Author Topic: Designing the land force firepower capability (From: Mortars: 51 mm, 60 mm, 81 mm, 120 mm & more)  (Read 9980 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 203,730
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,559
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Summarizing wish list:

Individual - Hand Grenade
Section - 40 mm
Platoon - 60 mm
Company - 81 mm
Battalion - 120 mm
Brigade - 155 mm
Division - MLRS/HIMARS

Vice:

Individual - M72
Section - CG-84
Platoon - Eryx
Company - Javelin
Battalion - TOW
Brigade - Hellfire


Or:

Section - 5.56
Platoon - 7.62
Company - 8.58
Battalion - 12.7
Brigade - 25
Division - 120

Can we afford and handle them all?
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline ArmyRick

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 26,040
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,957
  • What the????
Kirkhill, I would not always break things down into layers like the way you have.

For example i would not keep Eryx and javelin. I would go with javelin.

155mm M777 I beleive are usually battery assigned to a battle group. (I may be wrong). So it would be a BG assett.

Not every weapons systems needs to be broken down into sect/pl/coy/bn/bde/div level.

For example in the US SBCT, Javelins are 1 per rifle squad in the stryker infantry platoons (3 per platoon).

Case by case basis. Another note in the CF we do not have the man power or resources to have too many weapons systems. Look at the shmozzle with CASW for an example.
I am NOT a privileged white man by virtue of being male or white. I am privileged because I am alive and exercising my right to be who I am!

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 203,730
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,559
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Kirkhill, I would not always break things down into layers like the way you have.

For example i would not keep Eryx and javelin. I would go with javelin.

155mm M777 I beleive are usually battery assigned to a battle group. (I may be wrong). So it would be a BG assett.

Not every weapons systems needs to be broken down into sect/pl/coy/bn/bde/div level.

For example in the US SBCT, Javelins are 1 per rifle squad in the stryker infantry platoons (3 per platoon).

Case by case basis. Another note in the CF we do not have the man power or resources to have too many weapons systems. Look at the shmozzle with CASW for an example.

Point taken on all points Rick.

I just laid out the list for demonstration and consideration.

I guess I would be inclined to base my "sizing" on the requisite Areas of Interest / Areas of Influence for each level of Command.  Working in a 360 environment it seems to me that each Command Level has to supply security for all elements supporting it, resulting in a battlefield covered in circles rather than our old maps showing Bde/Div/Corps boundaries to our flanks and rear operating in secure areas to supply support on demand.

Now it seems to me that you need to be able to tote your desired effects along with you and make sure that they are protected at the same time.    One of the reasons I prefer the notion of a HIMARS truck with a pack of 200 lb Unitaries on call than a CF-18 with a 6 pack of 250 lb SDBs.   Likewise the notion of toting a 60 mm mortar that you can fire from your sleeping bag means that you don't have to secure a large area at night.   ......kind of thing.

Having said that I obviously overstepped the bounds with the 7.62/8.58/12.7/25 layering as I did with the AT/DFHE systems.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 167,950
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 15,145
  • Honey Badger FTW!
...Especially since my Platoon has 25mm - and lots of it!  ^-^

Although this is swinging away from mortars, what ever happened to the "Pack Howitzer" that was broken down and carried by donkies in WWII?  Is that a true "expeditionary" artillery system?
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Old Sweat

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 216,000
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,753
Although this is swinging away from mortars, what ever happened to the "Pack Howitzer" that was broken down and carried by donkies in WWII?  Is that a true "expeditionary" artillery system?

Pack artillery was developed for difficult terrain and later airborne delivery in an era when we did not have the type and amount of airlift that exists today. In fact the screw gun was very much a Victorian era piece of kit, or is that pieces of kit? In the Canadian army, except for a few years starting crica 1948 using the 75mm pack howitzer, we did not really have any. We did purchase L5s 105mm pack howitzers circa 1968 and a number stayed in service for a goodly number of years. Bruce Monkhouse, Petard and I all served in L5 batteries, I believe. The purchase was based on a requirement for something that could be moved by helicopter and be airdropped. The aircraft of the time (Voyageur helicopters and Buffalo tactical transports) could not handle the standard C1 howitzers.

Nowdays I suggest that the M777 could class as an expeditionary weapon, considering that it can be lifted by a Chinook and transported in a C17. I, however, am a dinosaur, and welcome rebuttal by people who really understand this stuff in today's context.


Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 203,730
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,559
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
...Especially since my Platoon has 25mm - and lots of it!  ^-^

Although this is swinging away from mortars, what ever happened to the "Pack Howitzer" that was broken down and carried by donkies in WWII?  Is that a true "expeditionary" artillery system?

Thanks for showing joining Rick and showing up my inconsistencies..... ^-^

Though I would ask this....Who gets to decide if you take the 25s (and their attached 20 tonne carriers) into the theater?  Brigade or higher?
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline MCG

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 207,490
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,744
I would go with the 60 at platoon level, 81 at Coy level, 120 at Bn level, and "whatever" for artillery.

It's all about range bands.  A pl, mech or dismounted, has a range of its integral weapons, all light role, to circa 600-800 metres.  The 60 fits well into that.  Only with a bipod can it reach out beyond 2 km.
For the coy, the range bands are from 1800 to around 2400.  The 81 goes well beyond that; however, the weight of fire it would bring (say 3 or 4 per company) far surpass that of the 60.  And given today's operational environment, its 5+km range would be ideal.
Bn level mortars, if 81 were at coy level, would naturally be the longer ranged 120.

For fire support, it's all about layering effects and capabilities.  
Summarizing wish list:

Individual - Hand Grenade
Section - 40 mm
Platoon - 60 mm
Company - 81 mm
Battalion - 120 mm
Brigade - 155 mm
Division - MLRS/HIMARS

Vice:

Individual - M72
Section - CG-84
Platoon - Eryx
Company - Javelin
Battalion - TOW
Brigade - Hellfire


Or:

Section - 5.56
Platoon - 7.62
Company - 8.58
Battalion - 12.7
Brigade - 25
Division - 120

Can we afford and handle them all?
There is much more than range bands to determining where weapons belong on the battlefield, and in general a range-band would define a minimum capability.  A rifle section must be able engage its full spectrum of targets out to at least 300 m, but 600 m is better and it does not hurt the section to reach even farther.  However, you will not typically find systems that provide improvement in one capability without trading-off some other capability.  As the ability of a weapon to hit harder & reach farther goes up, then you typically see the weapon is heavier, bulkier, in need of a larger crew, in need of a more sophisticated logistics tail, and in need of more expensive ammunition.  In general, a section cannot afford a weapon which requires a crew except for short periods on specific tasks (and even here the crew cannot be more than two).  The platoon can afford weapons requiring small crews (two to three pers), but not for weapons requiring dedicated vehicle platforms.  The Mechanized platoon & section can also receive additional firepower from integral vehicles, but here it is generally limited to capabilities that can be mounted on APC/IFV without interfering with the primary role of carrying soldiers.  At the sub-unit level we start to see the ability to provide for weapons requiring larger crews, dedicated vehicle platforms, and more complex logistics support.  

As was mentioned by ArmyRick, if I can give the Rifle Section the ability to influence into the company range band without trading off a requirement that makes the weapon unsuitable for a section (such as too heavy or bulky), then I will likely do that.  

However, no weapon system (or firepower capability) should be examined in isolation, and no level of the organization should be considered in isolation.  If I have managed to provide rifle sections to engage MBT at the depth of the Coy area of influence, then a Coy OC can task platoons to execute is Anti-armour tasks.  I could therefore take the manpower that might have been used to for a Coy AT Det and form something else (such as a Coy mortar Tm).  Alternately, if it is not possible to provide a Rifle Section with an AT weapon that fits within its portability requirements, then I may have to establish a more robust capability at the platoon level to cover the gap.

... I prefer the notion of a HIMARS truck with a pack of 200 lb Unitaries on call than a CF-18 with a 6 pack of 250 lb SDBs.  
This might be the position taken by a Pl or Coy if it were on the main effort and allocated the HIMARS.  However, to the BG or higher formation (like RC-S) in contemporary operations, the CF-18 will have the operational reach to be moved as needed to support any of the companies across the AO and would be preferred if only one system were allowed.  Ideally, there will be a mix of systems with differing strengths complementing each other.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 203,730
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,559
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
.....
This might be the position taken by a Pl or Coy if it were on the main effort and allocated the HIMARS.  However, to the BG or higher formation (like RC-S) in contemporary operations, the CF-18 will have the operational reach to be moved as needed to support any of the companies across the AO and would be preferred if only one system were allowed.  Ideally, there will be a mix of systems with differing strengths complementing each other.

Or the position of a force commander, regardless of rank and formation size,  who can't afford the man-power to secure a local airhead to maintain a top-cover, who is limited by weather and range to payload and availability.  As you say, ideally there will be mix of systems in the toolbox.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline MCG

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 207,490
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,744
I'm skeptical that we could operate in a theatre without an airhead for our logistic reach back (especially if the force is large enough to require HIMARS).  In a lot of theaters, the main airhead may even be outside the area of conflict  but I cannot see the airhead being non-existent.

Offline Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 203,730
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,559
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
As MCG rightly points out this then becomes a bigger question that mortar calibers.

Quote
Rick, Splash.

Just thinking weirdly.

No problem with your logic.  Just that the outcome is that in all scenarios something has to give, some compromise.  I happen to believe that your Stryker Brigade scenario will result in the Canadian government being less equipped for effective hasty interventions.

I agree that separating the troops from the carriers will result in them being less effective panzergrenadiers and the entire force being less effective in that role.   But unless we bump up resources significantly so we can maintain a rapid reaction brigade of 3 battalions for hasty interventions and some 9 battalions of panzergrenadiers for sustained ops everything is a compromise.

So what selection of tools in what organization gives the maximum flexibility of response to the Canadian Government at the least cost to the Treasury and with the maximum security to the Troops?

Edited to add:  Is it as simple as taking a top down approach rather than a bottom up view?  Rather than starting from the Section and stipulating the number of troops in a section, sections/platoon, platoons/company......and the weapons necessary to meet capabilities (some defined in treaties and agreements) is it possible to start and say we have X number of troops.  We will divide them into one rapid reaction force of 3 deployable teams and one sustainng force of 9 deployable teams. The manpower available in those teams allows us to man this equipment and perform these tasks, this is what we can contribute - regardless of how the rest of our allies organize to meet their obligations. 
 
ArmyRick:

First off, I beleive that our army should be organized (regular) with 6 x infantry companies with 4 x LAVIII companies each
What I am proposing would be (if we add six fully equipped modern day LAV battalions) would be the purchase of say 56 x LAV III Mortar (basically a stryker mortar carrier)
That would be 2 x for each LAV Coy (x 24) and 8 more for the now extinct mortar cell at the infantry school. Each one would do as I said in an earlier post, be primarily 120mm mounted mortars, but I would have a dismountable 60mm mortar with a small number of rounds for dismounted ops. i would also bump up the mortar crew to 4 (the old canadian infantry det was 3).
 
 MCG:
Quote from: Kirkhill on Today at 11:26:38
So what selection of tools in what organization gives the maximum flexibility of response to the Canadian Government at the least cost to the Treasury and with the maximum security to the Troops?

To answer that, you need to look beyond just mortars.  You need to consider the role of mortars alongside other systems on the battlefield (like rockets, howitzers, CASW, TOW, etc), and you need to look at the larger doctrine & force structure.
 

Point taken as noted MCG.

Rick, I understand your position but 6 Stryker Battalions does not a flexible, nor a sustainable force make, IMHO.  I accept that I opened the door by allowing for limiting treaties based on diminished capabilities but I can't help but keep looking for other ways to reapportion the available resources.

One weird thought that comes to me is what happens if we eliminate that 18th century construct that was revived in World War I: the peloton.  It was originally merely a tactical control unit that cut across company lines in order to control musket fire pelting the enemy.  One peloton would find members in two or three companies IIRC.   The idea was that in a battalion/regiment lined up with companies left to right it would spread the fire across the front rather than have it rippling from right flank to left flank.
 
In WWI the Brits and Canadians went to war with 4 tactical subunits and, AFAIK, no subsubunit structure.  The Platoon rose to prominence in a very large army that need small unit flexibility.

We still need small unit flexibility but we don't have a very large army.  Do we need all the levels of the command pyramid?  Do we need the Platoon?

As one of our USMC contributors, and I believe Infanteer, Thucydides and Matt Fisher have pointed out elsewhere the Marines are reevaluating how much can be done by how many marines.  At one point in their history, like most western forces their minimum deployable force was a Captain's command (a Comoany) with numbers ranging from 40(lets say ca 1840) to 250 (outbreak of WW1)

What happens if you ditch the entire Platoon level command and create a battalion of 6-10 tactically self-supporting "companies" with 40-100 troops per sub-unit?  Does that buy you a more flexible force?

« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 15:32:47 by Kirkhill »
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline ArmyRick

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 26,040
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,957
  • What the????
I am basing my opinions on expirience and theory. I have talked on and on about why i think the american stryker company model is very flexible and adaptive to many different scenarios. However we are the Canadian army and I would like to see our Coy structure go with
1. Company HQ
2. a Mortar section (2 x 120mm mortar carriers with dismountable 60mm mortars)
3. 3-4 x LAVIII platoons

We are remaining in the tank business so there is no need for our smaller army (than the americans) to get bogged down with an expensive direct fire assett like MGS. LEO2 will suffice nicely, especially now that there is not just HEAT and APFSDS, but there is also 120mm canister, HE and soon to be extended range munitions (tank launched missiles basically).

How is the US model of a stryker battalion not flexible? I never said I would implement it in the CF anyways because we don't have the cash to buy that many new systems.

How is 6 well manned battalions not sustainable? We try and minimally man 9 battalions now.
I am NOT a privileged white man by virtue of being male or white. I am privileged because I am alive and exercising my right to be who I am!

Offline MCG

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 207,490
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,744
155mm M777 I beleive are usually battery assigned to a battle group. (I may be wrong). So it would be a BG assett.
I can think of senarios where they might be held higher, such as a theatre where the the Comd had multiple outside the wire units (BG+OMLT+PRT+Etc) and wanted flexibility to move the guns to influence who he felt needed it most. (This might in fact provide an argument for a Bn mortar Pl)

But looking bigger picture, if the fire power capability is being designed around only one operational unit in theatre at a time and what is being described here is 120 mm Pl, 155 mm Bty & HIMARS all lined up to provide BG fire support.  That seems like an awful lot even without considering that heavy mortars are also being suggested for each company.