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Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen

ballz

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A great article by Maj Cole Petersen which makes one wonder if we need to rethink our mechanized tactics.
 

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dapaterson

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I particularly like

"hybrid enemy" (which, in fancy buzzword talk, appears to mean anyone with more capability than flipflops and an AK-47)
 

Infanteer

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..and here. Sign up is free.

https://www.tjomo.com/article/17/Wrong_Technology_for_the_Wrong_Tactics_The_Infantry_Fighting_Vehicle/
 

Fabius

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How to actually best employ the LAV in genenal and specifically on the offensive is an interesting question and I will admit to misgivings about both the currently espoused method in which we treat it like an IFV or even worse an HAPC and also the thought of relegating it to a Zulu harbour.  Obviously my misgivings on the first point are due to doubts about the survivability of the vehicle and its associated infantry section during a battle run onto an enemy defensive position, the doubts about the wisdom of the second point are I think largely due to the severe lack of integral firepower within the current dismounted infantry construct (admittedly this is maybe starting to change… we will see how much).

I think as an interesting comparison for what the offensive doctrine could look like is to look at the doctrine the US Army has developed for the Striker Brigade Combat Team Infantry Battalions.  Some of this doctrine is found in the US Army pam ATP-3-21.21 SBCT Infantry Battalion dated March 2016, so really quite recent.  (This pam is open source material available via google or various other means)

Overall the takeaway from the SBCT doctrine is I believe that despite the comparative abundance of Brigade, Division and Corp level combat support enablers present in the US Army supporting an SBCT, they firmly do not believe that the Striker Infantry Battalions with their infantry carrier vehicles with 50 cals and 40mm AGLs, 120mm SP mortars and 105mm MGS and dismounted ATGMs have the weight of armour and/or firepower to allow them to act as armoured infantry and utilize what I think I would define as armoured firepower conveying shock action in the same method as their Combined Arms Battalions do.
This is borne out by several specific statements within the above mentioned pam.

Firstly, “The Striker vehicle should be used to either provide direct fires on the enemy in support of the infantry or capitalize on the platforms speed and mobility if a covered and concealed axis of attack is identified that the enemy cannot effect. The battalion commander should not assume risk and utilize the striker vehicle as a fighting platform to close the distance on the enemy if exposed to enemy fires” pg 4-4.  To me that statement when paired with the following one “Soldiers should dismount their vehicles before the maximum effective range of the most likely enemy direct fire weapons system on the last know point of enemy detection.” pg 4-12 para 4-67 clearly indicates that the US Army does not believe using the LAV as we do in our combat teams is a great idea due to issues of survivability against peer level direct fire capabilities. Rather they use the vehicles to get their dismounts close but under cover and not exposed to enemy direct fire and or observation and the dismounts take it the rest of the way onto the objective.

However the following two statements also indicate to me that they do not view the relegation of the platform to a zulu hide as the ideal solution either.  “ The Striker Infantry Battalion uses a frontal attack with its infantry while the ICV, MGS and mortars provide support by fire” pg 4-4 and then  “Where possible the SBCT attacking unit uses dismounted avenues of approach with cover and concealment that avoid strong enemy defensive positions. The striker vehicles remain behind their infantry and support their movement by occupying a support by fire position. The unit uses obscurants to conceal its movement with cover and concealment are not available” pg 4-27 Para 4-163.  I think the pam is fairly clear in that they intent to use the RWS stations they do have and the MGS to support the attack but not in an intimate support role like we have adopted. The pam does however indicate that the support by fire position needs to be adopted by a covered and concealed route and that the position cannot engage before the attacking dismounts have come in contact due to concerns about survivability and the impact of losing any of the infantry carrier vehicles.

Given that perspective does the presence of a 25m gun on our LAVs and the added armour and firepower of a squadron of MBTs reduce the risk to our infantry battalions sufficiently to allow us to employ the LAV in the manner of an IFV or HAPC in a heavy armoured brigade context? Good question…

It may be interesting to see if the presence of the 30mm RWS on the 2nd Cavalry Regiments Strikers changes any of the US Army doctrine as another comparison point.


 

Infanteer

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Fabius said:
However the following two statements also indicate to me that they do not view the relegation of the platform to a zulu hide as the ideal solution either.

...nor should we, if the situation dictates another useful role for the empty carriers.  However, the SBCT doesn't possess main battle tanks, so they need to rely on Stryker-based fires to support the infantry.  If we've got tanks in a firebase, do we need to clutter it up with 25mm fire as well?

The baseline should be dismount in the attack position and then move carriers to a zulu harbour.  If the situation dictates augmenting the firebase or suitable positions for screening a flank or acting as cut-off, then by all means employ some or all of the empty carriers in that fashion.  The commander must weigh the risk of not employing the vehicles in this manner against the risk of losing a vehicle or two, which essentially knocks out the section it was carrying for future tasks as well.
 

ballz

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The conversation about whether we should be driving up 50m in front of EN trenches to dismount as brought up by a very astute Adjt (now OC) in our Battalion and my conclusion from that was that there is a very dogmatic belief among most of our officers that the DS solution to all problems is dismounting as close to the trenches as possible. I'm glad to know there are more and more people starting to question this...

I know we were only using WES gear, but for me Maj Petersen's arguments were confirmed on Maple Resolve in the summer... I really didn't ever feel comfortable with any LAVs exposed to any kind of line of site. And it wasn't long after that queezy feeling in my stomach were our WES systems telling us we were being bracketed.
 

b00161400

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The temptation to use the guns is almost unavoidable.

I remain by my stance that a heavy APC would be a great way to go for forces that are designed to fight in conjunction with a MBT.  Perhaps most importantly is that the section carrier is equipped with weapons that are more for self defence, this will keep us from wanting to put them in the line of fire constantly.  The bn equipped with these carriers could still have some kind of mounted direct fire platform but it should be in a bn direct fire support organization rather than part of an infantry section.
 

ballz

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Haligonian said:
The temptation to use the guns is almost unavoidable.

I remain by my stance that a heavy APC would be a great way to go for forces that are designed to fight in conjunction with a MBT.  Perhaps most importantly is that the section carrier is equipped with weapons that are more for self defence, this will keep us from wanting to put them in the line of fire constantly.  The bn equipped with these carriers could still have some kind of mounted direct fire platform but it should be in a bn direct fire support organization rather than part of an infantry section.

But, as the author states (probably pretty accurately), we've got what we've got and so we need to learn to use them in the most effective way possible.

We can still use the 25mm cannon without driving it up onto the objective full of troops, keeping the risk lower for both the vehicles and the personnel.
 

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ballz said:
But, as the author states (probably pretty accurately), we've got what we've got and so we need to learn to use them in the most effective way possible.

We can still use the 25mm cannon without driving it up onto the objective full of troops, keeping the risk lower for both the vehicles and the personnel.

What is the range of the 25mm when fired at high elevation and indirectly controlled?
 

b00161400

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Chris Pook said:
What is the range of the 25mm when fired at high elevation and indirectly controlled?

It's max range is upwards of 24,000 meters.  We don't shoot it indirectly so I doubt anyone could tell you what its max effective would be in such a role.  Having said that it is not designed in any way to be employed in such a manner.  It's FCS would be useless and at a shell size of 25mm I'm not sure what you could achieve with it firing indirectly....
 

ballz

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Chris Pook said:
What is the range of the 25mm when fired at high elevation and indirectly controlled?

Not really tracking the follow-on of your question... You didn't think I was inferring we use it for indirect fire, did you?
 

Kirkhill

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Actually, I was, ballz.

My thinking is an extension of how the Vickers Guns were used by the Brigade MG Battalions in WW2 and also how the Bofors 40mm of the Light Anti-Aircraft Regiments were used when "bouncing the Rhine" (as described by George Blackburn).  Both were used in sustained fire missions along fixed lines to supply suppressive fire.  Essentially doing the work of mortars.

In the absence of mortars I have often wondered why consideration hasn't been given to massing platoon and company 25mms in defilade and using them to cover the advance of troops on the ground.

Also, given the development of the XM25 with 25mm counter-battery airburst computer rounds, and the extension of the capability to everything from 20mm AAA to 84 mm CG-84s why consideration isn't given to upgrading the guns to firing computer controlled rounds.

Just sayin'.  If I were a youngster with the opportunity at Wainwright I would be looking for an opportunity to try something other than dogma.


Edit:  Some examples of the rounds I am thinking about

Known as ‘programmable ammunition’, this new technology makes it possible for any larger gun to fire shells that can be programmed to explode with pinpoint accuracy, either before, above or inside a target. Adaptable to several weapon platforms, including 40 mm grenade launchers, 30 mm guns, 120 mm tank ammunition and M-72 rockets, this makes the technology ideal for dealing with a number of different threats, including drones.
  http://soldiersystems.net/2017/09/14/dsei-nammo-introduces-programmable-ammunition/

As technologies evolve, weaponry needs to keep pace
and offer cutting-edge capabilities. Programmable
ammo is just one innovation that is set to revolutionise
the battlefield for dismounted infantry.
Built with future requirements in mind, the Carl-Gustaf M4
is compatible with intelligent sighting systems, and
prepared for programmable ammo, ensuring your
forces have advanced technology at their fingertips.
  https://saab.com/globalassets/commercial/land/weapon-systems/support-weapons/carl-gustaf-m4/image-download/carl-gustaf-m4_8pg_brochure_d6.pdf

XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE)
The XM25 is a next-generation, semi-automatic weapon designed for effectiveness against enemies protected by walls, dug into foxholes or hidden in hard-to-reach places.

The XM25 provides the soldier with a 300 percent to 500 percent increase in hit probability to defeat point, area and defilade targets out to 500 meters. The weapon features revolutionary high-explosive, airburst ammunition programmed by the weapon's target acquisition/fire control system (TA/FC).
  https://www.orbitalatk.com/defense-systems/armament-systems/cdte/

I could also cite examples in 30 mm, 35 mm, 40 mm and 57 mm.

 

MJP

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Chris Pook said:
Just sayin'.  If I were a youngster with the opportunity at Wainwright I would be looking for an opportunity to try something other than dogma.

We did it in Afghanistan to test capability and it doesn't work well.  Wind really pushes the rounds around and and it certainly didn't feel like a good beaten zone like a C6 or .50. 

Granted it certainly wasn't done with any kind of scientific rigor but it felt off compared a series of well sited purpose made MG posns.
 

dapaterson

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If manufacturer claims held up under scrutiny, we'd have an entirely different military...
 

Infanteer

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Problem with the concept (if I recall my ballistics correctly - AGI please correct me!) is that the 25mm Bushmaster has no recoil and is stabilized to the point that there isn't a beaten zone, reducing its value in creating a cone or oval of fire when fired indirectly.
 

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ballz said:
The conversation about whether we should be driving up 50m in front of EN trenches to dismount as brought up by a very astute Adjt (now OC) in our Battalion and my conclusion from that was that there is a very dogmatic belief among most of our officers that the DS solution to all problems is dismounting as close to the trenches as possible. I'm glad to know there are more and more people starting to question this...

This would be an interesting war fighter study. Take a coy of experienced infantry dug in, take a coy of experienced mech inf conduct an attack using WES (or something better) where you role up right on the position and dismount. Repeat multiple times where you hold the terrain and weather as a constant, but flip up the defenders / attackers. Come up with a constant number range with respect to casualties / kills (both pers and LAVs). Be aware that you might need to do it quite a few times (I think over 30 to develop parametric numbers) before you can find a constant range emerge. If I was to guess I bet by 10-20 times you would have a sound range, even if you had to use a non-parametric data set. Once you have a number range you trust then repeat using different tactics to see if you can beat the constant for the 50 m dismount.

Only if we have companies of guys sitting around with nothing better to do but advance the art and science of warfare... assuming that this tactic is important to reinforce / dismiss in our doctrine.

MC
 

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MedCorps said:
This would be an interesting war fighter study. Take a coy of experienced infantry dug in, take a coy of experienced mech inf conduct an attack using WES (or something better) where you role up right on the position and dismount. Repeat multiple times where you hold the terrain and weather as a constant, but flip up the defenders / attackers. Come up with a constant number range with respect to casualties / kills (both pers and LAVs). Be aware that you might need to do it quite a few times (I think over 30 to develop parametric numbers) before you can find a constant range emerge. If I was to guess I bet by 10-20 times you would have a sound range, even if you had to use a non-parametric data set. Once you have a number range you trust then repeat using different tactics to see if you can beat the constant for the 50 m dismount.

Only if we have companies of guys sitting around with nothing better to do but advance the art and science of warfare... assuming that this tactic is important to reinforce / dismiss in our doctrine.

MC

There is scientific rigor to this which lends a lot of credibility to the outcome, but I've seen enough iterations unfold as you described while an OCT on Maple Resolve to feel quite confident in the outcome....
 

daftandbarmy

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MedCorps said:
This would be an interesting war fighter study. Take a coy of experienced infantry dug in, take a coy of experienced mech inf conduct an attack using WES (or something better) where you role up right on the position and dismount. Repeat multiple times where you hold the terrain and weather as a constant, but flip up the defenders / attackers. Come up with a constant number range with respect to casualties / kills (both pers and LAVs). Be aware that you might need to do it quite a few times (I think over 30 to develop parametric numbers) before you can find a constant range emerge. If I was to guess I bet by 10-20 times you would have a sound range, even if you had to use a non-parametric data set. Once you have a number range you trust then repeat using different tactics to see if you can beat the constant for the 50 m dismount.

Only if we have companies of guys sitting around with nothing better to do but advance the art and science of warfare... assuming that this tactic is important to reinforce / dismiss in our doctrine.

MC

the '3 to 1 rule of thumb' suggests you'd need a BGp to attack a dug in Coy. Add a Regt of 155mm into the mix while you're at it.
 
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