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Offline Matt_Fisher

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Preparing for Iraq
« on: May 04, 2005, 17:05:33 »
Preparing for Iraq

by CWO3 Jeffrey L. Eby

A closer look at training all Marines should receive before deploying to Iraq.


As Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) continues with forces rotating every 6 to 12 months, there are certain skill areas that all Marines would benefit from knowing, regardless of military occupational specialty (MOS) or the job to be performed once in country. Whether an aircraft mechanic or supply clerk, the duties and responsibilities performed by an infantryman on a dismounted patrol transcend throughout most actions when not on a forward operating base.


As OIF continues, Marines continue to rotate into and out of Iraq with some common skill weaknesses. Those weaknesses can be resolved with a focused training effort on a few key skill sets, most of which I'll list below.


All of those coming into the theater should learn dismounted patrolling, regardless of MOS. Dismounted patrolling skills bring great confidence, organize the thought process, and guide Marines toward readiness to engage the enemy through their focus on â Å“actions on enemy contactâ ? in the coordinating instructions portion of the patrol order. The actions of a mounted patrol or convoy are the same as the actions of a dismounted patrol, yet the mounted actions happen at a much higher speed. The ability to navigate by orienteering is another byproduct of patrolling. The coordination steps of patrolling ensure complete understanding by all involved in actions on contact and actions at the objective area, whether setting local security around a forward operating base; conducting vehicle checkpoints, mounted patrols, or convoys; or actually conducting a dismounted patrol.


Satellite Patrolling
These patrols should be able to conduct and understand the concept of satellite patrols. Satelliting is a term brought by the British soldiers and Marines to depict the action of surrounding or hovering near a base unit.


Satellite patrolling is similar to the action of normal patrol flankers. Satellites or flankers move away from the base unit to inspect likely ambush points or dead space areas to prevent attacks from occurring. The increased separation time of the satellite patrol from the base unit is what makes it different than flankers who traditionally attempt to maintain constant visual contact with the patrol leader, whereas the satellite patrol intentionally separates itself visually and physically from the base unit of the patrol for limited periods of time. Timelines need to be established to identify when a unit can satellite away from its base unit. I recommend starting with squad satellites away from platoon base units. A squad should be able to satellite for 5 minutes of lost visibility with the understanding that they could defend themselves for up to 15 minutes while the remainder of the platoon reacted to support any contact made. A fire team could satellite away from a squad base unit for no more than 1 minute with the understanding they would have to sustain their own fight for up to 5 minutes before being reinforced by the rest of the squad/platoon.


A common misconception of a mounted patrol or convoy is that the dismounts support the mounted weapons or vehicles. That is incorrect. Once the dismount occurs, the mounted weapon is the supporting unit and no different than a very large wheeled tripod for a machinegun. This applies whether the vehicle dismounted is a light armored vehicle (LAV), an assault amphibious vehicle, a 7-ton truck with a ring-mounted machinegun, or a HMMWV with a gun platform. Fires support maneuver at all times. There are occasions when scouts dismount from LAVs to provide local security, but this does not happen during an engagement; therefore, there are neither fires nor maneuver when scouts dismount from their LAVs.


All machineguns should have a depth of shooters ready to man them in order to sustain 24/7 operations. It is irrational to expect one assigned gunner to maintain the same weapon continuously. This will require a primary gunner to zero the weapon and follow-on shooters to establish offset aim points to assist in first burst accuracy. The days when one three-man gun team can be assigned a crew-served weapon and be expected to man it 24 hours a day are obsolete, as the machinegun is placed onto a vehicle to support convoy or mounted patrol operations and the gunner is rotated out every 2 to 4 hours. One machinegun may well have six to eight different gunners throughout the course of one day.


Common Terminology
The following terms are not simply buzzwords but key elements to controlling the dismounted force, and the definition and use of the terms must be understood by all Marines.


The first term is that of the base unit. The base unit is under the direct control of the senior leader (company, platoon, or squad leader). It sets the pace and direction allowing the satellite patrol elements something to slip away from and slip back to. The base unit follows the route identified to higher headquarters for tracking purposes and informs higher headquarters of any deviations from this route. The satellite patrols move to and from this base unit.


Team rush is conducted when two adjacent teams and a machinegun platform are providing cover or fire. It is a way to close large distances rapidly but is normally only conducted when the opponent is seen but not firing. Once the enemy engages, teams should not rush as a unit but default to either buddy pairs or buddy rushes. The first action is to attempt buddy pairs, moving in pairs alternating bounds with opposing pairs of Marines under the suppressive fires of at least two other teams and a machinegun platform. If the enemy is still exposing himself to fire, then the order is commanded to buddy rush instead of buddy pair. Buddy rush means that pairs will alternate bounds within the pair to a point to establish dominance and allow the other buddy pair to incrementally bound forward or adjacent to the first pair. It's important to realize that it's the actions of the enemy that dictate which technique to use.


The issue at hand is to increase the number of Marines suppressing until the enemy does not expose himself to fire. By increasing the number of Marines firing, and decreasing the number of Marines moving, you develop your own security enabling the assault force to close on the opponent. The understanding and correct employment of these techniques will offer far superior protection than a helmet and a small arms protective inserts (SAPI)-filled interceptor vest will ever provide. The ever-decreasing size of the moving force increases the support to maneuver ratio. One team moving supported by two teams and an machinegun is a 3:1 suppressing to moving ratio. During a buddy pair movement, only one pair of Marines in the entire squad is moving at one time. The ratio is now seven people suppressing for every one person moving, or 7:1. If the enemy still continues to fire, buddy rush is ordered, meaning that the two full fire teams, three of the men in the moving team, and the machinegun are suppressing, while only one man within the moving team is moving at a time. The ratio is now 13:1 of suppressing to moving, providing the best dilemma to the enemy.


The coordinating instructions piece of an order is critical throughout all actions, whether a security and stability operations or combat situation, as it identifies the critical control measures or techniques to be used. Marines have to know actions at security halts, actions at release points, continuing actions at limits of advance, actions at danger areas, actions at rally points, actions at linkup points, etc. Treat a flat tire on the highway during a convoy or mounted patrol as a long halt. Move off the road and establish 360-degree security, patrol dead space areas, and establish a guardian angel. (Guardian angel is a 1st Marine Division term meaning a protector of the overall force from within. It is not the perimeter hard line security or the external security patrol but a final level of overwatch that protects the entire force).


Statements like, â Å“1st Team, prepare to rush,â ? followed by the command to rush are for amateurs and should be eliminated entirely. Movement of the force is based upon implicit communications. Implicit communications is the result of cohesion and situational awareness. While in a buddy rush, when the moving Marine stops forward movement, acquires a target, and starts firing, he has communicated to his opposing buddy that it's the buddy's turn to move. No words are necessary. The action of the moving Marine is the implicit communications that issues the command necessary to take the next step in the process.


The old fire command of ADDRAC (alert, direction, description, range, assignment, and control) is too deliberate for most offensive actions. Simple task and purpose statements have to be used and understood by all in the place of formal fire commands. Task and purpose statements would sound like, â Å“Grenadier will fire on the right side of the building in order to allow the M249 to establish a firing position on the alley to the right.â ? The traditional ADDRAC is too limited in information, although it can still be used in most defensive positions. ADDRACs don't provide commander's intent, allowing judgment to be exercised. They are specific and restrictive, ignoring the opposing will of the enemy.


For all of these actions to work properly, fire team leaders have to lead from the front . . . literally. They are the very front guys in all actions so that their actions can provide implicit communications. In wedges, they put their grenadiers to their right and their automatic rifles (ARs) to their left (as an example). The rifleman can follow in the rear directly behind the team leader or he can echelon to the left of the AR and be the buddy pair with the AR while the grenadier is the buddy pair with the team leader. This setup allows the team leader to have his two key firing platforms on adjacent sides of him to issue task and purpose quicker and easier. The team behaves like a flight of four aircraft during movement and at halts. When the team leader changes pace or direction, the remainder of the team maintains their place in the formation, pivoting to get back into their appropriate positions.


Prone position is not the preferred position when assaulting or observing sectors in a security posture. The helmet meets resistance with the interceptor vest preventing the head from comfortably raising to meet the sights. An uncomfortable Marine will focus inward on his own discomfort more often than focusing outward on his sector of fire. A properly fitting helmet also hits the carrying handle before stock weld is achieved, disrupting the sight picture. The prone position will make the Marine feel isolated on the battlefield as his field of view is diminished. His observation of enemy activity will continually decrease as his position lowers. Squatting and kneeling positions should be the preferred positions unless under immediate fire. While assaulting, the selection of the appropriate size of the moving force, the use of microterrain, and accurate suppressive fires provide the protection to the force, not the firing positions. Marines will maintain a higher tempo if they are not going prone, and they'll reduce the length of each move if they do not go prone. Those who go prone get exhausted too quickly and tend to attempt longer moves in an effort to reduce the amount of stops they must make. M249 shooters must learn to fire from squatting positions with both elbows stabilized on the knees if they are a part of the assaulting force in the fire team.


Keep in mind that if the enemy is still firing while Marines are assaulting, then they have insufficient ratios of suppression to moving forces, or they have inaccurate fires on the enemy position. The movement of the force should be stopped until the conditions are set to allow movement in all but extremely near ambushes. The rule of thumb to decide between a near or far ambush is not the handgrenade throwing distance depicted in the manuals, but the availability of terrain to take cover. If there is any cover at all, then treat the ambush as a far ambush and take cover. A Marine's completely exposed body against the very small visible target of the opponent will not be a good situation to be in. My definition of a far ambush is anything beyond three large steps or some completely open terrain, such as pavement.


Immediate action procedures to contact are one of the most misunderstood actions on the battlefield. We think that deliberate assault element assignments will work during chance contact. We preassign assault, support, and security elements and set ourselves up for failure when it's the assault element caught in the kill zone of the chance contact or ambush. Instead, terms of least engaged and most engaged are used. The only thing immediate upon chance contact is that the most engaged element automatically becomes the support element during this fight, deploying all weapons against the threat in an effort to develop fire superiority (accurately). Once the weapons are deployed, the most engaged element sends the contact report. It has to be clear and simple: â Å“Contact right, 100 meters, vehicle twoâ ? (or 2d team, or whatever your title is) and a statement of what you know, or just shut up. The radio is a key tool to call the audible that will ensure success. Long-winded statements and use of the communications school methods will cause deaths. Once contact is made with the higher element, eliminate the identification of unit statements and anything unnecessary in subsequent statements. Quick, precise statements and elimination of clutter will allow orders to be issued in a timely manner. Immediate action is over at this point. No automatic assaults should be conducted.


Once the contact report is in, the leader assesses the situation and starts developing courses of action. He decides if the enemy is inferior or superior. If the enemy is still firing, he puts more weapons into the suppression role. The element on the fringes of the contact is, by default, the security element and must be trained to focus outward immediately to verify that the known contact is not a diversion to distract from the real attack. The least engaged element can automatically assess routes toward the enemy in envelopment and routes to establish a support by fire that would allow the most engaged unit an opportunity to disengage. The least engaged element is still awaiting course of action selection and orders from the leader though. If the leader decides that the enemy is inferior, he can use the most engaged as the fixing force and issue orders for the least engaged to conduct an envelopment to destroy the attacking force. If the leader assesses the enemy as superior, he must develop a process to fix and bypass or fix and disengage. He orders the least engaged unit to establish a support by fire position, reinforcing the most engaged by whatever other element available to establish fire superiority. Once the least engaged is set up and providing accurate fires, he orders the disengagement or bypass of the most engaged unit. The leader may have to reset multiple support by fire positions until completely disengaged or the enemy is bypassed. All the while, specific orders must be given for someone to provide security in directions other than the primary engagement.


IED Threat
OIF has seen the implementation of thousands of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by our opponents. Marines need to be instructed on using target indicators like shine, outline, and contrast with the environment in order to better locate and identify the IED threat. The use of magnified optics to conduct area studies for likely IEDs will enhance security and speed up the location and identification process. This technique eliminates the need to close on the IED while evaluating size and whether or not daisy chains (other explosives tied in with detonating cord) exist. It allows scanning for the triggerman as well. Use of binoculars and advanced combat optical gunsights are great tools also.


Going deep is another tool that can be used to counter ambushs or IED threats. Going deep is an offshoot term from close quarters battle training. In this case it means you're going to establish flankers out to the first visibility line with the hope of cutting off the triggerman's escape route, while simultaneously establishing a flanking position in relation to any potential ambush positions overwatching the IED sight. This fits into the previous discussion on immediate and subsequent actions. The unit that goes deep does so after deliberate assessment and selection of a course of action.


As we find thousands of cache sights we realize that we often prevent useful information from being identified as we â Å“dirty upâ ? the sight with our own activity. Marines should treat cache sights like crime scenes in order to preserve any clues that a trained investigator might pick up. Little things like not damaging signs in the area of the cache sight have to be explained to all those coming into the country. Tire tracks of the enemy may be critical to later identification. The type of wire used may lead to where the material was sold. Cameras are critical to getting the information out fast, as well as available laptops and local area network connections to share information rapidly. Engineer mine detectors, metal detectors, and other types of tools are critical to rapidly exploiting a location, but the Marines must be knowledgeable on the use of the equipment prior to arrival.

Know the Language?
1st Marine Division made a concerted effort to teach Marines a deeper level of language capability prior to coming over on OIF II. I recommend against following that same approach, however. More time on weapons employment, developing depth on machineguns, cache sight exploitation, and techniques of observation with optics would have been a better tradeoff than the 30 days of language training. A 20-word vocabulary is sufficient for most Marines and can be conducted in-house instead of disrupting the training cycle prior to deployment. Thirty days simply won't provide the linguist you are looking for, and the time can be better used elsewhere.


Knowing how to ask a question does no good if we don't have the proficiency to understand the response given. Therefore, focus on a 20-word vocabulary of directive commands, such as open, close, you may depart, we must search you, don't be frightened, hello, goodbye, and stop. Don't ask questions unless you are prepared for an outburst response.


Finally, focus on name annunciation skills. Some human intelligence sources attempt to provide us information, yet we don't have the ability to understand what they are trying to tell us.


This is an equal opportunity war for all Marine forces. Don't expect to have the junior Marines do all of the fighting, as there is neither a pattern to the time and place of contact nor a pattern to who gets injured or killed. All Marines must be ready to perform combat tasks at all times and never get complacent or take for granted any level of security. Focusing on infantry patrolling skills will assist in organizing your thoughts in all other actions and provide the protection during contact far beyond 10-inch SAPIs.


>CWO3 Eby is the Gunner, 7th Marines.


Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2005, 09:17:42 »
Well I hope someone on this side of the border is listen and taking notes.
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2005, 12:54:26 »
Matt,

Great post!  I'll make sure that a copy comes with me to my new job.  Is there a source document for it?

Excellent points on soldier skills and how they must not be exclusive to the combat arms folks.

I found the language training bit very interesting.  We tend to load more and more into pre-deployment training without taking anything out.  I'd be interested to interview returning troops and ask: "Given the exact same amount of training time before deploying, what would you have added and what would you delete?"  Compression sacks may work for sleeping bags but not for training time!  It is still a "five pound bag" no matter how many pounds we try to stuff in!

Back to language, in Kabul I picked up a couple of local words and phrases but relied 100% on interpreters to have conversations.  I used Hello, Sorry, Thankyou etc along with a couple of commands.  I got these not from our classes but from the interpreters.  I found that just having a simple greeting in the local language was a good way to get going with a conversation that would then go through the interpreter.

The "who is supporting who paragraph" (dismounts and vehicles) left me somewhat confused.  I think that I know what he is trying to say but I wondering why the particular emphasis?  An aside for Matt, what was your drill with the scouts in the LAVs if you were under contact?

I may be out to lunch, but "satellite patrolling" looks a little bit like what we did overseas, although somewhat more formalized.  The principle seems the same.  Perhaps a good subject for a multi-national conference! 

The task and purpose part is very much in line with what I was being taught down south a few years ago.  Give a task and purpose at all levels and you give the guidance for people to use their intiative.

Cheers,

2B
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 Matt_Fisher

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2005, 13:41:20 »
2Bravo,

You're right about the confusion about the LAV comment.  I was scratching my head on that one too.

As far as our SOP goes, when ambushed and the vehicle was in motion, we'll return fire with the main gun/coax and the pintle, and the 2 scouts that are popped up in back troop hatches will also return fire.  The vehicles will clear through the ambush zone and at a safe location will halt.  The scouts dismount and provide local security, a damage/casualty assessment is conducted, contact report/sitrep sent in and a plan formulated as to what to do next.

When at a halt and the scouts were dismounted, if we came under fire, the direction from which the fire was being received was determined, the scouts would orient themselves to cover that sector and get themselves into covered positions (not meaning remounting into the vehicle) and we'd return fire.  A contact report would be sent to higher.  The next steps would really depend on the situation, with common sense would be the determining factor.  If you didn't have enough assets in place to assault and clear the enemy position, you'd attempt to cordon the area and wait for more assets to arrive on scene, when you could consolidate your scouts into a large enough group to take on the objective, or provide a secure perimeter until a rifle company/platoon or other such force would arrive to do the actual clearing.

As far as fighting the mounted battle, operations in Iraq (and Afghanistan, I assume) are very much different to the type of troop tactics that are taught and practiced in such places as NTC, the Lawfield Corridor or Centurion Field.

Most of the stuff we did was convoy escort, react to ambush/IED while providing convoy escort, traffic control points/vehicle check points (searching vehicles and pers.), setting up cordon points in urban areas when conducting raid ops. and alot of mounted and dismounted urban patrolling at the section/patrol level.

From the crewman side I'd spend less time focusing on precision long-range gunnery against moving targets, more time on co-ax and pintle shooting as well as personal weapons skills, more time on driving in traffic and tight urban confines, less time on tactical "bounding/hull-down position" troop level maneuveurs.

The source of the article is:
http://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2005/05eby.html

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2005, 22:35:04 »
Matt,

Seen.  I figure that we (the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps) should perhaps spend some more time firing personal weapons from the vehicle during training, even if this comes at the expense of open range "shooting up tank targets."  The 25mm is great but perhaps there are other options if you are trying to take out a guy in a market full of people you are trying to help!  Our Surv Ops in particular can be a key weapons system in the urban environment with their C8 covering the 6 o'clock.

I'm no gunnery SME, but I'd be curious about a 360 degree live fire range where we put a Coyote in the middle of a template and pop-up targets around it.  The crew would engage as they see fit (pistols to 25mm).  Templating would be a problem, as would be the placement of the SIT target controller.  Having the Coyote on the move would be the best training option but safety might just get in the way. 

Thanks for your feedback on your own "actions on" drills.

Cheers,

Iain
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 Sheep Dog AT

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2005, 22:41:57 »
I remember hearing a story from a guy (M1A1 the guy who would be standing beside the CC) who ran out of ammo on his pintal mount gun and had an enemy about to engage him so he threw the empty ammo can at him, hit him and gave him enough time to reload and engage said enemy.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2005, 23:58:56 »
I figure that we (the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps) should perhaps spend some more time firing personal weapons from the vehicle during training, even if this comes at the expense of open range "shooting up tank targets."   The 25mm is great but perhaps there are other options if you are trying to take out a guy in a market full of people you are trying to help!   Our Surv Ops in particular can be a key weapons system in the urban environment with their C8 covering the 6 o'clock.

I'm no gunnery SME, but I'd be curious about a 360 degree live fire range where we put a Coyote in the middle of a template and pop-up targets around it.   The crew would engage as they see fit (pistols to 25mm).   Templating would be a problem, as would be the placement of the SIT target controller.   Having the Coyote on the move would be the best training option but safety might just get in the way.  

The only way I can see you putting this into practice, would be to break our Battle Runs down into 2 Phases.   Phase 1 would be the initial drive down the lane, employing Main and Coax, and also Pintle if desired.   Halt at end of run and turn around.   Phase 2 would be the drive back up the lane with the GIBS engaging tgts while on the move.

I highly doubt we will ever see a 360 Range, simply for Safety Factors and the size of Template that would be required.   Only place to find a Range that size may be the center of the Circles in Suffield.     ;D  Another factor would be the amount of time wasted changing Crews and Vehs.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2005, 03:36:15 »
I highly doubt we will ever see a 360 Range, simply for Safety Factors and the size of Template that would be required.

Of course, we could just send a Squadron into Fallujah in search of a 360 range....
"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 Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2005, 10:08:32 »
Infanteer,

I guess I'm trying to make the real 360 range not be the first one that a crew sees... ;D

George,

The circle could be made smaller if we restricted it to COAX, ACK ACK and small arms.  The surv op shoot would work well as you suggest.  I'm trying to figure out where to put the SIT target controller and RSO.  As for time, perhaps we can find the wasted time somewhere else.

CFL,

Based on the arguments on the Bayonet thread, perhaps turret crews need to carry lances as a last ditch weapon ;)  Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Cheers,

Iain
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 Matt_Fisher

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2005, 15:56:44 »
The other thing I would really harp on would be sharpening vehicle checkpoint skills and vehicle search techniques.

I don't know if you have access to the US Army or Marine Corps Lessons Learned sites, but there is a pletheroa of stuff on there that's excellent in this area.

Offline Britney Spears

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2005, 16:00:33 »
Quote
Of course, we could just send a Squadron into Fallujah in search of a 360 range....

As long as we wear green and don't look like the 'merkins no one will shoot at us......
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Offline Matt_Fisher

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2005, 17:57:53 »
As long as we wear green and don't look like the 'merkins no one will shoot at us......

Seems to be working for the NGOs and Press... ::)

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2005, 17:52:39 »
The concept of "least engaged/most engaged" is interesting - orders on the fly are good if you can nail it down to a well-practiced SOP.

The US Military has to get rid of the term "buddy" - it sounds so silly.
"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 Matt_Fisher

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2005, 12:07:33 »
The US Military has to get rid of the term "buddy" - it sounds so silly.

Not nearly as silly as "MMEV-Multi Mission Effects Vehicle" if we're talking about silly terms.   ;D

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2005, 13:30:14 »
Matt/Infanteer,

The "most engaged/least engaged" principle is very much like the good'ol Combat Team quick attacks that we all knew and loved.  The Tank Tp in contact (most engaged) becomes the fire base and one not in contact (least engaged) is probably in a good spot for the RV for the assault force.  Very interesting to see this applied to the lowest level.  Does anyone think that our own section attacks a couple of years ago would not have allowed for such distinctions.  Sorry, bit of a tangent. >:D

Cheers,

2B

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

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2005, 12:26:11 »
Last year LCol Vida ran a really good "section" attack range, where he replaced the vehicle driver with his own (who knew the script) - the section crossed a hill and was with with ex-RPG - where the driver was hit and the LAV careened w/o power down the hill and hit a berm - the section had the fight a near 360 battle and use handpower to use the turret and of course they used pers weapons and close with and destory the EN.

 The idea of doing Cbt team attack prep for missions where we have no reason to do such and attack is a waste of trg resources and time.  We have to get out of the box and start tailoring our training to the mission/threat - which really is not out of the box thinking...
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Offline Matt_Fisher

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2005, 13:08:10 »
I agree with you in part Kev.

I don't think that 2Bravo was referring to having an actual combat team train for react to ambush scenarios, but rather using the concept of fire and maneuver as touched upon by CWO3 Eby.

When we took over our AO on the southern outskirts of Baghdad, the insurgents had realized that when they attacked a convoy, the response was for the convoy to respond with indiscriminate machinegun fire and to clear the ambush zone.  What they weren't prepared for was when the Marines would be escorting and the convoy was ambushed, the LAV closest to the ambush would move into a position of cover and setup a base of fire.  The LAV furthest away would identify the location of the ambushers, move to flank and the scouts would dismount and close with the insurgents, the classic 'L' hammer and anvil.  The convoy would continue to clear the ambush zone.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2005, 13:40:47 »
Kevin,

Perhaps I wasn't clear and I'm not sure if you interpreted my post this way, but I was not advocating using combat team quick attacks to prepare for Afghanistan or Iraq (although that's exactly what I did for the year leading up to Roto 0).  Matt is correct that I was relating the concept of the article to our old combat team tactics.  I think that the author of the article is basically talking about fixing and striking but applied to the lowest tactical level.

When I was at Meaford three years ago the standard infantry section attack being taught was about as flexible as a lead pipe.  Everything was a frontal as the section was seen as always being part of Platoon in a Company.  Is this still the case?

As an aside, what were the safety arrangements for the 360 range you descibed?  Were the 25mm and coax used as well?  I assume so because you mention hand power for the turret but I am interested in details.  We're about to start TMST here and my SSM is running an ambush range.

Matt,

I like the sound of that ambush drill.  A good convoy escort should have one element that stays with the convoy and another self-contained element to deal with the enemy and pick up the pieces.

Cheers,

Iain
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2005, 14:00:44 »
When I was at Meaford three years ago the standard infantry section attack being taught was about as flexible as a lead pipe.   Everything was a frontal as the section was seen as always being part of Platoon in a Company.   Is this still the case?

Oh, we've got 14 pages of fun on that.... ;)

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2005, 14:36:33 »
I am unsure of how the range was exactly run I was not part of it - only the rifle sections went thru.  IIRC they did not do full 360 fire - and the 25mm tgt where limited to a 90degree'ish scope and the rotation of the handcrack made it more effective for them to use coax and pintel.

 We found out later that some of our training was a "little sketchy" in the training saftey frame...

 My feeling is the biggest failing in our training was not having the non combat arms types doing any convoy ambush stuff - since they did way more runs around that us.



 
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2005, 14:56:03 »
Kevin,

Seen, especially the bit about CSS and live fire training.  The good news is that the range that my SSM is running in a few weeks is actually for the NSE.  It will be a convoy counter-ambush drill.  I believe that the CSS world is now thinking along these lines.  Perhaps vehs driving around in theatre (HLVWs, HLTA Bisons) should be crewed by combat arms guys?

Most of my Kabul time was spent in the Coy HQ SUVs and Iltis.  I figured that we were a much more inviting target than the Coyotes, LAVs and Bisons and we would go through drills, SOPs, ROE and TsOETs just in case.

Cheers,

Iain
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2005, 15:56:17 »
2B - good stuff.

  Personally I think convoys should be commanded by Cbt Arms guys - so at least the commander has a base of experience to rely upon - I noticed a few terrible briefings prior to doing "shotgun" detail on some convoys.  As well with our lack of bayo's on that mission I dont think you could scare up enough to have cbt arms guys in every vehicle - and I think the CSS has to should that load.   I dont think you can have too much training in that field.

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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2005, 16:12:47 »
......   Perhaps vehs driving around in theatre (HLVWs, HLTA Bisons) should be crewed by combat arms guys?

I know a few years ago, 2 Svc Bn had a lot of people chicken out of doing a Roto in the NSE in Bosnia (around 1995 -96) and all the Cbt Arms Units in 2 CMBG got tasked with filling the "Trucker" slots to fill up the SVC Bn shortages.  Although it may be nice to have Cbt Arms guys fill those slots on Tour, it will just add to the strain on the Cbt Arms Units, less down time and recuperation and a greater likelihood of burnout.
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2005, 16:44:00 »
I think that you're both correct and as long as the CSS soldiers and leaders are trained and equipped correctly we will be OK.  The answer, I think, is that CSS people need to be trained with expectation that they will be in firefights as a rule and not the exception.  I think that most have made this switch.  I've lost track of who takes what junior NCO training, but perhaps MSE Op Cpls should be treated like Combat Arms.

For any MSE folks reading here, is the SQ course helping at all?

Cheers,

2B
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2005, 16:54:32 »
+1 2B...

For George: eventhing I am seeing is saying we are 'burning out' the CSS.   A lot of 031's are chopping at the bit to go - I know many would sign on even to be dedicated convoy escorts.

 If you look at the last few Afghan Roto's the pointy end was cut down - same with Roto1 + in Bosnia.

Problem is no-one wants to slot it that way -AND I dont think its a good idea to take to heart since it absolves the CSS of their Force Protection, something they should and are responsible for.   IT may be a good idea in the short term looking at the Iraqi AAR's - but perhaps we should then bolster the CSS's weapons and training with them.

 In my mind the Armoured and Inf should be out killing the Enemy - thus reducing their (EN) ability to attack (in theory) the CSS.
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2005, 14:19:14 »
I think convoy security and ambushes et al are becoming more of a focus as the CF realizes that there is no front line anymore and the rear ech M......F.........ers can be attacked just as easily as the pointy end.  Adm coy just finished a week of convoy security, driver side contacts, ambushes etc trying to see what works and what's hooky.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2005, 15:20:52 »
What we are seeing in Iraq is that its almost suicide to attack combat arms convoys. The bad guys would rather try taking on the CSS troops as they arent trained to the same level as the combat arms guys. Theyt are a soft target so to speak. One way to alter this is to add guntrucks and alot of heavy armament to the CSS convoy.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2005, 16:03:53 »
Not to beat a dead horse, but the whole no rear area is probably the tactical lesson to be learned.

 :warstory:  Kabul in Aug 03 was certainly not Baghdad by any stretch, but upon arrival I sat down with the SHQ soldiers and went through ROE and ambush drills.  I started the review by asking a somewhat rhetorical question:

  "If you were a terrorist with one RPG or a suicide bomber with one shot, given the choice would you go after two Coyotes or two jeeps?"   

I wasn't trying to scare anyone, but I wanted to make the point that we were a target and we had to be ready.  I was, of course, fortunate that the drivers in SHQ were armoured guys with bags of experience and I was always in good hands.  Being armoured we also had C8s which was a nice bonus.  Our best run-about vehicles were the local rentals that we had for the first few weeks.  They were beat-up but they blended in.

In today's theatres of operations every soldier off camp is front-line as far as I am concerned.  We need to train and equip with this in mind.

Cheers,

Iain
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2005, 12:59:44 »
The concept that we are JUST learning that there is no 'rear-area' makes me a little sad.  Looking back at a show regarding Vietnam the other day, I noticed that the US troops escorting convoys had developed gun trucks (some with some serious firepower in the way of quad .50s, etc...) as a response to convoy ambushes. 
It seems that in a great many things, it takes a lot of time for the system to realize that things have changed.   Remember back to WW1 and the lack of foresight regarding the advent of machine guns and lined up troops as a quick example. 

The trend of the last 20 years of analysing Lessons Learned is hope for the future.  However, there still seems to be a large lag time from the time the lesson is learned (unfortunately, usually at a price of lives) until the corrective action is developed, tested and implemented. 

I am glad to see that some people like 2B who might just have the position to actually make some of these changes are the ones paying attention too!

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2005, 00:00:56 »
I watched 1VP's transport PL run a simunition ambush last week.

 My biggest concern is that some of the IA's for ambush are goign to let the insurgents get away - there has to be an integral close wiht and destory function - for if the convoy just supresses them - they (the insurgents) will return to do another ambush. 

 
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Offline Northern Touch

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2005, 10:50:59 »
I watched 1VP's transport PL run a simunition ambush last week.

 My biggest concern is that some of the IA's for ambush are goign to let the insurgents get away - there has to be an integral close wiht and destory function - for if the convoy just supresses them - they (the insurgents) will return to do another ambush. 

 

Well, does every single IA have to have a close in and destroy?  I can see and understand why in needs to be there in some instances, but look at if from the other angle.  If I was a terrorist doing an ambush, and I saw that EVERY SINGLE time we ambushed a convoy, they tried to close in and destroy us, how hard would it be to send 2 guys to fire an RPG, then retreat back to a larger force that you can't see , and then just set up another ambush for the troops trying to engage?  Would it be more ideal to have the IA for seek and destroy there, but have that decision made on the ground as the situation dictates?

Just food for thought though.
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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2005, 11:03:57 »
The concept that we are JUST learning that there is no 'rear-area' makes me a little sad.  

Funny thing is, 4 CMBG learned that lesson almost 20 years ago during Reforger 88.  The Svc Bn and 444 tac hel sqn found out that they weren't immune to ground assault by fast moving en columns, even if they were sitting 20 kms behind the FEBA.  But I guess the lesson didn't stick.  Made for some funny int maps though, with en contacts way the heck behind the inf bns.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2005, 19:32:31 »
Lessons never stick - with the amount of time people have spent fighting eachother, we should have had the rule book written by now.

War is really all about figuring the same crap out again, I guess.
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2005, 06:52:29 »
While many "lessons" are simply old lessons being re-learned the hard way, I do think that the game is somewhat different now than it was ten or twenty years ago.  In our World War III scenarios and doctrine, the loss of a CSS convoy or an element of a convoy was a risk that could be accepted.  If a convoy was hit I believe that the drill was to drive through and keep trucking.  That makes sense if you are trying to minimize casualties and keep the supplies coming.  If a couple of guys were klled or captured by some Spetznaz guys behind the lines then that was bad but not a show-stopper.  The World War III scenario had some more pressing issues.

In the small wars of today and with our Western culture, having two soldiers captured by the enemy or having our KIA in the possession of a mob can be a turning point in the conflict, especially if TV cameras are invovled.  Our convoys cannot just blast through and keep trucking. 

I would think that the first priority for a convoy would be to ensure its own security, in that it leaves the ambush site with all of its people (included casualties).  The next would be to destroy the enemy.  Sometimes going after the bad guys can achieve the first aim as well, but I'm not sure if all convoys are geared for this.

Of course, we could attach a LAV III Platoon and a Coyote Recce Troop to every NSE convoy to give them both a security element and a "strike force" to go after the bad guys.  Some convoys might be so critical that they have this package.  Most, however, may have to make do with integral combat power and wait for a QRF if things get real bad. 

What do you guys think? 

2B

p.s. "Feigned Flight" is a old tactic to deal with opponents who are too eager to charge into close combat.
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Offline plattypuss

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2005, 08:25:16 »
The Armour School has been appointed as CofE for Convoy Escort Operations.  I was happy to see that the doctrine that we have produced this past month for the large part reflect some of the opinions listed in this topic.
In general we have adopted two methods of conducting convoy operations - the tunnel method and a standard method which encompass a number of tactical groupings to include Advance Group, Close Protection, Reserve and a Rapid Reaction Group.  The underlying principle in this document is that convoys will react to ambushes based on whether routes are blocked or not.  The escorting force will engage the enemy until which time they can extract the convoy, the survival of the convoy being the aim, not the destruction of the enemy.  If however the route becomes blocked then it becomes a battle in which the destruction of the enemy becomes the focus.  I don't have the room or time to go into too much detail but the Convoy Escort TTPs should be released to the units by August hopefully.
There was a push for a while to establish CSS Battleschools which would focus on Convoy ops with the view of establishing CSS "Battle Task Standards" however this has been pushed back onto the Area Trg Centres.  I believe there is the intention of establishing a Convoy Escort Live fire range in Wainwright and the possibility of a second range in Gagetown which highlights the importance that Convoy and other CSS ops are taking within the CF.  Incidentally they are now developing a full day instruction on IEDs and Convoy Ops in CAP which is a start and there is a good proability that DP1 NCM trg will encompass convoy ops as well.
An interesting observation that I had down in Fort Knox while observing a Special Boat Unit last year was that at the time the SBU would abandon the convoy of vehicles if they came into contact with the enemy and fight out to an extraction point.  I was not privy to the US orders at the time so I am not sure what the particular scenario was but it was definitely a different perspective.  During the same Ex, one of the many simunitions that they used to simulate an ambush within the town, lit up the interior of one of the trucks and subsequently cooked off the boxes of ammunition stored under the seat.

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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2005, 13:01:20 »
In the new types of missions there will be little "blobs" of administrative and command vehicles running everywhere in the Area of Operations.  Some will be as small as two SUVs, while of course others will, of course, be larger. If our default is to have combat assets of troop or platoon size "escort" CSS convoys then we will rapidly cripple our ability to conduct the operations that the convoys are supporting.  Perhaps the threat will push us this extreme from time to time, but every element of soldiers in vehicles must be able to fend for itself to some extent.  Our TTPs seem to assume a Tp at a minimum, but we may only be able to spare a patrol at best.

With civilian contractors providing much of the heavy lift in convoys for some operations overseas, the invovlement of CSS folks may well be to provide the armed escort (as is done in Iraq) from Bisons or HLVW guntrucks.  Perhaps the MSE world needs to take ownership of the TTPs at some point.

We had a USMC speaker up here a few months back who had fought in the intitial Fallujah battles as well as the invasion (two tours).  One question from the floor was how they protected their CSS elements.  His answer was that, for the most part, the CSS elements had to look after themselves.  Within the Bn the "Heavy Guns" platoon with HMMVWs beefed up some CSS movements, but the "every Marine a riflleman" philosophy had a practical application.  We need to get there (and I think that we are moving that way).

As an aside, we also need to ready to conduct "multi-agency" convoys.  Some elements that we escort may well come with a security package that needs to integrated into the escort.  Comms and the quick hammering out of simple reaction drills are two issues that need to be addressed before the convoy heads out the gate.

Cheers,

2B
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Offline plattypuss

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2005, 13:11:28 »
I think this may have been discussed on another thread, but a common element in US convoys and something which I know was being trialled by one of the reserve brigades, was the "gun truck".  I think the best explanation would be a flat bed truck reinforced all around with sandbags or metal.  I believe the armament of choice was a 50 cal. This is used when CSS assets have to provide their own internal protection.  I don't think we have anything like this in the inventory...yet.  The gun truck was used in conjunction with the HMVVW.
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Offline KevinB

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2005, 16:25:45 »
plattypuss - nice to know (and see/hear)
 As for what 2B related we ran 2 vehicle SUV convoys for some 'admin' stuff and we had our AI's down - obviously a 2 vehicle with 8 pers MAX convoy cannot fight, speed is life in that regard - simply putting fire down and extracting will be necessitated - if they get immobilized their needs to be a QRF that can and will deploy literally in a heartbeat.

 IF (larger) CSS convoys do not actively retaliate - then they become the 'freebe' hits that the insurgents are looking for.   HL's shoudl have C6 gunners up and looking - I think the US 5 ton with the .50 gunners we saw was a bit of a deterent for our AOR plus their hummers with Mk19 and .50's as well.     The GWagon C&R ring mount cant take a .50 (not the best platform as it NEEDs a soft mount setup - but woudl give them a bit more teeth as well.

Speaking to some buddies doing PSD work in Iraq, the guys guarding VIP's are not doing so bad - but the guys guarding covoys are getting masacred (over 60 in the last week) - the problem is there are quite literally too light to fight.   AND the convoys are atractive tgts to degrate the coalition with their loss
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Offline plattypuss

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2005, 12:30:27 »
Interesting.  I am going to go out on a bit of a limb here and liken the Convoy vulnerability issue to that of the Ship convoys getting attacked by the German wolfpacks.  I may be totally wrong but I think one of the solutions was smaller convoys albeit normally protected by a corvette or other lightly armed ship with depthcharges.  Now I am going to try and tie this is in with the concept of satellite patrolling. 
Could we divide convoys into smaller packets and have them travel at the same time along parallel routes and increase their survivability?  Thus if a smaller packet comes into contact the other packets are more assured of survival and any packet might be less valuable of a target because it is smaller.  Taking this one step higher if their is an available combat force either split amongst the convoy or held/travelling centrally (or a combo of the two) they could then react against the enemy and possibly attack from an unexpected direction(s) and thus achieve a greater possibility of the complete destruction of the enemy.

I know that they trialed the 50 cal on the LUVW C&R here in Gagetown but their was significant structural problems with the roof after.  The plan is still (I think) to arm the LUVW with ALAWS, CASW and C-6.

Please note the above paragraph was typed after three cups of stronger then normal coffee.  Please feel free to whack it as required.
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Offline KevinB

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2005, 13:20:28 »
I know the .50 GWagon shoots in Wainwright seemed to prove you need about 30rds ina burst before the platform rock has stabilized into something you can manage and can get the gun on tgt - not exactly the burst stated for a trained machine gunner...

The problem as I see it with spreading out small convoys is that there are only X ways from A to B - if you flood the AOR with CSS convoys it will let the enemy have more chances to get it right.

 I can't come up with a DS solution other than get Light Infantry and SF assests out setting OP's and walkign the walk - in conjuction with a good pysops plan.

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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2005, 13:24:45 »
can't do too much against IED's but what about gunships shadowing the convoy out of RPG range initially?
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2005, 13:53:32 »
I've also been wondering about a naval analogy for convoys.   In a perfect world each convoy would have an integral escort while there would be other combat assets roaming about to either hit the bad guys first or come to the rescue.

In terms of mitigation, small and big packets have advantages and disadvantages.   Big convoys allow you to focus your available escort resources, as well as the other bits like ISTAR coverage and QRF.   If they are military personnel in the escorted vehicles you also have more people to fight the battle if it happens.   They are also more lucrative targets, I suppose, and can become unwiedly.

Smaller packets are more agile and perhaps less of a lucrative target.   They also make it harder to provide escorts, ISTAR support and QRF coverage.   I think that the bad guys are happy to get one truck, so if we feel that we need to have escorts then perhaps bigger is better in terms of packets.

I conducted one major escort task in Kabul, namely the provision of armoured vehicles to the United Nations Security Council when they visited Kabul for several days.   Having one big convoy made it much easier for us to focus our available assets, although it was rather large.   

As an aside, the Coyote is very well suited to these types of operations (as is the LAV III I imagine).   We also practiced integrating TUAVs into one road move to trial some procedures.   Helos would also be excellent for these types of tasks to try and ferret out ambushes etc.

Cheers,

2B

p.s.  Looking at the two posts since I started, having AFVs lead the packet at least give you a chance against some IEDs (command detonated will still be a threat to the soft-skins).  I agree wholeheartedly on having aviation.  A good ISTAR plan (incorporating everything from infantry patrols to OPs to UAVs etc) could also potentially catch some attackers before they set their ambush/IED.  Cities and countries are pretty big, however, and it is hard to cover everything.

We should try to have our people in convoys behind some armour to at least mitigate the effects of RPGs and IEDs.  Not always possible.
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 plattypuss

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2005, 14:48:01 »
One of the US successes in Convoy Ops in Iraq has been the use of UAVs to scout out areas prior to the convoy moving through an area and also maintaining overwatch throughout the conduct of the convoy task.  In lieu of helicopters UAVs can be armed somewhat as well. 

On 2B point I believe for a little while that a large portion of Marines in Iraq were alomost retasked to provide security to military convoys with their LAVs, when the supply lines became to extended.
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2005, 15:00:00 »
There is a bit of "what's old is new again" here. Truck convoys in the Viet Nam war (the American Phase 1965-73) were escorted by a strange collection of vehicles, ranging from M-113's and the occasional Helicopter gunship flying "top cover", to more suitable Cadillac Gage "Commando" series vehicles (a 4X4 light armoured vehicle often mounting a turret with one or more machine guns), to monstrosities built out of a five ton flatbed with armour plates, sandbags and multiple machinegun mounts (usually one in each corner of the cargo bed).

For any MPs reading this post, the "Commandos" were actually owned and operated by the MP branch, and this might actually be something to consider, truckers, mechanics etc. should concentrate on personal self defense and the MPs can provide the "armoured" escorts in most situations. This frees up the combat arms troops to do their own thing, which could include independent sweeps of the MSRs or lurking behind convoys as a QRF in case an ambush is sprung.
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 pbi

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Re: Preparing for Iraq
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2005, 15:56:59 »
Quote
For any MPs reading this post, the "Commandos" were actually owned and operated by the MP branch, and this might actually be something to consider, truckers, mechanics etc. should concentrate on personal self defense and the MPs can provide the "armoured" escorts in most situations

IMHO this is an ideal, and very relevant task for our Army Res MPs to focus on, along with other ForcePro duties. Due to their non-status as Specially Appointed Persons, it seems to me that they have very little real value in law enforcement duties. Alot of the US ForcePro troops I saw in Afgh were MPs: I went out on a night HMMVW patrol with the MP Coy that was based in Bagram-they were as heavily gunned up as any Inf unit might be. We lack dedicated escort capability and Res MPs might be an ideal way to generate this. Of course, the Army does not really "own" the MP Branch and this might run us afoul of the CFPM who seems to have a fixation on law enforcement as opposed to combat tasks.

Cheers
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...