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Offline Haligonian

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The Brigade Fight
« on: March 13, 2019, 20:43:38 »
Recently I've been thinking about how we want our brigade's to fight.  Now, that may seem laughable in some ways due to the fact that we have no recent experience in deploying an actual CMBG and our CMBG's aren't really resourced to fight as a formed formation.  Having said this, the army says that a brigade is a fighting formation and we train them as such during UNIFIED RESOLVE and, depending on the year, at MAPLE RESOLVE.

In the past few weeks I've had a conversation with one of our brigade commanders on his experiences thus far, read Close Engagement, and read an article on US brigades going through JRTC (https://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2018/Oct-Dec/pdf/11_Buzzard_BDE.pdf) and compared that against an article written by MGen Julian Thompson on his time as Comd 3 Cdo Bde in the Falklands as well as my own correspondence with him.

What the Bde Comd told me was that you can fight a Bde as a big Bn or a small division.  I thought that was an interesting approach to answering the question of how a Brigade should fight. 

The Canadian Army view is that the Bde is the first level where JIMP actions can take place.  The US article above talks about effective Bde's not getting fixated on the "shiny object" of the close fight.  They should work in conjunction with Div/Corps/JTF to fight the deep battle.  This deep fight sets conditions for success in the close fight and the Bde enables this success through the deep fight, provision of enablers, RAS and reconnaissance to identify the enemy main effort and vulnerabilities.  Lastly the Bde should be managing transitions from tactical activity to the next.  The Canadian philosophy maybe even more demanding in that the HQ needs to be able to integrate all the potential JIMP assets, and people/personalities.  This in my opinion is a description of the "small Div" approach.

Alternately, once 3 Cdo Bde was landed and shed its requirement for dealing directly with the HQ back in the UK it was very much focussed on tactical execution in the close fight.  It had little if any deep fight.  What I think is most telling is the small size of 3 Cdo Bde's HQ, the speed of its decision making and planning, and the activities of its commander.  Comd 3 Cdo Bde would move forward with a recce group, similar to a BG Comd's recce grp, to conduct personal reconnaissance of the ground and enemy before pursuing a decision making process that is fairly similar to our Battle Procedure drill.  I would also look at brigades, both US and UK, in Desert Storm that advanced in formations as a formed whole and executed battle drills.  I would suggest that this is an example of the "big Bn" approach.

I don't think there is any one right way.  It's a matter of what is expected of that brigade and its headquarters to achieve and how large it is, particularly what enablers it has organically or attached.  Theoretically, we could take away the JIMP requirements from the Bdes and place them with 1 Cdn Div.  I think this approach would be more in synch with our allies, however, if we're sceptical about a deploying Bde then deploying 1 Cdn Div seems just as or even less likely.  What I'm thinking right now is that the JIMP enabled Bde that integrates all these enablers and can operate dispersed over a large area of operations is likely the worst case scenario so we should aim to be prepared for that (we've been ordered to anyway).  The risk of this is that Bde HQ's are likely to be too big, slow, and vulnerable to operate against a more capable opponent.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 19:44:47 »
An interesting approach to be sure, but does Canada even have sufficient "enablers" attached to a Brigade to fight as the "Small Division"? If we think a good day at Maple Resolve is when 8 tanks are actually running, and most of the enablers are in similar shape then maybe we need to sit back for a moment.

While a Bde HQ may have the intellectual horsepower to handle the JIMP people and enablers, if they don't actually exist in any useful quantities then maybe we should take the more realistic "Big Battalion" option instead.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 19:53:46 »
Recently I've been thinking about how we want our brigade's to fight.  Now, that may seem laughable in some ways due to the fact that we have no recent experience in deploying an actual CMBG and our CMBG's aren't really resourced to fight as a formed formation.  Having said this, the army says that a brigade is a fighting formation and we train them as such during UNIFIED RESOLVE and, depending on the year, at MAPLE RESOLVE.

In the past few weeks I've had a conversation with one of our brigade commanders on his experiences thus far, read Close Engagement, and read an article on US brigades going through JRTC (https://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2018/Oct-Dec/pdf/11_Buzzard_BDE.pdf) and compared that against an article written by MGen Julian Thompson on his time as Comd 3 Cdo Bde in the Falklands as well as my own correspondence with him.

What the Bde Comd told me was that you can fight a Bde as a big Bn or a small division.  I thought that was an interesting approach to answering the question of how a Brigade should fight. 

The Canadian Army view is that the Bde is the first level where JIMP actions can take place.  The US article above talks about effective Bde's not getting fixated on the "shiny object" of the close fight.  They should work in conjunction with Div/Corps/JTF to fight the deep battle.  This deep fight sets conditions for success in the close fight and the Bde enables this success through the deep fight, provision of enablers, RAS and reconnaissance to identify the enemy main effort and vulnerabilities.  Lastly the Bde should be managing transitions from tactical activity to the next.  The Canadian philosophy maybe even more demanding in that the HQ needs to be able to integrate all the potential JIMP assets, and people/personalities.  This in my opinion is a description of the "small Div" approach.

Alternately, once 3 Cdo Bde was landed and shed its requirement for dealing directly with the HQ back in the UK it was very much focussed on tactical execution in the close fight.  It had little if any deep fight.  What I think is most telling is the small size of 3 Cdo Bde's HQ, the speed of its decision making and planning, and the activities of its commander.  Comd 3 Cdo Bde would move forward with a recce group, similar to a BG Comd's recce grp, to conduct personal reconnaissance of the ground and enemy before pursuing a decision making process that is fairly similar to our Battle Procedure drill.  I would also look at brigades, both US and UK, in Desert Storm that advanced in formations as a formed whole and executed battle drills.  I would suggest that this is an example of the "big Bn" approach.

I don't think there is any one right way.  It's a matter of what is expected of that brigade and its headquarters to achieve and how large it is, particularly what enablers it has organically or attached.  Theoretically, we could take away the JIMP requirements from the Bdes and place them with 1 Cdn Div.  I think this approach would be more in synch with our allies, however, if we're sceptical about a deploying Bde then deploying 1 Cdn Div seems just as or even less likely.  What I'm thinking right now is that the JIMP enabled Bde that integrates all these enablers and can operate dispersed over a large area of operations is likely the worst case scenario so we should aim to be prepared for that (we've been ordered to anyway).  The risk of this is that Bde HQ's are likely to be too big, slow, and vulnerable to operate against a more capable opponent.

With as much artillery as you can muster... and the ammo.

If there's one thing I heard from the guys who were in 3 Cdo Bde during the Falklands War, you need lots of firepower to move those BGps around without getting pinned to the mat by the opposition.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 20:46:37 »
I have no doubt you’re right.  I think whether you’re fighting “big battalions” or “little Divs” our Bde’s need more fire power starting with more artillery.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 21:19:44 »
I have no doubt you’re right.  I think whether you’re fighting “big battalions” or “little Divs” our Bde’s need more fire power starting with more artillery.

I think, as a result of our many years of COIN ops, we have become enamoured with air support at the expense of artillery. But, in a 'real punch up' of course, artillery is still the Biggest Battlefield Bully 24/7 good weather or bad, and we need way more of it to do the business properly.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline MCG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 22:46:57 »
Viewing this as a choice between “big battalions” or “little divisions” is probably an over simplification. I think a lot of factors dictate what need or need not be in a brigade’s sphere of influence and control.

In a near peer fight, the brigade needs to be able to really focous its attention on its assigned fight. It cannot do that if it is also CIMICing/IAing every encounterd town and village as it advances up the trace (that CIMIC and IA have become usable as verbs is telling of other problems).

But, if we are in a theatre with massive overmatch but conducting operations with relatively few dispersed troops, then the brigade has the time (if given the appropriate staff) to manage more of the problems in its battle space.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2019, 11:12:25 »
Viewing this as a choice between “big battalions” or “little divisions” is probably an over simplification. I think a lot of factors dictate what need or need not be in a brigade’s sphere of influence and control.

In a near peer fight, the brigade needs to be able to really focous its attention on its assigned fight. It cannot do that if it is also CIMICing/IAing every encounterd town and village as it advances up the trace (that CIMIC and IA have become usable as verbs is telling of other problems).

But, if we are in a theatre with massive overmatch but conducting operations with relatively few dispersed troops, then the brigade has the time (if given the appropriate staff) to manage more of the problems in its battle space.

How to Fight - the Tank/ Mech Infantry Team

Slightly cheesy, impressive 70s mustaches, but some timeless lessons about the combined arms team:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uc-wTlD-_U

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2019, 22:30:33 »
Viewing this as a choice between “big battalions” or “little divisions” is probably an over simplification. I think a lot of factors dictate what need or need not be in a brigade’s sphere of influence and control.

In a near peer fight, the brigade needs to be able to really focous its attention on its assigned fight. It cannot do that if it is also CIMICing/IAing every encounterd town and village as it advances up the trace (that CIMIC and IA have become usable as verbs is telling of other problems).

But, if we are in a theatre with massive overmatch but conducting operations with relatively few dispersed troops, then the brigade has the time (if given the appropriate staff) to manage more of the problems in its battle space.

Agreed.  I think "big battalions" and "little divisions" are opposite ends of a spectrum and any particular approach is situated somewhere along that spectrum.  I'd say US Bde's may sit somewhere in the middle, maybe a little on the big battalion side due to the fact that I don't think they are worried about the joint, interagency, and public part so much, whereas our aspirational ideas for our Bde's sound like they are closer to the little div.

How to Fight - the Tank/ Mech Infantry Team

Slightly cheesy, impressive 70s mustaches, but some timeless lessons about the combined arms team:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uc-wTlD-_U

"Lethality, it means deadliness."

Hahaha.  I love these.  Gen DePuy would have been very please with this LCol as he had obviously read the 1976 version of FM 100-5 Operations.  The British ones, like "Fighting in Woods", are the best but this one was good too.

Offline FJAG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2019, 00:55:11 »
How to Fight - the Tank/ Mech Infantry Team

Slightly cheesy, impressive 70s mustaches, but some timeless lessons about the combined arms team:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uc-wTlD-_U

Boy those Centurions, M113s, M109s and mustaches sure bring back memories.  ;D

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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2019, 17:30:42 »
An interesting article related to the theme.  I know it's been discussed before but I wonder if a reconnaissance and security focus for CMBGs could be a viable approach.  CMBGs designed to plug into coalition formations to give Corps level HQ's a reconnaissance and security formation.

The British Strike concept could be relevant as well.

https://mwi.usma.edu/winning-deep-fight-return-echeloned-reconnaissance-security/

Offline MCG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2019, 23:13:59 »
35 years ago, doctrine defined “CMBG” as “Corps Mechanized Brigade Group” and this was coincidentally the role filled by 4 CMBG.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 19:05:12 »
35 years ago, doctrine defined “CMBG” as “Corps Mechanized Brigade Group” and this was coincidentally the role filled by 4 CMBG.

I didn't know that.  I thought that 4 CMBG was reserve for VII Corps or BAOR.

Offline MCG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2019, 03:46:41 »
I don’t know how far back into the past we had doctrinally described the “C” as meaning “Corps” for an acronym where it always meant “Canada” in a formation name, so I don’t know that it applies to time with the BAOR. Certainly, it was VII Corps’ mechanized brigade group ... more punch than any brigade inside a division and faster to wield than any division. Corps reserve was a job it could do. It was also suited for guard tasks and flank security.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2019, 05:44:06 »
According to such sources as I can find, 4 Canadian Mechanized Battle Group became 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in 1972. I do not think that the C ever stood for Corps. After the move south to Lahr, 4 CMBG was a reserve for CENTAG. In the event of war the intent was to attach it to either II German Corps or VII Corps. It trained with both. Going mostly off "War Without Battles", its likely task would have been to establish a block on some good terrain in depth against a Soviet penetration. The US in particular has its Armored Cavalry Regiments (ACRs) specifically organized and trained to perform the Cover task for a Corps.

The current Canadian doctrine for Brigade ("Brigade Tactics"), does talk about using a CMBG as a cover for a higher coalition formation. I've written up one exercise exploring the idea. It can work, although I believe that our artillery needs to be SP and our infantry need more ATGM if we are serious.

I recommend that anybody in a Brigade or wanting to discuss the Brigade Fight should read the fairly new Canadian "Brigade Tactics" publication. It serves as a useful startpoint.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 16:47:09 by Tango2Bravo »
Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

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Online Blackadder1916

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2019, 15:58:03 »
As I remember the fantasy exercise known as "Corps 86", the org chart for the notional Canadian Corps had (in addition to the two mech divs and one armoured div) a Mechanized Brigade Group (identified as 10 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group) as well as an Armoured Cavalry Brigade Group (1 ACBG).  How much the doctrinal employment of the "C"MBG was for cover tasks my memory fails at the moment (I might have some old pubs buried away), but the ACBG (IIRC) was similarly organized to US Armored Cav Regiments (US use of the term regiment) of the day and I posit that they were (in a fantasy notional sort of way) to perform the same tasks.  The inclusion of a separate Mech Bde Gp was (or what I thought was) so that staff training could be done at a formation level approaching reality.
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2019, 17:03:57 »
I think that if things are organized in a close to "doctrinal" way, a Brigade will fight much more similarly to a Division that it would to a Battalion.

I believe that the Brigade is the first level that can truly plan and fight at the same time. The Brigade truly has a deep fight, whereas the Battalion/Battle Group does not really have the assets to have one. The Brigade will have a deeper time horizon/scale than the Battle Group. The Brigade in certainly more interested in the close fight than the Division, but the Battle Group lives the close fight. The various manoeuvre units in a Brigade will rarely be in a position to conduct fire and movement etc due to the size of unit footprint, whereas this might be normal in a Battle Group. Passing a company through a company is not particularly complex. Passing a battle group through a battle group is quite different. Battalion tactics can be scaled up Platoon tactics. That model fall apart, though, at Brigade level.

Now, a Brigade that has a single Battle Group and a single artillery battery might fight in a manner quite similar to a large Battle Group that has an artillery battery and a full Plans shop. I would call those "edge cases", but those are also things that we have certainly seen in the past twenty years!
Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2019, 18:32:47 »
I recommend that anybody in a Brigade or wanting to discuss the Brigade Fight should read the fairly new Canadian "Brigade Tactics" publication. It serves as a useful startpoint.

Brigade Tactics isn't bad but we can thank the UK for that.  It is, with a few exceptions, a word for word copy of their equivalent manual, AFM Vol 1 Part 1B.

I think that if things are organized in a close to "doctrinal" way, a Brigade will fight much more similarly to a Division that it would to a Battalion.

I believe that the Brigade is the first level that can truly plan and fight at the same time. The Brigade truly has a deep fight, whereas the Battalion/Battle Group does not really have the assets to have one. The Brigade will have a deeper time horizon/scale than the Battle Group. The Brigade in certainly more interested in the close fight than the Division, but the Battle Group lives the close fight. The various manoeuvre units in a Brigade will rarely be in a position to conduct fire and movement etc due to the size of unit footprint, whereas this might be normal in a Battle Group. Passing a company through a company is not particularly complex. Passing a battle group through a battle group is quite different. Battalion tactics can be scaled up Platoon tactics. That model fall apart, though, at Brigade level.

Now, a Brigade that has a single Battle Group and a single artillery battery might fight in a manner quite similar to a large Battle Group that has an artillery battery and a full Plans shop. I would call those "edge cases", but those are also things that we have certainly seen in the past twenty years!

Interesting take.  When I was reading the article and thinking on the "Big Bn" "Small Div" dichotomy one of the things I thought about was the deep fight.  A brigade has a deep fight in the way that they have a deeper planning horizon but other than that they don't have the organic assets to really strike deep.  Presumably to enable the planning for what comes next then the Bde would own or be allocated the appropriate ISTAR assets in order to be able to feed their planning cycle.  MLRS and AH are usually held at the Div and higher.  Doctrinally the deep fight was owned by the Corps.  When I saw that diagram in the article that showed the Bde owning a piece of the deep fight I thought that it could all be elevated by an echelon so that the Div, vice the Bde, had the first slice of the deep fight, and the Corps owned the majority of the deep battle.

A critical distinction between the BG and the Bde is its ability to conduct operations while simultaneously planning for future ones.  I think this maybe the paramount difference but it does not necessarily mean they will fight significantly differently if the Bde lacks the assets to see and fight deep.  I would point to US Bdes in Desert Storm advancing in formations, and appearing to do some level of fire and movement, not totally different than Coys.  I read one account that saw a TF level SBF position.  1 UK Armd Div gave orders to 4 Armd Bde at 1758 and they began their attack at 2330.  5.5 hours isn't much of a "deep" planning horizon.

Perhaps the line in the sand is what level is responsible for success in the close fight.  In Desert Storm I think that level would have been the Division.  Above that level, the Corps was responsible for sequencing, resourcing, and employment of the ACR as well as Corps level fires to set the conditions for a successful commitment of the Divs.  Above that the CJFLCC and beyond were concerned about joint and combined issues.  At the Division level and below their actions may have looked something like "Big Bns." 

Limiting this would be the effects of terrain and battlespace density.  As the frontage and depth of any unit increases it will need to be allocated more enablers to enable it to control its associated area and the reduced ability for direct fire weapons to provide mutual support between units.  The more enablers, the larger the staff, and the more deliberate the planning process.  The more dispersed the fight the more its fight will take on the complexion of that of a higher formation.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2019, 19:08:51 »
In the event of war the intent was to attach it to either II German Corps or VII Corps. It trained with both. Going mostly off "War Without Battles", its likely task would have been to establish a block on some good terrain in depth against a Soviet penetration.

Just finished reading First Clash and that's exactly what 4 CMBG is doing on behalf of VII Corps.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2019, 21:21:31 »
I believe that the Brigade is the first level that can truly plan and fight at the same time.

This sounds about right.  I'd venture that the "planning horizon" for a battalion or battle group in mobile operations is about 2 to 6 hours, while a Brigade's sits at about 8 to 16 hours (a Div is about a day, while a Corps sits at 2-3 days).  The battalion commander is thinking "how am I going to clear this town" - his staff supports this.  The brigade commander thinks "how am I going to clear this town, and what are we going to do after we clear it."  This is fighting and planning at the same time.

Quote
The Brigade truly has a deep fight, whereas the Battalion/Battle Group does not really have the assets to have one.

Are you talking about "a" brigade, or "our" CMBG?  What assets does a CMBG have to conduct close and deep operations simultaneously?
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2019, 22:11:19 »
The Brigade at least owns tube artillery. It's deep is not as deep as the Div and Corps Deep, but the framework at least applies. The Brigade might chose to focus exclusively on its close fight - the "shiny object" as the article alludes to. It does, however, have a deep. Deep does not really apply to a Battle Group, even one with mortars.

Training at a US school in 1998 our instructors would comment that the Div of the time was really the one with a Deep Battle as the Div had AH64 and MLRS. Nevertheless, the Bde still used the Deep as part of the framework and could at least do something about it.
Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

Offline Infanteer

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2019, 23:19:17 »
I don't think tube artillery qualifies a formation to conduct deep operations.  If a CMBG is going to employ its artillery, it'll be aiming its piddly 8x howitzers in support of its lead unit.  Our tube artillery cannot really reach into an enemy's depth in any significant way.

While I understand the framework of close, deep, and rear could be applied to CMBG planning, I'm not really sure it is helpful, or useful.  Land Ops states that deep operations must be long range (probably not what I'd define a M777 as...) and protracted (probably not something 8 tubes could deliver, even with a leaflet drop from a CH-146 layered over it...).  I'm not sure a Brigade is the right organization to manage and coordinate such widely dispersed tactical engagements.  The CMBG, and I'd argue most (all?) brigade-sized formations are designed, scaled, and resourced to fight the "close battle," dealing with the problem to their front.  We should probably avoid teaching or training Brigade Commanders and their staff to go out trying to fight a "deep battle."
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2019, 23:37:48 »
FWIW....

Brigades are to Corps as Companies are to Brigades. Plus artillery.

A guy I know, who went on to bigger things, described it that way to me and it kind of made sense to me.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2019, 00:08:04 »
I don't think tube artillery qualifies a formation to conduct deep operations.  If a CMBG is going to employ its artillery, it'll be aiming its piddly 8x howitzers in support of its lead unit.  Our tube artillery cannot really reach into an enemy's depth in any significant way.

While I understand the framework of close, deep, and rear could be applied to CMBG planning, I'm not really sure it is helpful, or useful.  Land Ops states that deep operations must be long range (probably not what I'd define a M777 as...) and protracted (probably not something 8 tubes could deliver, even with a leaflet drop from a CH-146 layered over it...).  I'm not sure a Brigade is the right organization to manage and coordinate such widely dispersed tactical engagements.  The CMBG, and I'd argue most (all?) brigade-sized formations are designed, scaled, and resourced to fight the "close battle," dealing with the problem to their front.  We should probably avoid teaching or training Brigade Commanders and their staff to go out trying to fight a "deep battle."

If I haven't been branded a cynic on this forum a long time ago, then do it now.

Does anyone here really think or plan on going to war with an 8 gun artillery regiment to support a brigade? Hell when I started in this business we had eight gun batteries to support a battalion who had eight mortars of their own. Brigades had 32 guns and we still felt ourselves (and were in fact) outgunned by our opponents. Don't even get me started on anti-armour.

I'm truly in awe of all of you who are serving now and not ripping your hair out in despair.

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Offline Ostrozac

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2019, 08:15:24 »
If I haven't been branded a cynic on this forum a long time ago, then do it now.

Does anyone here really think or plan on going to war with an 8 gun artillery regiment to support a brigade? Hell when I started in this business we had eight gun batteries to support a battalion who had eight mortars of their own. Brigades had 32 guns and we still felt ourselves (and were in fact) outgunned by our opponents. Don't even get me started on anti-armour.

I'm truly in awe of all of you who are serving now and not ripping your hair out in despair.

 :salute:

We don’t seem to want to actually going to a major war equipped as you’ve described. We are a Counter-Insurgency/Constabulary Army that for some reason likes to play-act that we can fight in a major war. Our theory that a few howitzers towed behind trucks and tripod mounted TOW is sufficient for a near-peer adversary is outdated even by Cold War standards, our headquarters are slow and deliberate (and fairly immobile), and our weapons selection seems ideal for quagmires in the Third World rather than trading shots with the latest and greatest.

A Canadian brigade would probably be quite comfortable in the kind of war that France is currently fighting in Mali. But against Russia? We’d be found by UAVs that we can’t shoot down, fixed by self-propellled tube and rocket artillery that we can’t counterbattery, and encircled by all arms manoeuvre battalions that overmatch our anti armour weapons. We’d look like the Republican Guard in ‘91.

I am not sure why we as an institution continue to pretend to embrace modern war and deny our actual war fighting mission, which is very much on the lighter side of the spectrum. There’s nothing inherently shameful about being a counter-insurgency army, and there are plenty of countries that could occupy our time for 10+ Rotos of low intensity war, but a COIN army that tries to bluff its way onto a major battlefield might just end up a speed bump.

Offline DetectiveMcNulty

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2019, 14:52:12 »
Do we really need all this overheard at NDHQ and other places to run a COIN force? The cynic in me says this is why we keep pretending to be a real military.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2019, 17:23:59 »
We aren't, nor do we need to be, a "COIN Force."  Countries with insurgencies need to build their own COIN forces.

Some of the commentators here are focusing too much on the glaring equipment deficiencies.  While accurate, they do not define what an Army is or should be capable of.  Remember, unlike navies or air forces, which are defined by platforms, armies are defined more by organizations.

Just because we have capability deficiencies in certain areas doesn't mean we drop the whole programme.  As Afghanistan demonstrates, we are 1 or 2 UORs away from fixing those issues.  My comment on 8 howitzers was made somewhat tongue in cheek, as most professionals understand that peacetime force generation organizations do not translate into wartime force employment ones.

In the meantime, we conceptualize and train based on the anticipated threat.  When we don't have the 100% solution to work with, we figure out other ways to intellectually prepare our soldiers.  Remember, the German Army built a world beating mobile force in the 1930s using cars with tank mock-ups and being forbidden to have warplanes.  Don't "fight the whites" on this one.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2019, 18:14:56 »
Do we really need all this overheard at NDHQ and other places to run a COIN force? The cynic in me says this is why we keep pretending to be a real military.

I don't think that we do but leaving aside our heavily bloated headquarters structure in Ottawa, I find that we aren't getting enough combat power for the army that we have.

Running some purely rough numbers on the US, Russian, UK, French and German armies (reg and res components) one finds that for every 2,000 to 8,000 troops in the army there is one equipped manned brigade/brigade group (either manoeuvre or support). The numbers per brigade, type of brigade and country vary greatly.

Based on an army of roughly 40,000 we should, on average, be able to man eight equipped manoeuvre brigade groups or support brigades. We currently man three equipped manoeuvre brigade groups and one combat support brigade. Our ten reserve brigades are solely administrative entities which are under-strength and unequipped making them non functional.

Quite frankly we have the manpower and need to do more than COIN. Considering that Strong, Secure, and Engaged has identified our high end adversary is Russia not only could we but we must restructure ourselves to provide a viable, credible force for use in a high intensity Multi-Domain Operations in a NATO context. What we need is a will at the military leadership level to reconfigure and equip for our future roles. That includes special operations forces, a light and medium weight element for UN COIN type operations and a heavy force for NATO.

 :2c:
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 20:21:52 by FJAG »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2019, 19:00:08 »

...armies are defined more by organizations.


So, with that in mind, why don't you get rid of all the tinkering, with 5 men here, 3 men there, 6 back yonder and a bakers dozen up ahead, and just establish a uniform structure to organize the manpower into functional teams?  Then you can allocate teams to tasks and kit to teams.

What does that mean in real life?

1 Corporal - 3 Privates, Troopers, Sappers, Mechanics etc
1 Sergeant - 4 Corporals (3 Teams and a spare Corporal)
1 Warrant - 4 Sergeants (3 Sections and a spare Sergeant with an extra team)
1 MWO - 4 WO etc
1 CWO - 4 MWO etc

Once you have got them formed up on parade then you can start reviewing needs, allocating tasks and issuing kit. 

Especially effective for organizing Reserves and for organizing Infantry battalions, engineer squadrons, gun batteries and recce squadrons to accept reserves.  (The High Casualty Elements).
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2019, 19:40:31 »
Remember, the German Army built a world beating mobile force in the 1930s using cars with tank mock-ups and being forbidden to have warplanes.  Don't "fight the whites" on this one.

To be fair they also seized the initiative with surprise and maintained it with the liberal use of methamphetamines.
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Offline DetectiveMcNulty

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2019, 20:01:42 »
Some of the commentators here are focusing too much on the glaring equipment deficiencies.  While accurate, they do not define what an Army is or should be capable of.  Remember, unlike navies or air forces, which are defined by platforms, armies are defined more by organizations.

Unfortunately, when you don't have even basic equipment, and you don't have anyone higher than a Cpl or MCpl to fill the Pl WO slot...I'd say any talk of a "Brigade fight" is getting a little ahead of ourselves.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2019, 20:09:08 »
Some of the commentators here are focusing too much on the glaring equipment deficiencies.  While accurate, they do not define what an Army is or should be capable of.  Remember, unlike navies or air forces, which are defined by platforms, armies are defined more by organizations.

Just because we have capability deficiencies in certain areas doesn't mean we drop the whole programme.  As Afghanistan demonstrates, we are 1 or 2 UORs away from fixing those issues.  My comment on 8 howitzers was made somewhat tongue in cheek, as most professionals understand that peacetime force generation organizations do not translate into wartime force employment ones.

Infanteer beat me to it.  I'd also note that some of those UORs for those critical capabilities have in fact been submitted.  It remains to be seen if they'll be actioned however.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2019, 20:14:52 »
Unfortunately, when you don't have even basic equipment, and you don't have anyone higher than a Cpl or MCpl to fill the Pl WO slot...I'd say any talk of a "Brigade fight" is getting a little ahead of ourselves.

I sympathize with your perspective but we need to keep the knowledge alive of how we would fight a bde/formation, otherwise when the time comes to fight at that level we'll spend people's lives learning lessons we should have already known.

If we were to ever to put a Bde in the field against a competent enemy then we'd either spool up recruitment to fill the holes or do what we've done for ages now and rob peter to pay paul.  A Bde to make a BG, and the Army to make a Bde.  In the mean time we apply imperfect solutions.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2019, 20:38:19 »
A Bde to make a BG, and the Army to make a Bde.

I just had a wet dream thinking of all the unnecessary crap that would get cut if we had to stand up a real a Brigade + run national training for an influx of recruits.

It's probably exactly what we need to force ourselves to unf**k ourselves.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2019, 21:37:36 »
See "Canadian Army, 1950" for an example of that.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2019, 03:04:57 »
To be fair they also seized the initiative with surprise and maintained it with the liberal use of methamphetamines.

And they didn't have Class A reservists providing the Cbt Sp Coy capability for their Infantry battalions....
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2019, 10:42:54 »
I don't think tube artillery qualifies a formation to conduct deep operations.  If a CMBG is going to employ its artillery, it'll be aiming its piddly 8x howitzers in support of its lead unit.  Our tube artillery cannot really reach into an enemy's depth in any significant way.



If we look at a warfighting CMBG, lets assume that it has mortars for its infantry battalions and a full Regiment of 155 artillery. The Brigade Commander has the ability to sense and strike beyond his immediate fight in terms of time and space. He can see and strike well beyond (comparatively) the FLOT. Guns striking the enemy for the next battle are not supporting the close battle, but that is at least a choice he makes. It is not unreasonable to factor in Reinforcing tube artillery for a CMBG/Brigade. The Brigade also has the staff horsepower to plan and execute CAS in a much more fulsome manner than a typical Battle Group. So while I agree that the Brigade Deep battle is much more limited in scope than the Div and Corps deep battle, I still maintain that it is the first level at which we can realistically have a Deep battle going on the same time as the Close battle. The Div is indeed were the Deep battle really comes into itself. I would also agree that the Brigade should not fight the Deep at the exclusion of the Close.
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2019, 11:19:41 »
... So while I agree that the Brigade Deep battle is much more limited in scope than the Div and Corps deep battle, I still maintain that it is the first level at which we can realistically have a Deep battle going on the same time as the Close battle. The Div is indeed were the Deep battle really comes into itself. I would also agree that the Brigade should not fight the Deep at the exclusion of the Close.

Agreed. FM 3-96 "Brigade Combat Team" makes much use of the term "deep-close-security operational framework" throughout. For example:

Quote
6-196. Decentralized execution is characteristic of the exploitation; ... Tactical air
reconnaissance and Army aircraft maintain contact with enemy movements and advise the commander of
enemy activities. Interdiction, close air support, close combat attacks, and deep artillery fires can attack
moving enemy reserves, withdrawing enemy columns, enemy constrictions at choke points, and enemy forces
that threaten the flanks of the exploiting force. ...

and also:

Quote
7-21. As an example, the deep-close-security operational framework historically has been associated with
terrain orientation, but this framework can apply to temporal and organizational orientations as well. The
BCT can use the deep-close-security operational framework to engage simultaneously the enemy in three
distinct areas–deep area, close area, and security area.
...

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2019, 14:55:31 »
So while I agree that the Brigade Deep battle is much more limited in scope than the Div and Corps deep battle, I still maintain that it is the first level at which we can realistically have a Deep battle going on the same time as the Close battle.

We'll probably have to disagree on this one, and the key is the term "realistically."  Just because a CMBG commander or planner can take the Land Ops pub and plop down a battlespace framework for close and deep operations on his JCATs screen doesn't mean it can be realistically done to any level of military effectiveness.  To call a regiment of guns enough for deep battle is like calling a M203 lobbed over a hill "indirect support" - technically yes, but realistically no.

The range of a CMBG's fires assets (M777) is about 24 to 30km, dependent on round type and other factors.  If you give some space for distance from the AMAs to the FLOT, this means a CMBG can realistically target 16 to 22 km at max range.  This isn't even the normal depth of an adversary Brigade.  As well, the time it can take for an adversary's mobile forces to close this gap isn't very long.  If a CMBG can't reach behind the depth of the adversary's lead echelon in either time or space, it can't be expected to conduct deep operations (long range and persistent operations to shape the enemies depth echelons and activities).

I've seen a argument that a CMBG could conduct a deep operation with the insertion of a parachute company, but I feel these arguments don't appreciate how little combat power a foot-borne infantry company pitched off into the enemy's rear area really has.

The other factor of "realistically" is related to command of deep operations.  The British Official History of the Gulf War describes how the GOC of 1(UK) Armd Div conducted deep operations and put his Divisional Artillery Chief in command.  The Division was augmented with elements from BAOR, and the officer responsible for deep operations had staff planning and command support capabilities that are inherent in Divisional Fires organizations.  I don't think we could reasonable expect a CO of a close support artillery regiment, with a HQ primarily focused on moving the guns and providing FSCC support to the Brigade manoeuvring in the close fight, to have the ability to run a concurrent deep operation.

When I conducted planning with an Allied organization (in training) for the coordination of close and deep operations, the deep battle was properly assigned to a general officer who (in our organization's case) possessed a significant air element (like, more aircraft than the RCAF) as well as access to long range fires from a variety of joint force platforms.  He also possessed the HQ to control these capabilities, so that he could properly fight a deep operation.

The so what of this argument?  As I said before, we shouldn't be training our CMBGs to try and conduct a deep operation.  We should recognize that the "X" level formation, with regards to time, space, and force, is a organization designed to fight the close battle.

My  :2c:.

Cheers,

 8)
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2019, 15:00:44 »
Agreed. FM 3-96 "Brigade Combat Team" makes much use of the term "deep-close-security operational framework" throughout. For example:

7-21. As an example, the deep-close-security operational framework historically has been associated with
terrain orientation, but this framework can apply to temporal and organizational orientations as well. The
BCT can use the deep-close-security operational framework to engage simultaneously the enemy in three
distinct areas–deep area, close area, and security area. ...

I disagree with this assertion in US Doctrine.  It stretches the meaning of the close/deep/rear framework, which was created for contiguous, linear operations (look at the Russian and U.S. theory behind it), almost to the point of uselessness.  What does "organizational or temporal orientation" mean without relation to terrain and space?
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2019, 15:20:03 »
We'll probably have to disagree on this one, and the key is the term "realistically."  Just because a CMBG commander or planner can take the Land Ops pub and plop down a battlespace framework for close and deep operations on his JCATs screen doesn't mean it can be realistically done to any level of military effectiveness.  To call a regiment of guns enough for deep battle is like calling a M203 lobbed over a hill "indirect support" - technically yes, but realistically no.

The range of a CMBG's fires assets (M777) is about 24 to 30km, dependent on round type and other factors.  If you give some space for distance from the AMAs to the FLOT, this means a CMBG can realistically target 16 to 22 km at max range.  This isn't even the normal depth of an adversary Brigade.  As well, the time it can take for an adversary's mobile forces to close this gap isn't very long.  If a CMBG can't reach behind the depth of the adversary's lead echelon in either time or space, it can't be expected to conduct deep operations (long range and persistent operations to shape the enemies depth echelons and activities).

I've seen a argument that a CMBG could conduct a deep operation with the insertion of a parachute company, but I feel these arguments don't appreciate how little combat power a foot-borne infantry company pitched off into the enemy's rear area really has.

The other factor of "realistically" is related to command of deep operations.  The British Official History of the Gulf War describes how the GOC of 1(UK) Armd Div conducted deep operations and put his Divisional Artillery Chief in command.  The Division was augmented with elements from BAOR, and the officer responsible for deep operations had staff planning and command support capabilities that are inherent in Divisional Fires organizations.  I don't think we could reasonable expect a CO of a close support artillery regiment, with a HQ primarily focused on moving the guns and providing FSCC support to the Brigade manoeuvring in the close fight, to have the ability to run a concurrent deep operation.

When I conducted planning with an Allied organization (in training) for the coordination of close and deep operations, the deep battle was properly assigned to a general officer who (in our organization's case) possessed a significant air element (like, more aircraft than the RCAF) as well as access to long range fires from a variety of joint force platforms.  He also possessed the HQ to control these capabilities, so that he could properly fight a deep operation.

The so what of this argument?  As I said before, we shouldn't be training our CMBGs to try and conduct a deep operation.  We should recognize that the "X" level formation, with regards to time, space, and force, is a organization designed to fight the close battle.

My  :2c:.

Cheers,

 8)

I think we try to 'big up' the Brigade because, in peacetime, it seems like such a big formation. In reality, the Bde is pretty small fry in the bigger picture of a general conflict. The Bde Comd, for example, doesn't have artillery under command - I believe - so the 'real' General ranks start at MGen.

The 'deep battle' starts at Div and above IIRC, and the Bde Comd contributes as required within the context of the overall plan. I worked with some US Army guys back in the day, and they were fond of saying that 'everything below Division is a frontal'.

I'm likely well outside my lane here but, if we have an independent Bde deployed somewhere, along the 'plug and play' lines the US dreamt up as a result of the Iraq/AFG conflicts, I assume that it can be allocated Div/Corps/Army assets dependent on the mission, but it might be a mistake to plan/assume that these will be available all the time in a bigger war.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2019, 19:22:40 »
I disagree with this assertion in US Doctrine.  It stretches the meaning of the close/deep/rear framework, which was created for contiguous, linear operations (look at the Russian and U.S. theory behind it), almost to the point of uselessness.  What does "organizational or temporal orientation" mean without relation to terrain and space?

I don't entirely disagree with you. In my mind as well the Bde is too involved in using it's available assets to deal with the situation in the close manoeuvre area to be able to take concrete action beyond that although they may well have gathered information with respect to the deep manoeuvre and deep fires areas and have concerns about them. Division and above is where there are resources available to plan and implement that fight.

I think these definitions from the recently published TRADOC Pam 525-3-1 "The US Army in Multi Domain Operations 2028" support your point.

Quote
Deep Fires Areas*
The areas beyond the feasible range of movement for conventional forces but where joint fires,
SOF, information, and virtual capabilities can be employed.

Deep Maneuver Area*
The area where maneuver forces can go (beyond the Close Area) but is so contested that
maneuver still requires significant allocation and convergence of multi-domain capabilities.

There's a bit of relativity here though. I think FM 3-96 isn't written just for high intensity conflict on the European battlefield but for a broad range of situations short of that where BCTs might be much more widely dispersed and without many of the typical div and above enablers save their own organic cannon battalion (The US command relationship incidentally would be - "organic" and the support relationship would be - "direct support" - see FM 3-09) and air.

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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2019, 00:32:59 »
If we look at a warfighting CMBG, lets assume that it has mortars for its infantry battalions and a full Regiment of 155 artillery. The Brigade Commander has the ability to sense and strike beyond his immediate fight in terms of time and space. He can see and strike well beyond (comparatively) the FLOT. Guns striking the enemy for the next battle are not supporting the close battle, but that is at least a choice he makes. It is not unreasonable to factor in Reinforcing tube artillery for a CMBG/Brigade. The Brigade also has the staff horsepower to plan and execute CAS in a much more fulsome manner than a typical Battle Group. So while I agree that the Brigade Deep battle is much more limited in scope than the Div and Corps deep battle, I still maintain that it is the first level at which we can realistically have a Deep battle going on the same time as the Close battle. The Div is indeed were the Deep battle really comes into itself. I would also agree that the Brigade should not fight the Deep at the exclusion of the Close.

Along the same lines that Infanteer pointed out, let's envision a Bde in the defence.  It could be realistically tasked to defeat/destroy a first echelon enemy division.  In such a case it's M777's will not even be able to reach into that attacking Division's depth.  If deep operations are about interdicting enemy follow on echelons and disrupting an enemy's ability to introduce follow on forces then that Bde just isn't achieving that.  That attacking division would likely completely fit within the area defined by the Close fight.

In the case of a bde on the offence with an enemy Bn defending then I think all the guns would still be squarely focussed on the close fight of suppressing/neutralizing sub unit BPs to allow friendly forces to close, break in, and fight through.  Higher echelons with greater range would be responsible for isolating that Bde's close fight from deeper elements that may seek to c-atk/block/reinf.

While the Bde's guns may not always be focussed on smashing the enemy units in the absolute bleeding edge of the front line this doesn't necessarily mean that they are doing "deep" work.  They're still tools of the close fight.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2019, 00:41:14 »
The other factor of "realistically" is related to command of deep operations.  The British Official History of the Gulf War describes how the GOC of 1(UK) Armd Div conducted deep operations and put his Divisional Artillery Chief in command.  The Division was augmented with elements from BAOR, and the officer responsible for deep operations had staff planning and command support capabilities that are inherent in Divisional Fires organizations.  I don't think we could reasonable expect a CO of a close support artillery regiment, with a HQ primarily focused on moving the guns and providing FSCC support to the Brigade manoeuvring in the close fight, to have the ability to run a concurrent deep operation.

When I conducted planning with an Allied organization (in training) for the coordination of close and deep operations, the deep battle was properly assigned to a general officer who (in our organization's case) possessed a significant air element (like, more aircraft than the RCAF) as well as access to long range fires from a variety of joint force platforms.  He also possessed the HQ to control these capabilities, so that he could properly fight a deep operation.


A good point and something that is supported doctrinally.  I opened up the old B-GL-321-001/FP-001 Corps Operations (kinda funny we published a Corps ops pub, which appears to be a straight rip off of the US one) and it notes that for the optimal conduct of Deep Ops a Corps requires a Deep Operations Coordination Cell (DOCC).  This is something that our Bde's are lacking and would be inappropriate for them to have in a conventional setting.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2019, 02:48:12 »
While the Bde's guns may not always be focussed on smashing the enemy units in the absolute bleeding edge of the front line this doesn't necessarily mean that they are doing "deep" work.  They're still tools of the close fight.

What 'Brigade Guns'? My understanding is that the Brigade Commander does not own any guns.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2019, 07:50:17 »
What 'Brigade Guns'? My understanding is that the Brigade Commander does not own any guns.

Each CMBG has an arty Regt with two batteries of 4.

US and UK Bdes have their own guns as well.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2019, 13:07:24 »
Each CMBG has an arty Regt with two batteries of 4.

US and UK Bdes have their own guns as well.

OK, I'll shut up now. Thanks!  :nod:
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2019, 13:39:27 »
For whatever it is worth, and leaving aside the horribly inadequate number of tubes, in the bad, old days when 4 CMBG deployed as part of 2 (BR) Division of 1 (BR) Corps, both the RCHA and the SSM Battery operated as part of the divisional artillery under the command of the CRA. In garrison, the units were under command of our brigade headquarters.

Further to the above, on the RV series of exercises, the regiments came under command of the CDA once concentrated in the field.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 13:46:12 by Old Sweat »

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2019, 13:50:58 »
OK, I'll shut up now. Thanks!  :nod:

You're not out of line at all. In my day our concept for artillery was always that it was centralised at a high level and that effectively (in common parlance) it was owned by Commander Div Arty or Commander Corps Arty and loaned to the brigades for as long as they needed them. In that type of situation for example the DS regiment from a brigade operating as a reserve could be put at priority call to a more forward bde that needed their fire. There were numerous terms for how guns were allocated which basically revolved around 1) who could move them 2) who provided fire support coordination resources to who, 3) who had priority of fire support, and 4) other factors of much lessor importance.

The move to more independent deployment of brigade groups and BCTs changed that relationship quite a bit. In the US where BCTs replaced the prior concept where div and corps seemed to retain ownership of everything but manoeuvre elements (and for a time those as well at div) the change was fairly clear cut. Artillery battalions there are essentially one of two types, tube arty organic to the BCT and tube and all other natures which belong to an arty brigade which are assigned to and distributed by divs and corps as they saw fit to reinforce (in the generic sense) fires wherever needed.

I'm not so sure what Canadian doctrine is these days. It's actually come to the point that my research in aid of my writing fiction has made me more conversant with how the US Army functions these days than the Canadian one because my personal knowledge and research material for the Canadian army goes back several decades (primarily as a result of the fact that one can easily get US army publications on the internet while Canadian ones are mostly hidden behind the DWAN wall.)

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« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 13:54:25 by FJAG »
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2019, 23:23:02 »
You're not out of line at all. In my day our concept for artillery was always that it was centralised at a high level and that effectively (in common parlance) it was owned by Commander Div Arty or Commander Corps Arty and loaned to the brigades for as long as they needed them. In that type of situation for example the DS regiment from a brigade operating as a reserve could be put at priority call to a more forward bde that needed their fire. There were numerous terms for how guns were allocated which basically revolved around 1) who could move them 2) who provided fire support coordination resources to who, 3) who had priority of fire support, and 4) other factors of much lessor importance.

The move to more independent deployment of brigade groups and BCTs changed that relationship quite a bit. In the US where BCTs replaced the prior concept where div and corps seemed to retain ownership of everything but manoeuvre elements (and for a time those as well at div) the change was fairly clear cut. Artillery battalions there are essentially one of two types, tube arty organic to the BCT and tube and all other natures which belong to an arty brigade which are assigned to and distributed by divs and corps as they saw fit to reinforce (in the generic sense) fires wherever needed.

I'm not so sure what Canadian doctrine is these days. It's actually come to the point that my research in aid of my writing fiction has made me more conversant with how the US Army functions these days than the Canadian one because my personal knowledge and research material for the Canadian army goes back several decades (primarily as a result of the fact that one can easily get US army publications on the internet while Canadian ones are mostly hidden behind the DWAN wall.)

 :cheers:

The doctrine is basically the same. However, there is no Div Arty currently in the CA and certainly no Artillery Bde. As we can't realistically fight a Division, the concept of the Arty Bde with tactical tasks to support the various Bdes is probably just an academic one. In Canada, each CMBG has an Artillery Regt under Full Command. From time to time, individual Btys have been given a Direct Support role to individual Bns (BGs) but this is the exception.
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #49 on: April 02, 2019, 15:50:11 »
The doctrine is basically the same. However, there is no Div Arty currently in the CA and certainly no Artillery Bde. As we can't realistically fight a Division, the concept of the Arty Bde with tactical tasks to support the various Bdes is probably just an academic one. In Canada, each CMBG has an Artillery Regt under Full Command. From time to time, individual Btys have been given a Direct Support role to individual Bns (BGs) but this is the exception.

Roger....

I'm just trying to think of one of those artillery principles I heard many years ago that went something like 'Commanded at the highest levels and available to the lowest levels' meaning, of course, that you can instantly drop the full weight of the Corps Artillery to #3 Pl Comd's FPF if required....
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #50 on: April 03, 2019, 09:27:33 »
Roger....

I'm just trying to think of one of those artillery principles I heard many years ago that went something like 'Commanded at the highest levels and available to the lowest levels' meaning, of course, that you can instantly drop the full weight of the Corps Artillery to #3 Pl Comd's FPF if required....

It was something like "Commanded at the highest level and controlled at the lowest", meaning that while the corps or dividision artillery commander moved the guns, any FOO could call for their fire. Lieutenant General Sir Brian Horrocks, a very successful British corps commander in Africa and NWE, wrote words to the effect that a gunner had every gun in range no farther away thsn the tip of the aerial on his radio.

In the Canadian Army we have all grown up in a state of military poverty and tend to think that less is normal. It's very difficult to envisage what "real armies" look like and what they bring to the battle. There really is no way to develop that sense other than lots of hitting the books, and hopefully going on an allied exercise or several.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2019, 10:43:33 »
The Brigade deep battle must be considered in the context of its parent Division's (and Corps') deep battle/battlefield framework. Just because the assets of the Brigade are not in the Corps deep battle does not mean that the Brigades does not have a deep battle itself.

My argument is that a Brigade does indeed have a deep battle, while the Battle Group does not. The Brigade deep battle it is not as fulsome as the Division deep battle, were we see longer planning horizons, more battlespace and more assets to prosecute the deep fight. Nevertheless, the Brigade has a complete planning capability (compared to the Battle Group), battlespace that it likely reserves to itself and assets/access to assets to prosecute a deep battle. Brigade-level tube artillery can reach, assuming 1/3 range factor, some 20 km beyond the FLOT. This is outside the Battle Group's close battle, and can certainly shape the next close battle. The Brigade Commander has to choose how to allocate his ISTAR/Fires, but having the choice to allocate between the close and deep battle is not a bad thing.

Now, I can imagine a scenario where the Brigade will be focused exclusively on the close battle. If the Brigade has a very specific task in close terrain without much depth battlespace forward; no allocation of higher fire support and a very complete and detailed Divisional deep battle then perhaps the Brigade Commander will focus on the close battle and rely on his boss for all shaping actions. On the other hand, it is not hard to envision the Brigade being reinforced by an additional tube artillery regiment/battalion. The brigade also has the wherewithal to properly employ CAS which could be absolutely allocated to the Brigade. The Brigade may indeed have enough depth to require a deep battle.

Someone mentioned a Brigade tasked to Defeat an attacking Division. The Brigade does not need to be able to strike throughout the entire depth of the attacking enemy Division to have a deep battle. I would hope that Div and Corps are doing something themselves. That does not relieve the Brigade Commander of shaping his own close battles. Perhaps his planning has revealed that he needs to disrupt the enemy Brigade Tactical Groups that he will face in his own battlespace with his own or reinforcing assets, allowing him to sequence his fixing and striking forces with favourable force ratios. I imagine that he would indeed have a deep battle, even if it is happening in what the Corps commander would consider his own close battle.   
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #52 on: April 03, 2019, 20:04:26 »
The Brigade deep battle must be considered in the context of its parent Division's (and Corps') deep battle/battlefield framework. Just because the assets of the Brigade are not in the Corps deep battle does not mean that the Brigades does not have a deep battle itself.

My argument is that a Brigade does indeed have a deep battle, while the Battle Group does not. The Brigade deep battle it is not as fulsome as the Division deep battle, were we see longer planning horizons, more battlespace and more assets to prosecute the deep fight. Nevertheless, the Brigade has a complete planning capability (compared to the Battle Group), battlespace that it likely reserves to itself and assets/access to assets to prosecute a deep battle. Brigade-level tube artillery can reach, assuming 1/3 range factor, some 20 km beyond the FLOT. This is outside the Battle Group's close battle, and can certainly shape the next close battle. The Brigade Commander has to choose how to allocate his ISTAR/Fires, but having the choice to allocate between the close and deep battle is not a bad thing.

Now, I can imagine a scenario where the Brigade will be focused exclusively on the close battle. If the Brigade has a very specific task in close terrain without much depth battlespace forward; no allocation of higher fire support and a very complete and detailed Divisional deep battle then perhaps the Brigade Commander will focus on the close battle and rely on his boss for all shaping actions. On the other hand, it is not hard to envision the Brigade being reinforced by an additional tube artillery regiment/battalion. The brigade also has the wherewithal to properly employ CAS which could be absolutely allocated to the Brigade. The Brigade may indeed have enough depth to require a deep battle.

Someone mentioned a Brigade tasked to Defeat an attacking Division. The Brigade does not need to be able to strike throughout the entire depth of the attacking enemy Division to have a deep battle. I would hope that Div and Corps are doing something themselves. That does not relieve the Brigade Commander of shaping his own close battles. Perhaps his planning has revealed that he needs to disrupt the enemy Brigade Tactical Groups that he will face in his own battlespace with his own or reinforcing assets, allowing him to sequence his fixing and striking forces with favourable force ratios. I imagine that he would indeed have a deep battle, even if it is happening in what the Corps commander would consider his own close battle.

I think you have a point conceptually, but I feel like we might be pushing the concept of Deep Operations beyond the point of usefulness and confusing it with Shaping operations, which are of course related.  I, of course, also agree that if the Bde is given a ton of enablers, which I think is the case with these US bdes at NTC/JRTC then they then get a responsibility to fight deep.

What you've described above sounds similar to shaping operations to me which are done at every level.  Every echelon is responsible to shape conditions to allow for success by the echelon below them as well as considering how to isolate their objective within the limitations of their organic and attached assets.  However, by what you described above I feel like we could talk about a pl level deep battle. For example, by talking about neutralizing c-atking forces with an SF MG as the assault element fights through or is consolidating.

Land Ops talks about deep operations being against forces that aren't engaged in close operations.  That is pretty broad and falls in line with what you discuss above.  On the other hand out of FM 100-5 Operations (1986 AirLand Battle), pg 20,  "As with close operations, not all activities focussed forward of the line of contact are deep operations.  Counterfire, for example, is intended primarily to support the current fight, even though the targets attacked in the counterfire effort maybe located at great distances from the forward line of own troops (FLOT).  Similarly, electronic warfare efforts to disrupt the enemy's control of engaged forces are part of close operations even though the targeted emitters maybe well to the enemy's rear." Deep operations are not just about supporting the close fight, that would be more akin to shaping, but breaking the enemy's will, cohesion, and critical capabilities.  Further, while the FLOT will be an important control measure in identifying geographically what is deep I think the FSCL will also be critical in that and perhaps more telling on what operations are deep and what aren't.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #53 on: April 12, 2019, 05:55:41 »
An interesting article here related to this discussion but takes it up an echelon. 

The argument is that a Division (let alone the Bde) is a tactical organization that needs to focus on the close fight.  He introduces the idea of a 'tactical deep' which is geared to setting conditions for success in the close battle vice achieving larger operational/campaign objectives.  "'Tactical Deep' acknowledges that a division is simply not large enough to achieve a credible operational effect other than the defeat of a close enemy.  It also conceptually frees capabilities such as information manoeuvre and cyber to focus on operational-strategic impact away from the immediate close battle."

Operational Effect:  The Argument for a British Corps
https://uklandpower.com/2018/11/09/operational-effect-the-argument-for-a-british-corps/

It raises the question that if this guy is right where should our cyber, EW, and other such assets reside?  And if you decide to focus our Bde's exclusively on the close fight and being enabled by a higher multinational HQ then how do our staffs become familiar with employing these assets for the time when they will inevitably be pushed down.

Offline MCG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #54 on: April 23, 2019, 15:18:04 »
According to such sources as I can find, 4 Canadian Mechanized Battle Group became 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in 1972. I do not think that the C ever stood for Corps.
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.

I don't think tube artillery qualifies a formation to conduct deep operations.  If a CMBG is going to employ its artillery, it'll be aiming its piddly 8x howitzers in support of its lead unit.  Our tube artillery cannot really reach into an enemy's depth in any significant way.

While I understand the framework of close, deep, and rear could be applied to CMBG planning, I'm not really sure it is helpful, or useful.  Land Ops states that deep operations must be long range (probably not what I'd define a M777 as...) and protracted (probably not something 8 tubes could deliver, even with a leaflet drop from a CH-146 layered over it...).  I'm not sure a Brigade is the right organization to manage and coordinate such widely dispersed tactical engagements.  The CMBG, and I'd argue most (all?) brigade-sized formations are designed, scaled, and resourced to fight the "close battle," dealing with the problem to their front.  We should probably avoid teaching or training Brigade Commanders and their staff to go out trying to fight a "deep battle."
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 15:57:24 by MCG »

Offline MilEME09

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #55 on: April 23, 2019, 17:02:08 »
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.

Given they stood up that support brigade in Gagetown, I would suggest then moving all light infantry battalions there under a new brigade within 5 Div. Of course this would involve some rebranding perhaps, may I suggest the return of the Black Watch to the Reg Force? unfortunately I doubt this would happen as we would then be turning three battalions back into mechanized, and creating an entire regiment, the man power required would need a significant investment in increased man power, equipment and time. Interesting concept though, I would wonder how long they would be excepted to operate behind lines like that without resupply? would resupply have to be air mobile as well? it brings up a few logistical challenges. On top of which how about vehicles, pak arty, etc.... we don't really have kit to outfit a light air mobile brigade.
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #56 on: April 23, 2019, 17:10:17 »
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.

This sounds like a variation of Marshal M.N. Tukhachevsky's "Deep Battle", simultaneous insertion of "Desanty" into the rear area to cause disruption while the main force is engaged in the front. And if we were to decide to group all the light battalions together, I would style them as "The Canadian Mounted Rifles" to reflect their role and mode of operation.

And the idea just might be feasible. After all, Australia is going to divest themselves of their "Tiger" attack helicopters, which fit well with Liberal procurement planning... ;)
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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2019, 17:12:52 »
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.

Each brigade having one light battalion and two LAV battalions undoubtedly came out of the limitations in the number of LAVs that we were prepared to purchase and the desire not to treat any one brigade differently from the rest by making it fully light and not out of any deep rooted tactical solution that was meant to be solved.

Considering that the key warfighting nations now organize around brigades and consider them the "primary combined arms, close combat force" it behooves us to organize ours as viable fighting organizations and not look for ad hoc missions to justify their Mickey Mouse structure. Instead lets move all the LAV's into two brigades and make one brigade light. Considering Petawawa already has the CSOR and that JTF and Trenton are close by, maybe it should become the centre of excellence for all things light while Edmonton and Valcartier concentrate on all things medium.

But that's just me.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2019, 18:18:27 »
Each brigade having one light battalion and two LAV battalions undoubtedly came out of the limitations in the number of LAVs that we were prepared to purchase and the desire not to treat any one brigade differently from the rest by making it fully light and not out of any deep rooted tactical solution that was meant to be solved.

Considering that the key warfighting nations now organize around brigades and consider them the "primary combined arms, close combat force" it behooves us to organize ours as viable fighting organizations and not look for ad hoc missions to justify their Mickey Mouse structure. Instead lets move all the LAV's into two brigades and make one brigade light. Considering Petawawa already has the CSOR and that JTF and Trenton are close by, maybe it should become the centre of excellence for all things light while Edmonton and Valcartier concentrate on all things medium.

But that's just me.

 :brickwall:

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I'd go one farther and group all the tanks, guns and heavy engineers at Gagetown.  We only have enough kit for one regiment of each.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #59 on: May 05, 2019, 18:00:32 »
A lot of the talk thus far has centered around our fires ability (or lack thereof) and what the expectation should be of our Bde's in a so called deep fight.  What do we want from a maneuver perspective though?  What do Bns/Coys and Regts/Sqns need to be able to do and how many should we have?

I just finished reading Jim Storr's newest book and he has a portion in there on formation sizes and combat power.  He makes a point that, within reason, bigger is not better.  Armies would be better off with more smaller divisions than fewer larger ones.  Smaller formations are more nimble, able to change directions and employ reserves more quickly.  They keep a lower proportion of their forces out of contact and have a better ratio of CS and CSS units to combat units.  In WW 2 the best divisions appeared to have 20-25 sub units in them.  One of the major findings of his book is that operational level success comes from the ability to move rapidly to positions of advantage and if required to fight from those positions.  Smaller formations can move more quickly and hence stand a greater chance of achieving operational success.
 
So are our brigades too big? 

I think the first problem is structure which we've hit on in this thread and many other places in the forms.  Not enough tanks.  Too much recce.  Not enough guns.  Guns that are too slow (ie. not SP).  Mixture of light forces with mech forces.  The first problem then is less about the size and more about the structure and equipment in some cases.
 
In this case we have entire units which are not fit to purpose.  Light units and non SP arty units in mech brigades.  Insufficient B fleet vehs to move a Bde's worth of food, fuel, ammo, and stores on wheels.  This means that we will not be fast or sustainable enough to get where we need to quick enough, and ready to fight.
 
When we look to subunits in the Bde it is difficult to characterize us as too small or too big due to the structure issues described above.  Do the three light rifle coys within a CMBG really count as it seems unlikely that a light unit would deploy if the CMBG were going into a real fight?  Perhaps they would reroll?  Let's just assume they reroll those coy's into something mechanized then we find ourselves with a bde with at least 9 x rifle coys and a tank sqn for a total of 10 subunits.  If we look at the "ideal" structure of 4 CMBG then we see 9 x rifle coys and another 3 x tank squadrons for a total of 12 sub units.  The first scenario would see a 3 Bde division with 30 sub units and the second with 36 sub units.  This puts us well above Storr's historical ideal.  Interestingly the problem was even more accute when we had 4 rifle coys and a fourth sqn in the Armd Regts (is that right?  not sure we had a 4th sqn).  That puts us at a whopping 15 or 16 sub units in the Bde.  US Bdes are in this boat as their combined arms units have four sub units of a mix of mech infantry and tanks.

We find ourselves in a situation where our Bde's could be too unwieldy to rapidly seize opportunities on the b2attle field and get to where they need to get to quickly.  This is something we should probably play with in simulation.  Ex UR would be an ideal opportunity.  Split the exercise in half, one half with a large Bde and whatever 1 Cdn Div is used to playing with as HICON and then another where the Bde in the box get's smaller and 1 Cdn Div gets an addition small Bde to play with.  The interactor piece might be tough but there would be some great data pulled out of it.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #60 on: May 05, 2019, 18:16:06 »
Gulf War 1

1st Armored Division, UK (Maj. Gen. Rupert Smith, United Kingdom)
The United Kingdom initially deployed the 7th Armoured Brigade ("Desert Rats"). After Gen. Schwarzkopf called for another corps, that deployment was incresed to include a full division, designated 1st Armoured Division, though built out of pieces from various UK divisions deployed in Germany at the time. The overall commander of all UK forces in the theater was Lt. Gen. Sir Peter de la Billiere.

4th Armoured Brigade (Brig. Christopher Hammerback, USA)
14/20 King's Hussars (43 Challenger MBTs)
1st Royal Scots Infantry (45 Warrior IFVs)
3rd Royal Fusiliers Infantry (45 Warrior IFVs)
23rd Regiment, Royal Engineers
46th Air Defence battery (Javelin)
2nd Field Artillery Regiment (24 M109 SP howitzers)

7th Armoured Brigade (Brig. Patrick Cordingly, United Kingdom) ["Desert Rats"]
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (57 Challenger MBTs)
Queen's Royal Irish Hussars (57 Challenger MBTs)
1st Staffordshire Infantry (45 Warrior IFVs) (Lt. Col. Charles Rogers)
2 Warrior & 2 Challenger companies; A co. CO Maj. Simon Knapper
39th Regiment, Royal Engineers
664th Helicopter Squadron (9 Lynx)
10th Air Defence Battery (Javelin)
40th Field Artillery Regiment (24 M109 SP howitzers)

Division Troops
16/5 Queen's Royal Lancers Recon Battalion (24 Scorpion, 12 Scimitar, 12 Striker)
4th Army Air Regiment (24 Lynx with TOW & 12 Gazelle)
32nd Heavy Artillery Regiment (16 M109, 12 M110 SP howitzers)
29th Heavy Artillery Regiment (12 MLRS)
12th Air Defence Regiment (24 tracked Rapier)
32nd Regiment, Royal Engineers

EPW handling infantry battalions
1st Coldstream Guards
Royal Highland Fusiliers
King's Own Scottish Borderers

While I am no fan of our current structure I wouldn't underestimate the utility of light infantry, even in a mechanized force.  Especially if it is difficult to figure out where the front and the rear are.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #61 on: May 05, 2019, 18:23:11 »

While I am no fan of our current structure I wouldn't underestimate the utility of light infantry, even in a mechanized force.  Especially if it is difficult to figure out where the front and the rear are.

I'm not underestimating them.  Just pointing out the challenges of their employment in a mechanized formation.  In the example you give it's probably worth debating is an entire Brigade's worth infantry units really required just for EPW handling???  And is that best held at the division level or somewhere above so the Div Comd and Staff can focus on fighting the enemy.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #62 on: May 05, 2019, 18:31:19 »
Looking at that structure it would be interesting to see some research on 1 UK Armd Divs performance versus it's fellow US divisions which had three brigades and is some cases four maneuver units in those Bdes.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #63 on: May 05, 2019, 19:18:46 »
I've attached back to my earlier discussion for good measure.

In the Commonwealth tradition, the move away from the square was driven by casualties on the western front - triangular brigades were adopted to keep divisions up to strength by merging the fourth bn into the ailing three.  Of note, neither Canada nor Australia ever adopted this format in the First World War.

Binary formations were utilized in the Second World War, some to great success - US Army Armd Divs with CCA and CCB (yes, there was a CCR, but it was generally empty) and German Panzer formations which generally formed kampfgruppen around the Panzer and Panzergrenadier Regimental HQs - and some to great failure (the Italian Divisions).

The real crux of this is how much can a commander control in battle?  Jim Storr discussed a UK DERA study looking at Divisional activity in WWII, showing that at no time did any of the measured Divisions have all nine battalions employed at the same time.  Of the 81 days the measured divisions spent in combat, 43 featured only 3 battalions employed.  Thus over half the time divisions employed only 1/3 of their strength to defeat the enemy.  Looking further at this data, divisions only employed a majority of their forces 1/3 of the time.  He also looks at some work Dupuy did, looking at 200 engagements from the Second World War and concluding that the practical span of command for commanders is actually quite low - 1.7 subordinates committed on average to combat.  This suggests that, historically, Division commanders have put forth at most 8 companies during a majority of their actions.  Additional data from Suez and the Gulf 1 and 2 further support this view.

The "so what" out of this is that bigger formations are unwieldy, despite the notions of "combat power" we like to ascribe to them. Combat power is nice, but only if the organization is one that can be properly utilized by a human commander.  The Brigade is a system optimized to put 2-4 maneuver sub-units in the first echelon.

Going up a level to the unit, the Armoured Regiment of a CMBG should act as that third maneuver unit for the Bde.  We unfortunately see Armoured Regiments as force generators, probably as we have not had to conduct mobile warfare for about 70 years.  If we were to square battalions and armoured regiments, a CMBG of 1 Armd and 2 Inf units would give the Bde Comd the ability to create up to four square combat teams at any one time, with two COs to run that fight and a third in his hip pocket.  This fits very well with the research quoted above.

The core functions we should always look back to are Find-Fix-Strike-Exploit.  However, the elements executing these funtions do not have to be the same size - a Brigade does not need 1 Unit finding, 1 fixing, 1 striking and 1 to exploit.  Reserves/Counter-attack elements are generally better if they are smaller as they are more nimble and can react faster to a situation on the battlefield (i.e. it is easier to get a company moving down the road than it is a battalion).
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2019, 19:28:06 »
What a siwwy wabbit you are!

I'd go one farther and group all the tanks, guns and heavy engineers at Gagetown.  We only have enough kit for one regiment of each.

And, concurrently, scatter all the TAPVs in a haphazard fashion across the country to appease the militia, right?  ;D
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #65 on: May 05, 2019, 19:55:56 »
Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #66 on: May 05, 2019, 21:13:57 »
Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.

I was thinking of that thread when I wrote this.  I was going to bring up the square cbt Tms!

I think tying frontages to weapons range and an infantry platoon’s ability to control ground is sound however those frontages don’t correlate with our FE concept,  ADO/ Close Engagement.  Nor do I think any modern Bde comd would be lucky enough to find himself in a situation where he need only worry about covering a 6-12 km frontage, at least on the defence.  Most scenarios will likely feature force to space ratios much lower than this.  I think defending on a broad front against a competent well equipped enemy is one of the major professional challenges of our generation that we need to figure out and tied to the purpose of this thread.

One of things I think that needs to be looked at is just how capable the LAV equipped rifle coy / Bn is at holding ground.  Going to Latvia I knew man power to man BPs, conduct security tasks and patrols, and man the LAVs with a crew and GIB would be a challenge but what also struck me was what this would mean for my frontage.  My platoons were reduced to essentially crew served weapons trenches and a HQ with no depth.  4 men of the 9 man sects were with the LAVs.  The dismounted BPs became more like a sense asset for the LAVs that would be queued to depart hides and occupy BPs based on a trigger. Mutual support with the neighboring coy was little based on the frontage and terrain. It wouldn’t have been that hard to infiltrate around us or to get sufficient IDF on to us to neutralize my posn for a penetration.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #67 on: May 05, 2019, 21:20:43 »
Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.

I find your proposed structure vaguely familiar in that it replicates (vis a vis) numbers of combat arms sub units in the new triangular structure of the Armored Brigade Combat Team. While the ABCT's structure previously called for three combined arms battalions of two tank and two mech Infantry companies each plus a three-troop (company), cavalry squadron (battalion). The new structure (as of 2017/2018) has two armored heavy battalions (two tank companies, 1 Inf company), one Infantry heavy battalion (2 inf companies, 1 tank company) and an upgunned cavalry squadron which now has a tank troop (company) added to it's three reconnaissance troops (companies). (This is a net loss of two infantry companies across the entire ABCT.

My understanding is that these changes were not so much a result of any great tactical epiphany but more the result of declining numbers of soldiers within the army as a whole and a desire to not reduce the total number of ABCTs.

Stryker BCTs remained triangular with three rifle battalions with three rifle companies each (albeit each company has three rifle platoons and one Mobile Gun System platoon)

 :cheers:
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 23:44:02 by FJAG »
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #68 on: July 01, 2019, 20:18:18 »
I'm coming late to this discussion and I only want to make a couple of points:

First, prior to 1970, when we were part of BAOR/1(BR)Corps we, 4CMBG, were, very definitely, in the "small division" (one Corps Commander used to refer to 4CMBG as his 4th (Breast-pocket) Division) and there was more than one plan to reinforce us with, inter alia, the Belgian brigade which was based near us, in Soest because no one believed that 1(BE) Corps could ever be mobilized and most people believed that a Belgian division could not be sent forward in anything like a reasonable time. There was also a plan to merge 4CMBG with whatever survived the Phase 1 ~ the covering force battle ~ and thereby reconstitute a Corps reserve ... of course, a lot of our "combat power" resided in one small unit: 1SSM Bty, RCA, which had the nuclear topped Honest John missile system. They were "ours," despite logically being a Corps Artillery asset, because of their relatively short (25 mile) range and, I think, Old Sweat will know better, the unique nuclear custodial and release agreement we had with the USA.

Second, assets like EW should, always, be controlled at the Corps or even higher level but deployed into brigade areas to provide some very direct support to brigade group commanders. There was a plan, circa 1980, to provide 4CMBG, in Lahr, with an EW Troop ~ 50+ soldiers ~ if, Huge IF, we could get the right vehicles ~ eventually the Bisons were "acquired" (and they were the right vehicles) by stealing them from the Reserve Army's allotments ~ and IF we could get airlift in time. I know as a fact that when Gen de Chastelain was Comd 4CMBG (Lahr) he put EW so high on his reinforcement priority list that it caused some real angst in Ottawa and St Hubert. But EW is a bit like artillery. The Corps should decide on how to deploy and, especially in the case of jamming, how and when to use it, but EW Liaison Officers (EWLO) should be deployed as far forward as possible, to Battle Groups if one has enough, to provide near real-time intelligence. In my opinion, the EWLO, who might, very often, be a RCCS or CIntC NCM, is one of the best tools a tactical commander can have and he should always want more of 'em.

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Offline Ostrozac

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #69 on: July 01, 2019, 23:10:53 »
The US Army started pushing Army Security Agency platoons down to brigade level early in the Vietnam War. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that a brigade in battle needs electronic warfare, whether organic or attached.

A more complex question would be intelligence derived from prisoner interrogation — in Afghanistan we maintained separate national custody chains for prisoners depending on the nationality of the unit of capture, that is unlikely to be possible in a conventional war; as I recall in both Gulf War I and Korea there was a single prisoner chain of custody for the entire coalition. But I recall much drama in recent years about transferring prisoners to US and Afghan custody. Are our JAGs cool with Coalition POW Camps and are we set up to access the intelligence we need from the prisoners in those camps?