Author Topic: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?  (Read 125836 times)

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Offline RecceDG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #100 on: April 10, 2007, 21:50:03 »
Quote
As an Armour Guy, both Recce (Jeep, Lynx and Coyote) and Tanker, I find the above post to be a lot of hogwash.

George, I'm hearing this from the *infantry* guys.

We are asking infantry section commanders to suddenly pick up the skillset of an armoured crew commander, while still requiring him to do his infantry section commanding job.

And we're not just talking about the physical skills of moving tactically and turret gunnery; we're talking about all the vehicle maintainence, recovery... all the other fun stuff that goes along with being mounted.

It's too much. It takes time away from practicing the infantry combat skills they need when fighting dismounted. The time spent adapting to the vehicle and the turret would be better spent - again, I'm hearing this from them - on getting ever more proficient at the infantry skills they need once dismounted.

Meanwhile, you have this entire corps whose purpose in life is the manouvere, fighting, care and feeding of armoured vehicles who are being under-utilized. We *have* the skillset required to fight the LAV. It's part of our normal career progression. No stretching-thin of skills required.

There is no good reason why the driver, crew commander, and gunner of a LAV-III couldn't be blackhatters, trained to pick up and deliver the infantry on the objective and then fight alongside them in support once at the objective. All it takes is working out some SOPs and command and control issues - which, happily, our Aussie cousins have been doing for years, so we can learn from them and not have to invent the wheel ourselves.

The Armoured Corps could then have Sabre (Tank) Recce (Coyote/Nyala/whatever we think is the next great Recce platform) and "Dragoon"* (APC - LAV-III) specialties, all based around the common skills of moving, living, and fighting out of vehicles.

*No implication that the RCD would get this role by choosing this name; it's just a good historical term to fit the APC role)

DG
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #101 on: April 10, 2007, 22:13:38 »
Sorry.  I don't buy your arguments.  I have seen the poor lessons learned with the Cougar, and the poor decisions made in its' employment later.  The Cougar was not a Tank and was a very poor Tank Trainer.  Armour skills were lost or poorly taught with the Cougar.   We were very lucky that we were never truly faced with a desperate and well equipped enemy when we deployed it overseas.

The LAV is not a Tank, nor is it a real "Manoeuvre" AFV.  It is an APC.  Do not give it to Armour to use as part of a Manoeuvre Element.  Do not give it to Armour so that they can learn poor lessons on a vehicle that is NOT A TANK. 

If you keep promoting this line of thought you are degrading the Armour Corps.  You are degrading the Infantry Branch.  The LAV is an Infantry vehicle.  Just as the Grizzle was, and the M113, and the Universal Carrier.  Just because it is a piece of 'machinery' does not make it 'Armour'. 
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Offline Mortar guy

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #102 on: April 11, 2007, 07:31:41 »
You know, it's funny how you and George use words like "hogwash" and that you two have cornered the market on "reality" and "logic". I am an RCR officer. I wrote an article on this very topic and you would be absolutely stunned at the number of Officers and Senior NCOs who agree with what I wrote and what RecceDG is saying. I get emails on a fairly regular basis from officers and NCOs across the Army, who I've never met, telling me how they agree 100% that the need to crew LAVs is sapping the dismounted skills out of the infantry. I have discussed this with Cols and Cpls, Infantry and Armoured and many agree that our current way of doing things is not ideal from an individual trg point of view.

Here's my take on the logic: there is one Corps in the Army that trains on, and fights in, armoured vehicles from Battle School to release. Why do we now have another Corps, who are supposed to be the experts at the dismounted fight, now spending 2/3 of their precious training time learning how to fight armoured vehicles? You guys complain about a dissolution of skills that would occur if you were forced to crew the LAVs and I can't help but chuckle a little. What exactly do you think happens when you ask an infanteer to suddenly forget what he knows about dismounted skills and become an ersatz blackhatter!? Tankers crew armoured vehicles and their damned good at it. We can be good at it too but it comes at a price and that price is a greatly reduced capability to do things like airmobile ops, MOUT, patrolling, etc. There's only so much time in the training calendar.

I just don't buy the argument that asking tankers to switch from the Coyote to the LAV will be the death of the Armour Corps. They have the same bloody turrets so from an IT point of view its a piece of cake. As for TTPs, so you need to learn a different routine on the Advance to Contact or during the Assault. Big freaking deal! Those different TTPs are still in armoured vehicles. It's not like we're asking you to suddenly learn how to fight dismounted.

Anyway, I highly doubt you two will ever change your minds but just remember that there is a substantial and growing body of people who don't see things your way.

MG
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 09:42:34 by CSA 105 »
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #103 on: April 11, 2007, 08:19:57 »
Here's my take on the logic: there is one Corps in the Army that trains on, and fights in, armoured vehicles from Battle School to release.

I can understand this, but unfortunately with the loss of the Tank and this new "Wheeled Version of the Army" Armour has lost its' way.  Skills sets are being lost.

Why do we now have another Corps, who are supposed to be the experts at the dismounted fight, now spending 2/3 of their precious training time learning how to fight armoured vehicles? You guys complain about a dissolution of skills that would occur if you were forced to crew the LAVs and I can't help but chuckle a little. What exactly do you think happens when you ask an infanteer to suddenly forget what he knows about dismounted skills and become an ersatz blackhatter!? Tankers crew armoured vehicles and their damned good at it. We can be good at it too but it comes at a price and that price is a greatly reduced capability to do things like airmobile ops, MOUT, patrolling, etc. There's only so much time in the training calendar.

Who commanded all those Universal Carriers, 3/4 ton trucks, M113's, Grizzlies, Coyotes, and now the LAVs before and currently in the Infantry Bns?  Why has this suddenly changed?  I have seen reasons why Armour should or could command and crew those vehicles.  I have seen the bun fights as too who is going to actually command the vehicle. 

Why are we at this state?  I would point at the fact that the Armour has nearly, if not totally, lost its role of 'close support' and is trying to validate its' existence.  Being bus drivers does not solve the problem of providing close, intimate support to the Infantry.  It is a loose/loose situation for the Cbt Team.  LAVs are not Tanks.  They are Light Armoured Vehicles.  Currently we are in a situation where they are capable of "filling the bill", but will they be that capable if fighting intensified and escalates? 

Are you now suggesting that Armour now develop yet another 'sub-trade' to go along with Tanker and Recce, and create the Armour Personnel Carrier Regiment, like we had in WW II (the Kangaroos)? 

I just don't buy the argument that asking tankers to switch from the Coyote to the LAV will be the death of the Armour Corps. They have the same bloody turrets so from an IT point of view its a piece of cake. As for TTPs, so you need to learn a different routine on the Advance to Contact or during the Assault. Big freaking deal! Those different TTPs are still in armoured vehicles. It's not like we're asking you to suddenly learn how to fight dismounted.

I disagree greatly with you here.  I don't like the picture of giving up a heavily armoured vehicle for one that is lightly armoured, to give the support that the Infantry need.  There is a reason for them to be 'heavy'.  I don't want to get into the Coyote, not being a Recce vehicle, but a Surveillance vehicle.  Who really cares if the turrets are the same on the Coyote and the LAV?  The tactics are different and methods that vehicles are employed are different in Armour and Infantry.  The only thing I get from this argument, is that Armour guys are smarter and more capable to adapt to changing situations.  I can agree with that.   ;D

In all seriousness, for Armour to take over the role of 'Bus Driver' for the Infantry, does nothing to either Branch.  It detracts from the Infantry.  It degrades the capabilities of Armour.  The Infantry should man the LAVs and be complimented by a proper Armour vehicle, a tank, to provide them the heavy, close, intimate support that they need.  We are beginning to see that happen now in Afghanistan.  Both LAV and Leo complimenting each other.

The Lessons Learned about the value of the 25 in the past, were bad lessons, that arose out of desperation and the initiative of the Troops on the ground.  It worked well enough to keep them alive.  Does that make it an ideal solution?  No.  There are better ways.  Unfortunately, we as Canadian Soldiers have always taken and used our initiative to make up for our shortcomings and make things work.  There are better ways of doing things, such as planning ahead for those contingencies.  We need the proper equipment to do the job.

For those who are claiming that Tanks are relics of the Cold War, and that we don't need them since the Wall came down; open your eyes.  The world is not a safer place.
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Offline RecceDG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #104 on: April 11, 2007, 09:32:43 »
Quote
most likely the "infantry" personnel you are hearing that from are from the E&K Scots

Who?

Those guys just share the same armouries as we do. I never talk to them. The "Infantry guys" I am hearing this stuff from are PPCLI and RCR, guys with tour experience.

My history and social net are much deeper than can be gleaned from a quick read of my profile.

Quote
Who commanded all those Universal Carriers, 3/4 ton trucks, M113's, Grizzlies, Coyotes, and now the LAVs before and currently in the Infantry Bns?

Are you seriously going to compare a universal carrier to a LAV-III?

Over time, the thing we call an "APC" has gotten increasingly complex, to the point now where the LAV turret is for all intents and purposes a tank turret. It has an FCS of similar complexity to a tank. You've got thermal sights, you've got laser range finders, you've got a stab, and if we had the Aussie version, we'd have dynamic lead too. OK, so the gun is smaller and there's no loader - that's a tank turret nonetheless.

Even Grizzly didn't have a tenth of the complexity that's in a LAV turret. It's night and day. The skillset of fighting out of a LAV turret has way more in common with Leo than Grizzly.

Quote
I would point at the fact that the Armour has nearly, if not totally, lost its role of 'close support' and is trying to validate its' existence.  Being bus drivers does not solve the problem of providing close, intimate support to the Infantry.

Nobody is talking about giving up tanks. For that matter, nobody is talking about giving up Recce either.

Instead - given that the LAV would accompany the infantry if not ON the objective, at least NEAR the objective, you are INCREASING the amount of close support tasks given the Corps. A LAV putting coax and 25mm fire down is most certainly providing 'close support'.

Quote
Are you now suggesting that Armour now develop yet another 'sub-trade' to go along with Tanker and Recce, and create the Armour Personnel Carrier Regiment, like we had in WW II (the Kangaroos)?

Yes, that is exactly it. The Aussies do it (I think they never stopped), the Brits are now seriously considering it, and the argument for us following suit is so strong as to be overpowering.

The amount of skill overlap between the Tank/Recce/Dragoon roles is still huge - you need to know how to move tactically, operate a turret, live on a radio net, occupy a hide, do maintainence, yadda yadda yadda. The differences are in the employment of those skills - tanks, to destroy the enemy by fire and manouevre. Recce to find the enemy and gain information about the ground. Dragoons to get the infantry to the objective and then provide integral close support during the fight. There's more in common between these roles than there is difference.

DG
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #105 on: April 11, 2007, 10:06:57 »
Are you seriously going to compare a universal carrier to a LAV-III?
A rather asinine comment.  I am saying that Infantry have been 'mechanized' and capable of using complicate machinery and weaponry for quite some time and have over the years increased their abilities.  Just like it would be silly to compare a Sherman to a Leopard.  Are you implying that Infanteers are stupid and incapable of doing what previous members of the Infantry Branch have done? 

Over time, the thing we call an "APC" has gotten increasingly complex, to the point now where the LAV turret is for all intents and purposes a tank turret. It has an FCS of similar complexity to a tank. You've got thermal sights, you've got laser range finders, you've got a stab, and if we had the Aussie version, we'd have dynamic lead too. OK, so the gun is smaller and there's no loader - that's a tank turret nonetheless.

NO.  It is only a turret.  A turret that is mounted on an APC. 

Even Grizzly didn't have a tenth of the complexity that's in a LAV turret. It's night and day. The skillset of fighting out of a LAV turret has way more in common with Leo than Grizzly.

Back to the Sherman and the Leopard.   ::)  The skillset of fighting a LAV has more in common with fighting a M113 with a .50 Cal than it does a Tank.  Sorry, but you are way out in the back 40 on that one.

Nobody is talking about giving up tanks. For that matter, nobody is talking about giving up Recce either.

Instead - given that the LAV would accompany the infantry if not ON the objective, at least NEAR the objective, you are INCREASING the amount of close support tasks given the Corps. A LAV putting coax and 25mm fire down is most certainly providing 'close support'.

To employ a LAV like this is suicide.  It should be employed as the M113 was when we practiced Mech Infantry tactics.  If it is going to approach or roll onto the OBJ, then it had better have the close intimate support of Tanks.  To use it in your example, as the only armoured vehicle is sheer stupidity.

Yes, that is exactly it. The Aussies do it (I think they never stopped), the Brits are now seriously considering it, and the argument for us following suit is so strong as to be overpowering.

If I am correct, they are not taking Armour soldiers only to do this.  The Brits, as you site, have been doing this for years with their Saxon 'armoured bus'.  They were 'owned and operated' by the Royal Army Service Corps.........or what we would call MSE OPs.

The amount of skill overlap between the Tank/Recce/Dragoon roles is still huge - you need to know how to move tactically, operate a turret, live on a radio net, occupy a hide, do maintenance, yadda yadda yadda. The differences are in the employment of those skills - tanks, to destroy the enemy by fire and manouevre. Recce to find the enemy and gain information about the ground. Dragoons to get the infantry to the objective and then provide integral close support during the fight. There's more in common between these roles than there is difference.

You give too much credit to Armour soldiers.  I have known few who have felt comfortable doing 'all trades', but I have know many who felt competent in one; either Tanks or Recce, but seldom both.

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Offline Technoviking

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #106 on: April 11, 2007, 10:34:42 »
Jumping in here, and hopefully can keep it civil (PS: I love this discussion)

As an infantry officer, I am of the opinion that the LAV 3 APC remain crewed and operated by infantrymen.  The armour corps does indeed pride themselves on the use of AFVs, but let's face facts: although the LAV 3 and the Coyote have identical turrets, their method of use is substantially different.  Having said that, so is the use between a Coyote and a Leopard C2.

Can armour crewmen learn to fight the LAV as an APC?  Damn right they can!  After all, it's not like there's a genetic pool of Canadians out there who are born to be tankers, others as infantrymen.  If it's a learnable skill, then it can be mastered.

The armour corps currently is having difficulty manning their squadrons and troops.  Now, suppose that "they" take over the turrets (and driver hatches) of the LAV APC fleet?  Assume 18 companies of LAVs out there, each with 15 LAVs and each with a crew requirement of 3 per LAV.  That's 810 crewmen that would be "transferred" to manning LAVs.  Ouch.


Having said that, however, that's 810 "instant" infantrymen, and I totally agree that THAT is a persuasive number!

Let's look back a few years.  In the late 1990's, the fourth rifle coys were struck from the OOB for our battalions, in order to cut back PYs, etc.  Still, on deployment, our doctrine called for four companies, so we then started robbing peter to pay paul (yes, it happened before that, I know.)  Then, later, to save even more PYs, our mortar platoons, pioneer platoons and anti-armour platoons dissappeared.  THAT decision is biting us in the arse as I type this.  I don't know if there is any going back (any time soon), but a decision has to be made.

IF you want mechanised infantry, it's an expensive bill, and you better be ready to pay it.  That is both money and personnel.
Want to save PYs and avoid the current trend of robbing battalions to flesh out those deploying?  My personal recommendation would be to strip the 3rd battalions from the OOB (for now, or at least reduced to nil strength).  That leaves six battalions.  Given the transfer of men and material, it "might" be a savings in all the robbing going on out there, but even with a six month deployment, a unit would head out the door every three years.  Too soon for deployments?  I don't know: as 2 VP.  They've had companies in what, 3 straight deployments now?  Don't they make up a TF in the near future?  Yikes!

Anyway, just my opinion on the matter, and it's worth exactly what you paid for it: nothing

;D
So, there I was....

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #107 on: April 11, 2007, 11:10:54 »
Now the "mindset" argument is gravitating from the light/mech/armd infantry discussion to the infantry/armoured discussiion.

Are you talking about the roles of the weapons systems or the roles of the units?

Because if you are talking about the roles of the units then one answer might be to permanently insert a "Close Support Platoon" of 11 Leo 2s into every LAV Infantry Battalion, to accompany the 11  Coyotes of the Recce Platoon (one of the original organizations considered when the Coyote was introduced)  while at the same time inserting a "Dragoon" Squadron or two into every Armoured Regiment.

If you are talking about the roles of the systems then organize around the platforms the way that Helicopters and Aircraft are organized.

The question that still keeps cropping up seems to be essentially this: If you are going to "train as you fight" and you have to organize for the fight, can you afford to organize and train specific configurations on a permanent basis for every fight?  Short answer is "No".   Everything needs to be kept flexible.  If the Armoured Corps doesn't want to be "bus drivers" for the Infantry, or limit its manoeuvering capability to the walking pace of dismounted troops then perhaps the Infantry needs to organize its own Armoured School to teach its troops how to operate Coyotes, LAVs and Leos.

The Armoured Corps can then take on the task of operating an Infantry school to train its Dragoons in the mounted role and they can concentrate on high speed manoeuver and leave the close assault to the Infantry along with operations in complex terrain.
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #108 on: April 11, 2007, 11:21:39 »
.... inserting a "Dragoon" Squadron or two into every Armoured Regiment.
Sounds like Assault Troop being resurrected. ;)

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #109 on: April 11, 2007, 11:39:22 »
Sounds like Assault Troop being resurrected. ;)

Aye, right enough JM.

PS - this from the Brit Malcycee on the MBT thread:
Quote
With Tankers retraining to crew Warrior and transport the Infantry, it seems like the MOD are thinking ahead to FRES...
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,24311.msg555004.html#msg555004

PPS by the way - I don't see any reason why not to organize along "mindset" lines as opposed to "platform" lines. Likewise I don't see reasons why not to do the opposite.  Both require trade-offs. Both require the maintenance of "max-flex" to cover the seams that the enemy will inevitably exploit.  In fact it is likely to be the enemy's exploitation of those seams and the resulting Ad Hoc patch that will drive organizations, TTPs and doctrines and become the new orthodoxy.  Germany's static tanks - the pill boxes of WW1 - drove the battalion structure that we hold as sacrosanct today.  Germany's "blitzkrieg" drove the Cold War Divisional/Corps/Army structure.

PPPS - and then I take my leave - "Mother" had machine guns.  "Matilda" had a 2-pounder.  The PT-76 had something like a 73mm.  All tanks even though some were light tanks and couldn't drive in on the enemy as close as an Abrams or a Leo2 or a Challenger.
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Offline 3rd Herd

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #110 on: April 11, 2007, 13:42:09 »
Couple of points:

With the AVGP's turret weapons (.50 cal and GPMG) came with the required ground mounts, they were not just "turreted weapons". From memory the HMG course required that you be able to fight both from the turret and the ground. This was accomplished by marrying up AVGP drivers courses with HMG courses. The ground mounts were a pain as I take it with the LAV there is equipment space premium. Add into the mix of the Carl G also being carried in the AVGP to be used either in the dismounted role or being fired from the vechicle through the top back hatches. At one point there was some discussion of mortars doing the same but again from memory the gas tank location was one of the main obstacles hence the use of M113s or the 3/4 ton.

In the delima of who gets what or who's job is what, here is what the Russian solution is as of the 1 September 2006:

"In the late 1980s, the Soviets began forming combined arms battalions, which had organic tanks, BMPs, and artillery. The combined arms battalion allowed units to train for mutual support continuously, instead of only during scheduled exercises. However, the combined arms battalion required seasoned commanders who could deal with the training, supply, and maintenance demands of this complex unit. Soviet junior officers were usually younger and less-experienced than their Western counterparts when they commanded at various levels--although they tended to command longer during a career. The combined arms battalion experiment failed due to its complexity, internal turmoil in the army, and leadership challenges." Onto the adventure in Afghanistan where "The terrain worsened the problem of the tactical gap and, in the areas where the tanks could go, tanks and BMPs were often separated and unable to support each other. In the mountains of Afghanistan, the tanks were often left behind and the BMPs and BTRs had to accomplish an independent mission they were not designed for. The Russians decided that the tactical gap between tanks and mechanized infantry is almost inevitable."

However, "To ensure the survivability of tanks, they needed a new system that was built like a tank, but provided mutual close combat support. The new system should provide protection against enemy antitank weapons, infantry, strong points, helicopters, and fixed wing aviation. The new system needed to be an integral part of the armored unit, but it could not be a modern T-35 with five turrets and multiple weapons. The Russian answer was the BMPT tank support vehicle. It was not an infantry fighting vehicle (BMP) and the Russians were not discounting the value of mechanized infantry in the combined arms team. They were recognizing that the mechanized infantry may not be at the critical point at the critical time.

"The BMPT will be part of the Russian armor forces. Initial tactical employment envisions putting one BMPT with two tanks in the field and two BMPTs with one tank in city fighting. "This is probably not the final answer. The BMPT engages secondary targets allowing the tanks to deal with enemy tanks and strong points. The mix will depend on the situation, but a standard platoon deployment of three tanks and one BMPT is most likely"."Russia believes that tracked tanks have a future and that the BMPT will ensure their survivability and future"

Other points:

1)"The Soviets never fielded enough light infantry to match the quality light infantry of the Mujahideen."

2)"The biggest danger to the RPG gunners was infantry accompanying tanks, so they tried to take out tanks that were out of immediate infantry support range. Further, RPG gunners usually were accompanied by supporting snipers and machine gunners and an assistant RPG gunner carrying an assault rifle. These could protect the RPG gunner from enemy infantry. When practical, the best way to protect ground vehicles from the RPG is to put infantry well forward of the vehicles to find and destroy the RPG gunners. Combat vehicles should stay out of urban areas or areas dominated by overwatching terrain and tall trees until the infantry has cleared and posted the area."

From SA:

"South African and Namibian forces fighting Angolan guerrillas in Namibia during the 1980s learned to give the RPG a wide berth. Their standard drill, when traveling in an armored personnel carrier and encountering Angolan guerrillas with an RPG, was to immediately begin driving around the guerrillas in an ever-widening circle. They would fire into the circle with automatic weapons. The moving vehicle was harder for the guerrilla RPG gunner to hit and the soldiers were able to exploit their mobility and firepower. Dismounting troops to advance on guerrillas while the stationary personnel carrier provides supporting fire is a good way to lose the carrier."

In the tank verses the APC role the "THE BATTLE OF CUITO CUANAVALE:Cuba's Mythical Victory provides us with "The SADF/Unita force started mopping up the last groups of men left when the tanks suddenly joined in, causing chaos and sending the lightly-armoured Ratels and Casspirs fleeing in all directions. Once the South Africans had found cover in the bush, however, they began to fire anti-tank (HEAT) shells at the tanks, which were at a disadvantage with their long gun barrels in the bush. The Ratels, realising they had the advantages of speed and manoeuvrability, began to circle round the tanks, enticing them into chasing the armoured cars in ever-smaller cricles until the Ratels were able to come in behind the tanks and fire. By the end of the engagement 5 tanks had been destroyed and over 250 Fapla soldiers killed, for the loss of 8 dead and 3 destroyed armoured cars on the SADF side. The South Africans, after their initial shock at encountering the tanks, had adapted their tactics and proved that their armoured cars could cope with tanks by a combination of fast movement and accurate shooting, tactics reminiscent of those used by the Boers against the British over 80 years earlier".

Source:

Grau, Lester W. "The RPG-7 On the Battlefields of Today and Tomorrow" Infantry, Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS . May-August 1998

Grau, Lester W. "Preserving shock action: a new approach to armored maneuver warfare".Armor. 9/1/2006 

THE BATTLE OF CUITO CUANAVALE: Cuba's Mythical Victory http://www.rhodesia.nl/cuito.htm


« Last Edit: April 11, 2007, 13:47:00 by 3rd Herd »
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Offline RecceDG

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #111 on: April 11, 2007, 16:10:27 »
Quote
I am saying that Infantry have been 'mechanized' and capable of using complicate machinery and weaponry for quite some time and have over the years increased their abilities. 

And the INFANTRY are saying that the cost of learning to deal with all this extra complexity is a reduction in the skills that go along with boots on the ground.

There is only so much training time, and the time it takes to make a proficient crew commander and gunner - as you well know George - is nontrivial. Time spent learning those skills is time NOT spent learning other skills.

And the modern infanteer is not short on skills to master. The battlefields are getting more complex, not less. It is getting harder to train "leg" infantry, not easier.

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Just like it would be silly to compare a Sherman to a Leopard.

But it isn't - there's a huge set of skills that cross over between Sherman and Leopard. A Leo operating in a degraded FCS mode isn't all that different from a Sherman in terms of the basic set of skills. It's a conversion course at worst.

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NO.  It is only a turret.  A turret that is mounted on an APC.

Who CARES what it is mounted on? A turret is a turret is a turret. Gunnery is gunnery. The differences between LAV and Leo are differences in SCALE, not type.

(OK, so we cheaped out and our LAV/Coyote turrets don't have dynamic lead; small potatoes)

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The skillset of fighting a LAV has more in common with fighting a M113 with a .50 Cal than it does a Tank.

How do you figure? How is standing chest-high in a hatch gripping a flexible machine gun and firing over open sights ANYTHING like a lase-to-range main gun engagement through the thermal sights?

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To employ a LAV like this is suicide.  It should be employed as the M113 was when we practiced Mech Infantry tactics.  If it is going to approach or roll onto the OBJ, then it had better have the close intimate support of Tanks.  To use it in your example, as the only armoured vehicle is sheer stupidity.

Who said ANYTHING about the "only" armoured vehicle?

A LAV is NOT a tank. It is not a tank replacement. It is an infantry support weapon, but it is not the ONLY infantry support weapon; part of the toolbox but not the only tool.

But there is a lot more in common between crew commanding and fighting a LAV and crew commanding and fighting a tank, than there is between crew commanding and fighting a LAV and leading an infantry section in a dismounted firefight. The tank crew commander, the recce crew commander, and the "Dragoon" crew commander all have similar, not identical jobs. But there is little to no overlap in the skillset of a infatry section commander and an armoured vehicle crew commander (besides the pedantic like "fire personal weapon" and "battle procedure")

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If I am correct, they are not taking Armour soldiers only to do this.

And you would be wrong. I know for a fact that the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers (an Armoured unit) have had the APC role for quite some time, and recently traded in their M113s for something new.

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The Brits, as you site, have been doing this for years with their Saxon 'armoured bus'.  They were 'owned and operated' by the Royal Army Service Corps.........or what we would call MSE OPs.

So what? Am I supposed to look down my nose at the MSE Ops?

*OUR* APCs have full-fledged turrets on them. Does it not make sense to man those turrets with the people who eat, drink, sleep, and breathe fighting mounted out of turrets?

And a little more role diversification wouldn't hurt the Corps either, so we can keep our heads above water the NEXT time somebody thinks you can go to war without tanks.

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You give too much credit to Armour soldiers.  I have known few who have felt comfortable doing 'all trades', but I have know many who felt competent in one; either Tanks or Recce, but seldom both.

The imagine what its like for an infanteer who has to be proficient in radically different skillsets. If we in the Corps have people who are a better fit in one subrole or another, where if you squint at them hard enough it's the same job (have you never heard someone say that the best recce vehicle we ever had was the Leopard? I've heard CO RCD say that a couple of times) how hard is it on somebody to become a master of such wildly divergent skills?

It's not enough that a given soldier be CAPABLE of doing a job; we're all capable or we wouldn't be doing this stuff. Technically, I've been "capable" of acting as an infantry section commander since BOTC. But there is a HUGE difference between being merely "capable" of doing a job, and MASTERING it. The people we put in harm's way should be masters of their craft. In order to make them masters of their craft, they have to practice, practice, practice. And when the practice is spread over too wide a skillset, then you don't get mastery.

DG
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #112 on: April 11, 2007, 17:43:56 »
My personal recommendation would be to strip the 3rd battalions from the OOB (for now, or at least reduced to nil strength).

WTF?! You got so used to bandying about brigades and divisions on AOC that you glibly toss 1/3 of our combat strength?

If there's a god, let him strike you down now!!








I'm waiting


Fine time for the atheists to be proven correct   >:(

OK, I hope Jorgie hobbles over to your office and *****-slaps you into the middle of next week. Heresy.  ;)

While I see this thread as the sort of discussion one has at the liars' table in the mess, you've got to be kidding about losing the 3rd Bns! Hell, we're hard pressed to run PCF courses and the like with what we have, and you want to reduce even that down time between taskings?  :-\

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #113 on: April 11, 2007, 19:08:50 »
WTF?! You got so used to bandying about brigades and divisions on AOC that you glibly toss 1/3 of our combat strength?

If there's a god, let him strike you down now!!








I'm waiting


Fine time for the atheists to be proven correct   >:(

OK, I hope Jorgie hobbles over to your office and *****-slaps you into the middle of next week. Heresy.  ;)

While I see this thread as the sort of discussion one has at the liars' table in the mess, you've got to be kidding about losing the 3rd Bns! Hell, we're hard pressed to run PCF courses and the like with what we have, and you want to reduce even that down time between taskings?  :-\
ZAP!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wow, that was close!

Was I being sarcastic?  Yes.  However, there is a problem with having to rob Peter to pay Paul (a la 2 VP).  But to me getting rid of the thirds would make as much sense as having the armour corps man all armoured vehicles.

I don't know what the solution is (other than what Infidel_6 has suggested: RETENTION focus!)  We have one hell of an Army, and letting them all slip out without so much as a handshake is a shame.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled lightning bolt fest ;D



So, there I was....

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #114 on: April 12, 2007, 08:42:24 »
After a night's sleep (restless as it was), and now to not be sarcastic.

First: Is there a manpower shortage across the army?  Yes
Problem: Crewing APCs is taking 3 soldiers/section away from the dismounted fight.  Compounded with the training bill to get people qualified (19 days for Turret Operator, 10 days for LAV 3 Crew Commander, 19 or so for LAV 3 Driver plus Airbrakes, driver wheel, etc) and multiplied by 45 APCs in three companies across a battalion is 135 persons not able to dismount without losing that LAV.  45 gunners = 855 training days in total for them, 45 crew commanders = 1305 training days for them (not including their leadership training) and a similar amount for the drivers is one hell of a training bill.
Solution: SEP (Someone Else's Problem).  IMHO we cannot "wish away" that training/manning bill to the armour corps (or anyone else for that matter). 

IF you want to have mechanised infantry, you better be ready to pay the bill. 

So, to rehash it, assume 18 LAV companies of 15 vehicles each (across the army).  810 soldiers right there.  Assume 10 % replacements, that's another 81 soldiers, for a total of 891.  Also assume that they are all fit and DAG "Green".  Ouch.

I don't think it would be wise to wish away the "problem" of manning the vehicles to someone else. 

So, focus instead on retention, recruiting and training.  We need numbers, and we simply cannot have someone else drive us around AND do their primary jobs of tanks and recce.  Even if that decision were made to have someone else man the LAVs for the infantry, it would take a LONG time to get them up and running and trained up on the use of the LAV as an APC vice a "bigger Coyote with more GIBs".

So, there I was....

Offline 3rd Herd

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #115 on: April 12, 2007, 13:19:49 »
If you can find it:
Haworth, W. Blair The Bradley and How It Got That Way: Technology, Institutions, and the Problem of Mechanized Infantry in the United States Army :Greenwood Press, 11/30/1999

Next,
one of the reasons I tossed the South African experiences into this mix was at a certain point in time the SADF was faced with severe manning problems. This to the extent that as new vehicles such as the Ratels were coming off the assembly line, male college students were climbing on board, test driving, test firing weapons systems, stocking vehicles then driving them off to the FEBA. More than once these students found themselves in combat on their vehicle delivery runs. Again in the siege of Leningrad, vehicles were driven direct from the factory to frontline combat by workers. Infantry fighting vehicles are property of the infantry and crew training will be dealt with most likely the same way it always has: you, you, you ,you and you are on the LAV/AVGP/ M113 drvs course(depending on era), after that course finishes you, you, you, you and you are now on the HMG/Turret Crse (again depending on era), finally you, you and you are now on the vehicle commander course. If memory serves me right we ran three back to back dvr/HMG courses when the AVGPs came on line. Followed a year later again, 'voila' the Bn was no longer light infantry but mech. It would be interesting hearing from some of the 'tread heads'  from the 2nd in the conversion they went through in getting the M113s.
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #116 on: April 12, 2007, 13:20:29 »
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IMHO we cannot "wish away" that training/manning bill to the armour corps (or anyone else for that matter).

Ah, but the Armoured Corps assumes that training bill for every one of its soldiers no matter how they are ultimately employed. Every single trooper will, through the course of their career, get the driver training, turret/gunnery training, and ultimately crew commander training "for free" instead of as an addition on top of their usual trades training.

This actually makes it *cheaper* to crew those LAVs, because you aren't training those crew members in all the Infantry skills before you provide the LAV stuff. An "off the shelf" Crewman is already trained to crew that LAV, or worst-case, just needs a conversion course to teach the differences between the vehicle he was trained on and the current model APC - which is also cheaper than a full-blown, "start-from-scratch" course.

It also helps address the manpower shortage (assuming sufficient recruiting, which admittedly is one hell of an assumption) by providing some parallelism to training, by routing your future LAV crewmen through the Armoured School for DP1/DP2/DP3 where your section members will be at the Infantry School for DP1/DP2/DP3. Not only are you not "supertraining" your infantry by adding the vehicle skills on top of their core skills, you aren't forcing the Infantry School into running vehicle skills courses as a duplication of the Armoured School's courses.

C-S-A-105, Ad Hominum and Ad Verecundiam advances your argument not a single metre.

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The gunner or CC in our LAV turret lases, reads off the range in their readout, applies the appropriate aiming mark in the ballistic Cougar-style sight to the target, then fires.  It is, essentially, an estimated engagement with some technology helping the range estimation.

Exactly. So, in other words, a LAV main gun engagement is conducted almost identically to a Cougar main gun engagement, at least in terms of procedures. Meaning that the Cougar turret skills are directly transferable to LAV turret skills. And the Cougar itself was purchased as a "tank trainer" meaning that it was thought that Cougar turret skills were close enough to Leopard turret skills to make the training effort (and lower operating costs of Cougar vice Leopard) effective.

In other words, our own Corps thought that a Cougar turret (for that matter, the entire Cougar experience) was close enough to Leopard to treat them nearly identically for training purposes. So if Cougar approximates Leopard and LAV approximates Cougar, then LAV must approximate Leopard (in terms of skillset to operate them, not role <- this should be obvious, but I'd better state that explicitly lest someone accuse me of calling a LAV a tank) 

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that having the Reserve Armour Corps soldiers crew infantry LAVs will be the Corps' saviour.

At no time did I state anything of the sort. Given my druthers, I'd stand up a new Reg Force Armoured unit to fill this role, and then re-role 1/3 of the existing Reserve armoured units as "Dragoons" to augment the Reg Force core. We have way too big of a recruiting problem in the Reserve to be able to fill this type of job unaided.

Quote
However, to relegate the collective knowledge held by what has been called "the combat arm of decision" to a ferry service for LAV passengers will push us through a door that will likely be one way.  It will also push the infantry back into what has been derisively called "thinking at a walking pace and C-7 range, no further, no faster" rather than thinking larger and faster, which I think will do them a disservice as well.

Again, you miss the point:

1) Nobody is suggesting that the Corps abandon the Tank and Recce roles. We are diversifying and filling an obvious niche. This is not a zero-sum game.

2) The Infantry do not lose their ability to "think mechanized" because, even though they aren't driving/gunning/crew commanding, they are still fighting mechanized. They're still there; the intent is not empty LAV driving around while the Infantry walk. Instead, by not forcing the Infantry to foot the training bill, you INCREASE the amount of exposure they get to mechanized warfighting, because you can cycle multiple Infantry units through the same "Dragoon" unit.

3) The snobbery I keep seeing about "bus drivers" and "ferry service" and comments in a similar vein does a disservice to everybody. The soldiers who crew LAVs, be they blackhatters or pongos, serve every bit as honourably as those in any other combat arm. A potential "Dragoon" who gets his section to the debussing point and then shoots them onto the objective is performing a function every bit as respectable as the tank crew who shoots on the same objective or the recce crew providing flank guard or the outer cordon. I see absolutely no loss of honour or glory or whatever else for the Corps to provide this function.

DG
DG

 
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #117 on: April 12, 2007, 13:39:51 »
3) The snobbery I keep seeing about "bus drivers" and "ferry service" and comments in a similar vein does a disservice to everybody. The soldiers who crew LAVs, be they blackhatters or pongos, serve every bit as honourably as those in any other combat arm. A potential "Dragoon" who gets his section to the debussing point and then shoots them onto the objective is performing a function every bit as respectable as the tank crew who shoots on the same objective or the recce crew providing flank guard or the outer cordon. I see absolutely no loss of honour or glory or whatever else for the Corps to provide this function.

You just don't get it.  Just like there are different mindsets between Mech Inf and Light Infantry; there are different mindsets between Tankers and Recce.  Don't even think of anyone who has been in Cougars as being of the same mindset as a Tanker.  They are not. 

We are talking about a Mech Infantry mindset now being adopted by Armour.  Why?  Mech Infantry guys already have that mindset.  Why do you insist on taking 810 Armour guys and teaching them Mech Infantry tactics/mindsets?

Oh!  By the way, you are completely out of the picture with your statement: "A potential "Dragoon" who gets his section to the debussing point and then shoots them onto the objective is performing a function every bit as respectable as the tank crew who shoots on the same objective ...."  The Tank doesn't just shoot on the same objective, it rolls through the Objective providing intimate support to the infantry.  Tanks do not sit back and shoot on the objective.  The Zulu vehicles from the Mech Infantry do that.  Something Mech Infantry have been doing for years, and continue to do today.
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #118 on: April 12, 2007, 14:30:24 »
Ah, but the Armoured Corps assumes that training bill for every one of its soldiers no matter how they are ultimately employed. Every single trooper will, through the course of their career, get the driver training, turret/gunnery training, and ultimately crew commander training "for free" instead of as an addition on top of their usual trades training.
This actually makes it *cheaper* to crew those LAVs, because you aren't training those crew members in all the Infantry skills before you provide the LAV stuff. An "off the shelf" Crewman is already trained to crew that LAV, or worst-case, just needs a conversion course to teach the differences between the vehicle he was trained on and the current model APC - which is also cheaper than a full-blown, "start-from-scratch" course.
It also helps address the manpower shortage (assuming sufficient recruiting, which admittedly is one hell of an assumption) by providing some parallelism to training, by routing your future LAV crewmen through the Armoured School for DP1/DP2/DP3 where your section members will be at the Infantry School for DP1/DP2/DP3. Not only are you not "supertraining" your infantry by adding the vehicle skills on top of their core skills, you aren't forcing the Infantry School into running vehicle skills courses as a duplication of the Armoured School's courses.
True enough that Armoured Corps soldiers will all train up on driver, gunnery and eventually crew commander.  Having said that, with the reincarnation of the tank, the Armoured Corps will (I predict) split into two "mindsets" once again: Recce and Tank.  Coyote crew commanding and Tank Crew Commanding are just not the same.  As one example, think of "withdrawal under contact".  The Recce guy will think of "under contact" as being "visual contact", whereas the tanker will think of "under contact" as "firing APFSDS-T rounds into the bad guys as we fall back."  Subtle difference?  No, not really.  LARGE difference.
While I agree that an "off the shelf" crewman can be employed as a gunner in the LAV 3 (turret operator qualified, of course), I disagree that an off the shelf crewman can be employed as either a gunner or crew commander in a LAV 3 (whilst supporting infantry, of course).  Coyote does not equal LAV 3 in terms of driving, and same goes for RECCE crew commanding and LAV 3 Crew Commanding, where you have close in engagements, are manoeuvering as part of a combat team, with your dismounted section on one side of the vehicle, indicating targets to you, and vice versa.
I disagree that it addresses manpower shortages, for as I stated, the armour corps does not have 810 Pte/Cpl/MCpl/Sgts available now, or anytime soon for that matter, to man these LAVs.  [sarcasm] Given that your "off the shelf" crewman are somehow not gainfully employed, I would argue that they rather be employed as GIBs (hey, they all have SQ and know how to do a section attack, so fire them in the back!) [/sarcasm]
Given the relatively recent influx of infantrymen and an infantry officer into the IG team, there is very much indeed paralell of training in gunnery (at least).  In fact, there is only ONE course for 25mm gunnery now: Turret Operator.  A tpr from 12e RBC can do the same course at the same time as a 1er R22eR soldier and a 5e RALC gunner.  The divergence is (correctly) at the crew commander level (DP3A ARCC for Armour, LAV APC Crew Commander for Infantry and Engineers and FOO (?) For Artillery).
Now, let us NOT forget that the infantry are much more than a collection of dudes with rifles, and that "infantry jobs" are much more than carrying said rifles.  Not every infantry soldier will get a MG course, or a PSWQ, or Recce Patrolman, or in the old days, Mortar, Pioneer, Anti Armour.  Each of these skills, along with driver, radio operator, etc, are all part of the skillset known to infantryman.  Just because the LAV 3 and the Coyote are similar (with identical turrets) and just because there is a manpower crunch right now, there is no reason to parcel off the vehicles to a corps that is quite busy in their own right.

So, there I was....

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #119 on: April 12, 2007, 14:38:13 »
It also helps address the manpower shortage (assuming sufficient recruiting, which admittedly is one hell of an assumption) by providing some parallelism to training, by routing your future LAV crewmen through the Armoured School for DP1/DP2/DP3 where your section members will be at the Infantry School for DP1/DP2/DP3.
I forgot to address this part. 

Our infantrymen get their DP1 at the AATCs, DP 2 at the units, and only DP3+ at the Infantry School  (Officers are different, of course).
All in all, there is not a HUGE training bill to get people up to speed as a gunner.  In fact, of all courses you mention, although the turret operator has the IG Team as the C of E, it is NOT an "Armour School" course.  Crew Commander certainly is, but it certainly isn't the same course as the infantry crew commander course.  (DP3A ARCC is HUGE compared to the 10 day Crew Commander - Inf).
There is certainly a recognisable stream for persons in the infantry: some go mech-heavy, while others go light-heavy (or intense, I should say?).  Mountain Ops Instructor: Infantry Course?  Basic Para: Infantry Course?  Basic Comms: Infantry course?  (C of E for that: Armour School, not the C and E school!)  Pathfinder: Infantry Course?  Heck, with exception of the basic para, Turret Operator is shorter, AND turret operator can be done at the unit.


In the end, it's logistics that wins any arguments.  In this case, the Armour is NOT going to now, or ever, give up 810 qualified drivers, gunners and crew commanders just to drive the infantry, engineers and artillery around.

Speaking of artillery, given that the FOO and the FAC ride the turret to use its tools to help their trade, how do we address THAT issue?
So, there I was....

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #120 on: April 12, 2007, 15:33:06 »

Speaking of artillery, given that the FOO and the FAC ride the turret to use its tools to help their trade, how do we address THAT issue?


Easy enough - permanently assign a battery of gunners with SPHs to each LAV Battalion along with the Leos of the Direct Fire Support platoon I alluded to above and give all of them Green hats and Infantry cap badges. They will conduct the walking pace - C7 range battle.

Likewise the Armoured Corps should get SPHs and gunners in Blackhats to complement their LAV mounted Dragoons to conduct their broad, sweeping, high-speed manoeuvres for which their mindset best suits them.
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Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #121 on: April 12, 2007, 16:07:55 »
Having talked to a cbt engineer friend of mine who just got back from the a-stan, he told me his LAV crew were all RCD. A gunner, commander and driver, all 011. Guess some of this thought is happening.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #122 on: April 12, 2007, 18:54:51 »
Having talked to a cbt engineer friend of mine who just got back from the a-stan, he told me his LAV crew were all RCD. A gunner, commander and driver, all 011. Guess some of this thought is happening.

This was the solution that they came up with when we rushed more Engineers off to Afghanistan for mine and IED Clearance and gave them LAVs for protection.  As they had no LAVs, nor LAV qualified pers in their Regiment, they crewed the vehicles in Afghanistan with Armour soldiers.   Things done in the typical Canadian Army way....."use your initiative - get it done".

I am sure that with time, and the eventuality of Engineers getting LAVs in the Regiments in Canada, then they too will be getting LAV D&M and Gnry Crses.
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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #123 on: April 12, 2007, 18:58:41 »
Having talked to a cbt engineer friend of mine who just got back from the a-stan, he told me his LAV crew were all RCD. A gunner, commander and driver, all 011. Guess some of this thought is happening.
As George said, the Engineers weren't LAV qualified.  This was due to several circumstances, not the least of which was that they were close to "last in line" to get them.  So, time was short, no time to train up crews, so...find some crews elsewhere.  One time solution.
4 ESR is chock-full of LAV qualified troops and officers.  
So, there I was....

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Re: Mech infantry or all light infantry with some Armd APC units?
« Reply #124 on: April 15, 2007, 23:52:09 »
http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/caj/documents/vol_08/iss_2/CAJ_vol8.2_04_e.pdf

A very interesting article summing up the work of the Light Forces Working Group thus far (the article was written about 2 1/2 years ago, but is still very relevant).

An excerpt:
"When comparing light and medium forces envisaged for the Canadian Army the LFWG
determined that there is a difference between light and LAV infantry. The FEC of the
Army of Today dated 31 Mar 04 indicates that light forces will not be expected to rerole
to medium for an operation as has sometimes been the case in the past. Similarly,
it was determined that the re-rolling of LAV based infantry to light would be equally
inappropriate as this type of Infantry without their LAVs does not equal light infantry as
some would have you think. LAV infantry without their APCs become at best
dismounted infantry or motorized infantry if they are provided wheeled transport.
Light Infantry remains a different capability due to their mindset, greater specialization,
different skill sets and light equipment. Notwithstanding, the Army, at least in the short
term, has adopted a philosophy that a LAV infantry company minus their APCs will
equal a light infantry company for force employment in order to make the managed
readiness program work."

...and the official concept for light forces:

"Light Forces will be developed that are scalable
from company to battalion size task forces
tailored to conduct full spectrum of operations in
complex terrain and environments. They will be
resourced, equipped and trained to conduct and win in Blocks 1,2 and 3 when
executing the full range of conventional missions/tasks and to support to SOF in
their operations. They will be employable alone or in conjunction with medium
forces forming light coy and bn sized Task Forces (TF) to conduct operations.
These light TF will be based on light infantry and will have all five operating
functions resident within commiserate to the operating environment / threat
anticipated. (approved by ACDB 3 Mar 05)"

(Although the preceeding probably belongs in All Arms Light Forces, the thread hasn't been touched in about 2 years and I figured it was safest to place here.)
"I know that some of us here want Canada to be limited to peacekeeping, but peace must be established first."
-Rt. Hon. John Turner, former Liberal PM