I'll offer the following carrots to munch on:
1. If you need to "preemptively employ countermoves, after the covering force crosses the battle handover line, to reinforce against or block the enemy and prevent him from finding the path of least resistance," (to paraphrase your first statement) then you've probably set your battle handover line in the wrong place. If I was planning a defensive fight, I would not want a "break" in contact between the covering force and the main defensive force during the defensive battle.
I agree to an extent, and in saying so I don't think I've ever seen a well-coordinated handover occur in the few opportunities I've had to do this on exercise against a real enemy force, but even if the covering force hands over perfectly to the main defensive area... my understanding of the battle unfolding is that the enemy isn't sending in all of his elements head-first at once to slam into the area defensive. It's coming in waves, probing and defining the position, over the course of days, maybe even weeks, one "failed" attempt after another, before it finally launches into decisive action. So the covering force has been relieved but the enemy is still defining/probing... it's wishful thinking to think we've got enough resources to cover all avenues of approach / bypass routes... therefore, we've got to have something to convince him away from certain routes... this is where I think blocking countermoves come in pre-emptively.
This whole conversation makes me wish we were standing at a whiteboard with a map of Wx and some staedlers!
2. If you have "12 different counterattack tasks on your countermoves matrix," (to paraphrase your next statement) then you're probably mishandling your reserve. The last thing you want to do is fritter it away piece meal reacting to every enemy action considered a threat. "Firebase positions and attack positions" are things you deal with through your direct and indirect fire plans, not by committing your reserve.
This, I guess, is where I'm saying I don't think of my countermoves as a reserve, and I really don't like the idea of your "reserve" being tasked with your primary countermoves that you know are vital to your plan
. This is where my article speaks about a "manouevre force" as opposed to grouping LAVs into direct fire and countermoves. I had 13x LAVs. I didn't need them all for direct fire, in fact with the piece of ground a company has I couldn't possibly use them all (we only had 6x positions to fire from). I had the resources to do both and thinking of the entire fleet as a "manouevre force" would give me the flexibility. I think this could be achieved at higher levels, with more resources like tanks, and would be effective. I mean, there is nothing good for the enemy in being formed up in the attack position, waiting for the obstacle breach to open up, and getting flanked by a troop of tanks... even if it just takes out 4x vehicles in the AP... a small force could really disrupt at a key moment.
3. The way you frame your argument seems to argue that an area defence (as portrayed in Land Ops) is too reactive in blocking/reinforcing and waiting for the big counterattack at the end. If I read it right, you are arguing for "using offensive action in the defence" and that constant counter-movement (for lack of a better term) would be implicit in an "offensive defence." Are you just indicating a preference for mobile defence over area defence?
No... I mean I probably would prefer the former if I got to choose the terrain as you indicate, that rarely happens. I'm talking about all those things in context of using them in an area defence.
4. The primary reason I would argue that you wish to avoid committing your reserve early (in either a mobile or an area defence) is that you tip your hand. This goes back to Old Dead Carl and the very reason we find ourselves on the defence in the first place. We are on the defence because something is preventing us from going to the offence. That something is probably a correlation of forces, or we'd probably just take to the offence ourselves. The defensive concept is parrying a blow, the characteristic, awaiting the blow, the object, preservation. I need the enemy to wear himself down, commit his reserve, limit his freedom of action, and in doing so culminate so I can then act to take the initiative. This is when I introduce my reserve, for if I introduce it earlier, I'm probably doing what the enemy is looking for - he'll then commit his reserve to run my committed forces over and achieve breakthrough/breakout. In all higher level exercises I've been exposed to, we try to get the defending enemy to commit his reserves so we can destroy them and take advantage of the loss of freedom of action he now faces. If he commits them early, so much the better.
I completely agree with all this. I guess this is where I'm getting at with not agreeing with doctrine that I should be relying on my reserve to conduct countermoves. For me, in my planning, countermoves is vital, it's my main effort. I'll take troops out trenches, I'll take vehicles off of positions, I'll dedicate more resources to sensors, etc... to ensure I can fulfill all of my countermoves plan. To me, that is not my reserve, or as you say, I'm already committed to committing my reserve before I even start.
In the end, I'll again offer my opinion that the Canadian doctrine is a bit simplistic due to our institutional unfamiliarity with sustained defensive operations and the relatively low level that it concerns itself with. It's not in our heritage or collective memory. If you want a good synopsis of the state of the art with all the nuances of different defensive approaches, here's a good read.
Definitely lots of reading to be done on this, and hopefully more discussions stirred up. I can't say enough how much this conversation requires a beer, a map, and a whiteboard (or maybe cider and cigars to drive home the "nerdy officer" stereotype).