Author Topic: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more  (Read 406567 times)

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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #250 on: March 23, 2011, 11:38:48 »
The Gunners didn't get the PYs to go with the mortars.  The PYs went to the VCDS and probably ended up in the dotcoms, soldiers' positions traded off for staff officer/NCO jobs. Mortars and Pioneers went away because two infantry Colonels decided they were an expendable capability to try and protect riflemen positions (failing to realize we could backfill riflemen a lot more easily than replace the lost capabilities when needed - which we didn't accomplish with Sappers and Gunners covering them off despite the theoretical discussions of them doing so).

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

The dot COM positions were created out of the 5000 Reg F expansion.  Whether a force expansion intended to put more boots on the ground should have been used to grow additional HQs of limited utility is another issue - and a question that the former CDS, Gen Hillier, has never adequately answered.
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Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #251 on: March 23, 2011, 11:40:39 »
I stand corrected, for the purpose of this thread the main point is that the Mortar/Pioneer PYs didn't get reallocated within the Infantry, or go to the Guns with the 81s.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #252 on: March 23, 2011, 15:08:41 »
Treading on eggs here....

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

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

As to the medium calibre guns with their high rates of fire and suppressive abilities, appropriate to higher intensity conflicts - isn't that compatible with maintaining that capability in the reserves with the C1-3s?
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #253 on: March 23, 2011, 15:20:50 »
Gunners provide more than just the gun dets; there's fire co-ordination that's required; AD gunners provide some low-level airspace co-ordination as well.

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

And to use ammo expenditure as a measure of utility would be troubling; by that metric, a platoon that creates a safe environment by patrolling and working with the locals would be seen to be less effective than one that managed to get all the locals pissed off and taking potshots at them.
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #254 on: March 23, 2011, 15:26:48 »
Kirkhill

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

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

Dapaterson has noted that gunners do other things, as well as the tasks he mentioned, there are the FOO parties and the locating device detachments, and of course the OMLT.

Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #255 on: March 23, 2011, 18:50:53 »
Looking at the PY issue. General Leslie has stated he intends to reduce the HQ bloat in the CF. If thats the case, maybe we can bring back mortar platoons? That would also help with the overbourne infantry trade.

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

M'eh

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #256 on: March 23, 2011, 19:02:33 »
I apologize - I knew as soon as I posted that question that I was on very thin ice.

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

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

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

Again, my apologies.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #257 on: March 23, 2011, 19:35:39 »
100mm Mortar? Poor compromise, it doesn't even exist as far as I know.
There is at least one, but it is not from a country that I think we should be buying arms.  I raise the question of an intermediate size as an alternative to the either-or discussion of 81 mm vs 120 mm.  Conceptually, an intermediate tube size could offer something that was an acceptable balance of the 81 & 120 strenghts or an unacceptable compilation of 81 & 120 weaknesses.

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

Of course, there is always the possibility that we decide all our needs are already satisfied within either the 81 mm or the 120 mm; in which case an intermediate size should not be consuming any effort for consideration.

Offline Petard

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #258 on: March 23, 2011, 23:58:58 »
I apologize - I knew as soon as I posted that question that I was on very thin ice.

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

Again, my apologies.

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

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

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

I agree Infantry units need some kind of fire support that remains within the Bn, that it needs to be able to deliver lethal and non lethal effects, in sustained or precision delivery methods, over complex terrain. But the numbers don't exist within current Artillery units to support that consistently at the Bn level, not as far as I can tell.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #259 on: March 24, 2011, 10:24:41 »
Thanks Petard.

You clarified the issues I so clumsily tried to address.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #260 on: March 24, 2011, 11:01:42 »
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?

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

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #261 on: March 24, 2011, 12:35:25 »
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?


Used to was.....

Found here
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Offline Petard

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #262 on: March 24, 2011, 17:33:30 »
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?


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


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

DLCD did start some research into the concepts you're talking about, but more along the lines of a SP 120mm that could also mount the 81mm barrel. I haven't heard too much about it lately so I'm assuming it has stalled, along with many other things.

Offline MCG

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #263 on: March 24, 2011, 17:35:53 »
Isn't there a LAV/81mm mortar carrier?
There was, some called it the "Wolf"; they're all gone now, the last weapon mount was sold for scrap by DSAL just over two years ago.
The second generation LAVs are also on the road to retirement with TAPV coming in.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #264 on: March 27, 2011, 10:08:15 »
Quote
The question that keeps coming to my mind is why the gunners haven't embraced infantry cooperation to a greater extent and formed infantry support troops of 8 tubes to be issued to infantry battalions together with a large FOO organization - Capt command with FCCS, FISTs for the Coys and MFCs for the platoons (maybe even issue the MFC tms with 60s).

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

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

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

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

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

Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #265 on: March 28, 2011, 10:18:37 »
After reading what the SMEs have to say on mortars and arty, here is some stuff I am thinking should be the way to go

60mm Mortar-Retain, pl/coy organic weapon

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

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

Kind of full circle, but hey, if it wasn't broke, why did we fix it? (rhetorical question)
M'eh

Offline Petard

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #266 on: March 28, 2011, 13:09:09 »

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

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

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

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

I believe Artillery PGM are still needed to engage depth targets, but I don't see why an Infantry Bn couldn't have its own integral PGMM

Offline rampage800

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #267 on: March 28, 2011, 15:06:07 »
TLE I believe is one of the issues that the arty is just now catching up on, I mean lets me honest, we bought a PGM (Excalibur) without the cape to generate coords for it  and even now most people couldn't tell you the difference between a Cat 1 or a Cat 4 location. Its coming slowly and there are still some misconceptions out there but there's still only a few instruments that are recognized by JFCOM as being able to generate Cat 1 coords ie. PSS-SOF and a few others. Even FV contrary to popular belief does not generate Cat 1. All that being said you don't need Cat 1  to employ a PGM but you better have a pretty good idea of what the device your using can generate.

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

My 2 cents.

Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #268 on: March 28, 2011, 17:21:20 »
Could you dumb that down for me? Please explain the acronyms? Thanx.
JFCOM =?
TLE = ?
PSS-SOF = ?
FV = ?
M'eh

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #269 on: March 28, 2011, 18:14:14 »
Joint Force Command
Target location error
Precision Strike Suite - Special Operations Forces (mensurated or averaged grids)
Falconview

Falconview does produce good grids but, is unreliable as images get distorted (shrunk) out to the extreme edges of an image.  Only the terrain immediatley below were the picture was taken could be considered accurate.  PSS-OFF corrects that by averaging (blending) more than 1 image.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 18:21:34 by GnyHwy »

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #270 on: March 28, 2011, 18:34:02 »
Joint Force Command
Target location error
Precision Strike Suite - Special Operations Forces (mensurated or averaged grids)
Falconview

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

So how many women are in SOF now?  ;D
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #271 on: April 21, 2011, 18:26:51 »
Picatinny fields first precision-guided mortars to troops in Afghanistan

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.army.mil/-news/2011/03/29/53988-picatinny-fields-first-precision-guided-mortars-to-troops-in-afghanistan/index.html
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #272 on: April 26, 2011, 16:25:08 »
The problem with discussing a return of 81 mm mortars to the infantry is that the last of the Advanced Mortar qualified Officers and NCOs will soon be gone. To recreate it, we do not want to bring mortars back with the staffing and organization of the Artillery fire control system with them.  It's a time limited opportunity to restore the medium mortar to the infantry battalions with the infantry officers and NCOs who have the training we would want to recreate.

As both the Brits and the US use mortars, likely you could recreate the skill set by sending talented individuals to serve with the military that deploys the mortars the way you want and borrow heavily from them. Not to mention dust off the pams stored in some back room.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #273 on: April 26, 2011, 16:41:43 »
Technical weapon skills are one thing, re-establishing the integration of command and control processes that seamlessly match our battalion command systems is the tricky part. Yes, we could "blow the dust off the old pams", but when most of our training is based on passage of skills from instructor to student, the pams can be pretty impenetrable to someone who hasn't laid hands on the weapon system before.  Also, sending someone to another country to learn the advanced skills of fire control and fire support coordination really only works well if the command environment is the same.

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Re: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more
« Reply #274 on: April 26, 2011, 20:55:55 »
Quote
The problem with discussing a return of 81 mm mortars to the infantry is that the last of the Advanced Mortar qualified Officers and NCOs will soon be gone. To recreate it, we do not want to bring mortars back with the staffing and organization of the Artillery fire control system with them.  It's a time limited opportunity to restore the medium mortar to the infantry battalions with the infantry officers and NCOs who have the training we would want to recreate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       

« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 21:03:18 by GnyHwy »