Author Topic: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?  (Read 158370 times)

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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #350 on: December 12, 2016, 14:12:20 »
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.


Is anyone suggesting that we should not be prepared to employ fire support and other higher-level enablers? I am suggesting that a battalion commander may not receive the artillery support/ fire support that is held at a higher level. That is why he needs his own small element such as mortars to enable him to suppress a target when he is not the main effort.
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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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #351 on: December 12, 2016, 14:29:03 »
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.

Artillery structures vary across NATO but generally a brigade would have one artillery battalion with three six gun batteries of either 105mm or (more commonly) 155 mm with one battery generally providing direct support for each battalion size manoeuvre element. The flexibility of artillery fire means that fire can be massed at a critical location which means that non critical areas may lose their support from time to time.

Aviation is a division or higher resource. Currently for the US that can be anywhere from 16 Apache's in one battalion to 48 Apaches in two battalions depending on the division. Other NATO armies vary. (like ours, we have sweet f*** all)

Call me an old fashioned kind of guy but I like mortars integral to the battalion. It's a dedicated indirect fire support that is always there and mortar fire is different in nature from what artillery and aviation brings to the game. The high rate of plunging fire (IMHO) is, in certain circumstances, very effective.

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Offline RCPalmer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #352 on: December 12, 2016, 19:30:40 »
Artillery structures vary across NATO but generally a brigade would have one artillery battalion with three six gun batteries of either 105mm or (more commonly) 155 mm with one battery generally providing direct support for each battalion size manoeuvre element. The flexibility of artillery fire means that fire can be massed at a critical location which means that non critical areas may lose their support from time to time.

Aviation is a division or higher resource. Currently for the US that can be anywhere from 16 Apache's in one battalion to 48 Apaches in two battalions depending on the division. Other NATO armies vary. (like ours, we have sweet f*** all)

Call me an old fashioned kind of guy but I like mortars integral to the battalion. It's a dedicated indirect fire support that is always there and mortar fire is different in nature from what artillery and aviation brings to the game. The high rate of plunging fire (IMHO) is, in certain circumstances, very effective.

 :subbies:

This seems to be the way things are headed again, particularly with light forces development.  The hat badge of the Mortar Pl members is another question, but I wouldn't be fussed either way as long as the capability is re-established. 

However, on that vein it would be nice if we actually built some doctrine on the combined arms groupings built around light forces.  Light Infantry Coy with tanks?  Light Infantry Coy with Pl sized attachments which may or may not have integral lift for their pers and/or equipment?  There is practically nothing on this, and there is lots of applicability for these types of scenarios in COIN or complex terrain.


Offline Thucydides

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #353 on: December 12, 2016, 20:00:06 »
If the mortars are a DIY artillery when higher assets are not available, then we should be pushing for 120mm (and better yet automatic 120mms like Dragonfire). This gives even the independent BG the ability to shape the battlefield with fire.
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.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #354 on: December 12, 2016, 20:48:03 »
No, he probably means DPICM. It was a montrously efficient method of deal with massed armour.

Good point.  I should have known that.

Tango,

I agree that our doctrine is flexible and that ultimately this comes down to a CO's decision.  My point, however, is that our intellectual foundation puts a lot of weight on the square cbt tm. All the drills in Cbt Tm in Ops are for square teams.  The CTCC aims for a square team.  These are not insignificant facts as they form the foundation of cbt tm experience for many officers.  Further I would suggest that it does bleed over into the field force.  I'll need to confirm but I'm pretty sure that as of right now the plan for the Lvl 5 live at RUGGED BEAR this year is a square cbt tm.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #355 on: December 12, 2016, 21:01:00 »
If the mortars are a DIY artillery when higher assets are not available, then we should be pushing for 120mm (and better yet automatic 120mms like Dragonfire). This gives even the independent BG the ability to shape the battlefield with fire.

When you say Automatic - I hear 10 tonne truck.
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Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #356 on: December 12, 2016, 21:52:31 »
Good point.  I should have known that.

DPICM and what you said.

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.)

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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #357 on: December 12, 2016, 22:05:51 »
DPICM and what you said.

That takes a lot of koolaid!

Just go on YouTube and Google mortar, they're a staple in every other military in the world.  "Mortars are obsolete" just another reason why I'm pulling plug on this roadshow.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 22:11:22 by Humphrey Bogart »

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #358 on: December 12, 2016, 22:06:57 »

Tango,

I agree that our doctrine is flexible and that ultimately this comes down to a CO's decision.  My point, however, is that our intellectual foundation puts a lot of weight on the square cbt tm. All the drills in Cbt Tm in Ops are for square teams.  The CTCC aims for a square team.  These are not insignificant facts as they form the foundation of cbt tm experience for many officers.  Further I would suggest that it does bleed over into the field force.  I'll need to confirm but I'm pretty sure that as of right now the plan for the Lvl 5 live at RUGGED BEAR this year is a square cbt tm.

I have certainly done many more combat team advances and quick attacks in the field force than I have been in battle group attacks. I think that the square combat team is more at the emotional foundation of the army than the intellectual. When large scale collective training collapsed in the 90s and workups for peacekeeping ops were the bug deals, the combat team attack was where we preserved "war fighting" training. When we do Battle Group exercises the playbook opens up for groupings.

I teach at the staff college, and square combat teams are not the standard answer to a problem here. BG level problems call for BG level solutions.

I've been on CTCCs with combat teams based on squadron minuses and half squadrons: even recce (edited to fix auto-correct...) squadrons! The TTPs from the book can be adapted.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 09:10:22 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 Infanteer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #359 on: December 12, 2016, 22:42:15 »
I think that the square combat team is more at the emotional foundation of the army than the intellectual.

I think you're right on that mark.

My biggest critique of the square combat team (the Square) is that it seems to run counter-intuitive to the notion of maximizing C2 nodes.  Much of the study I've done suggests that smaller tactical organizations tend to fair better.  For example, there is a good amount of literature on how a Squadron of four troops of 3 tanks performs better than a Squadron of three troops of four due to the extra C2 node (there is no increase in tanks, only one extra Troop Leader is added to the fray).  The Square seems to run counter to this - putting in excess of 35 armoured fighting vehicles under a single sub-unit commander.

So yes, it's but one tool in the box, but have we made it the shiniest tool when it may not actually be a very practical one?

Let's take your hypothetical Armoured Regiment example - two tank squadrons and an infantry company, combined with a recce squadron.  As opposed to having a Square plowing behind the Recce Squadron, would the CO be better served with two sub-units to manoeuvre behind the recce screen?  Although the Sqn/Coy will occupy roughly the same ground, I suspect having both OCs pushing forces forward would be much more nimble than having one of the OCs plod forward with the whole shebang.  One of the coolest exercises I saw was a BG Delay under a Armoured Regt HQ that had 2 Armoured Sqns and 2 Mech Coys.  However, the desire to "go Square" meant that the Infantry OCs weren't doing much.  I wonder if that limited what the BG could squeeze out of those resources.

Could make for an interesting bit of JCATS simulation - see what can be controlled by a BG Comd better and what is more responsive to changes on the battlefield.  A 4 Tp + 3 Coy Square or a 2 Tp + 2 Coy and 2 Tp + 1 Pl Cbt Team bounding together.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #360 on: December 13, 2016, 00:21:21 »
When you say Automatic - I hear 10 tonne truck.

Dragonfire !! weighed 1,565 kg in its towed configuration, and by removing the wheels could be fitted inside a LAV chassis. It is power operated and has a two man crew
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.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #361 on: December 13, 2016, 01:16:04 »
Dragonfire !! weighed 1,565 kg in its towed configuration, and by removing the wheels could be fitted inside a LAV chassis. It is power operated and has a two man crew

I was thinking more in terms of the rate of ammunition expenditure requiring heavy transport.
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #362 on: December 13, 2016, 09:42:29 »
I think you're right on that mark.

My biggest critique of the square combat team (the Square) is that it seems to run counter-intuitive to the notion of maximizing C2 nodes.  Much of the study I've done suggests that smaller tactical organizations tend to fair better.  For example, there is a good amount of literature on how a Squadron of four troops of 3 tanks performs better than a Squadron of three troops of four due to the extra C2 node (there is no increase in tanks, only one extra Troop Leader is added to the fray).  The Square seems to run counter to this - putting in excess of 35 armoured fighting vehicles under a single sub-unit commander.

So yes, it's but one tool in the box, but have we made it the shiniest tool when it may not actually be a very practical one?

Let's take your hypothetical Armoured Regiment example - two tank squadrons and an infantry company, combined with a recce squadron.  As opposed to having a Square plowing behind the Recce Squadron, would the CO be better served with two sub-units to manoeuvre behind the recce screen?  Although the Sqn/Coy will occupy roughly the same ground, I suspect having both OCs pushing forces forward would be much more nimble than having one of the OCs plod forward with the whole shebang.  One of the coolest exercises I saw was a BG Delay under a Armoured Regt HQ that had 2 Armoured Sqns and 2 Mech Coys.  However, the desire to "go Square" meant that the Infantry OCs weren't doing much.  I wonder if that limited what the BG could squeeze out of those resources.

Could make for an interesting bit of JCATS simulation - see what can be controlled by a BG Comd better and what is more responsive to changes on the battlefield.  A 4 Tp + 3 Coy Square or a 2 Tp + 2 Coy and 2 Tp + 1 Pl Cbt Team bounding together.

Infanteer,

I am not a fan of the three-tank troop. I would rather have three troops of four than four troops of three. A troop of three that loses a single tank is not a fire team. I recognize that the Brits operate with troops of three tanks, and I imagine that their studies would support their doctrine.

The comparison of the efficiency of two small combat teams under the CO vs one square combat team is an excellent topic! I will cop out by saying that my answer would depend on the situation. I have taken both Canadian and US Army company command courses. A US Army Battalion Commander would likely form two company teams: one with two tank platoons and an infantry platoon and the other with one tank platoon and two infantry platoons. On my US Army course we would send the tank heavy team against an enemy infantry platoon in an VEE formation, the tanks leading with the infantry trailing centre and clearing the enemy. We in the Canadian army are very hesitant to grant equivalent combat power ratios between arms. We see an enemy platoon position and think that we need a company of infantry to clear them out regardless of how many tanks are shooting at the enemy positions. We might send an infantry platoon to clear a defile, but not an enemy platoon position. As an infantryman, would you be comfortable sending a combat team with two tank troops and a single infantry platoon to destroy an enemy platoon position? This is not a rhetorical question!

The US Army force of two company teams would be commanded by the CO or perhaps the S3 if it was on a secondary axis. We would have the two Majors (the OCs) commanding the force with one designated as the Combat Team Commander and other supporting. I think that we need to expand to the Battle Group level to see which one makes sense.

In the Canadian armoured BG example that I floated, it could absolutely be valid to form two combat teams and advance two-up. One team could be armour heavy (three Troops or maybe a two Troop Sqn (-) with a single infantry platoon and the other based on the infantry company with two platoons and a single tank Troop or a half-squadron. The CO would place himself somewhere to command both, keeping the second tank squadron in reserve to either exploit success or be the decisive effort in a meeting engagement. The two combat teams could support each other in an attack on an enemy platoon sized outpost - one in the firebase and the other assaulting. You'd have to sort out breaching assets ahead of time, and it might be awkward if you realize that you need the third platoon to deal with the enemy position. They would have a hard time supporting each other on the advance, though, as the combat team frontages make it hard to mutually support across the entire front. In addition, the troop leaders will lack SA on each other as they are not on an all-informed combat team net. They could each destroy enemy outposts, although the one with a single infantry platoon might have issues.

I agree that it would be fun to try out in simulation or on exercise!

The square combat team is well suited to advance "in space" and destroy enemy platoon sized security positions. The tank troops can support each other under the control of the OC and are all-informed. The infantry company is concentrated on the centre of the axis ready to destroy the enemy position. The Sqn OC can juggle tanks around to have ploughs in the right place. I am not saying that the square combat team is the only solution in this case, but I could understand why the CO would go with that grouping for this instance.

It does, though, look like the CO is washing his hands of the fight and leaving it to the two OCs to figure out.  Perhaps lead with a sqn (-) with three troops and an infantry-heavy combat team following. The sqn (-) can advance with speed and aggression behind the recce squadron (or in front as the case may be), with the CO using the infantry combat team to destroy enemy outposts that cannot simply be bypassed. I could see this working.

For an attack on an integrated enemy company position by a BG, however, the square combat team can certainly create some issues. This situation, I think, calls for smaller combat teams task-organized for specific roles orchestrated and commanded by the CO.

As DS I suggest to my students that they solve tactical problems at the appropriate level. Some problems can be solved by a combat team commander, others need a battle group approach and other need a brigade solution. Speaking perhaps to your point on command, simply throwing addition assets without thinking about command is not a recipe for success.

Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #363 on: December 13, 2016, 10:18:45 »
I am not a fan of the three-tank troop. I would rather have three troops of four than four troops of three. A troop of three that loses a single tank is not a fire team. I recognize that the Brits operate with troops of three tanks, and I imagine that their studies would support their doctrine.

I've almost never seen a four tank troop, as some are always broken down!

I imagine this is similar to the debate about the optimal size of the section.  No matter what sized is selected, it probably won't fight that organization due to casualties.

Quote
We in the Canadian army are very hesitant to grant equivalent combat power ratios between arms. We see an enemy platoon position and think that we need a company of infantry to clear them out regardless of how many tanks are shooting at the enemy positions. We might send an infantry platoon to clear a defile, but not an enemy platoon position. As an infantryman, would you be comfortable sending a combat team with two tank troops and a single infantry platoon to destroy an enemy platoon position? This is not a rhetorical question!

It's a rule of thumb turned into a rule, which isn't always a good thing.

I would have no issues sending an infantry platoon to destroy an enemy platoon; studies on suppression and neutralization indicate that historically, assaults are more successful when the ratio of support:assault favours the elements delivering fire support.  2 up, 1 back actually isn't very effective, and is probably more a symptom of peacetime training than wartime experience.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #364 on: December 13, 2016, 11:59:02 »
We have seen discussion on how the Canadian and US Army use combat teams, can anyone chime in on how the Marines do this? I'd also be curious to see some discussion on the British (both army and Royal Marines) and the Germans do things to get some comparative analysis.
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.

Offline RCPalmer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #365 on: December 13, 2016, 16:18:35 »
We have seen discussion on how the Canadian and US Army use combat teams, can anyone chime in on how the Marines do this? I'd also be curious to see some discussion on the British (both army and Royal Marines) and the Germans do things to get some comparative analysis.

The USMC has a pretty different model built around the imperatives of amphibious operations which usually involve the infantry elements of Regimental Landing Teams (RLT) and Battalion Landing Teams (BLT) deploying through a combination of airmobile insertion from amphibious assault ships, and over the beach using Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV-7) and Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC). 

Their Infantry Battalion's are all light, and if all or a part of a force is required to be mechanized (which generally means they are moving across the beach), they are grouped with an associated AAV "Tractor" Coy or Pl. The AAVs are the closest thing the USMC has to an IFV or Infantry Section carrying APC, but it is quite a different beast as it holds 21 dismounts, and is not organic to the unit or sub-unit.  In both Gulf Wars the USMC tried to use these vehicles as conventional APCs, with fairly unsatisfactory results. 

BLTs and RLTs form Ground Combat Elements (GCE) task organized into Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) and Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEB), respectively. MEU and MEB also include their own Aviation Combat Element (ACE), C2 Element (CE) and Support Element (SE).  To summarize:

BLT/GCE+ACE+CE+SE=MEU

RLT/GCE+ACE+CE+SE=MEB

A typical BLT forming the core of an MEU would generally consist of 3xRifle Coys, a Wpns Coy, a Light Armored Recce Coy (LAV-25), a Tank Pl, an Artillery Battery (M777), an Infantry Recce Pl, a Combat Engineer Pl and a Mortar Pl.  In an RLT, you times that by 3 with the Tanks and Engineers becoming company sized, and  the Arty becoming battalion sized organizations.  Being relatively light on tanks and engineers, I would expect to see fewer combat teams as we understand them and more centralized tasking of supporting arms under the Bn and Bde Commanders. 

Given that the Royal Marines aren't in the business of employing tanks or AAV, I wouldn't expect to see any mechanized combined arms groupings with them, just rifle Coys with attachments.  I would love to get some dialog going on those and other light force combined arms arrangements, but that may be a topic for another thread.


Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #366 on: December 13, 2016, 16:38:09 »
RC -

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/royal-marines/3-commando-brigade/armoured-support-group

Royal Marines Armoured Support Group - with Vikings - broadly comparable to the USMC employment of the AAV, I would suggest.

As for tanks



When and as necessary?
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Offline RCPalmer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #367 on: December 13, 2016, 17:05:20 »
RC -

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/royal-marines/3-commando-brigade/armoured-support-group

Royal Marines Armoured Support Group - with Vikings - broadly comparable to the USMC employment of the AAV, I would suggest.

As for tanks



When and as necessary?

Cool - I stand corrected.  I'm not sure the Vikings in the Armored Support Group provide the protected "from the boat and over the beach" capability as an AAV.  It looks more like a fording and water obstacle crossing "swimming" capability similar to M113, Grizzly, etc.  I was able to find a lot of photos of Vikings rolling off landing craft.  However, the employment appears similar in that it is a separate unit providing protected lift to a light force.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 17:25:00 by RCPalmer »

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #368 on: December 13, 2016, 17:56:08 »
Agreed on all points RC.

I have seen images  like this one of a Viking recovering on board HMS Bulwark



And this one of a Viking swimming to shore



But not sure that I would be wanting to be aboard when it did - I'd be much happier going most of the distance in an LCVP or LCU and driving off at the end.

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Offline RCPalmer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #369 on: December 14, 2016, 00:25:39 »
Infanteer,

I am not a fan of the three-tank troop. I would rather have three troops of four than four troops of three. A troop of three that loses a single tank is not a fire team. I recognize that the Brits operate with troops of three tanks, and I imagine that their studies would support their doctrine.

The comparison of the efficiency of two small combat teams under the CO vs one square combat team is an excellent topic! I will cop out by saying that my answer would depend on the situation. I have taken both Canadian and US Army company command courses. A US Army Battalion Commander would likely form two company teams: one with two tank platoons and an infantry platoon and the other with one tank platoon and two infantry platoons. On my US Army course we would send the tank heavy team against an enemy infantry platoon in an VEE formation, the tanks leading with the infantry trailing centre and clearing the enemy. We in the Canadian army are very hesitant to grant equivalent combat power ratios between arms. We see an enemy platoon position and think that we need a company of infantry to clear them out regardless of how many tanks are shooting at the enemy positions. We might send an infantry platoon to clear a defile, but not an enemy platoon position. As an infantryman, would you be comfortable sending a combat team with two tank troops and a single infantry platoon to destroy an enemy platoon position? This is not a rhetorical question!

The US Army force of two company teams would be commanded by the CO or perhaps the S3 if it was on a secondary axis. We would have the two Majors (the OCs) commanding the force with one designated as the Combat Team Commander and other supporting. I think that we need to expand to the Battle Group level to see which one makes sense.

In the Canadian armoured BG example that I floated, it could absolutely be valid to form two combat teams and advance two-up. One team could be armour heavy (three Troops or maybe a two Troop Sqn (-) with a single infantry platoon and the other based on the infantry company with two platoons and a single tank Troop or a half-squadron. The CO would place himself somewhere to command both, keeping the second tank squadron in reserve to either exploit success or be the decisive effort in a meeting engagement. The two combat teams could support each other in an attack on an enemy platoon sized outpost - one in the firebase and the other assaulting. You'd have to sort out breaching assets ahead of time, and it might be awkward if you realize that you need the third platoon to deal with the enemy position. They would have a hard time supporting each other on the advance, though, as the combat team frontages make it hard to mutually support across the entire front. In addition, the troop leaders will lack SA on each other as they are not on an all-informed combat team net. They could each destroy enemy outposts, although the one with a single infantry platoon might have issues.

I agree that it would be fun to try out in simulation or on exercise!

The square combat team is well suited to advance "in space" and destroy enemy platoon sized security positions. The tank troops can support each other under the control of the OC and are all-informed. The infantry company is concentrated on the centre of the axis ready to destroy the enemy position. The Sqn OC can juggle tanks around to have ploughs in the right place. I am not saying that the square combat team is the only solution in this case, but I could understand why the CO would go with that grouping for this instance.

It does, though, look like the CO is washing his hands of the fight and leaving it to the two OCs to figure out.  Perhaps lead with a sqn (-) with three troops and an infantry-heavy combat team following. The sqn (-) can advance with speed and aggression behind the recce squadron (or in front as the case may be), with the CO using the infantry combat team to destroy enemy outposts that cannot simply be bypassed. I could see this working.

For an attack on an integrated enemy company position by a BG, however, the square combat team can certainly create some issues. This situation, I think, calls for smaller combat teams task-organized for specific roles orchestrated and commanded by the CO.

As DS I suggest to my students that they solve tactical problems at the appropriate level. Some problems can be solved by a combat team commander, others need a battle group approach and other need a brigade solution. Speaking perhaps to your point on command, simply throwing addition assets without thinking about command is not a recipe for success.

This is a great discussion.  I think there is plenty of room in the doctrine to accommodate all of the options above and more based on a solid combat estimate.  My concern is more with how develop that flexibility of mind in our leaders. 

Our training system appears focused on encouraging highly templated solutions to very standardized tactical problems. 

For example, when I was going through phase trg, the law of the land for hasty attacks was frontals at the Sect level and and flankings at the Pl level. You deviated from that at your peril. On ATOC (and presumably CTCC), they teach you to employ a square combat team to crush an Inf Pl with maybe one tank on the posn (7:1 force ratio  8))and then break up a Pl sized counterattack which is easily done provided you do a decent consolidation.  There have to be some training scars. 

It is really a philosophical question on how we train and assess our leaders.  Do we look for the skilled execution of a standardized tactic, or the planning and decision making skills associated with more varied circumstances? 

I don't view this as a rhetorical question either.  Maybe we can use courses to teach the basics and develop that flexibility of mind in collective training.  In that case, I would ask you to consider the question, what is the best environment to innovate, experiment and make mistakes? 

« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 00:37:26 by RCPalmer »

Online Old Sweat

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #370 on: December 14, 2016, 00:37:02 »
RC Palmer's comment triggered a response from someone who first encountered the prepare for an immediate counterattack as an 18-year-old recruit in the RCA Depot in Shilo in 1958.

This was based on two wars of fighting the Germans who had launched an automatic counterattack with whatever they could cobble together when they were forced off a position. They often succeeded until we learned to attack with "light" forces and then rush all sorts of firepower forward to massacre the response with direct and indirect fire.

Contrary to what the fans of the Germans in Normandy write, it was a tactical weakness in both wars and we learned how to defeat it.

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #371 on: December 14, 2016, 00:59:39 »
RC Palmer's comment triggered a response from someone who first encountered the prepare for an immediate counterattack as an 18-year-old recruit in the RCA Depot in Shilo in 1958.

This was based on two wars of fighting the Germans who had launched an automatic counterattack with whatever they could cobble together when they were forced off a position. They often succeeded until we learned to attack with "light" forces and then rush all sorts of firepower forward to massacre the response with direct and indirect fire.

Contrary to what the fans of the Germans in Normandy write, it was a tactical weakness in both wars and we learned how to defeat it.

Lots to unpack here. I'm not sure if that is an endorsement of our current training system and doctrine or an indictment. 

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #372 on: December 14, 2016, 02:40:36 »

It is really a philosophical question on how we train and assess our leaders.  Do we look for the skilled execution of a standardized tactic, or the planning and decision making skills associated with more varied circumstances? 

I don't view this as a rhetorical question either.  Maybe we can use courses to teach the basics and develop that flexibility of mind in collective training.  In that case, I would ask you to consider the question, what is the best environment to innovate, experiment and make mistakes?

In my opinion, we should give leaders the basic playbook/ tools to do the job, then I think we then need to take off, and keep the training wheels off, and sharpen the sword so to speak by dynamic scenario after scenario. In this case all I mean by Dynamic is you give a very specific objective like capture hill X or area Y from OPFOR. OPFOR will try and hold at all costs and may even go on the offensive against you so be prepared to adapt quickly. I know our training budget may not allow for this currently but I think putting tactical minds against each other is probably the best way to learn in the most realistic, and yet safest two way range.
"We are called a Battalion, Authorized to be company strength, parade as a platoon, Operating as a section"

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #373 on: December 14, 2016, 07:16:09 »
This is a great discussion.  I think there is plenty of room in the doctrine to accommodate all of the options above and more based on a solid combat estimate.  My concern is more with how develop that flexibility of mind in our leaders. 

Our training system appears focused on encouraging highly templated solutions to very standardized tactical problems. 

For example, when I was going through phase trg, the law of the land for hasty attacks was frontals at the Sect level and and flankings at the Pl level. You deviated from that at your peril. On ATOC (and presumably CTCC), they teach you to employ a square combat team to crush an Inf Pl with maybe one tank on the posn (7:1 force ratio  8))and then break up a Pl sized counterattack which is easily done provided you do a decent consolidation.  There have to be some training scars. 

It is really a philosophical question on how we train and assess our leaders.  Do we look for the skilled execution of a standardized tactic, or the planning and decision making skills associated with more varied circumstances? 

I don't view this as a rhetorical question either.  Maybe we can use courses to teach the basics and develop that flexibility of mind in collective training.  In that case, I would ask you to consider the question, what is the best environment to innovate, experiment and make mistakes?



Want to teach leaders to apply logical decision-making in a timely fashion?  Have them play Advanced Squad Leader with a Chess Clock Timer.

All for the great price of $30.00.


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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #374 on: December 14, 2016, 09:46:39 »
This is a great discussion.  I think there is plenty of room in the doctrine to accommodate all of the options above and more based on a solid combat estimate.  My concern is more with how develop that flexibility of mind in our leaders. 

Our training system appears focused on encouraging highly templated solutions to very standardized tactical problems. 

For example, when I was going through phase trg, the law of the land for hasty attacks was frontals at the Sect level and and flankings at the Pl level. You deviated from that at your peril. On ATOC (and presumably CTCC), they teach you to employ a square combat team to crush an Inf Pl with maybe one tank on the posn (7:1 force ratio  8))and then break up a Pl sized counterattack which is easily done provided you do a decent consolidation.  There have to be some training scars. 

It is really a philosophical question on how we train and assess our leaders.  Do we look for the skilled execution of a standardized tactic, or the planning and decision making skills associated with more varied circumstances? 

I don't view this as a rhetorical question either.  Maybe we can use courses to teach the basics and develop that flexibility of mind in collective training.  In that case, I would ask you to consider the question, what is the best environment to innovate, experiment and make mistakes?

Col. Hackworth to Gen Johnson the Army Chief of Staff on putting combat experienced officers into the school system after their time in Vietnam...

-"Weren't just not putting our best and most recently experienced combat officers into the schools system, which is where I believe they belong. We're sending them everywhere else to get their tickets punched, as if their careers took priority over the war."
"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