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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

TangoTwoBravo

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Going back to capabilities and the threat for a moment, let's do a little thought experiment. Assume that we have deployed a CMBG HQ to a theatre as part of a multi-national division that is in turn part of a multi-national force. This is a surge - it is not going to be a rotational deployment. Perhaps it is somewhere in the Middle East or Caucasus and the force has the mission of liberating a nation or part of a nation that has been taken over by a 2nd World opponent that has Russian equipment. Russia is staying out of it, but their advisors put in place a very effective integrated air defence network. The enemy has Brigade Tactical Groups with a variety of AFVs. They have SP tube artillery and several battalions of rockets. They have Russian EW and AD at the BTG and Div level.

Let's say that our CMBG is tasked with a penetration of the enemy defences through which a US force will pass.

The integrated air defence network will make it very difficult for us to rely on things like CP-140 Auroras conducting ISR, and we cannot just rely on our supporting air force dropping JDAMs on enemy position. Our UAVs will have difficulties with the enemy EW and AD - doesn't mean that they cannot operate but it will not be Kandahar either. I don't think that coalition space assets would be neutralized in this scenario - a big difference from facing a true peer.

So what?

Our own Ground Manouevre Reconnaissance will need to be robust to make up for difficulties faced by our airborne ISR. Our fire support will need to be able to neutralize/destroy targets without relying on airpower. Our M777s can certainly put fire down, but are they up to the challenges of a fight against a mechanized enemy with robust counter-battery? Do we rely on coalition fires (our bigger brothers) or would some kind of long range rocket system (HIMARS) be worth the investment in money and people? Our own EW will need to be able to assist with sense as well as disrupt the C2 of the enemy system.

Our assembly areas used in traditional tactics will be quite vulnerable to enemy fires - hanging around in the open will not be a good idea. A means to neutralize enemy UAVs will be required in order to buy us some time when manouevring.

Looking at tactics, we tend to focus on the enemy platoons/companies/battalions. Maybe we need to focus on the key systems that make up their Snow Down? I am not just saying we should use Targeting - perhaps our manouevre should be aimed at disrupting their system. We did something like this as a Div working in a Corps a few years ago on a CAX. You have to take a CAX with a healthy grain of salt, but once our tanks penetrated to where the enemy rocket systems were operating their defence fell apart. Taking positions just meant we continued to get shellacked by rockets...Anyhoo.

I think our field HQs need to be smaller and more mobile. What capabilities in our HQ complexes are we willing to sacrifice to gain that mobility?

How many battalions/regiments would we offer up in trade for these capabilities? Is there danger in building capabilities into the Brigade that normally reside at Div? Is there danger in not doing so?
 

blacktriangle

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Looking at tactics, we tend to focus on the enemy platoons/companies/battalions. Maybe we need to focus on the key systems that make up their Snow Dome?
IMO, you're correct.

I see one big problem. The Army is not as comfortable "fighting systems" as the other services. So I think many would prefer to let someone else take care of the problem.
 

Kirkhill

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As was mentioned in the Snowdome article "there is nothing new".

In my opinion the Snowdome is analogous to the phalanx, the testudo, the shieldwall, the schiltron, the tercio and the square. The "solutions" are to mass troops at a weak spot, or to stand back at a safe distance and wear the defenders down by lobbing lots of missiles into their midst. I suggest that the more stuff you have to lob in the general direction of the foe then the fewer troops you have to mass and risk.

Consequently I am in favour of standing back as far as you can and lobbing a lot of cheap rounds as fast as possible to do five things:

1 Deny them the ability to resupply or retreat. (Box Barrage)
2 Overwhelm the enemy's ability to discriminate between targets (EW, Decoys, Lots of cheap inaccurate missiles (Hamas vs Iron Dome))
3 Eat up the enemy's supply of ammunition (See Hamas vs Iron Dome)
4 Attrit the enemy's vehicles (Husband Precision Rounds for employment after enemy's defences attrited)
5 Attrit the enemy's troops (Husband own troops until enemy vehicles and troops attrited).

Number 6 is to launch troops to "break the square (snowdome)"

Tubes launching missiles, precision and dumb, real and decoy, bullets or bombs or rockets, from aircraft, uavs, helos, ships, trucks or AFVs. Or manportable ground mounts.

Lots of tubes. Lots of missiles.

At Agincourt 1000 English "knights" and 5000 English archers faced 10,000 "knights", 10,000 men-at-arms and 5000 archers.

The English won with 300,000 arrows in their wagon train.

Emphasis on long-range crew-served weapons - especially for the "cavalry" and the "infantry".
 

FJAG

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...Assume that we have deployed a CMBG HQ to a theatre as part of a multi-national division that is in turn part of a multi-national force.
I'll assume you meant CMBG and not just the HQ.
...Let's say that our CMBG is tasked with a penetration of the enemy defences through which a US force will pass.
...
Our own Ground Manouevre Reconnaissance will need to be robust to make up for difficulties faced by our airborne ISR.
Absolutely agree and not just for this scenario but all. The need to fight for info and time has become more difficult and necessary.
Our fire support will need to be able to neutralize/destroy targets without relying on airpower.
Absolutely again.
Our M777s can certainly put fire down, but are they up to the challenges of a fight against a mechanized enemy with robust counter-battery?
IMHO the M777 is absolutely incapable of providing fire support for mech operations against an enemy with adequate indirect fire resources even if we provided 18 guns v 8 to a brigade because of their limited mobility and complete lack of armour. Even if we provide armoured crew vehicles like we did in Afghanistan for moves, the guns will be out of action during counter battery. All of Canada's M777s should be relegated to light air mobile capable brigades. Mech brigades need automated, armoured SPs. I don not care if they are wheeled or tracked although I prefer tracked.
Secondly, our supply system was severely challenged at times to keep artillery ammunition supplied in the relatively low quantities demanded in Afghanistan. The system needs a serious overhaul.
Do we rely on coalition fires (our bigger brothers) or would some kind of long range rocket system (HIMARS) be worth the investment in money and people? Our own EW will need to be able to assist with sense as well as disrupt the C2 of the enemy system.
There will always be a point where enemy artillery capable of hitting our manoeuvre elements will be out of range of close support artillery. Longer range systems are no longer an option but mandatory. They are a div and higher resource so should be part of the international force we belong to ... but ... the only way one can guarantee it as a resource available to the Cdn CMBG is if we own our own and they become part of the international div artillery with a caveat that we have a priority call when required.
Our assembly areas used in traditional tactics will be quite vulnerable to enemy fires - hanging around in the open will not be a good idea. A means to neutralize enemy UAVs will be required in order to buy us some time when manouevring.
Definitely.
Looking at tactics, we tend to focus on the enemy platoons/companies/battalions. Maybe we need to focus on the key systems that make up their Snow Down? I am not just saying we should use Targeting - perhaps our manouevre should be aimed at disrupting their system. We did something like this as a Div working in a Corps a few years ago on a CAX. You have to take a CAX with a healthy grain of salt, but once our tanks penetrated to where the enemy rocket systems were operating their defence fell apart. Taking positions just meant we continued to get shellacked by rockets...Anyhoo.
Taking that Snow Dome down needs to be done comprehensively prior to the attack. Keeping it down is a task that needs to be continuously dealt with through a wide variety of means including manoeuvre elements.
I think our field HQs need to be smaller and more mobile. What capabilities in our HQ complexes are we willing to sacrifice to gain that mobility?
I know field headquarters have grown throughout Afghanistan because of their mostly static nature. I don't really know how large battalion and brigade field headquarters are these days. In my, Cold War, days the biggest element was always the Sigs Sqn (whose antennae farm was always the biggest projectile magnet) with the number of bde HQ staff around 35 before adding on the FSCC, the ESCC, the TACP, etc. I presume these days with better EW and ASIC resources they have grown even more.

There's only so far you can downsize before losing casualty redundancy and 24/7 effectiveness. I personally think the "penthouse" has been the worst add-on to bde and below headquarters ever invented because they both impede immediate mobility and generate a work practice that takes people out of their armoured vehicles where they have a level of protection from surprise strikes. I think the maintenance of comms and the ability to function fully "under armour" are the key challenges facing all levels of field headquarters.
How many battalions/regiments would we offer up in trade for these capabilities? Is there danger in building capabilities into the Brigade that normally reside at Div? Is there danger in not doing so?
I honestly don't think that you need that many.

I can see a heavy brigade repurposing one infantry battalion so that the two remaining ones and the armoured regiment form three combined arms battalion. There will be some need to form a cavalry battalion (I tend to think of it as a battalion rather than a regiment - so that the zipperheads don't lay an automatic claim to it.) but that manning can come from several sources depending on how it is organized.

Do light and medium brigades need two full-time infantry battalions? or can one of them be a 10/90 or 20/80 battalion. (That still leaves you three battle group infantry battalion HQs to form deployable battle groups around in each brigade)

In most cases its repurposing and a better system of integrating reserve forces. I've said it before, about 80% of gun/rocket battery jobs and STA can be done by reservists. A much lower percentage for the FSCC/FOO battery and service support battery. Much of the manning for a Svc Bn's transport platoons can be reservist. Infantry battalions can have a fair number of reservists in the support company and much of a cavalry battalion's recce, inf, UAV and ATGM personnel at the coy level can be reservist.

The sine quo non is that we need to desperately reform the reserve system so that regular force brigades are capable of operating day-to-day from their internal resources and that there is a viable system of calling up reservists (and not just as "volunteers" - the last time I looked section 31(1) of the NDA still allowed for the obligatory placement of reservists on active service); that the Army create a better training system for reservists; and be willing to be a tad less risk averse.

None of these issues are insurmountable. Most of the organizational issues are well within the Army's control, a very few need CAF/NDHQ participation (principally funding for relatively low numbers of equipment the Army doesn't have and shouldn't go to war without.) Basically the biggest thing the Army lacks is an open mind.


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TangoTwoBravo

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As was mentioned in the Snowdome article "there is nothing new".

In my opinion the Snowdome is analogous to the phalanx, the testudo, the shieldwall, the schiltron, the tercio and the square. The "solutions" are to mass troops at a weak spot, or to stand back at a safe distance and wear the defenders down by lobbing lots of missiles into their midst. I suggest that the more stuff you have to lob in the general direction of the foe then the fewer troops you have to mass and risk.

Consequently I am in favour of standing back as far as you can and lobbing a lot of cheap rounds as fast as possible to do five things:

1 Deny them the ability to resupply or retreat. (Box Barrage)
2 Overwhelm the enemy's ability to discriminate between targets (EW, Decoys, Lots of cheap inaccurate missiles (Hamas vs Iron Dome))
3 Eat up the enemy's supply of ammunition (See Hamas vs Iron Dome)
4 Attrit the enemy's vehicles (Husband Precision Rounds for employment after enemy's defences attrited)
5 Attrit the enemy's troops (Husband own troops until enemy vehicles and troops attrited).

Number 6 is to launch troops to "break the square (snowdome)"

Tubes launching missiles, precision and dumb, real and decoy, bullets or bombs or rockets, from aircraft, uavs, helos, ships, trucks or AFVs. Or manportable ground mounts.

Lots of tubes. Lots of missiles.

At Agincourt 1000 English "knights" and 5000 English archers faced 10,000 "knights", 10,000 men-at-arms and 5000 archers.

The English won with 300,000 arrows in their wagon train.

Emphasis on long-range crew-served weapons - especially for the "cavalry" and the "infantry".
While I think we have to be careful with historical analogies, I am going to flip your script. The English longbowmen are the Snow Dome and we are the French Knights trying to get at those men at arms inside it.
 

Ostrozac

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What really worries me is that the equipment that we most desperately need was identified quite some time ago, and some even had named projects assigned to them. No equipment actually arrived. I'm thinking about armed UAV (the JUSTAS project), long range rocket artillery (the LRPRS project) and manportable ATGM (the ALAAWS project). As an institution, we have looked at the problem, we have understood the problem, but we weren't able to deliver a solution.

We also struggle with boots, backpacks and pistols -- so I probably shouldn't be surprised that a procurement system that can't supply such basic equipment also can't deal with the most modern tools of war, but I am disappointed. And worried, worried that one day we will over promise on our capabilities to either cabinet or our allies, and will have to pay the price when our deficiencies are called out on the battlefield.
 

Kirkhill

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While I think we have to be careful with historical analogies, I am going to flip your script. The English longbowmen are the Snow Dome and we are the French Knights trying to get at those men at arms inside it.

Fair enough. Agincourt was 1415. The wins went back and forth until 1453 and the Battle of Castillon. The definitive solution was, arguably, cannonballs and powder, increasing the stand off range and replacing muscle power with chemical power.

Tubes and missiles.

Ostrozac has it about right. The issue is not that the necessary kit has not been identified. It, and its ammunition, and the necessary training, hasn't been bought.
 

FJAG

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While I think we have to be careful with historical analogies, I am going to flip your script. The English longbowmen are the Snow Dome and we are the French Knights trying to get at those men at arms inside it.
If only we were the well-equipped knights.

We're more like the French men-at-arms who had to follow the first wave of knights on foot and slog in their cheaper armour through the mud and dead and dying horses and knights while everyone and their uncle was raining down 30" of Ash with a wicked barbed steel point on the front.

:giggle:
 

McG

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To me that means that each brigade should have …
an engineer regiment with three squadron HQs and an assortment of troops providing a minimum of two of each (preferably three) of mine clearance and EOD, vertical and horizontal construction, combat engineer and water supply;
What do you think you are saying here, because I don’t think I am understanding. Are you asking for brigades to have three troops dedicated to water supply? Three EOD troops?
 

FJAG

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What do you think you are saying here, because I don’t think I am understanding. Are you asking for brigades to have three troops dedicated to water supply? Three EOD troops?
Not at all. I'm saying that each brigade should have an engineer regiment and that each regiment should have three squadrons so that there would be an ability to create three squadron deployments for three battlegroups with the brigade. I'm saying that I'm not sure how many and what type of troops the regiment should have but that the Eng R should be capable of doing two simultaneous rotations with a capability of supplying those functions (as well as whatever additional functions Eng Sqns provide to deployed battlegroups) simultaneously. I doubt that a whole troop is used to provide water supply which I understand is a function currently provided from within the Support Squadron as required.

Currently an Engr R has two field squadrons, a support squadron a CIED squadron and an Admin sqn. My suggestion on the structure with the troops is so that if the brigade deploys a single battlegroup that requires engineer support then one of the sqn HQ can deploy with the BG with sufficient troops of a nature that can provide the requisite engr support for the BG regardless of whether the troop is one of its organic troops or with attached elements from another squadron. Basically I want the engr regt to be able to provide a minimum of two such squadrons simultaneously (or preferably three)

Just a thought.

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MilEME09

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Not at all. I'm saying that each brigade should have an engineer regiment and that each regiment should have three squadrons so that there would be an ability to create three squadron deployments for three battlegroups with the brigade. I'm saying that I'm not sure how many and what type of troops the regiment should have but that the Eng R should be capable of doing two simultaneous rotations with a capability of supplying those functions (as well as whatever additional functions Eng Sqns provide to deployed battlegroups) simultaneously. I doubt that a whole troop is used to provide water supply which I understand is a function currently provided from within the Support Squadron as required.

Currently an Engr R has two field squadrons, a support squadron a CIED squadron and an Admin sqn. My suggestion on the structure with the troops is so that if the brigade deploys a single battlegroup that requires engineer support then one of the sqn HQ can deploy with the BG with sufficient troops of a nature that can provide the requisite engr support for the BG regardless of whether the troop is one of its organic troops or with attached elements from another squadron. Basically I want the engr regt to be able to provide a minimum of two such squadrons simultaneously (or preferably three)

Just a thought.

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Same idea as RCEME Battalions having 6 companies, 1 recovery, 1 heavy vehicle/tracked, 1 wheeled vehicle, 1 light vehicle, 1 ancillary, a HQ, plus a training platoon. Strange how we have the doctrine for it but have never been organized like that since probably the 50s.
 

CBH99

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What really worries me is that the equipment that we most desperately need was identified quite some time ago, and some even had named projects assigned to them. No equipment actually arrived. I'm thinking about armed UAV (the JUSTAS project), long range rocket artillery (the LRPRS project) and manportable ATGM (the ALAAWS project). As an institution, we have looked at the problem, we have understood the problem, but we weren't able to deliver a solution.

We also struggle with boots, backpacks and pistols -- so I probably shouldn't be surprised that a procurement system that can't supply such basic equipment also can't deal with the most modern tools of war, but I am disappointed. And worried, worried that one day we will over promise on our capabilities to either cabinet or our allies, and will have to pay the price when our deficiencies are called out on the battlefield.
Not to derail this thread, as we do have the Procurement thread - but I couldn’t agree more.

The sad part is that none of these procurements should have been particularity challenging, or overly expensive. It’s the government’s insistence that we do things “a certain way” - which means involving several other federal agencies, and follow certain roadmaps - a system which the government has acknowledged repeatedly is broken.

Decide on a pistol that makes sense. Figure out how many you require. Buy them. We ARE NOT legally obligated to give certain companies business, or buy their product if they complain. They use our own system of extreme accommodation against us.

The only way to field new capabilities quickly is with a UOR, and by that time - in this context - it won’t be adequate.
 

Kirkhill

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What really worries me is that the equipment that we most desperately need was identified quite some time ago, and some even had named projects assigned to them. No equipment actually arrived. I'm thinking about armed UAV (the JUSTAS project), long range rocket artillery (the LRPRS project) and manportable ATGM (the ALAAWS project). As an institution, we have looked at the problem, we have understood the problem, but we weren't able to deliver a solution.

We also struggle with boots, backpacks and pistols -- so I probably shouldn't be surprised that a procurement system that can't supply such basic equipment also can't deal with the most modern tools of war, but I am disappointed. And worried, worried that one day we will over promise on our capabilities to either cabinet or our allies, and will have to pay the price when our deficiencies are called out on the battlefield.

Thinking more about this:

I can just about give the Army and Air Force a pass on the JUSTAS and LRPRS projects. They fall under the same political considerations that deny the Forces new aircraft, attack helicopters, tanks and self propelled howitzers.

But are we to seriously understand that the Army can't procure ALAAWS? Or even more egregiously purchase the ammunition stocks and modifications that would optimize, and fully exploit, the capabilities of the Carl Gustav? A large calibre, single shot rifle?

And it was the Army that decided that riflemen were more valuable than AT Gunners, Mortarmen and Pioneers. In that decision alone was the justification for discontinuing the ALAAWS project and, by extension, the Carl Gustav optimization. In retrospect it would have been better to retain the Combat Support Company organization even if much of its manpower had been parcelled out to the rifle coys and platoons as dets and employed as rifles.

Similarly with the TUA systems and E Coy LdSH(RC).

Similarly with the ADATS systems, the Oerlikons and the Blowpipe/Javelin dets.


The lesson seems to be that it is better to hold on to a reduced cadre with obsolete weapons than it is to divest entirely of capabilities. At least with the cadre you retain expertise in the employment of analogous weapons systems and retain the rationale for weapons and their upgrades.

Retention means you are telling the political masters you know what you need and you can't do without them. Divesting and then asking to reacquire them weakens your bargaining position and reduces your perceived competence.


Chinooks also come to mind.


So, with respect to the Future Structure, perhaps the structure, as T2B is intimating, should be less concerned with the weapon of the day and more concerned with the nature of the threat and let the capabilities and weapons derive from there.
 

MilEME09

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But are we to seriously understand that the Army can't procure ALAAWS? Or even more egregiously purchase the ammunition stocks and modifications that would optimize, and fully exploit, the capabilities of the Carl Gustav? A large calibre, single shot rifle?
I've been hearing for about 2 years now a plan ti upgrade all our Carl G's to M4 standard which comes with a larger ammunition family, alas budget, competing priorities and politics have probably put it on the back burner.
 

Kirkhill

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I've been hearing for about 2 years now a plan ti upgrade all our Carl G's to M4 standard which comes with a larger ammunition family, alas budget, competing priorities and politics have probably put it on the back burner.

It has disappeared down the PWGSC/PSPC memory hole but those projects, along with ALAAWS were on the books as long ago as 2014 at least - with delivery scheduled in the 2025 to 2030 timeframes - give or take a decade.

ALAAWS, or its predecessors, go all the way back to the 1980s.
 

Kirkhill

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Thinking more about this:

I can just about give the Army and Air Force a pass on the JUSTAS and LRPRS projects. They fall under the same political considerations that deny the Forces new aircraft, attack helicopters, tanks and self propelled howitzers.

But are we to seriously understand that the Army can't procure ALAAWS? Or even more egregiously purchase the ammunition stocks and modifications that would optimize, and fully exploit, the capabilities of the Carl Gustav? A large calibre, single shot rifle?

And it was the Army that decided that riflemen were more valuable than AT Gunners, Mortarmen and Pioneers. In that decision alone was the justification for discontinuing the ALAAWS project and, by extension, the Carl Gustav optimization. In retrospect it would have been better to retain the Combat Support Company organization even if much of its manpower had been parcelled out to the rifle coys and platoons as dets and employed as rifles.

Similarly with the TUA systems and E Coy LdSH(RC).

Similarly with the ADATS systems, the Oerlikons and the Blowpipe/Javelin dets.


The lesson seems to be that it is better to hold on to a reduced cadre with obsolete weapons than it is to divest entirely of capabilities. At least with the cadre you retain expertise in the employment of analogous weapons systems and retain the rationale for weapons and their upgrades.

Retention means you are telling the political masters you know what you need and you can't do without them. Divesting and then asking to reacquire them weakens your bargaining position and reduces your perceived competence.


Chinooks also come to mind.


So, with respect to the Future Structure, perhaps the structure, as T2B is intimating, should be less concerned with the weapon of the day and more concerned with the nature of the threat and let the capabilities and weapons derive from there.


Curiously, I note that we have the necessary Majors and MWOs and Captains and WOs to recreate the Mortar, Pioneer, and AT platoons, as well as the Combat Support Company (known as the Defence Company back in the 1920s) and the fourth Rifle Company. They were retained even as their troops and responsibilities were removed.

So, given the superfluous expertise available couldn't some of them be tasked explicitly as Offensive and Defensive Co-Ordinators? Given focused responsibility for the Air Defence, Anti-Tank, Anti-Personnel, Counter-Mobility, Screening and Deception, Fires Support, ISR battles? With or without troops?

The responsibility would be to consider the threats and then figure out how to manage those threats with existing battalion weapons and munitions available from the supply system as well as available support from other arms and services?

You would then have 12 unit cells focused on discrete problems. 12 cells that could analyse and evaluate and experiment and exchange notes and create the evidence of gaps that need filling. But also 12 cells that would be in a position to make the best of the tools on hand in each of the directed areas of concern.
 

Kirkhill

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While giving credit to the risk of the concept it is worth noting that Dahir is all about the Concept.


Having said that the risk is real enough based on Turkish/Azerbaijani/Israeli experience. And although all of these presentations tend to focus on killing tanks they will be more effective against IFVs, LAVs and APCs. And more useful in that they will create more casualties faster.

In WW2 German UBoats went after the soft targets, troop carriers being particularly valuable, while avoiding the hard targets.
 

FJAG

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You've got bad data. That's an outdated construct.
Why am I not surprised - specially after having gone to the Army's website to check. (where in 1CER they call the support squadron an armoured squadron). I'm really not to worried about the actual org these days (although I would be interested if you want to post or PM me the current structure). The point was to suggest an organization (in broad brush terms) that could meet the needs of a brigade but also have the ability to slice off a customizable squadron for an independent battle group's support.

My point really, based on T2B's initial query, was to say that I think we need to focus the Army's organization on a deployable brigade group construct but structure the brigade's organization in such a way that it can spin off fully functioning all-arms battlegroups for the smaller missions we are undoubtedly going to keep committing to.

I see a fully deployable brigade that can spin off slices for smaller ops as well being a component of a division in larger ones as a different concept from a brigade that's designed from the outset to create battle groups out of building blocks. In my opinion our current brigades are less deployable entities and more generators of forces smaller than a brigade. To change to deployable brigades requires a change in attitude (focus) and equipment as well as reorganization of manning. (Just as an example: its the difference between what our current artillery regiments look like and what a fully equipped 18 gun regiment with a properly functioning regimental HQ and brigade FSCC and a properly functioning ammunition supply system looks like - the former can build one functioning battery for a battle group - the latter is a fully functioning regiment for a brigade - even if substantially manned by reservists - but can slice off a battery as required)

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