Author Topic: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?  (Read 121127 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2007, 15:43:20 »
It still seems to come down to this:  Policing or Warfighting.

We are stuck in seeing the enforcement of the government's will in terms of those two options. A nice clean dichotomy between the (essentially) unarmed policeman operating in a permissive environment of willing subjects and going out and slaughtering all available targets in a free-fire zone.

Unfortunately, as we are all aware operating environments come in a wider array of options than those two solutions provide for.

We suffer from being a little bit too British (Policing vs Army) and a little bit too American (Army = Warfighting).

The French have, as in so many other fields, moved the other direction.  They try and parse the spectrum of conflict into a number of tailor made bureaucracies.

1. They have the local Police to deal with traffic violations.
2. They have a separate organization for dealing with unarmed mobs - CRN or CRS or some such
3. They have the Gendarmerie for dealing with armed insurgents domestically
4. They have the Army for defending La Patrie and her borders
5. They have the Foreign Legion (largely foreign mercenaries - sorry for the perceived slur guys) that they can use to prosecute the nation's interests at limited domestic political cost.


The Brits covered this spectrum with the local Constabulary to deal with levels 1 and 2.
The Army covered levels 2-5.
They did this by maintaining an Infantry heavy army where the Cavalry switched roles between Patrolling and Shock Tactics.  Even the artillery could be "dragooned" into use as armed policemen to bolster the imperial constabulary. The Army has been able to fight wars, successfully - if usually after a setback or two in the opening rounds - but it has conducted operations for centuries primarily as a Gendarmerie, both domestically and imperially, that also fights wars.

The Americans, as stated before, have a distaste for maintaining and operating that type of force.  They are predisposed against the maintenance of a Standing Army to coerce populations into following the will of the government.  Therefore, for them, an Army is all about rapidly destroying those nasty coercive Standing Armies and freeing up the population to be what they naturally want to be - Americans.  ;)  Shock follows the realization that when they wake up an Arab at 3 O'Clock in the morning he isn't speaking with a Bronx accent - their working assumption (as many American friends have told me about my Scots-Canadian accent).

This peacemaking business demands a longterm security force.  It can be an Army task, or a Police task (we created the NWM Rifles/Police to fulfill the role - patrolling in pairs but also equipped with 9 pounder cannons and gatling guns), or it can be a separate Bureaucracy like the Gendarmerie, the Carabinieri or the Dutch Marechausse or the Spanish Guardia Civil.  The Gendarmerie still conducts operations against insurgents in Corsica and Pays Basque.  The Carabinieri is busy in Sardinia, Sicily and the Naples area.  The Guardia Civil has to deal with ETA and with the Catalonians.

These are on going operations where Soldier/Policemen are regularly engaged by their own citizens (reluctant) with rifles and bombs.  They have been at it, in most cases, since 1814.  Their governments have been at it with various forces for a lot longer than that.

Heavy forces are necessary for conducting security operations - but only when a target has been identified that is suitable to their employment.  If you have a target-rich environment like parts of Iraq and Afghanistan right now, then they are going to be in high demand.  However Heavy forces cannot be maintained indefinitely.  They are too costly, no matter how rich the treasury.  Like the plant of the engineers, they need to be conserved for critical taskings.

As well, it doesn't tell the locals that it is safe to come out and send the kids to school, buy groceries and go to work, if the only way that the government feels safe is driving around in great, armoured bomb-magnets.

The government of Afghanistan needs that Imperial Constabulary/Gendarmerie/Carabinieri/NWMR force to control its people and its terrain.  To establish presence, to gain intelligence and above all to give the sense of security that the locals crave.  In that environment having Big Brother constantly watching you, with guns pointed outwards towards the unknown, is not a bad thing.  Security cameras, machine gun posts and armed policemen are all part of that security net.  This is the traditional role, in British parlance of the infantry and light cavalry.  (Light infantry is WAS (Edited to enhance chances at a free beermug) something else again - more akin to the infantry recce platoon)

Dealing with armed, organised insurgents in large numbers, retaking occupied villages, relieving besieged villages, these operations require a heavily armed assault forces to intervene.  Now whether those forces are deployed in LAVs, M113s, Marders, Helicopters or Boats they are all ultimately Assault forces.  They are a Heavy Cavalry/Artillery force.  Even troops deployed from helicopters without armoured vehicles (the American definition of a Light Force) are ultimately there to deliver a shock action for a limited duration to a specific target taking the heaviest equipment that time, terrain and transport will permit.

Afghanistan also needs that type of force and you guys are providing that capability.  And maybe Canada should restrict itself to supplying that type of force and call it good. 

However most governments seem more comfortable offering that type of force to assist a friend.  Its tasks are limited and its utility is time limited - essentially once the environment is no longer target-rich then the "service" can be withdrawn in good conscience - or reallocated to another theatre that is rich in targets.  That ultimately leaves Canada armed with a rapier that can only be applied offensively to eliminate threats.

The question is who supplies the Gendarmerie/Constabulary/Security force until the locals have their own version stood up and who trains the locals if the trainers don't have experience in those types of operations?  Who supplies the shield to be applied defensively to protect communities?

A further question?  Which is most likely to be useful in a Canadian domestic environment in the future?  A heavily armed assault force? Or a sustained security force?  And who will supply the latter?





 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 16:15:18 by Kirkhill »
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #51 on: March 03, 2007, 15:55:09 »
(Light infantry is something else again - more akin to the infantry recce platoon)

Ohhhhh, sorry - - and you were doing so well.......next contestant please   ;)

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #52 on: March 03, 2007, 16:12:40 »
Dammit - and I so wanted that free beer mug ;D

Can I get a do-over and stipulate that I was talking historically? 

That Light Infantry, and the Rifles, were raised for wartime taskings to skirmish in front of the main body, gathering intelligence and applying accurate fire against high value, point targets, usually of the C&C type, while screening the main force as it manoeuvred into position to supply shock action through the application of fire and steel.

Interestingly the American Rangers, who see themselves as a warfighting Light Force capable of delivering a short sharp punch, draw their ethos from the Pre-Colonial Rangers - who were actually raised by the Colonies as  standing militias to enforce the governments will against armed colonists as well as dissenting natives.  The Rangers were actually raised as a Gendarmerie.

So much for terminology - a name means whatever you want it to mean  - and whatever you can get people to accept it as today.  Today's Socialists are conservative, while today's Liberals are socialist and today's Conservatives are liberals (if you revert to 19th century standards).




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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #53 on: March 03, 2007, 16:18:37 »
Forgiven  ;)

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #54 on: March 03, 2007, 17:28:38 »
Here's the founding orders for Butler's Rangers - raised as a Special Service Force to work with the locals - The Indians - kind of a Green Beret type role - but this was the Hide-bound, unimaginative British doing it. ;D

"Quebec
15 September 1777
GUY CARLETON, Knight of the Bath, Captain General and Governor in Chief of the Province of Quebec and Territories depending thereon, &c, &c, &c, General and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in said Province and the Frontiers thereof, &c, &c, &c
To JOHN BUTLER, Esqr, appointed Major Commandant of a Corps of Rangers to serve with the Indians.
By Virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the King, I do hereby authorize and empower you, or such officers as you shall direct, by Beat of Drum or otherwise, forthwith to raise on the frontiers of the Province, so many able bodied men of His Majesty's loyal subjects as will form one company of Rangers, to serve with the Indians as occasion shall require.

Which company shall consist of a Captain, a First Lieutenant, a Second Lieutenant, three Sergeants, three Corporals and fifty Private Men; and when you shall have completed one company as aforesaid, you are further empowered to raise and form another, in like manner and of like numbers as the first and so on, until you shall have competed a number of companies of Rangers not exceeding in the whole eight companies; observing that the first be completed, armed and fit for service and have passed muster before such person as shall be appointed for that purpose by some one of the Commanding Officers of His Majesty's Troops nearest to where the said companies so raised shall be at the time, before another is begun to be raised.

You and the officers so raised to be paid as is customary to other officers of the like rank in His Majesty's service, and you are carefully to obey and follow such orders and directions as you shall receive from me or the Commander in Chief for the time being or any other, your superior officer, according to the rules and discipline of War, in pursuance of the trust hereby reposed in you.
Given under my hand and Seal at Arms at Quebec, this fifteenth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven and in the seventeenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, GEORGE the THIRD, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith."

http://www.iaw.on.ca/~awoolley/brang/brbeat.html

This is a link to Roger's Rangers rules, raised in 1757 as a scouting force for the British in the French and Indian Wars

http://www.military-info.com/freebies/roger.htm

And here's a blurb on the Georgia Rangers of the 1740s and 1750s. -  A constabulary

"General James Oglethorpe, Georgia's founder, held colonial provincial rangers in high regard. Such mounted troops could patrol vast frontier areas, wherever and in whatever numbers they were needed. Unlike the citizen militia, the rangers were a permanent professional military force. They did not require mustering or operate under special legal restrictions. Oglethorpe's troop numbered as many as fifteen officers and 122 enlisted men; and they were with him at his great victory at Bloody Marsh in 1742.1 With the end of his war with Spain and the removal of the British regulars in 1749, the rangers were disbanded. Georgia's defenses against the neighboring French and Spanish provinces consisted of only the poorly equipped, indifferently trained militia. Until long after the American Revolution, most of the province's boundaries adjoined the Cherokee and Creek lands. War parties could potentially reach anywhere within the colony in a day, even to the capital at Savannah.

Many Georgians called for the return of rangers. Reverend Thomas Bosomworth, Indian trader and husband of Oglethorpe's famous Creek operative Mary Musgrove, argued that economically depressed Georgians really wanted a government payroll. He claimed they were even trying to provoke an incident with the Indians to make the colony's military situation seem desperate.2
In light of Bosomworth's accusations, the incident that brought back the Georgia rangers seems highly suspicious. On September 10, 1756, James Lambert reported that four Indians attacked the settlement where he and Andrew Clement lived, near present-day Louisville. However, when the smoke cleared, three of the Indians were dead and the fourth, wounded, had fled into the swamps. The frontiersmen only suffered only one casualty, one wounded horse. Georgians petitioned Governor John Reynolds to raise troops. The colonial commons house of assembly urged him to raise a troop of rangers to consist of six officers and seventy enlisted men. By December, Reynolds enlisted a troop of forty men under Captain John Barnard, Oglethorpe's former ranger commander. The next month, the House requested that the governor bring the unit up to full strength and to raise two additional troops of seventy men each. Reynolds appointed the officers but, without the means to pay for the men he already had, he could not add more soldiers.3..."

http://www.hsgng.org/pages/gacolonialrangers.htm












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Offline MCG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #55 on: March 03, 2007, 17:36:38 »
Most of the ops in Afghanistan aren't conducting real mechanized warfare. The LAVs are just performing battlefield taxi roles with a decent weapon for fire support. If we purchased more Nyalas with RWS, these could perform nearly identical function than was previously mentioned. Only diffrence is less hitting power and offroad ability. Could we not purchase these for the light inf battalions to address the shortfalls of light forces in this particular operation? Nyalas and LAVs seem to be doing fine conducting ops together...
As has been noted, we are conducting a mechanized fight.  The LAV is fighting with the soldiers that it carriers.  There have even been times where the LAV alone fought and won.  I recall one incident in which a patrol identified a much larger enemy force.  The LAVs destroyed the enemy at a range where they could not touch our guys.  Had we not had the LAV, the FOB likely would have been in trouble that night.

The Nyala is inadequate.  It is not a fighting vehicle & it does not fit a section.  It is a well protected car to move a few people between two protected locations.  The Nyala has also shown itself to be well suited to engineer recce of mine & IED threats (even the US has it for this).

Light forces conduct amphibious… ops 
Seems to me that the USMC has a significant mechanized element.  I would not paint it as something exclusive of mechanized forces.

Ever since the creation of militaries, armies have always - and will alway- use light forces. It's just a matter of how to effectively equip and employ them.
True, and “light” has always been relative to the infantry of the time.

2VP was NOT a Light Coy -- it was a NONLAV LAV Coy
Call it what you will I6 but on the TO&E and as it was called by everyone on the Roto (including the Coy itself) It was our Light Company.
It was called light on the R01 TO&E as well.  While it never met the CF definition of “light” (it was tied to its vehicles: GWagon & Nyala), it was lighter than the LAV Coys.  (It was certainly not a LAV Coy as its organization was different).  Call it “light mech” or “motorised” if it helps get past this word-smith argument.

Personal experience and reading, however, do not provide many examples of successful counterinsurgencies which relied significantly on armour and superior firepower over engaging the population more effectively.
Well, engaging the population certainly seemed to be the approach that we were taking while I was over there.  I’d be surprised it that has changed as the importance was understood at all levels (even the CDS took part in a village leader engagement).

COIN, militarily, is a light infantry game....
This is pure wrong.  If you put a ture light battalion in an area almost the size of NB and give that battalion a COIN & reconstruction mission, that battalion will fail.  Soldiers without vehicles lack the mobility required to exert a presence over the area required.

I suspect you would have us believe that mechanized infantry cannot engage a local population.  That is simply untrue.  They dismount, and from there they can do all the engaging that the light forces would do.

COIN is also a long-term proposition, and the government (and perhaps some military leadership) has an event horizon limited to the next election and/or two rotos, max.
How did you come to this conclusion?

in Afghanistan, light forces from all nations spend most of their time riding around in vehicles. 
I’d even go so far as to say that they spend most of their time tied to vehicles.  They operate as mech/motor forces.

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #56 on: March 03, 2007, 17:51:16 »
MCG, friendly PM inbound   ;)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 18:05:19 by Journeyman »

Offline MCG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #57 on: March 03, 2007, 18:30:36 »
MCG, friendly PM inbound   ;)
Sarcastic retort launched.   ;D

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #58 on: March 03, 2007, 20:56:49 »
Quote
Quote from: Journeyman on Today at 13:56:24
COIN is also a long-term proposition, and the government (and perhaps some military leadership) has an event horizon limited to the next election and/or two rotos, max.
How did you come to this conclusion?
I gather you're OK with the premise that COIN is long-term, so I'll comment on the leadership, starting with the government.

Based on the way the government (ruling and opposition) flip-flops based on opinion polls and editorials, (NDP against Afghan, then based on editorials, "oh no, we support the TROOPS, just not the military"; Dion saying he's going to scuttle the mission at first opportunity, then saying he's supporting it until 2009) - - I don't know how anyone can believe the government is looking beyond the next election. It's even more painful than normal because of the minority government.

As for the military leadership's event horizon.....we've been cobbling battle groups together every six-months, grabbing Companies from different Battalions or even Regiments for a few years now, and it's forecast to remain the same until at least 2009. Sorry, but that doesn't strike me as evidence of any sort of comprehensive vision.

While that is oversimplified, and I acknowledge that there are significant factors at play, the CF is obligated to plan counter-insurgency - - a long-term, multi-agency, comprehensive proposition - - in six-month scrambles... one or two rotos at a time.

And within that strategic environment, (in order to keep this posting within the thread's title), that's why I also said
Within the context of our current ops and current leadership's vision of those ops, arguing about whether the third battalions should be light, or even whether one company in nine could maintain a parachute capability, is rearranging deck chairs.

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #59 on: March 03, 2007, 22:30:12 »
Journeyman,

I believe it is more than just the ops as our leaders choose to execute them.  I never said the ops require LAV Leopard 2 etc...  I still would say that they favour Mech forces.  Force protection is important.  As you yourself alluded to, our centre of gravity is back here in Canada.  While we may wish that not to be true, it is.  At a lower level, having the tools to do the job as safely as possible is a good thing.  It really hurts to loose a soldier, especially if it could have been prevented by better equipment. 

I believe that the change in force composition for the infantry battalions is more than just rearranging deck chairs since it is part of the army's vision for correcting the problems such as plug and play rotos.

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #60 on: March 03, 2007, 23:24:45 »
Quote
Nyala is a crap vehicle for fighting....hard to dismount from, light weapons(relativly speaking in comparison to a tank/LAV).  Nyala shouldn't be used as and isn't an intimate support vehicle.  Great convoy vehicle especially in high IED areas but not a good battle field taxi at all.

But should we not maintain APV-equipped light forces that can revert back to their original role if required? If Nyala isn't working, what about other alternatives?

British employ their Saxons in a few of their mechanized infantry battalions:
http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/av/av_sxn.htm

Aussies have the Bushmaster:
http://www.army-technology.com/projects/bushmaster/

Saxons first came into service in '83 and were originally intended to transport reinforcements from the UK to the British Army of the Rhine; probably not a very suitable candidate.

It's interesting to note that the Busmaster is being produced into 6 different variants including a dedicated infantry carrier. The site also says that the U.S. and Iraq are showing interest in the vehicle.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #61 on: March 04, 2007, 07:56:48 »
Moist modern COIN operations that scored success did not rely on heavy firepower and protection. Ramon Magasassy vs the Huk; the Marine "County Fairs" and Civic Action Programs in Viet Nam and the British in Malaysia and Kenya used soldiers to interact with the population, provide limited, local protection and generally fought as dismounted light infantry.

That being said, the soldiers in these operations did need mobility and would have apprieciated firepower and protection from time to time. LAV III's would have been seen as a bonus in all these situations, and also allowed the soldiers to transition upwards if and when the enemy showed themselves in strength.

In this theater of operations, the enemy has showed themselves in strenght in the past and may continue to do so as long as they have secure areas where they can reconstitute themselves and believe there is advantage (against our CoG; the Canadian public) in doing so. For the most part, we are doing things right, if any refinement needs to be made it might lie in considerring the LAV battalions more like "motor infantry" for day to day operations, and keeping the big sticks just out of sight.
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.

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #62 on: March 05, 2007, 01:19:13 »
Quote
That being said, the soldiers in these operations did need mobility and would have apprieciated firepower and protection from time to time. LAV III's would have been seen as a bonus in all these situations, and also allowed the soldiers to transition upwards if and when the enemy showed themselves in strength.

Point seen, a few proposals to counter:

Mobility - New chinooks are on the way, and, along with existing griffins, these can be used to increase mobility of light forces. From what I hear this is actually the ideal method of mobility in this fight since troops and supplies can fly over IEDs instead of driving through them.

Firepower - Some weapons currently in the project phase would greatly increase firepower of light infantry forces, one such example being the Company Area Suppression Weapon. General Leslie has expressed his desire for attack helicopters to support ground troops so maybe this is something that should be looked at as well.

Protection - Just to reinforce what I mentioned in an earlier post maybe we could look at the possible purchase of a new APV, like the Bushmaster or maybe something else, to equip our light forces. These could be used interchangably with other vehicles and equipment on any given operation to equip light infantry forces. On some ops these APVs may be needed but on others the leadership might find the mission to be suitable for footborne and soft-skin vehicle ops.

These and many other points are things that our allies have considered and revised into their doctrine and maybe its time that we look at incorporating some of these ideas into a new light infantry doctrine.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #63 on: March 05, 2007, 06:43:50 »
Mobility - New chinooks are on the way, and, along with existing griffins, these can be used to increase mobility of light forces. From what I hear this is actually the ideal method of mobility in this fight since troops and supplies can fly over IEDs instead of driving through them.
Once the troops dismount, they have lost the mobility.  Helicopters work to move troops over one big hop.  However, the area is so dispersed that mobility is still required to conduct missions on the other end.

I’d also like to point out that, while still light infantry, you are specifically recommending airmobile infantry.  We will not get enough helicopters in all the CF to make this work.

Firepower - Some weapons currently in the project phase would greatly increase firepower of light infantry forces, one such example being the Company Area Suppression Weapon.
An automatic grenade launcher will not turn a Nyala into a fighting vehicle.  In fact, if mounted on the vehicle it would make things worse.  The LAV can choose the best option between cannon & machine gun.  RWS mounts machinegun or CASW.  If a CASW RWS vehicle finds itself in a fight in downtown Kandahar (where HE would be bad) then it can’t shoot back.

General Leslie has expressed his desire for attack helicopters to support ground troops so maybe this is something that should be looked at as well.
Great for some situations, but these will not always be with the soldiers & they will be very dependant on weather.  The fighting vehicle moves with the soldiers & is there when it is needed (including surprise encounters & ambushes).  Besides, once you’ve assigned escortes to all the Chinook flights there will not be as many attack helicopters available to follow the ground forces.

Protection - Just to reinforce what I mentioned in an earlier post maybe we could look at the possible purchase of a new APV, like the Bushmaster or maybe something else, to equip our light forces. These could be used interchangably with other vehicles and equipment on any given operation to equip light infantry forces. On some ops these APVs may be needed but on others the leadership might find the mission to be suitable for footborne and soft-skin vehicle ops.
The armoured mini-van concept is still not a fighting vehicle.  You also proposes that the light force have a different fleet of vehicles for every conceivable mission.  Now, not only do the light guys have to worry about doing the mission, they also have 2 – 3 times the vehicles of the mech guys for maint. 

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #64 on: March 05, 2007, 09:31:58 »
I suspect that "we" will be needing to upgrade notionally Light Infantry to at least Motor Infantry status for the next generation at least. Wide ranging theaters of operations and the need to be widely dispersed to patrol and find the enemy speak to that need, and unless there is some handy mobility aid, there is no ability to concentrate light forces when the enemy is finally identified.

The Bushmaster is an attempt to creat a sort of wheeled M-113; a protected and versatile base vehicle which can be adapted for many roles. In many respects it seems better than the RG-31 in terms of layout, although it is still not a fighting vehicle, more of a battle taxi.

The Royal Marines use the "Viking", which is an armoured vehicle similar to the BV-206. The layout needs getting used to (it dosn't resemble anything else), but as a battle taxi, it can go places you wouldn't expect a vehicle to go. A similar vehicle is made by Charter Arms in Singapore, I think it is called the Bronco.

For real lightweight fighting vehicles, the British Scimitar/Stormer series of vehicles provides limited protection, with mobility and firepower similar to the LAV. Being smaller and carrying less kit/ammmunition etc. is one of the trade offs a light force equipped with this class of vehicle would have to make (more maintainence is the other).
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.

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #65 on: March 05, 2007, 10:11:29 »

To correct what you are saying though ('cause I'm OK with flame wars  ;) ), the Ops, as our leadership has chosen to conduct them ...require LAVs, Leo2, etc.


The enemy has a say as well, and perhaps they didn't get the memo.  Infantry lacking armoured fighting vehicles have been penned up inside their bases by a determined enemy who can sense a vulnerabilty and exploit it.  Sometimes it comes to a fight whether you want to or not.  When the enemy is dug-in across that river, it can suddenly get very 1944 and some 1944 tactical solutions come to the fore.  Terrain and the size of the operating area also have a say.  A force needs operational mobility and helicopters do not give that guarantee. 

I see COIN as an infantry game supported by other arms as the situations sees fit.


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: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #66 on: March 05, 2007, 11:06:56 »
It is interesting to go back and review the early comments on the LAV and its applicability to this type of fight.

Before the enemy was engaged the questions were about:

-  the LAV's ability to get into the theater in significant numbers due to available transport - now moot on two grounds - time was available to move in the vehicles, and new transport is coming on line for future operations

- the LAV's abiilty to negotiate the terrain encountered - now moot as it is covering the terrain it is encountering

- the LAV's ability to supply adequate protection - now moot as it seems to be meeting the protection expectations of the troops employing it

- the LAV's inability to engage heavy armour - now moot as there seems to be a lack of opposing heavy armour

- the LAV's limited troop carrying capacity vs the ideal size of the infantry section - now moot as operations are being conducted effectively at the section level with numbers that can be carried by the LAV

- the LAV's ability to patrol in congested urban environments - still an open question (or maybe not)

- the psychological impact of operating from a massive vehicle like the LAV.


Of these 7 concerns it seems that we are down to 2.  All the rest have been set aside by the reality of operations conducted.

The G-Wagen/Landrover solution was (in my fevered mind) a means of supplying an early entry, light force, with adequate tactical mobility with the available strategic transport.  An operation that is now in its 6th year (counting from 2001) can hardly be considered as an early entry operation.  This is an ongoing - not to say permanent - operation.  It is possible to get the necessary assets into the theater in a timely fashion (helicopters excluded). 

Alternatively something like the Pinzgauer was suitable for domestic operations as a section carrying all terrain vehicle in a low threat/training environment.  Demonstrably this is not a low threat environment.

At the other end of the spectrum, concern was expressed about the need for a Bradley/Marder type vehicle - but while there may be some need for those vehicles in the assault the LAV seems to be an outstanding patrol vehicle that is also capable of conducting assaults.

That leaves us only with the questions of urban applicability - but you seem to be operating primarily in a rural environment - and psychological impact.........and anything psychological is always a matter of great debate.

The force generated seems to be adequate to the task at hand (now comes the sustainment issue).

You have created the same type of force used to pacify the Anglo-Scots borders, the Highlands, Ireland, Normandie and Brittany, the American Plains, the Canadian West and South Africa.  Call them moss-troopers, dragoons, dragons, cavalry, mounted rifles, mounted police, mounted infantry or constabulary*.  The dominant feature of them all was mobile, heavily armed soldiers conducting patrols and assaults. 

My only further observation is that that mobile force was only part of the solution.  A further part of the solution was a static force guarding settlements, choke points and lines of communication, as well as manning barriers and Observation Posts to hinder illegal movement.  How do you hold that which the "Dragoons" have gained?

And how do you deal with the next "early entry" or "rapid response" operation, or the next operation in complex or urban terrain?

* You could even call them Cossacks because that is what they did on the Steppes.


« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 11:12:18 by Kirkhill »
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Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #67 on: March 05, 2007, 11:17:34 »
Some points to throw in from my perspective.
(1) Helicopters can be brought down. It has happened in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. However choppers certainly do have their use. Lifting troops into very adverse terrain or limited re-supply (Chinooks).

(2) From what i have been hearing, the LAVIII seems to be a very good COIN vehicle. It has intermediate fire power, decent protection and can travel fast (Since we need to cover large AORs). True the Bradley has more fire power but it also is limited by fuel consumption and speed and it has only 6 dismounts (7 if they are ghurka sized people). The US Stryker IMO would be a great compliment (The carrier version not the MGS) because of its 9 man dismounts. I would also add a commanders cuploa with GPMG and gun shield (like the ones they put on the g-wagon) and a rear mounted GPMG as well. Keep in mind this vehicle also has RWS (same as on RG-31). I would aim for keeping the RWS with .50 cal (Better use when colateral damage is a concern).

(3) Interesting if you look up royal marines in afghanistan on youtube.com, they are using land rovers with .50 and GPMG and all kinds of other weaponry strapped on. I wouldn't mind hearing from them what they think of this concept. It was the complete opposite of what we have tried to achieve with our nyala. As you can see in the videos they got into lots of fire fights as well.

Just some thoughts....
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #68 on: March 05, 2007, 11:53:55 »
You have created the same type of force used to pacify the Anglo-Scots borders, the Highlands, Ireland, Normandie and Brittany, the American Plains, the Canadian West and South Africa.  Call them moss-troopers, dragoons, dragons, cavalry, mounted rifles, mounted police, mounted infantry or constabulary*.  The dominant feature of them all was mobile, heavily armed soldiers conducting patrols and assaults. 

My only further observation is that that mobile force was only part of the solution.  A further part of the solution was a static force guarding settlements, choke points and lines of communication, as well as manning barriers and Observation Posts to hinder illegal movement.  How do you hold that which the "Dragoons" have gained?

* You could even call them Cossacks because that is what they did on the Steppes.


Kirkhill has once again covered a lot of ground, figuratively and literally.

It may be a blinding flash of the obvious to note that the most effective of these mobile forces were able to fight both mounted and dismounted and that they relied on their own resources to move around the battlefield. Are we seeing the same?

To be successful, these forces also had to rely on intelligence, much of which was gathered by scouting. An example, and I apologize for being unable to refer to my files for specific details but I am typing this in our RV 50 metres from the sea on the coast of the Florida panhandle, is the 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade in the advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria in roughly late-April to early-June 1900. Each of the units had a small scout section that operated to the front and flanks while the brigade scouts (a troop-sized unit commanded, in this case, by ex-NWMP member Charlie Ross) worked well in front - perhaps between one and two hours hard ride for a good horseman. 

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #69 on: March 05, 2007, 13:15:08 »
Quote
the Ops, as our leadership has chosen to conduct them ...require LAVs, Leo2, etc.
The enemy has a say as well, and perhaps they didn't get the memo.  Infantry lacking armoured fighting vehicles have been penned up inside their bases by a determined enemy who can sense a vulnerabilty and exploit it.  Sometimes it comes to a fight whether you want to or not.  When the enemy is dug-in across that river, it can suddenly get very 1944 and some 1944 tactical solutions come to the fore.  Terrain and the size of the operating area also have a say
Quite correct. The leadership does an appreciation, which includes the enemy and the environment (yes, both terrain AND the size of the AO), from which they determine how they wish to prosecute the campaign. Your sarcasm and the utility of your insight are equally valid.

Quote
Infantry lacking armoured fighting vehicles have been penned up inside their bases...
Thank you for providing a wonderful example to illustrate the difference between how we are currently engaging the enemy versus what I stated several pages ago.

Does your hypothetical COIN situation represent:

A) the primary emphasis being on increased protection and technology, relying on increasingly heavier weights of fire (think Dien Bien Phu), or

B) a Light Infantry force, living out amongst the population to assist them in their struggle, while interdicting insurgents in their supposed safe-havens (think Selous Scouts).

If your priority is force protection, then by all means, "A" is fine. Just be aware that over the past 3000 years, "A" only defeats an insurgency when you are capable of going in with overwhelming force (for chuckles, Google "3rd Punic War" and see what the Romans did to Carthage). Canada is incapable of adopting such a strategy, even if we wanted to. Therefore the tactics our military leadership has chosen to employ, whether conducted from a LAV or a Nyala, WILL NOT support our strategic objective of defeating the Taliban insurgency.



------------------
If you can snag a copy, have a read of Col. JH Vance's "Tactics Without Strategy, or Why the Canadian Forces Do Not Campaign" - - he does a much better job of explaining the required linkage between tactics and strategy, which is absent in our current operations.

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #70 on: March 05, 2007, 14:18:38 »
I'm sorry to keep harping at this point but I think it keeps getting lost in the shuffle.

Maintaining the type of security force that Journeyman alludes to is NOT a zero technology option.  Manpower requirements for the security role can be greatly reduced by augmenting "light troops" with permanently emplaced security systems augmented by equally permanently placed Remote Controlled Weapons Systems.

What would the effect on the defence of Sangin have been if the Paras had been equipped with a Coyote mast, four LAV turrets, and three or four preloaded, 16 barrel 60mm mortars.  All of which could be slaved to a central control to which could also be tied an RF detonated Claymore field at the base of the walls.  Metalstorm 60mm mortars are preloaded with multiple rounds in the same barrel.  Rounds available include the usual HE/Smk/Ill but also include parachute deployed cameras.

All of this stuff is available -
http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/cs/aad_mst.htm  (MSTAR Radar)
http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/cs/pw_spy.htm   (Brit equivalents of CCTV and TI)
http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/SIP_STORAGE/FILES/8/628.pdf  (30mm RCWS with 7.62 mm Coax and ATGMs) - make it cheaper by getting rid of the stabilisation, the folding bracket and the ATGMs
http://www.metalstorm.com/clientuploads/news/1presentations/LWC_2002_Presentation.pdf?PHPSESSID=72ba6a5e77cfe275d3115f6bc332b462

Tie this stuff in with any civilian perimeter security system - here's one company

http://www.magal-ssl.com/

Or go the whole hog and opt for the Oerlikon-Rheinmetal

http://www.rheinmetall-defence.com/index.php?fid=3670&lang=3&pdb=1

The point is - that holding that which has been gained no longer requires the same manpower commitment as it did even as late as Vietnam.  A dozen men - equipped with the equivalent of 4 LAVs, a Coyote, and a pair of 60mm mortars, as well as sound and motion detectors and claymores - all operated by 2-4 duty personnel and still leave 8-10 personnel for sleeping, local interactions and patrols, and to handle additional weapons like ATGMs. 12 soldiers, a cost lower than the cost of a troop of LAVs and a permanent local presence, standing WITH the local populace AGAINST "the unknown".

If that is an augmented light infantry force fine.... it could also be seen as a garrison artillery force, or a defence and duties force, or a fixed cavalry force..... above all else it is a security force.  One that gives comfort to the locals that they are not abandoned to the creatures of the night when the Dragoons move on.


 






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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #71 on: March 05, 2007, 14:29:37 »
I wasn't being hypothetical, although I might have been a little sarcastic regarding the memo.  

You have presented a dichotomy, but I don't believe that risk acceptance has to be that stark.  Being able to operate in the face of the threat can mean that you need firepower and protection.  Being able to get out with the population can mean going out in armoured vehicles backed up by artillery and other arms.  Some light forces that had every intention of getting out in the population found themselves under seige in their platoon houses.

I believe that countering an insurgency short of a Genghis Khan approach requires a political solution, and that military strategy and tactics are only a part (obvious, I suppose).  The military can buy time for that solution to be found and applied, although I recognize that military actions can have effects on that political process (positive or negative).  Putting troops out living with the population may not mean a thing if the reason there is an insurgency is not addressed.
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #72 on: March 05, 2007, 14:50:17 »
I would suggest that Red Five is looking at this issue from his background.
 
  I believe that this is a CF (and worldwide issue) -- that Mech Inf anf Armoured Forces and those in them, look a the issue entirley differently from Light Infantry and "Special" Forces.

  I dont beleive that one can win the populace without being an integral part of it -- thus living with the villagers in some of the more remote villages.  The FOB's and KAF reienforce an "us and them" strategy. 
  Yes will will lose a lot of soldiers at the beginning -- but in the long term it is a win.

I do agree that large concentrations of enemy outside of urban centers can be best currently dealt with combined arms forces.  However these forces should also be integrated -- so its an ANA arty unit - not a coalition one that takes the grief...


Once again -- its a different mindset issue, and as we have seen elsewhere - one experiences and branch tend to color the glasses one looks at things.






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Offline MCG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #73 on: March 05, 2007, 15:14:11 »
Does your hypothetical COIN situation represent:

A) the primary emphasis being on increased protection and technology, relying on increasingly heavier weights of fire (think Dien Bien Phu), or

B) a Light Infantry force, living out amongst the population to assist them in their struggle, while interdicting insurgents in their supposed safe-havens (think Selous Scouts).
You’ve presented a logical fallacy hidden in your question; you’ve presented forces as either being overly focused on protection or being light infantry, and you continue to allude that only light infantry are capable of engaging the population.  The fact is that light infantry can be just as over-focused on protection as a mechanized force.  Additionally, a mechanized force is just as capable of engaging the population.  The reality on the ground is that we are employing mech forces in the capacity which you’ve presented as exlusive to light infantry.

While you don’t mention it, I would suggest it is also possible to be sufficiently lacking in combat power so as to be irrelevant.

You can put enough into a Pl House to make it defensible.  Go smaller & the Taliban will destroy our piecemeal presence one outpost at a time.  We had good results from the Gumbad Pl house.  However, in order to exert their presence over the prescribed area, vehicles were required; the Pl House required a mech platoon to do its job.  A truly light platoon would not have had a large enough sphere of influence.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 15:21:07 by MCG »

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #74 on: March 05, 2007, 15:16:48 »
Apologies for straying off the track into the weeds, but ulimately this war is Afghanistan's to win or to lose. I am not one that subscribes to the notion that a negotiated settlement with as intractable a foe as the Taliban does anythng but postpone the inevitable. It is up to the host government with its arms - the ANA and the ANP - to establish the rule of law, justice and capable administration in something approaching an honest and efficient manner. If part of their grand strategy to pacify the hostile parts of the country is to ask us to help garrison outlying settlements, that is something we would have to at least consider carefully. As JM just posted that does not automatically mean light infantry.

Part of the pacification process, however, involves reducing the ration strength of the enemy by the most effective manner, without killing or wounding the friendly, neutral or mildly hostile elements of the population. If reports are to be believed, some of those our troops meet in the field are in fact as un-native as are we. If guerrillas are fish that swim in the sea of people, the outsiders along with the more violent of their local comrades may soon find themselves flopping on the beach if the Afghan government can assert its authority. To exploit that requires us to locate, fix and destroy the enemy. Until that is accomplished, much of the fighting will be violent and nasty. That requires us to win the firefight first, and that means the mechanized all arms team supported by air power.  

It is crude, but sometimes to bring the hearts and minds onside in a tribal society, we have to get their attention by grabbing them somewhat farther down on the body. That is not to say we need lower ourselves to the like of Glencoe or My Lai, but we cannot afford to lose too many skirmishes, let alone battles, lest we and our hosts ultimately lose the war.