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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

Kirkhill

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Thanks for the video. I watched the Canadian one as well. That one was interesting for how much the three regiments seem to organize things based on unit SOPs or quiffs.

The Swedish one actually interested me quite a bit and almost has me at the point where maybe my view that the three (heavy, medium, light) battalions' should fundamentally have the same dismounted organization TTPs etc.

I do favour the combined arms battalion concept and the Swede's have a lighter, more flexible organization than that found in the ABCT. (Incidentally I see very little purpose in the "regimental" structure other than as a base and training structure that remains in situ after the battalions are assigned to one or the other of the two brigades. I can think of about a dozen better ways of doing that.

It made me think that with roughly 22 tanks and roughly 30-35 IFVs per battalion we could reorganize 1 CMBG to consist of three Swedish style combined arms battalions and have gear left over to give to the reserves 😉 .

I'm ambivalent as to whether or not our tankless mechanized battalions should also change to a lighter structure that puts more emphasis on fighting the vehicle rather than the dismounted battle. Cutting 2 and 5 CMBG's 12 x LAV companies to11 LAVs each could generate enough extra LAVs to mechanize the two remaining light battalions' six companies.

It feels a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic - but maybe with a purpose. But then there's the Russian BTGs.

🍻

Maybe the Russian BTG is a demonstration of how not to do things.

First the Russian BTG doesn't just organize the Close Combat elements. It also distributes the Fire Support elements to the BTG. The Russians can compensate for that with their Arty Brigades so that isn't as much of a hindrance as it might be for us. We're probably better concentrating the Artillery and Engineers at the Brigade and Division levels.

Second the Russian employment of the BTG: there seemed to be little evidence of co-ordination in thie war. From the beginning the emphasis seemed to be to disperse the BTGs, and even their Companies, as broadly as possible.

Armies were assigned sectors. Brigades sent in their BTGs along the width of that sector. BTGs progressed as far and fast as they could until they ran out of gas or they hit resistance. If they hit resistance then they held with the engaged company and sent the other companies out looking for parallel routes to employ. They created a front, metaphorically, a mile wide and an inch deep. They lacked focus and concentration of forces. They were not economical in their effort. There was no mutual support across BTGs, Brigades or Armies or even across the entire invasion force. And they struggled with administration.

Although they got their offensive action the only people they surprised were their own (and the rest of the world outside of Ukraine). They may have selected an aim but they failed to let their troops know about it and the force at large couldn't maintain it. As a result they also failed to maintain the morale of their troops.

And there seems to have been a lack of unity in command.

They invited defeat in detail.

So the BTG may be more a case of a fair to middling idea, if implemented within the context of the Brigade Group, executed abysmally in practice.

The Combined Arms Battle Group, I think, has much to commend it.

In the Canadian Context that Swedish Battle Group might be compared to a Square Combat Team

22 Leos vs 20 Leos (including the spare)
24 CV9040s vs 15 LAV 6.0s
114 Rifles vs 105 Rifles (Each LAV holds 10 of which 3 stay with the vehicle leaving 7 dismounts from each of 15 LAVs = 105)

So we are not a mile away from fielding 3 such Teams

We can even find healthy Recce Platoons to add to the Team and make a fair fist of a Pioneer Platoon although we lack the AVLBs
The biggest issues are

the lack of any AD capability, much less a platoon for every Square Combat Team, and

the lack of 8 Self Propelled 120mm Mortars for each Square Combat Team., and

the lack of an AT system for the dismounts.


I you put all of that together then, to replicate the Swedes within our current scheme you would combine the Strathconas and 1 PPCLI at Wainwright.

You would form three Square Combat Teams of one Tank Squadron and one LAV Company with a total of 60 tanks and 45 LAVs and 315 dismounts.

You would form a Recce Coy of 3 Platoons, for each Combat Team.

You would form an Armd Engineer Squadron with 9 AEVs and 3 AVLBs

You would form an RRCA SHORAD Battery with 12 MSHORADs

You would form an RRCA Battery with 24 Self Propelled Mortars (I prefer the AMOS to the Mjolnir) and 12 FOOs.


That would create a deployable Heavyish Medium Force that would need a separate SPH Regiment or 24 guns in support and a MRAD battery, with an additional Force Recce/ISR element (large Sqn or a Bn), a Brigade level Armd Engineer Squadron with AEVs and Bridging Gear.

Then start piling on the logistics support , the meds and the sigs.


The one area the Swedes are deficient is in Medium to Long Range ATGMs. Bolting on some Javelins to the LAVs would solve that. Adding some LAMs to the inventory would also be useful.

And now you have, within our means, if not our grasp, one deployable heavy brigade.



And the RCAC has 2 full time regiments left.
The RCIC has 7 full time battalion HQs left
The RRCA has 3 full time regiments with 9 batteries left
The RCE has 3 full time regiments left.

Plus access to the Primary Reserve System


And an insufficiency of transport, logistics, meds and sigs.


Edit: In this context that CCV project looks to have been another own goal. An opportunity missed.
 

GR66

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(1) What does a Armd Recce Sqn give you that a Infantry Company doesn't? How is an Armd Recce Sqn, with fewer people, more suitable for peacekeeping/stability operations?
In a post-Afghanistan world I imagine future peacekeeping/stability operations will be less about direct combat operations by our forces and more about support for indigenous partner forces. That would include providing area surveillance, etc. including aerial observation (UAVs) which I am assuming will be a near future evolution in our Armoured Recce Squadrons.

Partly this shift will be due to lessons learned (foreign forces have limited ability to influence local political factors without local forces taking the lead in operations) and a general reluctance to take casualties (and inflict civilian casualties).
(2) How is "three medium battle groups" not a "Medium Brigade?"
As I don't see Canada ever deploying a full Brigade Group for Stability operations the Battle Groups could be organized to have integral support elements directly at the Battle Group level rather than ad hoc attachments per deployment. Special capabilities (armour, artillery, etc.) that may only be required for specific missions could still be attached when required, but forward support, engineering/CIED support, Psy-Ops, Comms, etc. which would typically be required on virtually any peacekeeping/stability operation could be integral so that they habitually train together.
 

Kirkhill

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And the RCAC has 2 full time regiments left.
The RCIC has 7 full time battalion HQs left (Edit - Error - 8 full time battalions left)
The RRCA has 3 full time regiments with 9 batteries left
The RCE has 3 full time regiments left.

Plus access to the Primary Reserve System


And an insufficiency of transport, logistics, meds and sigs.

And I forgot to add the 2 full time Brigade HQs.

Put that lot together with 1 Cdn Div HQ

and you end up with

1 Canadian (Armoured) Brigade Group with 3x Combined Arms Battle Groups and a SP Artillery Regiment (Alll Corps)

2 Infantry Brigades with 4 Infantry Battalions each (sort out light, medium,, para, reg, reserve at leisure) (RCIC)
1 Artillery Brigade (RRCA)
1 Divisional Recce/ISR Regiment (RCAC)
1 Divisional Anti Tank Regiment. (RCAC)
 

KevinB

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In a post-Afghanistan world I imagine future peacekeeping/stability operations will be less about direct combat operations by our forces and more about support for indigenous partner forces. That would include providing area surveillance, etc. including aerial observation (UAVs) which I am assuming will be a near future evolution in our Armoured Recce Squadrons.
Armoured Recce Squadron in Canada is simply a way to keep Armor PY's
The fact that people still talk about them like they'd be viable is actually quite humorous at this point.
 

FJAG

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In the Canadian Context that Swedish Battle Group might be compared to a Square Combat Team
I don't want to run away from the main theme here, but this and some of the other threads got me thinking.

For example your discussions about the Marines and their "large" platoons got me wondering if these aren't in reality more like small companies which is what you see with the Swedes.

In the same way, we've discussed the suitability of the LAV 6.0 as to it's usefulness as an IFV. Some here see it on a level of parity. That, and the fact that the two sides fighting right now are not fielding the pinnacle of the state of the art equipment. That makes me say that we shouldn't hesitate to field a battalion made up of Leo 2 A4s and LAV 6.0s. Sure we should strive for better but we shouldn't write off the usefulness of what we have.

Basically we do have enough tanks and enough LAV6s in 1 CMBG to form three Swedish style combined arms battalions. Yup our mortars and TOWs aren't under armour and we don't have a proper cavalry regiment but do have recce. And yes, we do need to use M777s for the guns but basically it's doable.

We could put together a mechanized brigade based on combined arms battalions. If the will was there.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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I don't want to run away from the main theme here, but this and some of the other threads got me thinking.

For example your discussions about the Marines and their "large" platoons got me wondering if these aren't in reality more like small companies which is what you see with the Swedes.

In the same way, we've discussed the suitability of the LAV 6.0 as to it's usefulness as an IFV. Some here see it on a level of parity. That, and the fact that the two sides fighting right now are not fielding the pinnacle of the state of the art equipment. That makes me say that we shouldn't hesitate to field a battalion made up of Leo 2 A4s and LAV 6.0s. Sure we should strive for better but we shouldn't write off the usefulness of what we have.

Basically we do have enough tanks and enough LAV6s in 1 CMBG to form three Swedish style combined arms battalions. Yup our mortars and TOWs aren't under armour and we don't have a proper cavalry regiment but do have recce. And yes, we do need to use M777s for the guns but basically it's doable.

We could put together a mechanized brigade based on combined arms battalions. If the will was there.

🍻

Pretty much like every other army, depending on what we decided to field, the commander would just have to do his appreciation and choose his battles accordingly.
 

daftandbarmy

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I don't want to run away from the main theme here, but this and some of the other threads got me thinking.

For example your discussions about the Marines and their "large" platoons got me wondering if these aren't in reality more like small companies which is what you see with the Swedes.

Re: Large Platoons... Army Commandos in WW2 contained six 'Troops' of 65 all ranks each.

This specific number was connected to the capacity of the landing craft they raided from, so some similarities with the rationale for the size of the modern armoured Infantry section:


ORGANIZATION AND TRAINING OF BRITISH COMMANDOS

Origin.

During the winter of 1939-1940, and prior to the Norway campaign, twelve independent volunteer companies, one from each of twelve British divisions were formed. These companies were trained to perform especially hazardous tasks in support of divisional operations. Upon conclusion of the Norway campaign, and in June 1940, these twelve companies were formed into six independent battalions. In February 1941, these were regrouped into eleven commandos which now comprise the Special Service (SS) Brigade. Conversation with several officers indicated that while it was believed that this S.S. Brigade originally should have been comprised of Marines, this was not possible at the time as the Royal Marines were unable to furnish the required personnel.

Missions.

The primary mission of the S.S. Brigade is to carry out raids. Raiding parties may vary in size from a small reconnaissance group to a complete commando or even a larger force. Secondary missions are:

(1) To act as an elite or shock assault brigade to seize and hold a bridgehead to cover a landing in force.
(2) To provide especially trained covering forces for any operation.

Organization.

The S.S. Brigade functions under the Advisor for Combined Operations (A.C.O.). The A.C.O. acts in an advisory capacity to, and executes the orders of, the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Imperial Defence Council. The staff of the A.C.O. consists of officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Royal Marines. The S.S. Brigade is commanded by a Brigadier who has both an operational and an administrative staff. The Brigade, however, does not train, nor does it function normally as a Brigade, but as separate commandos which are stationed in various parts of the British Isles and abroad. The S.S. Brigade is entirely serviced by the Army.

The commando consists of approximately 25 officers and 450 enlisted men, all of whom are volunteers. The unit is organized into a commando headquarters and six troops. The former consists of seven officers and 77 enlisted men organized into Administrative, Intelligence, Signal, and Transport Sections. In addition there are attached: one surgeon, seven Royal Army Medical Corps personnel and two Royal Army Ordnance Corps men.

Each troop consists of three officers and 62 enlisted men, organized into a Troop HQS. and two sections. Troop HQS. consists of a Captain (C.O.), a troop sergeant major and an orderly (runner and batman). Each section (1 officer and 30 enlisted men) is commanded by a Lieutenant. The section is composed of two or more subsections (squads of six to eight men each. Subsections are commanded by sergeants. It will be noted that the section is exactly suitable for boating in one Assault Landing Craft (A.L.L.).


 

GR66

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I don't want to run away from the main theme here, but this and some of the other threads got me thinking.

For example your discussions about the Marines and their "large" platoons got me wondering if these aren't in reality more like small companies which is what you see with the Swedes.

In the same way, we've discussed the suitability of the LAV 6.0 as to it's usefulness as an IFV. Some here see it on a level of parity. That, and the fact that the two sides fighting right now are not fielding the pinnacle of the state of the art equipment. That makes me say that we shouldn't hesitate to field a battalion made up of Leo 2 A4s and LAV 6.0s. Sure we should strive for better but we shouldn't write off the usefulness of what we have.

Basically we do have enough tanks and enough LAV6s in 1 CMBG to form three Swedish style combined arms battalions. Yup our mortars and TOWs aren't under armour and we don't have a proper cavalry regiment but do have recce. And yes, we do need to use M777s for the guns but basically it's doable.

We could put together a mechanized brigade based on combined arms battalions. If the will was there.

🍻
Do you not risk diminishing the value of your tanks by tying them intimately to a vehicle that has less mobility than they do? Penny packets of tanks somewhat reminiscent of the Jock Columns of WWII. A traditional Heavy(-ish) Brigade Group with a Tank Regiment and two LAV Battalions would allow the Tanks to concentrate their power when required but could break into Battle Groups/Company Groups when appropriate.
 

KevinB

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Do you not risk diminishing the value of your tanks by tying them intimately to a vehicle that has less mobility than they do?
Which is why I think a CV90 type vehicle is the best ISV/IFV for tank equipped Bde and Battle Groups.
 

FJAG

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Do you not risk diminishing the value of your tanks by tying them intimately to a vehicle that has less mobility than they do? Penny packets of tanks somewhat reminiscent of the Jock Columns of WWII. A traditional Heavy(-ish) Brigade Group with a Tank Regiment and two LAV Battalions would allow the Tanks to concentrate their power when required but could break into Battle Groups/Company Groups when appropriate.
I don't think that we have very many potential areas of operations where you can have grand sweeping tank assaults. Most are close terrain dotted with woods and villages, towns and cities where combined arms operations are the norm. US Combined Arms battalions are of two types, two armour heavy and one infantry heavy. Further, ABCT doctrine incorporates attaching companies from one combined arms battalion to the other and as such they could easily generate a pure tank battalion or pure mechanized infantry battalion if appropriate.

I too believe that the LAV is less manoeuvrable than its tracked equivalents but its what we have. I've long been a believer in the Rumsfeldian philosophy of 'going to war with the army you have' so you might as well develop phase 1 of your doctrine to match what you have in hand. That's not to say that you shouldn't have a coherent plan to get you to a phase 2 doctrine which lets you build the army that you need.

One should never forget that the blitzkrieg tactics that are still at the heart of our armoured warfare today, started off with Panzers I and II which basically mounted medium machine guns and a 20mm gun respectively. (and two years later, phase 2 brought Mark III and IVs and shortly after that Phase 3 brought Panthers and Tigers)

🍻
 
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markppcli

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Do you not risk diminishing the value of your tanks by tying them intimately to a vehicle that has less mobility than they do? Penny packets of tanks somewhat reminiscent of the Jock Columns of WWII. A traditional Heavy(-ish) Brigade Group with a Tank Regiment and two LAV Battalions would allow the Tanks to concentrate their power when required but could break into Battle Groups/Company Groups when appropriate.

Ehhh the mobility stuff… the way we move in a combat team, which is really just about ensuring the Tanks and Infantry are in place to mutually support each other for a given operation and have the required support, mitigates a fair bit of the disparity.
 

Brad Sallows

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Operational mobility was the important characteristic of the early WWII armoured/mechanized/motorized forces. Size of gun and thickness of armour occasionally tactically important, but the real impact was wheels (and some tracks).
 

Skysix

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Tangentially, Northern focus? Not seeing it yet just promises, or am I just not looking in the right places? China might be more of a concern than Russia as far as Arctic access and resource exploitation but....

 

GK .Dundas

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According to all the Canadian experts (Well those that matter anyway) the tank is obsolete in the Canadian context.
The above btw is a quote in a position paper done for the Canadian government in the early 70s .
This is how we almost ended up with Scorpion and we did end up with the Cougar.
We are still feeling the effects and dealing with that paper almost 50 or so years later.
Well that we're pretty much an infantry-centric army have been since pre confederation.
The struggle for tactical and strategic mobility is one that we seem to know well. Coming up with working answers seems to be the problem.
 

KevinB

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Anyone saying the tank is obsolete, probably should be ignored.
Of course the tank isn’t a stand alone system, and needs a proper IFV to work effectively, as well as proper Engineering vehicles etc.
 

GK .Dundas

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Anyone saying the tank is obsolete, probably should be ignored.
Of course the tank isn’t a stand alone system, and needs a proper IFV to work effectively, as well as proper Engineering vehicles etc.
When he happens to be the chief foreign affairs and national security adviser to the Prime Minister, ignoring him is a bit problematic.
Google Ivan Head.
 

Ostrozac

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I like the concept of the Combined Arms Bn, but I think the Brigade Combat Team is honestly the smallest deployable reasonable entity, and combinations should be based on flexibility from that.
On paper, everyone agrees with you on the importance of the brigade. Even policy. From SSE: “The Army trains to fight at the brigade group-level.” We sent a brigade to West Germany and we sent a brigade to Korea. We’ve known this for a while.

But in practice, building brigades is hard work. And building combat teams and battle groups is comparatively easy and fun! And due to internal army politics, some of the most important enablers in modern warfare are being neglected because they are tied to cap badges that lack influence — Signals, EME, Intelligence.
 

GK .Dundas

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Sometimes I honestly believe I could improve army efficiency by a good 75-80 percent.
The trick is to get the various regimental associations into the same room and make it look like an accident.
And some days I am only partially joking......it doesn't have to look like an accident..
We really are our own worst enemy.
 

Kirkhill

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Sometimes I honestly believe I could improve army efficiency by a good 75-80 percent.
The trick is to get the various regimental associations into the same room and make it look like an accident.
And some days I am only partially joking......it doesn't have to look like an accident..
We really are our own worst enemy.

Reorganization by hand-grenade. Call the meeting. Step out. Toss in hand grenade. Close door. Wait 10 secs. Open door. Reorg whatever is left over.

I went through that with a Swedish manager parachuted into a Danish company.
 

rmc_wannabe

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On paper, everyone agrees with you on the importance of the brigade. Even policy. From SSE: “The Army trains to fight at the brigade group-level.” We sent a brigade to West Germany and we sent a brigade to Korea. We’ve known this for a while.

But in practice, building brigades is hard work. And building combat teams and battle groups is comparatively easy and fun! And due to internal army politics, some of the most important enablers in modern warfare are being neglected because they are tied to cap badges that lack influence — Signals, EME, Intelligence.
This.

We have gutted capabilities in CS and CSS, in favor of bolstering the pointy end.

As the Russian folly in Ukraine shows, doesn't matter how awesome your combat capabilities are, they need to be able to get to the objective, with proper int, and with an ability to pass the message back when things are entirely fucked.

The fact is most of our B Fleet is completely rusting out (MSVS SMP excluded... but with some problems). It's all well and good to have LAV6 and ACSV coming online, but those beasts need a lot to keep moving.

If you can't move parts, fuel, ammunition, or food to service those crews in the 2nd or 3rd Line of Support... then you're hooped. If you can't communicate effectively throughout the battle space, because your Comms suites are junk, you're hooped. If you lack the ability to paint an adequate threat picture within the AO, you're hooped.
 
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