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Ricks Napkin Challenge- The Infantry Section and Platoon

Infanteer

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Hauer is actually a pretty good journalist and has brought back some good perspective on the conflict.

If you interviewed the grunts in the trenches a month after July 1, 1916, you'd probably get the same testimony.
 

GR66

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Hauer is actually a pretty good journalist and has brought back some good perspective on the conflict.

If you interviewed the grunts in the trenches a month after July 1, 1916, you'd probably get the same testimony.
This article in Time echos what is expressed in Hauer's report. Remember, many of these Ukrainians have been fighting in the Donbas since 2014, not just since February. Also, unlike around Kiev where the Russians were beaten back the Ukrainians have lost quite a lot of territory in the East so it must be demoralizing continue facing the ongoing attacks and feel like you're constantly being pushed back meter by meter even if you are inflicting significant casualties on the enemy.
 

KevinB

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Article in today's CBC.

Never ceases to amaze me as to how wrong a reporter can be when all he does is listen to a couple of gripers and then spins it into a headline.

How hard would it have been to interview just a few more folks who understand the bigger picture?



:cautious:
Bigger picture yes, but not their personal picture.

Now the headline was trash IMHO, but it looks absolutely terrible there, and I don’t think that a honest report of how life is going there is dishonest.
 

GR66

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Just going to throw this out there in order to possibly re-frame the discussion a bit. A lot of the discussion on this thread has been about appropriate support weapons, dispersion of Platoons/Sections and extended engagement ranges. Are we maybe looking too much at one part of the fight we're seeing in Ukraine?

To my eyes what we appear to be seeing in the Ukraine conflict is something like this:
  • Dispersion of forces in open terrain in order to try and avoid detection by various sensors and targeting by indirect fire and long-range anti-tank weapons (often employed by dispersed light forces).
  • Advances covered by massed indirect fire to suppress potential enemy firing positions and SHORAD to take out enemy UAVs
  • The major infantry engagements appear to be happening in urban areas and areas with extensive prepared defences (trench lines, bunkers, etc.)
Are we maybe seeing the need for two differently configured forces? One Light force to operate dispersed with longer range weapons to screen the open areas of advance and provide targeting for indirect fire and armed aircraft/UAVs and a 2nd, heavy force optimized for the close, urban fight with access to large volumes of shorter range HE projectors and having protected mobility? Does that change how we view the Sections and Platoons?
 

KevinB

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Just going to throw this out there in order to possibly re-frame the discussion a bit. A lot of the discussion on this thread has been about appropriate support weapons, dispersion of Platoons/Sections and extended engagement ranges. Are we maybe looking too much at one part of the fight we're seeing in Ukraine?

To my eyes what we appear to be seeing in the Ukraine conflict is something like this:
  • Dispersion of forces in open terrain in order to try and avoid detection by various sensors and targeting by indirect fire and long-range anti-tank weapons (often employed by dispersed light forces).
  • Advances covered by massed indirect fire to suppress potential enemy firing positions and SHORAD to take out enemy UAVs
  • The major infantry engagements appear to be happening in urban areas and areas with extensive prepared defences (trench lines, bunkers, etc.)
Are we maybe seeing the need for two differently configured forces? One Light force to operate dispersed with longer range weapons to screen the open areas of advance and provide targeting for indirect fire and armed aircraft/UAVs and a 2nd, heavy force optimized for the close, urban fight with access to large volumes of shorter range HE projectors and having protected mobility? Does that change how we view the Sections and Platoons?
A lot of what is publicly visible in the Ukraine isn't an accurate picture of the majority of the combat.

The majority of videos are are by small teams - which while accurate for Light Inf tank hunting teams, and SOF, it in not accurate for combined operations forces.

All Forces need to be able to disperse for protection, and combine for defensive support and offense firepower as needed.

I do not believe that Light and Heavy Sections and Platoons should be organized similarly, as the IFV/ISC/APC offers the Mech Inf significant flexibility for support weapons and ammunition natures - while the Light forces aren't constrained by vehicle size to find an optimal setup for their mission(s).
I also think the potential theatre and threat will dictate changes to the ORBAT/MTOE
 

FJAG

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Are we maybe seeing the need for two differently configured forces? One Light force to operate dispersed with longer range weapons to screen the open areas of advance and provide targeting for indirect fire and armed aircraft/UAVs and a 2nd, heavy force optimized for the close, urban fight with access to large volumes of shorter range HE projectors and having protected mobility? Does that change how we view the Sections and Platoons?
That almost feels counterintuitive, doesn't it. My first thought would be light, but well armed, forces for the urban fight and heavy ones to roam around the open spaces. My concern with light forces in the open isn't so much their weapon system but the necessity to be armoured when making major position changes. That's a bit what medium forces could do well being a bit of both.

All Forces need to be able to disperse for protection, and combine for defensive support and offense firepower as needed.
Exactly. And that needs a degree of armoured mobility - not necessarily heavy, but moderately protected and agile.

🍻
 

KevinB

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That almost feels counterintuitive, doesn't it. My first thought would be light, but well armed, forces for the urban fight and heavy ones to roam around the open spaces. My concern with light forces in the open isn't so much their weapon system but the necessity to be armoured when making major position changes. That's a bit what medium forces could do well being a bit of both.


Exactly. And that needs a degree of armoured mobility - not necessarily heavy, but moderately protected and agile.

🍻
I prefer tunnels ;)

Just get some of those Chunnel diggers for the Engineers.

While I am kidding (somewhat) about the Chunnel diggers, tunneling and subterranean passages is the safest method of movement on the battlefield - as it deprives the enemy of any SA on your movements.
 

Kirkhill

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That almost feels counterintuitive, doesn't it. My first thought would be light, but well armed, forces for the urban fight and heavy ones to roam around the open spaces. My concern with light forces in the open isn't so much their weapon system but the necessity to be armoured when making major position changes. That's a bit what medium forces could do well being a bit of both.


Exactly. And that needs a degree of armoured mobility - not necessarily heavy, but moderately protected and agile.

🍻

How much effort are you willing to expend trying to kill 4 guys in the back 40?

My view is that distance is what supplies security in the open places. Range makes it harder to find targets and keep them in sight once you have found them. And harder to close with them.

The security is in reducing the probability of a hit rather than the probability of a kill if hit.
 

FJAG

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How much effort are you willing to expend trying to kill 4 guys in the back 40?

My view is that distance is what supplies security in the open places. Range makes it harder to find targets and keep them in sight once you have found them. And harder to close with them.

The security is in reducing the probability of a hit rather than the probability of a kill if hit.
I prefer to let HE VT to do my searching of the woods.

😉
 

GR66

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That almost feels counterintuitive, doesn't it. My first thought would be light, but well armed, forces for the urban fight and heavy ones to roam around the open spaces. My concern with light forces in the open isn't so much their weapon system but the necessity to be armoured when making major position changes. That's a bit what medium forces could do well being a bit of both.


Exactly. And that needs a degree of armoured mobility - not necessarily heavy, but moderately protected and agile.

🍻
I think that history has shown that the urban fight is definitely a combined arms fight, not an Infantry fight...tanks, armoured transport, engineers, artillery, air support and tons and tons of HE to put on hard targets.

My take is that with much smaller armies, greater detection ranges in the open and precision weapons, you'll see dispersed forces dashing from one protected terrain/urban area to the next where they can concentrate to capture key terrain. Lighter forces, using light vehicles and working in smaller groups will cover the spaces between seeking to identify targets trying to move between the gaps.
 

Infanteer

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I think that history has shown that the urban fight is definitely a combined arms fight, not an Infantry fight...tanks, armoured transport, engineers, artillery, air support and tons and tons of HE to put on hard targets.

This.
 

GR66

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So this kind of leads me back to my original question as to whether at the Section/Platoon/Company level our Light and "other" (currently Medium but need to be Heavy) forces need to be structured and equipped fundamentally differently.

At one time I saw the logic of the 7-man dismounted section for both a LAV and Light (ISV-type vehicle) platoon being basically the same with a similar/identical weapon set covering a range of employment options [edit to add: This is particularly attractive when you look to the opportunity to have Reserve Infantry units be able to force generate individual dismounted Sections that could be plugged into either a Reg Force Light or LAV Platoon]. I think that idea may still have some validity if we consider our LAV infantry as Medium infantry (basically Light dismounted infantry in protected transport with vehicle-based fire support available), but not if we are going to treat them as Heavy infantry for the urban assault role (even if we make temporary use of the LAV until a better IFV can replace it). More and more I'm thinking those two roles may require a fundamentally different approaches.

In this kind of scenario Light forces might be grouped around 4-man Fire Teams in ULCV's manning long range weapons/sensors (Javelin, UAVs/Loitering munitions, etc.) that disperse to detect then can quickly concentrate to attack at range and identify targets for indirect fires.

The heavier forces would have to move in smaller groups to decrease the chance of being targeted by enemy indirect fires directed by UAVs/enemy Light forces. Maybe combined arms Combat Teams might be standard with integral SHORAD to clear away enemy artillery spotting UAVs. They could concentrate to counter enemy advanced identified by the Light forces. More commonly they might be used to assault/defend urban terrain where the span of control for the Combat Team might be a single block and engagement ranges in the 100's of meters max. vs. thousands of meters in open terrain.
 
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GR66

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Interestingly just found this article on the Wavell Room website discussing both urban combat and its relationship to the British Army's Future Soldier "Deep Recce Strike Brigade" concept.
 

KevinB

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Interestingly just found this article on the Wavell Room website discussing both urban combat and its relationship to the British Army's Future Soldier "Deep Recce Strike Brigade" concept.
I think Ukraine has reinforced you need Light and Heavy Forces
The LAV type medium I only see a role for protected transportation and convoy security.
 

GR66

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I think Ukraine has reinforced you need Light and Heavy Forces
The LAV type medium I only see a role for protected transportation and convoy security.
Is there possibly a role for the LAV in supporting a Heavy urban assault element? Tanks, HAPCs, armoured bulldozers, etc. up front with LAVs providing protected transport for the additional infantry required to secure strongpoints, etc. cleared by/bypassed by the assault element?

Possibly also a role for a turreted 120mm mortar system to provide both high angle indirect fire which is useful in urban terrain and direct fire against defended locations. An ATGM carrier could also be useful for covering open areas between built up areas, down streets where there are longer sight lines, etc.
 

KevinB

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Is there possibly a role for the LAV in supporting a Heavy urban assault element? Tanks, HAPCs, armoured bulldozers, etc. up front with LAVs providing protected transport for the additional infantry required to secure strongpoints, etc. cleared by/bypassed by the assault element?
Wheeled vehicles don’t do well in rubble / tracked are significantly more versatile in that respect.
I prefer them for MSR patrols, convoys and movements, I’d use them for protective movement in support of operations - or for quick exploitation past enemy positions.





Possibly also a role for a turreted 120mm mortar system to provide both high angle indirect fire which is useful in urban terrain and direct fire against defended locations.

Mortars are absolutely useless in urban areas of any significant size. After 5-6 stories you will lose any real ability to target things. Winds among building are notoriously awkward and will play havoc with those even if they do have the correct arc to hit.
*based on the assumption as the good guys we aren’t trying to level as city.
Helicopters - albeit Canada has no AH’s, and Close Support Air are pretty effective— as are of course UAS systems.


An ATGM carrier could also be useful for covering open areas between built up areas, down streets where there are longer sight lines, etc.
Hence why modern IFV’s have them ;)
Except Canada…
 

OldSolduer

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I prefer tunnels ;)

Just get some of those Chunnel diggers for the Engineers.

While I am kidding (somewhat) about the Chunnel diggers, tunneling and subterranean passages is the safest method of movement on the battlefield - as it deprives the enemy of any SA on your movements.
A lesson we have forgotten since World War I. Vimy was kicked off IIRC by the explosion of several "mines" in the vicinity of "The Hun" which destroyed the defences. I am no historian so I might be wrong.
 
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