Author Topic: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?  (Read 159241 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #325 on: December 10, 2016, 19:24:49 »
The most efficient way to beat mass armor with artillery takes public will to do so. We already had that solution during Cold War, and could go back to it if the will is there.

PGMs aren't the solution, unless you want to buy us a few hundred guns and lots of SUAVs. 😁

Edited to add: A couple more thousand PYs too please! 😀

No problem on that one Gunny.   As long as you don't mind the lion's share of them being reservists. 

Lots of bows.  Lots of arrows.  Still cheaper than a bunch of armoured geezers.



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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #326 on: December 10, 2016, 19:30:16 »

My other point, that is related to many you made, is that we seem wedded to the square cbt tm which is just one method of organising a cbt tm.  Cbt Tm in operations is a good example of this with all of its TTPs being very detailed descriptions and diagrams on the conduct of operations of a SQUARE cbt tm.

Totally agree that the tank sqn ech is robust but there is no spare capacity there, hence the reason for tank squadrons being resistant to being broken up.  My point is that ADO will give us opportunities to disperse our armour assets but we'll need the sustainment capabilities to do this. 

On this point the Australians appear willing to decentralize their armour more so than ourselves.  The following is out of LWD 3-3-4 Employment of Armour on page 3-2.  You can find it here, http://www.army.gov.au/~/media/Files/Our%20work/Publications/Doctrine/LWD_3-3-4_Employment_of_Armour_Full.pdf

I don't think we are in a place where we would consider deploying a single troop as people often bristle at the idea of detaching a single trp from its parent sqn.  The Marines also do this aboard their MEUs.

Who is wedded to the square combat team (besides the CTCC)? Our grouping doctrine is flexible. Thats a good thing!

At the Staff College the square combat team does not end up being a very common grouping. It can be a viable grouping for some situations, but its certainly not the default.

I do advise against penny packeting tank troops around to the infantry companies: I have certainly experienced an witnessed this on BG exercises over the last decade. Since our infantry lack viable AT weapons it seems that infantry officers want to assign tanks to each company to give the infantry protection from enemy tanks. It is a ruinous practice reminiscent of the 8th Army disasters of the North African campaign. Now, you can certainly attach a single tank troop to a company to form a combat team and it might even make sense for certain situations. A BG attack on a company position could see troops attached to two companies for breach/intimate support while the remaining squadron minus conducts other tasks in relation to the mission (support by fire, breach, assault/neutralize etc). There are other ways to do it, but the point remains that the doctrine is flexible.

We have even deployed single tank troops and recce troops as part of Battle Groups on operations: its not terribly efficient no but we can and have done it.

I have noticed a hesitancy to detach single platoons from companies to attach to squadrons.

Regarding ADO, I do not see it as an opportunity. I see it, rather, as a fuzzy concept that would place us at a disadvantage against a peer/near-peer foe that considered concentration of force/mass as a principle of war. I was part of an experimental exercise in 2011 where I experienced this.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #327 on: December 10, 2016, 20:59:39 »

I do advise against penny packeting tank troops around to the infantry companies: ... It is a ruinous practice reminiscent of the 8th Army disasters of the North African campaign. Now, you can certainly attach a single tank troop to a company to form a combat team and it might even make sense for certain situations. ...

While I agree as to the flexibility, in my day on the Cbt Team Cmdrs course and Command and Staff course deploying tanks in anything less than a half squadron was pretty much an automatic fail.

Of course those were the days when we had tank regiments in each Bde (with, doctrinally at least, four sabre squadrons). B-GL-323-001 made it clear that while the troop was the basic fire unit, the squadron was the basic manouvre unit. Parcelling out even half squadrons (much less troops) was discouraged and was to be done only after careful deliberation and acceptance of the risk of ignoring the principle of concentration of force.   

I do note that the 2003 version of B-GL-321-006 Combat Team Operations specifically contemplates attaching "at least a troop" to a company.

There is much more than a subtle difference between saying something should be avoided and saying that something can be done. I guess it's a sign of the times that maybe we've lost our way.

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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #328 on: December 10, 2016, 23:09:52 »
While I agree as to the flexibility, in my day on the Cbt Team Cmdrs course and Command and Staff course deploying tanks in anything less than a half squadron was pretty much an automatic fail.

Of course those were the days when we had tank regiments in each Bde (with, doctrinally at least, four sabre squadrons). B-GL-323-001 made it clear that while the troop was the basic fire unit, the squadron was the basic manouvre unit. Parcelling out even half squadrons (much less troops) was discouraged and was to be done only after careful deliberation and acceptance of the risk of ignoring the principle of concentration of force.   

I do note that the 2003 version of B-GL-321-006 Combat Team Operations specifically contemplates attaching "at least a troop" to a company.

There is much more than a subtle difference between saying something should be avoided and saying that something can be done. I guess it's a sign of the times that maybe we've lost our way.

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Doctrinally you should not attach less than a squadron to a battalion to form a BG - do not split a squadron and give it to two different battalions. Within the BG its up to the BG CO. Squadron minus and half squadron are basically sound, but the estimate of the situation will drive the grouping.

Giving a troop to each company is generally not a good idea unless you are in a city. I could certainly accept a BG attack, though, where a company had a troop attached for its assault while a squadron minus or half squadron combat team (perhaps with an infantry platoon attached) shoots them onto the objective. It's not the only way but it could work. A combat team with a single tank troop operating on its own, though, is limited in what it can do.

In any case, the BG CO is the one deciding: he is in command and not a book! Doctrine is a good guide and a great start point but it's not in command.
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Offline Ostrozac

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #329 on: December 11, 2016, 06:23:39 »
Since our infantry lack viable AT weapons it seems that infantry officers want to assign tanks to each company to give the infantry protection from enemy tanks. It is a ruinous practice reminiscent of the 8th Army disasters of the North African campaign.

Organizing infantry without any ATGM and then expecting them to exercise and train in methods to fight tanks put everyone involved in a very awkward position. The Tactics School (at least when I attended ATOC) got around this by training in a sort of alternate reality where the ALAAWS project wasn't cancelled and Canada bought the Javelin ATGM. It's harder to "miracle" up imaginary weapons in a live training environment in Wainwright, hence the desire for tanks to be around so that the rifle companies have at least some protection.

I see that Canada is bringing back the tripod mounted TOW. That's a good first step, but there also needs to be procurement of an ATGM at company level. Basically, we have a choice -- if we want to be capable of fighting force on force, then we need anti-tank weapons. Without them, we are a COIN army, full-stop. And a COIN army has no business operating as a tripwire force in the Baltics.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #330 on: December 11, 2016, 12:04:53 »
At the Staff College we kept the LAV TUA and gave each company four Javelin. The lack of infantry anti-armour in our field force is glaring.


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 daftandbarmy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #331 on: December 11, 2016, 12:11:09 »
At the Staff College we kept the LAV TUA and gave each company four Javelin. The lack of infantry anti-armour in our field force is glaring.

And Assault Pioneers. If you want the Infantry to have some integral mobility/counter mobility capabilities we'll need the Pioneer Platoons (as well as Anti-Tank, Mortars etc) back.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #332 on: December 11, 2016, 15:03:55 »
This thread is making me more and more depressed by the minute.

Back when Christ was a lance jack and I was learning how to fight the Soviet hordes, we seemed to have all the gear to support our doctrines, Centurion tanks, SS11, 106 mm recoilless, 81 mm mortars, pioneers, batteries and batteries of 105 and 155s, hell, even tactical nucs and squadrons and squadrons of fighter cover. (the navy had working subs, an aircraft carrier, destroyers and support ships) Old stuff, for sure, but more or less fit for the purpose of the times.

While I'm sure that these days the individual soldiers are better trained and experienced then in my day, it seems that everything needed to keep them alive and capable of defeating a near peer enemy is gone notwithstanding that our defence budget has grown exponentially. We have seriously gone off the rails somewhere.  At the rate we're going we might as well rerole some of the infantry, a few ships and a few planes into a national gendarmerie and pack in the rest of the whole thing and save a whole lot of bucks. The thing about paying year in and year out for an insurance policy is that when you need it it should be capable of paying out. I'm not so sure that our very expensive national defence insurance plan is worth diddly squat anymore.

I simply can't see how our generals can sleep at night and why they haven't resigned in droves in shame and/or protest. Oh wait. I know why they haven't.

 :endnigh:

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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #333 on: December 11, 2016, 15:10:51 »
......  At the rate we're going we might as well rerole some of the infantry, a few ships and a few planes into a national gendarmerie and pack in the rest of the whole thing and save a whole lot of bucks.

That is pretty much what our past few Governments have thought of the CAF.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #334 on: December 11, 2016, 17:02:52 »
That is pretty much what our past few Governments have thought of the CAF.

Except they haven't done anything. One should go either one way or the other. Sitting in the middle is a horrendous waste of money without any real benefit.

Don't get me wrong. I'm fully in favour of a credible force, but we're not getting one the way things are going now. While I do blame the government I think our military leadership is hidebound in doing things the same old way. I've said this many ways but just like you couldn't fine tune the Titanic once it hit the iceberg, you can't fine tune the CF into effectiveness based on the dollars being given to it. If you want to increase effectiveness within what we can expect from the government on an ongoing basis then you need to redesign the entire system from the ground up. To me that means reducing bureaucracy and a greater reliance on reservists.

But I'm going  :off topic: into another whole different thread.

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« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 17:07:41 by FJAG »
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Offline DetectiveMcNulty

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #335 on: December 11, 2016, 17:16:02 »
FJAG - excellent posts.

I agree with most of your points - we need a properly equipped, funded, and manged force in order to be effective. If we're unwilling or unable to realize such a force, it's time to transfer the usual components to other Federal organizations, and pack the rest in.

It will never happen though. Too many fingers in the pot and different interests at stake. We will be stuck with perpetual mediocrity.

And yes, it may be a bit off-topic - but I'd argue that until we stop "sitting in the middle" the majority of discussion in this thread (and many others) is intellectual at best.



« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 17:19:25 by Spectrum »

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #336 on: December 11, 2016, 20:43:09 »
And Assault Pioneers. If you want the Infantry to have some integral mobility/counter mobility capabilities we'll need the Pioneer Platoons (as well as Anti-Tank, Mortars etc) back.

I am not convinced that Assault Pioneers are a necessity. Mortars should exist at the Bn level to allow for fire support if the guns are not available. The AT platoon with LAV TUA would also fill a needed niche. The companies should have integral anti-tank capabilities. Pioneers, while useful, would be much lower on the priority list.
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 GR66

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #337 on: December 11, 2016, 22:28:35 »
I am not convinced that Assault Pioneers are a necessity. Mortars should exist at the Bn level to allow for fire support if the guns are not available. The AT platoon with LAV TUA would also fill a needed niche. The companies should have integral anti-tank capabilities. Pioneers, while useful, would be much lower on the priority list.

I'm not so sure about that.  If we're faced with defending against an enemy advance (much more likely than an offensive NATO scenario), having troops capable of creating hasty obstacles to slow an enemy advance would be a significant advantage.

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #338 on: December 12, 2016, 07:18:48 »
Is that not a capability we can teach to NCOs within Rifle platoons and companies?
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Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #339 on: December 12, 2016, 08:43:44 »
Yes it is
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #340 on: December 12, 2016, 09:14:09 »
Mortars exist at the Bn level to provide coordinated fire support along with the guns.

FTFY. Mortars provide a flexible, accurate and effective fire support resource. How the army managed to convince itself that mortars were obsolete is beyond me. (An ex-CLS referred to mortars as "obsolete" in a conversation with me several years ago.)

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #341 on: December 12, 2016, 09:36:53 »
I'm not so sure about that.  If we're faced with defending against an enemy advance (much more likely than an offensive NATO scenario), having troops capable of creating hasty obstacles to slow an enemy advance would be a significant advantage.

I agree: our Battle Groups and Brigade Groups should be able to emplace obstacles and also be able to breach/clear them. We have that capability now.

For discussion purposes I will offer a couple of hypothetical Battle Groups (BG) for use in a European or peer setting. They would both be part of NATO formations (multinational). Both will be based on existing equipment and organizations.

The first would be an BG based on an infantry battalion. There would be a BG HQ with the required communications equipment including the means to talk with the higher formation. The basis of the BG's combat power would be three infantry companies equipped with LAVs and a tank squadron with Leopard 2A6Ms. We could add a Recce Platoon in LUVWs, TAPVs or even LAVs. We could add an Engineer Troop or an Engineer Squadron. We could deploy a Mortar Troop manned by the artillery along with an FSCC and FOOs (ATG) to plug into higher formation fire support. A robust Administration Company could be deployed, backed up by an NSE for unique Canadian needs that would plug into the NATO logistics chain. The type of UAS support provided to this BG could be a good debate: there are number of options.

This Inf BG would be quite capable. It has plenty of firepower to deal with light AFVs. It has infantry that can operate in close terrain. The Leopard 2A6s are arguably the most capable tanks on the battlefield. The engineers can enable mobility/countermobility and survivability for the BG. That could include mentoring/advising the very capable NCOs in the infantry companies on field fortifications. The mortars can provide responsive/ dedicated fire support to the BG while the FOOs/FSCC access coalition fire support. All of this is possible with what we have in Canada today.

The missing element is anti-tank for the infantry. What they need is integral anti-tank systems like Javelin: say one per platoon and one in the Coy HQ. The BG could also use a TUA platoon to form the basis of the anti-armour plan. These two measures would allow the BG commander to mass his Leopards at the decisive time and place and not employ them piecemeal to protect LAV companies. A number of grouping possibilities exist in this Inf BG ranging from pure sub-units to a variety of combat teams based on the situation.

An alternative BG could be based on an Armoured Regt HQ. It would have two Leopard squadrons, an infantry company and a reconnaissance squadron. It would also have the Engineer Troop or Squadron as well as the supporting Mortar Tp and FSCC. Of course it would have a robust Headquarters Squadron. This BG could perform a number of tasks for a NATO formation including Guard tasks or acting as a formation-level countermoves force. One flaw is that only one of the squadrons would have the 55 calibre 120mm gun.

This armoured BG would also have a number of grouping options for the sub-units once again ranging from pure sub-units to combat teams. If the BG was performing an advanced guard for a NATO Bde then it could lead with the recce squadron and a square combat team with the second tank squadron in reserve. The square combat team would destroy enemy outposts and identify the enemy main line of resistance to allow for the clean deployment of the follow-on forces. The infantry company could be broken up to give a platoon to one tank squadron and a company minus to the other if we were advancing on two axis with few cross-mobility corridors.

What I am trying to show here is that we have most of the capabilities needed. We actually have some world-class equipment including an amazing main battle tank. Discussions about Combat Teams and Battle Groups are not simple intellectual exercises. They should be had!

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 Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #342 on: December 12, 2016, 09:43:31 »
FTFY. Mortars provide a flexible, accurate and effective fire support resource. How the army managed to convince itself that mortars were obsolete is beyond me. (An ex-CLS referred to mortars as "obsolete" in a conversation with me several years ago.)

My point is that artillery might not be available: perhaps the BG is not the main effort and the guns are being employed in support of something else. In this case, an integral fire support element (mortars) gives the BG commander some level of guaranteed fire support regardless of where he fits into the Bde Comd's priorities.
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 Old Sweat

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #343 on: December 12, 2016, 09:50:14 »
My point is that artillery might not be available: perhaps the BG is not the main effort and the guns are being employed in support of something else. In this case, an integral fire support element (mortars) gives the BG commander some level of guaranteed fire support regardless of where he fits into the Bde Comd's priorities.

That is a possibility, and especially in our artillery-anemic army, but one that should only occur rarely. I would also note that AH has been mentioned hardly at all in our discussions. The ATG provides the ability to employ these assets, along with fast air, in close support of our forces, regardless if guns are available or not.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #344 on: December 12, 2016, 11:10:07 »
But, if it is being argued that 37x 155mm is insufficient capability then what merit is there in 6x 81mm or even 8x 120mm?

How about a battle group backed by 24x 155mm?   Does that start to get the job done? 
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #345 on: December 12, 2016, 11:31:39 »
The other thing we need, of course, is a proper MG Platoon in the BG.

If you're going to set up killing areas, and shape the battlefield accordingly, you need a heavy weight of concentrated, flexible, dispersed DIY killing power at the medium ranges to wipe out bad guys after you force them to dismount in your preferred 'ante room'.
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #346 on: December 12, 2016, 12:00:17 »
That is a possibility, and especially in our artillery-anemic army, but one that should only occur rarely. I would also note that AH has been mentioned hardly at all in our discussions. The ATG provides the ability to employ these assets, along with fast air, in close support of our forces, regardless if guns are available or not.

In the hypothetical NATO Brigade Group to which our hypothetical Canadian BG would belong I would envision an artillery battalion with several batteries of self-propelled 155mm guns provided by NATO nations that retained that capability. Perhaps these would all be shooting in support of the Canadian BG for a particular engagement, but perhaps they would not based on the tactical situation. If the Canadians are not the main effort at a particular time then we might not get the guns. This would be true in an all-Canadian CMBG as well for any particular BG. The battalion mortars give guaranteed fire support to the BG CO.

Attack helicopters would not be BG assets. They could certainly operate in our battlespace, but they would not be BG or Cbt Tm assets. 
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 MCG

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #347 on: December 12, 2016, 13:50:43 »
Protective obstacles (including those with AT mines) are supposed to be an all arms function.  You don't need engineers or pioneers for those.

Tactical obstacles are not hasty if emplaned by engineers or pioneers.  If you want hasty tactical obstacles, then you want artillery SCATMINE (which are conveniently and explicitly excluded from regulation under the treaty against cluster munitions)

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #348 on: December 12, 2016, 13:54:57 »
There are a host of enablers that are not part of the Combat Team, Battle Group or even the Brigade Group. That does not mean that we should not be prepared to employ them properly and that our commanders and troops should not be trained in their use. And we may not be able to get them all the time, or even most of the time and perhaps just a tiny bit of the time, but if our world is going pear-shaped, no telling what will show up to join the fight.

This is getting well off the subject, but a line I have used in the past when discussing artillery in battle was extrapolated from a passage LGen Sir Brian Horrocks, the GOC-inC of 30 BR Corps in NWE, wrote in one of his books. He commented on sitting on a hill in NWE with his corps artillery commander, who had 1000 guns on call no farther away than the end of his radio antenna.

I would pause and then add, "and what was important is that so did all the FOOs in his corps, and they weren't afraid to call for them." Different war, and different circumstances, but the principle still applies, and not just with guns.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #349 on: December 12, 2016, 14:05:25 »
There are a host of enablers that are not part of the Combat Team, Battle Group or even the Brigade Group. That does not mean that we should not be prepared to employ them properly and that our commanders and troops should not be trained in their use. And we may not be able to get them all the time, or even most of the time and perhaps just a tiny bit of the time, but if our world is going pear-shaped, no telling what will show up to join the fight.

This is getting well off the subject, but a line I have used in the past when discussing artillery in battle was extrapolated from a passage LGen Sir Brian Horrocks, the GOC-inC of 30 BR Corps in NWE, wrote in one of his books. He commented on sitting on a hill in NWE with his corps artillery commander, who had 1000 guns on call no farther away than the end of his radio antenna.

I would pause and then add, "and what was important is that so did all the FOOs in his corps, and they weren't afraid to call for them." Different war, and different circumstances, but the principle still applies, and not just with guns.


I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know, the artillery did.

George S. Patton
"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