Author Topic: Thinking about the Infantry Attack  (Read 281151 times)

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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #400 on: February 17, 2010, 12:41:06 »
Thucydides,

What you have stated is correct and has been identified by those responsible for the small arms replacement program.

Due to the way the M203 loads its ammunition, only shorter low velocity rounds can be used for the most part.  Replacements are being considered with a side-load capability that allow for longer rounds, which opens up the range and types of ammo that can be fired.

As with all procurement projects, do not expect a replacement tomorrow.
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway." - Roosevelt

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #401 on: March 26, 2010, 13:04:21 »
Things have been quiet on this site and it's been awhile since I have posted so, I'll stir the pot a bit.

I think we all agree it's best to have everything.  The M203 or XM-25 for short range. Roger out.  Which brings us to the next range band, greater than 400m.  What weapons can do it? MGs yes, 60mm yes, CASW/AGL yes.

Next criteria in my mind would be time from target identification to effects on targets.  MG is fast but target maybe in defilade.  60mm is slow but can hit a defilade target maybe, depending on wind.  The CASW/AGL yes to speed and yes defilade.

To revert back and respond to an older comment.

Quote
The CASW is intended to be able to deliver high angle fire, much like a mortar.  For low-angle shots, similar to those used by a machine gun, of course the max ord is going to be low; however, the CASW is what I am talking about.
.

High angle is defined as greater than 800mils or 45 degrees.  Once you get above that your range decreases anyway.  The CASW/AGL would not be fired above 800mils as it would lose accuracy to wind much the same as the 60mm and even more so because of the weight of the projectile.  The CASW/AGL would be fired below 800mils which might seem like high angle but is not and the time of flight would be considerably less.

As well, the CASW/AGL has timed ammunition for firing at low angles and hitting those hard to reach places that no other weapon can reach with speed and accuracy.

I would not suggest the CASW/AGL being considered a dismount weapon. I would leave it on the cars and have it be fired direct or like old 50 cal semi-indirect drills.  There are AGLs, in particular the MK47 and XM 308 that will calculate the ballistic data for semi-indirect. 

Offline Colin P

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #402 on: March 26, 2010, 16:33:53 »
If I recall the first thing the Taliban did when they assaulted one of the US FOB's was to take out the mortars and prevent their crews from returning fire. It didn't help the US that the pits were exposed to the hilltops. Seems the Taliban have a appreciation for the effect of opposing mortar fire. As an ex-gunner  I am still baffled as to why the 81mm went to the artillery, I can understand assets like 120mm and up, but 81's and 60's clearly need to be organic to be effective.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #403 on: March 27, 2010, 01:55:42 »
If I recall the first thing the Taliban did when they assaulted one of the US FOB's was to take out the mortars and prevent their crews from returning fire. It didn't help the US that the pits were exposed to the hilltops. Seems the Taliban have a appreciation for the effect of opposing mortar fire. As an ex-gunner  I am still baffled as to why the 81mm went to the artillery, I can understand assets like 120mm and up, but 81's and 60's clearly need to be organic to be effective.

How dare you talk like someone who knows what's required at 'the front'? I suggest that you vague up those suggestions and make reference to at least two corporate initiatives designed to waste millions of dollars on things that have nothing to do with increasing the effectiveness of the combat arms in battle  ;D
"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 Greymatters

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #404 on: March 27, 2010, 12:14:30 »
I detect sarcasm - nicely put!

Offline Colin P

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #405 on: March 27, 2010, 13:53:49 »
I intend to present myself as a consultant with "Many years of experience with indirect weapon systems" and I also have nifty powerpoints to ensure no one knows what the hell I am talking about. Rest assured that hiring me will remove the need to make a informed decision for at least 2 years.  :nod:

Offline Digger Hale

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #406 on: August 16, 2010, 16:09:11 »
I just watched "Transformers" and they shot the baddies with 40mm Sabot rounds. Perhaps our Army's should invest in them? A sabot round kicking along at 76mp/s is pretty tops in my mind. Someone ought to buy some.
Back to the seriousness though.
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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #407 on: October 24, 2010, 11:53:16 »
I would also like to stir the pot a bit.

The real question here is not weapons systems per se but how they are allocated and used.

The original post noted that section-level, and implied hat even pl-level leadership is beomcing confined to being a mere node for a larger attack ordered by an OC cmding a coy. This, to some extent, is true. The so-called RMA has allowed for an increasing level in comms systems that allow a commander at a higher level to "grip" the battle more effectively.

The problem here is that even the fastest communications technology can replace lateral co-ordination by two section commanders, facilitated by the pl commander providing assets when needed (ex/ 1 section secures fold to protect 2 section's flank in operation vs MG posn. Pl comd orders wpns det to use 60 mm to isolate 2 sect's target and is there to reinforce 2 sect w/ 3 sect if necc.)

At this point, it doesn't really matter so much if you have a 51mm, 60mm or CASW. What matters is the freedom of action afforded the pl cmdr.

But can you blame the OC? What else does he have to do? The assets that should be consuming his time - co-ordinating low-level eng (ie, pioneer) support an bn-level AA/indirect capabilities to work within his plan is now out the window, as the 81mm and pioneers are gone; attached arty and eng assets are now routed through bde, out of the OC's immediate CoC. So he now has to work very tightly with the platoons to make the plan work.

New weapons systems really ought to empower the Coy-level to provide support to platoons, which would probably result in a lessening of micromanagement - there would be no time for it. I would propose that the CASWs be concentrated at the coy, or perhaps even bn level, to give extra support to the main effort when needed and allow the OC and CO to do their original intended jobs, much like how the HMG was concentrated as a support arm in the First World War.

And, yes, I'll say it. Let's get the pioneers back.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #408 on: October 24, 2010, 18:45:16 »
I would also like to stir the pot a bit.

The real question here is not weapons systems per se but how they are allocated and used.

The original post noted that section-level, and implied hat even pl-level leadership is beomcing confined to being a mere node for a larger attack ordered by an OC cmding a coy. This, to some extent, is true. The so-called RMA has allowed for an increasing level in comms systems that allow a commander at a higher level to "grip" the battle more effectively.

The problem here is that even the fastest communications technology can replace lateral co-ordination by two section commanders, facilitated by the pl commander providing assets when needed (ex/ 1 section secures fold to protect 2 section's flank in operation vs MG posn. Pl comd orders wpns det to use 60 mm to isolate 2 sect's target and is there to reinforce 2 sect w/ 3 sect if necc.)

At this point, it doesn't really matter so much if you have a 51mm, 60mm or CASW. What matters is the freedom of action afforded the pl cmdr.

But can you blame the OC? What else does he have to do? The assets that should be consuming his time - co-ordinating low-level eng (ie, pioneer) support an bn-level AA/indirect capabilities to work within his plan is now out the window, as the 81mm and pioneers are gone; attached arty and eng assets are now routed through bde, out of the OC's immediate CoC. So he now has to work very tightly with the platoons to make the plan work.

New weapons systems really ought to empower the Coy-level to provide support to platoons, which would probably result in a lessening of micromanagement - there would be no time for it. I would propose that the CASWs be concentrated at the coy, or perhaps even bn level, to give extra support to the main effort when needed and allow the OC and CO to do their original intended jobs, much like how the HMG was concentrated as a support arm in the First World War.

And, yes, I'll say it. Let's get the pioneers back.

The 'revolution' shouldn't about some new fangled toy giving senior commanders the ability to micromanage each section commander. The revolution has to be about 'giving the power to the people' and investing in the things - technology, training etc - that will help platoon and section commanders have instant access to the same information and fire sp assets that Generals control right now.

This means training our soldiers to think like Generals... or rather, think like the better Generals ;D It also means training senior officers to do what they need to do to allow enourmous assets and levels of responsibility (and trust) to be delegated as far forward in the battle as possible without flinching back into micro-control mode. THAT is frequently the hardest part of the transformation to manage... unfortunately.

The Germans didn't beat France and Poland in a matter of weeks in 1939-40 because they had the best weapons. They beat them because they had the best delegative doctrine (mission type orders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission-type_tactics )  backed up by the communications that allowed a platoon commander to call in a squardon of Stukas at a moment's notice if required.

I wonder how far, if at all, we've progressed from that time and place? There's alot of lip service given to 'mission command' but few have the guts to fully follow it.
"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

jhk87

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #409 on: October 25, 2010, 06:58:36 »
The 'revolution' shouldn't about some new fangled toy giving senior commanders the ability to micromanage each section commander. The revolution has to be about 'giving the power to the people' and investing in the things - technology, training etc - that will help platoon and section commanders have instant access to the same information and fire sp assets that Generals control right now.

This means training our soldiers to think like Generals... or rather, think like the better Generals ;D It also means training senior officers to do what they need to do to allow enourmous assets and levels of responsibility (and trust) to be delegated as far forward in the battle as possible without flinching back into micro-control mode. THAT is frequently the hardest part of the transformation to manage... unfortunately.

The Germans didn't beat France and Poland in a matter of weeks in 1939-40 because they had the best weapons. They beat them because they had the best delegative doctrine (mission type orders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission-type_tactics )  backed up by the communications that allowed a platoon commander to call in a squardon of Stukas at a moment's notice if required.

I wonder how far, if at all, we've progressed from that time and place? There's alot of lip service given to 'mission command' but few have the guts to fully follow it.

Be careful about using German tactics throughout history as a justification for mission orders. The German use of mission-type orders in the spring offensives of 1918 was a disaster  - although they made significant tactical and perhaps operational inroads, they took tremendous losses to virtually no strategic effect. Their gains could simply not be consolidated and the huge loss of aggressive troops laid the foundation for the Allied offensives which rolled them over later in the year.

If one takes a look at the Canadian offensives of 1918, you can see a dispersion and concentration of firepower: LMGs were pushed down whereas HMGs (Vickers) were pushed up, with the idea of having a strong reserve of fire that battalions, brigades and divisions could use to reinforce success.

Obviously, mission-type orders are the way to go, but this has to be connected with lateral and vertical communication in order to ensure adequate support and the provision of the main effort. The much-vaunted blitzkreig through France in 1940 would not have been possible if higher formations did not have access to significant firepower and shock resources (armoured formations) to reinforce success and support the main effort. This combination of concentration and trust in lower commanders allowed for junior leaders to create openings and higher authority to exploit them. Much of the early German successes were facilitated by the extensive use of radios and co-ordination, not just initiative.



Offline Technoviking

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #410 on: October 25, 2010, 08:13:05 »
Be careful about using German tactics throughout history as a justification for mission orders. The German use of mission-type orders in the spring offensives of 1918 was a disaster  - although they made significant tactical and perhaps operational inroads, they took tremendous losses to virtually no strategic effect. Their gains could simply not be consolidated and the huge loss of aggressive troops laid the foundation for the Allied offensives which rolled them over later in the year.
That the "MICHAEL" offensive failed strategically lay not so much because of their mission-type orders, but rather the German inability to sustain their gains, due to years of blockade, amongst other things.  It was too little, too late.

I would offer that the argument is that there were significant tactical gains, where before they were stymied, much as we were, with some notable exceptions, of course.
So, there I was....

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #411 on: October 25, 2010, 09:43:44 »
That the "MICHAEL" offensive failed strategically lay not so much because of their mission-type orders, but rather the German inability to sustain their gains, due to years of blockade, amongst other things.  It was too little, too late.

I would offer that the argument is that there were significant tactical gains, where before they were stymied, much as we were, with some notable exceptions, of course.

Michael was the first of a series of offensives. The gains were just tactical, that's the point - there was no means of communicating or reinforcing their gains with fire and reserves and they incurred huge losses. They would have incurred similarly huge losses in 1914, 1915 or 1916, and while the blockade was a factor, the fact of the matter is that they ended up with a bunch of strung-out positions with no support. What won the war was good tactical knowledge at all levels combined with some really solid set-piece battles, good staff work, and probably, superior generalship.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #412 on: October 25, 2010, 10:35:28 »
Michael was the first of a series of offensives. The gains were just tactical, that's the point - there was no means of communicating or reinforcing their gains with fire and reserves and they incurred huge losses. They would have incurred similarly huge losses in 1914, 1915 or 1916, and while the blockade was a factor, the fact of the matter is that they ended up with a bunch of strung-out positions with no support. What won the war was good tactical knowledge at all levels combined with some really solid set-piece battles, good staff work, and probably, superior generalship.

So your argument seems to be that Michael was Cambrai in reverse - that tactical innovations could get you the first five miles as a cohesive force but after that there was a lack of means of communication (both in the common sense and in the sense) to maintain cohesion AND a rapid pace.

Now there are few physical limits on pace - but can the organism think fast enough to keep up with the action?  Can it think well enough to exploit the advantages the field offers as it offers them?

I can see hard charging section commanders recreating another very common feature of WW1 battles - the salient, of which the most notorious was the Ypres salient.  Hyper-extended forces, surrounded on three sides, consuming enormous resources to hold them in place.
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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #413 on: October 25, 2010, 13:08:02 »
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal. Mission type orders should be one aspect of a developed system whereby leaders who trust each other can pursue their part of the pie and use higher assets when they are necessary/advantageous.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #414 on: October 25, 2010, 13:15:35 »
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal. Mission type orders should be one aspect of a developed system whereby leaders who trust each other can pursue their part of the pie and use higher assets when they are necessary/advantageous.

E.g.,

"Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results."

George S. Patton
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_s_patton.html
"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

jhk87

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #415 on: October 25, 2010, 20:14:36 »
Exactly.

My own disclaimer. The Infantry Section and Platton in Battle, B-GL-309-003/FT-001 is remarkably well-written. Perhaps it is more of a cultural difference - a commander who isn't bust co-ordinating soem other asset will invariably get his fingers into the Pl's attack.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #416 on: October 25, 2010, 20:35:41 »
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal.

The Infantry Section and Platoon in Battle, B-GL-309-003/FT-001 is remarkably well-written.

You may be contradicting yourself.

What edition of Section and Platoon in Battle are you using?

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #417 on: October 25, 2010, 20:40:48 »
The role of communications cannot be underestimated. The Germans had effective tactical communications in WWI (using runners, flares and other means during Operation Michael), but once they moved into operational and strategic communications, they were as SOL as anyone else.

The offensive floundered due to the inability of the High Command to understand the changing nature of the battle, causing the Germans to continue to attack strongly defended positions instead of funneling the troops into areas where the Allies were retreating. While they may not have been able to achieve their objectives even if they had been able to shift troops correctly, they probably would have had more success and upset or even delayed the projected Allied offensives in 1918.

I wonder if we are not facing a similar situation today, given the importance of political intervention and the speed at which images and media reports can be spread by the legacy media and the blogosphere. Do high level commanders have the ability to make the correct decisions with a chorus of voices shouting and distorting the picture on the ground? How about information overload as they sort through massive amunts of information and endless briefings? On again, off again ROE's, rapidly changing priorities to satisfy political imperiatives at home or appease hostile media certainly make it difficult to sustain operations. For troops closer to the ground, this could breed frustration and confusion since the overarching mission aim becomes unclear to them. The other point is the troops can also receive unfiltered material from the legacy media and blogosphere, so the messages they receive are also full of "noise".
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #418 on: October 25, 2010, 21:23:12 »
I think the thing to keep in mind here is that we should be wary of easily packaged solutions along a very consistent doctrine. "Mission command" is a good concept, but often by the time it gets translate into a series of manuals, it is held as a very high ideal. Mission type orders should be one aspect of a developed system whereby leaders who trust each other can pursue their part of the pie and use higher assets when they are necessary/advantageous.

Are you saying that Mission Command is over-rated or that it is not practiced?  I don't see the linkage between mission command and higher assets.

p.s. Here is a thread from two years ago that looked at German and British/Canadian tactics in WW1.  http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,70754.0.html
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 21:44:42 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.

 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

jhk87

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #419 on: October 26, 2010, 07:17:29 »
You may be contradicting yourself.

What edition of Section and Platoon in Battle are you using?

I am  - I began by looking through some TAMs and then referenced the PAM. My fault; will give myself 15 mins mark time. Also looked through course notes which were very big on control measures.

Quote
The offensive floundered due to the inability of the High Command to understand the changing nature of the battle, causing the Germans to continue to attack strongly defended positions instead of funneling the troops into areas where the Allies were retreating. While they may not have been able to achieve their objectives even if they had been able to shift troops correctly, they probably would have had more success and upset or even delayed the projected Allied offensives in 1918.

The German offensives began with no appreciable political or operational aim and the lack of higher co-ordination made it very difficult to really find a purpose for them. In the end, they burnt out their most aggressive troops in the matter of a couple of months.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 07:20:54 by jhk87 »

jhk87

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #420 on: October 26, 2010, 07:36:19 »
I am  - I began by looking through some TAMs and then referenced the PAM (1996 version - it's all I have in PDF at the moment). My fault; will give myself 15 mins mark time. Also looked through course notes which were very big on control measures.

The German offensives began with no appreciable political or operational aim and the lack of higher co-ordination made it very difficult to really find a purpose for them. In the end, they burnt out their most aggressive troops in the matter of a couple of months.

Quote
Are you saying that Mission Command is over-rated or that it is not practiced?  I don't see the linkage between mission command and higher assets.

I'm not saying that Mission Command is a bad idea, I'm saying that it has to be one idea among many to make for effective operations. Once a term begins getting bandied about the army, it quickly has its context lost in the rush to attach the buzzword to everything. Rather than training out "strategic" corporals to "think like generals," I would argue that we ought to make sure the role of the corporal is consistent with modern doctrine and then train our corporals to be good corporals, just like we should should train our subalterns to be good subalterns, and generals generals.

See? My argument has been synergised!

Mission-type orders are nothing new, nor are they the be-all, end-all. I would make the argument that while initiative is vital, having assets that the bn and coy level is also key. As of now' they're lacking - mobility and indirect fire can only really be gained through the bde level and the removal of the AA Pl at bn level means that all Pl comds have to rely on the availiablity of tanks, which we nearly scrapped. Mission-type orders ultimately create opportunities for exploitation, but, if these opportunities have no means of being reinforced, then there's virtually no point. Without dets of 81mm, AA or pioneers, how can the OC really influence the battle without getting his fingers the pl attacks?

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #421 on: October 26, 2010, 11:03:30 »
Mission-orders are indeed fairly new to our Army. We adopted them with the zeal of the converted, but I am not sure if mission-command is universal.

I agree that there is more than one way to do things. The German doctrine from which manouevre warfare sprang recognized directive control (mission-type orders) and detailed control. Under directive control you have a mission with intent along with the tasks for subordinates.  You don't tell the subordinates how to do their tasks, and you even give them the freedom to abandon their tasks during the battle if by doing so they achieve the mission and intent.  Under detailed control, however, you assign tasks (and perhaps tell them how to do their task) and expect subordinates to execute them.  You prepare and rehearse until everybody knows their part and success rests on the battle unfolding as you have prepared.

Both can work. I prefer directive control, but I believe that our military culture actually prefers detailed control. 

I don't think that mission-orders create opportunties for exploitation. Instead, they allow subordinates to recognize and exploit opportunities without relying on communications with their superior. I've seen this work at very low levels (within a Troop).

I agree that infantry battalions should have their old combat support companies back, but I don't see the linkage to directive vs detailed control. A commander who uses directive control will do so whether his only attachment is a 2Lt with a empty jerry-can or a tank squadron, an artillery battery and the marching band attached. A commander who employs detailed control, on the other hand, will simply enjoy having more assets to control.
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

jhk87

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #422 on: October 26, 2010, 11:32:47 »
We can find directives of intent as early as the Second World War - I'll agree with you that it's largely a matter of culture. We have PAMs from 1996 preaching the need for mission command, I would think that 14 years is well enough time to have doctrine recognised.

Current doctrine sees a need for both detailed and mission-type orders, depending on the situation. I see what you're getting at wrt creation vs exploitation - it's largely a matter of scale. A platoon commander has, basically, 1 section in reserve (if not depth) and can therefore only exploit so much. What a Pl-level breakout can do, however, is disrupt the enemy enough for the OC to exploit that gap with his reserve or additional assets, or, for that matter, to create a lane for the depth coy to move through. Higher assets are vital to making these small gaps into bigger ones  - if the tanks are too busy protecting flanks (something that an the 8 anti-armour dets in the CS Coy would be able to achieve), how can they be used to build on the rather minor gap created by a successful pl attack?

Having concentrated fire and mobility assets further down the chain allows for a faster reaction to small but important gains which are enabled by mission-type orders, or, in toher words, letting people who are actually there make decisions. Without this support, having loosely directed sub-units going all over the place is inviting disaster.

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #423 on: October 26, 2010, 12:22:50 »
We can find directives of intent as early as the Second World War - I'll agree with you that it's largely a matter of culture. We have PAMs from 1996 preaching the need for mission command, I would think that 14 years is well enough time to have doctrine recognised.

Current doctrine sees a need for both detailed and mission-type orders, depending on the situation. I see what you're getting at wrt creation vs exploitation - it's largely a matter of scale. A platoon commander has, basically, 1 section in reserve (if not depth) and can therefore only exploit so much. What a Pl-level breakout can do, however, is disrupt the enemy enough for the OC to exploit that gap with his reserve or additional assets, or, for that matter, to create a lane for the depth coy to move through. Higher assets are vital to making these small gaps into bigger ones  - if the tanks are too busy protecting flanks (something that an the 8 anti-armour dets in the CS Coy would be able to achieve), how can they be used to build on the rather minor gap created by a successful pl attack?

Having concentrated fire and mobility assets further down the chain allows for a faster reaction to small but important gains which are enabled by mission-type orders, or, in toher words, letting people who are actually there make decisions. Without this support, having loosely directed sub-units going all over the place is inviting disaster.

We still liked nice deliberate shows as taught by Monty.  Regarding today, manuals only go so far.

Spreading your assets out can also lead to disaster.  Dispersion/concentration is a separate issue from mission command.  You say that having "concentrated fire and mobility assets further down the chain" allows for faster reaction, but it is hard to be both (concentrated and attached out further down the chain) unless you are uncontrained with resources.

Mission command does not need an "exploitation" and pursuit. It can be used for all tasks, even ones where you don't fire a shot. A recce troop leader who gives a good mission and intent can have a patrol commander who abandons his task without permission to achieve the Troop's mission/intent. 

I agree that the infantry battalions should have their combat support platoons back, including anti-armour.  Having integral combat support can, perhaps, enable each tactical grouping to have some combat support while concentrating the tanks/engineers/artillery on the main effort. I just don't see a linkage to mission command. A set-piece deliberate attack using detailed control can result in a breach in the enemy defences that needs to be exploited.

p.s. Going back over this I think that we are in violent agreement here.  As a tanker I would very much like the infantry to have anti-armour, so that tanks can be concentrated without leaving infantry without tanks helpless.  The same can be said for mortars/artillery and pioneers/engineers. Going with this, are there things that platoons/companies need integral that they do not have now?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 21:19:46 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.

 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #424 on: November 10, 2010, 23:07:50 »
Going back to the issue of technology and micromanagement by higher. If I seem somewhat vague during this post I apologize but I don't want to breach OPSEC. Here in Afghanistan battle space comds ie. the infantry coy comds have been given an excellent tool in the "balloon."  There is one at almost every major FOB, they can be tasked almost instantly to provide real time imagery. It is like being able to watch the companies patrols constantly as if watching tv. These have been used to provide ground forces with detailed reports on pattern of life and walk them right on to an objective. However, numerous times during the tour it has also been used as a tool of micromangement. This has resulted in frustration within the companies NCO's and junior officers and precious air space on the companies means being eaten up.  During the post operational report the issue was identified and it was decided that it was likely an issue of training and experience.  This asset was not available nor was it simulated during training resulting in CP staff becoming slightly heavy handed in its employment. I wish I could say I was optimistic about the future of technology like this, however, I believe it is likely that future sect comds and pl comds will be subject to a great deal of control from the CP due to the fact that they can, and (this has already began) it will become the responsibility of the CP to be glued to the video feed and report anything they believe to be operationally relevant (and what is relevant and what is not will vary from person to person). This technology can also result in information overload very quickly.  A sect comd on the ground attempting to control his sect, attached pers (ANA, ANP, ANCOP), and report to higher will become overwhelmed very quickly if every smallest detail is reported to him constantly. CP's will have to be very disciplined in their reporting of information if they are to prevent this.

With regards to employment of mission command in the army today, I am torn and perhaps it's because my understanding of mission command is not strong enough (time for another read through of Manoeuver Warfare Handbook). Control measures here are often used.  There main purpose is for positional awareness IOT prevent fratricide and to hasten the employment of CAS and CCA. Is this contradictory of mission command? I don't think so. It is an attempt to bring the battlefield, which is inherently chaotic, under some kind of control. BUT they do put restrictions on subordinate's actions. When I am tasked by my coy comd to clear a village I'll break it down into numbered compounds, and allocate them to sects, with particular coordinating instructions to prevent fratricide, but I won't tell them how to clear the particular compound.  During coy level ops, my coy comd gives me a lane which entails numerous villages. He doesn't tell me in what order I should clear the villages, however, he does dictate to me my avenue of approach and the boundaries of the lane itself. Are these examples of mission command?  I believe so. Ultimately during pl level ops I have to deconflict the actions of sects IOT ensure they achieve mine and highers intent and ensure they do so without hurting eachother. Just as my coy comd must ensure that his pl's actions are deconflicted. To do this some level of control must be applied. Mission Command and Mission Orders work best I suspect when delivered to the highest comd on the ground, as he is the person who truly has the freedom of action to come up with the best way to tackle a problem.  For example, the CO tasks my coy comd to Clear obj X. It is an independant coy obj, by this I mean that there are no flanking coys to be worried about and it will be the OC's plan with little to no planning guidance from the CO other than his intent and mission (like most clearance operations in Afghanistan). Once the OC decides he's going to take Obj X by a right flanking, I'm pretty much locked in. There is of course room for me to exercise initiative within this manoueuver but not nearly as much as the coy comd had, and this continues down the line until sect comds are left with little room for initiative. Once your boss is on the ground with you and other call signs your initiative is slightly constrained.  Always has been, always will be... I think.  :)