Author Topic: Thinking about the Infantry Attack  (Read 285229 times)

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Online Technoviking

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #425 on: November 10, 2010, 23:15:10 »
Mission Command does not mean "total freedom".  instead, remember that there are indeed freedoms, but there are also constraints.  Let us not forget that your superior has a task, and you are part of it.  In his plan, he is leaving the details to you, but in the end, you still have to achieve "x" by time "y" in order to "z". 


As for the balloons/eyes in the skies, etc...I'm not a fan of them.  Why trust subordinates when you can micromanage them???

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic)
So, there I was....

Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #426 on: November 11, 2010, 10:59:27 »
Roger Technoviking.  So is the predominant view that mission command is something your either practicing or your not, or is it seen more as a continuum where there are varying degrees of its practice, with complete control on one end, and little to no direction on the other?

I'm inclined to see it more as a continuum based of the inclinations of the comd and the capabilities of his subordinates.

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #427 on: December 17, 2010, 23:55:50 »
Quote
As for the balloons/eyes in the skies, etc...I'm not a fan of them.  Why trust subordinates when you can micromanage them???

Why wouldn't you take advice and direction from Someone who may have been in your position before?

Balloons are better than kites?  Oui?

Offline KevinB

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #428 on: December 18, 2010, 11:45:19 »
Why wouldn't you take advice and direction from Someone who may have been in your position before?

Balloons are better than kites?  Oui?

The problem is two fold (and more) one they can get sucked int tunnel vision concentrating on a portion of the battle and neglecting the larger picture, and also seeing the ground is not the same as being on the ground. 
  While sitting somewhere will digital imagery is nice, it does not give you the actual feedback of what the soldiers on the ground see, and while can can see somethings they cannot, it also does not display the actual terrain and what can and cannot be seen from there.
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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #429 on: December 18, 2010, 13:34:32 »
There is also the problem that if we constantly rely on someone who's been there before, we can fall into the trap of forming patterns and hence becoming vulnerable.

Before anyone loses their mind,  of course, I take the advice of those who have been before very seriously, but new information and freedom of action ensures that nothing becomes fossilised in our doctrine or our habits.

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #430 on: December 18, 2010, 14:24:56 »
There is also the problem that if we constantly rely on someone who's been there before, we can fall into the trap of forming patterns and hence becoming vulnerable.

Before anyone loses their mind,  of course, I take the advice of those who have been before very seriously, but new information and freedom of action ensures that nothing becomes fossilised in our doctrine or our habits.

For those who remember the First Gulf War, you may also remember that all of a sudden many military institutions started to focus on it and the tactics used there as the model for the future.  I just went  ::) .  The First Gulf War was comparable to a large modern army lined up on one side of a parade square against a smaller less equiped army and then going at it.  Next Stop!  Afghanistan.  Not exactly the wide open desert of Kuwait and Iraq.  All those Gulf War scenarios had to be revisited and either adapted to new terrain and enemies or completely thrown out.

We, all the Cbt Arms, teach Tactics.  We teach the BASICS, not what the current or next war are using.....Just the BASICS.  Lessons learned from current, past and new technology being developed can be discussed, but in the end we will teach only the BASICS.  It is the guys in the Field who will take those BASIC lessons, combined Lessons Learned and with study of history, etc., and then adapt them to suit their needs.  Not every enemy will be the same.  Not all Ground will be the same.  Not all your equipment, nor all your support will be the same.  What worked today, may not work tonight.  As long as we have a good grounding in the BASICS, we will be able to adapt to changing situations.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #431 on: December 18, 2010, 23:01:22 »
Just an interesting find here; H.G. Wells forecast Stormtrooper tactics (and by inference directive control) in the 1903 story "The Land Ironclads". This was written in 1903 and published in "Strand Magazine", so it is unclear what, if any, influence the story had on military developments in the future (the Land Ironclads also forecast the AFV, although in a technically impractical form).

Quote
"What would you do if you were the enemy?" said the war correspondent, suddenly.
        "If I had men like I've got now?"
        "Yes."
        "Take these trenches."
        "How?"
        "Oh-dodges! Crawl out half-way at night before moonrise and get into touch with the chaps we send out. Blaze at 'em if they tried to shift, and so bag some of 'em in the daylight. Learn that patch of ground by heart, lie all day in squatty holes, and come on nearer next night. There's a bit over there, lumpy ground, where they could get across to rushing distance-easy. In a night or so.. It would be a mere game for our fellows; it's what they're made for. . . .Guns? Shrapnel and stuff wouldn't stop good men who meant business."

Many people have pointed out there is a large "cultural" element involved. We can say we are for directive control, but I have been involved in the publishing and dissemination of exercise orders and instructions that literally fill a CD, as well as communications and information feeds that theoretically provide instant SA across the battlespace (and are used to reach down from great heights), both rather incompatible with directive control.

The problem is actually familiar. In economics it is called the "Local Knowledge" problem, and basically states the people on the ground have undifferentiated "local"  knowledge of the situation and their preferred outcomes which is difficult to quickly summarize, transmit to centralized outside or higher authorities and be acted upon in a timely manner. Non military solutions include the market economy and flocking/schooling behaviour by birds or fish.

How to translate this into military solutions is an interesting problem. Flocking and schooling is a complex behaviour which is triggered by some very basic rules, so by analogy we could "swarm" the enemy by giving each section commander a set of "responses" to various conditions (always maintain a space between distance "x" and distance "y" from the other section, for example). The evolving trend of placing more and more powerful weapons in the hands of platoons, sections and individual soldiers would tend to support this trend, since there would be much less need to call on higher levels for assets to deal with hard or difficult targets. In theory, most of what the higher levels of command would be involved in would be related to operational issues (placing the flock of soldiers where the enemy is) and logistics (supporting the flock in the field).

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

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #432 on: December 19, 2010, 10:00:50 »
The problem is that we have been stripping away assets from lower levels of command - beginning with the pioneer platoons, then going into the AT platoons and even the mortar platoons. The replacement (as opposed to its supplement) of the highly mobile 60mm with the CASW - heavier, with a longer logistical tail - combined with a reliance on air and arty assets controlled at a higher level, seriuously impedes the platoon commander's ability to support section actions.

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #433 on: December 19, 2010, 11:18:25 »
The evolving trend of placing more and more powerful weapons in the hands of platoons, sections and individual soldiers would tend to support this trend, since there would be much less need to call on higher levels for assets to deal with hard or difficult targets. In theory, most of what the higher levels of command would be involved in would be related to operational issues (placing the flock of soldiers where the enemy is) and logistics (supporting the flock in the field).

The problem is not just one of capability.  It seems to me it is also one of responsibility - or in the words of the accountants - risk management.

The good news is that it takes fewer bodies to disrupt enemy forces and to conduct a credible defence often that is all that is required.  The bad news is that all that destructive power has the chance to create an unintended level of mayhem. And as we see regularly unintended mayhem, in constabulary operations, is not desirable.   

So is it appropriate to leave all that potential in the hands of a junior officer or should it be held by a more experienced hand?

The fire of a WW1 artillery brigade can be supplied by couple of gun dets and a uav.  Should that be a Brigadier's command or a Sgt-MFC?

40 troops can now deploy resources that weren't available to battalions in WW1.  In WW1 that number of troops would be handed to a lieutenant because he couldn't get into much trouble as he was learning his trade.  Now, he can destroy an entire strategic plan for the season by carelessness.

Perhaps as the power available to the platoon increases then the rank associated with the command needs to go up, from Lieutenant to Captain.  Or perhaps the unit of 40 to 50 troops under the command of a Captain gets redefined upwards as a company with battalions of 250 under Majors and reintroduce the regiment as a tactical unit of 750 to 1000.   None of this, as most readers here know, is revolutionary.  Most armies have done this in past, including the Brits and the Yanks.  In some instances - specialist forces - they are doing it today.  Many other armies have already gone down that path and made those changes.

It would impose a structure much more akin to the original 1 SSF or the CAR  with its big company/small battalion Commandos. 

A byproduct of the change to a smaller Captain's command would be a handier unit of deployment capable of managing smaller operations independently and that could be brigaded for larger operations.  And one that could be planted in the back of one of HM's Canadian Ships for a stretch of Sun and Barbeques.

A down side to all of this is there would be fewer "training slots" for young lieutenants fresh out of Gagetown.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #434 on: December 19, 2010, 20:32:53 »
The problem is two fold (and more) one they can get sucked int tunnel vision concentrating on a portion of the battle and neglecting the larger picture, and also seeing the ground is not the same as being on the ground. 
  While sitting somewhere will digital imagery is nice, it does not give you the actual feedback of what the soldiers on the ground see, and while can can see somethings they cannot, it also does not display the actual terrain and what can and cannot be seen from there.


With regards to tunnel vision and ISR assets I might have an anecdote that might interest this audience.  Back in October I might have found 2 of my vehicles to be hopelessly mired and requiring some very heavy equipment to get them out. Due to the level that this resource was held at it became an interst to higher ups.  During the recovery I was told over the means that both Battlegroup and TFK were monitoring the extraction. Probably wasn't the most important thing happening in the battlespace that day, just the most embarrassing.

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #435 on: December 19, 2010, 20:47:17 »
I think these are examples not of adverse technology or an increased desire to meddle but of a conflict where everybody above the rank of Major is somewhat, at most times, superfluous.
"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 GnyHwy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #436 on: December 20, 2010, 08:43:37 »
Quote
I think these are examples not of adverse technology or an increased desire to meddle but of a conflict where everybody above the rank of Major is somewhat, at most times, superfluous.

For anyone who hasn't read this, it is a humorous article about US Army Col that was fired for his comments about the Afghan HQ because he didn't clear them through the PAFO.

I know this off topic but, it is just in response to the quote from Infanteer above.  It's funny cause it's true. Tee hee hee.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/09/army-colonel-fired-for-powerpoint-rant-090210w/


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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #437 on: December 20, 2010, 10:04:28 »
FYI I know a rather senior DoS PRT personality that was told by Gen P to stop her presentation as her font's where not all the same and he found it distracting and annoying...

 
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #438 on: December 20, 2010, 10:16:49 »
FYI I know a rather senior DoS PRT personality that was told by Gen P to stop her presentation as her font's where not all the same and he found it distracting and annoying...

As the short, old, wise, green man who talks funny because he has someone's hand up his *** once said "That is why you fail."

 
I guess the first principle of war needs to be restated:  "Selection and maintenance of the aim font"
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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #439 on: December 24, 2010, 00:31:53 »
I think these are examples not of adverse technology or an increased desire to meddle but of a conflict where everybody above the rank of Major is somewhat, at most times, superfluous.

Interesting. I remember hearing a speaker at a conference talk about the frustration coming from trying to co-ordinate operations between so many different nations and agencies when everyone wanted their piece of the war under their belt.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #440 on: May 09, 2012, 22:48:28 »
B-GL-392-002/FP-001 INF SECT AND PL IN OPS

I am told that this is undergoing a rewrite and comments are being solicited. Has anyone got a copy handy? I'm not sure if it's available online or not. Hopefully we've reintroduced the drills for 'Form Square'... if not I've got some writing to do.

Cheers  :salute:
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Offline dangerboy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #441 on: May 09, 2012, 22:50:47 »
My OC mentioned he received a draft copy but I don't know if he is making comments on it or not.
All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #442 on: May 10, 2012, 21:30:14 »
I took a very quick look at the draft that was available on the Army Electronic Library and there did not appear to be a whole lot of changes.  I believe it did recognize the fact that there is (and has been for years) three positions in the sect tied to the vehicle but other than that I didn't see anything really different.  Still spoke of frontal section attacks and little recognition that the sect might operate independantly of the platoon despite a decade of operations with sects doing just that.  All the diagrams still had 8 man sects and what not.  My overall impression was that it was far from polished and I would hope that the one that I saw was still far from being publishing.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #443 on: May 10, 2012, 22:26:33 »
I took a very quick look at the draft that was available on the Army Electronic Library and there did not appear to be a whole lot of changes.  I believe it did recognize the fact that there is (and has been for years) three positions in the sect tied to the vehicle but other than that I didn't see anything really different.  Still spoke of frontal section attacks and little recognition that the sect might operate independantly of the platoon despite a decade of operations with sects doing just that.  All the diagrams still had 8 man sects and what not.  My overall impression was that it was far from polished and I would hope that the one that I saw was still far from being publishing.

Hmm... sounds like 'form square' wouldn't look out of place then?
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #444 on: May 11, 2012, 22:13:47 »
Hmm... sounds like 'form square' wouldn't look out of place then?

Perhaps not.  But like I said, it was very quick.  Perhaps there is someone else here who is either closer to the development process or has given the document a closer read.

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #445 on: May 11, 2012, 22:32:22 »
A formed square is exactly what is called for, when in a probable hostile environment; would you do anything else?

Doctrine is not TTPs or reaction to the enemy; doctrine is the answer to problems that will always exist; not necessarily the problems of the present. 

Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #446 on: September 25, 2018, 21:11:03 »
Interesting read here that I think fits under this (rather old but classic) thread.  Bit of tease of some research to come but worth the short read.

https://wavellroom.com/2018/09/25/slaughter-manoeuvre-infantry-and-psychology/

Quantification of tactical actions is always difficult but, I think, a worthwhile process to figuring out how combat is actually supposed to work.  It interesting that according to his data a flanking attack seems to have diminishing returns as the size of the force gets larger than a coy or two, however, his methodology is far from clear in this article.

His point on closing with the enemy is interesting and probably something most of us agree with and understand intuitively.  It would be nice to see his research on this.  This shows why sitting back with standoff weapons is insufficient against a determined defender.  Until we can gain a perfect understanding of the enemy and hit them all with precision munitions then assaulting infantry (and likely tanks?) will be required.  He attributes this to the fear of close combat and death but I'd say shock is part of the process as well.


« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 07:26:54 by Haligonian »

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #447 on: September 26, 2018, 20:38:14 »
Nice find Haligonian.

The nexus of assault-flanking surprise-enemy casualties is probably another poorly understood concept by the profession, because it's something we just simply can't train or simulate in training very well, if at all.  Victory isn't about killing the enemy, it's about convincing him he's beaten, and he'll run away or cower in his hole.  There are so many case studies out there that indicate that when a key position is taken down, or a key leader killed, the defender just throws in the towel.

On diminishing returns for flanking action, he's probably right with the idea of the "big hook" being easier to spot.  An enemy's flank can become his frontage fairly easy - he just needs to turn 90 degrees.  Easy (or easier) to do if he sees it coming.

Dermot Rooney is a smart guy - I corresponded with him a while back and he provided me with some research material on a few things.  I recommend reaching out to him and getting more on his research - it's probably worth digging into.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #448 on: September 26, 2018, 21:20:48 »
Dermot Rooney is a smart guy - I corresponded with him a while back and he provided me with some research material on a few things.  I recommend reaching out to him and getting more on his research - it's probably worth digging into.

Roger.

As a bit of an aside I was struck by a bit of a dichotomy between the tactical and operational levels and the strategic.  At the lower levels we want to defeat the enemy's will as it's less costly to do, however, at the strategic level we may need to destroy the enemy's capabilities if we need to ultimately change the balance of power between us and the enemy.  I'm reading Martel's Victory in War right now and this has come up a few times.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Thinking about the Infantry Attack
« Reply #449 on: September 26, 2018, 21:27:58 »
Nice find Haligonian.

The nexus of assault-flanking surprise-enemy casualties is probably another poorly understood concept by the profession, because it's something we just simply can't train or simulate in training very well, if at all.  Victory isn't about killing the enemy, it's about convincing him he's beaten, and he'll run away or cower in his hole.  There are so many case studies out there that indicate that when a key position is taken down, or a key leader killed, the defender just throws in the towel.

On diminishing returns for flanking action, he's probably right with the idea of the "big hook" being easier to spot.  An enemy's flank can become his frontage fairly easy - he just needs to turn 90 degrees.  Easy (or easier) to do if he sees it coming.

Dermot Rooney is a smart guy - I corresponded with him a while back and he provided me with some research material on a few things.  I recommend reaching out to him and getting more on his research - it's probably worth digging into.

Way back in the School of Infantry at Warminster in 1983, right after the Falklands War, they changed the attack portion of the course to reflect the lessons learned.

Before the war, there was a lot of emphasis on maneuvering and not much on the 'fight through'.

After the war? Well, the fight through at Goose Green lasted 11 hours. So we did about a 6 hour fight through during a Coy Gp deliberate attack, mostly on our bellies, and by the end we had taken over 50% casualties who were umpired out then fed back in later as battle cas replacements.

After doing that three more times we were getting the hang of it.... as well as p**sed off with crawling ;)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 21:39:54 by daftandbarmy »
"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