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Infantry Tactics

Jarnhamar

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daftandbarmy said:
Some interesting discussion on that subject here: The Evolution of the Squad

That's a really good read thanks!

Interesting to see the size of the squad going back and forth and the justification.  With our manning I've seen privates as 2ICs or section commanders, not sure how well a private leading around 11 or 12 other privates would be.

 

daftandbarmy

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Jarnhamar said:
Doesn't 3x fire teams of 3, plus squad leader, assistant squad leader, squad systems operator and also specialist drone operator make 13?

Is the squad systems operator also the drone operator?

Beats me... I'm in a Scottish Regiment so all the 'drone operators' are in the Pipe Band :)
 

Infanteer

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Jarnhamar said:
Is the squad systems operator also the drone operator?

Yes.  So the Marine math passes...unlike mine earlier!
 

daftandbarmy

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ballz said:
No doubt, but that's 16 lbs of something that might make you more effective like ammo, water, or yes even snivel kit, as opposed to 16 lbs of something that helps restrict your ability to breathe and is no longer required if you had the lighter plates.

No matter what technology they find, including exoskeletons, the soldiers load probably will not lighten on his body. Humans trying to kill humans will take whatever advantage they can, and after all the technology the remaining advantages are whatever the human body can provide you with. Being stronger and able to bring more resources to the fight will remain an advantage, and so it won't be cast aside.

I'd be happy to trade the exoskeletons for a more imaginative logistics solution...

The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever

In this era of computerized conflict, dominated by cyberwarfare, laser weapons, and piloting drones from halfway around the world, it can be easy to overlook the importance of a soldier's own muscle power. Despite the relentless march of technology—and in some ways, because of it—soldiers on the march are carrying more weight on their backs than ever before, even going back to the days of swords and armor.

What the heck happened? Over the last decade, hyped technologies such as robotic mules and wearable exoskeletons promised to free up soldiers from hauling so much gear. Instead, the demands of the modern battlefield only increased the load.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a25644619/soldier-weight/
 

Kirkhill

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Re exoskeletons:

I wonder how long it takes to get into those things and how long it takes to recharge them?  There might be an interesting study into the number of soldiers who have died in barracks and tents getting caught up on their sleep.
 

b00161400

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Infanteer said:
2. The centrality of the ATGM system to a Light Infantry element operating against a mechanized adversary.  Note that the felt the Javelin, in these environments, should be pushed down to the Section (Squad) level - basically, each section exists to protect a missile.

I think one of the critical tasks we need to figure out is how do we defend in the current environment.  That seems like it's out most likely task either in Europe or even if we were to head somewhere in Asia.  The ATGM seems critical to that, at least in Europe.  In Asia perhaps it's the MG.  Building sections around a truly capable ATGM and a MG will make for a self sufficient element who can support those to their left and right.  I think the section size is about right as they're less detectable but even if they are detected I would hope that the enemy would be less inclined to use a PGM or grid square remover on such a small element.

A series of sections laid out in a checkerboard type patters, separated by 400-800 meters, and occupying copses of woods and urban areas would make for a difficult target for mech forces.  Dismounted infiltration/assault would be the primary threat but that brings with it the problem of speed of exploitation.
 

daftandbarmy

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Haligonian said:
A series of sections laid out in a checkerboard type patters, separated by 400-800 meters, and occupying copses of woods and urban areas would make for a difficult target for mech forces.  Dismounted infiltration/assault would be the primary threat but that brings with it the problem of speed of exploitation.

And that's exactly why the Euro armies put the MILAN into service a few decades ago: to defeat a Soviet armoured assault across the German plains, which are basically dotted with copses and villages approximately 800-1000m apart. Our defensive exercises were usually based on Infantry providing close protection for MILAN detachments (from the Bn Atk Platoon), augmented with GPMG - SF to kill the dismounts. Engineers built big minefields to channel the oncoming hordes into big KZs. Armour swanned around, as per SOP, and had run up positions to shoot into the KZs while sniffing around for counterattack opportunities.

Artillery, of course, locked it all together and made sure that we didn't sh*t the bed :).
 

Blackadder1916

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Chris Pook said:
Re exoskeletons:

I wonder how long it takes to get into those things and how long it takes to recharge them?  There might be an interesting study into the number of soldiers who have died in barracks and tents getting caught up on their sleep.

Dying in one's sleep would probably fall into Non-Battle Injury (NBI).  With a little time and energy (none of which I'm prepared to expend at this time) one could probably winnow out such statistics, at least for the Americans (they're very big into metrics).  However, I was quickly able to find the following on the DTIC site, U.S. Army Operation Enduring Freedom Deployment Injury Surveillance Summary 1 January–31 December 2012 which should serve as a representative example.

Figure 8 illustrates the distribution of the leading NBI causes of NBI death as a proportion of total NBI deaths.
 The leading cause of NBI death was weapons-related (62 percent).
 Eighty-three percent of “weapons-related” deaths were intentionally self-inflicted (n=19) and 17 percent (n=4) were accidental (these data are not shown on the figure).
 Land transport, air transport, and inhalation or ingestion of toxic substances are each 11 percent of the NBI fatalities for OEF.

So deaths during sleep or resulting from load carriage don't seem to be a noticeable effect, however, they do note this:
Injuries related to combat load carriage or wear of the interceptor body armor (IBA) tend to be overuse injuries. Overuse injuries of the back comprised 49 percent of NBIs in OEF, but there is insufficient detail in medical records to determine the influence of load carriage.
 

Old Sweat

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Haligonian said:
I think one of the critical tasks we need to figure out is how do we defend in the current environment.  That seems like it's out most likely task either in Europe or even if we were to head somewhere in Asia.  The ATGM seems critical to that, at least in Europe.  In Asia perhaps it's the MG.  Building sections around a truly capable ATGM and a MG will make for a self sufficient element who can support those to their left and right.  I think the section size is about right as they're less detectable but even if they are detected I would hope that the enemy would be less inclined to use a PGM or grid square remover on such a small element.

A series of sections laid out in a checkerboard type patters, separated by 400-800 meters, and occupying copses of woods and urban areas would make for a difficult target for mech forces.  Dismounted infiltration/assault would be the primary threat but that brings with it the problem of speed of exploitation.

A million years ago, or at least when 4 CIBG was part of 1 (BR) Corps, somebody fairly high in rank codified exactly that for defensive operations on the North German approach. He called it the sponge concept as it was built on soaking up a GSFG (Group of Soviet Forces in Germany( advance by fighting from a series of intertwined positions based on the scattering of little villages, farm complexes, and copses along the approaches.

This probably had already been appreciated, as the Canadian brigade group had, for then, a lot of ATGM and 106mm assets on top of that provided by the infantry battalions. Of course, this was all designed to channelize and concentrate the enemy forces to create a tactical nuclear target. Even without the nukes, the attackers would have been delayed and attrited, until their superior numbers ultimately prevailed, which was not a sure thing.
 

daftandbarmy

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Old Sweat said:
A million years ago, or at least when 4 CIBG was part of 1 (BR) Corps, somebody fairly high in rank codified exactly that for defensive operations on the North German approach. He called it the sponge concept as it was built on soaking up a GSFG (Group of Soviet Forces in Germany( advance by fighting from a series of intertwined positions based on the scattering of little villages, farm complexes, and copses along the approaches.

This probably had already been appreciated, as the Canadian brigade group had, for then, a lot of ATGM and 106mm assets on top of that provided by the infantry battalions. Of course, this was all designed to channelize and concentrate the enemy forces to create a tactical nuclear target. Even without the nukes, the attackers would have been delayed and attrited, until their superior numbers ultimately prevailed, which was not a sure thing.

And the last CAX I attended, a couple of years ago, had exactly this scenario programmed into it.

It seems we haven't progressed that far, intellectually anyways, over the past few decades....
 

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I'm not sure if there is any space to progress - has anything fundamentally changed that would require tactical progression?  Adaptation for UAS maybe?
 

Kirkhill

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Infanteer said:
I'm not sure if there is any space to progress - has anything fundamentally changed that would require tactical progression?  Adaptation for UAS maybe?

Aside from spacing, due to effective range of weapons, has anything ever really changed?

Roman Legions, Schiltrons, Tercios, Maurice and Gustav Adolf, New Model Army, Wellington's Squares at Waterloo, the Hindenburg Line's Pillboxes, The North German Plain.

All of them rely on depth, covering the gaps and mutual support.  The only real difference I can see is the size of the gaps.  For the Legions it would have been half the distance your soldiers could chuck a pilum.  On the North German Plain it was half the distance they could chuck a Milan.  Now it would be half they distance they could chuck a Javelin........ Do I sense a historical congruence there?

The world on a checkerboard.

Edit:  There is one other change.  The number of troops on each square.  Summarized as fewer troops, more dispersed, equally effective resulting in a less dense battlefield with fewer area targets for the guns and fewer concentrations for the cavalry. 

Oh.  And more little green men wandering the battlefield on holiday.

Edit 2:  (Sorry for thinking and writing as I go) Putin in the Crimea in 2014.  Any different to the Germans in France in Spring 1918?  Or for that matter the use of the Platoon in the last 100 days by the Imperials?  Infiltration tactics as a counter to dispersed strongpoints.
 

b00161400

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To my previous comment I would also add that sections likely need some kind of anti air ability.  Primarily to bring down UAS but if they could have the ability to shoot down helo's as well then all the better.  They will also likely need some kind of small UAS of their own.  This sees a section with an MG, and anti armour weapon, an anti drone/air weapon, and a small UAS of their own.  This makes them self contained with the ability to disperse with the ability to deal with enemy infantry and armour and the ability to defeat enemy attempts to find them or attack them from the air while giving them their own ability to find the enemy beyond the standing patrol.

Such an organization likely means a larger section to manage all these weapons and capabilities.  They likely would benefit from some kind of unmanned load carriage vehicle as well to make them more self sufficient and able to put up a prolonged fight.
 

daftandbarmy

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Haligonian said:
To my previous comment I would also add that sections likely need some kind of anti air ability.  Primarily to bring down UAS but if they could have the ability to shoot down helo's as well then all the better.  They will also likely need some kind of small UAS of their own.  This sees a section with an MG, and anti armour weapon, an anti drone/air weapon, and a small UAS of their own.  This makes them self contained with the ability to disperse with the ability to deal with enemy infantry and armour and the ability to defeat enemy attempts to find them or attack them from the air while giving them their own ability to find the enemy beyond the standing patrol.

Such an organization likely means a larger section to manage all these weapons and capabilities.  They likely would benefit from some kind of unmanned load carriage vehicle as well to make them more self sufficient and able to put up a prolonged fight.

One of the challenges the GWOT has presented us with is that the role, profile and importance of the Infantry section has increased due the relatively low intensity nature of these types of conflict. As a result, we try to kit it out with a wide range of tools and capabilities that may not be required at that level in General War scenarios.

General War consumes Infantry sections like an alcoholic chugs vodka. Their role is also fairly minuscule, though not unimportant, in the great scheme of things.

We probably need to bear that in mind as we ponder the establishment and employment of those 8 to 13 troops in that scenario.
 

tomahawk6

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Rhe USMC squad has been larger than an Army squad. The basic Army squad from Korea to post Vietnam was around 12. During the War on Terror the squad has become smaller in motorized and mechanized units. Light infantry now around 9.

Personally a larger squad is able to remain combat effective say in rough terrain and in UO/urban operations.
 

b00161400

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daftandbarmy said:
One of the challenges the GWOT has presented us with is that the role, profile and importance of the Infantry section has increased due the relatively low intensity nature of these types of conflict. As a result, we try to kit it out with a wide range of tools and capabilities that may not be required at that level in General War scenarios.

General War consumes Infantry sections like an alcoholic chugs vodka. Their role is also fairly minuscule, though not unimportant, in the great scheme of things.

We probably need to bear that in mind as we ponder the establishment and employment of those 8 to 13 troops in that scenario.

I think this is where we need to start thinking differently about state on state conflict.  State on state conflict is a distinct possibility and we need to figure out what it will look like because it won't look like World War 2.  If such a war were to kick up and we fought in a manner where our infantry sections were getting consumed at the cyclic rate, where are the replacements coming from?  Where is the industrial base to replace the lost LAVs, tanks, and fighters?  It doesn't exist.  We need to acknowledge that and develop war fighting concepts that ensure our infantry aren't getting chewed up.

Dispersion is also going to put a premium on the section.  To survive in a conflict where we face an opponent who can both mass fires and use them with precision we need to disperse.  We need to operate at levels that are, hopefully, below the detection threshold, and once found, hopefully the element is too small to be worth employing grid square removers on them.  Hence why I've focused on the section.  We need to leverage various robotic options to make this sustainable. 

Offensively, I see two scenarios.  One, we meet several conditions (air superiority, likely a lot of attrition of indirect fire assets and surface to surface missiles) and we launch on an offensive that would be fairly familiar to those of us who have studied history.  For this, my infantry sections above are probably over enabled.  The second option is that the enemy defends in a manner similar to what I've proposed above, in which case these infantry sections will have a variety of capabilities to help them infiltrate through the enemy defense and attack it from advantageous positions, thereby opening the way for a more rapid thrust that could quickly capture something vital.
 

daftandbarmy

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Haligonian said:
I think this is where we need to start thinking differently about state on state conflict.  State on state conflict is a distinct possibility and we need to figure out what it will look like because it won't look like World War 2.  If such a war were to kick up and we fought in a manner where our infantry sections were getting consumed at the cyclic rate, where are the replacements coming from?  Where is the industrial base to replace the lost LAVs, tanks, and fighters?  It doesn't exist.  We need to acknowledge that and develop war fighting concepts that ensure our infantry aren't getting chewed up.

Dispersion is also going to put a premium on the section.  To survive in a conflict where we face an opponent who can both mass fires and use them with precision we need to disperse.  We need to operate at levels that are, hopefully, below the detection threshold, and once found, hopefully the element is too small to be worth employing grid square removers on them.  Hence why I've focused on the section.  We need to leverage various robotic options to make this sustainable. 

Offensively, I see two scenarios.  One, we meet several conditions (air superiority, likely a lot of attrition of indirect fire assets and surface to surface missiles) and we launch on an offensive that would be fairly familiar to those of us who have studied history.  For this, my infantry sections above are probably over enabled.  The second option is that the enemy defends in a manner similar to what I've proposed above, in which case these infantry sections will have a variety of capabilities to help them infiltrate through the enemy defense and attack it from advantageous positions, thereby opening the way for a more rapid thrust that could quickly capture something vital.

One thing that the (relatively low intensity conflict type) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan re-taught us is that the job of the Infantry hasn't changed much. When you really need Fallujah cleared, you're going to send Infantry in on foot, and they are going to rack up the casualties, both enemy and friendly.

What we can change and improve on is the way that the Infantry are supported, through direct/indirect fire and other assets. Alot of these assets will be external to the section, who will need the command and control enablers - like high quality comms - to interact more effectively with the arms and services supporting them. That might be the key. Fancy new rifles are cool, but not as effective as being able to call in MLRS when you need it.

The section? It's still going to be about a dozen teenagers (the section commander might be a grand old man of 20 or so) with rifles, grenades, shovels and bayonets that you send off to attack machine guns frontally, dig in and hold terrain, clear buildings and woods, patrol to dominate an AO, or whatever.
 

tomahawk6

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daftandbarmy said:
One thing that the (relatively low intensity conflict type) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan re-taught us is that the job of the Infantry hasn't changed much. When you really need Fallujah cleared, you're going to send Infantry in on foot, and they are going to rack up the casualties, both enemy and friendly.

What we can change and improve on is the way that the Infantry are supported, through direct/indirect fire and other assets. Alot of these assets will be external to the section, who will need the command and control enablers - like high quality comms - to interact more effectively with the arms and services supporting them. That might be the key. Fancy new rifles are cool, but not as effective as being able to call in MLRS when you need it.

The section? It's still going to be about a dozen teenagers (the section commander might be a grand old man of 20 or so) with rifles, grenades, shovels and bayonets that you send off to attack machine guns frontally, dig in and hold terrain, clear buildings and woods, patrol to dominate an AO, or whatever.

The Russian approach to urban operations like Grozny was sending the infantry in with APC's and tanks. Eventually they took the city but it looked like scene out of WW2. Falluja was typical house to house fighting. Buildings that were enemy strong points like mosques had to be dealt with gingerly.

https://www.vfw.org/media-and-events/latest-releases/archives/2014/11/fallujah-battle-for-the-city-of-mosques
 

Kirkhill

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When parsing differences - when do you make the jump from a large section of 13 to a small platoon of 18 or so?

 

tomahawk6

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If you had a 13 man squad then the platoon would be around 50 which should be able to handle mosr any infantry mission. A platoon of say 18 might be incapable of some missions. An 18 man platoon might be 2 8 man squads with a commane element of a LT and platoon sergeant. Not ideal strength if you run into an enemy force.
 
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