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Armoured RECCE

KevinB

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Once upon a time I seem to recall @Infanteer arguing that Recce wasn't an organization. It was, along with ISTAR, a task to which any infantry or armoured unit could be assigned. Perhaps we should now argue to include Special Forces in the mix.

Zulu Impi or Canadian Brigade Group.

Reconnaissance has many facets.
You don’t need to waste SOF on limited Mud RECCE - but low vis work or SR missions are definitely on that SOF domain.

SOF also aren’t the go to for a lot of conventional RECCE jobs.


No one size (or unit) structure will work for all conflicts.


The Horns. The Head. The Body. The Body coalesces around the Artillery these days, together with follow on forces.
Don’t get to affixed around the Artillery, we don’t have enough, and the Air Force tend to enjoy the idea of being really expensive Arty these days.
The Horns and the Head conform to the Two Up One Back advance. with the Horns probing and the Head screening the Body.

Perhaps it is more important to have 4 separate manoeuver elements, 4 separate command structures, that can switch from probe to screen to defend to attack than it is to have 4 specialist organizations.
3 Combined Arms Bn and a Cav Sqn
Canada is too light in tanks - and again doesn’t have a heavy cannon or ATGM on the IFV/CFV — nor a SP Mortar, which kind of help with Cav work.






As to this:





The Royal Irish seem to be now in the business of supplying the Air Assault Brigade a "Patrols" Battalion - A Light Strike Recce Battalion.

So an infantry battalion performing a cavalry function in the same way the airborne Patrols company used to do for the Parachute Battalions.

16 Air Assault Brigade - 4 manoeuvre elements - 2x Abn Infantry (Horns), 1x Air Assault Infantry (Head), 1x Light Strike Recce Bn with 1x Close Support Arty Regiment (Body). Add Pathfinders as Scouts working ahead of the Horns.
Again - the issue comes that Canada is not sure what it wants to be.
Is it a Light BDE, is it a Med BDE? Is it a Heavy BDE.

I’d suggest that given it doesn’t even know what it really wants it’s BDE to be, that makes it significantly hard to tailor the Cav forces.
 

KevinB

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Correct- I wrote this in response to the ideas in that article and the cavalry concept generally (the article is a good summary of what the RCAC is currently pushing).

To be clear: I agree that we had too many bde reconnaissance sqns. I do not agree with rebranding them as cavalry without allocating more capability to them. I do not agree with the cavalry concept as currently articulated by the RCAC, especially the "principle of four" and the notion of being platform agnostic.
I am
Always skeptical of anyone who suggests things are platform agnostic.


Originally this all started as a doctrine cleanup in circa 2014-2015 but has sinced morphed into something far larger than it should have. My article was trying to show that if we see this through as the RCAC envisions, the consequences will be fairly dire when someone orders a "cavalry" squadron equipped with TAPVs and LAVs to do something like DELAY or GUARD or COVER against heavy mech forces.


I don’t see how the Cav units can even plan for their roles, when their parents Bde’s are so ‘confused’.



GMR was very clear not to do this unless reinforced by tanks at best or DFS at worst. I tried to go a step further and say that the addition of dismounts (due to the "battlefield density" and observability of vehicles) among a few other capabilities, is what would be needed to make this workable in the way that I think the corps envisions.
I am still super confused as to what exactly the CA plans to do with Force 202X/30X
But if;
1 CMBG becomes 1 CABG, with all the tanks then 3 VP probably can be chopped - and some of their Inf PY can go to support dismount roles in the CAV
It’s fairly unfortunate that that Mortar Platoons where chopped in 2004-5 and the 1VP Anti Armor Platoon didn’t really survive the move to the LdSH - as that was the start of a pretty good capability at a combined arms Cav Sqn.
-
Again, the point of the article is to put all this theory in the context of a squadron actually applying this against real, thinking people with good capabilities of their own. The OPFOR wanted to be successful and had MUAS, indirect fire, etc as well.
 

GR66

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Correct- I wrote this in response to the ideas in that article and the cavalry concept generally (the article is a good summary of what the RCAC is currently pushing).

To be clear: I agree that we had too many bde reconnaissance sqns. I do not agree with rebranding them as cavalry without allocating more capability to them. I do not agree with the cavalry concept as currently articulated by the RCAC, especially the "principle of four" and the notion of being platform agnostic.

Originally this all started as a doctrine cleanup in circa 2014-2015 but has sinced morphed into something far larger than it should have. My article was trying to show that if we see this through as the RCAC envisions, the consequences will be fairly dire when someone orders a "cavalry" squadron equipped with TAPVs and LAVs to do something like DELAY or GUARD or COVER against heavy mech forces.

GMR was very clear not to do this unless reinforced by tanks at best or DFS at worst. I tried to go a step further and say that the addition of dismounts (due to the "battlefield density" and observability of vehicles) among a few other capabilities, is what would be needed to make this workable in the way that I think the corps envisions.

Again, the point of the article is to put all this theory in the context of a squadron actually applying this against real, thinking people with good capabilities of their own. The OPFOR wanted to be successful and had MUAS, indirect fire, etc as well.
I think the point of the original "primer" article you posted is that trying to tailor your armoured units to a specific role on the armoured spectrum (Recce/Cavalry/Tank) is the problem. They are all "armoured". The differentiation should be in the specific vehicle depending where on the spectrum of conflict you expect them to fight.

All Armoured Regiments would have the same basic structure:
  • 4 x Squadrons of 4-vehicle troops each
  • A HQ or CS Squadron with your non-maneuver supporting elements (dismounted Recce Troop, Pioneer/Engineer Troop, Mortar Troop, AD Troop, etc.)

  • Your Armoured Brigade would have a "Heavy" Armoured Regiment manning MBT's with supporting units using the same APC/IFV platform as your Armoured Infantry Battalions.
  • Your Medium (LAV) Brigade would have a "Medium" Armoured Regiment manning LAV based combat vehicles with a heavier DF weapon (50mm/90mm/105mm/120mm) and possibly vehicle-mounted ATGMs and LAV-based supporting elements.
  • Your Light Infantry Brigade would have a "Light" Armoured Regiment manning a light, air-transportable/air-droppable combat vehicle like the Wiesel or Scimitar or similar with matching CS variants for the supporting elements.
  • A Security Force Assistance Brigade might have an Armoured Regiment manning TAPVs with C-19 AGLs, etc.
The US Army doesn't plan to pit its IBCTs against enemy heavy armoured formations so similarly we wouldn't plan to pit our "Light" Armoured Regiments against one either. Of course mismatches can happen but that's just a fact of life in war. You deploy the type of force you think you need for a particular theatre but sometimes you pick wrong.

You might say that we don't have the money for a properly equipped Armoured Brigade, a properly equipped Medium/LAV Brigade AND a properly equipped Light Infantry Brigade...and you'd be correct. But that's where I come back to my previous comment about the CAF always trying to half-ass things.

Instead of trying to shoehorn our existing LAVs and TAPVs into some new Cavalry construct (and the same with our Brigade Groups in general) tell the government that in order to be able to perform the tasks laid out in the stated defence policy (conduct combat operations across the full spectrum of warfare against a peer enemy) then this is what equipment we need. Can't afford it? Then tell us which space along the spectrum (Heavy/Medium/Light) you want us to drop so we can properly man and equip the other(s).

Unfortunately I have more chance of farting out gold doubloons than our senior military leaders having the balls to do that.
 

MSmith

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I don’t see how the Cav units can even plan for their roles, when their parents Bde’s are so ‘confused’.
This is another problem I have with the cav concept - in my eyes bdes for the moment are still clear on what they want, and that's a brigade reconnaissance squadron. Unified Resolve 22 1CMBG used the "cavalry squadron" from the Strathcona's as bde recce.

Bde commanders still expect to have this resource working for them to answer their IRs and conduct recce/security tasks. If the army wants to rewrite brigade tactics then fine, but that pam is not owned by the armoured corps and nor should it be.
 

daftandbarmy

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1 CMBG becomes 1 CABG, with all the tanks then 3 VP probably can be chopped

Did I just hear screaming from across the Rockies? ;)

Luke Skywalker Reaction GIF
 

MSmith

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I think the point of the original "primer" article you posted is that trying to tailor your armoured units to a specific role on the armoured spectrum (Recce/Cavalry/Tank) is the problem. They are all "armoured". The differentiation should be in the specific vehicle depending where on the spectrum of conflict you expect them to fight.

All Armoured Regiments would have the same basic structure:
  • 4 x Squadrons of 4-vehicle troops each
  • A HQ or CS Squadron with your non-maneuver supporting elements (dismounted Recce Troop, Pioneer/Engineer Troop, Mortar Troop, AD Troop, etc.)

Why do the structures of the armoured Regiments need to be identical? 4 car troops are more optimal for tanks, not for reconnaissance. Try working through the problems of conducting a basic route recce or screen line that lasts 48h+ with a 4 car troop and you'll quickly see the issues. Besides that, having any more than 1 LRSS vehicle per 4 car troop is an absolute waste of capability.

Those supporting elements need to be organic to squadrons, not owned by the CO. AD would be fine held higher but mortars and dismounts need to be owned by OCs.


The US Army doesn't plan to pit its IBCTs against enemy heavy armoured formations so similarly we wouldn't plan to pit our "Light" Armoured Regiments against one either. Of course mismatches can happen but that's just a fact of life in war. You deploy the type of force you think you need for a particular theatre but sometimes you pick wrong.

You might say that we don't have the money for a properly equipped Armoured Brigade, a properly equipped Medium/LAV Brigade AND a properly equipped Light Infantry Brigade...and you'd be correct. But that's where I come back to my previous comment about the CAF always trying to half-ass things.

Instead of trying to shoehorn our existing LAVs and TAPVs into some new Cavalry construct (and the same with our Brigade Groups in general) tell the government that in order to be able to perform the tasks laid out in the stated defence policy (conduct combat operations across the full spectrum of warfare against a peer enemy) then this is what equipment we need. Can't afford it? Then tell us which space along the spectrum (Heavy/Medium/Light) you want us to drop so we can properly man and equip the other(s).

Unfortunately I have more chance of farting out gold doubloons than our senior military leaders having the balls to do that.
Lets return to the realm of pragmatism and reality- the LAV and the TAPV are here to stay in the armoured corps so we better figure out how to gainfully employ them.

In any case, arguing about platform is pointless as I've tried to explain in the article regarding battlefield density. There is simply no replacement for dismounted troops when you need to be not seen. They still require the capability to remount to keep up with tempo.

A cav sqn with robust UAS, IDF, dismounts, and handheld anti-armour can hold its own against anything given a reasonable mission. A squadron of tanks would not have been as effective. A company of infantry would not have been as effective. There is still a niche for cavalry (robust recce) in the CA.
 

Kirkhill

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In terms of a General Purpose / General Duties Armoured Regiment then I find myself still enamoured with the Swedish Pansarbattalion model. I think we could manage 3 of their Combined Arms Battalions from our 3 Armoured Regiments.

Each Regiment on their pattern can be divided into two Groups with each group consisting of 11 Leo 2s, 4 Mjolnir 120mm mortars and 12 IFVs with 57 dismounts equipped with AT systems.

The Regiment retains a 4 car Recce Platoon, a Pnr Platoon and an AD Platoon

If the CA had gone ahead with the 45 vehicle CCV purchase than the entire RCAC could have been on tracks with the RCIC supplying a LAV Brigade with a well founded IRSTA unit.

There would still have been enough manpower to field a US pattern IBCT for the light role.

The RCAC would then be suitably equipped to manage the complete set of cavalry functions requested by the MR21 commander.
 

GR66

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Why do the structures of the armoured Regiments need to be identical? 4 car troops are more optimal for tanks, not for reconnaissance. Try working through the problems of conducting a basic route recce or screen line that lasts 48h+ with a 4 car troop and you'll quickly see the issues. Besides that, having any more than 1 LRSS vehicle per 4 car troop is an absolute waste of capability.

Those supporting elements need to be organic to squadrons, not owned by the CO. AD would be fine held higher but mortars and dismounts need to be owned by OCs.



Lets return to the realm of pragmatism and reality- the LAV and the TAPV are here to stay in the armoured corps so we better figure out how to gainfully employ them.

In any case, arguing about platform is pointless as I've tried to explain in the article regarding battlefield density. There is simply no replacement for dismounted troops when you need to be not seen. They still require the capability to remount to keep up with tempo.

A cav sqn with robust UAS, IDF, dismounts, and handheld anti-armour can hold its own against anything given a reasonable mission. A squadron of tanks would not have been as effective. A company of infantry would not have been as effective. There is still a niche for cavalry (robust recce) in the CA.
Don't shoot the messenger. I was simply pointing out what my understanding was of the main points in the "primer" posting you directed us to in your initial post. It goes into extensive detail giving the author's opinion on the reasoning behind a 4-vehicle troop format, the fact that the organization and doctrine for mounted recce should be vehicle agnostic, and the clear differentiation between the roles of mounted recce vs dismounted recce.

As to the pointlessness of arguing about our existing platforms you're sadly correct. My point is that the "arguing" should have come from the CAF leadership BEFORE the vehicles were procured. That's where the true failure lies, not with the government that paid for them.
 

FJAG

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Again - the issue comes that Canada is not sure what it wants to be.
Is it a Light BDE, is it a Med BDE? Is it a Heavy BDE.
It's not so much that the Army is not sure what it wants to be - it's that its trying to be everything at once.

This from "Advancing with Purpose":

The Canadian Army is an increasingly network-enabled, medium land force augmented by light and heavy forces. Its composition optimizes versatility across the spectrum of missions and unique environments. The medium force allows the Canadian Army to provide task-tailored forces ready to respond broadly to many conflict types.

Ignoring for a moment the meaningless and unfulfilled drivel about being "network-enabled" it is clear that what the CA wants to be is everything at once: a medium force capable of going light or heavy upon demand. For various reasons it expects every brigade to be capable of moving from one end of the spectrum to the other.

The problem which is readily apparent to most is that the aim is unachievable simply because of the CA's equipment holdings. The equipment it holds, and even more importantly the equipment it doesn't have, makes it incapable of being anything but a rag-tag medium force and a poorly equipped one at that. There are clearly missions it can do, and can do well, but it is impossible to operate effectively along the total spectrum it has set for itself.

One merely has to look at the three brigade structures south of the border - ABCT, SBCTs and IBCTs - to see how vastly different their equipment holdings are. The same is true when you look at the differences between 1 UK Div and 3 UK Div.

The same holds true for cavalry. The differences as between the equipment holdings of the cavalry squadron in each of the ABCT, SBCT and IBCT are dramatic, yet each is expected to fulfill the same cavalry role. It's noteworthy that one publication - ATP 3-20.96 Cavalry Squadron - provides the doctrine for all US BCT cavalry squadrons regardless of which type of BCT that they are in. Obviously TTPs vary to match equipment capabilities.

I don't think Canada will ever stabilize until it leaves behind the notion of the all-singing, all-dancing medium force and allocates specific formations to specific missions and equips each appropriately. I've held for a long time that the division should be based on a predominantly full-time element designed and equipped to meet day-to-day peacetime missions and another, predominantly part-time force, force designed, trained and equipped to meet war-time missions. I see the structures of 1 UK Div and 3 UK Div to be along those lines although, as is typical for full-timers, they have put much of their full-time PYs into the heavy division because it has all the neat gear. Of course, like here, that is rationalized by the view that the reserves are not capable of maintaining the gear or that level of war-fighting rather than addressing how to make it work.

Again, that brings me to cavalry. Here's a role that could easily be dominated by a properly structured and trained reserve force ably led by regulars. What makes it particulalry attractive is that the skills required could - and should - be practiced anywhere in Canada from rural to urban environments. Lightly armoured vehicles like the VBL or even Wiesel could be easily stored and maintained at armories. All we need is a plan.

🍻
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I didn't want to start an entirely new thread, so attached is an article I wrote from my Regiment's experience on Ex MR 21. Its approx 5k words but hopefully addresses the original post of this thread, which asked what Armoured guys think of Vlad Kessia's article. It also assumes that the reader is familiar with the cavalry concept (if not, probably the best place to start is reading First Principles and the Generation of Armoured Fighting Power by now-Major McInnes) The essence is that I'm trying to use a real-world example to show that the cavalry concept is unworkable if not properly resourced. This doesn't mean simply adding a .50 and ATGM to our vehicles as is the current proposal - it means a true combined arms squadron in the vein of American Cavalry.

I should also mention that I appreciate a lot of the earlier posts in this thread and the articles that people have alluded to or shared - I learned a lot and it certainly shaped the article.

This is draft 3 and an earlier version will be appearing in the Armoured Bulletin, but I will be submitting a beefier version to the Army Journal and would appreciate any/all criticism you guys have on it.
Replying a day late - was on the road yesterday.

Thanks for taking the time and mental energy to capture the experience of your Recce Sqn colleagues on Ex MR 21 in the context of the rather new and somewhat vaguely defined Cavalry concept. Your article highlights what can happen when we rebrand something without also giving it a force employment concept. A rose by any other name is a rose, and a Recce Sqn called a Cav Sqn is still a Recce Sqn.

I am a 1998 graduate of the US Army Cavalry Leader's Course and have commanded a Recce Sqn. I was also a Tank Troop Leader and BC and was the BG DCO for two MAPLE RESOLVEs with rather composite organizations. I include that quick bio simply to provide a frame for my comments.

A Canadian Recce Sqn has been designed to screen a brigade frontage. It used to have an Assault Troop that could provide dismounts and tank hunting teams when the situation warranted it. I don't necessarily agree that a Recce Sqn (or rebranded Cav Sqn) with a screen task always needs to be putting out tank hunting teams. Certainly at MRs I have had OPs remain in place undetected for some time as the enemy bypassed them. In some cases we had a counter-recce plan but that was not the primary task. If the value proposition of a Cav Sqn is dismounted tank hunting teams then perhaps there is another organization that could already do it?

With the US Army, a Cavalry Troop has the role of protecting and preserving the fighting ability of other combined arms forces. Its primary missions are reconnaissance and security. Their Heavy Cavalry Troop had two Scout Platoons in M3 Bradleys and two Tank Platoons in M1s plus a Mortar Section. The only infantrymen were the mortarmen. The M3s had two Scouts in the back who could dismount, but they were not infantry. The Scout platoons would lead, executing tactical tasks that would be quite familiar to Canadian armoured recce tps. Although the M3s had TOW and 25mm, on offensive operations they would only engage in emergencies - the tank platoons would come up to deal with hard targets. In defensive operations the firepower of the M3s would likely be integrated into the plan, but the killers in the organization were meant to be the tank platoons. A dismounted tank hunting team can do a lot of great things, but it is not an M1.

A Light Cavalry Troop had two Scout platoons in HMMVWs with 50s/Mk19s and two AT platoons in HMMVWS with TOW plus the mortar section. They could occasionally go with a scrambled organization with mixed platoons.

The danger I see with our rebranding both tank and recce sqns as "Cavalry" is that neither of our structures are set up to execute a US Cavalry role. We could certainly form Cavalry Squadrons with one or two tank troops and one or two recce troops, but that would not necessarily be able to execute what a BG Comd would want from a full tank squadron. This may sound like semantics, but terms do matter if they lead a recce sqn to try to act like something else.

The CA and the RCAC need to come up with the roles and tactical tasks and then come up with doctrine, structures and equipment. What I am really curious about is having the same organization, structure and training for a Cav Tp with TAPV, a Cav Tp with LAV6 and a Cav Tp with Leo 2A6. I mean you can run a recce tp with four cars, but why? Does a TAPV "Cav Tp" really manouevre the same way as a Leo 2A6 "Cav Tp?"

I think articles like this will certainly help stimulate the discussion!
 

MSmith

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Thanks for taking the time to read it through and respond!
Your article highlights what can happen when we rebrand something without also giving it a force employment concept... With the US Army, a Cavalry Troop has the role of protecting and preserving the fighting ability of other combined arms forces. Its primary missions are reconnaissance and security... The CA and the RCAC need to come up with the roles and tactical tasks and then come up with doctrine, structures and equipment.
This really neatly summarizes the crux of the issue and I wish I could have articulated it myself - what do we want our Cav sqns to do, especially if the doctrine and TTPs are being homogenized?

When I was reading through the Dispatches for the lessons of the RCAC from Afghanistan, the introduction struck me as veryprecisely laying out the employment concept of the RCAC:

"The role of armour is to defeat the enemy through the aggressive use of firepower and battlefield mobility. The role of reconnaissance (recce) is to obtain accurate tactical information on the enemy and the ground in all phases of war and pass it quickly to the higher command. The RCAC generates distinct capabilities to successfully perform these roles: a direct-fire manoeuvre capability (tanks), an armoured recce capability, and a manoeuvre command capability. Through superior battlefield mobility and shock action, the armour capability (tank) contributes highly lethal, manoeuvrable direct fire platforms designed to defeat the enemy at range with extreme accuracy. This includes intimate support to infantry and engineers in close combat. Armoured recce contributes superior mobility, aggressive action and logistics economy to obtain, synthesize, and fuse timely, accurate information that leads to the pre-emption or defeat of an adversary. Mounted manoeuvre command is an expertise-shared with mechanized infantry and remains a unique but critical expertise that harmonizes time and space with a refined expertise of armour, mechanized and manoeuvre capabilities."

Now, I suppose you could add a third role (cavalry) and a fourth capability (cavalry with the force structure of American cavalry). However, as I mentioned I think you've hit the nail on the head in noting that no one has clearly defined what we want the Corps to do now. Is it the previous roles of armour and recce as defined above, both at the same time? This is what I suspect the RCAC envisions with the current cavalry concept. Or is it something more like what you describe here:

With the US Army, a Cavalry Troop has the role of protecting and preserving the fighting ability of other combined arms forces.



A Canadian Recce Sqn has been designed to screen a brigade frontage. It used to have an Assault Troop that could provide dismounts and tank hunting teams when the situation warranted it. I don't necessarily agree that a Recce Sqn (or rebranded Cav Sqn) with a screen task always needs to be putting out tank hunting teams. Certainly at MRs I have had OPs remain in place undetected for some time as the enemy bypassed them. In some cases we had a counter-recce plan but that was not the primary task. If the value proposition of a Cav Sqn is dismounted tank hunting teams then perhaps there is another organization that could already do it?

Their Heavy Cavalry Troop had two Scout Platoons in M3 Bradleys and two Tank Platoons in M1s plus a Mortar Section. The only infantrymen were the mortarmen. The M3s had two Scouts in the back who could dismount, but they were not infantry. The Scout platoons would lead, executing tactical tasks that would be quite familiar to Canadian armoured recce tps. Although the M3s had TOW and 25mm, on offensive operations they would only engage in emergencies - the tank platoons would come up to deal with hard targets. In defensive operations the firepower of the M3s would likely be integrated into the plan, but the killers in the organization were meant to be the tank platoons. A dismounted tank hunting team can do a lot of great things, but it is not an M1.
I suppose I should temper the arguments in the article a bit - I'm not trying to advocate dismounted THTs as a silver bullet for every situation. Working with the assumption that the cavalry concept will continue and be adopted in its current state, all other things equal (including combining tanks/LAVs/TAPVs in a sqn continuing to be verboten), the argument I was trying to make is that we're going to need dismounted THTs if the squadrons will have any chance of surviving against a mechanized enemy if asked to do what the cavalry concept is threatening to offer the Canadian Army. Maybe some additional background on what is being proposed would help the article, along with ORBATs of an "old" recce sqn and a "new" cav sqn as proposed by the RCAC. I should definitely be more clear about this.

The danger I see with our rebranding both tank and recce sqns as "Cavalry" is that neither of our structures are set up to execute a US Cavalry role. We could certainly form Cavalry Squadrons with one or two tank troops and one or two recce troops, but that would not necessarily be able to execute what a BG Comd would want from a full tank squadron. This may sound like semantics, but terms do matter if they lead a recce sqn to try to act like something else.
Certainly, and this is what struck me from the Dispatches introduction as well when it described characteristics of each capability. I think it worth noting that the combination of tanks and recce vehicles nulls some of their key characteristics listed, certainly mobility and logistics economy. I'm sure that the same would go for a Bde Comd asking a "heavy cav" (tank) squadron to continuously perform security tasks expected of a recce sqn, and being frustrated by the logistical difficulties in maintaining that. Splitting one troop from the squadron created a logistical nightmare on MR21 for me - the implications for echelons and maintenance would be serious if each recce squadron also had to sustain a troop of tanks. That's not to say the juice isn't worth the squeeze but it needs to be considered.

Again, I appreciate the feedback and insight!
 

MSmith

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I found your article interesting especially from the point of view that we seem to be experimenting with possible solutions in an ad hoc manner. It interests me in that we continue to rely on the ingenuity and "make it work" attitude of our soldiers and junior officers rather than any deliberate process of purposeful analysis. TAPV itself appears to have been a knee jerk reaction to one situation without a proper overarching analysis of what is truly needed over the entire spectrum of combat that the CAF might be committed to.
Thanks as well for taking the time to read and for the detailed response, I thought your comments below were particularly helpful. Having someone within the squadron who has a direct line to the fires net and the expertise to get rounds on target quickly is something I did not really appreciate. In the first draft I made some uneducated comments about how integrating organic mortars would get rounds on target far quicker, and was promptly corrected by a previous JTAC/FOO who had experience on a US Marine Ex where the turnaround from platoon call for fire to div guns was >4 mins. Not necessarily a question of what is between the sqn and source of IDF but who is between them, and having a pro is always better than AACFF while trying to fight a troop/vehicle simultaneously.

I'll have to confirm with people who were in the recce sqn for this ex but I don't believe they had a FOO attached here. So in short, I completely agree with your comments on the requirement for a dedicated FOO/JTAC. When you say dedicated FSCC - you mean another vehicle just for coordination in addition to the FOO/JTAC vehicle? Ie, breaking out the Bn FSCC down to Cav Sqn level?
Besides the vehicles and crews themselves comes the enablers.

In my days as an FOO we rotated around. During the screen or guard some of us would be in DS to them. Once we passed lines our affiliation changed to predesignated battalions and OPs in the main defence and some were prepared to revert to the tanks if a counterattack phase was called for. All that reshuffling is not optimal. Current FOO/JTACs have the LAV OPV which is yet again a barn door when deployed forward. I've quickly come to the conclusion that if the recce force is to become cavalry with its more robust mandate then it needs a dedicated FSCC and dedicated FOOs/JTACs equipped with vehicles that match those of the cavalry and still have the technology required for effective indirect fire support.

I'm a fan of mortars and UCAVs. The two systems have different effects - mortars more anti-personnelish and UCAVs more anti-materielish. I can't see why a mortar platoon can't do both as they systems are generally needed at different stages of a fight. UCAVs as the enemy approaches, mortars once they shake out and dismount. It just requires a C&C system and vehicles and weapons to easily go either way. IMHO, every battalion and the cavalry element (whether a squadron or regiment) should have an organic mortar/UCAV platoon supplemented by the heavier systems of the artillery which should also have a heavier, longer range UCAV capability.

I'll leave air defence. It's a necessity but we're in such poor shape that it just becomes navel gazing. Suffice it to say that bot anti-UAV and manpad systems should be part and parcel to the cavalry whether organic or as an attachment is immaterial at the moment.

Pioneers? Engineers? Again not too sure to what extent engineer capabilities should be organic to the cavalry or be attached from the brigade's engineer elements. It's absolutely clear that engineering support is needed at certain. The real question is whether that's a temporary use needed solely when the positions are prepared or whether its an ongoing need. If the former than attached for the time needed; if the latter than organic and equipped with vehicles that match the mission. My gut tells me its temporal and therefore ought to be an engineer attachment while needed and then withdrawn for other tasks.

As to the new paradigm - all that I can say is "Jack of all trades, master of none."
 

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I'll have to confirm with people who were in the recce sqn for this ex but I don't believe they had a FOO attached here. So in short, I completely agree with your comments on the requirement for a dedicated FOO/JTAC. When you say dedicated FSCC - you mean another vehicle just for coordination in addition to the FOO/JTAC vehicle? Ie, breaking out the Bn FSCC down to Cav Sqn level?
Not necessarily.

We operate in Arty tactical groups now where we have one FSCC (run by the Battery comd and an FSCCO) and usually three FOO/JTAC teams (give or take - in Afghanistan we sometimes had four FOO/JTAC teams - these days we're sometimes down to two). There are three such tactical groups per regiment, generally one per manoeuvre battalion but on occasion they have to move around. It's always tricky math when you have three battalions and an armoured regiment and only three Arty Tac Groups.

For example back in the Cold War days it was not unusual to assign a battery commander and a couple of FOOs to the screen/guard and two BCs and their observers to the two forward battalions. Once the screen/guard collapses, that forward BC and his FOOs would go to the reserve battalion.

In addition there is an artillery CO and his Ops officer who form the FSCC at the brigade headquarters.

Long story short, at the very least there should be one FOO/JTAC assigned to whoever is out front - if its a light screen maybe just one; if its a heavy guard, it may be a whole Tac Gp. Regardless, some gunner is in charge of the indirect fire support for that fight. It could be a battery comd and his FSCC for a larger guard or it may be just a FOO/JTAC run directly from the bde HQ by the CO and his Ops O or one of the BC's FSCC from one of the forward battalions if its just a light bde screen. It's flexible depending on the situation. In addition there should be at least one gun battery assigned in direct support of the screen/guard during that phase of the operation (albeit it's also sometimes a tactical move to mask the artillery as much as possible during the screen to save it from counter bombardment - at other times you want to strike to force deployment and delay - it's all situational)

I would say then as a rule of thumb, you should see a FOO/JTAC acting as your observer and FSO if its just the squadron out there on a screen and a BC and his FSCC and a few FOOs/JTACs if you have a battle group sized guard.

All that said, exercises sometimes aren't as well supported as they should be. We have far too many manoeuvre commanders (both bn and coy) who have only had fleeting contact with their gunners - especially out west where most of the force is in Edmonton and the gunners are in Shilo and you only work together a couple of times per year, perhaps.

IMHO, if the changeover to cavalry as a more aggressive tool in the defence really comes to fruition with a more heavily armed squadron then it really demands more intimate indirect fire support. Hopefully that's a lesson from Ukraine that takes hold here.

🍻
 

markppcli

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Really interesting, thanks!

So my take away is that the answer to the Cavalry question, sometimes, is 'Light Infantry', right? ;)

Our solution was to create dismounted AT teams based on 4 pers with Carl G(ustav)s. We had limited access to ATVs and Tac Hel for movement/infiltration and they had a fall back plan to the nearest OP. Their task was to destroy recce and vanguard elements as they advanced towards the main screen line. The enemy had done their estimate and were looking for Coyotes and TAPVs (which were easy to find in that terrain) but were not looking for/could not find small, well placed AT teams. These teams were extremely effective in hitting the enemy before they could be seen and cause attrition, chaos and a lack of SA (situational awareness)/recce for the enemy. These teams were extremely effective, destroying 30+ vehicles throughout the exercise. Since we had limited resources and dismounted teams are slow by their nature, it required detailed terrain analysis to identify the 2 or 3 likely manoeuvre axis which is where we would set up the teams.9
I always find the employment of AT teams on an exercise something of a awkward situation. On one hand the skills need to be practiced; but when you don’t need to worry about carrying the rounds, the weapon signature, or actually hitting the target / the effect on the target it tends to skew the results pretty heavily.
 

daftandbarmy

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I always find the employment of AT teams on an exercise something of a awkward situation. On one hand the skills need to be practiced; but when you don’t need to worry about carrying the rounds, the weapon signature, or actually hitting the target / the effect on the target it tends to skew the results pretty heavily.

Yeah... being dug in as a rifle company with all the 'bells and whistles' of the main defensive position must be a bit different than having your ass in the breeze out in the covering/ flanking force world.

I know guys who went up against East German armour, in a dismounted role, in South Africa/Namibia.

They did a good job, but didn't enjoy it much. ;)
 

GK .Dundas

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Yeah... being dug in as a rifle company with all the 'bells and whistles' of the main defensive position must be a bit different than having your ass in the breeze out in the covering/ flanking force world.

I know guys who went up against East German armour, in a dismounted role, in South Africa/Namibia.

They did a good job, but didn't enjoy it much. ;)
Could you expand on this , the use of armour during that time and period is an interest of mine.
 

markppcli

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Yeah... being dug in as a rifle company with all the 'bells and whistles' of the main defensive position must be a bit different than having your ass in the breeze out in the covering/ flanking force world.

I know guys who went up against East German armour, in a dismounted role, in South Africa/Namibia.

They did a good job, but didn't enjoy it much. ;)
I mean okay, but my point is more that they way we train it ignores the many draw backs it can have.
 

GR66

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Are advanced aerial sensors changing the basic role of ground based mounted recce? If large armoured vehicles are increasingly difficult to hide on the battlefield then is the role of mounted recce shifting more to locating the ATGM-toting dismounts that are protecting the more easily located vehicles?

If so, then does that change what you're looking for in your recce vehicles and how you expect them to operate?
 

MSmith

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Are advanced aerial sensors changing the basic role of ground based mounted recce? If large armoured vehicles are increasingly difficult to hide on the battlefield then is the role of mounted recce shifting more to locating the ATGM-toting dismounts that are protecting the more easily located vehicles?

If so, then does that change what you're looking for in your recce vehicles and how you expect them to operate?
I think thats what T2B was getting at - what is the role of our new cavalry? Certainly drones change the equation but they still have their own limitations (battery, weather, very local range, stuff breaks, etc)
 

MSmith

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I always find the employment of AT teams on an exercise something of a awkward situation. On one hand the skills need to be practiced; but when you don’t need to worry about carrying the rounds, the weapon signature, or actually hitting the target / the effect on the target it tends to skew the results pretty heavily.
Point taken - The weight perhaps, but given the standoff/soft launch/fire&forget characteristics of a javelin for example, maybe its not far off to what could be. A perfect simulation it is not, but I don't think its extremely far off. Asking someone to do this in real life with a Carl G would not be fun nor very survivable but I think still doable. That is part of the reason why I spent so much time in the article discussing the well known fact among the Army / CANSOFCOM that we need something better than the CG.
 
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