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Canada's tanks

FJAG

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If we want status quo, aka we remain a satrapy under American Hegemony with increasingly little say in our affairs, we continue on the path we are on.

Look at this map of light pollution in the World:


All I see when I see that map and look at Canada is that we are America's strategic reserve.
That's a good map and I'm constantly surprised at how far north civilization penetrates in Alberta and even Saskatchewan.

I don't think of Canada as the US's strategic reserve as much as a buffer zone.

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Humphrey Bogart

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That's a good map and I'm constantly surprised at how far north civilization penetrates in Alberta and even Saskatchewan.

I don't think of Canada as the US's strategic reserve as much as a buffer zone.

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Those lights you see up there are the Oil & Gas Industry in full swing. Take a look at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska for added effect.

We are their strategic reserve because we possess vast amounts of untapped natural resources that, if required, could be utilized to fuel an American War Machine.

Other than Russia, who else has that Trump Card in their backyard?
 

blacktriangle

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If the current fleet can be brought to a common, modern standard for a reasonable price, then do so. Employ in a cavalry role in Europe alongside LAVs. It also allows you to retain tanks for a rainy day - such as another Afghanistan.

Focus on bringing other capabilities to the table - UAS, NLOS ATGMs/Loitering munitions, Light Inf ATGM Tms w/ mobility assets, LRPF/AD, EW etc.
 

CBH99

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Ultimately the issue is do we buy kit - tanks, LAVs, HIMARs, ships, helicopters - that we hope we will never have to use? Or do we just hope we will never need them?
I'd reckon a bit of both.

We know we will use fighter jets, transport aircraft, SAR aircraft, etc. We also know we will use ships to fly the flag among various naval fleets, and good handshaking opportunities overseas.

We know we purchase these things for the sake of sovereignty, SAR, and contributing to international operations in a relatively safe way. Flying in supplies, strategic & tactical transport, rescuing people in distress, etc - all things that people like to see their armed forces doing when it hits the press.


LAVs, MBTs, ATGMs, and other things that make a big 'boom' noise... I reckon we buy that kit hoping we won't ever have to use them. The government will buy the minimum number the CAF says it requires, sometimes even less - and they hope they don't get dragged into an international situation where the Army has to go do Army stuff.
 

FJAG

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... The government will buy the minimum number the CAF says it requires, sometimes even less - and they hope they don't get dragged into an international situation where the Army has to go do Army stuff.
I think that the issue is more complex than that.

Our last three war efforts (all in Afghanistan but divided into Op Apollo, Op Athena 1 and Op Athena 2) were all politically driven at a point in time when there was no direct threat to Canada. In each case the government of the day drove the decision to participate and the military had to pick and choose amongst its capabilities as to what we could send. This was complicated by the fact that the Army had just progressed on a program of transformation from a Cold War army to a lighter equipped one.

Each of the first two ops were shoestring operations - Apollo on a light infantry battalion with minimal enablers which did match the US's involvement at the time. One of the major reasons we went with the Americans in 2001/2 was that the Brits didn't want Canada as part of the first ROTO of ISAF. Our Deployment to Kabul in 2003 on Athena 1 was because NATO was running short of countries volunteering to lead ISAF rotos and, more importantly, we and the Germans and later the French, did not want to participate in Bush's coalition in Iraq. A then mostly peaceful Kabul was a good political option. Our force was fairly light but some of the key enablers we thought we would need were not in our inventories (such as CM radars and UAVs) and had to be bought rapidly by way of UORs. The full deployment to Kabul was only planned for one year because with the commitments we still had in the Balkans, the Army was stretched to the breaking point.

Athena 2 to Kandahar was also a political move. Hillier who had been running ISAF in the latter part of 2004 knew that NATO was pressuring Canada to take over one of the expansions of PRTs planned for the next few years. NATOs focus was for Canada to take on Herat. Hillier thought that didn't have enough "visibility" for Canada and suggested we take over Kabul airport and while there is now a certain amount of 20/20 hindsight debate, it seems most probable that the push to take on Kandahar came out of the PMO/MND offices for the same visibility reasons, i.e. we wanted the Americans to see our contribution which they didn't while we were in Kabul. The commitment there rapidly grew from the PRT to a battlegroup for security and finally a Regional Command/brigade headquarters. Once again, we ended up having to emergency buy equipment for the deployment, most notably M777 howitzers and in short order bringing over tanks. Don't get me started on the lash-up that is the NSE.

I think what experience should be teaching us is that governments make political decisions on the deployment of the military. It should behoove the military to spend its $26 billion wisely so that it has viable options to present to the government during that decision making process. The more and more that I see of capability deficiencies the more I conclude that a) the government is limited in its options and/or b) we send troops into harm's way without the proper tools without the government appreciating the situation. It's my view that while governments may wish to minimize risk they also appreciate that at some point in time a military option is necessary so that they can do something, or more importantly, to be seen to be doing something, and at that point they expect the capabilities to be there because of the investments the government has been making.

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GR66

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I think a fairly good argument could be made that there are other assets which could provide a greater deterrent to the Russians than any armoured force of a size that Canada could afford to maintain in Europe. Realistically even a full Canadian ABCT equivalent would not significantly alter the balance of forces between NATO and Russia beyond the obvious political effect.

To be honest I simply don't see the political will to re-deploy a Canadian Brigade Group to Europe. With all the other major expenses for the CF in the future (CSC, new fighters, NORAD modernization, general equipment upgrades, etc.) in my personal opinion no government will approve the cost of stationing basically 1/3 of our Army overseas.

Possibly more ISR assets to better detect any Russian build-up in order to provide NATO (especially the US) more warning of a potential Russian attack and therefore more time to build up our own forces in the region would be of greater practical benefit. How much cheaper would 4-6 Globaleye AEW&C aircraft be to purchase and operate than an Armoured Brigade? Which might have a greater potential strategic impact?

We could purchase an additional 12 x F35's and earmark them specifically for deployment to Europe in case of a conflict. They would get there and into action much faster than any fly-over ground troops. A Regiment of HIMARS might have as much or greater impact than our available tank forces and because of their range they could be stationed further back from the front than an armoured force could. Station our tanks to close to the border and they risk being targeted in the initial Russian attack and destroyed before we can employ them...station them a safe distance away and it may take them too long to get into a useful position to block a limited Russian offensive.

IF it's determined (politically and militarily) that tanks would provide the best credible deterrent against a potential Russian attack then this is what I would recommend:

  • We have enough tanks currently to equip a full Tank Regiment plus an additional Tank Squadron.
  • I would pre-position the vehicles for the Tank Regiment in Europe (Eastern Germany or Poland?) and garrison the troops and the additional Tank Squadron (to be used for training) in Edmonton/Wainright.
  • Select a location for the Regiment that has an airfield, access to existing training areas and ideally co-location with a host unit that also uses the Leopard tank.
  • The Regiment could be embedded into one of the host nation's higher level formations as their armoured component. This would provide the supporting elements that would be missing by deploying a stand-alone Tank Regiment instead of a combined arms Battle Group (or Brigade Group).
  • Possibly some of the routine maintenance of the vehicles could be contracted out to the host nation which might be cheaper than keeping a large Canadian maintenance staff stationed there.
  • Readiness of the Canada-based Squadrons could rotate so that while one Squadron is in rest and refit, one is training with the Squadron remaining in Wainright and the third does a fly-over exercise with the host nation. The Alberta-based Reserve Armoured Regiments (South Alberta Light Horse and King's Own Calgary Regiment) could also train on the Leopard and take part in the rotations.

There are a couple of advantages to this option over some other possible European force deployments.
  • As a fly-over only force (as opposed to permanent overseas basing) the cost of pre-positioning a Tank Regiment is considerably less than a permanently manned European CFB.
  • The personnel required to man a Tank Regiment is considerably less than an Infantry Battalion or Combined Arms Battalion so the airlift burden to get the unit there in a crisis would be less.
  • As an all tank unit, the logistics required to supply the Tank Regiment would be somewhat simplified vs a combined arms unit with multiple vehicle and weapon types.
  • By embedding with a host nation formation that also uses the Leopard we could make use of their logistics system to support the Regiment. Our logistics system could feed beans and bullets into their B Eschelon and their B & A Eschelon units could move them forward.

This may not be an optimal solution, but I think it's probably the most politically (economically) acceptable solution at this time.
 

ueo

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In my opinion and this only the opinion of a guy who only completed High School, and was a Private in the infantry then a pay clerk , so take it with a grain of sand from the Mattawa Plains.

The US of A has an on going shortage of water in various States, there is a huge need for water. They have looked at moving river flows and changing the natural direction of flow. Very few rivers flow from the US into Canada, a lot of rivers go south. Control the water they are giving power of life to farmers and people who do not have water. ( Votes collected).

They have a population that is growing faster and the need for space to grow and sustain that population is bigger than they have now. Their farms are competing with South American countries where they are close to getting 2 growing seasons as they play with plant DNA and develop crops that require less growing time and less heat units to grow ( I attended a farmers meeting in Iowa in the early 2000s and this was the Federal Agriculture Departments future take on farming on in South America). So they cannot give up more farm land to build on as they will need that land to grow and raise food on. Since they look at the map of Canada they see nothing north of border beyond the 150 mile mark of any importance. The land is prime for the take over. Lots of farm land ripe for the taking.

From things I read over the years the US policy was to fight incoming missiles and bombers over Canadian territory to save their own land we are expendable in their eyes. So a quick take over is very possible and there would be little to no help coming to defend Canadian Soil unless the UK decides to defend us, or unless the the Russian Bear decides that defending Canada is in their interest.

I am a person of history and enjoy Canadian military history facts and events.
Second main reason we do not have a lot of tanks is public relations and the view of tanks in the streets of old Montreal and Quebec City in the 1970s. I have read headlines, such this one from CBC

Troops, tanks roam Quebec streets during the October Crisis https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/october-crisis-troops-tanks-roam-quebec-streets

I have never seen pictures of tanks in the streets, maybe some one has some but I have never one, I have seen trucks, jeeps and helicopters deployed but no tanks. I have looked for them, seen M113, Lynx APC, ferrets, but no actual tanks.

I did an essay on the FLQ crisis back in Grade 13 Canadian History ( the teacher said it was beyond his knowledge what I researched) so I got good marks on it.

The elected officials on all levels of governments did not like the idea of a tracked vehicles in the old quarters of Montreal and Quebec City, so that lead in part to the start of the AVGP family coming to Canadian Army. For future Social up risings it would look better on the news if the army came on wheeled assets and the wheels did not damage the streets and ruin the cobble stone look. I forget the book that this bit of information came up in. But the government thought wheels would work better for the times and in the future. No tracks, no tanks on the streets. Did not want the look of a 3rd world government trying to control its people thru tanks, to be how Canada was viewed by the world. Think China and Tiananmen Square and the man facing down a tank, it made headlines around the world. No one wants to see that on the front page and it be a Canadian tank inside the walls of Quebec City.

But those of you in the know and would know much better than I .

This might be a good read on Canadian Tanks and the future plans, it was dated 2014 so it might be old news and way out of date but the facts and figures remain the same.

Unless we get more heavy lift aircraft, or ships able to deliver tanks to the location, we will only ever deploy the least number of tanks required and a few spares in case of whatever, breakdowns, or combat losses. Unless things change deploying 20 tanks will be the limit of what we can do just like we did in Afghanistan, 15 plus 5 spares.

Like I said just my views and opinions

Opie out
Spares, as in vehicles? How about spare parts and maint capability beyond
whats in the truck at first line.
 

Colin Parkinson

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daftandbarmy

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Meanwhile in Norway


Speaking of driving tanks in Norway:

 
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A passing thought.
The USMC are restructuring their forces to focus on the Pacific (China). The focus will be on missiles and unmanned equipment. China's navy and missiles may chew through the landing ships. (you all can go find the articles as it would take pages to explain. The Marine Corps Is About to Reinvent Itself—Drastically

As a result they are reducing much of the traditional asset complement including Tanks, IFVs, artillery, amphibious vehicles, etc. This could be a great opportunity to re-equip the CAF quickly and at "possibly" affordable prices. Current inventory (retain majority of LAVs and Logistics vehicles) could be sold/donated to Ukraine or other Eastern Flank NATO members.
M1A2s, M109s, EFVs, AAVs, AH1s, UH1s, and specialty and logistics vehicles.
 

suffolkowner

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I think our tanks should be upgraded to a single standard one way or another. If we cant do it now in these circumstances when can we?

Does it matter if the upgrade is done by Rheinmetall or KMW or RUAG? Do they all have access to the same upgrade paths?

Alternatively maybe its the right time to move to the Abrams
 

KevinB

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I think our tanks should be upgraded to a single standard one way or another. If we cant do it now in these circumstances when can we?

Does it matter if the upgrade is done by Rheinmetall or KMW or RUAG? Do they all have access to the same upgrade paths?

Alternatively maybe its the right time to move to the Abrams
You aren’t going to get anything for the Leo for quite sometime. Germany has half its tank fleet as unusable and is needing to upgrade/return those to duty and get more.

The only place with real production ability for ‘excess’ MBT is here with the Abrams M1A2 SEP V3 and beyond.
 
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