull out the book to prove to sergeant so-and-so that "THIS" is how you do things in a mortar platoon.  Now, as said, that was just procedures on the line.  There is NO doubt in my military mind that a trained mud gunner could easily convert to 81mm in no time flat, and do that job well.  Its just that mud gunners like hitting crap WAY OUT THERE.  Heck, even at just over 5km with 81 (HE), that's virtually across the road for you gunners :D
I have no idea how each gun crew ends up with just one mortar.  If vonGarvin were CDS, you gunners wouldn't have to worry about that.  Either the infantry would have the mortars back, or you gunners would be multiplied so that you would man either/or, not both simultaneously, and at the same time, I may add ;)
Now, to add to rampage's thoughts, the mortars went to the arty due to a decision made in the late 90's because of manpower shortages in the infantry.  Don't forget, the infantry went from four companies to three in 97 or 98.  That's over a hundred dudes per battalion.  Since then, with mortars and pioneers gone, thats another 80 or so.  Then there's TOW platoon, which isn't "gone", but "shuffled".
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 15, 2006, 21:25:04
And, I am still curious how a 6 gun battery would only be able to crew 6 mortars - does it really only take 3xCpl/Pte to crew a 155mm howitzer? :)

For starters, it requires four artillery troops for a three infantryman mortar crew
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,1585.msg337454.html#msg337454
;)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 15, 2006, 21:42:05
Thanks Journeyman. Unfortunately I've run smack into my lack of knowledge on how a howitzer is crewed.


This post http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,32965.msg247747/topicseen.html#msg247747 (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,32965.msg247747/topicseen.html#msg247747) leads to a USMC link with 9 or 10 as an M777 crew. While this one http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,38996.msg326799/topicseen.html#msg326799 (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,38996.msg326799/topicseen.html#msg326799) states a crew of 7.

I'm picturing a lot of people standing around a mortar with bore brushes. :)

Edited for spelling, links, etc...
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on March 15, 2006, 23:04:19
Agreed. 1 RCHA's slice of Op HARMONY was to be a complete Bty, plus the artillery-specific support elements....for artillery tasks. This is not the same as the statement, "Arty was deploying to Bosnia as Inf Coys," which I contend is irrelevant to the stated title/purpose of this thread.

More than a complete battery, 1 RCHA reroled completely to infantry and was the lead Regiment for the battle group.  If I recall correctly it was only augmented by a company from 3 PPCLI in addition to the normal recce and engineer assets.  There were no "gun batteries" to be deployed. 

Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Journeyman on March 16, 2006, 09:45:45
I stand corrected.

(Hmm.....I was wrong once before, but the divorce sorted that out. Now, a second time here. I hope this isn't some sort of trend happening  ;)  )
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Gunner on March 16, 2006, 21:52:06
After a huge swing off the mortar topic, back to mortars!
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: little jim on March 21, 2006, 17:50:52

Agreed - however, there are plenty posts about how going from the guns to the mortars is just a simple conversion course for the gunners, so I'm wondering if there is an actual example of an artillery mortar battery not fulfilling the role as the infantry would like them to? Or at least any perceived differences?


from an infantry perspective one of the initial trains of thought goes back to the arty command relationships.  The Arty guys love to tell you they are a Div level asset (usually “We’re a higher level asset”), mortars didn’t get taken away from the Bn Comd – hence the old role of mortars to provide “guaranteed, intimate, indirect fire.”

No longer the case with the tubes with the gunners.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 21, 2006, 20:13:08
from an infantry perspective one of the initial trains of thought goes back to the arty command relationships.  The Arty guys love to tell you they are a Div level asset (usually “We’re a higher level asset”), mortars didn’t get taken away from the Bn Comd – hence the old role of mortars to provide “guaranteed, intimate, indirect fire.”

No longer the case with the tubes with the gunners.


Historically (and I'm not a historian) I would be in full agreement - for an infantry battalion to operate and maneuver it did require evolving into its own task force complete with CSS, signals, recce, indirect fire, engineer, and armoured defence capabilities.

But a couple of things have changed:

1) The guaranteed part has ended. The CF has long since passed the day when the Infantry battalion as a predefined minor task force is deployed in that configuration.

And diffusing other capabilities down to a predefined Task Force similar to:
...
My suggestion was for a combined arms battle group / task force permanently organized as such.
...
would just be perpetuating the Infantry battalion as a predefined minor task force but a partial step higher, and, if embedded into the battalion, would also lead to problems such as:
...
The Americans tried permanently embedding things like FOO parties etc into the supported arm organization and found it didn't work.  They became the Queen of RSM's detail and tended to do anything but their combat job.  In addition, they were unable maintain skills associated with lower-level Battle Task Standards.


2) The actual capabilities of mortars (even the 81mm), combined with communication and tactical awareness capabilities, have increased to a point where mortars can be effectively used as supporting fire for other units (very much my opinion) - in which case the artillery view may not be too off-base.

Note: I also believe this applies to the TOW system, whereas I believe a mechanized battalion has outstretched the capabilities of the old Aslt Pnr platoon (again, very much my opinion) and requires the brigade's CER be expanded.



I'm not disagreeing with how well the infantry previously handled the mortar task, or how happy the CO was knowing that this was all completely theirs, but can't all this be mitigated by doctrine and training?

And, since there aren't separate PYs for the task anyways, how effective would it be to have a rifle company partially double-hatted as a mortar platoon?

One thing is for sure though - nobody from the infantry side of the house wants them left on a shelf. :)
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Iterator on March 21, 2006, 20:15:28
Iterator

The current TO&E has actual gun batteries down to 4 guns vice 6. I've been told that was a 2 Horse concoction from when they deployed to Kabul and the army thought it was such a splendid idea that they haven't gone back to 6 guns since. With regards to your question each gun det is 8 guys and then breaks down to 2 mortars with 4 guys each for either a 4 gun bty or an 8 mortar battery.  I think now the troops(what the arty guys call their platoons)work independently so you can kind of plug and play what kind of support the OC's need (ie they can have 2 guns and 4 mortars for an attack) Going back to the gun thing it should be noted that the arty had to give up positions somewhere because they've created larger OP parties (6) and added a third OP party as well, the only thing is the US and Brits have realized that 6 gun bty's are too small and have actually gone to 8 I'm led to believe. The whole idea of the mortars being given to the arty for trade preservation and that people actually believe that though still kills me  :-\

rampage800 - Thanks, I only just noticed your earlier post. I would have assumed that 1 gun would be able to crew 2 mortars, but everything else I've read seems to state 1 for 1 - maybe because there are only 6 tubes sent over? - But even then it would seem to make more sense to allocate 2 mortars per gun and leave a few guns without mortars.
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on November 03, 2006, 15:23:36
Anyone see what's wrong on this photo?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: George Wallace on November 03, 2006, 15:31:19
Ramp not full dropped, putting extra stress on cables and hydraulics?

Ammo stacked too close to Carrier and tubes?

Tubes too close together?

Gun Aiming posts laying on ground between tubes?

Officer is pigeoned toed, crossed knee'd, and doesn't know where to find cover to pee behind?

Sun setting in the East?
Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: Technoviking on November 03, 2006, 15:39:38
RE: ramp.  Probably not.  There could be a "jerry" can under it.
re: Ammo.  No probs.  rounds easily accessible for the loader (#2) to get them from the batboy, er, #3.
re: closeness of mortars.  BINGO!  Now, I know that the threat of the countermortar fire of the DAG of the 15th Motor Rifle Division is virtually nil, but in order to get the best spread (eg: beaten zone) at the other end and also to lessen hearing loss on fellow crewmen/gunners or whatever the heck they call them these days, they should be a min of 20 m apart.  I'm no rocket scientist, but that doesn't look like a 20 m spread.
re: Aiming posts on ground: BINGO!  They haven't established AAP.  "What if" the AP goes down?  (windstorm, dust devil, camel, whatever).
Re: Officer.  Isn't that SOP being like that?  ;)



Title: Re: MORTARS-4 Years[and counting] of Mortar Thoughts
Post by: rampage800 on November 03, 2006, 23:16:28
VG

Good observation and I can only speculate why the tubes are like that however I will offer this:

1. the tubes are on a 777 posn (which they were) and they had CP & FC which means your relying on the computer(IFCCS) for your fall of shot on the ground and not firing parallel.

2. the aiming point thing is kind of a moot point because we can't see the whole pic (ie being gunners they probably would have set GAP 1 up Left front, which we can't see and GAP 2 usually Left rear which we also can't see) I have no idea why the aiming posts are where they are and won't even speculate on that.

Anyhow just a couple of points, trying to give the guys the benefit of the doubt but you guys are definitely right on the money about the Whistleheads ;D
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Arius on February 14, 2008, 13:59:44
Since we don't talk about AGLs here anymore, I would suggest starting another thread on the future use of mortars in the Army.  I would be interested in some real debate and informed opinions.

There is a lot of circular thinking going on and at some point we just rant emotionally and compare apples to oranges.  Linking pictures of the 51/60mm doesn’t add anything really.  How about linking the 120mm mortars of every country that consider the 60mm as irrelevant and chooses not to bother with it?

There is no data to support the effectiveness of the 60mm in comparisons of other systems and that’s why the 60mm doesn’t fit at this point.  We do our own researches for our own needs and if the 60mm had proven its worth it would have been retained - BTW: Still 0 killed in Afg and the current TF often doesn't bother to even bring it out.  We love our Brits, US and other allied friends and I'm sure they have their own reasoning that applies to their situation.  Right now, we cannot spend $6M of P,O&M every year on an ineffective weapon (Yes I said ineffective and read all the previous posts about the Carl Gustav/40 mm mix and line of sight engagements before flaming).

As an aside: For your information on why we bought relatively expensive tanks and planes on short notice; some major Crown projects were unexpectedly delayed and the money became available to be spent asap as it cannot be carried forward.  That’s why those projects where fast-tracked.  It was not possible to ramp up and commit the money without going off-the-shelf immediately.  Not pretty but the only way to keep the money within DND.  Since there was no plan to retain or replace the 60mm there was no money spent for it. 

More on topic:  This week the CASW has passed the legal review and the financial verifications were completed by Fin CS.  It is cleared to go to Project Management Board in March and Treasury Board in May.  The thing is coming.
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on February 14, 2008, 14:20:38
Thanks for staying in the discussion here Arius. Very helpful.
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Big Red on February 14, 2008, 14:50:41
While the kill radius on the 60mm is small, I have seen it used effectively on friendlies resulting in several KIAs.

A small mortar certainly has a place. Where I6 and I were a while ago there were poor lines of sight due to the built up area. If we stuck around there I had 2 bipod 60s and 1 standalone 60 lined up that we were going to incorporate into our alamo plans.  Sometimes it's nice to be able to drop HE on the next block over.

Mind you I've also been within meters of landing 60mms before without ill effect (well they made us get out of the pool)
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on February 14, 2008, 15:17:01
Since we don't talk about AGLs here anymore, I would suggest starting another thread on the future use of mortars in the Army.  I would be interested in some real debate and informed opinions.

There is a lot of circular thinking going on and at some point we just rant emotionally and compare apples to oranges.  Linking pictures of the 51/60mm doesn’t add anything really.  How about linking the 120mm mortars of every country that consider the 60mm as irrelevant and chooses not to bother with it?

Agreed that this should perhaps start a new thread/join an existing thread (if one already exists)

120mm Mortars and very different animals from the 60.  Yes, they fire high angle, but that's about it.  To me, it would be just as wrong as to compare a sniper rifle to a sub machine gun: both are shot by one person and they both shoot bullets, but that's about it.
I would offer that 120's, given their range, firepower and fire potential are a higher level asset, requiring that coordination of assets that is not required of a 60.  Does the 60 have limitations?  Naturally; however, it is not ineffective either.  Even if we took only kills it makes as a measure of its potential, we would be missing a great part of it: morale.  Actually, the shock effect that 4 mortars firing 10 rounds rapid on one area can very easily cause someone to download some brown matter and revert to self preservation vice try to kill us.
Anyway, I can offer more; however, I'm rather busy.  I'll touch back in shortly.
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on February 14, 2008, 15:21:54

Here is a good example of where I'd like to have a 60mm MOR handy. 8-10 bombs in the air at once would sort this out pretty sharpish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tJYj2zRm2U&feature=related

And, if we want to get rid of our old light mortars, it looks like there's an army here willing to take them off our hands:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoccaN-TmmA

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on February 14, 2008, 15:49:47
Just to add some more depth to this debate, how does the 51 mm mortar compare to the 60 mm mortar?  Would Canadian mortar proponents support going to a lighter light mortar?
No idea on the 51 -- the 60 has a pretty poor payload as is -- I wonder what the 51's is?
 *the 40mm has an even more pathetic burting radius -- but is still pretty good for the intended role (not IDF) with the HEDP round.

Since the 60mm is US issue - and alledgedly Cdn SOF issue as well -  IMHO it makes more sense to adopt a modern 60...
The payload on the 51mm ranges from about the same as some 60mm bombs (140-160 grams of HE) to half of some (some 60mm have 300 grams).  The effective danger area is much larger than a 40mm grenade, and will be approximately equal to a 60mm.
...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Tango2Bravo on February 14, 2008, 15:56:32
I would be interested in some real debate and informed opinions.

There is no data to support the effectiveness of the 60mm in comparisons of other systems and that’s why the 60mm doesn’t fit at this point.  We do our own researches for our own needs and if the 60mm had proven its worth it would have been retained - BTW: Still 0 killed in Afg and the current TF often doesn't bother to even bring it out. 

I'm not well informed (I am a tanker) but I do have opinions.

The 60mm mortar was quite popular in 2006.  One company after a particularly long firefight (one of the first major ones) supported by 25mm, M203, 155mm and even CAS made the point that they had regretted leaving their mortars behind due to manning shortfalls and that they would never do that again.  The 60mm was employed frequently in firefights, and was sometimes used to flush enemy out of compounds at close range into the open where they could be effectively engaged with other systems.  It could be quickly dismounted from the back of a LAV or loaded onto a CH-47.  Ammo carriage could be broken down with some ease.  The 60mm also gave platoon houses a simple but effective means for self-defence against enemy on or behind ridgelines.  Our US allies also very much valued their 81mm and 60mm mortars even though they had a metric ****-load of Mk19 grenade launchers.  I know that the CASW is more than a Mk19, but I just throw that out there.

Still, it is easy to make demands without having to make the cuts at higher level and I understand that resources are finite and that sometimes less systems is better.  

Cheers
Title: Re: Close Area Suppression Weapon (was Company Area Suppression Weapon)
Post by: daftandbarmy on February 14, 2008, 18:14:03
If we get rid of our mortars, it looks like they can use them in Iraq:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoccaN-TmmA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKUG58s1J5g&feature=related
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Royal on February 15, 2008, 11:11:12
No Allied country that has an AGL has no mortars.  Fact, the CASW does not replace the effects of the mortars, but the 60 is tired and worn out/rusting out.  It is not so much the tubes as the baseplates that casue the necessity to reduce the max range fired, also...key point, in order to buy one thing, we have to allocate an amount of money, that if we tried to do both projects (CASW + 60mm upgrade) we would get neither well enough to do the job.  It is also good to remember that since we don't have mortars, how many current and capable MFCs do we still have?  I assume that you all have looked at the overall culpability of indicriminate indirect fire.  btw: we lost Mor/Pnr platoons to re-allocate PYs (person years) to stand-up CMTC.  At the time we were maxed-out on military manning, so to create a new, necessary training facility, we had to get people from somewhere.  Look at the "redundancy" issue with the Arty and our Mortars and the Engrs and our Pnrs.  We did not go down without a fight, but we did realize that we needed to give in in order to survive to fight another day.

The Infantry are looking at the capability gap that we will have once the CASW reaches FOC and the 60 retires.  What level of indirect sp do we need?  Who mans it?  Who controls the fire?  many questions.  Do we strip 18 men out of the 150 man companies?  Take the dismount number down from 7 to 5?  45 dismounts from a Coy is not much to fight through and do the clearance with extreme prejudice.  btw: the Inf is re-creating the pioneer capability, not the platoon, but a course to give some much needed skills to the sections.  All with the blessing of the CLS.  So we are getting back what we need, just a little slower and while fighting the priorities.

Here's a thought, the 81mms that the Arty only use as a close protection weapon!  If they need close protection in the form of Mortars, and already have a GBFG M777, why do we not have them in the Infantry Too?  Don't we need indirect close protection in the ADO concept?  Let's take the 81 back and give them some CASW for close protection, it would work better for them!
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on February 15, 2008, 11:35:38
What level of indirect sp do we need?  Who mans it?  Who controls the fire?  many questions.  Do we strip 18 men out of the 150 man companies?  Take the dismount number down from 7 to 5?  45 dismounts from a Coy is not much to fight through and do the clearance with extreme prejudice.
Those are very good questions.  The solution may not be as expensive as one would think. 
What level of indirect fire do we need?  I'm not sure, but some integral indirect fire at the coy or bn level is, in my opinion, a necessity.  I love the guns, but they usually have bigger and better targets to shoot at than a platoon dug in on a reverse slope.  I know that today we have an artillery outfit for one BG on ops, but suppose we have TWO BGs, then that fire is no longer guaranteed.
Who mans it?  I couldn't care less.  Postal clerks even!  Just as long as it's manned is all.
Who controls the fire?  See above; however, I would offer that BASIC fire controlling is rather easy to do, and could be incorporated into the DP 3A course (infantry).
Do we strip 18 men out of the 150 man companies?  I would.  If you lack in fire support (talking conventional fights here), then you can have all the "bayonets" you want, and it won't mean a lick.
Dismounts from 7 to 5?  Sure.  I mean, that's 2 fewer C7A2s, but that's also more 60mm/40mm/xxmm to shoot even before they dismount.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on February 17, 2008, 12:25:28
There was a request to split the mortar discussion out of the CASW thread in order to focus on mortar issues.  That was done, but then the CASW discussion started sliding into the mortar thread.  Now, after some cleaning up, things are back where they should be.  Lets try to keep it that way:


Cheers,
The Staff.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on February 17, 2008, 15:32:28
With respect to you and the staff MCG I think your effort to "stovepipe" the discussion is at the heart of the problem here.  You are trying to order the discussion along the lines of the system and not the effect.  The purpose of all of the systems is to supply "portable" supporting fires for the platoon/company/battalion.  The operational decisions as to what type of targets are best engaged by what type of system and under whose command and control are the crux of the discussion.

I don't think it really matters whether the supporting fire comes from a mangonel, a sapper with a keg of black powder and a match, a mortar, a howitzer or a nuclear missile.  The issues are not the means but the timely delivery of effective support. That is why this discussion keeps wrapping itself around itself.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on February 17, 2008, 16:23:20
With respect to you and the staff MCG I think your effort to "stovepipe" the discussion is at the heart of the problem here.  You are trying to order the discussion along the lines of the system and not the effect. 
No.  The participants wanted a mortar thread separate form the CASW thread.  If you have a problem with it, go post in another thread.  If you want to talk systems to provide close suppression (an effect) then go the the CASW thread (linked above).  If want to talk about mortars, post here.

Quite simply Kirhill, if you want to talk a bout A, then go to the thread about A.  This is the thread about B (which was specifically asked for) so if you want to post about B go ahead and do it here.  Respect the topic participants' wishes:
Since we don't talk about AGLs here anymore, I would suggest starting another thread on the future use of mortars in the Army. 

Agreed that this should perhaps start a new thread/join an existing thread (if one already exists)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on February 17, 2008, 17:01:50
I yield.  :)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Tango2Bravo on February 18, 2008, 10:30:41
With respect to you and the staff MCG I think your effort to "stovepipe" the discussion is at the heart of the problem here.  You are trying to order the discussion along the lines of the system and not the effect.  The purpose of all of the systems is to supply "portable" supporting fires for the platoon/company/battalion.  The operational decisions as to what type of targets are best engaged by what type of system and under whose command and control are the crux of the discussion.

I don't think it really matters whether the supporting fire comes from a mangonel, a sapper with a keg of black powder and a match, a mortar, a howitzer or a nuclear missile.  The issues are not the means but the timely delivery of effective support. That is why this discussion keeps wrapping itself around itself.

Since I have gotten lost in the threads here I will march to the sound of the guns.

While I agree that discussions should focus on desired effects we cannot divorce ourselves from the practicality of the means of delivery.  A general may not care if the fire from from a mangonel or a howitzer, but the guy who has to fit the mangonel into his LAV platoon does care.  Similarily, the guy you ask to carry that keg of black powder may have some opinions as well.  A weapon can have great effects, but if it is complicated, heavy, hard to get out of the vehicle or comes with a high manpower bill it may not get used.


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Matt_Fisher on February 22, 2008, 11:52:25
A weapon can have great effects, but if it is complicated, heavy, hard to get out of the vehicle or comes with a high manpower bill it may not get used.

Sorry, I thought this thread was about mortars, not ERYX.   ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on February 22, 2008, 12:22:18
I guess its easy to lose sight of the topic as CASW is supposed to replace mortars. However, the members here may have scored enough points to maybe keep mortars AND add CASW. Mortars are essential to the infantry battalion both in the light infantry role and mechanized/motorized. The unit may not always be able to get CAS or even artillery fire support and thus needs the means to engage the enemy at arms reach. With RAP type rounds available for the mortar as well as PGM the infantry mortar can now compete with artillery this is particularly true with the 120mm mortar. The French have added wheels to their 120 making it easier to employ quickly. In motorized/mech units the only mortar needed is the 120mm. The Russians are huge fans of mortars and have fielded 160mm and 240mm versions. I think at some point the larger mortars lack the flexibility and range of 155mm artillery. Fighting in rugged mountainous terrain the mortar is essential equipment. When the 10th Mountain deployed to Afganistan in 2001 they left behind their mortars and arty. The 101st brigade commander made it optional for the company commanders - some brought them along and were glad they did. Others wished they had. For me it should not have been optional and both artillery and mortars are necessary because bad weather means no CAS. If you dont have mortars you are screwed.

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.militarypictures.info%2Fd%2F1118-3%2Ffrench_mortar.jpg&hash=42481d7fdaca026312b9cb94d855b177)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on February 23, 2008, 13:27:43
I guess its easy to lose sight of the topic as CASW is supposed to replace mortars.
Only the light mortar.  Do you think the gap could be covered by employing medium mortars at lower levels of Comd?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on February 23, 2008, 14:03:28
Only the light mortar.  Do you think the gap could be covered by employing medium mortars at lower levels of Comd?

Yes I do after all the US Army has had the 81mm and 120mm mortars in the battalion mortar platoon, although it looks to me that the 120mm may just replace the 81mm entirely. In the Stryker company for example we see the 120mm mortar section replacing the 81mm section. The USMC is looking at the Dragon Fire II system mounted in their LAV. I like the Dragon Fire as it is an automatic system and if coupled with a counter battery radar would be a very potent system.
(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.blackanthem.com%2FWeapons%2Fdragonfireii.jpg&hash=0666cda6c41bfe35dfc2580bd98b8769)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on May 13, 2008, 02:25:53
Related FYI:
Quote
Mortars

Mortars had existed as a form of heavy artillery for centuries, but in 1914 the German Army introduced a limited number of small, cheap, portable minenwerfers, which were breech-loading, low-trajectory mortars. Other armies quickly copied the minenwerfer, and in March 1915, the English engineer Wilfred Stokes developed the grandfather of all current infantry mortars, the 3-inch muzzle-loading Stokes mortar.19 This weapon was much simpler to manufacture than artillery and therefore was employed extensively in all armies during the war.

All maneuver units require indirect fire to win. Mortars provide unique indirect fires that are organizationally responsive to the ground maneuver commander. Military history has repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of mortars. Their rapid, high-angle, plunging fires are invaluable against dug-in enemy troops and targets in defilade, which are not vulnerable to attack by direct fires. Although they are part of the total fire support system, mortar sections and platoons are not simply small artillery batteries. They play a unique and vital role on the AirLand Battlefield.

Mortars allow the maneuver commander to quickly place killing indirect fires on the enemy, independent of whether he has been allocated supporting artillery. Heavy forces use carrier-mounted mortars to allow the mortar platoon to move cross-country at speeds compatible with the battalion task force. Light forces use wheeled vehicles or hand carry mortars into firing positions. Some companies have light mortars that can be manpacked across all terrain. All mortar sections and platoons exist to provide immediate, organizationally responsive fires that can be used to meet the rapid changes in the tactical situation on the AirLand Battlefield.

The urban environment greatly restricts low-angle indirect fires because of overhead masking. While all indirect fire weapons are subject to overhead masking, mortars are less affected than field artillery weapons due to the mortar's higher trajectory. For low-angle artillery fire, dead space is about five times the height of the building behind which the target sits. For mortar fire, dead space is only about one-half the height of the building. Because of these advantages, mortars are even more important to the infantry during urban combat.

Not only can mortars fire into the deep defilade created by tall buildings, but they can also fire out of it. Mortars emplaced behind buildings are difficult for the enemy to locate accurately and even harder for him to hit with counterfire. Because of their lightweight, even heavy mortars can be hand carried to firing positions that may not be accessible to vehicles.

Mortars can be fired through the roof of a ruined building if the ground-level flooring is solid enough to withstand the recoil. If there is only concrete in the mortar platoon's area, mortars can be fired using sandbags as a buffer under the baseplate and curbs as anchors and braces. (This is recommended only when time is not available to prepare better firing area.) Aiming posts can be placed in dirt-filled cans.

The 60-mm and 81-mm mortars of the US Army have limited effect on structural targets. Even with delay fuzes they seldom penetrate more than the upper stories of light buildings. However, their wide area coverage and multioption fuzes make them useful against an enemy force advancing through streets, through other open areas, or over rubble. The 120-mm mortar is moderately effective against structural targets. With a delay fuze setting, it can penetrate deep into a building and create great destruction.

Mortar platoons often operate as separate firing sections during urban combat. The lack of large open areas can preclude establishing a platoon firing position. Two mortar sections, which are separated by only one street, can be effective in massing fires and be protected from countermortar fire by employing defilade and dispersion. All three of the standard mortar projectiles are useful during combat in urban areas. High-explosive fragmentation is the most commonly used round. WP is effective in starting fires in buildings and forcing the enemy out of cellars and light-frame buildings, and is the most effective mortar round against dug-in enemy tanks. Even near misses blind and suppress the tank crew, forcing them to button up.

The artificial relief of urban terrain reduces wind speed and increases atmosphere mixing, so mortar smoke tends to persist longer and give greater coverage in urban areas than in open terrain.

Urban masking impacts the use of illumination. In urban areas, it is often necessary to plan illumination behind friendly positions placing friendly troops in shadows and enemy troops in the light. Illumination rounds are difficult to adjust and are often of limited use because of the deep canyon nature of the urban area. Rapidly shifting wind currents in urban areas also affect mortar illumination, making it less effective.

The multioption fuze on newer US mortar rounds makes them effective weapons on urban terrain. Delay settings can increase penetration slightly, while proximity bursts can increase the lethal area covered by fragments. Tall buildings can cause proximity fuzed mortar rounds to detonate prematurely if they pass too closely.

The US currently has five models of mortars.

Light mortar
The 60-mm mortar, M224, provides air assault, airborne, ranger, and light infantry rifle companies with an effective, efficient, and flexible weapon. The inherent limitations of a light mortar (short-range and small-explosive charge) can be minimized by careful planning and a thorough knowledge of its capabilities. The M224 can be employed in several different configurations. The lightest weighs about 18 pounds; the heaviest weighs about 45 pounds. Each round weighs about 4 pounds.

The 60-mm mortar round cannot penetrate most rooftops, even with a delay setting. Small explosive rounds are effective, however, in suppressing snipers on rooftops and preventing roofs from being used by enemy observers. The 60-mm WP round is not normally a good screening round due to its small area of coverage. In urban combat, however, the tendency of smoke to linger and the small areas to be screened make it more effective. During the battle for Hue in South Vietnam, 60-mm WP rounds were used to create small, short-term, smoke screens to conceal movement across open areas such as parks, plazas, and bridges. Fragments from 60-mm HE rounds landing as close as 10 feet away cannot penetrate a single sandbag layer or a single-layer brick wall. The effect of a 60-mm mortar HE round that achieves a direct hit on a bunker or fighting position is equivalent to 1 or 2 pounds of TNT. Normally, the blast will not collapse a properly constructed bunker but can cause structural damage. The 60-mm mortar will not normally crater a hard-surfaced road.

Medium mortars
The 81-mm mortars, M29A1 and M252, are the current US medium mortars. The M252 is replacing the M29A1, but both will remain in the Army inventory for several years. Medium mortars offer a compromise between the light and heavy mortars. Their range and explosive power is greater than the M224, yet they are still light enough to be man-packed over long distances. The M29A1 weighs about 98 pounds. The M252 is slightly lighter, about 93 pounds. Both can be broken down into several smaller loads for easier carrying. Rounds for these mortars weigh about 15 pounds each.

The 81-mm mortar has much the same effect against urban targets as the 60-mm mortar. It has a slightly greater lethal area and its smoke rounds (WP and RP) are more effective. A direct hit is equivalent to about 2 pounds of TNT. The 81-mm round cannot significantly crater a hard-surfaced road. With a delay setting, the 81-mm round can penetrate the roofs of light buildings.

Heavy mortars
The 107-mm mortar, M30, and the 120-mm mortar, M120, are the current US heavy mortars. The M120 is replacing the M30, but both will remain in the US inventory for several years. The M30 is a rifled mortar, stabilizing its projectile by spinning it rapidly. The M120, like all other US mortars, fires fin-stabilized ammunition from a smooth bore. Although heavy mortars require trucks or tracked mortar carriers to move them, they are still much lighter than field artillery pieces. They outrange light and medium mortars, and their explosive power is much greater. The M30 weighs about 675 pounds. The M120 is much lighter at about 320 pounds. Rounds for the 107-mm mortar weigh about 28 pounds. Those for the 120-mm mortar weigh almost 33 pounds each.

The 120-mm mortar is large enough to have a major effect on common urban targets. It can penetrate deep into a building, causing extensive damage because of its explosive power. A minimum of 18 inches of packed earth or sand is needed to stop the fragments from a 120-mm HE round impacting 10 feet away. The effect of a direct hit from a 120-mm round is equivalent to almost 10 pounds of TNT, which can crush fortifications built with commonly available materials. The 120-mm mortar round can create a large but shallow crater in a road surface, but it is not deep or steep-sided enough to block vehicular movement. However, craters could be deep enough to damage or destroy storm drain systems, water and gas pipes, and electrical or phone cables.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/mortars.htm
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Arius on June 13, 2008, 15:17:01
120mm automatic would seem to be an interesting way ahead.   Let’s brainstorm about the deficiencies of the M777 compared to a 120mm - Or just problems with the M777.  What would be the reasons why we need a heavy mortar at unit level?  What are the comparisons in favour of a 120mm?  What is the cost in $ and men to operate both in similar situations?  What would be the cost of a 120mm PGMs versus an Excalibur round?  Etc.  Maybe there could money thrown at this if we find enough reasons. 

Discuss.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 14, 2008, 07:37:27
A LAV 120mm would give the Mech Bn commander a ton of muscle and having his organic fire support for operations.  I have zero ideas on the capabilities of said system though, just a huge fan of Infantry having organic firesupport.

I still beleive the 81 and 60mm Mortars need to be retained for Light Infantry (and 60 for Mech units regardless of the AGL/CASW acquistion.)  Unlike the treasury board I am a firm beleiver it is better to have items in the toolbox even if they cannot be crewed on the standard TO&E.

I beg to differ on the 81 cratering roads -- and the 81mm Illum round offers way more light and dwell than the 105mm Arty round does -- and unequalled in terms of illum for an Infantry unit.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 14, 2008, 11:12:59
Only the light mortar.  Do you think the gap could be covered by employing medium mortars at lower levels of Comd?

Absolutely. The only problem is that if you ONLY have 81 mm MOR available in the BG, then there can be more targets than tubes.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on June 14, 2008, 12:59:59
..... there can be more targets than tubes.

With respect D&B is that always a risk no matter how many tubes you have?  Doesn't that argue for having reserve capability to draw on if one section of the "front" finds itself heavily engaged? (ie a Brigade Mortar Company/Battery in addition to the Battalion Mortar Platoon?)

Also getting back to Arius's offering (120-Auto vs 155), how about bringing the Wolf with the 81 back on line?  Perhaps put the 120s into a Brigade asset?  As an Arty "tool"?

My rationale is that IF there is a serious effort to reduce the number of "tools" that have to be supported then the 81/3" caliber of mortars have a long track record of being highly flexible and effective.  They are man-packable, SP-capable.  They are very effective with a good supply of ammunition (such as the 90 or so rounds per tube carried in the Wolf IIRC).  And they have already demonstrated an ability to support PGMs (The Merlin Anti-Tank round predated the 120mm Strix round and was effective albeit at a reduced payload - I would be interested to know the cost of building a single Merlin round these days given the common availability of that which 15 years ago was highly exotic technology).

Also, given our all-singing, all-dancing infantry - (sorry Infidel-6 - I think you are just going to have to increase the amount of PT that our Panzer-Grenadiers get and call it good) then the 81 could be employed to support the Battalion's Companies in long-range "light" taskings,  dismounted taskings adjacent to LAV-able routes, and also on fully mounted taskings.

Having put my chips on the 81 at Battalion level (perhaps increase the number of tubes - I remember seeing some staff exercise effort calling for 10 tubes (presumably 2/Coy and 4 at Battalion) - and always assuming the necessary numbers of PYs MCG and dapaterson  ;D ) then I think you oould look at the discussion on the  120 vs 155 as Formation assets.

I have never been able to see the 120 as a unit asset because while you can make the tube available to the Unit, regardless of the role, the ammunition requires a truck or two to be effective.  It seems to me it works as a solution for the Stryker Brigades with their dedication to their Armoured Trucks, and even they leave their 120s in the similar role as the 81s in the Wolf (ie dismountable for remote or static deployment).     The 120 Auto systems seem to be potential ammunition hogs, with a need for a couple of trucks of ammo, and because they are not dismountable restricted to LAV-able (ok CV90/Puma-able too) terrain.

Does the 120 bring anything to the Battlefield that a combination of 81's and 155s doesn't?  Would the money spent on fielding AMOS be better spent on adding some PzHb2000 to the M777 gun-line?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Fishbone Jones on June 14, 2008, 14:55:39
I have to admit I've not read through the thread and am totally out of my depth here. Having said that, what happened to the Bison mortar plates? Can they not be used in some capacity?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on June 14, 2008, 17:01:19
I like the idea of the 120mm mortar system. there is the stryker moratr carrier (NO, I am not talking about the delco turreted version either) that carries 60 x rounds 120mm. From what I understand and looking at the US SBCT,
2 x 120mm mortars per company (belongs to the coy not opcon or anything like that)
then there is an additional mortar platoon within the battalion.

They are putting a heavy emphasis on 120mm for mounted and 60mm for dismounted.

I am very expirienced with our 81mm and 60mm. If we could get 120mm mounted, then I would say ditch 81mm. 60 is ideal for humping through mountains but 81 is a ***** of a system to carry dismounted. Plus realistically a 3-4 man 60 det can carry about 16-20 rounds (really start filling their rucks).

120mm lethality from what I understand is excellent. So maybe a combination of 120mm and 60mm is the way to go.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on June 16, 2008, 11:32:50
Although the 120 mm is excellent in terms of fire power, one really has to look at the range that they have and ask if a company needs that kind of reach out.  I don't have the answer for that, and maybe the answer is "yes", but the 81 is excellent for "other" missions, such as illumination (not only because it's bright, but because use of mortars for illum and smoke frees up the 155 for the lethal missions). 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on June 18, 2008, 00:28:10
I'd be interested to know how much study has gone into mortar size.  While I'm not sure when the first 120 mm came about, the 60 mm & 81 mm can trace roots back to the Second World War.  I recognize that there are economies that can come from using the same ammunition as allies, and I know those are the calibers for which PGM and other high-tech rounds are developed.  However, if we will only have one or two sizes of mortar, isn't there the slightest possibility that we may be better suited by a bore size different than those used by countries with three sizes of mortar?  Could a 100 mm bring us a happy medium between 81 and 120, or would we instead find ourselves with something that lacks the hitting power to defeat fortified targets, has limited ammo load due to size & a slower rate of fire which reduces effectiveness against softer targets?  If there is a better tube size for armies like ours, then there will be a market for such a tube in some of the smaller NATO countries & eventually the PGMs will make their way.

I beg to differ on the 81 cratering roads
In that you feel they can significantly crater a hard-surfaced road?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 19, 2008, 13:50:29
In that you feel they can significantly crater a hard-surfaced road?

In that I have seen them significantly crater hard surfaced roads.

 I would suggest based on my observations - roads in Iraq and Afghanistan are typically built to a much poorer standard than a North American road would be (of both roads and mortat impacts).  That over here a mortar can make a section of road unusable, and a few rounds can make the road impassible for wheeled light vehicle (Hummer, GunTruck, Suburban) as well as NTV Convoy traffic.
  MRAP, FOX, Buffalo, Stryker etc can still travers (at risk of tire damages) but the others are forced off road or to go alt route.

I have no idea what a 81mm will do to a North American road, nor do I ever feel inclined to want to find out.  I can also see road contruction methods (especially concrete) can have a huge affect on the ability of it to sustain damage and remain a serviceable SR
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 19, 2008, 14:50:29
With respect D&B is that always a risk no matter how many tubes you have?  Doesn't that argue for having reserve capability to draw on if one section of the "front" finds itself heavily engaged? (ie a Brigade Mortar Company/Battery in addition to the Battalion Mortar Platoon?)

I guess the principle here is 'do it yourself' wherever possible, as fast as possible. So, if a platoon commander needs smoke and HE for a quick attack on an few bad guys shootuing at you from a treeline 3-600m away, he/she can get it right now merely by saying "Bloggins, blow that treeline up for awhile while we go get 'em!" vs. waiting for a higher level fire misson, which might not be available when needed - like RIGHT now.

If the Pl Comd has to wait for a Cecil B Demile Production (cast of thousands, millions of dollars, years in the making) it might be too late to be successful.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Arius on June 19, 2008, 15:26:32
I’m not an authority on this but what I remember is that the 120mm mortar became a standard since it was the biggest practical calibre for a mortar.  The weight of the round and the length of the tube becomes an issue eventually.  Not sure what the ratio calibre/length is but you need to breech-load at some point and the weapon gets more complicated.  That being said, there are some 160mm muzzle loaded but they are rare.

A heavy mortar round was found necessary to get at dug in troups and go through structures in urban areas.  Latest experiences in Beirut and Grozny seems to validate WW2 stories.

We came close – twice – to get a 120mm.  In early 90s it was scrapped by personality conflicts amongst a few generals and in 02 it was blocked by the tap-dancing around the mortar platoons issue and the future introduction of the M777.

The honeymoon with the M777 is almost over as the bride has shown to be higher maintenance and less versatile than anticipated.  A rugged, high mobility 120mm which would be cheaper and require fewer servants could be interesting now.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on June 19, 2008, 16:18:24
Its too bad that the whole mortar issue has been a problem. The arty don't really want them and the infantry never wanted to give them up.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on June 19, 2008, 22:14:21


The honeymoon with the M777 is almost over as the bride has shown to be higher maintenance and less versatile than anticipated.  A rugged, high mobility 120mm which would be cheaper and require fewer servants could be interesting now.



I would say there never really was a honeymoon, the Cdn Forces settled for what was the best girl available to dance with at the time, and she has remained faithful, even if we have misunderstood what we might get from her from time to time. But that doesn't mean we should ditch her.

While the M777 certainly has had maintenance problems, keep in mind this tends to happen with something brand new; did you see anything like it before in service? Even the digital system on the gun was developed at short notice, was working before the American equivalent was, and yes it showed teething problems but it has gone a long way, especially at night, in improving occupation and response times. Development is still on going to make it more robust.

As for lack versatility, keep it mind the M777 was designed to be replace the M198, a gun primarily used in a reinforcing role, and sometimes in a close support role, a far cry from organic firepower to a Bn which some think is its purpose. A reinforcing type of role used to require a system that is less flexible since it was meant to engage tgt's at long range, sometimes with sustained fire to fix the enemy (something a rocket system does not do well), and this the M777 does very well, now in excess of 30 km. This role usually requires a carriage design that is very heavy to achieve the stability required to heave something heavy that far. To save weight the M777 design used some unique approaches, but one of the compromises still involved lack of carriage flexibility to achieve rigidity, and is one of the main reasons it needs a 10 man det to manhandle and prepare a gun platform.  Things change and now artillery systems are required to be more flexible, ie to be able to do reinforcing and close support and sometimes even general support; the M777 wasn't particularly designed to be that versatile, but considering its being used in a way it wasn't originally meant for, with such short notice, and with so few for training the dets and maintainers, it isn't doing too bad as a "brand new" technology.

In 2005 the indirect fire capability sought specifically for the Afghan mission, and not as a replacement for the M109, was long range fire support, with the potential for precision guided ammunition. At that time the only system that fit that was the M777, which, given the points above, I would argue was not really designed for the way in which some thought it should be used; close support for a BG. Nevertheless all things considered it was the best fit at the time.

This idea of replacing the M777 with a 120 mortar, or any other type of mortar system, is mixing up capability requirements. The M777, even in Afghanistan, has ended up being used as a Brigade resource. For those who might not know what I mean; sometimes a Troop of guns (or more) may be tasked to other formations (Brits in Helmand, Dutch in Kahkrez), and consequently a Coy in the Cdn BG goes without. But this has been the role of Field Artillery for some time, to coordinate and concentrate more weight of fire where it is needed most, and as the Mission evolved the need for the deployed Artillery to return to its traditional role only highlighted another capability deficiency that has existed for some time. The organic fire support capability need at the Bn level has never gone away, it just hasn't been dealt with
I would agree that a big hole was created in Infantry Bn's when the 81's left, and this point has been discussed at length elsewhere, but just because there is hole there does not mean another capability has to be sacrificed to fill it. This goes along with the absurd notion that because CASW is coming (sometime?) they 60's have to be removed from service.

I think the gunners should stick with the girl they brought to the dance, but someone needs to set the infantry up with a date, maybe (as is being suggested in this thread) their old flame   
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on June 19, 2008, 22:24:29
The honeymoon with the M777 is almost over as the bride has shown to be higher maintenance and less versatile than anticipated.  A rugged, high mobility 120mm which would be cheaper and require fewer servants could be interesting now.

If I understand the history of light guns and pack howitzers it seems that this is an ongoing problem with them.  They engineer so much "meat" off the frame in order to meet the weight requirements that there is no resiliency left and the result is a short life and high maintenance.

And D&B, wrt "If the Pl Comd has to wait for a Cecil B Demile Production (cast of thousands, millions of dollars, years in the making) it might be too late to be successful.":  I understand "better a battalion in time, than a division too late."  I think that the battalion should have its own indirect/high-angle capability.  I am just not sure that we can afford (or that it is necessary) to have each battalion field a full slate of 60s, 81s and 120s, on top of the 40mm GMGs after the fashion of the Stryker Battalions.

Having said that, every battalion can't have all the kit that a division carries.  
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on June 20, 2008, 09:47:46
I think the gunners should stick with the girl they brought to the dance, but someone needs to set the infantry up with a date, maybe (as is being suggested in this thread) their old flame   
Normally once I break up with someone, I don't go back, but in this case, I'd love to rekindle that long lost flame I had with my girls, the 81 sisters! ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on June 20, 2008, 10:14:51
If I understand the history of light guns and pack howitzers it seems that this is an ongoing problem with them.  They engineer so much "meat" off the frame in order to meet the weight requirements that there is no resiliency left and the result is a short life and high maintenance.
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I don't think this applies in the case of the M777. Titanium was used to reduce the weight and some novel approaches were taken in the design of the equipment, especially the non-recoiling parts. Remember that this is the first time for many years that we were the first to field a new weapon fresh of the early part of the production run. It should come as no surprise that a number of kinks were discovered the hard way. (The only previous example I am aware of is the Churchill tank at Dieppe.)

To get back to the main point, what calibre of mortar should we use if we had to select one or two?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on June 20, 2008, 11:16:23
A new 60mm mortar for light Infantry operations and lets purchase the Stryker mortar carrier with 120mm mortar for mounted Ops. Lets assign 2 mortar dets (120mm) to every infantry company as organic fire power to the OC. There are some things the yanks do that have proven succesfully in combat (Iraq) and this is one idea I like alot.

This idea to expand further and copy directly from a stryker infantry company would involve 2 x stryker mortar carriers 120mm with 60 x 120mm bombs and each of thos would have a dismountable 60mm with a small stash of ammo for airmobile and mountain ops.

Transfer all existing 81mm mortars and the ammo stock to reserve infantry units. 2 per unit. This my opion as an old mortar pig.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Arius on June 20, 2008, 16:07:38
I’m not advocating the replacement of the 155mm from the artillery.  I’m all for the capability to level a grid square from more than 20k away – Give them MLRS stuff also.

Using the soldier as a mule irks me and it will need to stop.  45lbs is supposed to be the max combat load to maintain some tactical agility for a 180lbs naked guy...  We’re running at 100lbs + these days.  Hopefully, the Integrated Soldier System Project will get it right.  I expect to see a future where the soldier doesn’t have to carry the means to achieve an effect on the battlefield.  Be it a laying a smoke screen, taking out a tank or levelling a building.  I would like the soldier to designate the target and call in the effect.

The effect tools need to be standing by to fire.  For this, I would think that having the weapon system within the same unit is a must.  The PGM issue is a big one since discriminate fire is a requirement nowadays.  We can’t target bad guys in their compound and have rounds land in the schoolyard next to it.  It will become more so in the future as we get involved in denser urban settings.

What I would like is find enough reasons to justify a return of mortars to the infantry unit.  For that we need to figure out the indirect fire deficiencies of other systems and sell the solution.  Multiple mortar types won’t fly.  We need to approach it from the point of view of having only one calibre to play with.  I lean toward the 120mm because I feel the terminal effects are probably better.  From both the point of a heavy round crashing through buildings, range, kill radius and precision.  I don’t have enough hard data to fall on my sword on that yet.

I don’t want to get rid of the M777 but I would be ready to steal money and NP from it…

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 20, 2008, 16:13:44
I’m not advocating the replacement of the 155mm from the artillery.  I’m all for the capability to level a grid square from more than 20k away – Give them MLRS stuff also.

Using the soldier as a mule irks me and it will need to stop.  45lbs is supposed to be the max combat load to maintain some tactical agility for a 180lbs naked guy...  We’re running at 100lbs + these days.  Hopefully, the Integrated Soldier System Project will get it right.  I expect to see a future where the soldier doesn’t have to carry the means to achieve an effect on the battlefield.  Be it a laying a smoke screen, taking out a tank or levelling a building.  I would like the soldier to designate the target and call in the effect.

Hear hear I say. Speaking as an old 'mule' (hee haw), the infantry can travel lighter if the A/B and other Echelons can get him what he needs when he needs it. Whenever I've had excellent and flexible support from the echelons, it's been easier to get out of the habit of carrying the kitchen sink 'just in case'. I've even seen depth rifle companies converted into 'CSup porters' for forward elements. Regardless, maybe we need to invest our money at the 'dull end' to make the 'sharp end' more effective?


*fixed your quotes
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on June 20, 2008, 16:19:32
Unless someone develops 5 gram anti tank rockets, mortar bombs, etc, then avoiding the use of soldiers as pack mules will never be anything more than a pipe dream.

I'm sorry, but i have zero faith in DLR.  We have a new CADPAT rucksack that was designed and trialed using webbing that we no longer use (what tells me that is the recent ruck march I did in which the waist belt was useless, because it couldn't be done up properly while wearing tac vest and flak vest with plates).  In short, it's junk (with a capital J).

You're quite right in that we need a minimal number of calibres, if possible.  We currently have the following calibres for small arms:
9 mm
5.56mm
5.56mm link (I'll list this as separate because, as issued, it cannot be fired in a rifle or carbine.  Meaning you have to delink it first)
7.62mm
12.7mm (aka "50 cal")
We currently have the following mortar calibres
60mm
81mm
I say: stay with the status quo.  They are both combat proven calibres, and let's face it, 155 isn't used to vaporise grid squares.  I realise that the current 60 barrels are worn beyond life expectancy.  I have a solution: buy more of the same barrels.  Or refit them.  Don't buy a different barrel (requiring years of trialing, etc), just get the barrel we have now, but new.

The real problem has nothing at all to do with equipment.  It's all about manpower (or soldier power).  We dont' have enough people to man everything.  That's why the mortar platoons are no more.  That's why we don't have enough indirect firepower in theatre: 155's are doing everything, whereas if we had them, 81's would fire probably half of those missions.

[/rant]

Anyway, sorry, I have the pre-leave doldrums.  I'm sure I'll be back to my happy self post leave! ;D

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 20, 2008, 18:11:16
Let's put mortars on tanks, like the Isarealis. Problem solved:

http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/vehicles/tanks/merkava/MerkavaMk3.html
 
The Merkava Mk. 3 entered service with the IDF at the beginning of 1990. All systems and assemblies were of new design and all, except for the engine, are of Israeli design and production. Among the prominent features of the Merkava Mk. 3 are: new suspension system, 1200 horsepower engine and new transmission, higher power main gun and ballistic protection provided by special armour modules. About 1000 Merkava Mk. 2 and Mk. 3 tanks are in service with the IDF.   
 
 Armament 
 
The main gun is a 120 mm smoothbore gun developed by Israeli Military Industries. The gun has a Vidco Industries thermal sleeve, which increases accuracy by preventing distortion through the effects of heat and shock. The tank carries an ammunition store of 50 rounds of 120 mm ammunition. The tank is also equipped with three 7.62 mm machine guns, two roof mounted and one co-axial with the main gun. The tank carries a store of 10,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.
The Soltam 60 mm mortar system is capable of firing high explosive rounds and illumination bombs. The crew can load, aim and fire the mortar system from within the turret.
 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on June 20, 2008, 18:21:31
Where exactly is this 60mm mortar on the tanks? I have seen many pics of the merkava(s) and can't figure it out. I do know they have them.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on June 23, 2008, 21:05:32
The mortar is inside:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 23, 2008, 21:22:37
Very cool. That would be a nice addition to our APCs and tanks.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on January 13, 2009, 20:03:26
Buy 120 mortars [in addition to the potential HIMARS purchase] and we've mirrored the USMC's "Triad of Fires" concept.  Get some more people and we may be able to effectively man these systems.
The piece of the triad that the 120mm makes up has nothing to do with the size of the round.  It is all about integral fire support i.e. giving the supported commander his own dedicated indirect fire capability.  We had that with the 81mm and we took it away.  While yes the 120mm is bigger, and therefor arguably better (mobility issues and RoF aside) we could first start with giving the infantry back its mortars.
So, while it does not exist in NATO inventories, would a 100 mm mortar be a system worth exploring as a compromise between 81 mm and 120 mm?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on January 13, 2009, 22:53:48
I only mention the 120 because the Marine artillery use it to augment Infantry Battalion 81mm in an expeditionary setting - presumbably when it is too difficult to get M777s ashore and to support them.  I remember some of the Mortar Guys comparing the two - could they be complementary (especially if the Infantry got the 81mm back?) when deploying a full up Howitzer Battery was "too much"?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: George Wallace on January 13, 2009, 23:04:15
Good points all around.  I would like to see 120mm mostly for the wide range of munitions avail to it.  I am sure with its added range it would greatly complement our other systems.  I would even like to see the day when the Armour Corps would have them in their Support Troops, which they haven`t seen since WW II.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on January 14, 2009, 00:36:03
All mortars are cheap, effective, low tech, easy to service and fix, easy to use at night and in adverse weather conditions, have high rates of fire, are flexible as they use lots of different ammo natures, are a good supplement to all the other heavy direct fire weapons we already field (25mm, 120mm, 50 cal, various anti-armour focused electric darts etc etc), have ammo that is easily packed and transported (in comparison with other natures), are very accurate and have a decent range with all the new fancy schmancy ammo.

Oh, and they're cheap, did I already say that? So we can use it far more often in training and get troops used to calling for indirect fire etc.

I find it bizzarre, borderline negligent, that our army hasn't embraced these things wholeheartedly instead of trying to eliminate them from the armoury and treating them like the red headed step child of the indirect fire support world (shaking head and rummaging through bergan looking for mess tins now).  :deadhorse:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 14, 2009, 10:11:22
I agree 100%. We need to take mortars seriously again. I am still a firm beleiver in following the US SNCT model of having 2 x stryker APC with 120mm mortars in each rifle coy. Indirect fire support at the OC's finger tips. I would keep the 60mm mortar for dismounted task. If we did get the 120mm (for mounted ops) then I think we should simply bin the 81mm. Yes i am quite expirienced on 81s so I do know what i am talking about.

I think an indirect package of 60mm mortar, 120mm mortar and 155mm M777 is the ideal solution.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on January 14, 2009, 11:23:27
I agree 100%. We need to take mortars seriously again. I am still a firm beleiver in following the US SNCT model of having 2 x stryker APC with 120mm mortars in each rifle coy. Indirect fire support at the OC's finger tips. I would keep the 60mm mortar for dismounted task. If we did get the 120mm (for mounted ops) then I think we should simply bin the 81mm. Yes i am quite expirienced on 81s so I do know what i am talking about.

I think an indirect package of 60mm mortar, 120mm mortar and 155mm M777 is the ideal solution.
I would disagree if only in degrees from your post.  I would go with the 60 at platoon level, 81 at Coy level, 120 at Bn level, and "whatever" for artillery.

It's all about range bands.  A pl, mech or dismounted, has a range of its integral weapons, all light role, to circa 600-800 metres.  The 60 fits well into that.  Only with a bipod can it reach out beyond 2 km.
For the coy, the range bands are from 1800 to around 2400.  The 81 goes well beyond that; however, the weight of fire it would bring (say 3 or 4 per company) far surpass that of the 60.  And given today's operational environment, its 5+km range would be ideal.
Bn level mortars, if 81 were at coy level, would naturally be the longer ranged 120.

For fire support, it's all about layering effects and capabilities. 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Tango2Bravo on January 14, 2009, 11:36:36
Perhaps a section of two or three new 60mm mortars with bipods at company level and a platoon of  81mm/120mm at battalion level? I worked with a Marine battalion that had 60mm at company and 81mm at battalion and it seemed a sensible mix. Those company mortars had bipods and looked to me like 81mm on a smaller scale.

Would a mounted battalion have a different set of mortars, perhaps, than a dismounted battalion?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on January 14, 2009, 11:45:26
Perhaps a section of two or three new 60mm mortars with bipods at company level and a platoon of  81mm/120mm at battalion level? I worked with a Marine battalion that had 60mm at company and 81mm at battalion and it seemed a sensible mix. Those company mortars had bipods and looked to me like 81mm on a smaller scale.

Would a mounted battalion have a different set of mortars, perhaps, than a dismounted battalion?
Well, perhaps a mounted would have 60/81/120 (pl, coy, bn), and a dismounted (aka "light", as in foot-borne, not motorised or any combination thereof) perhaps x/60/81.  Load carriage would restrict the "lighter" mortars one level higher, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 14, 2009, 12:38:57
For mounted Ops, i standby my position, ditch the 81mm and go with 120mm. Might as well get the awesome blast effect. If its mounted, then why waste your time with 81? I would still go with 120mm.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on January 14, 2009, 13:52:41
For mounted Ops, i standby my position, ditch the 81mm and go with 120mm. Might as well get the awesome blast effect. If its mounted, then why waste your time with 81? I would still go with 120mm.
For a mechanised battalion, I agree that you go with 120mm, but why go with 60 at coy level, when you could have 81?  81 provides awesome weight of lethal and non-lethal fires to the coy commander, while still allowing the platoons to have 60's (from experiences in Afghanistan, the 60 is a much-beloved piece of kit).  So, I'm not saying "81 over 120", I'm saying "both".
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on January 18, 2009, 00:23:23
For a mechanised battalion, I agree that you go with 120mm, but why go with 60 at coy level, when you could have 81?  81 provides awesome weight of lethal and non-lethal fires to the coy commander, while still allowing the platoons to have 60's.  So, I'm not saying "81 over 120", I'm saying "both".
But, why go with 81 at coy level, when you could have 120?  Having the two types of mortars in a BG increases the logistic demands (two types of ammo, to sets of parts). If you are going to make the effort to go bigger than the 60 mm, what is lost by going all the way to 120 mm?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on January 18, 2009, 01:02:01
As with many discussions here on the acquisition of weapons and equipment, first we need to decide what role the mortars fill.  Are they principally for suppression of dismounted pers and soft targets?  Are the high-priority roles envisioned to be those requiring improved munitions?  For each task, it needs to be determined at what level they are conducted, and therefore who controls the weapon systems; and what, in manpower, vehicles and logistic support requirements, are to be acceptable.

Developing a "system of mortars" across the platoon-company-battalion can certainly allow the addressing of different primary tasks by different components of the system. 

60-81-120 are not just three sizes of one weapon.  They do have different characteristics of mobility, firepower (especially as a result of logistic effort), and costs in terms of manpower and vehicles to bring each of them to bear on the fight.  If one mortar does the job envisioned for it, stepping up to the next larger weapon may not be as simple or effective as it sounds if its harder to place, operate and feed with ammo through the whole logistic system.

Also, what types of tactical environments do we see them used in.  What might be manageable at a certain level in a low threat (i.e.,  friendly air dominance and no enemy counter-battery) may be an unsupportable solution in a higher threat environment where a lighter system could still have provided the essential firepower.

So, perhaps the first question is, what do we want our mortars (within this proposed system of mortars) to achieve? - and the answer may be different at each level of command for the mortars they would control.

Secondly, what mobility requirements and limitations will be acceptable at each level?  Vehicle mounted weapons are great, but the capability to deploy dismounted weapons may be a desirable or essential factor at some levels.

What logistic support cost to supply ammo is acceptable at each level?  The bulk of ammo that might be deliverable to a battalion mortar platoon may be untenable as a component of a company resupply in operations.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 18, 2009, 11:52:44
After reading what US Soldiers employing the stryker mortar carrier with 120mm mortars I see mortars being used in LAv coys as such
-Very fast to bring into action and lethal fire power (120mm is more lethal than 105mm howitzer)
-At company commanders finger tips (I am adament that they be a Coy level and we forget this BN level mortars business), I would leave the M777 battery to be the BG level fire support
-Used in different ways
---HE (obvious)
---Smoke (blind/screen, etc, etc)
---Illumination (Ah here we go) a very vaulauble assett to see who is doing what at night (Mortar illum is excellent because of the high angle) and wait for it
---IR Illumination (I am sure that this is availible for 120mm mortar ammo) this would be a biggy for A-stan. The insurgents wouldn't even know they are being watched unless they have IR capability (they very well might)
---The US are working on it and the swedes have it, precision 120mm mortar HE. Similar to excaliber, minimize colateral damage

I again standby that 120mm mortars mounted and 60mm mortars dismounted. I would reccomend we get a new 60mm but I know, I know, highly unlikely. The 60mm mortar is Much more man packable than 81mm and the ammo load should be obvious, YOU CAN CARRY MORE! The 60mm HE is nasty enough agaisnt troops, the illumination is decent and the WP rounds are good to go. I have OODLEs of expirience with 60mm (its one of my favorite) and I am big fan for light ops.

Again I want to emphasize that I think we should have 2 x 120mm Stryker mortar carriers with each each LAV Coy and NO BN level mortar platoon. The BN fire power would be to bring in the M777 Battery. 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on January 18, 2009, 13:56:37
After reading what US Soldiers employing the stryker mortar carrier with 120mm mortars I see mortars being used in LAv coys as such
-Very fast to bring into action and lethal fire power (120mm is more lethal than 105mm howitzer)
-At company commanders finger tips (I am adament that they be a Coy level and we forget this BN level mortars business), I would leave the M777 battery to be the BG level fire support
-Used in different ways
---HE (obvious)
---Smoke (blind/screen, etc, etc)
---Illumination (Ah here we go) a very vaulauble assett to see who is doing what at night (Mortar illum is excellent because of the high angle) and wait for it
---IR Illumination (I am sure that this is availible for 120mm mortar ammo) this would be a biggy for A-stan. The insurgents wouldn't even know they are being watched unless they have IR capability (they very well might)
---The US are working on it and the swedes have it, precision 120mm mortar HE. Similar to excaliber, minimize colateral damage

I again standby that 120mm mortars mounted and 60mm mortars dismounted. I would reccomend we get a new 60mm but I know, I know, highly unlikely. The 60mm mortar is Much more man packable than 81mm and the ammo load should be obvious, YOU CAN CARRY MORE! The 60mm HE is nasty enough agaisnt troops, the illumination is decent and the WP rounds are good to go. I have OODLEs of expirience with 60mm (its one of my favorite) and I am big fan for light ops.

Again I want to emphasize that I think we should have 2 x 120mm Stryker mortar carriers with each each LAV Coy and NO BN level mortar platoon. The BN fire power would be to bring in the M777 Battery. 
I think that we are in violent agreement on a few things, because you do raise some very germane points
The lethal and non-lethal effects that can be provided (and are provided by the 60 right now) at the lowest of levels frees up higher assets to do the real business of killing.  Now, I won't talk about Afghanistan in particular, because no matter the organisation or tools, they would have to be flexible enough in any type of war (conventional, non-conventional, peace support, etc).
"A" 60mm mortar for dismounted operations is a no-brainer, in my opinion.  Fast into action, "relatively" light, and you have already brought up those points.
"A" 120mm mortar, mounted (for obvious reasons!) is also an outstanding weapon, and as you point out, more lethal than 105, not only due to the larger projectile, but also as a function of its terminal ballistics.
The point of contention is the lack of battalion level "mortar" asset.
For starters, I wouldn't go with the 60 for coy level ops for the simple matter of the range: it's not far enough.  For platoons, its perfect, and yes I acknowledge that it outranges a 25mm; however, the best place to fire is well back of the FEBA, or at least not in the sights of the enemy, so add some range, and it quickly loses ability to hit out far enough on a company fire plan.
That leads to the conclusion that something with more range ought to be at the coy level.  I agree that it be a mortar carrier (we currently have, in pristeen condition, somewhere, a bunch of Mortar Bisons, so whether Stryker, or Bison, that's moot).  I would offer that for a mortar to be effective at the company level, it must be able to be dismounted for, well, dismounted ops.  As an example, suppose a LAV company were to be tasked on an airmobile or dismounted action.  Were the mortars not be able to be humped in (and yes, I know the pain of humping in 81s!), then that is, in my opinion, a non starter.  So, from that premise, the 120mm is out of the running at company level.
This leads me to the battalion level.  I think that we were on to something with the battalion having integral mortars (as is the rest of NATO, and the former Warsaw Pact, I might add).  Right now, in Canada's fight, there is one battery to support one battalion.  That may not always be the case (for whatever reason).  For a mechanised battalion, then, a battalion level mortar platoon, able to reach out and superimpose its integral fire support onto the company plan, it has to be, in my opinion, long ranging enough, and potent enough, to do the job.  For all the reasons you pointed out above, the 120 mm fits the bill.
Now, the battalion level mortar platoon does more than just fire.  It coordinates the fire of integral and supporting assets.  It does that and more (and I'm sure you're aware).  The artillery regiment could be augmented to give every battery an FSCC to bring along to the fight (instead of just the BC in the old model), but if that were the case, then the FSCC would not be integral to the CO, and that, in my opinion, is an error.
So, for these reasons, and more, is why I would prefer a 60/81/120 mix.  As for three natures of ammo, well, the platoon already has four natures of small arms ammo: 9mm, 5.56mm clipped, 5.56 mm link and 7.62mm link.  I doubt that three vice two natures of mortar ammo would break the back of our logistics system.

Anyway, I do appreciate your points, and I look forward to your comments.  Take care

Rambler
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 18, 2009, 14:13:18
I will go into further detail following the US Stryker BCT model, in the stryker battalions, each company has the 2 x mortar dets, each det has the following
-120mm Mortar mounted + 60 x rounds ammo 120mm
-Dismountable 60mm mortar + 20 x 60mm ammo

The stryker battalion mortar platoon (part of their HQ Coy) has dismountable 81mm in addition to the 120mm.

They carry both systems on one vehicle. Depending on wether it is battalion mortar platoon or Company mortar squad (section in our terms).

The US intend to use Stryker battalions in both mounted and dismounted ops and thats why their mortars in the Stryker battalions are configured as such. Thats why I like their model, it is maximum flexibility. I should have gone into more detail on how they employ mortars. I know somebody is going to say thats them not us. But I look at it this way, if we get mortars back, we have a chance to re-build our thinking on employing mortars.

Another difference to note, in the Stryker BCT, the Cavalry Squadron (equivalent to a Canadian armoured Regt) is roled for reconnaissnace and some other cavalry task. Their mortars are all mounted and they only use 120mm.

I do see we agree on a lot of issues, i guess it is just fine tuning of the employment.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on January 18, 2009, 14:50:18
But you two now seem be creating a natural dividing line between mounted ops and dismounted ops.  A  120, and a 25mm, both require 20 tonne carriers to be effective.  Dismounted troops, infantry can't carry those systems.

If you are going to consider using the same 6-9 battalions of infantry in all future ops, both dismounted and mounted, hasty intervention or planned sustained operation, doesn't that bring you back around to whether or not the Carriers should be part of the Battalion structure?

If you leave the Carriers out of the structure of the battalion and stipulate that the infantry has to be able to pack their kit so as to exhibit max flex capability then that leaves you free to pile whatever system you like onto the Carriers.

It also leaves open the possibility of the retaining the Carriers at Brigade level and integrating them with the infantry through association and training. 

Under those circumstances MRs 60/81 Battalion, 120 Brigade makes sense to me.

On the other hand if you are going to limit the deployability of the inf by insisting that they only go where they can take their Carriers then by all means integrate the Carriers in the battalion and they can bring along their 25s and 120s.

But they won't be, in my opinion, as broadly available for ops, as dismounted troops that cadge a lift with trained Carrier operators.  They will be better trained for mounted ops.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 18, 2009, 15:10:05
Kirkhill, stand by.

1. Enough of pooling tactical resources at Brigade level. We don't do really do brigade ops, things at brigade level tend to stay there.
2. IFV or Carriers belong to the troops who use them. The dismounts in the back need to be familiar with this systems they work and they function as part of a team
3. Look at what I said about Stryker BCT. They must be prepared for mounted ops and dismounted ops. They have to be flexible enough to do both. Thats why stryker infantry battalions have 9 man dismounted squads as opposed to bradley 6 man dismounted squad. Get the picture?
4. The Stryker Infantry company is a very robust and flexible organization. It has built into its organization a Company HQ with medical evac resources, a mortar section, a MGS platoon and 3 x 48 man platoons (with 36 dismounts in each! Thats a decent number of boots on the ground).

I really don't like this whole pooling this and that at Brigade level. The point of having mortars is for the immediate coy comd on the ground to be able to bring them quickly to bear on the enemy. Mortars are very fast. Same with having LAVIII at Brigade level, why? Seriously why would you do that?

I fear that you are thinking too much at the echelon level in a weird way.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on January 18, 2009, 15:26:38
Rick, Splash.

Just thinking weirdly.

No problem with your logic.  Just that the outcome is that in all scenarios something has to give, some compromise.  I happen to believe that your Stryker Brigade scenario will result in the Canadian government being less equipped for effective hasty interventions.

I agree that separating the troops from the carriers will result in them being less effective panzergrenadiers and the entire force being less effective in that role.   But unless we bump up resources significantly so we can maintain a rapid reaction brigade of 3 battalions for hasty interventions and some 9 battalions of panzergrenadiers for sustained ops everything is a compromise.

So what selection of tools in what organization gives the maximum flexibility of response to the Canadian Government at the least cost to the Treasury and with the maximum security to the Troops?

Edited to add:  Is it as simple as taking a top down approach rather than a bottom up view?  Rather than starting from the Section and stipulating the number of troops in a section, sections/platoon, platoons/company......and the weapons necessary to meet capabilities (some defined in treaties and agreements) is it possible to start and say we have X number of troops.  We will divide them into one rapid reaction force of 3 deployable teams and one sustainng force of 9 deployable teams. The manpower available in those teams allows us to man this equipment and perform these tasks, this is what we can contribute - regardless of how the rest of our allies organize to meet their obligations.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 18, 2009, 15:42:54
First off, I beleive that our army should be organized (regular) with 6 x infantry companies with 4 x LAVIII companies each
What I am proposing would be (if we add six fully equipped modern day LAV battalions) would be the purchase of say 56 x LAV III Mortar (basically a stryker mortar carrier)
That would be 2 x for each LAV Coy (x 24) and 8 more for the now extinct mortar cell at the infantry school. Each one would do as I said in an earlier post, be primarily 120mm mounted mortars, but I would have a dismountable 60mm mortar with a small number of rounds for dismounted ops. i would also bump up the mortar crew to 4 (the old canadian infantry det was 3).
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on January 18, 2009, 15:51:35
So what selection of tools in what organization gives the maximum flexibility of response to the Canadian Government at the least cost to the Treasury and with the maximum security to the Troops?
To answer that, you need to look beyond just mortars.  You need to consider the role of mortars alongside other systems on the battlefield (like rockets, howitzers, CASW, TOW, etc), and you need to look at the larger doctrine & force structure.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,83079.0.html
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on January 18, 2009, 16:31:24
Shifting gears MCG. (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,83079.msg801678.html#msg801678)
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ammocat on January 18, 2009, 20:22:15
If a Coy has a HQ, 2 Mortar Carriers and 3-4 LAVIII platoons, who controls the mortar carriers and who calls in the fire. Each Coy would require someone to act as the fire controller and someone at either Coy or Bn level would have to coordinate the fire. I see this scenario adding extra people and vehicles to every Coy as well as increasing the required support from Wpn Techs, FCS Techs, Maint, etc and increasing the logistical demand for fuel, food, water, and yet another nature of ammunition.

I am not familiar with any 120mm mortar carrier, so I will have to do some research, but I imagine the basic load is limited especially if a mixed load (HE, Illum, Smoke) is carried. This would require frequent ammo resupply, something I am not sure we can support. From what I have read the Stryker battalions have a mixture of four 120mm and six 81mm vehicle mounted mortars. The 120mm mortar vehicles have a 81mm mortar for dismounted use and the 81mm mortar vehicles have 60mm mortars for dismounted use.

Supporting 3 calibres of mortar would be difficult and mixed ammunition loads would further limit the amount of each type of ammunition carried.

The old mortar platoons had two groups, each with four carriers for the mortars, a carrier for the group commander, and a carrier for the fire controller. Platoon HQ had the FSCC to coordinate the fire and movement of the groups. I Kosovo we had the 81mm mortar Bison (Wolf) but were unable to mount the mortars in the vehicles. Never saw this vehicle in action during my stint in mortars.

There are some advantages to 120mm in the target effects of the ammunition, but I think it would be easier to sustain a 81mm mortar vehicle where the mortar can be dismounted and used independently of the vehicle and base the mortar assets as it use to be, a mortar platoon. Leave the 60mm with the pl wpns det.
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 18, 2009, 22:12:28
Stryker mortar carrier, 60 x 120mm mortar bombs

The company and battalion mortars use 120mm mounted in the vehicle and the dismountable for the BN Mor PL is 81mm where the dismountable for the Coy is 60mm. What wikipedia says and the US troops I am chatting with say are two different things.

I did forget to mention in the US Stryker INF Coy, the mortars are controlled by a Fire Support team mounted in a special Stryker (Similar to our FC from the old mortar platoons)

Thats all they have at Coy level, 3 vehicles and they use new technology in a big way to their advantage (GPS, Force Battlefield command thingy canot remember the name it shows blue force units). The nature of ammo at Coy level would be 120mm mortar and 60mm mortar. I am seriously thinking that people can't stop thinking about yesteryear. Lets maybe try something new, huh?

As far as different ammo in a Coy, what do we have now typically found in a LAVIII Coy? 5.56mm ball, 5.56mm link, 7.62mm link, 25mm, 40mm M203, M72 (Old favorite is back), 84mm ammo (Typically HEAT and HEDP) and 60mm mortar ammo (HE, ILLUM, SMK). My example would see adding 120mm mortar to the Coy.

Again i want to point out the advantage of 120mm Mortar ammo (some people don't get it)
-Range; 7,200m (not very far, but mortars are known for being quick and deadly)
-can fire 16 rounds a minute for 1 minute than sustained fire is 4 rounds per minute
-120mm HE Lethal radius 60m
-High angle excellent for proximity burst, illumination and overall even blast effect

I again stand by what I am saying. I have yet to see a sound argument for not getting 120mm mortars in our army.
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on January 18, 2009, 23:15:26
Three arguments:

No people no man them.

No money to buy them.

No money to buy ammo to sustain them.

Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on January 18, 2009, 23:19:55
let me guess, you remember not that long ago we were getting out of the tank business?

The whole idea of this thread is talking about possibilities. IMO, it takes people with ideas to come up with suggestions and then sell it with a strong enough sales pitch and you never know, we may or may not get the goodies.

Just remember 4-5 years ago there was no hope or even a dream of us having leopard 2s.
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ammocat on January 19, 2009, 00:14:27
As for no people to man them, I believe the loss of mortar platoon and pioneer platoon had an effect on retention in the infantry. There were some die hard mortarmen in the platoon I was in. Funding to procure a mortar vehicle may be hard to come by, but I think the ammo world could support the ammunition requirements if required.

I think 3 levels of mortars complicates logistics. I would hate to see the 60mm mortar be lost as any infantryman can use it in the hand held role. I believe the armoured assault troop was could also handle the 60mm mortar (rumour I heard once, never seen it). With a small amount of training the mortar can be used in the bi-pod in the direct fire role. (the C-2 sight used to aim at the target vice an aiming post). With a little more training it can be used as a indirect fire weapon. This gives the Pl/Coy quite a bit of flexibility in how this weapon is employed.

I am not sure that we require an 81mm and 120mm mortar and I feel that the 81mm mortar provides more flexibility as it can be used mounted in the vehicle or dismounted.

The mortar bison carried a basic load of 111 cartridges, with a mix of 84 HE, 21 Smk, 6 Illum, so the basic load is almost double what the 120mm basic load is. The range for the 81mm varies depending on type of ammunition but the C70A1 HE is listed at 4800m. The HE has a lethal radius of 40m and casualty producing radius of 150m. The US M252 81mm mortar is listed at 5650m with a sustained fire rate of 15rds/min, ammunition is not specified. The 120mm has some advantages in range and lethal radius, but limitations in ammunition carried. The high angle should be the same for both, thus equally effective for proximity and blast effect.

I am still not totally clear on the Stryker mortar vehicle. If the vehicle has a mounted 120mm and they use a dismounted 81mm, who carries the 81mm and the required ammunition. Is this essentially a CQ responsibility? Do they carry the 81mm in the Stryker and then call the ammo forward when it is required? Do you have any good links for the Stryker other than Wikipedia for this?
Title: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on January 19, 2009, 01:41:54
Ammocat:

Try this link - http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/images/ibct.gif

I don't know how up to date it is.  It was the "pre-contact" plan.  2x81mm/coy and 4x120mm/bn for the inf.  The cav got 2x120mm/tp.

Here's the primary article - http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/brigade-ibct.htm
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 23, 2009, 15:33:37
Anyone have an idea of how much a new 60mm mortar costs? How many we would need?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sir_Spams_a_lot on July 23, 2009, 15:40:07
I'm pretty sure my local Hutterite colony's metal shop could crank 'em out for a couple hundred bucks a piece.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on July 23, 2009, 16:02:59
Hutterites are pacifists, and likely would not make weapons.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sir_Spams_a_lot on July 23, 2009, 16:10:33
You'd be surprised how flexible their standards are when there's money to be had.  As far as I know, they are prohibited from fighting, not manufacturing.

*addendum* There are plenty of rifles and shotguns on my local colony.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on July 23, 2009, 22:05:17
I don't know about a 60, but an 81 goes for about $16K each (EIS extra)
Title: More 60mm HE ammo on order
Post by: milnews.ca on November 24, 2009, 16:34:45
Just reviving this with the latest from the MERX thread:
http://forums.milnet.ca/forums/index.php?topic=90186.msg892505#msg892505

".... The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement for 60 mm HE ammunition. This procurement is for inventory replenishment of an existing Department of National Defence qualified product that has a direct military application and is required to maintain the integrity of existing equipment and services.

Line1, GSIN:N1310, NSN:1310639900001, Cartridge 60mm HE M38A1
Soltam Long Range fuzed PD, M111B1
Military Pack: 1 per fibre tube, 16 tubes per wooden box, 18
boxes per pallet
No markings to identify country of origin, manufacturer or
contractor, Quantity:1536, Unit of Issue:Each, Delivery
Dates:See Herein

It is proposed to negotiate a contract with Soltam, Systems (link to manufacturer web page), who is the OEM for this type of ammunition.   Due to the nature of this requirement, no other supplier can provide this product.

2. ESTIMATED COST OF THE PROPOSED CONTRACT $600,000.00 ...."

Doing the math, that's about $390/round.  LOVE the copy on the company's web page (http://www.soltam.com/):

“Soltam Systems – House of Mortars & Artillery …. owned by the Israeli group MIKAL has earned its world recognition as a one stop shop provider for artillery products …”
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on November 26, 2009, 22:16:43
It's kind of like potatoes and gravy.  Running short of gravy and still got potatoes left.  Eat up the potatoes and still got gravy.  Add more more potatoes.....

At  this rate TV will never be rid of his beloved 60s.... >:D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ammocat on November 27, 2009, 00:51:02
Not sure I fully follow the potatoes and gravy comments. If you look at the requirements for this contract and the specifications of the item itself compared to current service ammunition, I think you will see a significant difference.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on November 27, 2009, 06:36:34
It's kind of like potatoes and gravy.  Running short of gravy and still got potatoes left.  Eat up the potatoes and still got gravy.  Add more more potatoes.....

At  this rate TV will never be rid of his beloved 60s.... >:D
What?  Who?

Oh, sorry, I thought I heard my name in vain!  ;D
Title: MORE 60mm HE Ammo on Tap....
Post by: milnews.ca on November 27, 2009, 16:26:57
Cancel my last MERX post - new one up today:
http://forums.milnet.ca/forums/index.php?topic=90186.msg893403#msg893403

"....ESTIMATED COST OF THE PROPOSED CONTRACT: $1,200,000.00...." (twice as much as Tuesday's MERX ACAN)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ammocat on November 27, 2009, 19:01:05
This appears to be a different item, the first one is a 60mm HE fitted with a Point Detonating Fuze, the second is the same 60mm HE cartridge but fitted with a proximity fuze. The difference in fuzes would explain the difference in price.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on March 22, 2011, 10:54:46
From the CASW thread (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,28805.msg1028490.html#msg1028490):Given the differences between 81 mm and 120 mm, I would still be interested to hear if people would see a 100 mm mortar as an acceptable intermediate calibre or as a poor compromise solution.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 22, 2011, 19:59:46
100mm Mortar? Poor compromise, it doesn't even exist as far as I know. There used to be a 107mm Mortar in US service buts its long gone.

The M1129 Stryker Mortar carrier basically has a 120mm Mortar and can carry 60 x 120mm rounds. A 120mm HE mortar round has approximately 5 LBS of explosive charge (It doesn't seem like much but it is, the round weighs about 30 LBS), the effective range is 7 KM but 120mm mortar has devasting effect on enemy. 120mm Mortars is more of a dream than anything. The US have slightly different ways of employing mortars as well (They maintain a Battalion mortar platoon and each company has a mortar squad as well in a stryker infantry battalion, all use 120mm contrary to original stryker BCT doctrine).

I took the time and ask some yanks about it when I had a chance, they say 120mm and 81mm are two very different beast. Now an 81mm (I have expirience here) can still be man packable (For mountain or jungle ops). and its range is 5 KM. Still a damn good weapon. Wish someone would give it back to us, but another dream.

I think if we want really preserve at minimal cost and a realistic solution, would be to purchase the M224 60mm Mortar. Can be used in Light (hand held) role and with Bipod. Max range is 3.5 KM. 60mm mortars can very easily be man packed (much more so than a CASW).
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 22, 2011, 20:21:12
I totally agree with Michael O'Leary and the 120mm vs 81mm comments.  We deal with the same issues with 155mm vs 105mm.  Quick suppression with a high volume of fire is the key.  The bigger calibre brings a whole different animal of logistical headaches.  The main reasons we have 777s in Afghan would be range to cover the entire AO, accuracy to prevent fratricide and the ability to fire excalibur.  For larger, high intensity and more sustainable ops we the Arty would likely use a lot more 105mm instead of trying to procure more 777s.

As for the 120mm comments.  I don't think it would be valid within a Btln.  It would be Bde asset, the same as an Arty Regt.  A Btln would have to give up an entire Coy to do this (probably more).  Someone who knows for sure please correct me if I am wrong but, wasn't the main reason the mortars came to the Arty was to have more rifleman in the Btln.  This started in the early 90s with the Yugoslavia task and has just continued from there.  I am cetainlly not against the Infantry getting their mortars back and the 81s could be at the Btln level but, once again, do you want 2 strong Coys and mortars, 3 small Coys and mortars or do want 3 strong Coys.   I think the choice was made to have 3 strong Coys with the caveat that they would always have direct support (DS) from Arty.

The 120mm makes sense to me as a Bde asset meant for DS to the lead Btln or the Armd Regt, therefore freeing up the 2 Arty Btys to prosecute the deep targets that our STA assets are locating.  In bigger Ops like Div, the Arty Regt could reinforce the adjacent Regt with the Bde still having the 120s for itself.

And to continue this pipe dream there would also be GS Arty Regt to the Div that would have long range ISTAR and MLRS.  Not likely in any of our careers though.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 22, 2011, 20:25:20
As for the 120mm comments.  I don't think it would be valid within a Btln.  It would be Bde asset, the same as an Arty Regt.  A Btln would have to give up an entire Coy to do this (probably more).  Someone who knows for sure please correct me if I am wrong but, wasn't the main reason the mortars came to the Arty was to have more rifleman in the Btln.  This started in the early 90s with the Yugoslavia task and has just continued from there.  I am cetainlly not against the Infantry getting their mortars back and the 81s could be at the Btln level but, once again, do you want 2 strong Coys and mortars, 3 small Coys and mortars or do want 3 strong Coys.   I think the choice was made to have 3 strong Coys with the caveat that they would always have direct support (DS) from Arty.

No, it wasn't to have more riflemen, it was to provide positions being given up by the Infantry (and the Army) for reallocation to other capabilities.  The positions lost by the removal of Mortars and Pioneers were not simply reallocated within the battalions.

The size of a weapon system doesn't automatically determine whether it is a battalion or brigade asset, the organizational decision is a different matter. Similarly, its employment is determined by a variety of factors. There are no physical characteristics regarding the 120mm mortar that automatically preclude it being a battalion weapon system. In my opinion the overall package (platoon org, vehicles, logistics, etc.) doesn't present a strong enough case for 120 over 81. In any case, it the capability requirement that must be identified and met.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on March 22, 2011, 20:30:37
Would a 120mm in a LAV combined with the M777 be a nice mix?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 22, 2011, 20:35:59
If I remember correctly (on paper) the old Infantry mortar platoon was about 56. Large by platoon standards but not ridicolous.
-Fire Support Co-ordination Center
-Platoon Stores
-Platoon Recce Det
2 x Mortar Groups consisting of a Fire Control party, Command Post, 4 x 81mm Mortar detachments and group stores.

Sound about right? And yes, I don't seem to recall a sudden increase in the infantry company numbers. The trutch is right now, I beleive with our trade being overbourne, we could easily stand up mortar platoons again.

In the US doctrine, a 120mm detachment has 5 guys (I beleive it is reduced to 4 when its mounted in an M113 or Stryker). So that man power increase for a 120mm mortar platoon would be noticeable. Our old 81mm detachment (inf) was 3 guys.

The US doctrine (Stryker BCT), a company commander can order up a crash action or hasty fire mission from his own mortar squad (2 x 120mm dets) while the fire support team (american talk = FOO) can rattle up a fire mission from a M777 or M198 155mm battery. The Battalion mortar platoon is tasked out as BN CO sees fit.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 22, 2011, 20:36:51
Would a 120mm in a LAV combined with the M777 be a nice mix?

For any mortar system you have to find a balance between its primary capability (suppression) and the logistic cost to provide the desired effect. A more complex delivery system doesn't alleviate the high logistic cost of getting the ammo to the target for the 120 mm.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 22, 2011, 20:40:28
If I remember correctly (on paper) the old Infantry mortar platoon was about 56. Large by platoon standards but not ridicolous.
-Fire Support Co-ordination Center
-Platoon Stores
-Platoon Recce Det
2 x Mortar Groups consisting of a Fire Control party, Command Post, 4 x 81mm Mortar detachments and group stores.

Sound about right? And yes, I don't seem to recall a sudden increase in the infantry company numbers. The trutch is right now, I beleive with our trade being overbourne, we could easily stand up mortar platoons again.

In the US doctrine, a 120mm detachment has 5 guys (I beleive it is reduced to 4 when its mounted in an M113 or Stryker). So that man power increase for a 120mm mortar platoon would be noticeable. Our old 81mm detachment (inf) was 3 guys.

The US doctrine (Stryker BCT), a company commander can order up a crash action or hasty fire mission from his own mortar squad (2 x 120mm dets) while the fire support team (american talk = FOO) can rattle up a fire mission from a M777 or M198 155mm battery. The Battalion mortar platoon is tasked out as BN CO sees fit.

The old mortar platoon organization was 2 + 52. I was able to shoot and support 8 tubes with 2 + 40, but that leaves no flexibility for sustained operations.

When we were considering a 6-tube 120 mm platoon organization in the mid-1980s, the platoon was going to grow to 70+ personnel.  That project, when even went so far as to test at least three systems died when it was discovered by a senior officer (i,e., the general that replaced the general who stood up the project) that it had no doctrinal basis.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 22, 2011, 20:47:27
I agree with Michael. This is a link to the 120mm LAV http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Armour-and-Artillery-Upgrades/General-Dynamics-Land-Systems--California-Technical-Center-RO-Defence-120-mm-Armoured-Mortar-System-AMS-International.html (http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Armour-and-Artillery-Upgrades/General-Dynamics-Land-Systems--California-Technical-Center-RO-Defence-120-mm-Armoured-Mortar-System-AMS-International.html)

I would be more intersted in a 120mm mounted in the back of vehicle, capable of dismount and the ability to cross load if the vehicle breaks.  The obvious problem with LAV 120mm is if the vehicle breaks your SOL.

I have seen the LAV 120mm, and their selling feature is that it is, by itself, it's own firing unit capable of locating the target (like our LAV OPV), calculating the firing solution (like an Arty CP) and delivering the munition as well.  Pretty high tech and cool but if you blow your transmission it quickly turns into a really expensive road block.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 22, 2011, 20:50:01
Further to add how US Stryker Infantry battalions employ mortars

Each company mortar squad carries 60mm mortars for dismounted use in addition the 120mm mounted. At the Battalion mortar platoon, they have dismountable 81mm in addition to their 120mm mounted. Man, thats alot of space gobbled up in the back.

In the Stryker ISTAR Squadron (Armoured Recce Regt, yank terminology Squadron = Regt), there are only the 120mm mounted mortars, no dismountable mortars.

Each SBCT, has a total of 40 of 120mm Mortars mounted (divided between 4 units), 18 x 60mm mortars and 12 x 81mm mortars. Keeping in mind, SBCT doctrine is meant to be able to fight both mounted and dismounted operations (aim flexibility)

As far as a complex system? The 120mm Mortars are mounted on turntables in the back (Do not confuse the M1129 with the GDLS 120mm turretted mortar that Saudis use).

As for logistics, a 120mm Mortar bomb weighs 30 lbs vs an 81mm weighing 10 Lbs. So yes, there would be a decrease in amount that could be carried. But a 120mm mortar has a more devasting effect on target.

I also agree that we do not let weapons size/caliber dictate wether it should be a Company, battalion or Brigade assett. Personally, if it were up to me, an Arty Regt would have 3 x batteries of 155mm Guns (1 Bty for each BG) and a battery of HIMARS (Big wish list) for big ops that require HUGE destructive fire power (Deliberate attacks such as the fire support premeditated OP MEDUSA '06)

Standing by Mike (our mortar DS?), waiting for my debrief.

Gnyhwy, The Stryker M1129 is what your talking about (mortars in back)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 22, 2011, 21:03:12
The link I posted was talking about the 120mm that the Saudis are using ( an independant firing unit). I was unaware of the M1129, but yes now that I am aware, the M1129 would be my choice my far.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 22, 2011, 21:27:03
You still have to start by deciding what your primary capability requirement is. If it is to be suppression of infantry in the open, in exposed entrenchments or soft-skinned vehicles, then more rounds at higher rates of fire normally have an advantage over fewer rounds even if larger calibre.

If, on the other hand, you propose the larger calibre because of alternative munition options, then you're changing the argument and not defending a return of the old mortar platoon capability - but a new one altogether.

There will no doubt be roles which the M1129 would be ideally suited to perform, but that system doesn't necessarily answer all the capability issues across the spectrum of possible requirements. Choosing the heavier weapon and sacrificing mobility options is the same road we are arguing in the other thread regarding the CASW.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 22, 2011, 22:46:34
Mike,

IF, big if, I were the King of Canada and everything (as warped as could be) was my way, I would purchase for the infantry the following toys (with capabilities) in this priority

1. Javelin Anti-armour missile system. I realize our current threat in A-stan doesn't use AFV but sooner or later if we keep playing with guns internationally, we are probably going to end up agaisnt a potential armour threat. The Javelin would beat Eryx garbage hands down (600m vs 2500m and fire & forget). I would select Javelin over Spike because our closest allies are using the same (USA, UK, New Zealand and I think Aussies got it too). Capability; Anti-Armour Rick's Pick; Javelin

2. 60mm Mortar. For dismounted troops that need a weapon capable of enemy suppression that can be quickly brought into action and has a reasonable man portability, I would select the M224 60mm Mortar (can operate in sustained fire or hand held role). Again commonailty with our brothers in the south and the UK have started using the Hirtenberger (when you look at it, its the same damn thing). Capability; Man Portable Indirect Fire Support Weapon for suppression. Rick's Pick; M224 Mortar

3. Platoon level sharpshooters. I would love to add in platoon or maybe company level sharpshooters equipped with something along the lines of 7.62mm HK417 Rifle and a damn good scope. Yeah Snipers can do this but its kind of a waste of their talent when they could be taking bigger missions. An example, a platoon commander spots an enemy pers with radio, directing or reporting our movement, he task his sharpshooter to knock him down. Capability; Precision Elimination of Key enemy targets to a range of 800m tasked out to PL/COY level  Rick's Pick; HK417 7.62mm Rifle

4. A Mounted mortar that belongs to the infantry and provides a quick, reaction of suppressive fires agaisnt enemy in open or fortified. Because an M1129 can haul 60 x rounds (not bad), I beleive that would be enough for a scrape or too. I would go for 120mm over 81mm for slight increase in range (+2 KM), more devasting fire power and hopefully future 120mm precision rounds become availible (direct hit/fewer colateral damage). Capability; Vehicle mounted Indirect Fire Support weapon for suppression. Rick's Pick; M1129 Stryker Mortar carrier with M121 120mm mortar.

(Submitting my next plan to DS, waiting outside CP for a debrief, good or bad)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 23, 2011, 00:03:57
Arty is benefiting from technology - fewer gunners can supply more rounds on target to greater effect at greater ranges.  Ultimately that means that the CF needs Batteries and not Brigades of guns. 

However the technology generally benefits the larger calibers which need heavy vehicles which can carry big servomotors and which can compensate for the disadvantage of reduced mobility with increased range.

Given that, that means that the gunners have excess PYs (at least compared to Cold War standards) and are not likely to get more guns for those gunners.

Accordingly, I guess, the gunners were given the 81s to suck up those PYs and because the training was broadly similar.

The question that keeps coming to my mind is why the gunners haven't embraced infantry cooperation to a greater extent and formed infantry support troops of 8 tubes to be issued to infantry battalions together with a large FOO organization - Capt command with FCCS, FISTs for the Coys and MFCs for the platoons (maybe even issue the MFC tms with 60s).

That would maintain gunner badges, concentrate a common training group, maintain gunner career progression, relieve PY pressure on the infantry, improve infantry/arty cooperation, and ensure that the infantry retains the fire support they need at the battle group level, if not the battalion level.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on March 23, 2011, 00:09:36
The question that keeps coming to my mind is why the gunners haven't embraced infantry cooperation to a greater extent and formed infantry support troops of 8 tubes to be issued to infantry battalions together with a large FOO organization - Capt command with FCCS, FISTs for the Coys and MFCs for the platoons (maybe even issue the MFC tms with 60s).

That would maintain gunner badges, concentrate a common training group, maintain gunner career progression, relieve PY pressure on the infantry, improve infantry/arty cooperation, and ensure that the infantry retains the fire support they need at the battle group level, if not the battalion level.

This is the big one for me too.  It's not so much to have infantry mortars, for me, but to have integral indirect fire support at the battlegroup level.  They could be RMS clerks for all I care, but to have it there as part of the battalion (in garrison) and battlegroup (on deployment) ORBAT, that's all that matters.  Hell, they could have 40mm AGLS if it had the range....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on March 23, 2011, 00:38:50
This is the big one for me too.  It's not so much to have infantry mortars, for me, but to have integral indirect fire support at the battlegroup level. They could be RMS clerks for all I care, but to have it there as part of the battalion (in garrison) and battlegroup (on deployment) ORBAT, that's all that matters.  Hell, they could have 40mm AGLS if it had the range....

"Please complete the CF81-M-47 in triplicate, indicating the type of fire you would like to request.  Be sure to include the NSN for all items.  I'm on leave next week, but I hope to get to your fire mission the following week between PT and the CO's coffee break."

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 23, 2011, 00:50:41
Accordingly, I guess, the gunners were given the 81s to suck up those PYs and because the training was broadly similar.

The question that keeps coming to my mind is why the gunners haven't embraced infantry cooperation to a greater extent and formed infantry support troops of 8 tubes to be issued to infantry battalions together with a large FOO organization - Capt command with FCCS, FISTs for the Coys and MFCs for the platoons (maybe even issue the MFC tms with 60s).

That would maintain gunner badges, concentrate a common training group, maintain gunner career progression, relieve PY pressure on the infantry, improve infantry/arty cooperation, and ensure that the infantry retains the fire support they need at the battle group level, if not the battalion level.

The Gunners didn't get the PYs to go with the mortars.  The PYs went to the VCDS and probably ended up in the dotcoms, soldiers' positions traded off for staff officer/NCO jobs. Mortars and Pioneers went away because two infantry Colonels decided they were an expendable capability to try and protect riflemen positions (failing to realize we could backfill riflemen a lot more easily than replace the lost capabilities when needed - which we didn't accomplish with Sappers and Gunners covering them off despite the theoretical discussions of them doing so).

The Guns got the mortars to be employed as alternate weapon systems, or in lieu of guns for some detachments/batteries with no offset of manpower.

The Guns also simply replaced mortars for guns at the detachment level when they were used, maintaining the same battery organization and fire control training requirements to fire 81mm mortars as they did for howitzers.

The problem with discussing a return of 81 mm mortars to the infantry is that the last of the Advanced Mortar qualified Officers and NCOs will soon be gone. To recreate it, we do not want to bring mortars back with the staffing and organization of the Artillery fire control system with them.  It's a time limited opportunity to restore the medium mortar to the infantry battalions with the infantry officers and NCOs who have the training we would want to recreate.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on March 23, 2011, 11:56:15
I hear that parts for the 105C3 are getting harder to find, perhaps towed 120mm mortars for Reserve arty units might be in order, smaller logistical footprint, off the shelf tech and would allow the introduction of this weapon system into the CF so they can experiment with it's deployment, also the reg force arty units can transition from the 81 towards the 120. Can't for the life of me figure why the arty is running the 81mm.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 23, 2011, 12:00:35
I hear that parts for the 105C3 are getting harder to find, perhaps towed 120mm mortars for Reserve arty units might be in order, smaller logistical footprint, off the shelf tech and would allow the introduction of this weapon system into the CF so they can experiment with it's deployment, also the reg force arty units can transition from the 81 towards the 120. Can't for the life of me figure why the arty is running the 81mm.

The Arty is running the 81mm for two reasons, neither of which have anything to do with reasoned decision-making for field force structures.

A. The infantry had to give up PYs and the Mortar (and Pioneers) were sacrificed.

B. Giving the 81s to the Guns let the Army claim the capability wasn't given up.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on March 23, 2011, 12:38:48
The Gunners didn't get the PYs to go with the mortars.  The PYs went to the VCDS and probably ended up in the dotcoms, soldiers' positions traded off for staff officer/NCO jobs. Mortars and Pioneers went away because two infantry Colonels decided they were an expendable capability to try and protect riflemen positions (failing to realize we could backfill riflemen a lot more easily than replace the lost capabilities when needed - which we didn't accomplish with Sappers and Gunners covering them off despite the theoretical discussions of them doing so).

The divestment of the mortar an pioneer PYs predates the dot COMs significantly.  It was an Army decision (not just by two Infantry Colonels) where those capabilities were sacrificed to protect other Army capabilities.  The VCDS required PYs for investment in a variety of areas (and took them from other organizations as well, not only the Army), and the Army decided to pay the bill that way.

The dot COM positions were created out of the 5000 Reg F expansion.  Whether a force expansion intended to put more boots on the ground should have been used to grow additional HQs of limited utility is another issue - and a question that the former CDS, Gen Hillier, has never adequately answered.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on March 23, 2011, 12:40:39
I stand corrected, for the purpose of this thread the main point is that the Mortar/Pioneer PYs didn't get reallocated within the Infantry, or go to the Guns with the 81s.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 23, 2011, 16:08:41
Treading on eggs here....

Given the Afghanistan rotations are Gunners working as many rotations as the Infantry?  The reason I ask is that my previous comment was predicated on the notion that technology means that fewer guns and gunners are needed to supply adequate gunfire support to infantry operations generally and for "constabulary" duties like Afghanistan in particular.  That seems to be borne out by the relatively small number of guns deployed and (I believe) low rates of ammunition expenditure.

Is there a possibility that a higher rate of turnover could be used to generate the PYs for the field force to supply the Infantry Support Troops?

As to the medium calibre guns with their high rates of fire and suppressive abilities, appropriate to higher intensity conflicts - isn't that compatible with maintaining that capability in the reserves with the C1-3s?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on March 23, 2011, 16:20:50
Gunners provide more than just the gun dets; there's fire co-ordination that's required; AD gunners provide some low-level airspace co-ordination as well.

We must also be careful that we do not structure the military to fight today's battle at the expense of its ability to fight future battles.  Saying "Massed guns are so 1917; let's re-role the guns into (insert today's sexy but doctrinally unsound buzzword here)".

And to use ammo expenditure as a measure of utility would be troubling; by that metric, a platoon that creates a safe environment by patrolling and working with the locals would be seen to be less effective than one that managed to get all the locals pissed off and taking potshots at them.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on March 23, 2011, 16:26:48
Kirkhill

Could you run that one by me again? All I got was the bit about the ammunition expenditure. In the early rotos the ammunition expenditure was quite high, but it has decreased as the situation stabilized. The four guns in TF 3-06 fired something like 8000 rounds, which in terms of bullets per gun per month averaged about a third of 2 RCHA's total usage of 25-pdr in Korea. That is: 2 RCHA @24 guns @12 months fired almost 300,000 rounds or roughly 1000 rounds per gun per month on the average. E Bty (TF 3-06) @4 guns @6 months fired about 8000 rounds or roughy 333 rounds per gun per month on the average.

This figure is comparing apples to watermelons as a 155mm projectile is roughly four times heavier than a 25-pdr bullet. Can you say, "having fun with numbers?"

Dapaterson has noted that gunners do other things, as well as the tasks he mentioned, there are the FOO parties and the locating device detachments, and of course the OMLT.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 23, 2011, 19:50:53
Looking at the PY issue. General Leslie has stated he intends to reduce the HQ bloat in the CF. If thats the case, maybe we can bring back mortar platoons? That would also help with the overbourne infantry trade.

Kirkhill, wow, please don't take offence to this but man, I had to read your post about five times to figure it out (My simple infantry mind kicked in). Cheers

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 23, 2011, 20:02:33
I apologize - I knew as soon as I posted that question that I was on very thin ice.

No criticism was intended. I was, as Old Sweat pointed out, having fun with numbers.  Poor grounds for a discussion for people for whom the issue is far from a hobby.

My interest in the numbers was whether or not there was another way to solve the problem of mortars in the infantry support role.

I guess, perhaps a better way to have tackled the discussion would have been to ask if the arty currently has enough PYs to meet current tasking levels. Or if arty regiments are up to strength.... or any number of other ways of entering into the discussion.

Again, my apologies.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on March 23, 2011, 20:35:39
100mm Mortar? Poor compromise, it doesn't even exist as far as I know.
There is at least one, but it is not from a country that I think we should be buying arms.  I raise the question of an intermediate size as an alternative to the either-or discussion of 81 mm vs 120 mm.  Conceptually, an intermediate tube size could offer something that was an acceptable balance of the 81 & 120 strenghts or an unacceptable compilation of 81 & 120 weaknesses.

Some armies have the resources and logistic capacity to provide and support 120 mm mortars down to Coy level - We don't.  Some armies resources and logistic capacity to provide and support both 81 mm and 120 mm mortars at different places within their field force - Again, we don't.  Within NATO and ABCA, Canada would not be unique in having to select a single mortar to satisfy its needs.  If a few contries were collectively interested in an intermediate mortar, the development of a few models for technical and operational trials & evaluations would be a relatively low cost/low risk undertaking.  If it does not work, we walk away.  If it does work, we would not be the only ones using it.

Of course, there is always the possibility that we decide all our needs are already satisfied within either the 81 mm or the 120 mm; in which case an intermediate size should not be consuming any effort for consideration.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on March 24, 2011, 00:58:58
I apologize - I knew as soon as I posted that question that I was on very thin ice.

I guess, perhaps a better way to have tackled the discussion would have been to ask if the arty currently has enough PYs to meet current tasking levels. Or if arty regiments are up to strength.... or any number of other ways of entering into the discussion.

Again, my apologies.

I don't think they are.
The loss of a mortar Pl in ea Bn has forced the Artillery to generate even more observers and FSCC pers than before.
Then Afghansitan happened
The Bty structure itself changed from 2 Troops to 3 Troops to cover the vast AO.  Latent Artillery capabilities, such as UAV's, acoustic and radar weapon locating systems became active over the last 5 years, and also put a drain on man power. The result was that each time a BG deployed, virtually a mini Arty Regt deployed too. As you know, there's only one Arty Regt per Bde
But the numbers were not "up" to begin with. Consequently as much as 25% of each of those mini-Regt's were made up of reservists.

This kind of Arty structure will most likely become permanent, in particular for Reserve units, once an ongoing Arty transformation settles down over the next few years; any staff planning I've seen seems to indicate this anyway

The Artillery should not be the source for any organic indirect fire capability in Bn's anyway, they are after all a Bde resource. Even if its only a mega-Bty that was force generated and deployed with the BG, it will still get employed like a Bde resource.

I agree Infantry units need some kind of fire support that remains within the Bn, that it needs to be able to deliver lethal and non lethal effects, in sustained or precision delivery methods, over complex terrain. But the numbers don't exist within current Artillery units to support that consistently at the Bn level, not as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 24, 2011, 11:24:41
Thanks Petard.

You clarified the issues I so clumsily tried to address.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on March 24, 2011, 12:01:42
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?

Rather than reinvent the wheel, this would provide the balance of mobility, flexibility (you can dismount the mortar and manpack it if needed, and the LAv can carry a fair number of 81m rounds), and logistical support (we already use LAVs and 81mm mortars). I know of the LAV 25 version for the USMC, and I can swear I have sen this either offered or trialled for the CF, but can't seem to find any links or further information.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 24, 2011, 13:35:25
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?


Used to was.....

Found here (http://www.mortarsinminiature.com/photoShop.htm)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on March 24, 2011, 18:33:30
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?


There was, some called it the "Wolf"; they're all gone now, the last weapon mount was sold for scrap by DSAL just over two years ago.


Rather than reinvent the wheel, this would provide the balance of mobility, flexibility (you can dismount the mortar and manpack it if needed, and the LAv can carry a fair number of 81m rounds), and logistical support (we already use LAVs and 81mm mortars). I know of the LAV 25 version for the USMC, and I can swear I have sen this either offered or trialled for the CF, but can't seem to find any links or further information.

DLCD did start some research into the concepts you're talking about, but more along the lines of a SP 120mm that could also mount the 81mm barrel. I haven't heard too much about it lately so I'm assuming it has stalled, along with many other things.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on March 24, 2011, 18:35:53
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?
There was, some called it the "Wolf"; they're all gone now, the last weapon mount was sold for scrap by DSAL just over two years ago.
The second generation LAVs are also on the road to retirement with TAPV coming in.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 27, 2011, 11:08:15
Quote
The question that keeps coming to my mind is why the gunners haven't embraced infantry cooperation to a greater extent and formed infantry support troops of 8 tubes to be issued to infantry battalions together with a large FOO organization - Capt command with FCCS, FISTs for the Coys and MFCs for the platoons (maybe even issue the MFC tms with 60s).

That would maintain gunner badges, concentrate a common training group, maintain gunner career progression, relieve PY pressure on the infantry, improve infantry/arty cooperation, and ensure that the infantry retains the fire support they need at the battle group level, if not the battalion level.

Ref: the 1st para.  We have been doing this to some extent since we were given the mortars in the mid 90s.  We provided mortar troops to Yugo/Bosnia.  In the late 90s we started using LG1s with an air mobile capability (not our own helos of course).  Further, each Arty Regt since getting the mortars has trained their 3rd Bty in the light role to support the 3rd Btln who is also light.
 
Ref: the 2nd para.  You are starting to make an argument for the optimized BG, which I believe is the wrong approach.  An Arty Regt or even Bty, by virtue of range is a Bde asset.  Artillery, has always been and always will be commanded from the highest level.  For example, tactical tasks will dictate for a Bde Op.  An Arty Bty may reinforce another Bty, therefore giving the lead BG 2 x Btys of support.  The “norm” of a Bty being in direct support (DS) to a BG is only because that is all we have been sending overseas.  The Bde is tasked to provide a BG and a Bty stands up in DS.  This tactical task has even changed in Afghan without most people even noticing when our gun troops were taken away from the BG to be in DS to US troops.  Another scenario would be in a TF organization (lots of ANA), the Bty may be in general support to the entire TF but in DS to some sub-units for certain phases of the Op.

Quote
The Artillery should not be the source for any organic indirect fire capability in Bn's anyway, they are after all a Bde resource. Even if its only a mega-Bty that was force generated and deployed with the BG, it will still get employed like a Bde resource.

This comment from Petard is entirely correct.  I will now against my own and state that we the Arty are not employing the mortars properly.  The 81s should be organic to the Btlns/BGs and always be your DS area suppression wpn.  The problem is we simply don’t have the numbers to do this.  With our FOO btys and FSCC capability getting bigger and a STA capability still being figured out, we are down to 2 x gun Btys and that is even stretching it.  A proper Regt to today’s potential capabilities should be around 800 pers when in fact the Regt are probably floating around 400-500 which is why we rely on reserves so much (which we don’t have full time). 

One last comment I have is, I have noticed some pers talking about PGMs for mortars.  Mortars should be cheap, fast and effective.  The PGM solution certainly does not meet the cheap criteria and the timeliness is significantly slower as well.  Further, to employ PGMs, you need accurate locating devices.  There is not many ground devices that meet the TLE requirement.  A couple would be the LAV OPV(assuming a good lase) and the Vector Binos (assuming accurate calibration and a good lase).  There is mapping that meets this but, now we are talking about carrying laptops around dismounted (which FOO/FACS do depending on task).  There are some other dismounted locating devices but, we don’t own any of them.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 28, 2011, 11:18:37
After reading what the SMEs have to say on mortars and arty, here is some stuff I am thinking should be the way to go

60mm Mortar-Retain, pl/coy organic weapon

81mm-Return to Inf, re-establish the capability. The BN CO own organic fire support (Rick's Fantasy land still wishes for M1129, 99.9% unlikley to happen)

Arty-Brigade Comd's fire support. Can be massed, assigned to other task (supporting allies) or dividied up to BG. 

Kind of full circle, but hey, if it wasn't broke, why did we fix it? (rhetorical question)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on March 28, 2011, 14:09:09

One last comment I have is, I have noticed some pers talking about PGMs for mortars.  Mortars should be cheap, fast and effective.  The PGM solution certainly does not meet the cheap criteria and the timeliness is significantly slower as well.  Further, to employ PGMs, you need accurate locating devices.  There is not many ground devices that meet the TLE requirement.  A couple would be the LAV OPV(assuming a good lase) and the Vector Binos (assuming accurate calibration and a good lase).  There is mapping that meets this but, now we are talking about carrying laptops around dismounted (which FOO/FACS do depending on task).  There are some other dismounted locating devices but, we don’t own any of them.
Relative to say Excalibur, PGMM are cheaper, and potentially faster and more effective.

Their time response time is faster because the time of flight is shorter and there’s relatively less clearance of fire to deal with. Lower launch loads allow for an easier (and relatively cheaper) to design guidance system. Right now there are a number of different manufacturers of this capability, competition lowers costs, and some have designed precision guided mortar ammunition that can respond to a manoeuvring target, and/or ability to change target location in flight, something Excalibur for instance cannot do. 

As for needing accurate locating devices, it’s somewhat misleading they way you've described that. Yes there are those specially equipped to deal with improving the accuracy of a target location, but advances are being made in prosecuting these type of missions much like a type 2 CAS mission, or supported arm call for fire. In those scenarios someone who has eyes on the target, or location for the desired effects, can cue those with the specialized equipment to look in the area of interest, usually using some form of aerial surveillance. Those that have been cued to look can then use other means to mensurate the grid and altitude. All out of line of sight of the enemy; a much better tactical approach than trying to do it while under contact.

The clearances for fire and de-confliction would still reside within the FSCC and ASCC, and these are going to become better linked to manoeuvre formations through multi-cast messaging, which should minimize the size, or possibly even the need, for a Bn level FSCC for example.

I believe Artillery PGM are still needed to engage depth targets, but I don't see why an Infantry Bn couldn't have its own integral PGMM
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: rampage800 on March 28, 2011, 16:06:07
TLE I believe is one of the issues that the arty is just now catching up on, I mean lets me honest, we bought a PGM (Excalibur) without the cape to generate coords for it  and even now most people couldn't tell you the difference between a Cat 1 or a Cat 4 location. Its coming slowly and there are still some misconceptions out there but there's still only a few instruments that are recognized by JFCOM as being able to generate Cat 1 coords ie. PSS-SOF and a few others. Even FV contrary to popular belief does not generate Cat 1. All that being said you don't need Cat 1  to employ a PGM but you better have a pretty good idea of what the device your using can generate.

I too agree that it might not be a bad thing for the Inf to have an organic PGM cape but highly doubtful that we'll ever see it.

My 2 cents.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on March 28, 2011, 18:21:20
Could you dumb that down for me? Please explain the acronyms? Thanx.
JFCOM =?
TLE = ?
PSS-SOF = ?
FV = ?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 28, 2011, 19:14:14
Joint Force Command
Target location error
Precision Strike Suite - Special Operations Forces (mensurated or averaged grids)
Falconview

Falconview does produce good grids but, is unreliable as images get distorted (shrunk) out to the extreme edges of an image.  Only the terrain immediatley below were the picture was taken could be considered accurate.  PSS-OFF corrects that by averaging (blending) more than 1 image.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on March 28, 2011, 19:34:02
Joint Force Command
Target location error
Precision Strike Suite - Special Operations Forces (mensurated or averaged grids)
Falconview

Falconview does produce good grids but, is unreliable as images get distorted (shrunk) out to the extreme edges of an image.  Only the terrain immediatley below were the picture was taken could be considered accurate.  PSS-OFF corrects that by averaging (blending) more than 1 image.

So how many women are in SOF now?  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on April 21, 2011, 19:26:51
Picatinny fields first precision-guided mortars to troops in Afghanistan

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- This month, U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan received 120mm GPS-guided mortar precision capability.

The Program Executive Office for Ammunition fielded Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative cartridges, or APMI, to one Infantry Brigade Combat Team, or IBCT, earlier this month, and is scheduled to field cartridges to the seven other IBCTs in Afghanistan within six months.

"APMI is a 120mm GPS-guided mortar cartridge that provides the infantry commander precision-strike capability, which he has never had before," said Peter Burke, PEO Ammunition's deputy product manager, Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems.

Mortars are an indirect firing capability used to defeat enemy troops, materiel, bunkers and other infantry-type targets.

"Typically mortars are fired in volleys against an area target because of their inherent inaccuracy, but with APMI, you have the potential to destroy a target with only one or two rounds," Burke said.

http://www.army.mil/-news/2011/03/29/53988-picatinny-fields-first-precision-guided-mortars-to-troops-in-afghanistan/index.html
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on April 26, 2011, 17:25:08
The problem with discussing a return of 81 mm mortars to the infantry is that the last of the Advanced Mortar qualified Officers and NCOs will soon be gone. To recreate it, we do not want to bring mortars back with the staffing and organization of the Artillery fire control system with them.  It's a time limited opportunity to restore the medium mortar to the infantry battalions with the infantry officers and NCOs who have the training we would want to recreate.

As both the Brits and the US use mortars, likely you could recreate the skill set by sending talented individuals to serve with the military that deploys the mortars the way you want and borrow heavily from them. Not to mention dust off the pams stored in some back room.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on April 26, 2011, 17:41:43
Technical weapon skills are one thing, re-establishing the integration of command and control processes that seamlessly match our battalion command systems is the tricky part. Yes, we could "blow the dust off the old pams", but when most of our training is based on passage of skills from instructor to student, the pams can be pretty impenetrable to someone who hasn't laid hands on the weapon system before.  Also, sending someone to another country to learn the advanced skills of fire control and fire support coordination really only works well if the command environment is the same.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on April 26, 2011, 21:55:55
Quote
The problem with discussing a return of 81 mm mortars to the infantry is that the last of the Advanced Mortar qualified Officers and NCOs will soon be gone. To recreate it, we do not want to bring mortars back with the staffing and organization of the Artillery fire control system with them.  It's a time limited opportunity to restore the medium mortar to the infantry battalions with the infantry officers and NCOs who have the training we would want to recreate.

I am trying to understand why you wouldn't want an Arty organization for this.  The only thing I can think of is that we overcomplicate it (which may be true but, drills can easily be expedited with a negligible chance of inaccuracy).  Please elaborate.

Quote
Also, sending someone to another country to learn the advanced skills of fire control and fire support coordination really only works well if the command environment is the same.

This quote seems to make an argument for adopting Arty way of doing business.  Fire control and fire support are our jobs, something that we have been doing for many years.

That all said, I agree with the Infantry getting the mortars back.  Quite frankly, because you will use them more effectively and always have them in direct support of yourself.

Funny how things come around.  I did a 3 week mortar course in 94 that was probably the most in depth and elaborate mortar course ever. We learnt all positions including the CP but because it was self taught by the Arty and not the Infantry (who were still the SMEs at the time), it did not count.  Now we are down to a 1 week conversion course I believe.  I can agree that you wouldn't want to take the Arty way complete but, I also believe that we do it the right way and a lot can be learnt by some of the advances we've made in the last 15 years.

In closing, give the mortars back to the Infantry (81s is all I think you need), buy us some more 777s, salvage as many C3s as possible and if we ever get a heli capabilty we'll do the airmobile with the LG1s.

P.S. I believe that 2 RCHA is very close to having a completly qualified jump mortar troop.  They could and would be easily attached to an Infantry Bltn.

       

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on April 26, 2011, 22:06:09
I am trying to understand why you wouldn't want an Arty organization for this.  The only thing I can think of is that we overcomplicate it (which may be true but, drills can easily be expedited with a negligible chance of inaccuracy).  Please elaborate.     

It's because the full artillery organization and fire controls system is more complex and complicated than what is needed to effectively field mortars. The infantry developed a straightforward C2 and fire control system that met the needs of the weapon system at hand within its command and control environment - and did not need to incorporate the complexities of the artillery system which serve to scale upwards to larger guns and larger fire units and formations.

To present a simple comparison to tactical planning process, full OPP could be used to plan a platoon attack - but it's not because a simple and more responsive system works at that level of command. The more complicated approach, though workable, is not necessarily the best approach in every case. 

The Advanced Mortar Course taught all positions in the platoon from the Mortar Line NCO up to the Platoon Commander's role in ten weeks.  It was enough of a training basis to field effective and efficient platoons, with NCOs and officers performing those duties for part (not all) of their careers. If the infantry were to "adopt" the artillery system, we would never be able to commit people to the training system you have built around it.

Keep in mind your 3-week "in depth" mortar course was Gunner instructors teaching trained Gunners - you didn't need to be taught the basics of fire control, ballistics, tactics, etc., as part of that course, you already received that in your prior training. The infantry Advanced Mortar Course started with students whose prior indirect fire training consisted of the basic weapon course and an introduction on prior leadership courses to the all-arms call for fire, and they learned everything else they needed in those ten weeks.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on April 27, 2011, 07:20:23
The Canadian mortar organization in the 'Cold war' infantry battalions was light years ahead of those of our Allies. I remember very, very senior British and US officers standing with mouths agap as a FC (or a FOO) would produce and implement a quick fire plan using guns, mortars or usually both. "Our army couldn't do that" was a fairly common remark. That the infantry reached such a level was due, in my opinion at least, because they were willing to take parts of the gunner system and adapt it. The aim was effective indirect fire support, not cap badge politics. In CTC there also was a great deal of cooperation between the Infantry School Mortar Wing and the Artillery School. Don't get me started on the destruction of an excellent combat capability!

However I wonder if, given the advances in FSCC procedures and equipment, that a mortar platoon headquarters would have the expertise to conduct some of the procedures that the FSCC provided by a battery at battalion headquarters can now. I don't want to get too specific, but GnyHwy would be able to discuss this far better than I.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on April 27, 2011, 16:44:49
Technical weapon skills are one thing, re-establishing the integration of command and control processes that seamlessly match our battalion command systems is the tricky part. Yes, we could "blow the dust off the old pams", but when most of our training is based on passage of skills from instructor to student, the pams can be pretty impenetrable to someone who hasn't laid hands on the weapon system before.  Also, sending someone to another country to learn the advanced skills of fire control and fire support coordination really only works well if the command environment is the same.

You will still need the technical weapon skills and we would see how other nations we operate with deploy theirs. As I recall distant conversations with infantry guys, the CO of the unit would have instructed the (HW) Platoon commander to set up their tubes to cover area X to X. The Platoon commander would then view the terrain, site the postions and with the help of a tech set the firing arcs. then the section commander of each tube would deploy their tube, align and set out aiming stakes. Then proceed to fortify the postion till a fire mission came down. Repeat as required. Is that about correct? 
I suspect the major change would be the introduction of hand held GPS units for the Platoon commanders and Section leaders?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on April 27, 2011, 18:41:41
You will still need the technical weapon skills and we would see how other nations we operate with deploy theirs.

Not every nation deploys them the same, in some cases the fundamental tasks for passing of fire data can be different, even to the point of complete incompatibility. I once briefed Norwegian defence scientists for two full days on Canadian mortar fire data processes, only to determine that their fire control computer was so incompatible it would have needed complete redesign of the baseline programming to be useful in our organization. They had hard coded their processes into the devices, and there was no way to reroute the processes to fit our drills. While observing other nations' methods can be useful, they don't necessarily provide a workable foundation on which to build our own. Observing their solutions only has relevance if we send people with enough experience to put them into context with our own.

As I recall distant conversations with infantry guys, the CO of the unit would have instructed the (HW) Platoon commander to set up their tubes to cover area X to X. The Platoon commander would then view the terrain, site the postions and with the help of a tech set the firing arcs. then the section commander of each tube would deploy their tube, align and set out aiming stakes. Then proceed to fortify the postion till a fire mission came down. Repeat as required. Is that about correct? 

The Platoon Commander sees the developing plan with the Operations Officer, and attends orders. From that he provides information on the best allocation of observers (in conjunction with or in the absence of a BC) and establishes a plan for the deployment and movement of mortar groups to fit the commander's plan.

The Platoon 2IC conducts baseplate recces, handing off each position to the occupying Mortar Group (of four mortars). If he has time he has established and marked the specific location for each weapon for the incoming Group.  The Group Commander (a WO) is responsible for the establishment and firing of the Mortar Group. A mortar line NCO, who may also perform duties as a Control Post Operator (CPO), (usually a MCpl) will supervise the establishment of each Mortar under its Detachment No 1 (a Cpl).

With only about 16 troops on a position that will be about 100 m in width, digging beyond shell scrapes near the weapons will normally only occur if you know you are going to be there a while.

I suspect the major change would be the introduction of hand held GPS units for the Platoon commanders and Section leaders?

Major change from what? The major change from the current status quo to redeveloping infantry mortar platoons will require the complete rebuilding of a training and pers management system to field the weapon system that works within the Infantry Corps. It's not just "Arty light".
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on April 27, 2011, 20:34:34
Major change from what? The major change from the current status quo to redeveloping infantry mortar platoons will require the complete rebuilding of a training and pers management system to field the weapon system that works within the Infantry Corps. It's not just "Arty light".

Especially if you have to manpack the 'whispering death' on an advance to contact or a raid  :stars:

Which I'm sure the artillery folks do all the time, right? (Really, I have no idea if they do or not right now, just asking)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on April 27, 2011, 22:22:50
I am unaware of any actual wartime advance to contacts or raids conducted with mortars in trail by anyone.  I am aware of many combined exercises that Arty mortar troops have been involved with in training.  The short answer is yes, the Arty since recieving the mortars in the mid 90s has kept a light capabilty within the 3rd Bty IOT support the 3rd Btln of each Bde. 

As well, to the best of my knowledge I believe 2 RCHA is training a completely light mortar organization to include air mobile and jump capability. 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on April 27, 2011, 23:26:12
I am unaware of any actual wartime advance to contacts or raids conducted with mortars in trail by anyone.  I am aware of many combined exercises that Arty mortar troops have been involved with in training.  The short answer is yes, the Arty since recieving the mortars in the mid 90s has kept a light capabilty within the 3rd Bty IOT support the 3rd Btln of each Bde. 

As well, to the best of my knowledge I believe 2 RCHA is training a completely light mortar organization to include air mobile and jump capability.

We did it all the time in the Parachute Regiment. We were nothing special, other 'light' role infantry in the British Army frequently man packed their tubes.

All infantry battalions in the Falklands War man packed their tubes, with rifle coy troops carrying the ammo. The regiment did the same in many other 'small wars'.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on April 28, 2011, 16:29:36
Micheal
I was referring to the fact that it was likely the only thing that has really changed since the Infantry gave up it's tubes is the introduction of handheld GPS system being readily available. My limited understanding is that the laying and sights of the 81mm have not changed. I understand that doctrine has changed, but the technical process of preparing the tubes for action likely remains similar. If I am incorrect and a fundamental change has happen in the prepration for mortars to be setup and fired onto a target, I would be happy to be educated.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on April 28, 2011, 16:31:33
Micheal
I was referring to the fact that it was likely the only thing that has really changed since the Infantry gave up it's tubes is the introduction of handheld GPS system being readily available. My limited understanding is that the laying and sights of the 81mm have not changed. I understand that doctrine has changed, but the technical process of preparing the tubes for action likely remains similar. If I am incorrect and a fundamental change has happen in the prepration for mortars to be setup and fired onto a target, I would be happy to be educated.

No, the weapon and its drills have not changed. You comment just wasn't clear enough.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on April 28, 2011, 16:33:09
I did my advanced mortar course in 2000, and the PLGR was available and was used for baseplate survey even way back in the last year of the 20th Century.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on April 28, 2011, 16:49:36
To add to the GPS conversation.  The DAGR in advanced mode has a gun laying function for establishing an aiming point for orientation which is more accurate and reliable than a magnetic compass.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on May 03, 2011, 16:04:21
Inf Pl's did have PLGR and VectorII Bino's last time I looked (2004)
 Assuming (I don't interact with the CF these days) these have been upgraded to DAGR and whatever LRF is in service at the Pl Level, its not going to take a rocket scientist to lay a tube.

 We had PLGR in Cyprus on the last Roto in 93 - so I would hope that it made it out to the Mortar Pl before the last tube was given away  ;)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on May 06, 2011, 12:46:59

Courtesy of Defense Watch http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/default.aspx


From General Dynamics:

 St Petersburg, Fla. - General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD),  announced today that it has successfully demonstrated a tactical version of the company's 120mm Roll Control Guided Mortar (RCGM) at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. The testing was conducted under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

The 120mm RCGM is a low-cost, guided mortar that provides precision-strike capability using standard M934A1 mortar components, GPS guidance, M734A1 fuze components and patented Roll-Controlled Fix Canard (RCFC) technology.

Live, tactical 120mm RCGM rounds where used in the demonstration and all of the rounds were successfully guided to within 10 meters of their target at ranges of 1,000 to 5,000 meters. The test demonstrated the RCGM capability in height-of-burst, point detonation and delay fuze modes, and demonstrated the rounds' ability to perform at hot, ambient and cold temperatures.
Michael S. Wilson, president of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, said, "These tests fully demonstrate the viability of our system with respect to accuracy, fuze reliability and enhanced lethality for the warfighter. By using existing warheads and fuzing, in concert with our innovative low-cost control and guidance system, we can offer a truly affordable precision mortar round for less than $10,000 per unit.

"This demonstration proves that the General Dynamics low-cost guided mortar is a viable competitive alternative which meets the Army's requirements for affordable precision

munitions," Wilson said.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on January 15, 2012, 18:12:48
While the posts are sometimes goofy, this British blog has a decent coverage of modern mortar systems.

http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/01/mortars/
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on January 15, 2012, 20:12:14
While the posts are sometimes goofy, this British blog has a decent coverage of modern mortar systems.

http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/01/mortars/

I think we need a battery or three of those Little David thingies in the video at the bottom.  The fire and retire drills should be interesting  >:D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: FoverF on January 19, 2012, 06:20:53
I think we need a battery or three of those Little David thingies in the video at the bottom.  The fire and retire drills should be interesting  >:D

What?
The?
Heck?

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Psyops on January 19, 2012, 21:43:32
While the posts are sometimes goofy, this British blog has a decent coverage of modern mortar systems.

http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/01/mortars/

I am the author of the recent piece on Mortars over at ThinkDefence, so I just thought I would stop by and say thanks for the link ! I am not, nor ever have been a "mortar man" - never played with anything bigger than a GPMG - but I was not an infanteer (Royal Corps of Signals, actually !)

ThinkDefence can be goofy, but I like to write articles that get people thinking, so that I can learn from the comments section - but I wish I had found this thread before writing my piece, loads of useful info !

Cheers
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on January 20, 2012, 17:20:26
You'll get plenty of action around here if you want to discuss/debate mortars and fire support.  Especially if you compare it to the Close Area Suppresion Weapon - 40mm AGL found here.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,28805.0.html (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,28805.0.html)

Have a sift through there as well.  You will find something you are interested in for sure.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on February 02, 2012, 19:53:59
New ammo for the 81mm

Does it change the discussion?  The 120mm "has" to be on wheels (both because of its own weight and the weight of a useful volume of ammunition.    The 81mm "can" be on wheels but can also be effectively employed without wheels.  This would reduce the weight of ammunition required to be useful would it not?

Quote
BAE Systems and General Dynamics Team to Develop Affordable ‘Smart’ 81mm Mortar Round

The world’s first precision 81mm guided mortar round


 01 Feb 2012 | Ref. 19/2012

GLASCOED, United Kingdom – BAE Systems and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems have teamed to develop, demonstrate, and produce the 81mm Roll Controlled Guided Mortar (RCGM), an affordable 81mm precision mortar round. The companies have been maturing the guided mortar technology over the last 12 months and will be conducting tactical demonstrations early in 2012.

The teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics and BAE Systems’ Munitions business, will leverage their respective strengths to provide a low-cost, highly affordable, precision mortar. The 81mm RCGM uses the current UK L41 round and US M734A1 fuze, but incorporates GPS guidance and General Dynamics’ patented Roll Controlled Fixed Canard (RCFC) technology to provide a precision strike capability.

 “RCGM will put, for the first time, a low-cost indirect precision system into the hands of the front-line soldier, dramatically increasing his combat effectiveness,” said Ian Anderton, managing director of BAE Systems’ Munitions business. “The system’s increased accuracy will help bring effective fire on target quicker and the reduced number of rounds required for a typical mission will mean an approximate 30 percent reduction in logistics demands – an important consideration at the end of extended supply lines in theater.”

Michael Wilson, President of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems said, “Our teaming with BAE Systems will provide the infantry with a lightweight, portable, precision strike capability based on General Dynamics’ innovative Roll Control Guided Mortar technology. By using existing warheads and fuzing with our low-cost control and guidance system, we can offer a truly affordable precision mortar round to the US, UK and allies across the world.”

For more information about General Dynamics  (http://www.baesystems.com/Newsroom/NewsReleases/autoGen_1121114521.html)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on February 08, 2012, 16:52:08
I suspect any improvements for the 81mm can be translated up to the 120mm. I am still of the opinion that 81mm should be given back to the infantry and if mortars are wanted for the artillery, then they should be 120mm or above. At the very least upgrade the infantry 60mm's with new ones.

Brainfart fixed.... :sorry:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on February 08, 2012, 17:20:19
I suspect any improvements for the 81mm can be translated up to the 120mm. I am still of the opinion that 81mm should be given back the arty and if mortars are wanted for the artillery, then they should be 120mm or above. At the very least upgrade the infantry 60mm's with new ones.
As of right now, there are no mortars in the infantry. 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dangerboy on February 08, 2012, 18:35:31
As of right now, there are no mortars in the infantry.

I am holding onto my firing tables for the 60mm, as I am praying that someone comes to their senses and they came back.  Hey it happened with the 50's.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on February 08, 2012, 21:02:08
As of right now, there are no mortars in the infantry.

Which brings up the question how is the AGL working out? And, if the mortar is obsolete, which seemed to have been one of the selling points for the AGL, why are we still retaining them, and why did the gunners fire umpteen 81mm rounds in the Sandbox in support of the infantry?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on February 10, 2012, 15:42:38
I am holding onto my firing tables for the 60mm, as I am praying that someone comes to their senses and they came back.  Hey it happened with the 50's.

Infantry fitted for 60mm mortars, but not with...

No doubt some bright spark in NDHQ will come up with the idea of Fedexing the fuzed round to the target. My magic 8ball also predicts a superfast(superexpensive) quick purchase of 60mm when our next adventure steps deep into the poop.

I noted in "War without battles" the author noted that the UN opposed the Canadians taking their 81mm mortars with them to Bosnia as they were deemed to "offensive". Perhaps the 60mm can be presented as a "more peaceloving piece of equipment"  for future UN involvement.... ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GK .Dundas on February 10, 2012, 18:51:12
Infantry fitted for 60mm mortars, but not with...

No doubt some bright spark in NDHQ will come up with the idea of Fedexing the fuzed round to the target. My magic 8ball also predicts a superfast(superexpensive) quick purchase of 60mm when our next adventure steps deep into the poop.

I noted in "War without battles" the author noted that the UN opposed the Canadians taking their 81mm mortars with them to Bosnia as they were deemed to "offensive". Perhaps the 60mm can be presented as a "more peaceloving piece of equipment"  for future UN involvement.... ;D
During the  Former Yugo fracas I suggested that we should have fitted every  Leo C1 with Dozer blades  and deployed them over there as Engineering vehicle (tracked) with Demolition package emplacement device (105 MM) L-7.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on May 29, 2012, 02:08:52
Please sir, may we have some more?

The 60mm Wonder Got Better

May 26, 2012: The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps are beginning to receive the new M224A1 60mm mortar. This is an updated version of the original M224. Weighing 16.1-21.1 kg (35.4-47 pounds) the new weapon is a much awaited improvement on pre-M224 models. 
For ease of carrying the mortar breaks down into several components. The tube weighs 6.5 kg (14.4 pounds), the bipod is 6.9 kg (15.2 pounds), and the sight is 1.1 kg (2.5 pounds). There are two base plates. The standard one is 6.5 kg (14.4 pounds), the lightweight one is 1.6 kg (3.6 pounds). The older World War II era M2 model weighed 19.05 kg (42 pounds). A less successful World War II era model, the M19, weighed 23.4 kg (52 pounds).
 
Some of the M224 technology arrived early. Four years ago a new mortar tube was introduced for the 60mm and 81mm mortars. New metals (Inconel 718 alloy) and manufacturing methods (flowforming) reduced the weight of these mortar tubes 30 percent, and increased the robustness. But the lighter tube only reduced the overall system weight about ten percent. The complete M224 system reduced overall weight 20 percent. A year after the M224 was sent to some units for field tests, a few minor tweaks were made, resulting in the recently introduced M224A1.

For the infantry, however, every pound counts. So the M224 was particularly welcome. But the troops were very pleased at how the lighter M224 actually performed.

The marines and the army use the 60mm for infantry companies (each of three infantry platoons, plus a heavy weapons platoon), giving the company commander his own artillery. Modern 60mm mortar shells, which weigh about 1.6 kg (3.5 pounds) each, have a range of 2,000-3,500 meters. For many decades the max range of 60mm mortars was more like 2,000 meters. The M224 can use a longer range (3,500 meters) round. The longer range shells, and the availability of mini-UAVs at the company level, make the 60mm mortar a much more potent weapon. The UAV can spot targets behind hills or buildings and then adjust the mortar fire until the target is destroyed.

Infantry mortars were invented during World War I (1914-18) but have been largely unchanged since then. The current U.S. mortar designs were introduced in the 1980s, but the new tube, longer range ammo, and guided shells (in larger calibers than 60mm) are rather recent developments.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htweap/articles/20120526.aspx
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on May 29, 2012, 11:07:58
The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps are beginning to receive the new M224A1 60mm mortar.

 :-[
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on May 29, 2012, 12:01:55
This just proves that the US Army and the US Marine Corps are full of idiots who don't understand the glorious wonder of a CASW-like weapon...


 :sarcasm:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on May 29, 2012, 12:05:26
Please sir, may we have some more?

The 60mm Wonder Got Better

May 26, 2012: The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps are beginning to receive the new M224A1 60mm mortar. This is an updated version of the original M224. Weighing 16.1-21.1 kg (35.4-47 pounds) the new weapon is a much awaited improvement on pre-M224 models. 
For ease of carrying the mortar breaks down into several components. The tube weighs 6.5 kg (14.4 pounds), the bipod is 6.9 kg (15.2 pounds), and the sight is 1.1 kg (2.5 pounds). There are two base plates. The standard one is 6.5 kg (14.4 pounds), the lightweight one is 1.6 kg (3.6 pounds). The older World War II era M2 model weighed 19.05 kg (42 pounds). A less successful World War II era model, the M19, weighed 23.4 kg (52 pounds).

Our mortar (recently ceased training) was the M19.  It was against this mortar that the "competition" for the CASW was "conducted".
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on May 29, 2012, 12:27:52
:-[

Glass half full? maybe we can beg for their old ones?  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on May 31, 2012, 09:45:04
CANSOF has a LW mortar -- funny they saw a role - maybe they are idiots just like the US Army and USMC  ::)

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on May 31, 2012, 10:16:57
CANSOF has a LW mortar -- funny they saw a role - maybe they are idiots just like the US Army and USMC  ::)

CANSOF, eh?  Pfft....

What do they know, anyway?  (It's rather apparent that they are ignoring the realities of war by using a LW mortar....)


:sarcasm:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on May 31, 2012, 10:51:53
CANSOF, eh?  Pfft....

What do they know, anyway?  (It's rather apparent that they are ignoring the realities of war by using a LW mortar....)


:sarcasm:

When the protests in Quebec wind down perhaps we can contract with the out of work demonstrators to lobby on our behalf? They could even keep their red squares and call them 1 Div patches.  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: R031button on June 01, 2012, 22:23:15
Our CQ staffed turned in our mortars this week, the same week the "train the trainer" C 16 course our Bn is running was told they would not be firing indirect as the rounds drift hundreds of meters in the wind, and the templates won't work, their words not mine.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on June 01, 2012, 22:33:02
.... they would not be firing indirect as the rounds drift hundreds of meters in the wind, and the templates won't work, their words not mine.

If only there was an infantry weapon system that had solved that little issue.     ::)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: R031button on June 01, 2012, 22:37:21
But then we'd have to go through the expense of developing, purchasing, and issuing this weapon system, which clearly has never existed in infantry platoons.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MJP on June 01, 2012, 22:41:04
Templating wouldn't really be a huge issue, they are made for the worst case scenario for a reason.  I was just talking to a few of the guys via FB doing the course it wasn't an issue.

 They did have a huge lack of ammo.  So much so they joked that they would be teaching everybody but would lack the qual as they couldn't do the shoots needed.  They also mentioned the fact that they wouldn't be shooting indirect under 700-800 meters or so as the weapon can't elevate enough or some other nause.  Which leads to pondering...
If only there was an infantry weapon system that had solved that little issue.     ::)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: SeaKingTacco on June 01, 2012, 22:44:03
The UCR exists for a reason.  Bury DLR in them...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 01, 2012, 23:04:21
They also mentioned the fact that they wouldn't be shooting indirect under 700-800 meters or so as the weapon can't elevate enough or some other nause.  Which leads to pondering...

As you probably know, shooting by indirect fire (IDF) has nothing to do with range.  By my definition - it is hitting a target, without seeing it from the platform i.e.  if you can throw a grenade from a defilade position, then you have accomplished indirect fire.

My historical definition, without searching the net is: the ability to hit a target at a range that is unobservable by the platform.

Bottomline, IDF  is the art of hitting a target without directly seeing it.

Edited to add:  You can do this with MGs also.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MJP on June 01, 2012, 23:17:40
As you probably know, shooting by indirect fire (IDF) has nothing to do with range.

Yes, I was merely pointing out that we had a weapon system that could hit below those ranges.  Now it seems that due to technical restrictions on the actual mount we can't do that anymore.  I was merely adding more musing to Mr. O'Leary's post.

Edited to add:  You can do this with MGs also.

This is almost a lost art.  There is some great institutional knowledge being lost as people age out and the new IPSWC pays lip service this aspect of MGing.  Some units have done a great job of trying to hold back the dam but it seems it will be buried until we realize we need it again.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 01, 2012, 23:26:16
Yes, I was merely pointing out that we had a weapon system that could hit below those ranges.  Now it seems that due to technical restrictions on the actual mount we can't do that anymore.  I was merely adding more musing to Mr. O'Leary's post.

This is almost a lost art.  There is some great institutional knowledge being lost as people age out and the new IPSWC pays lip service this aspect of MGing.  Some units have done a great job of trying to hold back the dam but it seems it will be buried until we realize we need it again.

I would be happy to template it.  It is a very easy job, and a shame that there is no faith.  It is quite ironic that we are forced to use a weapon, and when we do, we are scrutinized (it's only a grenade, and it is falling a long way from anyone (in training)).
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MJP on June 01, 2012, 23:36:18
I would be happy to template it.  It is a very easy job, and a shame that there is no faith.  It is quite ironic that we are forced to use a weapon, and when we do, we are scrutinized (it's only a grenade, and it is falling a long way from anyone (in training)).

I honestly don't think templating is the issue, rather the limitations on the weapon mount itself where the weapon can't physically elevate enough to fire at those ranges indirect.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 01, 2012, 23:45:47
I understand.  I have asked the manufacturer about a 1/2 charge for this problem, but they expressed that there as no requirement (yet).

You are correct in saying that templating is easy; as it is.

I have a few solutions to this problem, but I am not in a position to influence it.

Has an Arty guy ever been asked to help solve this problem?

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 02, 2012, 00:02:25
I understand.  I have asked the manufacturer about a 1/2 charge for this problem, but they expressed that there as no requirement (yet).

You are correct in saying that templating is easy; as it is.

I have a few solutions to this problem, but I am not in a position to influence it.

Has an Arty guy ever been asked to help solve this problem?

What do they know about infantry weapons... oh, wait a minute, they've got our 81mm mortars now. All the more reason to keep them away from our AGL, or they'll pinch that too!  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 02, 2012, 00:10:03
What do they know about infantry weapons... oh, wait a minute, they've got our 81mm mortars now. All the more reason to keep them away from our AGL, or they'll pinch that too!  ;D

What is AGL?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 02, 2012, 00:12:16
What is AGL?

If I tell you, will you promise not to pinch it from us? Pinky swear?

(Auto-grenade launcher, of course, also known by the boring yet correct designation: C16)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 02, 2012, 00:14:20
All I know is that I can hit targets that are not line of sight, better than most.  Give me the CASW and crap will start blowing up (at a reduced rate, because... it is only 40mm)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 02, 2012, 00:17:58
(Auto-grenade launcher, of course, also known by the boring yet correct designation: C16)

Yes, and I fell silly.  My first thought was "above ground level", but I should have known. 

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 02, 2012, 01:28:51
Yes, and I fell silly.  My first thought was "above ground level", but I should have known.

Just don't go throwing around all your trigonometric and ballistics 'magic words'... make... infantry ....head ....hurt... ugh  :P
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: R031button on June 02, 2012, 02:18:51
trigonometric and ballistics

Just because you can make up fancy words doesn't mean we're impressed
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 02, 2012, 03:14:26
Just because you can make up fancy words doesn't mean we're impressed

Aw c'mon. One of the words has 5 syllables! (I think?)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on June 02, 2012, 06:44:24
Why does the word "monosyllabic" have so many syllables???

Anyway...

For the C 16, it cannot engage targets using high-angle fire at ranges under ~700 metres (or so) because of limitations on its elevation.


It (currently) cannot engage any targets using indirect fire due to software issues in the sighting system.  (My recommendation to attach a dove-tail mounting bracket to the side of the tripod, so that a C2A1 sightunit could be attached was laughed at...)


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 02, 2012, 09:16:34
(My recommendation to attach a dove-tail mounting bracket to the side of the tripod, so that a C2A1 sightunit could be attached was laughed at...)

It's pretty obvious why.  That would increase weight to 151 lbs, from a manageable 150.  :nod:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 02, 2012, 09:25:07
Seriously though.  IOT fire indirect accurately, a digital goniometer, or some sort of slipping scale, or a C2A1 sight like Techno has mentioned is required.  The first two solutions involve mods that Rheinmatell would love to do I am sure $$$$$.  Techno's solution involves a Wpns and EO Tech that we already pay, but are probably unwilling to let do their job.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GAP on June 02, 2012, 10:24:10
or....use a spotter and walk the rounds in





just saying..... ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 02, 2012, 17:00:11
Having done three CF 'MG" courses I can tell you from the old class (pre C-6) to the IPSWQ the art has indeed been lost.

I honestly felt stupider for taking the IPSWQ  -- all I needed was the Eryx section, but I had to take the entire class in 2002/3.

60mm Mortar was not taught Indirect at all -- and of course the .50 was not part of the class then, so no IDF there either.


In the name of efficiency the CF has wiped out the SME ability of NCO's on systems.   
   Or what we now (for a large part) call SME's would have been bottom 1/3rd Max supervision candidates on Previous dedicated courses.

There is not enough time in the training day to make everyone an expert - I get that.  However you do need some experts - and the Small Arms course or whatever they call the course now for Sgt's is not doing it - and has not for a long time.

Mortar guys (from back when the 81 was owned by the Inf) could be counted on to teach 60 shooters or even MG folks how to use them effectively in the IDF role - if there was not an NCO that had been around back in 'the day'.

anyway just a sad reflection on dying arts.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Brihard on June 02, 2012, 17:17:37
There is not enough time in the training day to make everyone an expert - I get that.  However you do need some experts - and the Small Arms course or whatever they call the course now for Sgt's is not doing it - and has not for a long time.

No, it certainly is not. The coverage of MGs on the DP3A includes refresher training on the C6 SF with C2 sight as part of the advanced weapons lectures, but it's just that. Indirect is touched on as a concept that we all know exists, but the map and compass don't come out once, nor is there a live range for it. Machine gunnery as an art and science is not a part of the course- to those who would argue 'well it's still in there, and you have to do the HMG too', I would say that what is taught is simply being up to speed on handling drills, not the building of intuitive expertise on the systems and the capability they provide.

It sucks. I really like the few times I've gotten to do good stuff with the C6 in the SF role, and we did a tad of indirect on my DP2A, but that's it. I probably won't see it again. I 'get' it, but I won't get to do it, nor to teach it or pass it on to my troops unless things really change. If anything I'd have hoped that the reserves, constrained in our role as light infantry, would have tried to hang on to this...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on June 02, 2012, 17:58:58
Kevin says that back in bad old days the C2A1 skills were retained by the 81 guys and then disseminated down from there.

The C2A1, IIRC, was common to the 81, 60, HMG and C5. In other words all the battalion support weapons except for AT.

Given that, and assuming that you still have the C2A1s and that they fit on the C6s in SF mode, couldn't the MGs (with C6s, M2HBs and even TV's C16(modified)) cost effectively train in IF skills that could then be transferred up to 60s and 81s at some distant point in the future, if you were all really nice boys and girls and wished very hard.

Then GAP can have an observer over the hill walk his rounds on to target.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on June 02, 2012, 18:07:27
Kevin says that back in bad old days the C2A1 skills were retained by the 81 guys and then disseminated down from there.

The C2A1, IIRC, was common to the 81, 60, HMG and C5. In other words all the battalion support weapons except for AT.

The 60 was rarely used with the bipod and baseplate and, doctrinally, was never formally recognized in that role for the Canadian Army. When I was SME Mortars (late 80s), my offer to write up to date drills for the 60 with bipod was refused on those grounds even though some units were starting to experiment with it in that configuration at that time.

The C5 did not have a standard sight mount to accept the C2/C2A1 sight, and neither did the 50 although I believe some side plates for the 50 to allow it were buried in the system.

Until the C6 SF kit came into service, the only weapon that included instruction on the C2 sight was the 81 mm mortar, and for which the sight was issued, and that's why the expertise resided with those who were instructed in its use.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GAP on June 02, 2012, 18:34:18
Kevin says that back in bad old days the C2A1 skills were retained by the 81 guys and then disseminated down from there.

The C2A1, IIRC, was common to the 81, 60, HMG and C5. In other words all the battalion support weapons except for AT.

Given that, and assuming that you still have the C2A1s and that they fit on the C6s in SF mode, couldn't the MGs (with C6s, M2HBs and even TV's C16(modified)) cost effectively train in IF skills that could then be transferred up to 60s and 81s at some distant point in the future, if you were all really nice boys and girls and wished very hard.

Then GAP can have an observer over the hill walk his rounds on to target. YES!!!  :bowdown:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on June 02, 2012, 20:28:57
The 60 was rarely used with the bipod and baseplate and, doctrinally, was never formally recognized in that role for the Canadian Army. When I was SME Mortars (late 80s), my offer to write up to date drills for the 60 with bipod was refused on those grounds even though some units were starting to experiment with it in that configuration at that time.

The C5 did not have a standard sight mount to accept the C2/C2A1 sight, and neither did the 50 although I believe some side plates for the 50 to allow it were buried in the system.

Until the C6 SF kit came into service, the only weapon that included instruction on the C2 sight was the 81 mm mortar, and for which the sight was issued, and that's why the expertise resided with those who were instructed in its use.

Memory seems to be hazy these days.  Thanks Michael.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 02, 2012, 21:13:30
I was impressed with the use of Machine Gun platoons in our Para Bns in the UK. Each Coy had it's own SF capability, but the MG Pl were the experts in that craft who were deployed as a fire base for Bn/Coy level ops. 9 x SF kits firing accurately and continuously in 'indirect support' of your Coy raid, at night, was always impressive.

Because both they and the 81mm MOR Pl used the C2 sight, there was alot of transferability of skills, with the result that, over time, it was common to have SNCOs who'd come up through the ranks of both rifle and SP Coys and could advice from an expert level on the use of C6 SF, 81mm MOR and other Sp Coy weapon systems (and Asslt Pnrs). Officers as well, especially those who'd been Sp Coy Pl Commanders.

That's one of the downsides of dismantling our Sp Coys, of course, we lose the integral expertise required to do this stuff well on our own without a significant ramp up period.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 03, 2012, 00:02:09
That's one of the downsides of dismantling our Sp Coys, of course, we lose the integral expertise required to do this stuff well on our own without a significant ramp up period.

Exactly.

The Combat Support Coy allowed a higher degree of specialization to the Infantry Soldiers -- when the soldiers came back to Rifle Coy's as Sgt's and WO's they could in part do some cross training in those fields.

I've run C2 sight on the Bipod for the 60mm - it works and especially if you record targets - once you start firing - its all Indirect anyway - as the 'fog of war' obscures your targets.  This was the main reason the C2 on the C6 was useful. 
   I fired C2 on the M-2 years ago (1988?) I thought it was an extremely practical application of the .50, of course back then we still had MG Platoons.

The desire to 'optimize' the Infantry into neat little cookie cutter homogenius entities has destroyed the skills developed over decades in the Infantry.

Admittedly if I'd never come over to the Infantry from the Artillery in '94, I never would have fully understood the application of half the IDF abilities of the systems.
 

Its a crime.



Another point on the C-16 AGL, (I'm still pretty jet lagged from the 12hr time shift I just did so bear with me), its a sealed HV Grenade -- you can't due half charge, its not a 105 casing that you can removed charge bags from, nor can you peal increments like a mortar.
  Would you recommend folks half charge a .50 or other small arms ammo - of course not -- well this is the same type of idea.

The AGL CANNOT replace the mortar -- it augments, heck it does not replace the .50 either, systems have specific range bands - and those range bands have limitations -- a nice graph chart in a PPT does not tell it all.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: R031button on June 03, 2012, 01:25:08
I'm happy to have a new tool in the tool box. I think the C 16 has the potential to be an excellent weapon system. I do not, however, see the logic on any level, fiscally, docturnally, or practically, for it replacing the 60. I can understand how think tank could come up with it as a replacement, but I cannot understand how people let this happen, what a waste of money and time.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on June 03, 2012, 12:45:22
Well since we are on to government logic of replacing apples with grapefruits (CASW replaces a mortar) than fudge it and lets go all out on this concept! I propose the F35 replace the F18, destroyers and tanks all at once! Hey come on now, doesn't the F35 have the capability to destroy tanks, ships and other aircraft? Therefore it can fill all three roles!!!

I better shut my yap before someone in treasury board sees my "logic" and thinks its a great idea!
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 03, 2012, 13:29:10
Another point on the C-16 AGL, (I'm still pretty jet lagged from the 12hr time shift I just did so bear with me), its a sealed HV Grenade -- you can't due half charge, its not a 105 casing that you can removed charge bags from, nor can you peal increments like a mortar.
  Would you recommend folks half charge a .50 or other small arms ammo - of course not -- well this is the same type of idea.

Yeah, that was my cockamamie idea.  It is a far out idea, but how else do you lob a round less than 700m from defilade.  I understand the current ammunition is fixed and cannot be altered; what I was suggesting was an entirely different projectile.  Perhaps, call it medium velocity.  As crazy as the idea may sound, the ability to site the weapon in defilade or in a fortified postion without LOS, and engage targets less than 700m may prove valuable.  Very similar to siting MGs, and firing into killzones, without actually seeing them.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Brihard on June 03, 2012, 13:38:28
Yeah, that was my cockamamie idea.  It is a far out idea, but how else do you lob a round less than 700m from defilade.  I understand the current ammunition is fixed and cannot be altered; what I was suggesting was an entirely different projectile.  Perhaps, call it medium velocity.  As crazy as the idea may sound, the ability to site the weapon in defilade or in a fortified postion without LOS, and engage targets less than 700m may prove valuable.  Very similar to siting MGs, and firing into killzones, without actually seeing them.

It doesn't sound crazy at all. Given how wonderfully suited the weapon is for killing infantry, being able to engage from defilade at distances wherein infantry small arms can be effectively employed against you would seem to be a damned good asset. The analogy that jumps to mind here is 'counterbattery' against enemy GPMG equivalents in the light role, or anti armour weapons; guiding fire onto enemy support weapons. Maybe I'm thinking too conventionally here- but we need to retain the ability to fight a stand up fight, n'est-ce pas? If AGLS is to be the only organic indirect-ish fire asset within the battalion, it would be nice to be able to drop rounds from and into defilade during the defensive battle at les than a kilometer.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 03, 2012, 15:21:16
I'd just use a Mortar  ;D

Larger warhead - and less expensive.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 03, 2012, 15:33:22
Or bungee lauchers with hand held grenades.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 03, 2012, 15:48:32
How many PY's do you need to carry the bungee?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on June 03, 2012, 16:02:20
How many PY's do you need to carry the bungee?

Offhand, it looks like 4.

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F3.bp.blogspot.com%2F_oC8TwXe4PF0%2FTUJXpC9C79I%2FAAAAAAAABWc%2FvzkMsn-muuQ%2Fs1600%2FFrench_grenade_catapult.jpg&hash=faefe44f445fc875a26a8ebe78f40bf8)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Brihard on June 03, 2012, 18:20:47
(My recommendation to attach a dove-tail mounting bracket to the side of the tripod, so that a C2A1 sightunit could be attached was laughed at...)

While I understand that the trill of young laughter always fills the halls of J7 because it's such a jolly place, were you ever given a *reason* why this is not considered a practical COA? It seems that the single easiest way to make skills transferable from the established (albeit dwindling) skillsets would be commonality in sighting equipment. If you 'get' C6 SF shooting indirect off a firing table, really the leap in understanding to C16 would require nothing more than new firing table and trajectory graphs, and an understanding of the capabilities the new ammo brings... Am I missing anything blindingly obvious on this that would make it a stupid idea or were you left as baffled as I now am?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on June 03, 2012, 18:49:18
Offhand, it looks like 4.

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F3.bp.blogspot.com%2F_oC8TwXe4PF0%2FTUJXpC9C79I%2FAAAAAAAABWc%2FvzkMsn-muuQ%2Fs1600%2FFrench_grenade_catapult.jpg&hash=faefe44f445fc875a26a8ebe78f40bf8)

 :rofl:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: R031button on June 03, 2012, 19:02:22
While I understand that the trill of young laughter always fills the halls of J7 because it's such a jolly place, were you ever given a *reason* why this is not considered a practical COA? It seems that the single easiest way to make skills transferable from the established (albeit dwindling) skillsets would be commonality in sighting equipment. If you 'get' C6 SF shooting indirect off a firing table, really the leap in understanding to C16 would require nothing more than new firing table and trajectory graphs, and an understanding of the capabilities the new ammo brings... Am I missing anything blindingly obvious on this that would make it a stupid idea or were you left as baffled as I now am?

Because then some one would look very silly when it was realized that troops in the filed were leaving the $ 10,000 thermal computer wonder sight back in the CQ and taking the proven 50 yr old sight we already had in stores.

To play the devil's advocate for firing into defilade would the air burst function not be a practical alternative?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Brihard on June 03, 2012, 19:13:07
Because then some one would look very silly when it was realized that troops in the filed were leaving the $ 10,000 thermal computer wonder sight back in the CQ and taking the proven 50 yr old sight we already had in stores.

To play the devil's advocate for firing into defilade would the air burst function not be a practical alternative?

Intuitively I would expect it probably would be, but it's still an angles game. If firing from defilade, the round will be relatively flat for the first while, so airburst would probably occur quite high at mid ranges. Yeah, this can be accommodated by how the guns are dug in, but that's sort of the classic protection / arcs dilemma...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 03, 2012, 19:16:02
Angles - trajectory, velocity -- yada yada yada.

You need a mortar...

I love technology as much if not more than the next man, but an AGL is not going to replace ALL the capabilities of the mortar.
     

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on June 03, 2012, 19:21:29
I love technology as much if not more than the next man, but an AGL is not going to replace ALL the capabilities of the mortar.

Especially not the cool factor the mortar platoons had.    ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on June 03, 2012, 19:28:04
Especially not the cool factor the mortar platoons had.    ;D


(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.telegraph.co.uk%2Fmultimedia%2Farchive%2F01121%2Fdough_1121702c.jpg&hash=595c0a8d4f8e56ce1832fba24f8b7207)


;D

(Sorry for the side track, I just couldn't resist)...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Brihard on June 03, 2012, 20:03:30
Angles - trajectory, velocity -- yada yada yada.

You need a mortar...

I love technology as much if not more than the next man, but an AGL is not going to replace ALL the capabilities of the mortar.
     

Oh, for sure. Just indulging hypotheticals here given the system that *is* in the system versus the one that regrettably no longer is.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 04, 2012, 05:44:50
One thing I suppose you could do - is get a variable porting barrel - that could dump a lot of the pressure in the system to give you a pretty low MV.

 Of course - you'd still need a higher angle that the current mount allows - and the winddrift of the very light and now very slow round would suck.

BUT it could be done, other types of weapons have done similar things in the past.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on June 04, 2012, 08:36:31
One thing I suppose you could do - is get a variable porting barrel - that could dump a lot of the pressure in the system to give you a pretty low MV.

Although, that would reduce MVs, it would also cause a lot of flash.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on June 04, 2012, 08:40:42
Not necessarily -- you could bled the gasses into something other than the atmosphere...
  Like a Suppressor  ;)

Like I said, its been done before.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on June 04, 2012, 12:17:30
Sigh I feel all of your pain.

It's so simple, which is why they won't accept it.
http://www.war44.com/misc/images/4/Vickers_machine_gun.gif

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GAP on July 26, 2012, 19:04:58
 120mm GPS Shell Finally Arrives
   Article Link (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htart/20120726.aspx)
July 26, 2012

 After over a decade of screwing around and dithering the U.S. Army finally got guided (APMI) 120mm mortar shells into combat. A year ago some APMI shells were fired in Afghanistan, and it was discovered that some more tweaking was needed. Last April a regular (set up on the ground) 120mm mortar in Afghanistan fired some APMI rounds successfully. Recently a Stryker Brigade recently began using the APMI guided rounds from 120mm mortars mounted in Stryker wheeled armored vehicles. So far this year the APMI rounds worked as advertised in combat.

Development and production delays kept this from happening for years. But some pressure from the top (in response to lots of pressure from the bottom) made it eventually happen. It turned out that the new shell performed better than its specifications (the shell falls within a 10 meter/31 foot radius at least half the time.) That was good news, because Afghanistan is a place where 120mm mortars are very useful, and a GPS guided 120mm mortar shell was seen as very helpful for avoiding civilian casualties and reducing the amount of ammo you have to truck in.

The troops have become used to GPS guided ammunition, and the 120mm mortar has just enough explosives to take out most targets, if the shell is GPS guided. Moreover, each American motorized or mechanized infantry battalion has 4-10 120mm mortars, giving battalion commanders his own GPS guided weapons. This is a big deal. Precision weapons like smart bombs and GPS guided rockets and shells gives the user an enormous combat advantage, and saves the lives of many nearby civilians.

It was two years ago, after over a decade of searching (and procrastinating), that the U.S. Army finally selected a GPS guided 120mm mortar shell, from one of three suppliers (two American and one Israeli). All the systems were similar. The winner was one of the American systems, the RCGM (Roll-Controlled Guided Mortar). This one works by using a special fuze that includes a GPS unit and little wings that move to put the 120mm mortar shell closer to the target. Thus all you need do to convert existing 120mm mortar shells to RCGM is to use the RCGM fuzes (which handle the usual fuze functions, as in setting off the explosives in the shell, in addition to the guidance functions) in place of the standard fuze (which just makes the shell explode when it hits something).  The RCGM equipped shells cost about $7,000 each. The army promptly relabeled RCGM as APMI (Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative). There are some things army procurement bureaucrats can do quickly.

To use RCGM, you place the fuse into a device that loads the target GPS coordinates, then screw the fuze into the shell, and fire the shell. It would also be possible to program each fuze once it is screwed into the shell, via a metal probe that would go into a hole in the fuze, transfer the data, and signal that that the transfer was accurately made.

As a result of adopting the RCGM, guided 120mm shells just got a lot cheaper and easier to use. This is particularly crucial for 120mm mortars, which are used by units close to the front lines, where not a lot of ammo can be carried, and resupply is riskier since the enemy is so close. Thus a guided 120mm shell means fewer shells getting fired to get the job done.

RCGM is not the first attempt to produce a guided 120mm mortar round. The army has been working on a guided 120mm mortar shell for a long time. Five years ago, the U.S. sent XM395 laser guided 120mm mortar rounds to Iraq and Afghanistan for testing. The XM395 Precision Guided Mortar Munition had been in development for 13 years, and was almost cancelled at least once because of the delays. The 17.3 kg (38 pound) XM395 round has a range of 7.5 kilometers, and will land within a meter (three feet) of where the laser is pointed. The problem with laser guidance is that the enemy often hides somewhere the laser cannot reach (behind rocks or a building). GPS guided shells get around this problem.

Unguided mortar shells cannot put the first round as close as guided ones, and requires firing several rounds, and adjusting aim, before you get one on the target. Normally, an unguided 120mm shell will land anywhere within a 136 meter circle (on the first shot). The shells that did not come close enough often hurt nearby civilians, or even friendly troops. The GPS guided shell gets it right the first time. A guided mortar round is very useful in urban warfare, where a miss will often kill civilians. The 120mm mortar round has about 2.2 kg (five pounds) of explosives, compared to 6.6 kg (15) pounds in a 155mm shell. The smaller explosive charge limits collateral damage to civilians. While the laser guided round will land within a one meter circle, the GPS guided one lands within a ten meter (31 foot) circle. The GPS round is deemed the most useful, especially since the troops are satisfied with that degree of accuracy in GPS guided 155mm artillery shells, 227mm rockets and JDAM bombs.
end
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 26, 2012, 19:23:09
Can we put that on our Christmas list?  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on July 26, 2012, 19:29:01
Can we put that on our Christmas list?  ;D

In traditional Canadian fashion, certainly.  And you'll get 120mm ammo.

No mortars to fire it with, but ammo just the same.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Ralph on July 26, 2012, 20:07:10
120mm GPS Shell Finally Arrives
   Article Link (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htart/20120726.aspx)

It turned out that the new shell performed better than its specifications (the shell falls within a 10 meter/31 foot radius at least half the time.) That was good news, because Afghanistan is a place where 120mm mortars are very useful, and a GPS guided 120mm mortar shell was seen as very helpful for avoiding civilian casualties and reducing the amount of ammo you have to truck in.
end

Isn't that a quote from Anchorman? Where does it land the other half of the time?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: PuckChaser on July 26, 2012, 20:43:09
Isn't that a quote from Anchorman? Where does it land the other half of the time?

To the internet!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjvQFtlNQ-M (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjvQFtlNQ-M)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MedCorps on July 26, 2012, 20:49:30
Can we put that on our Christmas list?  ;D

It might already be.

Two things I have noted lately. 

1) I was at a day of meetings where the "Army of Tomorrow" was being discussed as a planning concept. It was pretty interesting stuff and I was pleased and surprised to see that the Army is taking this topic quite seriously, placing real resources behind working on it.  While I was there I was given a copy of a publication called "Designing Canada's Army of Tomorrow".  It was written last year by DLCD in Kingston.  A good read if you can find a copy. Might be on the DWAN somewhere.

One of the points that was discussed (to my pleasure) and then reinforced in the publication (p. 76) was the re-integration of pioneers and mortars back into the infantry battle group due to the fact that it is a more viable force generation structure than one with engineers and artillery permentaly grouped with it. It was good to see that this thinking is not dead and maybe, I would go so far to say, a strong possibility for the Army of Tomorrow.

2) I spoke to someone in Kingston a few weeks ago after that meeting (I cannot remember which shop he was with, maybe from the DLCD shop, or one of the other non-DAD, non-DAT, shops in Kingston) and they were conducting some future concept war-gaming. I mentioned the concept of the mortar platoon and pioneer platoon coming full circle as a concept.  He noted that many of the structures they were using as part of the war-games contained 120mm mortars as part of the infantry battle group structure. I do not think that the results of the war-games are publicly quotable but I will say that the 120mm offer the infantry battle group a notable capability and added combat power. The officers who do these sort of war-gaming for the future were suitably impressed.  This weapon system (120mm mortar) is in line with the Future Indirect Fire Capability (FIFC) as part of the Family of Land Combat Systems (FLCS) in the Army of Tomorrow.

Food for thought.

MC
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on July 26, 2012, 21:25:26
Isn't that a quote from Anchorman? Where does it land the other half of the time?

Since the target coords will likely be off, hopefully on the target, or at least the 25% that are erring toward the target. ;D

It might already be.

Two things I have noted lately. 

1) I was at a day of meetings where the "Army of Tomorrow" was being discussed as a planning concept. It was pretty interesting stuff and I was pleased and surprised to see that the Army is taking this topic quite seriously, placing real resources behind working on it.  While I was there I was given a copy of a publication called "Designing Canada's Army of Tomorrow".  It was written last year by DLCD in Kingston.  A good read if you can find a copy. Might be on the DWAN somewhere.

One of the points that was discussed (to my pleasure) and then reinforced in the publication (p. 76) was the re-integration of pioneers and mortars back into the infantry battle group due to the fact that it is a more viable force generation structure than one with engineers and artillery permentaly grouped with it. It was good to see that this thinking is not dead and maybe, I would go so far to say, a strong possibility for the Army of Tomorrow.

2) I spoke to someone in Kingston a few weeks ago after that meeting (I cannot remember which shop he was with, maybe from the DLCD shop, or one of the other non-DAD, non-DAT, shops in Kingston) and they were conducting some future concept war-gaming. I mentioned the concept of the mortar platoon and pioneer platoon coming full circle as a concept.  He noted that many of the structures they were using as part of the war-games contained 120mm mortars as part of the infantry battle group structure. I do not think that the results of the war-games are publicly quotable but I will say that the 120mm offer the infantry battle group a notable capability and added combat power. The officers who do these sort of war-gaming for the future were suitably impressed.  This weapon system (120mm mortar) is in line with the Future Indirect Fire Capability (FIFC) as part of the Family of Land Combat Systems (FLCS) in the Army of Tomorrow.

Food for thought.

MC

Sounds like DLCD is writing cheques that DAD, DAT, or any Infantry Btln by themselves will not be able to cash.

Not sure where you got your terminology, but it wouldn't be a battle group (BG) without Arty, Engineers, and/or Armd.  It would just be an Inf Btln with a lot of extra capabilities and very few rifles.  Since it pretty much takes a Bde to generate a BG, I think things are just fine; forget about the optimized BG and have an optimized Bde. 

Although, I can agree and argue for the return of the Pioneers and the 81s to the Btlns.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MedCorps on July 27, 2012, 00:05:01

Not sure where you got your terminology,


It is the terminology used in the DLCD publication. I think (but do not know) they are suggesting that with pioneer and mortar assets integral to the infantry battalion that the infantry battle group will be mostly self-generating, with only minor secondary augmentation required depending on mission.

MC
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 27, 2012, 07:59:14
It is the terminology used in the DLCD publication. I think (but do not know) they are suggesting that with pioneer and mortar assets integral to the infantry battalion that the infantry battle group will be mostly self-generating, with only minor secondary augmentation required depending on mission.

MC

And I suggest that is great if you are talking peacekeeping, but not much else. A small platoon of assault pioneers is not the same as a field squadron with all it brings to the table. In the same way a platoon of 120mm mortars (or even 81s for that matter) is very capable and should be back in the battalion, but in no way can it compare to the artillery in areas such as STA, ASCC and a number of the FSCC functions.

Without knowing the whole picture, I may be talking out of my butt. I will just say that the conclusion is surprising.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sprinting Thistle on July 27, 2012, 08:38:38
The intent is for the pioneer capability to return in some form to the Inf Bns; not the actual platoon.  So, one should eventually see a "pioneer-like" capability spread across the Bn in each Rifle Coy.  It will be a secondary role / qualification for individuals.  This will enable each Coy to have its own integral capability rather than competing for centralized resources at the Bn level.  The Infantry Corps is still working on how this will all unfold. 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on July 27, 2012, 11:20:05
It is the terminology used in the DLCD publication. I think (but do not know) they are suggesting that with pioneer and mortar assets integral to the infantry battalion that the infantry battle group will be mostly self-generating, with only minor secondary augmentation required depending on mission.

MC

Found the pub with a quick DIN search.  I did not read it all yet, but I found the paras that you have mentioned above.

Here is the para you mention, cut and paste from the pub. "For example, an infantry battle group with integrated sub-specialties such as pioneers and mortars is a more viable force generation organization than one with engineers and artillery permanently grouped with it.".  From my view, all this is, is a good argument against the OBG, which I like, but some could read it differently.

Reading it with an Infantry agenda, one could read it as the Inf will have all capabilities, and won’t need anyone else, but in a previous paragraph "Where a sufficient grouping of separate skill sets or functions exists that cannot be pragmatically sustained by close combat and close engagement soldiers or organizations without adversely affecting their ability or capability to remain proficient in their core competencies, a separate corps or branch will be required." This in my mind, will be the reason for not burdening the Inf with extra capabilities and skills.

The intent is for the pioneer capability to return in some form to the Inf Bns; not the actual platoon.  So, one should eventually see a "pioneer-like" capability spread across the Bn in each Rifle Coy.  It will be a secondary role / qualification for individuals.  This will enable each Coy to have its own integral capability rather than competing for centralized resources at the Bn level.  The Infantry Corps is still working on how this will all unfold. 

That makes sense.

I have mentioned many times before in other threads, and this one that I am not against the Inf Btlns getting the 81s back, but I question - Why not have Arty guys do it?  They can be attached/detached across the BG just as easy as if they permanently part of the Btln, and the coordination is alleviated from BG Comd, because he will have Arty Comds to do it for him.  But, if the Inf can handle the 81 and still keep their core competencies, than I could agree with them getting them back.

I would draw the line at the 120s though.  If we ever get them, I would argue strongly that the Arty should get them.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Journeyman on July 27, 2012, 11:37:08
I have mentioned many times before in other threads, and this one that I am not against the Inf Btlns getting the 81s back, but I question - Why not have Arty guys do it?  They can be attached/detached across the BG just as easy as if they permanently part of the Btln, and the coordination is alleviated from BG Comd, because he will have Arty Comds to do it for him.  But, if the Inf can handle the 81 and still keep their core competencies, than I could agree with them getting them back.
Having indirect fires integral within the Bn (not Btln, by the way ;) ) means we have fire support even when higher decides that the Bn CO's priority is lower than someone else in the Bde.

Sometimes it's best not relying on someone else to be there for you...especially for high-demand resources like Arty and Engineers.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 27, 2012, 11:41:32
Found the pub with a quick DIN search.  I did not read it all yet, but I found the paras that you have mentioned above.

Here is the para you mention, cut and paste from the pub. "For example, an infantry battle group with integrated sub-specialties such as pioneers and mortars is a more viable force generation organization than one with engineers and artillery permanently grouped with it.".  From my view, all this is, is a good argument against the OBG, which I like, but some could read it differently.

Reading it with an Infantry agenda, one could read it as the Inf will have all capabilities, and won’t need anyone else, but in a previous paragraph "Where a sufficient grouping of separate skill sets or functions exists that cannot be pragmatically sustained by close combat and close engagement soldiers or organizations without adversely affecting their ability or capability to remain proficient in their core competencies, a separate corps or branch will be required." This in my mind, will be the reason for not burdening the Inf with extra capabilities and skills.

That makes sense.

I have mentioned many times before in other threads, and this one that I am not against the Inf Btlns getting the 81s back, but I question - Why not have Arty guys do it?  They can be attached/detached across the BG just as easy as if they permanently part of the Btln, and the coordination is alleviated from BG Comd, because he will have Arty Comds to do it for him.  But, if the Inf can handle the 81 and still keep their core competencies, than I could agree with them getting them back.

I would draw the line at the 120s though.  If we ever get them, I would argue strongly that the Arty should get them.

If you read about the actions of the US 'Darby's Rangers' in WW2, they comment on the excellent support provided by this 120mm MOR Bn, obviously not an 'infantry' resource:

http://darbysrangers.tripod.com/id111.htm
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 27, 2012, 12:05:38
If you read about the actions of the US 'Darby's Rangers' in WW2, they comment on the excellent support provided by this 120mm MOR Bn, obviously not an 'infantry' resource:

http://darbysrangers.tripod.com/id111.htm

The mortar was 4.2 in, which is roughly 106mm, and was comparable to the British 4.2 in found in the mortar companies and platoons in the infantry division support battalion and the armoured division independent machine gun company during the Second World War. With the post war elimination of the support battalions, the Vickers MMG went to the infantry battalions and the 4.2in went to the light regiment which was part of the divisional artillery. In Canada in the early 1950s we had a light battery - one of which was airborne -  in each Canadian based field regiment. These were converted to medium batteries circa 1958. In 1964 4 RCHA was converted to a ligth regiment with the 4.2in. while infantry battalions had a four tube platoon of the same weapon. The mortar was phased out circa 1968 when the current 81mm came into service. In short either branch did and could still employ a heavy mortar effectively. On balance I would prefer it to go to the infantry, if for no other reason than to increase the number of indirect fire weapons across the board, but that's just my opinion.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on July 27, 2012, 16:02:02
Could the infantry afford 10 "Rifle" Pl per Bn?

3 in each of the 3 Rifle Coys with Pnr, 60mm, MG-SF and ALAAWs (Javelin) skills integral
1 at HQ with the Recce Pl with  4-8x 81mm, depending on the available PYs but also fully trained in all the Rifle Coy skills.

Depending on the environment and operations the Bn CO could put 10 Pl of "Beat Cops" with riot sticks and small arms into the field; man a heavy, dug in defensive position for a period of time (obviously fewer PYs equals less ground, less frontage and less time holding); conduct a limited assault (limited by available PYs).

Jus' bein' nosy.  :)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 27, 2012, 16:17:02
Also possible that a 120mm mortar might be seen as a viable replacement for the Reserves 105mm which are showing their age.

 I also think our latest war showed that you never have enough engineer, artillery support for everyone who needs it and generally they all need it at the same time. Reintegrating the pioneers, heavy platoons back into the Infantry, gives the Infantry commander more resources to use for tasks in their area, without having to request support from higher up. It also means that when the poop hits the fan somewhere else that sucks up all of the support, the Infantry unit away from the action is left dangling with no support when the poop suddenly hits that particular fan.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on July 27, 2012, 16:28:40
Also possible that a 120mm mortar might be seen as a viable replacement for the Reserves 105mm which are showing their age.

 I also think our latest war showed that you never have enough engineer, artillery support for everyone who needs it and generally they all need it at the same time. Reintegrating the pioneers, heavy platoons back into the Infantry, gives the Infantry commander more resources to use for tasks in their area, without having to request support from higher up. It also means that when the poop hits the fan somewhere else that sucks up all of the support, the Infantry unit away from the action is left dangling with no support when the poop suddenly hits that particular fan.

There are no PYs to reintegrate - when the gunners and sappers were told to take on those roles, there were no PYs attached.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on July 27, 2012, 16:34:47
Having indirect fires integral within the Bn (not Btln, by the way ;) ) means we have fire support even when higher decides that the Bn CO's priority is lower than someone else in the Bde.

Sometimes it's best not relying on someone else to be there for you...especially for high-demand resources like Arty and Engineers.

I'm tracking what you're saying, but who's to say that the mortars won't be detached to an adjacent high priority BG anyway.  If someone else needs them more, than they should be detached, just the way a rifle Plt, engineer Tp, or Tp of guns may get detached from a BG.  Fires should be massed, and to leave tubes silent when they could be used doesn't make sense in my gunner brain.  This would become even more apparent with 120s that are capable off firing cross boundary with little movement.  They may be situated within their own BG boundary, but their priority may very well be across a boundary.

If you read about the actions of the US 'Darby's Rangers' in WW2, they comment on the excellent support provided by this 120mm MOR Bn, obviously not an 'infantry' resource:

http://darbysrangers.tripod.com/id111.htm

I have no doubt that infantry are capable.  Any soldier is, with the proper training.  The 120mm MOR Bn mentioned above were fulltime mortarman, and mortars were their core competency, essentially a different branch eventhough they were classified as infantry.   
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GAP on July 27, 2012, 16:42:32
Uh....guys...........are these humpable?



I remeber fondly humping tube, or baseplate, or ammo for the sixty......that was enough.....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on July 27, 2012, 17:07:34
Uh....guys...........are these humpable?



I remember fondly humping tube, or baseplate, or ammo for the sixty......that was enough.....

The 120 no way.  The 81 is doable.  Arty guys are currently doing airmobile and potentially airborne with the 81s.  To hump the 81s with minimal ammo is possible, and is being done.  If you can lift or jump a small vehicle, Gator, or ATV with trailer, then it is even more possible.  For sustained dismounted Ops they would need planned, air mobile ammo dumps that could be done with regular replenishment.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 27, 2012, 17:30:53
On my IG course we had a few days on the "Four-deuce" which was a lot of fun. We all had a turn in a mortar detachment and let me tell you it was about as man portable as the stone blocks used in building the pyramids. There were three major components - barrel, baseplate and bridge. The last one, and I am not sure I have the name right, had a small spade on it and ran from the barrel to the ground. The mortar was fired from a constant elevation of 800 mils with the range being changed by altering the propelling charge by eighths of a charge. For example charge 36 1/8 might give a range of 3460 while 36 1/4 might increase the range by 30 metres. (All made up figures.)

The round weighed about the same as a 105mm projectile. At the sharp end it had a larger bursting effect because it carried more HE than the 105. The mortar was fairly accurate and consistent, but was very heavy for the range achieved. Don't let anybody try to convince you that the experience of humping an 81 or 60 is transferable to a heavy mortar.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 27, 2012, 17:39:17
I know there was no PY's which was the driving force behind resource shell game. Even someone on the sidelines, it's painfully clear that the current force size can not sustain even a modest deployment without help from the Reserves, much less handle multiple deployment. the Combat arms needs to grow by at least 10% (300-500 people?) which still would not resolve a lot of the problems. Keep the same units but beef them up.

My comment about the mortar platoon was directed at 60 and 81mm, always felt that the 120mm should be a higher level assest and either mounted or towed.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MedCorps on July 27, 2012, 17:39:28

1) I was at a day of meetings where the "Army of Tomorrow" was being discussed as a planning concept. It was pretty interesting stuff and I was pleased and surprised to see that the Army is taking this topic quite seriously, placing real resources behind working on it.  While I was there I was given a copy of a publication called "Designing Canada's Army of Tomorrow".  It was written last year by DLCD in Kingston.  A good read if you can find a copy. Might be on the DWAN somewhere.

Here is an Internet source if anyone cares: http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/DLCD-DCSFT/specialPubs-eng.asp

MC
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on July 27, 2012, 17:39:50
The officers who do these sort of war-gaming for the future were suitably impressed.
I assume this was a simulation ex?  Similar experimentation/war-gaming impressed many force developers with the idea that we did not need another mortar.  Beware accepting the apparent lessons of a simulation without understanding the model upon which it is based.

There are no PYs to reintegrate - when the gunners and sappers were told to take on those roles, there were no PYs attached.
I have no doubt that infantry are capable.  Any soldier is, with the proper training.  The 120mm MOR Bn mentioned above were fulltime mortarman, and mortars were their core competency, essentially a different branch eventhough they were classified as infantry.   
And there is the critical fact.  Had PYs moved to Arty & Engr along with the responsibilities of mortar & pioneer, then this discussion would not be happening today.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 27, 2012, 17:58:50
Uh....guys...........are these humpable?



I remeber fondly humping tube, or baseplate, or ammo for the sixty......that was enough.....

Stop your teasing.... they took our 60s away and gave us something we couldn't carry, or do the same job as a 60. Now that's progress I tell you.  ::)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on July 27, 2012, 18:01:13
Had PYs moved to Arty & Engr along with the responsibilities of mortar & pioneer, then this discussion would not be happening today.

I cannot speak on the engineers, but the Arty has been supplying mortar troops, and is currently training mortar troops for that exact responsibility.  The use of the 81s in Afghan is a bad example as they were used for Arty local defence, and only on a couple rare occasions actually performed that task.  Another task could have been in close FOB fire, which again was very seldom. 

If a need was identified, and the numbers demanded of the Arty Regt had been bigger, a mortar platoon dedicated to the forward Cbt Tms could have been deployed as well.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on July 27, 2012, 19:04:17
This subject has come up a number of times on the boards here, and the conclusion always seems to be: it ain't happenin' no matter how good the idea, which, IMHO, is too bad

Shortly after I arrived in DLR, I was tagged to look after the file for the potential to introduce 120 mortar capability. For awhile it had some support from DLCD, and even looked promising, when the concept to re-role some returning TLAV's by mounting a 120 system on them gained some traction. The concept included the ability to use it dismounted, if need be. To overcome the enormous new ammo qualification costs, the requirement would be for a weapon mount that could take the in service 81 barrel for training purposes (read, we would primairily use the 81 in an SP mount until we could gradually spread the 120 ammo cost over a few years).

But it was never high in the priority list, and as Afghanistan drew down, it seemed to be nothing more than another "kick the can game"
So when I left last year, I added my file on the 120 to the many others (some which go back to the late 70's), probably not to see daylight 'til the next poor SOB gets his turn at "the can".

Not to rain too hard on the parade though, I do believe it can be done, but this thing will never go anywhere until a high enough sponsor puts his/her support behind it, and gets a real hard push from the field force that there is a capability deficiency
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sprinting Thistle on July 27, 2012, 20:58:56
The unfortunate reality is the CF is not large enough nor has the resources to do everything.  Capabilities have to be prioritized.  In order to bring in a new capability something has to be divested.   The .50 cal is in the process of being divested and the 60 mm mortar was divested, both capabilities in exchange for the AGLS. 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on July 27, 2012, 22:47:16
The unfortunate reality is the CF is not large enough nor has the resources to do everything. 

But we are large enough to support a ASIC for each brigade (and a LFIC for the Army), three fleets of armoured vehicles for the Infantry, and a 4th Artillery Regiment dedicated to something that the other three Regiments could do?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on July 27, 2012, 23:45:13
Capabilities have to be prioritized.

My sentiments exactly.
But we are large enough to support a ASIC for each brigade (and a LFIC for the Army), three fleets of armoured vehicles for the Infantry, and a 4th Artillery Regiment dedicated to something that the other three Regiments could do?

The ASIC is a choice made much higher than us; I agree.  Three fleets of armoured Inf for 3 Bdes doesn'nt seem too much. escpecially since most want heavy armour.  Lastly. the 4th Regt is a Div asset and does not possess guns; only enablers such as radars and  UAVs.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on July 28, 2012, 00:08:25
Lastly. the 4th Regt is a Div asset and does not possess guns; only enablers such as radars and  UAVs.

4 GSAR has 3 Btys each affiliated with a Brigade containing a troop of UAVs, radars and ASCC.  The 3 Field Regts have ASCC capability built in to them - just give the radar and UAV to the STA batteries and you can fold up that fourth unit.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on July 28, 2012, 00:33:05
4 GSAR has 3 Btys each affiliated with a Brigade containing a troop of UAVs, radars and ASCC.  The 3 Field Regts have ASCC capability built in to them - just give the radar and UAV to the STA batteries and you can fold up that fourth unit.

Or, alternatively, build six robust Reg F infantry Bns and you can fold up those other three... if we're looking for ways to trim HQs.  Heck, that would even permit a pioneer platoon and a mortar platoon in each of the six remaining Bns.

There is some (minor) justification in building hollow Reg F structure for round-out on deployment, by force-generation from the Reserves.  Having four arty regiments provides some flex like that.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on July 28, 2012, 01:16:05
Or, alternatively, build six robust Reg F infantry Bns and you can fold up those other three... if we're looking for ways to trim HQs.  Heck, that would even permit a pioneer platoon and a mortar platoon in each of the six remaining Bns.

There is some (minor) justification in building hollow Reg F structure for round-out on deployment, by force-generation from the Reserves.  Having four arty regiments provides some flex like that.

There is some merit in that proposal, but infantry battalions 7-9 are just as functional as 1-6.  4 GSAR isn't a fourth artillery regiment like 1, 2 and 5 RCHA.  Rather, it manages three Btys that are designed to be given to Brigades to bring certain capabilities.  Just give them to the brigades by putting them in the horse regiments.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sprinting Thistle on July 28, 2012, 08:48:07
In order to bring in a new capability such as the 120 mm, you would have to identify the capability gap that needs to be filled and why it can't be filled by something else we currently use.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MedCorps on July 28, 2012, 09:48:04
Not sure if I missed something, but is it not the intention to have the 4th Regt man the Long Range Precision Rocket System (LRPRS aka MRLS) when we get it?

There was a Letter of Intent (in early 2009) that went out indicating we wanted 17 launchers and I seem to recall this capability being part of the Future Land Combat Systems project.

Have not heard much about it since the Letter of Intent. 

MC

 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Bird_Gunner45 on July 28, 2012, 10:52:56
Not sure if I missed something, but is it not the intention to have the 4th Regt man the Long Range Precision Rocket System (LRPRS aka MRLS) when we get it?

There was a Letter of Intent (in early 2009) that went out indicating we wanted 17 launchers and I seem to recall this capability being part of the Future Land Combat Systems project.

Have not heard much about it since the Letter of Intent. 

MC

 

That was the intent some time ago, which would have made 4 AD Regt 4 General Support Regiment, with UAV, CB Radar, and LRPRS.  Last update was that the rockets were dead in the water.  As of this time, Scan Eagle is on a lease to 2015, but the US just ended its association with it, so one can only assume that it's a lame duck UAV.  The radars are supposed to be chosen this year, with them being primarily employed in an AIR detection range, as the SOR only requires a 12km CB capability. 

Infanteer- The case of 4 AD is a strange one.  It provides the Div level STA and CC elements, with 3 batteries of UAV, radar, and ASCC as mentioned (why we need a Tp of ASCC to do what a BK and his staff used to do is beyond me, but that's another story).  The STA battery in the RCHA is designed to support Bde ops, so not focussed on the deep fight.  That said, the 3 battery concepts is smoke and mirrors, as instead of having a Radar battery and UAV battery like planned that could force generate elements to support the Div, they will now have 2 real batteries, and 1 "lame, weak, and lazy" battery to dump the hurt and problem children types.

I agree that we COULD roll up 4 AD into the RCHAs if they want to have an element within them that works at a higher level, and we could support training for that.  However, once we have an air defence shooter again, the plan would fall apart, and we would just recreate 4 AD again (though hopefully not in Gagetown)
 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: SeaKingTacco on July 28, 2012, 10:57:24
Where instead of Gagetown?  Perhaps Chatham?   ;)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on July 28, 2012, 11:05:27
I cannot speak on the engineers, but the Arty has been supplying mortar troops, and is currently training mortar troops for that exact responsibility.  The use of the 81s in Afghan is a bad example as they were used for Arty local defence, and only on a couple rare occasions actually performed that task.  Another task could have been in close FOB fire, which again was very seldom. 

If a need was identified, and the numbers demanded of the Arty Regt had been bigger, a mortar platoon dedicated to the forward Cbt Tms could have been deployed as well.


Hey Clint,

It sounds as if:

A) you didn't need the mortars
B) that you probably could have found space somewhere in the back of each gun-det's 10 tonner for the C16
C) that your sense of when the 81s were "required" in support of coal face operations and the sense of a LAV Platoon Leader might be at variance.

But that business of prioritizing (item C) is why the Bns have always had their own integral fire support.

And the professionals can correct me but I have never heard of a Bde Commander detaching Bn mors and grouping them as a Bde level asset.  I suppose it could be ordered to shoot across Bn boundaries in extremis but that isn't the same as moving the baseplates outside of the Bn Boundaries and thus out of the Bn CO's area of control.


IMHO PYs are a red herring.  The infantry has never, to my knowledge, been "fully" manned - opinion developed since 1980 as a trainee DEO with the Calg Highrs and held through the my four years with them and the Johns and as an observer since.

But, until this latest kefuffle, when somebody declared that we/you have 10 seats in a LAV and all seats will be filled I have never ever heard of anybody suggesting that the mortars, the pioneers, the AT gunners should be stood down. 

IMHO, again, it might have made sense to declare that, as an initial bet, that the AT gunners were going to be deployed as a 10th rifle platoon (to allow block leave for example?), and possibly even the mortars, until it was discovered that those people were better employed either firing mortars or (perhaps?) supplying MFC teams to patrolling platoons rather than tying up Arty assets needed to co-ordinate fires at company, battalion and BG levels.  If I'm not mistook weren't Infantry MFCs given the necessary training, and on occasion, the authorization, to direct higher level shoots?

However, to set aside those skills was and is an absurdity.

The number of PYs available just changes the amount of work that can be done.  The capabilities held by the Bn CO determine the type and quality of work that can be done.

As has been discussed at length, and heatedly, elsewhere, there is ample evidence from other armies that there is nothing magical about the 10 man section - depending on a bunch of stuff the smallest foot-borne element has ranged from at least 2 to 13 with the high end usually found in the lighter organizations. 

The Danes have currently re-sized their Rifle Sections across their entire organization to reflect both sustainment difficulties (long term operations and maintaining leave etc) AND to reflect the number of seats for arrses in the backs of modern PCs.   By the time various add-ons get included (Meds, Interpretors, Sniper Dets?, AT Dets?, MFC Dets?, 60mm Dets? Pnr?, embedded reporters) it seems to this outsider that the  backs of those vehicles will fill up pretty quickly.  Not to mention body armour, water, rats and ammo.

I have difficulty understanding why manning is presenting so many problems to an organization whose entire structure used to be based on a very simple premise.  Once the force was engaged the most common order heard was "Close up those files". 

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on July 28, 2012, 17:42:34

Hey Clint,

It sounds as if:

A) you didn't need the mortars
B) that you probably could have found space somewhere in the back of each gun-det's 10 tonner for the C16
C) that your sense of when the 81s were "required" in support of coal face operations and the sense of a LAV Platoon Leader might be at variance.

But that business of prioritizing (item C) is why the Bns have always had their own integral fire support.

And the professionals can correct me but I have never heard of a Bde Commander detaching Bn mors and grouping them as a Bde level asset.  I suppose it could be ordered to shoot across Bn boundaries in extremis but that isn't the same as moving the baseplates outside of the Bn Boundaries and thus out of the Bn CO's area of control.

....

IMHO PYs are a red herring. 
 

GnyHwy can hopefully jump in here to help clear it up too, but I think he was speaking mostly from his own experience.
My  :2c:

A) The artillery did use the mortars far more often then what Gny's post might lead you to believe, especially in the early stages of the campaigns. So much so, that in the fall of 06, the gun Bty was given 120mm mortars by the Americans to augment their firepower, on top of the M777 and 81's they were manning. Sometimes the Gun Tp was firing mortars and guns simultaneously on different targets.
Even in the case of using them for local defence, the 81's were critical for turning back direct attacks on the gun position in a few instances. Yes there were only a few instances of that kind of defence of the gun postion, but if they had not had those mortars, the outcome might well of been different. Unlike the view some have of the guns being relatively well off in a FOB, there were times when they were very isolated, and entirely responsible for their own protection. This is likely to continue.

B) The HLVW's, and later AHSVS's, were loaded to the gunwales, largely because the Gun Bty then, and now, does not really have an Ech anymore. There wouldn't be room really for a C16, if they were issued. As mentioned above, they need to retain the 81s not just for local defence, and given the premium of space, its not likely they can carry much more on their limited lift capability

C) GnyHwy is very experienced, I think you're misunderstanding his pt, and in any case I'm sure he can certainly respond to that one on his own

The Artillery did, and does, need the use of the 81's, but what is not getting emphasized enough is the capability deficiency that exists at both the Coy and Bn level since the 81's and 60's were taken away from them. I think most would agree that the C16 (and new Carl G ammo) did not replace some of the capability the 60 provided, and it can expected that gun Bty's will be tasked away from the Cdn BG they deployed with, thereby leaving the Cdn Infantry Bn without that capability either.
The problem is not going to be solved by taking the 81's away from the guns to give back to the infantry, I would argue there is need for that type of capability at both those levels of fire support. 

I wouldn't call the PY issue a red herring; though not the only reason, it was certainly part of why that 120 project I was working on foundered.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on July 28, 2012, 22:48:16
I'll withdraw the snark, Petard.  Apologies GnyHwy.

I appreciate being set straight wrt the employment of the systems.  You certainly describe an interesting operating environment for the gunners.

However I still have difficulty wrt the manning issues.  For example, I know that our 1982 era 4 coy mech battalions employed over 1000 personnel (1032 comes to mind for some reason).  And I know that some of that (60 or so) was due to the need to support all the vehicles.  At the same time the Brit Paras were in the Falklands with approximately half the number of troops in a Battalion but their Battalions were only down by 3 rifle platoons.

The had 9 rifle platoons vs 12 for us, a Mortar, AT and Pnr pl, just like us, a Recce pl AND a Patrols pl, as well as an MG pl and an Motor Transport pl.  Headquarters, medics, MPs, sigs were all represented.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 29, 2012, 08:04:26
At the risk of sidetracking the discussion, Kirkhill, you should not use the 1982 model as an example of anything as it did not progress beyond paper. A fundamental error was made in allowing each of the study teams to come up with what they considered as an optimum decision, and then no one tried to apply any fiscal or personnel discipline to the process. The Corps 86 organization that resulted was nearly metropolitan in population. The gunner regiment, which ended up some 1500 pers strong, was a prime example of this.

In the case of the mortars in Afghanistan, I support Petard's statements 100%. The gun troops used them extensively in support of the infantry, as well as for local defence of austere gun positions. Austere gun position is gunner speak for one stuck out on an open field all by itself with no friendlies around. Especially in the early rotos, some troops spent a considerable amount of time in them. Guns were also given away to other formations, some outside our AOR, on a routine basis to make up for their organizational deficiencies. TF 1-07, for example, was short at least one gun troop for the majority of its tour. All this seems to me to cry loudly for mortars back in the battalions.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on July 29, 2012, 10:54:56
Fair call on the Corps 86 organization Old Sweat, although I seem to recall earlier Bn organizations that were on similar scale. 

All that said I still have difficulty accepting that manning levels, especially for the infantry, cause as much consternation as they do.  There are many examples of "tiny, perfect" or "small, but perfectly formed" infantry battalions that retain all the capabilities of a "Standard" - read post 1916 - infantry battalion.  Manning levels from 250 (Soviet era) to 1000 (USMC) are all available as starting points. 

I accept that some of that is driven by the manner in which the unit is commanded and supported (the Soviets relied heavily on regimental and divisional support as I recall and did not operate independently).  I also accept that with fewer people you can do less.   Therefore a smaller force, equivalently armed and supported, will hold less ground for less time, or will be limited to assaulting smaller objectives, than a large force.   But those issues can be managed in two ways, either by limiting the objectives or by increasing the number of assigned units. 

In the current era of "Cabinet Wars" and Multi-National operations, two things are paramount for governments of the day, "Show Up" and "Don't Get Anybody Killed". It strikes me that it is more critical that deployed commanders have within their personal control as many capabilities as possible to deal with the broadest range of battlefield conundrums than it is critical that we stress over the size of the area of operations, or the frontage on a linear battlefield, or the number of days of combat that can be sustained*.  We will always have to co-operate with others to secure our flanks.  Should we have to rely on others to supply critical support when it is possible to supply the support ourselves in a cost-effective manner.  *(My apologies for the run-on sentence).

IMH (and inexpert) O, that argues strongly for retaining skill sets like pioneering and mortaring, in battalions even if the battalion is reduced to 250 men and can only man 2 tubes and supply a section of Pioneers.  If the need arises new numbers can always be fed in an trained by the existing personnel.  If skills are set aside then the recovery time is that much greater.

Which brings us back to the point of this loop:
If your gunners are being left to swan around in the blue with no dedicated local protection assets then I can clearly understand how they would come to enjoy the comfort of having mortars available to them.    I believe that that comfort is what most of the infantry types here are arguing for as, I believe, they are no less isolated in their FOBs than your gunners are in their Gun Positions. Although they may be better dug in from what I can see and less peripatetic.

But, I think we're actually arguing the same side here in that we both agree that that nice, compact, easily transportable mortar should be supplied to the infantry.  (By the way, as you are well aware, neither the 4.2 nor any of the 120s are, IMO, either compact or easily transportable and thus should be left either to gunners, or to those other people in Black Hats, who have big vehicles to move them and their ammunition around the field).

I am still a strong believer that if you can't carry it it isn't an infantry weapon.  If the weapon needs a vehicle to move it then it belongs to either the Artillery or the Armoured.  That means, in my view, that 2" to 81mm are infantry weapons. 

Now if the Arty is having to do more "infantry" work to defend their guns on the open battlefield, rather than being held behind a well defined front on a linear battlefield, then it makes sense to me that they would need more "infantry weapons" to do their job effectively (and PYs to man them....) and those weapons would include the 81s.






Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on July 29, 2012, 12:51:37
IMH (and inexpert) O, that argues strongly for retaining skill sets like pioneering and mortaring, in battalions even if the battalion is reduced to 250 men and can only man 2 tubes and supply a section of Pioneers.  If the need arises new numbers can always be fed in an trained by the existing personnel.  If skills are set aside then the recovery time is that much greater.

An interesting point for debate - are we better off preserving capabilities in smaller tactical sub-units or sacrificing capabilities to have larger peacetime ("force generation") sub-units?  Which is better, a Bn of 550 men in 3 full up rifle companies with recce platoon or a Bn of 550 men with 3 coys and a cbt support coy all manned to 66%?  At least, in the latter, leadership and capability familiarity are getting exercise.

[/quote]I am still a strong believer that if you can't carry it it isn't an infantry weapon.  If the weapon needs a vehicle to move it then it belongs to either the Artillery or the Armoured.  That means, in my view, that 2" to 81mm are infantry weapons. [/quote]

I don't think such a sharp dividing line is necessary or useful.  Weapon systems should be procured to provide capability requirements.  If an Infantry Bn's job is to "own" ground from 2-3 kilometers, then maybe a towed heavy mortar is the right system.  Let doctrine and tactics drive the requirement, not rigid equipment restrictions.

Question.  Who mans the 120mm mortars in a Stryker Bn?  I suspect they are 11 series mortarmen, but I could be wrong.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on July 29, 2012, 14:33:25
....
I am still a strong believer that if you can't carry it it isn't an infantry weapon.  If the weapon needs a vehicle to move it then it belongs to either the Artillery or the Armoured.  That means, in my view, that 2" to 81mm are infantry weapons.

I don't think such a sharp dividing line is necessary or useful.  Weapon systems should be procured to provide capability requirements.  If an Infantry Bn's job is to "own" ground from 2-3 kilometers, then maybe a towed heavy mortar is the right system.  Let doctrine and tactics drive the requirement, not rigid equipment restrictions.

Question.  Who mans the 120mm mortars in a Stryker Bn?  I suspect they are 11 series mortarmen, but I could be wrong.


I'm guessing that you are probably right on the Stryker 120s.  But there again they have Strykers. 

Which brings us to the "dividing line".

Your point about hard and fast rules is valid.  But every discussion, and every decision, needs a starting point.  So perhaps we can view my assertion as analogous to being a Stop sign.  Then we can agree to treat it with either Germanic precision or with Italian contempt - as circumstances and national temperament permit.

Suppose I offer as a compromise that the infantry battalion is primarily the riflemen in the rifle companies and that as the rifleman's battle is geared towards fighting in close proximity with the enemy (Apologies to TV and the Infantry School) "by day and by night, regardless of season and terrain".  Then it makes sense to me that, when technically possible, the infantry should be supplied with as much support as can be brought to bear as possible.

Generally speaking the ability of the infantry to close with the enemy has been limited to a greater extent by its transport than by its own inherent limitations.  By that I mean that men on foot can climb a mountain in a blizzard at night, potentially gaining a tactical advantage over the enemy, even if their supporting vehicles can't (Bandvagons and helos notwithstanding).  Weapons exist that are compatible with that type of deployment.  It makes sense to me to equip the footborne soldiery with the heaviest calibre, longest range weapons that can be carried by them so that they can take them with them under all circumstances. 

Now should that stricture be limited to the Rifle Coys, or should it be applied more broadly to the Bn at large?  That is another worthy topic of debate.

But.

I would argue that once you cross the vehicular threshold you end in very murky waters where it gets difficult to set boundaries within the continua of LOSVs to Leo2s and ATCs to LAV-Hs.

How are forces that are equipped with Bison/Coyotes, LAV IIIs and TAPVs fundamentally different in that, from a strategic point of view they are all equally deployable to the same theaters with the same long range transport facilities required?*
All the vehicles mentioned weigh something like 12 to 15 tonnes and require at least a C130 to move them.

Conversely an ATC/LOSV can be deployed by a Milverado or a Griffin.
A Milverado can be deployed by Cyclone or a Cormorant.
A BvS10 requires a CH-147 to deploy.

A CH-147F can't lift a Bison or a TLAV, much less a LAV-H, but it could lift an old fashioned Lynx, or AVGP-Grizzly, or even an empty M113A1.

Those factoids drive a whole bunch of other discussions that are far from the point of this thread but need to be considered when contemplating the whole and trying to decide how to divide it up into useful and manageable chunks.

My starting point is that for something to be considered suitable for infantry use it needs to be possible to haul it up that mountain side, in a blizzard, in the dark. 

Pistols, bayonets, hand grenades and M72s are no brainers.

C6s, HMGs, and 60-81mm mortars have been hauled up as have tripod mounted TOWs.

Can the same be said about C16s and 120mm mortars?





*(Even TLAVs could be considered as a similar vehicle  (tracks notwithstanding).) 

Edit: Edited to add - perhaps some other metrics that could be considered:

The weapons that could accompany a Section on board a CC-144 Challenger (anything up to a C16 and an 81mm I am reckoning)

The weapons and carriers that could accompany troops on board a CC-150 Combi (anything the Challenger can carry plus ATCs, LOSVs and Iltis's but not Silverados, Bv206s or JLTVs).

And finally, which would you rather have accompany you on the first day of deployment in a single C-130: a bucket load of Gators, 4 to 8 Iltises or a single TAPV?

Sorry for the digressions but I can't see how any of these matters can be discussed without considering all the related factors.

My apologies to all.  :)

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Tango2Bravo on July 29, 2012, 14:41:38
I believe that the capability requirement that mortars (81mm) fill is the capability to suppress the enemy anywhere within the battalion's (or battle group's) battle space with integral weapons. The key part is the integral aspect. Any number of systems can bring fire on a target within the battalions's battlespace, but they are not owned by the battalion. Small arms and grenade launchers can certainly suppress the enemy but not across the entire battlespace. An integral mortar platoon gives the CO (or OCs in dispersed operations using sections of 81mm) to ability to guarantee some level of fire support at all times if the guns are doing something that the Commander finds more interesting at that momemt.

Back in bandcamp in 2006 we had two 155mm sections who could also man mortars. There were times when a troop of guns were left providing support to FOBs/patrol bases leaving one troop to support mobile offensive operations. The guns guarding the FOBs were overkill, and this task could have been provided by 81mm mortars. This would have provided more fire support to the offensive mobile operations. The mortars were available but not the people (since the 155mm gunners were also the 81mm gunners). I think that a 50 man investment in each battalion to give a mortar platoon would pay dividends. Of course, where do those 9 platoons come from?

The capability requirement that 120mm mortars would fill would be to be able to neutralize targets within the battalion's battlespace. I see no reason why infantrymen could not man them, but I am neither an infantryman nor an artilleryman!

p.s. In the mists of time I worked in a USMC mortar platoon on an exchange and we indeed humped mortars in the mountains. Sometimes mules were used as well, but it can be done!
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on July 29, 2012, 14:43:33

Question.  Who mans the 120mm mortars in a Stryker Bn?  I suspect they are 11 series mortarmen, but I could be wrong.

I'm pretty sure you're correct
Next month 32 CBG will be doing a joint Ex with 2/112 Stryker Bn from 56 SBCT. In doing staff work for this, my counter part is an infanteer from the Mort Pl.
Part of the Ex is to include joint fires (US 120 and Cdn C3's) in support of RIP between the Cdn BG and the Stryker Bn; the capability differences are glaring
Their ORBAT has 60's with the Coy's, 81's with the 120 Mort Pl (but they can be re-grouped as req'd)

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 29, 2012, 16:07:13
A good example of why the infantry wants mortars in the battalion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Ankn-AzC4

... fewer reasons for military disasters resulting in uncomfortably sucky movie endings  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 30, 2012, 13:17:22
GnyHwy can hopefully jump in here to help clear it up too, but I think he was speaking mostly from his own experience.
My  :2c:

A) The artillery did use the mortars far more often then what Gny's post might lead you to believe, especially in the early stages of the campaigns. So much so, that in the fall of 06, the gun Bty was given 120mm mortars by the Americans to augment their firepower, on top of the M777 and 81's they were manning. Sometimes the Gun Tp was firing mortars and guns simultaneously on different targets.
Even in the case of using them for local defence, the 81's were critical for turning back direct attacks on the gun position in a few instances. Yes there were only a few instances of that kind of defence of the gun postion, but if they had not had those mortars, the outcome might well of been different. Unlike the view some have of the guns being relatively well off in a FOB, there were times when they were very isolated, and entirely responsible for their own protection. This is likely to continue.

B) The HLVW's, and later AHSVS's, were loaded to the gunwales, largely because the Gun Bty then, and now, does not really have an Ech anymore. There wouldn't be room really for a C16, if they were issued. As mentioned above, they need to retain the 81s not just for local defence, and given the premium of space, its not likely they can carry much more on their limited lift capability

C) GnyHwy is very experienced, I think you're misunderstanding his pt, and in any case I'm sure he can certainly respond to that one on his own

The Artillery did, and does, need the use of the 81's, but what is not getting emphasized enough is the capability deficiency that exists at both the Coy and Bn level since the 81's and 60's were taken away from them. I think most would agree that the C16 (and new Carl G ammo) did not replace some of the capability the 60 provided, and it can expected that gun Bty's will be tasked away from the Cdn BG they deployed with, thereby leaving the Cdn Infantry Bn without that capability either.
The problem is not going to be solved by taking the 81's away from the guns to give back to the infantry, I would argue there is need for that type of capability at both those levels of fire support. 

I wouldn't call the PY issue a red herring; though not the only reason, it was certainly part of why that 120 project I was working on foundered.

Would not a modern 60mm mortar be better for GP defense? I suspect that any threat would be well within their range?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on July 30, 2012, 13:41:09
Back when I cared, I developed a manning option for our regular force infantry battalions, such that they could meet the mandated lines of operation as set by the Government of Canada.  Of course, one of the assumptions was that the "other combat arm" (armour) could also man BG HQs.  The big "thing" was that the number of battalions reduced from 9 to 6.  Each rifle company was fully manned at 100% of authorised TO and E.  As well, given the firm PY limits, there was room for the reestablishment of a fully functional Cbt Sp Coy.

In all lines of operation, less combat, there was enough for five subunits of troops to conduct "operations other than war".  (For example, TOW platoon not required on operation "Pick Up Sticks" following a hurricane in Halifax, for example.  So, they could be used in the role of stick picker upper.  And for stab ops, they can operate as riflemen.  Anyway, I think you get the point).

In combat operations, the battalions would be ready to go "as is".  And the battalion could look after itself "for a while" without external support.  So, until the tanks, arty or engineers show up, the TOW, Mortars and Pioneers could "make do".  Once the pros arrived on the scene, the TOW, Mortar and Pioneer platoons could lighten the load, allowing those other arms and services to do the heavy lifting.


But I no longer care.   If the army is going to get a CASW/AGLS and say that it's man portable, well, I quit caring.  :salute:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 30, 2012, 14:15:27
Just a slight tangent...

I'm getting regular tales of 'amalgamation woe' from colleagues in the UK. It seems that Canada has done a pretty good job of managing their combat arms units, thereby avoiding the need for regular contraction and blending of regimental affiliations etc.

Sorry to be glass half full, and of course it could be so much better (especially that stupid CASW or whatever it's called of ours), but something seems to be going right here!

Now then, helmets on and back to our regular program of self-loathing!  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on July 30, 2012, 14:46:02
Would not a modern 60mm mortar be better for GP defense? I suspect that any threat would be well within their range?

Not sure what you're point is; we can't get (keep) 60's for the Infantry who really do need them, I don't see how the case could be made for the Artillery to have those as well.
At any rate, no, a 60 is not suitable for GP defence, since a common threat was (and is) an 82mm mortar (~4Km or better), which will out range the 60 (~3.5km or so)
Besides, the 81mm calibre provides more payload capacity; important for other capability requirements such as non lethal fires like Illum, IR Illum, and Smoke
 

 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 30, 2012, 16:42:59
The 81mm seemed like overkill for GP, but I get your point of matching the enemies main weapon being similar. I am going from the days where our biggest self defense weapon was the Carl G.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: SeaKingTacco on July 31, 2012, 10:39:23
Dude!

The biggest self defence weapon was the gun.

Don't you remember the command "tank alert!" or fuses set to instantaneous?

 :nod:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 31, 2012, 11:56:29
Yes I do, but was reffering to the other self defense arms, which was for us besides personal weapons, LAW's, C2 and 2 CG for the battery.  :)

Timed fuze in DF were a joy all of their own. Likley this is one area were a 105 battery has it over a 155, the gun can respond faster to the threat and with the C1 you could compete with a mortar and at least have some armour plate.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 31, 2012, 14:30:00
Timed fuze in DF were a joy all of their own.

AKA Killer Junior which was an expedient devised by American Red Legs in Vietnam. It was actually used by Canadian gunners on at least one occasion in Afghanistan to discourage a pending ground attack. The combination of the flash and deafening roar of a low airburst along with the smoke and dust as literally thousands of shell fragments tore into the dry ground had the desired effect.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on July 31, 2012, 15:20:13
I remember doing Killer Junior in Pet year ago with the C1's sure made a mess of Fig11's out in the impact area...  IIRC it was one of those 'graded' ex's if you had a good #1 (acting as the FOO) it was good, if he was a glue bag it was frightfully painful...   I was actually reading this early before OS posted and saying to myself "self, hey, we called it Killer Junior, not direct fire VT".
   As far as tank alert went -- I remember trying to track an Iltis at Juliet Tower and thinking - Oh frig this will never work in real life.

 Frankly IMHO the 120mm Mortar should be mounted in a LAV chassis.  Give them to the Arty and send the 81's back to the Inf where they belong.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on July 31, 2012, 17:45:05
As I recall as a slightly elevated plug, I was part of a excercise in the US where we fired HE at moving tank range targets. Some of the #1's were good at estimating the targets and getting hits.

As I was typing the previous post I could remember the "killer" part but not the "junior"
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 31, 2012, 17:56:58
AKA Killer Junior which was an expedient devised by American Red Legs in Vietnam. It was actually used by Canadian gunners on at least one occasion in Afghanistan to discourage a pending ground attack. The combination of the flash and deafening roar of a low airburst along with the smoke and dust as literally thousands of shell fragments tore into the dry ground had the desired effect.

OK, I have to ask: if that's a Killer Junior, what's a 'Killer Senior' then?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 31, 2012, 18:09:08
Killer Junior was for 105 and 155mm, while Killer Senior was used by 8in units.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_Junior
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on July 31, 2012, 18:49:35
Killer Junior was for 105 and 155mm, while Killer Senior was used by 8in units.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_Junior

Seen...

My dad was a gunner at Normandy and he called them 'Murder targets', referred to here in 'The Guns of Normandy':

http://books.google.ca/books?id=kL0hdkLlovgC&pg=PT271&lpg=PT271&dq=artillery%2Bnormandy%2Bmurder%2Btarget&source=bl&ots=GbjtlCr5yX&sig=zgnhn-IBsepngSLe2n0D0Zep4vU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JVIYUL61Ke6u6gH7p4HACg&ved=0CF0Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=artillery%2Bnormandy%2Bmurder%2Btarget&f=false

They fired alot of these into the Falaise pocket and he remarked that everythign was chopped off at waist height... including the bad guys' waists  :o
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on July 31, 2012, 19:02:24
Seen...

My dad was a gunner at Normandy and he called them 'Murder targets', referred to here in 'The Guns of Normandy':

http://books.google.ca/books?id=kL0hdkLlovgC&pg=PT271&lpg=PT271&dq=artillery%2Bnormandy%2Bmurder%2Btarget&source=bl&ots=GbjtlCr5yX&sig=zgnhn-IBsepngSLe2n0D0Zep4vU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JVIYUL61Ke6u6gH7p4HACg&ved=0CF0Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=artillery%2Bnormandy%2Bmurder%2Btarget&f=false

They fired alot of these into the Falaise pocket and he remarked that everythign was chopped off at waist height... including the bad guys' waists  :o

Something slightly different. The Killer family are fired in defence of the gun position at ranges as close as 200m from the gun.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on July 31, 2012, 19:57:38
The gun itself is often not the best weapon for a local defence battle, especially in the direct fire role
The M777 has such a low profile that it is crested very easily.  At ranges less than 1000 metres, even at low charge (3 white or 1 MAC Low) the elevation will generally be <50mils; not much in most cases to clear any interveining obstacles. The minimum range is ~3000 metres at high angle. So there will be some situations where something other than the gun itself is needed in the local defence battle. Another draw back, as was pointed out for anti-tank, is the gun is a very unwieldy weapon to keep lined up on a mobile target

I've had quite a few discusions off line about this topic, and it seems there were quite a few incidents when the 81's were used in local defence battles, and some were small arms range.

Hopefully some'll write a book about it some day!  ;)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Journeyman on July 31, 2012, 20:04:40
Hopefully some'll write a book about it some day!  ;)

cough  Old Sweat  cough    ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on August 01, 2012, 09:11:57

Hey Clint,

It sounds as if:

A) you didn't need the mortars
B) that you probably could have found space somewhere in the back of each gun-det's 10 tonner for the C16
C) that your sense of when the 81s were "required" in support of coal face operations and the sense of a LAV Platoon Leader might be at variance.

But that business of prioritizing (item C) is why the Bns have always had their own integral fire support.

I'm just going to address item C quickly. As I have been away, and have missed much of the conversation.  I will re-quote myself to bring clarity. 

If a need was identified, and the numbers demanded of the Arty Regt had been bigger, a mortar platoon dedicated to the forward Cbt Tms could have been deployed as well.


I was suggesting that if someone had saw value in deploying forward mortar troops, that the Arty could have filled that role.  It would have taken additional positions on top of the already manned 777s, but could have been done.  I don't believe a need was identified, and the though was that the 777s could do it.  To cover all plt activities with 81s would require spreading them out over hell's half acre. Even the 777s had difficulty covering the AO, which brought birth to the requirement for rockets.

As far as a LAV Platoon Leader needing fire support, when he did need it, he asked for guns, not mortars, and we were quite happy to give it to him.  Having done a few patrols, and always knowing where my guns and tubes were, it didn't take me long to disregard the tubes from my contingency plan; mostly due to the fact they were hardly ever in range. 

That all said, I can't think of any time that a TIC didn't get the fire support it needed.  It may have taken time because of clearance issues, but those same clearance issues would have been present regardless of calibre of gun or mortar barrel.

Perhaps the scenario in my head is different than others.  I am thinking of dispersed operations while some may be thinking a bit more conventional.  When a plt leaves their coy defensive, it takes about 5-10 minutes of driving and they are out of the range of the the 81s.  Unless we plan on scattering dozens of tubes all over the place, they will not prove very effective for stab ops.
 

 
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on August 01, 2012, 09:45:12
Without getting into OPSEC, I can raise a flag labelled "BS" on that last post.

I was the BG Plans Officer for a rotation.  At one point, an operation was being planned that was outside the bubble of protection offered by the M777s.  The need for indirect fire support was identified, and proposals were made to move the guns into range.  "Can't do it" was the answer.  "What about moving up with mortars?"  Nope, we don't have the people.  (Of course, it was made worse by the effects of HLTA). 

The plan was allowed to go forward because the attached Brit unit brought along their mortars, which had enough fire support for the operation (in conjunction with other assets)


OK....carry on.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on August 02, 2012, 01:29:07
Without getting into OPSEC, I can raise a flag labelled "BS" on that last post.

I was the BG Plans Officer for a rotation.  At one point, an operation was being planned that was outside the bubble of protection offered by the M777s.  The need for indirect fire support was identified, and proposals were made to move the guns into range.  "Can't do it" was the answer.  "What about moving up with mortars?"  Nope, we don't have the people.  (Of course, it was made worse by the effects of HLTA). 

The plan was allowed to go forward because the attached Brit unit brought along their mortars, which had enough fire support for the operation (in conjunction with other assets)


OK....carry on.

And the scariest thing is that I get the impression the gunner in question carried on with no adverse career impact. Sigh...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on August 02, 2012, 02:02:11
Without getting into OPSEC, I can raise a flag labelled "BS" on that last post.

I hardly see how my post was BS, and can see plenty more of it in your post.  Since the guns and mortars are owned by the BG Comd (regardless of cap badge),  it would have been his decision to make.  An Arty Comd advising a BG Comd does not say "can't do it", he advises against it, and it still the BG Comd's decision.

If manning shortage was an issue, then changing the cap badge of 50 nonexistent soldiers doesn't change anything.  As I stated, a few times now, if it was thought that the mortars were meant to be manned continuously in forward offensive positions, then more soldiers are required; the cap badge is irrelevant to me in this conversation.  Bottomline, the BG Comd owns the mortars and guns, and the command relationship and tactical task dictates that.

Hypothetically though, if the tubes were a traditional Infantry mortar plt, by moving them, wouldn't he have left someone else without fire?  You can't cover everywhere, and you would be hard pressed for 81s to cover a Cbt Tm Op, let alone a BG one.

Since what you had mentioned seems to have been a joint effort, then the fire support and risk was settled at that level, and I'm certain that the BG Comd had a hand in it.  If it was a matter of tactical task, and the TF was retaining the guns for whatever reason, then that is a coordination effort that needed to be worked out ahead of time.

And the scariest thing is that I get the impression the gunner in question carried on with no adverse career impact. Sigh...

I do not know the details, but would find that hard to believe.  Refusing to fight is not a good thing for anyone's career.   
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on August 02, 2012, 10:15:22
If manning shortage was an issue, then changing the cap badge of 50 nonexistent soldiers doesn't change anything.  As I stated, a few times now, if it was thought that the mortars were meant to be manned continuously in forward offensive positions, then more soldiers are required; the cap badge is irrelevant to me in this conversation. 
Which brings us back to my earlier observation:
Had PYs moved to Arty & Engr along with the responsibilities of mortar & pioneer, then this discussion would not be happening today.
Instead, we took those PYs out of the field force.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 02, 2012, 14:29:24
Had the decision not been made to emphasise Rifles (by decreeing that all 10 LAV III seats would be filled) over capabilities (by decreeing that Mortars, ATGWs and Pnrs would all go the way of the Dodo) we would not be having this discussion.

As I have noted elsewhere other Armies do not consider it necessary to fill all the seats in the back.  When they run short of manpower they make sure to deploy all their vehicles and fill the turrets.

One more time:

ASLAV Gibs = 0
USMC LAV Gibs = 3 or 4
Danish CCVs and Piranha Gibs = 6
US Cavalry Bradley Gibs = 2
US Infantry Bradley Gibs = 3 to 6

You could field an effective Mounted Infantry/Mounted Rifle/Dragoon force following the USMC model with 6 arrses per LAV and 4 LAVs per Platoon and assign additional PYs to man the Mors and Pnrs.

Disregard the AT requirement.  That could be managed in two ways, one or both, hang a pair of TOW-RFs on the outside of the Delco Turrets, or supply each vehicle with a Javelin CLU for the dismount Tm.

MG Platoon / DFS Platoon seems surplus to requirement when you have a 25mm, a 7.62mm coax, and a 7.62mm pintle mount on each of more than 40 vehicles.  Especially true if they are also toting more than 80 TOW-RFs ready to fire.

Mors on the other hand have no replacement.  Neither do Pnrs or Recce.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on August 02, 2012, 23:56:30
WTF??? Dude, please follow this thread.

1. 81mm Mortars were available on an operation in A-Stan and denied for manning reasons (note the technoviking words)
2. There is a shortage of personal, END STORY.

I have no idea how going on about seating arrangements and capacity in different armoured vehicles FITS into this conversation? Please break out the puppets and explain it to me, in squads, if there is a point to it?

We need 81mm manned and 155mm manned AND not by the same people. Either some one has to increase arty or infantry positions and we will be able to do so.

It would also probably mean creating mortar batteries or mortar platoons...depending on who would get them..

In this discussion, do not care about seating capacity of the LAVIII or any other vehicle....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 03, 2012, 12:28:01
WTF??? Dude, please follow this thread.

1. 81mm Mortars were available on an operation in A-Stan and denied for manning reasons (note the technoviking words)
2. There is a shortage of personal, END STORY.

I have no idea how going on about seating arrangements and capacity in different armoured vehicles FITS into this conversation? Please break out the puppets and explain it to me, in squads, if there is a point to it?

We need 81mm manned and 155mm manned AND not by the same people. Either some one has to increase arty or infantry positions and we will be able to do so.

It would also probably mean creating mortar batteries or mortar platoons...depending on who would get them..

In this discussion, do not care about seating capacity of the LAVIII or any other vehicle....

Rick: PYs are not the End of the Story they are at the beginning of the story.

Agreed.  There is a shortage of personnel. Therefore the old models based on larger numbers of personnel do not work.  The old models are broken and need to be fixed.

Check in with TV and Michael O'Leary to see how that effort has gone to date.

PYs are decided by the Politicians of the Day and their not going to be hiring any more bodies any time soon.

They have decided to hire 118,000 people to defend Canada.
Half of them are Regs (65,000 = 55%), a quarter are Part-timers (25,000 = 21%) and the final quarter are Civilians (28,000 = 24%).

Of the 118,000 total PYs 1/3 of them are held back, by NDHQ decision for Command, Support and Joint roles while 2/3 or 78,100 are made available for Operations.

Of the Operational PYs 1/4 (9656 or 24%) go to the Navy, 1/4 go to the Air Force (10013 or 25%) and fully 1/2 goes to the Army (20231 or 51%).  Keep in mind these numbers include Regs, Civilians and Part-Timers.

Also, keep in mind that these numbers are heavily influenced, if not completely driven, not by a needs assessment, but by Politics - National, Provincial and Inter-Service.

Given the hand dealt the Cmd CA now has spread the wealth amongst Command and Support, Engineers, Arty, Armour, and Infantry.

Infantry then decides how to spend its share of the wealth.

Along the way decisions like Numbers of Brigades, Battalions, Coys, Platoons and Sections are made.  Other decisions made are what weapons and vehicles, the type and number, and, most critically how many bodies are going to be assigned to each task.

I am arguing that a critical decision was made back in the early days of Afghanistan, when the Infantry Branch was still discussing how to employ and man LAVs (check out articles in Ducimus) when it was decreed from on high that the answer was to fill the LAVs with 10 men. 

I am further arguing that that decision, together with decisions on the numbers of LAVs per Battalion and numbers of LAV Battalions to be fielded drove the PY shortages that resulted in the elimination of various critical capabilities.  Some, as I suggest above, can be remedied without massive influxes of PYs.  Others need to be addressed.

There are 27 Rifle Sections in a Rifle Battalion of 3 Coys of 3 Pls each.

The LAV holds 10 people and the strong suggestion from the Pre-Kandahar days meant that the LAV section would be 10 strong. But I see from the Army website that the "doctrinal" section is already down by 2 to 8 men.

That concept seems to have been reinforced by the CCV submission that only called for and ability to carry 3 crew and "a minimum of 5" GIBs. Not 7.

Even with 8 man sections it seems there are still not enough PYs available to man even a small mortar platoon.

So I present you this option:  Reduce each Rifle Section from 8 to 7 and free up 27 PYs that can be allocated to form a small Mortar Platoon (UK Para).  Further reduce each Rifle Section from 7 to 6 to free up another 27 PYs to be allocated either to create a full size Mortar Platoon (Canada 1982), or to be allocated to additional capabilities like Pioneers.

That then leaves you with a 6 man section.

That, in turn, leaves open the question of can you fight a 6 man section effectively.

My argument is based on this:

The TAPV is designed to carry 6 Men and thus could be manned as a "Section Carrier" by a reduced section.

The LAV series of vehicles, and most of the other IFVs, cannot carry a turret and a full 8 man section in PPE.  Other armies have come to terms with this, the Danes being one, by reducing the size of their sections, across the board, to 6 men.  They will fight their 6 men sections to the best of their ability and develop doctrine accordingly.

In our Grizzlies, we dismounted 6 GIBs.
The USMC in their LAVs used to dismount 6 GIBs when they tried to use the LAVs as assault vehicles.  They now use the LAVs to carry 3 crew and 3 GIBs and they are used in Recce and Screening roles.
The Aussies decided to put no GIBs in the back but instead carry a small section of 7 in a separate Bison with every Troop.   And I think they have removed even that.

My points are these:

There are no more PYs
Critical capabilities need to be recreated within the existing PYs
The primary source of PYs can come from the Rifle Sections
Vehicles can be used to offset PYs
Other armies offer examples as to how smaller sections in vehicles might be employed.

You want mortars?  Find the PYs. 
You want 10 man sections?  You're not going to get mortars.

You want to increase the effectiveness of the number of troops at all levels?  Give them an engine.

With respect to the mortars in particular here's another thought.  Kevin Boland offers that the 120 should be LAV mounted and the 81s returned to the Infantry. 

How about you ditch the 81s completely, you add M224 60s to the Infantry Coys and you not only mount arty 120s in LAVs to support the Medium/Heavy Force but you also supply the arty with Wiesel 120s to support the Light Force?

That assumes of course that Arty can come up with its own PYs to man them. 

If not, then its back to the Infantry and reducing the size of the Rifle Section.

All of this stuff is inter-related.   You can't just say "I need more".

Offered with the greatest of respect.


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on August 03, 2012, 13:02:11
Another issue that I believe relates to this is what I will call the cookie cutter or optimized BG.  We the Army are rigid with our creation of a BG, and in the name of simplicity, resort to the multiple of 3 rule for the ORBAT.  Two different Ops will never be the same, and even the same OP will change year to year, and season to season, yet we send the same ORBAT all the time.  By that logic, one would have to assume that the Ops in Aghan did not evolve at all from 06.  We all know that is not true.

While the multiple of three rule is a good starting template, it should have the potential to adapt and be altered, and that is a capability, not a piece of equipment; and that capability needs to reside very high up the food chain.  Our Army is already based on a modular system, increasing numbers of the BG from within the Bde or borrowing from other Bdes should be attainable.

Does anyone else see a reason to have a cookie cutter BG, other than administrative simplicity?  Or, is administrative simplicity reason enough to not adapt to change?

Every DLCD pub you will ever read will likely mention adapt to change, and increased flexibility numerous times throughout the pub.  At what level of the CoC does that not apply?


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on August 03, 2012, 22:55:57
GnyHwy, well said, points inbound!
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on August 04, 2012, 09:36:41
Gny - Great points - but since every Roto is Roto0 the CF never evolves in that respect...  ;)

Kirkhill's point are actually 100% bang on.  Its all about PY's and how the branch and then element chooses to employ them.
  Canadians, like Americans enjoy creature comforts and bloated staff's, in fact Canada seems to be going to the gold in terms of bloated staff Olympics.   With the advances in Comms one would think its easier to do more with less in the terms of a staff, but it goes in reverse.

I would suggest with todays tech most staff duties NEED to get done with a lot less - so more bayonets (or tubes, tracks etc) can be deployed.  I'm also not sold on the homogeneous blob that the Infantry is becoming.
   
   In the 80's we were told the 120mm was a Artillery mortar (I never understood that  but I guess we had some staff paper that had 120's on it that where assigned to some fiction Artillery segment).  I would suggest the 120 is lighter and easier deployed than a 105mm C1 howitzer - yes I know like the C16 v. 60mm the 120 cannot do everything a 105 can, but by my math one can delpoy about 66% more 120's than 105's for the same gun line PY's - with about 500% more ordnance one the ground / person on the line (and yes a larger logistical burden to support the added weight of fire - but if combined with Precision munitions - the 120mm looks very very favorable).
  In fact one could use a 120 mortar det with 4 pers using 1 Hummer type vehicles in the 'Light Role' or 1x V-150's for  operations like Afghan/Somalia etc (light deployed with motorized light armor) and integral LAV Mortar vehicle for the LAV formations, with the 'excess' PY's used to get more tubes or flesh out the "A Ech".

Honeslty I think rolling the reserve Arty units to LAV120's would actually make viable units out of most of them (who currently can man a 2 tube battery).  Of course this would then require a deployable reserve structure.

Regardless of my drift in the above - Canada has some tough choices that need to be made before any of the Mortar options can be looked at with any sucess.
   









Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on August 04, 2012, 12:35:18
Like the EFSS that the Marines field.

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/xml/news/2008/10/marine_mortarsystem_100308w/100408mc_efss_800.JPG

As for tough decisions, the Army has already made them by pretty much eliminating the mortar from our Army.  Don't worry, the grenade launcher/howitzer/CAS/alien death ray will be their to provide that support....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on August 04, 2012, 13:14:14
To me it was not a tough choice - just a stupid one...
  In the same manner I think HLTA on a combat mission is retarded.

I don't see how you can have an (effective) Infantry Battalion without some sort of organic fire support.  As at the end of the day the guns are not the Bn asset and often find themselves doing other things.

Of course I'm also the guy that wants to create a seperate Calvary branch to run the LAV's and have all Light Infantry forces that can jimp in back of a LAV if needed.


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 04, 2012, 18:19:51
....

Of course I'm also the guy that wants to create a seperate Calvary branch  to run the LAV's and have all Light Infantry forces that can jimp in back of a LAV if needed.

Freudian slip Kevin?  I think Calvary is where they send guys like you and I that propose those types of solutions to get crucified.  ;D



Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on August 04, 2012, 19:13:58
LOL -- it looked weird when I wrote it, but I never thought of it again, but rather ironic as you put it...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on August 05, 2012, 13:54:11
Gny - Great points - but since every Roto is Roto0 the CF never evolves in that respect...  ;)

Kirkhill's point are actually 100% bang on.  Its all about PY's and how the branch and then element chooses to employ them.
    In the 80's we were told the 120mm was a Artillery mortar (I never understood that  but I guess we had some staff paper that had 120's on it that where assigned to some fiction Artillery segment).  I would suggest the 120 is lighter and easier deployed than a 105mm C1 howitzer - yes I know like the C16 v. 60mm the 120 cannot do everything a 105 can, but by my math one can deploy about 66% more 120's than 105's for the same gun line PY's - with about 500% more ordnance one the ground / person on the line (and yes a larger logistical burden to support the added weight of fire - but if combined with Precision munitions - the 120mm looks very very favorable).
  In fact one could use a 120 mortar det with 4 pers using 1 Hummer type vehicles in the 'Light Role' or 1x V-150's for  operations like Afghan/Somalia etc (light deployed with motorized light armor) and integral LAV Mortar vehicle for the LAV formations, with the 'excess' PY's used to get more tubes or flesh out the "A Ech".

Honestly I think rolling the reserve Arty units to LAV120's would actually make viable units out of most of them (who currently can man a 2 tube battery).  Of course this would then require a deployable reserve structure.

Regardless of my drift in the above - Canada has some tough choices that need to be made before any of the Mortar options can be looked at with any success.
 

In late 2008, and until about late 2010, I took part in Act Thrust Advisory Groups(*) discussions on firepower deficiencies. These deficiencies within a BG being defined by the field force and DLCD.  Not surprisingly, others did bring forward some of the points you (and others like Kirkhill) have just mentioned.

From that study, it did appear that there was a noticeable lack of capability to deliver non lethal effects for the main manoeuvre force (the assumption being there would be times when part of the BG fire power would be reduced, primarily because its biggest source - guns and/or tanks- would be tasked away to be massed, to support another formation, whatever; there would be times when the fire power would be more limited).  Another component that was found deficient, for both lethal and non lethal fire support, was for CLP's supporting a BG spread out in complex terrain.  Some of the COA's looked somewhat like what has been suggested here (traditional mortar Pl within a Bn), and some were divergent, such as mounting various types of rockets on Light armoured or support veh's, but in the end the consensus was an indirect fire weapon system should be looked at. The payload to cover the different effects required, and the range required, favoured a 120mm weapon. How that kind of capability would be implemented was left to project staff. In the end, as was mentioned earlier, as the project advanced through the PRICIE stage(**), it lost traction all together, and effectively was binned when it was shelved for further study later.

Some tough choices have been made very recently, and they certainly affect P Res Artillery units, but not for the sound reasons Kev mentioned, or necessarily to deal with the defeciencies the TAG were exploring.

Two weeks ago a directive was issued that 81mm mortars would be redistributed. Basically every Reg F Regt would be losing about 2-4 81mm mortars, every P Res Arty unit would end up getting 2 to 4 81mm's (if they don't have any already). Last fall, a directive was issued explaining more detailed C3 inspections and speed limits (amongst other things), and it also mentioned that eventually it will be withdrawn from service, due to sustainability issues. The order to redistribute the 81's is lacking a lot of detail, and context, but does not leave much time to get the answers since the whole distribution plan is to be completed by this Oct. That P Res units are supposed to be capable of force generating gun dets for Reg F Regt's, and I would say the training delta between deploying a mortar and a gun are too wide, doesn't seem to of been factored in this 81mm mortar plan. That this is to be done with no mention of training, ammunition, or other support plans, makes me wonder what the hell is going on here.

I really doubt this plan to redistribute the mortars is intended to address some of the issues pointed out in this thread. It is almost certainly linked to the C3 being withdrawn from service and little else. That they want to do it so quickly makes me wonder if the C3 sustainability issues are far worse now,. 

I don't know that information because anything I knew about this from my time in DLR has become stale it seems. What I do know is that in a very short time virtually all P Res units will only have mortar capability and nothing else. The only exception will be units in LFAA, who will have the LG1 in order to FG for tasks with RCAS, and a few C3's will be kept functional for units tasked with firing gun salutes at national saluting bases (typically Ottawa and the Provincial capitals).
My take on why this happened is my opinion, it has not been explained in the order, but I doubt it had anything to do with solving the problem the TAG was looking at. What impact this will have on CA, well, I suppose that is open to debate too.

* A Thrust Advisory Group is mostly made up representatives from the R & D resources available to the CF, how it functions is explained in general at link below
www.crs-csex.forces.gc.ca/reports-rapports/pdf/2001/P0102-eng.pdf

** PRICIE stands for: Personnel (PY, manning priorities, training, trade management), Research and development, Infrastructure, Concepts and doctrine, Information technology, and Equipment (equipping and support plans)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on August 05, 2012, 15:59:35
Thrust Advisory Group... sounds like an association of porn movie directors.  ;D

Do you know if anyone's looked at the Commando 21 orbat as a possible option? I assume it's too expensive in both weapons and manpower, or something like that. Maybe there's someone on here that saw the RM use it in AFG who can comment on its effectiveness:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commando_21

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA509029
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on August 05, 2012, 20:04:53
I keep forgetting the C3 'replaced' the C1. 

Were are all the 81's coming to give PRes Arty units?  Last time I looked Ontario had 30th (Ottawa) 7th(Moronto), 11th (Guelph and somewhere else), 56Fd (with three different locations), and 49th(SSM), most of which could actually field a Troop(-) for a Ex.  And I think the other areas where equally as FUBAR.

 I remember years ago that even a M109 conversion course was deemed too training intensive, and the non gun routine was the same for units.  The mortar has a whole different criteria to it, and pretty much everything is different. 
  I guess it's a blessing that the C3 will need to be withdrawn, to force 1 standard, but...
The 81mm is NOT a 105mm replacement - I could live with the units getting towed 120's (if we figured the LAV-120 was not a viable option) but the 81mm is truly an Infantry mortar it does not have the range for engagment that the 105mm did.

Sigh...

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on August 05, 2012, 20:29:42
You can add the 42nd in Pembroke to LFCA (formerly 1 AD, and L & R Scot before that). Overall I would say your guesstimate on turn out is about right, although at the start of the training cycle last year many did field a bit more than Tp (~4 guns)

The C3 is eliminating itself quickly, and it might not matter how many Tps turn out. To give an example, 11th Fd had a C3 damaged last spring, and rather than have it repaired, it was cannibalized for parts instead, and their over all unit strength was permanently reduced by one gun

With this mortar distribution plan, 56 Fd will get only 2 mortars; with the 3 different sub locations it'll be interesting to see how this will work once the C3's are gone entirely. 56 Fd has a fairly large number of Tps with tour experience, and it was not unusual to have a turn out of 60 or more for an Ex, that's very unlikely to continue now

Maybe after the ARE changes come out we'll see what direction this is headed.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on August 05, 2012, 20:51:24
Jesus wept! This thread has been going since 2001 and we are no closer to finding a practical solution now then we were before 1 RCHA sent a mortar platoon with 3 PPCLI to Afghanistan in 2002. Frankly if I was a very senior army type, I would have been largely satisfied with the way the compromise no one really likes is working out. The infantry retained all its companies, the gunners (and sappers) appeared to have filled the vacancy, although I suspect that is more because the Taliban are the third least effective enemy we have ever fought with first and second place going to the Fenians and the Metis. We might have got away with it against the Boers and the various Balkan brigands and the Somalis, but this solution would not have worked so well against the Germans or the Japanese or the Chinese and North Koreans.

So far all I have seen that could be classified as executive action is a plan to use the mortars to make up for the equipment failures with the LG1s and the C3s, and that probably was a grasp at the expediency when doing nothing was finally no longer an option. However given the magnitude of the challenges facing the army leadership, this must rank just above reinstating the swagger stick for officers. In my opinion, LGen Devlin et al have made the best of a frigging bad situation and I challenge you to come up with a py neutral solution that preserves our ability to react to an unforeseen situation while not embarrassing the government and senior levels of the CF and DND by slashing the existing establishment.

To my mind the challenge is beyond solution without a reallocation of personnel from outside the combat arms back to the infantry, and that is as likely as winning the lottery. We now seem to be getting perilously close to double tasking our reserve gunners to augment both the regular field regiments and to field mortar platoons with the same people. In the best traditions of Canadian military intellectual fuzzification we have worked ourselves into a box and locked the lid from the inside and then broke the key off in the lock - and some of this may flow from the I wanna C16 and I have to give up something syndrome.

What have I missed?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 05, 2012, 21:24:41
OS....

Give the LAVs, all 651 of them, with their 1953 Gunners, Drivers and Vehicle Commanders to the RCAC, together with the demand for logistics and mechanics and put those 1953 bodies back into the pool of PYs allocated to the Infantry.  I believe the total infantry allocation is something like 5400 PYs.

1953/5400 = 36%

I find it incredible that the Infantry is allocating 36% of its strength to Motor Transport and Direct Fire Support.

5400 Infanteers are few enough.

An infantry force with less than 1800 riflemen is .... (words do not fail me but polite ones do, especially when that means there are more people riding than on their feet).

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on August 05, 2012, 21:48:32
There is an excellent reason for the infantry not wanting to give the 651 positions to the RCAC and that is the effect on the rank pyramid for both groups. The 651 positions given to the RCAC would be 217 positions per regiment, which would inject a bunch of CWOs on down, not the corporal/privates and a few up that logic would dictate. (That is based on what I saw in the bad old days when even a few people being given to a branch would cause a proportional increase on the walls of the pyramid and not the base.) The RCIC would loose - leaving out ERE and the school, etc - 72 positions per battalion if we treated the 3rd battalions with the others.

That may not be icily logical, but I submit that is how the world works.

And how, by the way, how does that really alter the conundrum of the missing mortarmen and pioneers?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on August 05, 2012, 23:23:31
Kirkhill,

Not to continue to attack you, but once again your doing number crunching. You are not stepping back and looking at the whole picture. Its more than just number crunching. There is a lack of real will power in the CF to address mortars or assault pioneers for the infantry...
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sprinting Thistle on August 06, 2012, 00:00:29
I would offer that some of your assumptions are off. 

Not all LAV IIIs are crewed by the infantry.  Only two of three Inf Bns in each of the three Regts have LAV.  Therefore, less than 300 are in use in the Bns.

Some CCs are in fact officers - CO, DCO, OCs, Pl Comds, Coy 2ICs, LAV Capts.

Afghanistan demonstrated that Rifle Coys can and do go into combat without the vehicles - on foot and heli-borne.  In these cases the vehicles were parked in FOBs and the drivers, gunners and crew commanders reverted back to the primary role - dismounted infantry.   
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 06, 2012, 00:37:12
Thrust Advisory Group... sounds like an association of porn movie directors.  ;D

Do you know if anyone's looked at the Commando 21 orbat as a possible option? I assume it's too expensive in both weapons and manpower, or something like that. Maybe there's someone on here that saw the RM use it in AFG who can comment on its effectiveness:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commando_21

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA509029

D&B:

I think you have to rethink Cdo 21 after the RM formed the RM Armoured Support Group within the 539 Assault Squadron.

The Vikings were tasked out to support the Army as well as the Marines before the Army bought those Singaporean beasts, along with all that Force Protection gear and formed their own Armoured Transport Groups based on the Warthogs and Mastiffs.

The Crews were all Armoured.  The Infantry were just the Pax in the backs.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 06, 2012, 01:08:57
Wow, while I was away it appears that people read what I posted.  :)

OS - I get what you are saying about logic and reality.  No worries there.

However I was not proposing turning any positions over to the RCAC.  I was merely proposing turning the LAVs over to them and have the RCAC employ them as their primary vehicle.  Full Stop.  This would be in place of the TAPVs and would be complementary to the CCVs and Leo 2s.   

As Sprinting Thistle pointed out I erred on the high side in terms of bodies - arty and engrs get LAVs, some are in the trg system, some are in stock etc.   Equally though, that means that the RCAC doesn't need to find 1953 new bodies to man the LAVs. 

Rick, my comment to D&B with regards to all the Force Protection vehicles in British Service.  They were being used exactly the same way the Royal Marines used the Vikings, the US Marines use their AAVs and the Aussies used to use their M113s.  The Guys in front own their vehicles.  They and their vehicles are attached to infantry units to supply transport as necessary. 

OS, Rick and Thistle,

By my reckoning, even assuming the bill is only for 45 vehicles for each of 6 battalions that represents 135 positions that could be allocated to a Combat Support Company.

Curiously I seem to recall seeing a 2010 ppt that stated that a 599 man battalion was inadequate to support ADOs (adaptive dispersed operations).  Instead the battalion had to grow by 135 to 734 PYs.

Equally interesting is a posting that I can't find just now where the US Airborne was lamenting the amount of gear they had to carry .... a situation made worse because they were only working with 28 man platoons instead of the doctrinal 40 man platoons.

The problem is not unique to us.  Solutions are out there.  They do require new doctrine and TTPs but......

Anyway.  :)

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on August 06, 2012, 08:48:07
Kirkhill

With all respect, you seem to be doing some single-entry accounting by transferring the responsibility to crew the LAVs to the RCAC, but not providing them with the spaces to come up with the faces to carry out the task. Everything else being equal, I suspect most of us would prefer to see the RCAC do what it is supposed to do - fight in tanks and recce vehicles - rather than providing transport for the GIBs. (For whatever it's worth, over a century ago there was a somewhat parallel debate going on over the role of mounted troops, which I describe as trying to decide if the horse was an infantry carrier or a fighting vehicle.)

The part that we seem unable to resolve is that we do not have the PYs to man dedicated mortar platoons and thus it becomes a secondary duty for the gunners. We can juggle establishment positions, come up with schemes for the reserves to convert to mortars because their guns are broken and all sorts of other stop gap measures, but the cold reality is that we are in a bind. One would also hope that some steely-eyed bean counters would not dig out a document that somebody high up in the food chain signed saying to the effect that the purchase of the C16 will allow us to retire the mortars, which require x positions and are obsolete in any case.  This, of course, would free up a bunch of positions, vehicles, radios etc. (Quite a few years ago I did hear the word obsolete used to describe mortars by a very senior officer, by the way.)
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on August 06, 2012, 08:56:37
The math to allow the infantry to revert to a flexible, combat capable model without wishing away problems to other corps or branches exists.  It is PY neutral, but would be entirely unacceptable due to political reasons.  Without getting into the details the solution would mean going from nine to six regular force battalions.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on August 06, 2012, 09:58:24
How about abandoning the regimental approach.

I can find a FY neutral way to grow by making combined arms entities and getting rid of a lot of the admin and staff positions associated with the regimental system...

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Sprinting Thistle on August 06, 2012, 10:39:29
More PY reductions are coming next year.  Sadly, within the Army, the largest target for reductions is the Inf Corps.  C4ISR, Bde and BG HQs, and other combat enablers all need to be PRICIE'd, and resourced if needed. 

Coincidentally the RCAF is seeking a rather large number of PYs.  If they get them, these PYs will have to come from another environment. 

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on August 06, 2012, 12:24:29
The RCAF has been directed to provide certain capabilities (Chinooks, an expeditionary air wing, UAVs) and is now being provided the PYs to do so from a variety of sources - including divestments ordered under the strategic review.  No nefarious plan there.

The Army on the other hand, was given a significant number of new PYs when the Reg F expanded but never came up with a "good enough" plan, instead doling them out in drips and drabs, constantly tinkering around the edges, making it difficult to recruit and train, since the full picture was never out there - and as always the more technical trades were the last to be identified.  In good project speak, the long-lead time items were identified last.

The expansion of the Army is large collection of lessons learned for how not to do things.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on August 06, 2012, 12:47:10
Continuing

ST:

Find attached below a vehicle distribution plan (obsolete - it refers to the TAPV (Recce and GU)) that makes your case wrt the actual allocation of vehicles.  I agree.  1953 PYs is high.  But there are at least 240 x 3 = 720 PYs to be gained - 864 if the 48 CCVs are also included.  More if the 14 Tonne TAPVs, which cannot be lifted by Chinook, in the Light Battalions are included.

OS:

And I expect there were some Egyptians muttering amongst themselves about having to climb into Ramses's wicker work contraptions and go and face those solidly built wood and iron Hittite chariots that carried an extra man. And that were back 3300 years ago.  "We're all gonnae die" is not a new concept.  :)

Yes.  I am expecting the RCAC to pick up the PYs.  But, according to the same planning document cited above, and attached below it appears that I am not the only one who believes the RCAC is short of vehicles for their available PYs.  You say the RCAC should be driving Tanks and conducting Recce.  I couldn't agree more.  But the plans described below call for the RCAC to be reduced to 2 Tank squadrons and 3 or 4 Recce squadrons.  Up to 7 Squadrons are described, even with their share of the TAPVs, as having NO Eqpt.

Meanwhile the infantry is mucking around in 35 Tonne CCVs, 25 Tonne LAV-Ups and 14 Tonne TAPVs that weigh as much as the existing LAVs and more than the Bisons.

I will accept that that was a now ancient planning document but it demonstrates, to my mind, a confused mindset and an inefficient allocation of resources. 

I would also point out that, as T2B, has noted, even with current plans the RCAC is planning on fielding mixed patrols that are Half and Half LAV and TAPV. Why not just use LAVs through out?  What does a TAPV supply that a LAV / LAV-LRSS can't?

Further, the RCAC Reserves are cooling their heels trying to figure out what to do with themselves.  Why can't LAVs, apparently they are easy to operate (infanteers can do it as a part-time job  >:D ) and maintain (infantry battalions apparently don't need the echelon that the RCAC considers essential), why can't LAVs be held at the ATCs for Reserve use?

The LAV would supply the RCAC with a fully functional Recce platform that would equip all of their squadrons, would engage their reserve troops AND could be used by the RCAC as expedient transport for the infantry.

The CCVs (and possibly BvS10s) could be acquired as alternate mounts for the RCAC to be employed depending on environment.


TV:  So the DS solution is to create a CA of 9 Lt Armd Regts, 6 of whom will wear Infantry capbadges and occasionally get out of their vehicles to fight on foot?  I can't see how that contributes to a full spectrum force.  If nothing else, who is going to get into the back of all those wonderful Chinooks we just bought?  Isn't this the same set up that led to getting rid of the original Chinooks in the first place?

And ST....

With respect to additional PY losses by the CA in general and the infantry in particular...............disregard all previous. 

"We're all gonnae die" (With apologies to George MacDonald Fraser in Quartered Safe Out Here).

Edit:  Conversely military history is replete with examples of people doing "more with less" - both through battlefield and political attrition (British Army campaigns of 1917 demonstrated both types of attrition).



 


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: PPCLI Guy on August 06, 2012, 12:47:58
How about abandoning the regimental approach.

I can find a FY neutral way to grow by making combined arms entities and getting rid of a lot of the admin and staff positions associated with the regimental system...

The Regimental HQs are PY neutral, as the PYs come out of the Bns.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on August 06, 2012, 14:19:25
LAVs at ATCs = need for more maintainers at ATCs.  (And we're already short at the ASUs - need more there as well).   Where shall we source those PYs from?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: SeaKingTacco on August 06, 2012, 14:39:16
NDHQ?

And who says maintainers at an ATC need to be military?  Or even DND employees? 

Yes- I know all to well he pitfalls of contractors.  I'm just saying that the elephant in the roomis the use of the C2 element in Ottawa, in proportion to the rest of the CF.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on August 06, 2012, 14:51:28
From what I have seen there is intense awareness of the size of the military component of NDHQ and a desire to bring it more into line.

And DND is in the midst of shedding contractors as well as public servants - so PYs of some sort need to be repurposed (Mil or Civ); hiring more contractors is not a viable COA.


...or appetites need to be suppressed and a realistic, supportable force model needs to be designed, that will not be all-singing, all-dancing.


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on August 06, 2012, 15:01:36
 :deadhorse:


And what do the last few posts tell us about the chances of freeing up the PYs to bring back the mortar and pioneer platoons anytime soon?


 :deadhorse:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on August 06, 2012, 15:32:26
The C2 or C4I or C4ESI or whatever nodes need to be trimmed everywhere not just Ottawa as well.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: SeaKingTacco on August 06, 2012, 16:26:29
My point is:

With a strength of Reg Force strength of 68,000 ( more or less), maybe we could be a bit more general combat power focused and a bit less " boutique capability" focused.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: PPCLI Guy on August 06, 2012, 16:39:18
My point is:

With a strength of Reg Force strength of 68,000 ( more or less), maybe we could be a bit more general combat power focused and a bit less " boutique capability" focused.

Wholeheartedly agree.  Not much point in having STA and massive ASICs to find the enemy if you have nothing left to strike it with.  Not much point in robust HQs if you have nothing to command.  Not much point in 5th generation fighters if you have no tactical mobility or integral aviation fire support.

Just saying
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: SeaKingTacco on August 06, 2012, 16:45:18
How does a massive ASIC find the enemy, anyway?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: PPCLI Guy on August 06, 2012, 16:48:20
You know - all that synchronised synergistic holistic manouevrist effects based adaptive and dispersed information dominance
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on August 06, 2012, 16:54:00
Wholeheartedly agree.  Not much point in having STA and massive ASICs to find the enemy if you have nothing left to strike it with.  Not much point in robust HQs if you have nothing to command.  Not much point in 5th generation fighters if you have no tactical mobility or integral aviation fire support.

Just saying
Your point and those of the two posters before you are certainly moot. Having served in a brigade group headquarters with a total of 13 staff officers along with a commander and his ADC and two helicopter pilots, I believe small is better than big and certainly much better than robust when designing headquarters.

As that was way back when, I will leave the discussion re what we really need to those with recent experience. I would however be pleasantly surprised if support weapons platoons materialized out of any rationalization anytime soon. Without getting too deep into opsec, what did the lessons learned community have to say about the present arrangement versus the one we scrapped?

p.s. you certainly know a lot of big officer words!!  ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 06, 2012, 22:03:28
Going further, with regard to a tactical level HQ: small = robust; big = fragile. Big HQs are, almost always, inefficient and ineffective and, thus, broadly, hamper operational success. They are popular because the US likes them; but US military victories, post 1945 are a bit scarce.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: PPCLI Guy on August 06, 2012, 23:32:24
p.s. you certainly know a lot of big officer words!!  ;D

Well I am 6' 4"......
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on September 04, 2012, 23:26:29
Getting back to mortars for a second, the USMC came up with an experimental device called "Dragonfire II"; a fully automatic 120mm mortar which could be towed behind a HMMVW or (with wheels removed) placed inside a LAV chassis.

While watching the device work on YouTube was a bit bizarre (a hydraulic loader drops mortar rounds down the muzzle, rather than being a breech loading device like the Soviet 2B9 Vasilek), the promise is this can be manned and operated by a three man crew (actually only one man is needed to operate the controller, but including a driver and having an extra man to help rebomb the magazine is handy).

While the device was never adopted or put into production, devices like this or the Vasilek do offer the ability to provide the firepower of the mortar platoon with a much smaller "footprint" in the battalions or battlegroups. Obviously there will be a somewhat larger footprint in the maintenance side of the house, but perhaps the combined number of PYs will be less than the former mortar platoon. Food for thought:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Fire_%28mortar%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2B9_Vasilek
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 04, 2012, 23:40:04
I still think Tomahawk6 had the best idea.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82172.msg790406.html#msg790406

3 PYs and 120mm together with all the Fire Control gear in a nice tidy airmobile, heliportable package.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on September 05, 2012, 00:09:10
Nice, the Wiesel makes getting around much easier.

Of course we don't even have to go very high tech; the Russians used to mount the Vasilek on the rear deck of an MT-LB, which provided both mobility as well as direct and indirect firepower for the supported unit. I've also seen an experimental setup where a Vasilek was mounted on the load bed of a HMMVW.

While the Vasilek is a fairly primitive device, the idea of a breach loading gun/mortar which can fire from a clip is pretty versatile, and if it were engineered in 81mm it would also allow the carriage of large amounts of standard ammunition even in relatively modest vehicles (this is one of the reasons I am not such a big supporter of 120mm mortars). One could picture a towed version behind a "gator" type vehicle with a crate of ammunition in the back, all the way to a LAV mortar carrier with 99 mortar rounds in the ammunition racks.

So the question isn't if this is doable, but rather if the advantages of doing so are worth the expenditure of PY's and resources (either as a bespoke vehicle system, and add on to an existing vehicle or a towed weapon).
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 05, 2012, 00:41:07
http://www.rheinmetall-defence.com/index.php?fid=5506&lang=3&pdb=1

Here's a bit more on the complete Wiesel Package.  I don't doubt that the same system could be ported to the LAV or CCV.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on September 12, 2012, 23:55:27
If we are thinking along the lines of a weapons platoon (from the C-16 thread), then a breech loading gun/mortar platoon would be even better (and using the Weisel, or LAV or even towed behind a MilCOT or G Wagon for mobility would not be too much different from using vehicles to lug a C-16 and ammo around).

Breech loading gun/mortars exist in all calibres, and even a 60mm provides far more "bang" than a 40mm, so if we want to conserve PY's and have the greatest possible effect on the battlefield then this should be the way to go. Put the C-16's on pintle or RWS mounts on G Wagons and TAPVs (there are already PY's for the crews anyway) and bring on an 81mm gun/mortar platoon for batalions or battlegroups.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on September 13, 2012, 12:37:04
A towed 120mm breech loader for the Reserve arty would likely be a good replacement for the 105C3, easy on the logistics. Likely it can be porteed for long trips.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Bird_Gunner45 on October 30, 2012, 23:22:45
A towed 120mm breech loader for the Reserve arty would likely be a good replacement for the 105C3, easy on the logistics. Likely it can be porteed for long trips.

Last brief we received from the CIG indicated that the 120mm was intended to replace the C3/LG1 in the reserve units, but would not be pushed to the Reg Force.  The 105mm gun is more or less dead, though IMHO it still provides the best option for us to maintain the key ability of the reserves, which is to augment the regular force.  If they only have mortars than there's more training required for operations.

That said, I believe the best option we could forward would be to put the M777 in storage (oh, the horror!!!) and purchase a cheap "training" gun for use in domestic training for reserves and regular force, with features such as the DGMS et al added to allow us to maintain training ability without damaging the operational guns, princess-ish as they are.

Having a weapon system that is reserve only doesn't make much sense.....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on October 31, 2012, 11:42:05
105mm subcal kit for the 777?

How about setting up reserve infantry with the older model complete with mortar teams, they can be the repository of mortar/infantry knowledge, equip them with the 60mm even if a bit worn. That way the regs play with the newer toys for now, later as the budget crunch recedes, the 60mm's can be replaced with new ones.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on October 31, 2012, 14:29:38
or we could go back to these, as I recall ours were in 14.5mm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3ah9nFAbdg&feature=player_embedded#!
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Old Sweat on October 31, 2012, 14:44:55
There are a number of web sites about the device. This is a link to the top one:

http://www.ruag.com/Ammotec/Defence_and_Law_Enforcement/Training_Systems_for_Large_Calibres/Artillery_Training_System_ATS

I trained with it and found it of marginal use for practicing forward observation drills. Mainly this was because the round was very susceptible to variations in wind and as a result it had a beaten zone approximately the size of a parade square. There was some training value, and it might have been very effective in the Skydome or the Big O with the roof shut. Considering what one can do these days with a computerized observation of fire trainer, the 14.5mm trainer's proper place is on display as an example of expediency carried to an extreme.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Bird_Gunner45 on November 01, 2012, 20:38:42
or we could go back to these, as I recall ours were in 14.5mm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3ah9nFAbdg&feature=player_embedded#!

The 14.5 mm is likely to be highly used in the next few years, though with the new Cmdt it seems to be less popular than it was a year ago.  Having used the 14.5, it is of no value for anything aside from maybe OPV jockeying drills.  The time rounds detonate prior to getting to the targets, and the fall of shot has a PEr of, basically, gun to target.

in all honesty, getting an updated C3, ditching the mortar concept or sending them back to the inf, and putting the M777 in war storage would be our best option for actually being able to afford training IF (and it's a big if) the US and UK maintain their 105 fleets.  If not, and we become a 1 off 105 purchaser, than we may as well stay 155.  The reality with using the M777 for training is that within 5-7 years we'll need a new gun for operations to replace the 777.

With the likelihood of MRRs coming online, ever, growing smaller by the day, perhaps 4 AD/4 GSR could be a source of PYs for Inf mortar units.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on November 01, 2012, 20:47:17
perhaps 4 AD/4 GSR could be a source of PYs for Inf mortar units.

I like the cut of your jib, my friend....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Journeyman on November 01, 2012, 20:50:25
Whereas, being more cynical, I focused on "ditching the mortar concept ....", as in "we take the mortars, then decide that we don't want to do that anymore so we'll just leave them in the QM."

 ;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on November 01, 2012, 20:56:41
Whereas, being more cynical, I focused on "ditching the mortar concept ....", as in "we take the mortars, then decide that we don't want to do that anymore so we'll just leave them in the QM."

 ;D
So...status quo?

;D
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Bird_Gunner45 on November 01, 2012, 21:08:39
Whereas, being more cynical, I focused on "ditching the mortar concept ....", as in "we take the mortars, then decide that we don't want to do that anymore so we'll just leave them in the QM."

 ;D

For an army our size, mortars are almost a BETTER option than higher level assets like HIMARS.  particularly if they're infantry borne... they can be indirect fire or infantry depending on the operation (Peace support vs warfare).

That would also allow the remaining arty PYs to focus on firing the guns (whatever calibre they are) or whatever it is 4 AD/GSR/holding unit is doing at that time.  Without a new radar and with a leased UAV I dont see how ANYONE can justify keeping it together when the infantry are losing PYs, armour are losing PYs, etc
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Ralph on November 01, 2012, 21:25:37
Has anyone used the 81mm subcal? Given the amount and price of the actual rounds, we haven't bothered trying to try it...I assume it has the same limfacs as the 14.5mm?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Ostrozac on November 01, 2012, 21:43:17
I've used the 81mm subcal -- I can't speak to its effectiveness in training Mortar Fire Controllers, as I never was an MFC, but I remember it as a fairly effective way to train crew drills prior to transitioning to live fire. And the template for using it was pretty small -- so we could use it almost anywhere.

Was it greatly effected by the wind? I guess, but high wind is a major issue with live 81mm ammo too.

I never saw the figures for cost -- so I can't speak to what the savings would be comparing 81mm subcal with live HE.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 02, 2012, 00:24:35
For an army our size, mortars are almost a BETTER option than higher level assets like HIMARS.  particularly if they're infantry borne... they can be indirect fire or infantry depending on the operation (Peace support vs warfare).

That would also allow the remaining arty PYs to focus on firing the guns (whatever calibre they are) or whatever it is 4 AD/GSR/holding unit is doing at that time.  Without a new radar and with a leased UAV I dont see how ANYONE can justify keeping it together when the infantry are losing PYs, armour are losing PYs, etc

My God man, think of the Generals! You can't be a real one unless you command artillery. Sheesh ::)

P.S.  :sarcasm:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Technoviking on November 02, 2012, 12:26:01
I've used the 81mm subcal -- I can't speak to its effectiveness in training Mortar Fire Controllers, as I never was an MFC, but I remember it as a fairly effective way to train crew drills prior to transitioning to live fire. And the template for using it was pretty small -- so we could use it almost anywhere.

Was it greatly effected by the wind? I guess, but high wind is a major issue with live 81mm ammo too.

I never saw the figures for cost -- so I can't speak to what the savings would be comparing 81mm subcal with live HE.


Has anyone used the 81mm subcal? Given the amount and price of the actual rounds, we haven't bothered trying to try it...I assume it has the same limfacs as the 14.5mm?
I have as well.  It serves a purpose for crew drills; however, there are more cost-efficient methods nowadays in the SAT for both crew drills and MFC stuff.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Bird_Gunner45 on November 02, 2012, 19:10:45
My God man, think of the Generals! You can't be a real one unless you command artillery. Sheesh ::)

P.S.  :sarcasm:

It'd be like commanding a division that didn't have any brigades... that's crazy..... oh, wait, we do that
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on November 06, 2012, 14:24:39
An alternate means of supplying 81mm mortar support:

Quote
The testing consisted of three separate engagements using a Tiger Shark UAV launching an 81mm mortar equipped with General Dynamics' Roll Control Fixed Canard control system and an ARDEC-developed fuzing solution. All three mortars were launched from a UAV at altitudes of approximately 7,000 ft and guided to within seven meters of a GPS-identified target grid.

"This effort demonstrated a low-cost, tactical version of a GPS strike weapon for UAV platforms," said Mark Schneider, general manager of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems' Seattle operations. "Together with ARDEC, we have demonstrated a weapon in the 10-pound class for tactical UAVs that can be used to quickly engage and defeat targets. Advancements in GPS targeting and data-link technology provide a built-in growth path for this demonstrated technology."

"The Air Drop Mortar (ADM) program with General Dynamics provided a platform to successfully demonstrate and mature subsystems including communication links, munition deployment, guidance and control and fuzing," said Tony Sebasto, senior associate for Munitions at ARDEC. "The utilization of existing mortar production components, along with demonstrated guidance and control and fuzing, gives the U.S. warfighter an option for a very affordable and very capable precision strike weapon."

Defense-Aerospace Link (http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/139884/new-low_cost-precision-weapon-for-uavs.html)

It seems to be in concert with the RCA owning the 81mm Mors and also the SUAV capabilities.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on November 06, 2012, 14:50:57
Interesting bit of historical trivia WRT mortar bombs:

Near the end of the Second World War, the Germans experimented with lots of weapons concepts in a desperate attempt to turn the tide. In the 81mm category was re-purposing mortar bombs as artillery using the so called "High Low pressure gun", eventually fielded as the PAW-600. The weapon used a conventional shell casing with a perforated plate over the opening, and attached the mortar bomb to the plate via a shear pin. As gasses bled out of the shell casing after firing, the pressure broke the pin and the bomb accelerated out the barrel, leaving very little recoil or other signature. The M-203 uses a very modified version of the High Low pressure principle to launch the 40mm grenade. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_cm_PAW_600

For attacking ground targets from the air, the Luftwaffe experimented with recoilless cannon mounted in the wings or fuselage of the airplane, pointed down and triggered by the magnetic signature of the tank as they overflew it. This was not a great success (pilots needing to take "nape of the Earth" to a whole new dimension), and fortunately for them, the war ended without further development.

Using mortar bombs as real bombs is something that goes back to WWI, no silk scarves this time, though.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GK .Dundas on November 07, 2012, 06:33:02
As I recall during the development of the OV 10 Bronco the original concept had the aircraft dropping 81 MM and 4.2 inch mortar rounds.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Michael O'Leary on November 07, 2012, 12:38:08
Quote
a Tiger Shark UAV launching an 81mm mortar equipped with General Dynamics' Roll Control Fixed Canard control system and an ARDEC-developed fuzing solution.

Completing changing the delivery system for a mortar bomb payload isn't providing "alternate means of supplying 81mm mortar support." They invented a $200K method of delivering a $1K mortar bomb. The fact that they used an 81 mm mortar bomb as the payload doesn't make the delivery system a mortar.

That would be like putting a 500-pound bomb on a truck, driving it to the target, and calling it a new means of air support.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on November 07, 2012, 18:10:36
Agreed entirely Michael.

But in a world where we spend 3 MCAD to push a 25mm M242 Bushmaster and a C6 forward in an armoured box it seemed to me it might make sense to someone to replace a 5000 CAD tube that can deliver 1000 CAD bombs at the rate of 15,000 CAD/minute indefinitely with a 500 KCAD launcher that can deliver bombs at the rate of 4000 CAD per sortie when the weather permits.

I should have included this notice in my previous post.  ;D

 :sarcasm:

Cheers,
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 07, 2012, 19:21:09
Completing changing the delivery system for a mortar bomb payload isn't providing "alternate means of supplying 81mm mortar support." They invented a $200K method of delivering a $1K mortar bomb. The fact that they used an 81 mm mortar bomb as the payload doesn't make the delivery system a mortar.

That would be like putting a 500-pound bomb on a truck, driving it to the target, and calling it a new means of air support.

Luckily that's not neccessary as we've got Little David in our arsenal!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_David
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on November 07, 2012, 20:54:43
PS.

Further to my last.  I apologize for the run-on sentence.

It appears that in my haste I lost track of the comma and period keys on my keyboard  :-[ :-[

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: rampage800 on November 07, 2012, 21:31:55
Quote

But in a world where we spend 3 MCAD to push a 25mm M242 Bushmaster and a C6 forward in an armoured box it seemed to me it might make sense to someone to replace a 5000 CAD tube that can deliver 1000 CAD bombs at the rate of 15,000 CAD/minute indefinitely with a 500 KCAD launcher that can deliver bombs at the rate of 4000 CAD per sortie when the weather permits.

Not sure I'm following your post K but if your throwing around numbers lets not forget that now the capability will exist to drop a $1000 81mm projectile whereas before they needed to use $70k AGM-114, probably going to make up some cost savings (thats not to say that the Hellfire is going out of service) and I'd think they'll be testing these off the MQ-9s and RQ-4s very shortly thus giving them an 'all weather" capability. Not an alternate means of mortar support as was pointed out but an alternate use for an already established weapon IMO.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on November 08, 2012, 00:28:20
Rampage:

You make your point more clearly than I did mine.

As noted above - I apologize.

You're correct.  By being able to load up Reapers and Predators with 81mm bombs instead of Hellfires a fair amount of money will be saved.

Having said that:

My general, and obscure, point was that we seem willing to invest in more and more dollars in precision delivery, pursuing extremely high tech solutions, while at the same time existing, cost effective solutions are gainsaid.

Those same rounds could be just as easily launched from an 81mm tube any time of the day or night, in any season and in any weather.   They would supply suppressive fire support for a much longer period and at a much faster rate than any airborne solution for a fraction of the cost.

I don't have a problem with arming platforms similar to the Reapers for snap shots.  But I have become exercised over a bureaucracy that finds hundreds of millions for LAV Upgrades and CCVs, not to mention F-35s, but can't find funds to put the 81s back in the battalions (as an example).

I don't believe it really matters if the battalion can man 3, 4, 6 or 8 tubes at a time.  Or if they have to re-role a Rifle Platoon for a short duration as ammunition bearers for the mors.  If the tools were still in the toolshed I am sure someone would figure out how to employ them when the situation warranted.

(On a tangentially related note - if mors heat up when fired at a rate greater than their sustained fire rate, and if mor tubes do not contribute greatly to the accuracy of the fire - why do we not supply mor dets with spare tubes?  You do that with MGs and those are precision works of engineering.  The mor tubes.... less so.  Can you not leave the base plate in place, unclamp the sights and tripod and just drop another tube into the base plate, reclamp and continue firing?)

I don't have a problem with the Air Force buying 65 F-35s, but would 64 mean that much reduction in capability?  Even a paltry 70,000,000 saved would go some ways to supplying simpler gear that can get used by other elements.

70,000,000 - surely that would equate to a Squadron of 15 CCVs at 4 to 5 million apiece?

Equally, 4,000,000 would buy 400 Yamaha Grizzly ATVs with trailers, each capable of moving 698 kg of water, fuel, rations, tents, rucks, sleeping bags, ammunition and SF kits for C6s and C16s (not to mention 81mm mors with spare tubes).

I understand that some people some where are doing these puzzles (I trust that is so).

But in the words of Yul Brynner "it is a puzzlement" to me. 

How can we spend 10s of millions on multiples of kit that is without doubt useful, but can't find dollars to supply low end gear like rifles and bullets and mortars and nvgs, radios and binoculars.  Or the aforementioned ATVs.

I'm sorry. 

This wasn't intended as a rant.  And frankly I didn't mean to come across with that tone.

I can only sit here on the sidelines and sympathize with those of you that live within the process.

I can't even see that the Army can blame the Air Force, or even the Infantry blame the Armoured, when within the infantry a budget is set aside for some 108, expanding to 138, CCVs.  Surely it makes more sense to ensure that low end needs are met before high end needs(??) are addressed?

Just curious, I guess.

Cheers.



Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: dapaterson on November 08, 2012, 00:34:12
Much of it is less to do with money than ability to acquire and sustain.  It takes people to define requirements, to manage the acquisition, to plan for implementation, and then to manage the in-service fleet.  The number of people we have to do those things is limited.  Multiply that by the number of requirements in the CF, and the demand for people is all but insatiable, so there are trade-offs.

Title: Re: The future of Light Arty (105 mm) (From: Mortars)
Post by: Shrek1985 on November 10, 2012, 23:28:51
Okay, so I get there is not a ton of money to be had, but first of all;

I thought Canada was one of the world's leading producers of titanium? Doesn;t that give us an edge in getting products that need titanium?

And second; just how expensive is a Mortar, really, that we cannot have both capabilities? A lot of armies in much less prosperous nations than ours do. Not to mention mortars are pretty simple weapons. Can we not build our own, or even develop one in relatively little time, to say nothing of a simple copy of a solid type, like the modified brandt 120mm expeditionary force mortar, which is a quite old design.

In WWII as a country that couldn't swing a passable tank until mid-45, we were able to copy a finnish design for a 120mm mortar from basic plans, though we never could get the ammo right. Since then, the technology has refined, but aside from arguably; rifled mortars, not been revolutionized. More than half the world still uses tubes which aren't much different from 1930s french designs when you get down to it.

Title: Re: The future of Light Arty (105 mm) (From: Mortars)
Post by: Brihard on November 11, 2012, 01:18:22
Okay, so I get there is not a ton of money to be had, but first of all;

I thought Canada was one of the world's leading producers of titanium? Doesn;t that give us an edge in getting products that need titanium?

And second; just how expensive is a Mortar, really, that we cannot have both capabilities? A lot of armies in much less prosperous nations than ours do. Not to mention mortars are pretty simple weapons. Can we not build our own, or even develop one in relatively little time, to say nothing of a simple copy of a solid type, like the modified brandt 120mm expeditionary force mortar, which is a quite old design.

In WWII as a country that couldn't swing a passable tank until mid-45, we were able to copy a finnish design for a 120mm mortar from basic plans, though we never could get the ammo right. Since then, the technology has refined, but aside from arguably; rifled mortars, not been revolutionized. More than half the world still uses tubes which aren't much different from 1930s french designs when you get down to it.

The cost for mortars and mortar bombs is a pittance, really. What is in short supply are the PYs necessary to man the capabilities.

Until and unless infantry expansion is on the table, every time you pay Paul you must rob Peter. Assume every man manning those mortars will come from elsewhere in the battalion- where will you find them?

I'm not trying to defend the status quo by any means. Not having mortars sucks huge balls. I'm just shrugging with a sort of fatalism on the issue. I'd be all for adding the... Oh, call it 5-600 people to the infantry corps to restore mortar and pioneer platoons on top of everything else. I just don't see it happening.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MCG on November 11, 2012, 01:50:59
Until and unless infantry expansion is on the table…
Why is the only option a Reg F Inf Bn for mortars?
You may have situated the estimate.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: ArmyRick on November 11, 2012, 17:16:47
As far as man power re-introducing mortars, my take
COA#1 reduce 3rd battalions nil strength and use man power to make a 4th rifle company and assault pioneer platoon + mortar platoon back in cbt spt coys. Forget TOW and eryx, replace those systems with Javelin already

COA#2 Crazy and far fetched, what about changing 3rd battalions into infantry combat support battalions? Leave recce pl and sigs platoon as battalion assets (BN needs eyes and ears), add in full size sniper, assault pioneer and mortar platoons in each of the 3 former rifle companies. The combat support company recce platoon could be an enhanced (pathfinder?) reconnaissance platoon used on call of brigade commander or as a deep surveillance unit.

COA#3 Have at least mortars manned by reserves arty or infantry. I hear the pissing and moaning about reservist can't be deployed on short notice. Maybe not a company or a battalion but a platoon? Very do-able. I have served both sides of the reg force and P Res coin (currently P Res) and I have a realistic understanding of what BOTH components are capable of. The truth is, most of my frequent attendance reserve grunts, breeze through IBTS, are in kick *** shape (we are a country boy company in a rural regiment), have an excellent attitude and jump at opportunities for ex, deployment or course.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MedCorps on November 11, 2012, 19:08:17
Just to make sure I understand the current plan for 81 mm distribution per the last AAB / Force 2013 Employment Model.

1 RCHA - 6 tubes and then 18 tubes in support of of 1 RCHA:

5 Fd Regt x 2 tubes
15 Fd Regt x 2 tubes
10 Fd Regt x 2 tubes
26 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
116 Ind Fd Bty x 2 tubes
20 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
20 Ind Fd Bty x 2 tubes

2 RCHA - 6 tubes and then 18 tubes in support of of 2 RCHA:

7 Tor Regt x 4 tubes
11 Fd Regt x 2 tubes
30 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
42 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
49 Fd Regt x 2 tubes
56 Fd Regt x 2 tubes

5 RCHA - 6 tubes and then 12 tubes in support of of 5 RCHA:

2 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
6 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
62 Fd Regt x 4 tubes

In support of RCAS - 10 tubes:

1 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
3 Fd Regt x 4 tubes
84 Ind Fd Bty  x 2 tubes

It seems like this will be a Res F centric activity (with a small Reg F number of tubes). Did I miss anything?

MC
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on November 11, 2012, 22:36:41
That's sad to look at.  2 tubes for a Fd Regt?  Gonna be hard to justify the rank structure in those units, considering I could probably deploy 2 tubes with my wife and kids.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on November 11, 2012, 23:03:11
56 Fd: 2 tubes and 3 locations (Brantford, Simcoe, and St Catharines), how is this supposed to work once the C3's are gone?

The unit has been able to put 60 pers on Ex, and a lot of experienced Tps at that (quite a few with tour experience, from gun line to OP's and STA), it's going to be a tough time keeping any of them around

Sad indeed

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MedCorps on November 11, 2012, 23:49:11
It also shows 56 Fd as having 4 C3 Howitzers (Brantford) on top of the 2 x 81 mm tubes.  There is also the task to provide a CP section to 2 RCHA. 

Despite the C3 allocation and mortar allocation, the in support of 2 RCHA task shows 1 x artillery section and 1 x CP section.  Not sure if the allocated "artillery section" in support of task is mortar or C3 or if they have the requirement to be prepared to generate both and pick one based on 2 RCHA force generation requirement of the day.

I am not sure exactly what is involved with generating a CP section for the artillery, but it looks like 7 Tor, 11 Fd, 49 Fd and 56 Fd are all going to be tasked with providing a CP section to 2 RCHA.  This seems like a lot of CP sections to provide 2 RCHA for a guy not in the RCA.  Is a mortar CP the same as a 105 mm CP? 

It will be interesting to see how these Res F taskings in identified support of Reg F units works out.  Needless to say other branches of the CF are watching to see if the plan proposed executes well so we can copy them (and learn from their errors). 

MC
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Petard on November 12, 2012, 13:36:23
The units are expected to take part as units for collective training, but FG individuals for deployment. Generally speaking for deployments they cast the net wide within the area, and no one unit seems to be specifically tasked to say "fill X spots in a Troop CP and Y spots on gun detachments".
P Res that are FG for deployment would get trained up on M777, or for which ever role and system they might be employed on (CP or STA being other examples)

2 RCHA, like the other 2 Reg F Regt's, has only 2 gun Bty's now and one of these in habitually undermanned. So the expectation is the fully manned Bty would deploy on roto 0, allowing some time to get P Reservists trained up to fill in some of the gaps in the understrength gun Bty, or do some kind of pers shuffling and cross training within the Regt to prepare for any subsequent roto. In recent experience this has resulted in one helluva "dogs breakfast" for career development/management.

There are also problems in trying to keep P Res pers relatively current so this can work. The current CO of 2 RCHA has been very proactive in trying to get P Res units engaged in collective training with his Regt to deal with this. The problem is distance and timing, with units further away finding it very diffcult to be involved, even on a rotational basis, since they would spend so much time in transit. So in practice 30 Fd (in Ottawa) and 42nd (Pembroke/Renfrew area) are more able to take part in that type of training with 2 RCHA simply due to proximity They'll be taking part in a joint CPX this weekend (16-18 Nov) for example.

It is a bit more difficult to coordinate joint live fire training with any P Res unit though, and will only become more diffcult in the near future. The problem is going to come from increased capability when Reg F units begin to do fire support through a comm's network vice voice only. If P Res units are to take part in live fire with calls for fire being processed "online" if you will, there will be a need to have some kind of additional comm's system at 0 and 95 to coordinate the fire of P Res units not "online" with them. It can really bog things down and skew the training. To put it another way: sort of like being able to email everybody a message that applies to them all, but then having to call the one person without a computer on the phone and tell them what you sent in the email

There was a project to get P Res units with a rudimentary version of the system, but it was llimited to only work within the gun line area and not connect to higher level headquarters (like 0 and 95). In any case it would help miminize the training delta for those pers being FG for deployment. These type of systems can be hung on just about any howitzer though, and are modular enough to even put on an 81.

As the C3 maintainability problems get worse, I imagine 56 Fd will most likely lose their C3's to other units (those at saluting bases), and be left with just 81s to train with. This change to mortars only will most likely happen at different rates for each of the P Res units.  This will no doubt make the patchwork of units that can FG to tasks even more difficult to manage
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 30, 2013, 13:21:19
There were so many places I could have posted this ......

This demonstrates everything that is wrong with the American way of war and the foolishness of following their procurement model.

Lockheed Martin has a new Wunderwaffen: The MHTK - a mini Sidewinder with a new warhead designed to work in a C-RAM system.
The target price of each missile is $16,000.

Two articles:

Lockheed Martin on the MHTK (http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/143742/lockheed-tests-c_ram-mini_interceptor.html)

Gizmag on the same system (http://www.gizmag.com/eaps-miniature-hit-to-kill-interceptor-flight-tested/26824/)

The Gizmag article makes this claim:

"More soldiers are killed on the battlefield by mortars than by any other weapon of war...."

Of course that would explain why we you have divested yourselves of all 60s and reduced the 81 scale.... but I digress.

Let's  assume that you are limited to the two  81mm tubes that appears to be the likely support available to Light Company.  My old 309(3) says that the 81 has a max rate of fire of 20 RPM.  2 tubes = 40 RPM.

2 tubes of mortars will then force the Yanks to expend funds at the rate of 40x $16,000 per minute or $640,000.  The six tubes of a reduced platoon in a 2 minute stonking sending 240 rounds down range would eat up $3,840,000.

And none of this takes into account the gazillions of dollars invested in launchers, maintenance kits, radars, and development......

What is the cost of a single 81mm HE round made in Pakistan?  $1000?  $200?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 30, 2013, 17:37:31
That is quite the money pit, and I will venture to say that it doesn't even work yet.  Sounds like a really good boondoggle for a good cause.

Quote
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a 2012 recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence. The Malcolm Baldrige Award represents the highest honor that can be awarded to American companies for their achievements in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and results.

It says they won the award for "performance excellence", but then that is not in their list of criteria.  They must have won it for customer relations for their willingness to use the customers money to advance their field.   :sarcasm:

Now without sarcasm. I suppose it could have been for measurement, maybe leadership, as the RADAR involved is probably quite advanced.




Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on March 30, 2013, 17:57:28
Quote
The Lockheed Martin MHTK interceptor is on track to meet the AMRDEC Average Unit Production Cost goal of $16,000 per interceptor in 2006 dollars at specified quantities, making it much more affordable than systems it will replace. At less than 1 meter long, less than 50 millimeters in diameter and less than 3 kilograms mass at launch, the MHTK is extremely compact and very agile in flight. Paired with a fire control sensor capable of providing illumination, the MHTK provides robust defeat of RAM targets through body-to-body impact at tactically significant ranges, greatly increasing the protected volume in which our soldiers operate and offering commanders more flexibility than legacy and interim systems.

I don't see the problem with a lighter, cheaper, more agile system?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: winnipegoo7 on March 30, 2013, 18:50:43
AESA (Active electronically scanned array) radars have been around for a while.

$16000 sound like a lot, but seems cheap compared to the cost of a high value target like, say a C-17 Globemaster ($202.3 million according to the USAF.) It might even be cost effective to shoot down a single mortar round to save a single soldier if you think about how much it would cost to replace that individual (not to mention that it may be politically expensive.)

It's also cheaper than the Israeli 'Iron Dome' system, which uses a $40,000 missile according to the CBC. I don't know what the Phalanx 20mm costs, maybe it's cheaper than both systems.

I would hope that a mortar firing for 2 minutes near this system would be long enough for a counter-battery fire to take care of the problem. (I don't know much about counter-battery though)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter_Rocket,_Artillery,_and_Mortar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Dome
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/11/20/f-iron-dome-faq.html
http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=86
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on March 30, 2013, 21:57:19
Somehow I think the MHTK has been confused in role.

I don't understand this as a Mortar replacement -- it is a precision strike instrument.  Mortars are still retained in the US Army and USMC, unlike Canada.

I don't buy the Gizmag argument at all -- sounds like the folks who did the press for the XM-25 fiasco.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 30, 2013, 23:13:27
Kevin, as I understand it, the MHTK is designed to knock mortar bombs out of the sky.  It isn't to replace bombs.  It is to prevent them landing.

My point is that it wouldn't take much to overwhelm this system.  I see the same problem with all of the active defence systems, especially ones intended for use on vehicles.  The guy on the ground has the advantage of having more ammunition, and cheaper ammunition, available to him.

Now, if you can detect the firing point and launch a timely counter-battery, counter-sniper strike as suggested by winipegoo7, then that is another matter entirely.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on March 30, 2013, 23:45:16
The Iron Dome reduces the potential intercepts by determining if the ballistic path is dangerous and prioritizes that way.  I assume this system would do the same.

This does look great with the "protect the troops" catch phrases and all, but protecting the troops is not cost effective and is not where it will be used.  Winn has it right, it will protect HVTs.  Protecting the troops can be done with systems (sandbags) we already have.  I am skeptical of the stat they use that the most casualties are from mortars.  Since when and where?  Perhaps all of modern warfare, I could believe that Arty did that (woot woot), but not in the last 20 years; I can't see it.  We've have lost more in one explosion than all the mortar/rocket casualties I can think of.  I am not knowledgeable on Iraq, so perhaps someone else maybe able to validate their claims.

Counter battery is another beast all together.  The technology is already there and has been for many years.  The willingness to return fire into a potentially populated area is not an easy decision to make.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on March 30, 2013, 23:49:55
I would suspect that this is supposed to be part of an integrated system.

Step 1; bad guy opens fire

Step 2; active defense system shoots down incoming rounds

Step 3; active defense radar and/or counter battery radar backtracks firing point and relays information to the FSCC

Step 4 FSCC passes information to nearest shooter and launches counter battery engagement

Step 5; Infantry patrol is dispatched to do BDA on smoking crater....

The problem of being overwhelmed is an issue until the system is integrated and the troops are well practiced. If steps 2,3 and 4 can be spooled up fast enough, the bad guys will either be shut down by our fire or learn to cut their engagements short in a "shoot and scoot" scenario. The active defense buys time while the counter battery solution is calculated and executed.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: NavyShooter on March 31, 2013, 08:48:47
I think the point is made though....

Using this as a defensive umbrella for HVT's is the way ahead, as troop protection already exists.  Alas, it seems designed for an insurgency type campaign, the "hit and run" sort where a handful of rounds are fired.  Although, if it's able to hit the first couple of incoming rounds, that would likely give those on the ground the time to seek better cover, or give them a bit more time to get there.

Against a truly capable first or second world enemy, this would be...well...almost pointless.  How many rounds would it take to saturate it?   How do you deal with multiple rounds timed to arrive at the same time?  Is it capable of handling that?

In terms of future fighting capability, is it an acceptance that future threats will be, most often, counter-insurgency, and fought against less capable/trained enemies?

Just my rumblings....if I'm out of my lane and blowing soot out my stacks, let me know.  :-)

NS
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on March 31, 2013, 16:05:47
Kevin, as I understand it, the MHTK is designed to knock mortar bombs out of the sky.  It isn't to replace bombs.  It is to prevent them landing.

My point is that it wouldn't take much to overwhelm this system.  I see the same problem with all of the active defence systems, especially ones intended for use on vehicles.  The guy on the ground has the advantage of having more ammunition, and cheaper ammunition, available to him.

Now, if you can detect the firing point and launch a timely counter-battery, counter-sniper strike as suggested by winipegoo7, then that is another matter entirely.

Okay now I am tracking your point.

We had 96 Mortar bombslaunched Christmas Day 2006 in Al Hilla Iraq by insurgents -- mix of 60mm and 81/82mm
   Generally when I was in Bagdad the typical days was maybe 20 incoming - Insurgent forces simply don't have a lot of mortars - and due to the 'Eye in the Sky' our response times are pretty good to wipe the launching troops.

However during Operation McCall when we where moving Yellowcake and other items we had one of the material evac C-17's hit by mortar fire on the tarmac at BIAP -- several CONEX of the WMD material where on board that C-17.   Another A/C had to be brought to bring the material out.   This sort of HVT the anti-missile would be ideal for, as a C-17 is around 1/4 Billion $, not to mention the MAZMAT issues if that cargo was dispersed
   
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on March 31, 2013, 16:12:50
Okay now I am tracking your point.

We had 96 Mortar bombslaunched Christmas Day 2006 in Al Hilla Iraq by insurgents -- mix of 60mm and 81/82mm
   Generally when I was in Bagdad the typical days was maybe 20 incoming - Insurgent forces simply don't have a lot of mortars - and due to the 'Eye in the Sky' our response times are pretty good to wipe the launching troops.

However during Operation McCall when we where moving Yellowcake and other items we had one of the material evac C-17's hit by mortar fire on the tarmac at BIAP -- several CONEX of the WMD material where on board that C-17.   Another A/C had to be brought to bring the material out.   This sort of HVT the anti-missile would be ideal for, as a C-17 is around 1/4 Billion $, not to mention the MAZMAT issues if that cargo was dispersed
 

OK,  I track.

As a selectively applied technology I can see merits.  But I still can't wrap my head around this, or other, active defence measures in an environment when the opposing, and defending, force can bring more bullets to the fight than you can with your attacking force operating at the extreme end of your lines of communication.  I still think he will always outshoot you.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Thucydides on March 31, 2013, 17:18:51
As Kevin pointed out, many of the insurgent forces don't have access to lots of *stuff* either, and if you think about it they are often at the end of a long supply line as well (consider smuggling a rocket from Iran to a Hamas cell in Gaza).

Putting a shield over a HVT is a good use of this sort of technology and buys the time that the defenders need. For the most part, I see the insurgents being on the receiving end of a lot more fire than they ever manage to send our way (once again, just ask the rocket teams in Gaza how that worked out for them...). Against a peer opponent, these technologies would probably cancel out.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on October 09, 2013, 18:29:31
The precision guided mortar revelation
(Richard da Silva for Defence IQ)


The resurgence of US mortar systems appears to be hitting their zenith since the introduction of PGMs and so Defence IQ explores the first smart mortar on the battlefield.

In early November 2012, ATK completed the production and delivery of more than 4,000 precision mortar cartridges (XM395, 120mm mortars) to the US Army. This final delivery accomplished ATK’s contract in support of the Army’s Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) and establishes the baseline for future precision mortar programmes. “Our precision guidance fuze technology has proven that existing mortar and artillery munition inventories can quickly and reliably be transformed into precision weapons,” said Dan Olson, Vice President and General Manager for ATK’s Armament Systems Division. “While we’ve completed the work for APMI, we are currently producing Precision Guidance Kits (PGK) for 155mm artillery under a similar Army urgent material request and have been chosen by the Marine Corps to prove a design for a Precision Extended Range Mortar.”


Bring on the APMI

The Army sponsored APMI to meet operational needs for a precision, 120mm mortar capability for reliable response to enemy engagements and especially in mountainous terrain which is inaccessible to artillery. A precision guided mortar provides field commanders with indirect fire capability successfully to engage targets while mitigating collateral damage. Additionally, greater accuracy reduces the number of rounds required to successfully defeat targets while reducing in-theatre logistical requirements and also providing collateral effect mitigation.
 
APMI – XM395

ATK leveraged mature guidance technologies and weapon subsystems to rapidly transform the more than 4,000 standard M934 mortar bodies into precision mortar cartridges (mortar bombs in UK parlance) through the addition of a GPS guidance and navigation fuze that replaces conventional fusing in the mortar cartridge fuze well. The standard cartridge tailfin is also replaced with an ATK-designed tailfin which helps to create the conditions for precision flight. Operators enter data into the system from a fire control computer into the round using a setting device. Production was completed at ATK’s Minnesota-based Armament Systems Division production facilities.

 
XM395 (Prototype)

While this phase in the development of a precision mortar system is complete, the Army is working towards the creation of a programme of record and is currently finalising the programme objective memorandum which is an initial step in securing the necessary resources for the requirement that is known as the High Explosive Guided Mortar or HEGM.

“Our XM395 also successfully completed a Forward Operational Assessment with the Army in Afghanistan. The initial quantities provided battlefield commander with 10 metre accuracy,” said Olson. “Given the weapon’s battlefield success and our organisation’s ability to move the programme from development to initial fielding within a year, we are looking forwards to the Army’s decision to allow fielding across the force.”

APMI’s success was recently recognised by the US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (ARDEC), being named one of the Army’s greatest inventions. Recipients of the award are recognized for their inventiveness and contribution to Army capabilities. Award winners are chosen by a panel of non-commissioned officers with recent combat experience along with field-grade officers from the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

ATK’s expertise in creating GPS guidance fuzes for indirect fire systems began with PGK (XM1156) which is a guidance fuze for artillery. The company is currently producing the kits to meet the Army’s urgent material request for precision guidance requirements for 155mm artillery projectiles that will be fielded for training and operational use. In parallel, ATK is nearing completion of a PGK development contract to produce the guidance fuzes under an ‘urgent material release’ for operational assessments in Afghanistan that includes training and tactical use. Additionally, ATK was recently awarded a Low Rate Initial Production contract with follow on options for full rate production which will begin Army-wide fielding in early 2014.

While proceeding on PGK, the company also is working towards proving that precision guidance is possible for the Marine Corps’ 120mm rifled mortar. In October 2012, ATK was awarded a $14.3 million contract to develop a solution to meet the Marine Corps’ requirement for a Precision Extended Range Mortar (PERM). The 24-month PERM development programme will demonstrate a precision mortar cartridge capable of reliably providing accuracy within 20 metres circular error probable (CEP) and can then be quickly transitioned to production and ultimately fielding.

Marching forwards

Lieutenant Colonel William McDonough, the US Army’s programme Officer for Mortars and PEO for Ammunition primarily credits the recent progress in mortar accuracy to the APMI and told Defence IQ that forces using the system had found it to be something of “a revelation”.
“It’s been in use in Afghanistan for a little more than two years and has seen good results, allowing for more accuracy and for commanders to have a better confidence level when engaging targets in urban areas. Accuracy is 10 metres CEP, so that is as accurate as I think we’re ever going to get at 120mm. It will provide all the effects you need.”

McDonough also highlighted the strong reliability and volume of sensors now available that can detect points of origin and extend situational awareness, which, when paired with the APMI, not only provides defensive coverage to forward operating bases but has also been useful in eliminating IED emplacers within a 6,250 metre circle around the position.

Other notable progress when it comes to the pace of mortar development has been seen on lightening of the soldiers’ load and the offer of more ammunition on the 60mm M224, and 81mm M252 sets, which has been well received in theatre. “We’ve taken about 9 pounds out of the 60mm mortar using the Inconel cannon (barrel in UK-speak), which is a more exotic metal [nickel-based] than standard steel, but maintains the same performance parameters and which is a good story in the hills and mountains of Afghanistan,” he said. “I would say we never beat the requirement demands from the operational community because we’re always playing catch up, but I think we are shortening the lead times and the time it takes to get products into the field.”

On this basis, target location is the one area in which focused training has been a key requirement, particularly for forward observers, because no matter how good the precision equipment becomes, the grid information must still be accurate first and foremost.

When it comes to accuracy, McDonough believes that the Army has peaked at the level it needs to and sees it to be an unnecessary investment to attempt to chase just a few more metres of accuracy, however, from a user’s experience, greater reach is always something that will be in demand. “The challenge is in knowing just how much range is needed, how much is too much, and how much is not enough.”


Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on October 09, 2013, 19:49:11
The precision guided mortar revelation
(Richard da Silva for Defence IQ)

The resurgence of US mortar systems appears to be hitting their zenith since the introduction of PGMs and so Defence IQ explores the first smart mortar on the battlefield.

I wouldn't have used the word zenith.  I can think of plenty of improvements still.  Are these guys hiring?

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 05, 2013, 02:16:57
I like the use of the improvised 60mm baseplate between 53.00 and 54.00 ish:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d96hP7HiQFc
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: milnews.ca on November 06, 2013, 21:22:04
For you 60mm fans, here's what the Brits are up to (http://www.janes.com/article/29502/british-army-infantry-to-revert-to-81-mm-mortar):
Quote
The majority of the M6-640 Commando handheld and M6-895 bipod-type 60 mm mortars acquired in quantity from Hirtenberger by the British Army to meet urgent operational requirements (UORs) in Afghanistan since 2008 are to be shelved for economy reasons.

According to Major Haydn Jellard, a staff officer from the Dismounted Close Combat section of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capability Directorate Combat who spoke at the Defence IQ Future Mortar Systems conference in London in October, once the drawdown from Afghanistan is complete, the Anglo-Canadian 81 mm L16A2 mortar will again be the only type on issue to standard infantry battalions in Reaction Force and Adaptive Force brigades. Their infantry sections will also have the use of 40 mm grenade launchers for organic fire support at the shortest ranges.

Though heavier than its 60 mm counterpart, the long-serving L16A2 bipod mortar can be man-ported if necessary, has a greater range (5,650 m), and its bombs have more than twice the lethal radius. Concentrating on a single calibre will also yield economies of scale in the acquisition of smoke, illuminating, and high-explosive mortar ammunition.

It is expected a vestigial 60 mm mortar capability will nonetheless be "kept alive" within light forces, notably by UK Royal Marines (part of the navy) and parachute battalions, which will continue to employ a limited number of the 1,384 m-range Commando mortars. The remainder (including all the 3,610 m-range M6-895 bipod versions) will be "going into store", Maj Jellard stated ....
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on November 08, 2013, 15:43:16
Interesting add-on by the USMC to their 60mm to improve accuracy, looks like a typical Holo-sight. Via Tanknet

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/11/07/marines-in-afghanistan-getting-mortar-improvements.html?ESRC=eb.nl
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: KevinB on November 08, 2013, 18:10:50
Insight MRDS -- I'm curious if it has a reticle like the EOTECH 40mm GL sight -- with range stadia etc.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on December 07, 2014, 15:53:45
60mm gossip (http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.ca/2014/08/light-infantry-battalions-and-regular.html) - UK version

Quote
For all of 2013, the 60mm Light Mortar continued to be part of the training for the infantry battalions, but the weapon is expected to have to go after operations in Afghanistan conclude. The mortar was procured as UOR to reintroduce a capability that had been available for ages in the Platoons, thanks to the 51mm mortar. It was phased out believing that the introduction of under slung grenade launchers would provide a proper replacement, but the experience on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan proved it wasn't quite the case.
Last year, the Army said that the Platoon Mortar would eventually leave the army again, with the weapons mothballed. Only the PARA and Commando units would retain a number of them in use, to preserve their capability and to keep alive expertise of their employment.
This is another example of cut corner. It is to be hoped that the decision will be reversed, like it has happened in other cases.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: milnews.ca on December 07, 2014, 17:07:45
Interesting add-on by the USMC to their 60mm to improve accuracy, looks like a typical Holo-sight. Via Tanknet

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/11/07/marines-in-afghanistan-getting-mortar-improvements.html?ESRC=eb.nl
Very slick - some closer pix from Flickr attached (https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavyresearch/sets/72157637373332824/).
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MilEME09 on December 08, 2014, 05:36:01
looks like you use the sighting system which looks like a holo sight on top of a laser range finder to get a rough angle of attack if you can visually see the target area that is.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on December 09, 2014, 06:43:08
You can also dial a range in if you are forced to estimate or pick it from a map.  I have heard anecdotal evidence that they are quite accurate, assuming you have the correct range.   
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 13, 2018, 12:09:17
And it's back......

Quote
Army Wants 120mm Mortar Systems That Can Fire Out to 12 Miles
[/b][/size]

https://www.military.com/kitup/2018/09/12/army-wants-120mm-mortar-systems-can-fire-out-12-miles.html

Needless to say, not our Army.

Quote
The U.S. Army wants to replace its current mounted and towed 120mm mortars with new systems that will shoot farther and offer protection for mounted crews.

Army officials from Product Manager Precision Fires and Mortars and Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems began market surveys in August to find defense firms capable of producing a 120mm Mortar Future Indirect Fire Turret by 2021 and a 120mm Extended Range Mortar system by 2026, according to two Aug. 2 solicitations.

The new 120mm Mortar Future Indirect Fire Turret, or FIFT, "is a 120mm turret that provides protection from enemy counter battery systems and insulates soldiers from the effects of both noise and blast overpressure," the FIFT solicitation states. "This turret shall be capable of firing heavier projectiles at a greater range than the current Battalion Mortar System (BMS) or Recoil Mortar System-Light (RMS-L)."

As an objective requirement, the Army wants the new turret system to shoot out to 20,000 meters, or 12.4 miles, according to the FIFT solicitation.....

The Army also wants the FIFT to have more automation so the "physical burden on crew is reduced, while supporting a high rate-of-fire capability," according to the solicitation. In loading and firing, the Army wants a system where "ammo transitions from stowage through the firing event without human contact."

At a minimum, the system should have a maximum rate of fire, or MROF, of 16 rounds per minute for one minute followed by a sustained rate of fire, or SROF, of 6 rounds per minute "indefinitely," the solicitation states. Ideally, the Army wants a system capable of "being fired at the MROF of 24 rounds per minute for 2 minutes and maintain a SROF of 12 rounds per minute indefinitely."

The FIFT may be manned or unmanned and designed to be compatible with the Stryker, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, and Next-Generation Combat Vehicle.


Which seems to bring us back to

https://ndiastorage.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ndia/2014/armaments/Wed16495_Tainen.pdf



Even more curious - and something that might be more of interest to Canada is the prospect of a 20 km x 81 mm mortar.


Quote
Both the Army and the Marine Corps have expressed interest in mortar systems that shoot farther. Earlier this year, the Corps began searching for a company capable of producing the Advanced Capability Extended Range Mortar, or ACERM -- a mortar round compatible with existing Marine and Army M252 81mm mortar systems that offers an effective range of up to 20,000 meters as well.


Personally I think that any turreted mortar system should be assigned to the Arty, especially if it is going to be lobbing bombs 20 km down range and likely to be manoeuvering behind the forward echelons.

What do the pros think about the other system though?  20 km 81s?  It sounds kind of long and light to me.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 13, 2018, 12:35:35
The US Arm The Army is alway assigns mortars to the infantry. the primary mortar at the battalion level is the 120mm and the 81mm mortar at company level. Extending the range of mortars is good but we cant rely on artillery. I would prefer a 105mm solution but I also like the Russian solution of 160mm and 240mm mortars that are wheeled so they can be towed or airlifted.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on September 13, 2018, 12:38:32
A 20k 81mm is basically a long range 25pdr, although very affected by windage I suspect. Velocity at the beginning of the arc will be fast, unless it's rocket assisted, which likely means a 60mm like HE load.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 13, 2018, 12:39:39
The US Arm The Army is alway assigns mortars to the infantry. the primary mortar at the battalion level is the 120mm and the 81mm mortar at company level. Extending the range of mortars is good but we cant rely on artillery. I would prefer a 105mm solution but I also like the Russian solution of 160mm and 240mm mortars that are wheeled so they can be towed or airlifted.

Yes T6, but you also give your infantry 105mm cannons to play with.   Our army tends to feel that those sorts of things should be left in the hands of the professionals with scarred scalps.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 13, 2018, 13:05:06
The artillery operate the towed 105's /M119. They are part of support FA battalions and have been used in Afghanistan. I would like to see more HIMARS/MRLS fire units. 


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18550/us-army-eyes-replacing-its-105mm-and-155mm-towed-howitzers-with-one-new-cannon
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 13, 2018, 18:12:31
The artillery operate the towed 105's /M119. They are part of support FA battalions and have been used in Afghanistan. I would like to see more HIMARS/MRLS fire units. 


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18550/us-army-eyes-replacing-its-105mm-and-155mm-towed-howitzers-with-one-new-cannon

Understood T6. 

Actually I was thinking about these 105s

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/14/Exercise_Allied_Spirit_I%2C_Day_5_150117-A-EM105-337.jpg/300px-Exercise_Allied_Spirit_I%2C_Day_5_150117-A-EM105-337.jpg)

And Colin

Are you suggesting the reintroduction of the  25pdr QF as an alternative to either the 81 or the 120?

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 13, 2018, 18:44:55
I think the 25 pounder QF would fit the bill.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on September 13, 2018, 20:55:17
I think the 25 pounder QF would fit the bill.

Combat proven, adaptive to high, medium angle and direct fire modes, 306 degrees traverse on a deployable gravity assisted self contained stability platform, which improves accuracy and reduce gun movement from recoil forces. Hardened against EW attacks, offers protection to personal from shrapnel and 7.62x47. Comes complete with it's own articulated ammunition support system and has low maintenance hydraulic braking systems. The gun system can be married with visual and optical aiming system and can be fitted with electrical systems for night warfare. Can be moved by a dedicated tractor or any expedient vehicle over 1/4ton. Fires a multiude of different types of semi-fixed rounds which can be sourced from around the world and is capable of defeating BMP's from all angles and a T-55 from the side with AP ammunition fired with supercharge (muzzlebrake option fitted) System has been deployed world over in Arctic, desert, temperate and mountainous terrain. Vehicle mount options are also available.     
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MilEME09 on September 13, 2018, 21:54:15
Don't forget cheap to manufacture, all the manuals exist, i believe there was a Pack arty version for airbourne
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on September 13, 2018, 22:11:58
Let's go with the Enfields while we're at it!
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 13, 2018, 22:40:02
Let's go with the Enfields while we're at it!

Now you're getting it!  At least with the Enfield you can attach a proper sword....  ;D

(https://assets.catawiki.nl/assets/2018/2/5/c/2/1/c21f4e7d-be07-47a8-ad04-14fd1eb5bf0a.jpg)

Just the thing for charging the Turks....

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lighthorseart.com.au%2Fimages%2FTHE-CHARGE.jpg&hash=2944384fe06714c13b3baadcfa0a9d3f)

But back to the AMOS - AMOS on LAV - infantry, armour or artillery?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: FJAG on September 13, 2018, 23:10:27
There's a fundamental difference between a battalion's indirect fire support weapon and artillery in general. The battalion has a limited area of influence dictated by it's organic target acquisition and fire control capability. Artillery on the other hand is designed to reach out beyond the battalions and across a broader front. It's target acquisition and fire control systems are designed to allow that. There's a bit of apples and oranges to the issue.

There's nothing wrong with longer range mortars. If nothing else then they can be positioned further back from the front lines into more secure areas. In worse case scenarios, such as Afghanistan, where a battalion might have a vast AO to cover, it provides more dedicated organic support further out.

IMHO, mortars regardless of calibre, like guns should be self propelled and armoured for no other reason than our near peer adversaries have really good counter mortar/gun capabilities and we all seem to have forgotten just how quickly counter mortar/gun, rockets with sub munitions get to you after your first shot. Again IMHO, any army planning to use towed guns or dismounted mortars--especially when transported by thin skinned vehicles--in a near peer environment is flirting with professional negligence. (I find it quite interesting that a mortar squad in a US Stryker bn has both a vehicle mounted 120 mm mortar and an 81 mm mortar for dismounted operations--somewhat reminiscent of the old airborne battery which could deploy 6 x 105 mm L5 pack howitzers or 12 x 81mm mortars or a combination of the two)

Yes. We need a HIMARS/MLRS capability.

 :cheers:
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Infanteer on September 13, 2018, 23:43:49
What he said.

Inf Mortars - Support a Bn

Arty Mortars - Support a Bde

Who you give them to should be dependent on what effect you want to achieve.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 14, 2018, 00:07:44
If you are in Afghanistan you need mortars and the type of fire that an MRLS/HIMARS can lay down. Air support might be a long way off. The bad guys certainly use mortars.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Hamish Seggie on September 14, 2018, 00:22:24
Interesting conversation. Please carry on.

Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Colin P on September 14, 2018, 00:23:29
What he said.

Inf Mortars - Support a Bn

Arty Mortars - Support a Bde

Who you give them to should be dependent on what effect you want to achieve.

Infantry--60>81mm mortars

Artillery-- 120mm towed or SP
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 14, 2018, 00:39:58
The Army wants more range out of the 120mm mortar, but at what cost ? If the goal is to engage an enemy out to 20 miles I think that's a job for the 105 and 155 howitzers or HIMARs/MRLS. I see the mortar as infantry support by company and battalion mortars. Back in the day the non mech/infantry had the 81mm at the company level with battalion mortars consisting of the 4.2 mortar.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: MilEME09 on September 14, 2018, 00:42:57
Infantry--60>81mm mortars

Artillery-- 120mm towed or SP

Little over simplified, why only SP for arty? Wouldnt you want a sp mortor carrier in the infantry?
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: Chris Pook on September 14, 2018, 12:53:17
Couple of points...

What is the size of the Area of Operations and does the size of the Area vary with the terrain?  (Prairie-Desert-Arctic vs Jungle-Forest-Urban)

A long-range mortar, with lots of ammunition - doesn't that need a vehicle in support?  Even a "dismounted" mortar benefits from an ATV to hump the ammo.

But.

While recognizing the value of large, lumbering, heavily armoured kit - I still tend to look at the value of light forces, even in a near-peer environment, as being to rapidly exploit opportunities to seize strategically important ground before the enemy gets there. 

So, for me, the 60-81 mortars (with or without ATVs/UTVs  and 2-7 km range) that can be dropped by 'chute or lifted by helo, make sense for light forces or even for rifle coy tms.  On the other hand the 120 seems to me to demand a vehicle and if so it might as well be a variant of one in current service, so the LAV.  And if the LAV then an automated, permanently mounted mortar.

As to the cap badge - that comes back to the intended employment an the area of operations.  My sense is that a 20 km mortar is going to cover a large AO - an area considerably larger than even a 4 coy, 600 bayonet battalion could secure or invest, even in open terrain.  That brings the debate, in my mind, down to Blackhats or Gunners, or perhaps both.   A 20 km mortar attached to a Cavalry-Light Armoured Regiment makes eminent sense.  Likewise one attached to an Infantry Brigade equally makes sense.   I lean towards the notion of SP 120s as Arty tools that can be used to support both Cavalry and Infantry as occasions demand.

Perhaps the Brigade Arty should have a large SP-120 battery of something like 16 turrets in 4 tps of 4.
Title: Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
Post by: GnyHwy on October 05, 2018, 00:20:45
FJAG hit some very good points above that I agree with entirely.

The 120mm is a very real option for either branch, but given our size, the 120mm would be better managed in the Arty, leaving the 81mm with Infantry Bns for their own immediate support.

The 105mm, while still valid, mostly because of simplicity and availability, may be dated.

It seems most R&D investment is in larger calibers or rockets or mortars. Extending range (and accuracy) of any of those is not necessarily high tech anymore.