Author Topic: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?  (Read 167564 times)

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Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #150 on: March 16, 2013, 01:58:13 »
From a historical point of view, "Square" units of 4 were reformed to "Triangular" units of 3 because you usually had too much held back ("2 up"  in a square unit leaves 50% of the force out of the fight, while only 1/3 is held back in a triangular unit).

We would be much better off focusing on building full strength companies that are capable of doing the job rather than feeding understrength units into the fight (or pillaging multiple units just to get a single battlegroup on the ground).

Agreed, but what has changed is that we are now operating in non-contiguous battle spaces, where there is no "up" or "forward" to place the two.  Once you add in a requirement for force protection, the triangular units are less useful.  Another way to look at it is by functional elements: 1) firebase / block / fix, 2 ) assault / force de frappe, 3) reserve.  If you want more than one sub-unit on the assault, then you have to steal from somewhere to get your reserve - and still have not solved your force protection issues for your own LOCs and critical C2 / log nodes.  Add in a fourth functional element of FP, and you are at square formations with a useful reserve and a strong assault force as well as the ability to maintain your freedom of action within a non-contiguous battlespace.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

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Offline Mountie

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #151 on: March 16, 2013, 12:25:04 »
Another option would be two battalions of three large companies per brigade.  Instead of eliminating the third company in each battalion, the third battalion could be eliminated from each CMBG and its platoons added to the six rifle companies in the remaining two battalions.  This would leave three platoons, three rifle company HQ's, a combat support company HQ, a recce/sniper platoon and a battalion headquarters to be disbanded and the PYs used to created 2 mortar platoons and 2 anti-armour platoons in the remaining two battalions. 

A CMBG with 2 infantry battalions may be better anyway.  The artillery regiments only have 2 gun batteries now, the CER's only have the manpower to fully man 2 field squadrons at best.  So maybe eliminating the third infantry battalion and its supporting arms in order to fully man the remaining two would be a better option.  The managed readiness cycle would still work with 6 infantry battalions instead of 3.  Each brigade would have a year of reset, training and high-readiness/deployment with each of the two battalion groups being deployed or at high-readiness for 6 months of the year each.  The non-deploying units wouldn't be robbed of their manpower because each battalion group would be fully manned and able to deploy as a cohesive unit.

Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #152 on: March 16, 2013, 14:56:41 »
A CMBG with 2 infantry battalions may be better anyway. 

Not if you intend to fight it - see my post above.  In the most recent series of CAX in 1 CMBG fought against a near-peer enemy, they deliberately organised as a 2 x BG org (2 Lav 1 Tk, and 2 Tk 1 LAV), with a Bde Recce Sqn and a LAV based FP Coy.  The HQ was forced to create a third C2 node in almost every case, usually based on a square cbt tm.  Even then, tactics frequently looked like a massed column of BGs.  There was little flexibility other than a rapid grouping and re-grouping of sub-units to maintain pressure on the enemy
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #153 on: March 17, 2013, 12:14:00 »
Not if you intend to fight it - see my post above.  In the most recent series of CAX in 1 CMBG fought against a near-peer enemy, they deliberately organised as a 2 x BG org (2 Lav 1 Tk, and 2 Tk 1 LAV), with a Bde Recce Sqn and a LAV based FP Coy.  The HQ was forced to create a third C2 node in almost every case, usually based on a square cbt tm.  Even then, tactics frequently looked like a massed column of BGs.  There was little flexibility other than a rapid grouping and re-grouping of sub-units to maintain pressure on the enemy

In the Commonwealth tradition, the move away from the square was driven by casualties on the western front - triangular brigades were adopted to keep divisions up to strength by merging the fourth bn into the ailing three.  Of note, neither Canada nor Australia ever adopted this format in the First World War.

Binary formations were utilized in the Second World War, some to great success - US Army Armd Divs with CCA and CCB (yes, there was a CCR, but it was generally empty) and German Panzer formations which generally formed kampfgruppen around the Panzer and Panzergrenadier Regimental HQs - and some to great failure (the Italian Divisions).

The real crux of this is how much can a commander control in battle?  Jim Storr discussed a UK DERA study looking at Divisional activity in WWII, showing that at no time did any of the measured Divisions have all nine battalions employed at the same time.  Of the 81 days the measured divisions spent in combat, 43 featured only 3 battalions employed.  Thus over half the time divisions employed only 1/3 of their strength to defeat the enemy.  Looking further at this data, divisions only employed a majority of their forces 1/3 of the time.  He also looks at some work Dupuy did, looking at 200 engagements from the Second World War and concluding that the practical span of command for commanders is actually quite low - 1.7 subordinates committed on average to combat.  This suggests that, historically, Division commanders have put forth at most 8 companies during a majority of their actions.  Additional data from Suez and the Gulf 1 and 2 further support this view.

The "so what" out of this is that bigger formations are unwieldy, despite the notions of "combat power" we like to ascribe to them. Combat power is nice, but only if the organization is one that can be properly utilized by a human commander.  The Brigade is a system optimized to put 2-4 maneuver sub-units in the first echelon.

Going up a level to the unit, the Armoured Regiment of a CMBG should act as that third maneuver unit for the Bde.  We unfortunately see Armoured Regiments as force generators, probably as we have not had to conduct mobile warfare for about 70 years.  If we were to square battalions and armoured regiments, a CMBG of 1 Armd and 2 Inf units would give the Bde Comd the ability to create up to four square combat teams at any one time, with two COs to run that fight and a third in his hip pocket.  This fits very well with the research quoted above.

Another way to look at it is by functional elements: 1) firebase / block / fix, 2 ) assault / force de frappe, 3) reserve.  If you want more than one sub-unit on the assault, then you have to steal from somewhere to get your reserve - and still have not solved your force protection issues for your own LOCs and critical C2 / log nodes.  Add in a fourth functional element of FP, and you are at square formations with a useful reserve and a strong assault force as well as the ability to maintain your freedom of action within a non-contiguous battlespace.

The core functions we should always look back to are Find-Fix-Strike-Exploit.  However, the elements executing these funtions do not have to be the same size - a Brigade does not need 1 Unit finding, 1 fixing, 1 striking and 1 to exploit.  Reserves/Counter-attack elements are generally better if they are smaller as they are more nimble and can react faster to a situation on the battlefield (i.e. it is easier to get a company moving down the road than it is a battalion).
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 12:37:24 by Infanteer »
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #154 on: March 17, 2013, 12:26:40 »
Good post, Infanteer.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 12:35:16 by Infanteer »

Offline MCG

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #155 on: March 17, 2013, 13:41:17 »
Where a UK division of the Second World War typically only employed a fraction of its strength at any point in time, did the extra depth give it more stamina?  At a certain point, a brigade culminates but I would expect that the div level HQ and assets should still have the ability to keep going.  Having only 1/3 typically committed might reflect a good work to maintenance ratio for the div to continuously slog on wothout breaking any of the constituent brigades.

Is it a model of inefficiency where divisions had under utilized capacity, or is it a model of efficiency where fewer div HQs were able to employ the same number of brigades up to the peak tempo of the parts?

If it is a model of inefficiency, then small divisions sound like the way to go.  Otherwise, div size becomes more a variable of how one intends to fight.  "Shock troops" (Marines, Airborne, WWI Canadians) would be in small divisions that are either fully committed or not; otherwise divisions would be larger with enough depth to rotate brigades through proper work/maintenance cycles while keeping the HQ at full capacity.

… this is probably how our CMBGs should function for the traditional one BG mission under a Canadian-lead formation.  The HQ along with elements of Arty, Engr, CS and CSS deploy for a year during which time two seperate BGs from the CMBG take a six month term filling as one of the formation's manoeuvre units (with allies providing the others).

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #156 on: March 17, 2013, 13:59:51 »
It seems to me that the practice of only using one brigade at a time was also based on the doctrine of concentrating all the available artillery on one task at a time. Certainly the one brigade at a time principle also seems to have been used by the Canadians in Normandy once the initial phase was over.  Thus a division may well attack with no more than four companies up, although there were exceptions such as Phase One of Totalize.

I know we discussed this in some detail at Staff College and it was taught as a good thing. Also this was remarked upon, and not with a great deal of favour, by some German generals in their interrogations after capture.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #157 on: March 17, 2013, 22:26:26 »
Where a UK division of the Second World War typically only employed a fraction of its strength at any point in time, did the extra depth give it more stamina?  At a certain point, a brigade culminates but I would expect that the div level HQ and assets should still have the ability to keep going.  Having only 1/3 typically committed might reflect a good work to maintenance ratio for the div to continuously slog on wothout breaking any of the constituent brigades.

Is it a model of inefficiency where divisions had under utilized capacity, or is it a model of efficiency where fewer div HQs were able to employ the same number of brigades up to the peak tempo of the parts?

If it is a model of inefficiency, then small divisions sound like the way to go.  Otherwise, div size becomes more a variable of how one intends to fight.  "Shock troops" (Marines, Airborne, WWI Canadians) would be in small divisions that are either fully committed or not; otherwise divisions would be larger with enough depth to rotate brigades through proper work/maintenance cycles while keeping the HQ at full capacity.

… this is probably how our CMBGs should function for the traditional one BG mission under a Canadian-lead formation.  The HQ along with elements of Arty, Engr, CS and CSS deploy for a year during which time two seperate BGs from the CMBG take a six month term filling as one of the formation's manoeuvre units (with allies providing the others).

Old Sweat stole a march on me with regards to tactics of the Second World War.  Commonwealth doctrine was to attack on a narrow front to mass the 72 guns of the Division.  The Germans often cited this as a reason for bloody victory or failure; they were able to mass their defensive fires on the narrow frontage.  IIRC, Simmonds specifically tried to avoid this problem in TOTALIZE.

McG, I think you are right on both parts.  The research I referenced above was comparing formation growth over the last few decades.  Both Brigades and Divisions now are BIG - we all remember the 4 CMBG model at the Staff College weighing in at 8,000 pers.  Compare this to a Brigade in 1944 that weighed in at just under 3,000.

The studies of command suggested that units shed additional structures to command effectively and also operate efficiently.  Having a second echelon to be able to sequence operations is good.  But today, when formations are 1.5 to 2 times what was effectively fought before, there may be good reason for more numerous, smaller formations.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 22:30:05 by Infanteer »
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #158 on: March 18, 2013, 07:55:54 »
Adopting the brigade group vice the brigade within a division in the late-50s had the effect of increasing the size and complexity of the command. At the same time we added an armoured regiment with a reconnaissance squadron to the brigade group, so there were 12 infantry/motorized and eventually mechanized companies and three tank squadrons for maneuver. In the mid-sixties the 4 CIBG war establishment was 6087, a bit more than half of which was taken up by the three battalions and the armoured regiment and reconnaissance squadron. Another 1250-1300 was made up of the artillery regiment, 1 SSM Bty and 4 Fd Sqn RCE. So, what was left, about a quarter of the brigade group, was command and tail. Note also that the brigade group operated within a British division of two infantry brigades.

I am not competent to discuss the pros and cons of the current war establishment, but let me add that 4 CIBG circa 1965 is as far removed from today's formations, as it is in the other direction from the brigade's that fought in the trenches of France and Flanders. Still, it seems to me that it is likely that much of growth of the brigade group by a third (see Infanteer's comment re the model he studied) has not been at the sharp end.

What does that mean for the combat team of tomorrow? Not a lot, except that we seem to have let everybody and her brother put a dog in the fight, or at least add a dog to watch the fight and bark advice from the sidelines.

Offline WanderingRoyal

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #159 on: May 01, 2013, 14:29:32 »
Old Sweat hit it right on the head. The size and complexity of conventional infantry forces are changing. There is an interesting commentary in the latest JOMO by the comamnder of 1 UK Div in Iraq 1991 where he noted that his division had a SWW corps' worth of firepower. With the "upgrading" of unit and formation supporting arms, we are increasingly seeing a Bn asked to do a Bde's work, and so on down the line. This means two things:

1 - You need an increasing amount of C2 to use everything effectively; and,

2 - You are bound to have fewer forces doing more stuff, leading to a severe weakness in sustaining casualties.

The problem with point  1 is that it is unlikely that everything will be used to its full capacity. The commander will be too concerned with managing his part on the ground to have time to make a solid plan for the increasing number of enablers. You can only expand a Bn staff so much before Bn HQ becomes cumbersome and isn't able to do what a Bn HQ is expected to do - to be up-front and mobile. The result is bloated Bn staffs and anemic CT C2. Having observed the 2 RCR OBG experiment and the massive, cumbersome "field" headquarters that went along with it, it seems to me that at that level the BG is really a small Bde and should act like it. We should also stop kidding ourselves to think that we'll end up with a Bde frontage of 2 BG's. In reality, we'll have a Bde Gp acting like a Div used to with siginficant lattitude given to both BGs. Infantry Bns will increasingly act as force generators above all else.

Well, this is the way it's going. But that presents further problems.

How do you sustain casualties? We're having the leathality of weapons increase while the number of soliders availiable decreases. One MLRS strike could theoretically render not just a Bn combat ineffective, but through the sheer number of casualties, the entire Bde.

I have one idea on how to address this. MTF.

Offline Mountie

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #160 on: May 02, 2013, 01:30:41 »
I was reading an article from a few years ago.  Its titled "A New Look at the Infantry Company".  It deals with the US Army infantry company in the 21st Century Support and Stabilization Operations (SOSO) and Counter-Insurgency Operations (COIN).  The theme of the article is about increasing the leadership within the company to support the fact that in today's world the infantry company is often operating as an independent combat group with several enablers attached or available to it (artillery, engineers, recce, mortars, CIMIC, PSYOP, intelligence, military police, military working dogs, etc., etc.).  Company and platoon commanders need to be able to control all these enablers as well as conduct community relations with local villagers, etc.
 
"Today, we are asking platoon leaders to do what company commanders did at one time and we are not giving them the resources to accomplish the mission. We are asking company commanders to do what battalion staffs do and they do not have a staff. The work that these leaders are doing now is outstanding. We see their resourcefulness daily at being thrown into new complex situations and continuing to make things happen. The young squad leader who has to go into town and deal with the local people must still know how to fight his squad. . .

(One must remember that US Army command ranks are currently different than Canadian ranks.  Company commanders are captains, company executive officers are First Lieutenants and platoon commanders are Second Lieutenants.)   

We suggest restructuring of infantry squads, platoons, and companies to provide more seasoned leaders. The platoon of today and tomorrow needs a captain as its commander with a lieutenant as executive officer. The captain has the maturity and experience level to coordinate all of the actions on the battlefield. He has more experience in dealing with nontypical missions of COE and SOSO than a lieutenant still learning to apply basic lessons. That same captain, along with the platoon sergeant and squad leaders, can mentor the young lieutenant. This would also give you a command structure to remain with the support element or vehicles. The lieutenant can then move through the staff sections and return back to the platoon a more experienced leader. Most importantly, experienced leadership is a combat multiplier that would make the platoon capable of greater independence, increased lethality, and overall effectiveness. Put bluntly: teaching green lieutenants would not cost lives, theirs and those of their Soldiers.

Moving on to the next level of command, the company, we recommend that the infantry company commander would become a major's slot. A smaller Army coupled with SOSO considerations in the COE means that company commanders face the same challenges that once went to battalion and brigade commanders. If you have any doubt on this point, review the stream of reports coming back from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Those same trends have been validated at the Joint Readiness Training Center since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. The potential benefits to unit effectiveness are in our opinion exponential. A standard company with three platoons has some 8-10 years total officer experience. Increased leadership in that same three platoon company would give the unit more than 25 years of experience in its officers.

"We also believe that such a structure would improve the current progression of an infantry officer....  As stated above, a major commands the company; he has 11-12 years experience. As a lieutenant, he first learned his trade under the wing of the experienced captain who commanded his platoon. After serving as an platoon XO, he went to company staff before returning as a captain to command his own platoon. As a captain with platoon command under his belt, he served on battalion and/or brigade staff. Now a major, he has attended all of the schools that he is suppose to including the career course and Command and General Staff College (CGSC). His executive officer is a senior captain who also is the operations officer for the company. A career course graduate, he has had his platoon command and been successful. All of the platoon leaders are captains who have had time on the staff and possibly have attended some schools. The fire support officer is a first lieutenant and is also the intelligence officer for the company operations. The logistical officer is a 1LT. The weapons platoon XO is a senior 1LT who is school trained in mortars and antitank. The rifle platoon XOs are 2LT or 1LT, learning their trade.

We see the need to do the same for the NCOs and other enlisted Soldiers of the company. The first sergeant we will now call the Battle 1SG. He will be able to be on the battlefield with the unit and go where he is needed to solve problems. Historically, he was the "Beans and Bullet" person. The platoon sergeants should be the Battle PSG again so they can be at the tip of the spear with the platoon commander to assist him better.

There are other sergeants first class within the company that are not maneuver platoon sergeants, but their duties are just as valuable like the operation sergeant and logistical sergeant. Both of them should be battle staff qualified.

As stated above, a major commands the company; he has 11-12 years experience. As a lieutenant, he first learned his trade under the wing of the experienced captain who commanded his platoon. After serving as an platoon XO, he went to company staff before returning as a captain to command his own platoon. As a captain with platoon command under his belt, he served on battalion and/or brigade staff. Now a major, he has attended all of the schools that he is suppose to including the career course and Command and General Staff College (CGSC). His executive officer is a senior captain who also is the operations officer for the company. A career course graduate, he has had his platoon command and been successful. All of the platoon leaders are captains who have had time on the staff and possibly have attended some schools. The fire support officer is a first lieutenant and is also the intelligence officer for the company operations. The logistical officer is a 1LT. The weapons platoon XO is a senior 1LT who is school trained in mortars and antitank. The rifle platoon XOs are 2LT or 1LT, learning their trade.

We think that bringing the leaders up both commissioned and noncommissioned officer in this manner we have provided them with the tools for success. Being successful is not only winning the battles, but keeping our great Soldiers alive. We have purposely not gone through each unit by type and have not addressed equipment issues. We understand there would be some variations due to units make up and missions. We are sure we have not arrived at the 100-percent solution, but we have provided another look at an Army that is in the process of change for the future. We know people do not like change; however, change is the only way to survive. "


Canadian companies are already commanded by Majors with a senior Captain as 2i/c.  Platoon commanders are often junior Captains.  So we are already very much in line with the proposal.  The only significant change would be the role of the CSM and Platoon Warrant and the addition of a Platoon 2i/c.  And possibly the addition of both an Ops and Log Officer at the Company HQ (the article suggests it but isn't completely clear).


Company Commander - MAJ
Company 2i/c - Senior CAPT (completed staff college)
Company Sergeant Major - MWO
Operations Warrant - WO
Company Quartermaster - WO
Possibly an Operations Officer and a Logistics/Administration Officer - Junior CAPT or LT.

Platoon Commander - Junior CAPT (has not completed staff college)
Platoon 2i/c - LT (new position)
Platoon Warrant - WO
Possibly a additional SGT to assist the Platoon 2i/c with administration.


I guess the question for discussions sake is whether the added officers and change in CSM and Platoon Warrant roles would benefit the operations of the company and be worth the extra PYs and associated costs of almost doubling the number of officers.

This is just for discussions sake.  I'm already ducking and taking cover from those that will fire with the "why change it" argument.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 02:14:32 by Mountie »

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #161 on: May 02, 2013, 07:10:30 »
Very Civil Servicie.  More officer positions.
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Offline FusMR

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #162 on: May 02, 2013, 07:14:32 »
Quote
Posté par: Mountie
« le: Aujourd'hui à 02:30:41 »
Canadian companies are already commanded by Majors with a senior Captain as 2i/c.  Platoon commanders are often junior Captains.  So we are already very much in line with the proposal.  The only significant change would be the role of the CSM and Platoon Warrant and the addition of a Platoon 2i/c.  And possibly the addition of both an Ops and Log Officer at the Company HQ (the article suggests it but isn't completely clear).


Company Commander - MAJ
Company 2i/c - Senior CAPT (completed staff college)
Company Sergeant Major - MWO
Operations Warrant - WO
Company Quartermaster - WO
Possibly an Operations Officer and a Logistics/Administration Officer - Junior CAPT or LT.

Platoon Commander - Junior CAPT (has not completed staff college)
Platoon 2i/c - LT (new position)
Platoon Warrant - WO
Possibly a additional SGT to assist the Platoon 2i/c with administration.


The system we have his good.   We dont need more officer in platoon level.  One his enought.  Our officer are form differently and even more so our NCO and WO.  We have a lot more dedpt in a cdn coy that a US one.  For them, to come to our level would be a big leep foword, not the opposite.   :2c:

Offline Mountie

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #163 on: May 02, 2013, 10:51:02 »
Very Civil Servicie.  More officer positions.

Why is it "very civil service" to add a platoon 2i/c?  We already have the operations officer at company level and armoured squadrons have (or used to have) an administration officer.  So the only addition is the platoon 2i/c.  Artillery gun troops have two officers at troop level.  So I don't think its a huge leap to the civil service.  Its just about giving the platoon a seasoned leader while giving the new LT a mentor to learn from.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #164 on: May 02, 2013, 10:57:45 »
Why is it "very civil service" to add a platoon 2i/c?  We already have the operations officer at company level and armoured squadrons have (or used to have) an administration officer.  So the only addition is the platoon 2i/c.  Artillery gun troops have two officers at troop level.  So I don't think its a huge leap to the civil service.  Its just about giving the platoon a seasoned leader while giving the new LT a mentor to learn from.

Umm!  The platoon already has a 2i/c.  The Platoon WO/Sgt fills that spot.  (S)He also provides some continuity and corporate knowledge that an officer parachuted in annually does not.

Armoured Sqn? Admin O?  Where?  We had a OC, 2i/c, Battle Capt and Troop Ldrs.  SSM (MWO) ran the A1 Ech.  SQ (WO) ran the QM.  ET (WO) ran Maint.  There was no Admin O.
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Offline WanderingRoyal

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #165 on: May 02, 2013, 19:28:22 »
It is a fundamentally good idea to have a young Lt alone in his platoon, relying on his Senior NCOs in his epic battle with the Coy 2IC and in the epic struggle to keep the OC happy. It ensures that the first command experience is one throughly rooted in a shared experience with NCOs and troops. It keeps officers honest, at least for the first few years.

In a perfect world, I would expand the size of a platoon, allowing for the vehicles to be permanently manned, or, in a very bad case, be used as reinforcement. I would equip every Bn with heavier vehicles - something more close to BMP-3 with a robust anti-armour capability. Bring back the mortars and a fire support platoon. Ensure that recce assets are airmobile. This would make an mech infantry coy essentially independent.


Hold the tanks at the bde level, with a single squadron attached to a Bn. Throw them with the main effort. Use the tanks as the hammer they were designed to be.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #166 on: May 02, 2013, 23:13:02 »
We are grappling with a similar issue in the IA world, hammering out the shape and size of the IA company. Like modern Infantry Companies (although by design), the IA company meshes a multitude of disparate elements together to achieve its effect. This leads to a rather "inverted pyramid" structure with a large number of officers and Snr NCO's as planers and analysts processing information from a relatively small number of tactical teams on the ground. I'll see how this works first hand "real soon now".....

While IA may not be the best model, it is a good lead in to where I think this is going; a modern Infantry Company has a large number of "enablers" attached, and as noted upthread the care and feeding of enablers, and processing their input, takes a lot of time and resources from the COY HQ in order to sync and exploit all these goodies. For the Infantry, I suggest the model might be more along the lines of the old Combat Support Company, where Coy HQ was almost an administrative entity to the independent platoons (Anti-Armour, Mortar, Pioneer and Recce) rather than the integral command and control element. Since enablers are not independent entities that flow from the company to support other people, but rather flowing into the company to support them, the IA model might be worth looking at (so there would be a company level "**CC" construct to handle enablers coming in and distributed operations of platoons and elements going out).

Artillery batteries and Engineer squadrons operate in a similar fashion, maybe they have something to offer WRT organization and dispersed operations. I also like the Armoured model with an integral admin troop with each squadron, having a "admin platoon" as part of each company would be very useful for mobile and dispersed operations as well.

This is a bit of a nebulous idea right now, hence the lack of specifics.

For WanderingRoyal:

While a heavyweight IFV might be a good idea under some circumstances, I think going too far down that road ties us in knots (the debates over the CCV would seem to indicate this already). On the other hand, this *could* lead to an entirely different organizational model, since the vehicle would essentially be the support platform. Taking the argument to the extreme, a Merkava 1 can carry a section in the back with the ammunition racks dismounted, the section commander then has a 105,, cannon, .50HMG, 3 X 7.62mm machine guns, 8 X smoke grenade dischargers and a 60mm mortar at his personal disposal. Add a plow to the front and you pretty much give each section many of the attributes of the pioneer, anti armour and mortar platoons.

Indeed, this would be closing into the logical end point of unit evolution, regiments in the past had such sub units as integral artillery, but as weapons systems have become more powerful and smaller, the capabilities migrated downwards and became integral to battalions, then companies and then platoons (an Infantry platoon with Javelin or Spike ATGMs is far more dangerous than a 1930 era Regiment with its own anti-tank artillery battery)

My own sense of this debate is the organization and shape of the future unit should be more or less independent of vehicles and equipment (obviously some adjustments would be made to accommodate vehicle crew sizes or the number of people needed to operate crew served weapons), so what works in a LAV battalion would also work with BV-206 or dismounted Infantry as well.
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 PPCLI Guy

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #167 on: May 02, 2013, 23:22:14 »
We are grappling with a similar issue in the IA world, hammering out the shape and size of the IA company.

Sigh.  Just because we FG IA dets (and we don't - we FG barely trained junior pers in an undefined and badly executed role) does NOT mean that they need to aggregate into a company (and a Bn and, even worse, an IA TF), with all of the C2 nodes etc.  Just create dets, and let them be employed.  Constructs need to be driven by FE, not FG.
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Offline Mountie

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #168 on: May 03, 2013, 00:28:24 »
Armoured Sqn? Admin O?  Where?  We had a OC, 2i/c, Battle Capt and Troop Ldrs.  SSM (MWO) ran the A1 Ech.  SQ (WO) ran the QM.  ET (WO) ran Maint.  There was no Admin O.

Ground Manoeuvre Reconnaissance B-GL-394-002-FP-001  (Chapter 4 - Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron - Appendix 4A-7) & The Reconnaissance Squadron in Battle B-GL-305-002/FT-001 both include an Administrative Officer and describe the role as:

"Administrative Officer (AO). The AO commands the A2 Echelon and assists the 2IC with squadron administration. The AO provides additional staff support to SHQ and is employed as a duty officer." 

Infantry Recce Platoons are organized with a CAPT Platoon Commander, LT Platoon 2i/c and a Platoon Warrant.  So its not exactly a foreign concept.

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #169 on: May 03, 2013, 01:03:24 »
Ground Manoeuvre Reconnaissance B-GL-394-002-FP-001  (Chapter 4 - Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron - Appendix 4A-7) & The Reconnaissance Squadron in Battle B-GL-305-002/FT-001 both include an Administrative Officer and describe the role as:

"Administrative Officer (AO). The AO commands the A2 Echelon and assists the 2IC with squadron administration. The AO provides additional staff support to SHQ and is employed as a duty officer." 


The 2i/c runs the A2 Ech.  If you want to call him an AO, I am sure you can, but I doubt he would answer.
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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #170 on: May 03, 2013, 01:15:22 »
The 2i/c runs the A2 Ech.  If you want to call him an AO, I am sure you can, but I doubt he would answer.

It's a separate position, if you read Mountie's post (or the attached doctrine).  There are AOs in both Squadrons and Companies now, although Squadrons seem to have enshrined them in doctrine (they are officers without profile in the Rifle Coys).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 01:54:34 by Infanteer »
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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #171 on: May 03, 2013, 08:18:39 »
Contrary to intuition, and AO is likely only needed during operations.  An artillery bty during operations had an AO as well.  Someone to absorb the monotonous paperwork that the BK (Bty 2ic) was responsible for.  In doctrine the BK was also responsible for overall gunline defence on operations.  Since then we have seen our btys dispersed into 2 or 3 troops, recent years on operations have seen the BK position pretty much disappear as the Bty 2ic was the FSCC O and worked in the TOC for the BG Ops staff.

Hypothetically, if we grouped the guns in six in Afghan there wouldn't have been a traditional BK to do local defence, as he was the FSSC O working in the TOC. But, if the gun troops would have been grouped that would make 6 Lt/Capts (jnr) on the gunline and a pretty easy decision would have been made as to who was the IC of the gunline.

In garrison now, I doubt they have a dedicated AO as the Tp Comds don't have local defence to worry about and handle their own Tp's admin.
 

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #172 on: June 15, 2013, 14:00:54 »
In the Commonwealth tradition, the move away from the square was driven by casualties on the western front - triangular brigades were adopted to keep divisions up to strength by merging the fourth bn into the ailing three.  Of note, neither Canada nor Australia ever adopted this format in the First World War.

Binary formations were utilized in the Second World War, some to great success - US Army Armd Divs with CCA and CCB (yes, there was a CCR, but it was generally empty) and German Panzer formations which generally formed kampfgruppen around the Panzer and Panzergrenadier Regimental HQs - and some to great failure (the Italian Divisions).

The real crux of this is how much can a commander control in battle?  Jim Storr discussed a UK DERA study looking at Divisional activity in WWII, showing that at no time did any of the measured Divisions have all nine battalions employed at the same time.  Of the 81 days the measured divisions spent in combat, 43 featured only 3 battalions employed.  Thus over half the time divisions employed only 1/3 of their strength to defeat the enemy.  Looking further at this data, divisions only employed a majority of their forces 1/3 of the time.  He also looks at some work Dupuy did, looking at 200 engagements from the Second World War and concluding that the practical span of command for commanders is actually quite low - 1.7 subordinates committed on average to combat.  This suggests that, historically, Division commanders have put forth at most 8 companies during a majority of their actions.  Additional data from Suez and the Gulf 1 and 2 further support this view.

The "so what" out of this is that bigger formations are unwieldy, despite the notions of "combat power" we like to ascribe to them. Combat power is nice, but only if the organization is one that can be properly utilized by a human commander.  The Brigade is a system optimized to put 2-4 maneuver sub-units in the first echelon.

Going up a level to the unit, the Armoured Regiment of a CMBG should act as that third maneuver unit for the Bde.  We unfortunately see Armoured Regiments as force generators, probably as we have not had to conduct mobile warfare for about 70 years.  If we were to square battalions and armoured regiments, a CMBG of 1 Armd and 2 Inf units would give the Bde Comd the ability to create up to four square combat teams at any one time, with two COs to run that fight and a third in his hip pocket.  This fits very well with the research quoted above.

The core functions we should always look back to are Find-Fix-Strike-Exploit.  However, the elements executing these funtions do not have to be the same size - a Brigade does not need 1 Unit finding, 1 fixing, 1 striking and 1 to exploit.  Reserves/Counter-attack elements are generally better if they are smaller as they are more nimble and can react faster to a situation on the battlefield (i.e. it is easier to get a company moving down the road than it is a battalion).

Re reading this I was reminded of how our Soviet counterparts organized. A Motor Rifle Regiment was composed of three Motor Rifle Battalions and an Independent Tank Battalion, as well as an integral Artillery Battalion.

In the offense, they could go one, two or three up (depending on the terrain and tactical situation) and use the tank battalion to push through the breech and exploit. Similarly in the defense, the commander could create two or three "fire sacks" with the MRB's and keep the tanks back as the countermove force.

While this does not translate directly to our system (a MRB had integral tank companies, for example), this does speak to issues of span of command and how forces are organized for tasks. Perhaps we need to think farther outside the box in how we organize our limited forces to conduct various tasks.
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 Mountie

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #173 on: June 18, 2013, 23:59:12 »
Back to the 2 vs 3 vs 4 companies topic....I was re-reading "3 Commando".  Its the story of a Royal Marine Commando Group in Afghanistan.  Several years ago the Royal Marines introduced a new organization called Commando 21.  Each of the three commandos (40, 42 & 45 Commando) was organized with:

Command Company (Main HQ, Tac HQ, Signal Troop, Recce/Sniper Troop, Mortar Troop, Anti-Tank Troop, Medium Machine Gun Troop & Assault Engineer Troop)
Logistics Company (2 x A Echelons, B Echelon (QM) Troop, Forward Repair Troop & Regimental Aid Post)
2 x Close Combat Company (3 x Close Combat Troop)
2 x Stand Off Company (Close Combat Troop, Anti-Tank Troop & Heavy Machine Gun Troop)

However, they deployed to Afghanistan with a modified organization:

Command Company (as above)
Logistics Company (as above)
4 x Combined Arms Company (2 x Close Combat Troop & Fire Support Group) - FSG having both Anti-Tank and HMG sections


So the discussion question is....if you had 9 infantry platoons + 1 recce platoon per battalion, how would you organize them?

Option #1: status quo with 3 companies of 3 platoons & no assault pioneer platoon
Option #2: 2 companies of 4 platoons + 9th platoon converted to an assault pioneer platoon;
Option #3: 4 companies of 2 platoons + 9th platoon converted to an assault pioneer platoon;
Option #4: 3 companies of 4 platoons + assault pioneer platoon but only 2 infantry battalions per brigade; (3 infantry & 1 recce platoon left over)
Option #5: 4 companies of 4 platoons & no assault pioneer platoon but only 2 infantry battalions per brigade (would require 4 additional platoons - PY's would have to be found from cutting elsewhere)

Offline Ostrozac

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Re: Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?
« Reply #174 on: June 19, 2013, 00:24:10 »
I have to admit, I like the idea of having a fourth platoon in each company to be used as a heavy weapons platoon. Put the SF kits where they belong -- in pairs. My knowledge is highly dated, but I always thought that the Carl G and Light Role C6 were well employed in the platoon weapons det, but that the C6 SF Kit, 60mm and the ERYX were really hard to fit into a platoon battle. And if you decide to transition to COIN and settle into a nice Company FOB -- weapons platoon guards the firebase, all the rifle platoons patrol.

I don't know where the C-16 grenade launcher and it's ammo fit into the infantry battalion, if there isn't a weapons platoon in each company. It really seems too large and heavy to be a rifle platoon weapon.