Author Topic: The Brigade Fight  (Read 15666 times)

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Online Old Sweat

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #50 on: April 03, 2019, 09:27:33 »
Roger....

I'm just trying to think of one of those artillery principles I heard many years ago that went something like 'Commanded at the highest levels and available to the lowest levels' meaning, of course, that you can instantly drop the full weight of the Corps Artillery to #3 Pl Comd's FPF if required....

It was something like "Commanded at the highest level and controlled at the lowest", meaning that while the corps or dividision artillery commander moved the guns, any FOO could call for their fire. Lieutenant General Sir Brian Horrocks, a very successful British corps commander in Africa and NWE, wrote words to the effect that a gunner had every gun in range no farther away thsn the tip of the aerial on his radio.

In the Canadian Army we have all grown up in a state of military poverty and tend to think that less is normal. It's very difficult to envisage what "real armies" look like and what they bring to the battle. There really is no way to develop that sense other than lots of hitting the books, and hopefully going on an allied exercise or several.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2019, 10:43:33 »
The Brigade deep battle must be considered in the context of its parent Division's (and Corps') deep battle/battlefield framework. Just because the assets of the Brigade are not in the Corps deep battle does not mean that the Brigades does not have a deep battle itself.

My argument is that a Brigade does indeed have a deep battle, while the Battle Group does not. The Brigade deep battle it is not as fulsome as the Division deep battle, were we see longer planning horizons, more battlespace and more assets to prosecute the deep fight. Nevertheless, the Brigade has a complete planning capability (compared to the Battle Group), battlespace that it likely reserves to itself and assets/access to assets to prosecute a deep battle. Brigade-level tube artillery can reach, assuming 1/3 range factor, some 20 km beyond the FLOT. This is outside the Battle Group's close battle, and can certainly shape the next close battle. The Brigade Commander has to choose how to allocate his ISTAR/Fires, but having the choice to allocate between the close and deep battle is not a bad thing.

Now, I can imagine a scenario where the Brigade will be focused exclusively on the close battle. If the Brigade has a very specific task in close terrain without much depth battlespace forward; no allocation of higher fire support and a very complete and detailed Divisional deep battle then perhaps the Brigade Commander will focus on the close battle and rely on his boss for all shaping actions. On the other hand, it is not hard to envision the Brigade being reinforced by an additional tube artillery regiment/battalion. The brigade also has the wherewithal to properly employ CAS which could be absolutely allocated to the Brigade. The Brigade may indeed have enough depth to require a deep battle.

Someone mentioned a Brigade tasked to Defeat an attacking Division. The Brigade does not need to be able to strike throughout the entire depth of the attacking enemy Division to have a deep battle. I would hope that Div and Corps are doing something themselves. That does not relieve the Brigade Commander of shaping his own close battles. Perhaps his planning has revealed that he needs to disrupt the enemy Brigade Tactical Groups that he will face in his own battlespace with his own or reinforcing assets, allowing him to sequence his fixing and striking forces with favourable force ratios. I imagine that he would indeed have a deep battle, even if it is happening in what the Corps commander would consider his own close battle.   
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #52 on: April 03, 2019, 20:04:26 »
The Brigade deep battle must be considered in the context of its parent Division's (and Corps') deep battle/battlefield framework. Just because the assets of the Brigade are not in the Corps deep battle does not mean that the Brigades does not have a deep battle itself.

My argument is that a Brigade does indeed have a deep battle, while the Battle Group does not. The Brigade deep battle it is not as fulsome as the Division deep battle, were we see longer planning horizons, more battlespace and more assets to prosecute the deep fight. Nevertheless, the Brigade has a complete planning capability (compared to the Battle Group), battlespace that it likely reserves to itself and assets/access to assets to prosecute a deep battle. Brigade-level tube artillery can reach, assuming 1/3 range factor, some 20 km beyond the FLOT. This is outside the Battle Group's close battle, and can certainly shape the next close battle. The Brigade Commander has to choose how to allocate his ISTAR/Fires, but having the choice to allocate between the close and deep battle is not a bad thing.

Now, I can imagine a scenario where the Brigade will be focused exclusively on the close battle. If the Brigade has a very specific task in close terrain without much depth battlespace forward; no allocation of higher fire support and a very complete and detailed Divisional deep battle then perhaps the Brigade Commander will focus on the close battle and rely on his boss for all shaping actions. On the other hand, it is not hard to envision the Brigade being reinforced by an additional tube artillery regiment/battalion. The brigade also has the wherewithal to properly employ CAS which could be absolutely allocated to the Brigade. The Brigade may indeed have enough depth to require a deep battle.

Someone mentioned a Brigade tasked to Defeat an attacking Division. The Brigade does not need to be able to strike throughout the entire depth of the attacking enemy Division to have a deep battle. I would hope that Div and Corps are doing something themselves. That does not relieve the Brigade Commander of shaping his own close battles. Perhaps his planning has revealed that he needs to disrupt the enemy Brigade Tactical Groups that he will face in his own battlespace with his own or reinforcing assets, allowing him to sequence his fixing and striking forces with favourable force ratios. I imagine that he would indeed have a deep battle, even if it is happening in what the Corps commander would consider his own close battle.

I think you have a point conceptually, but I feel like we might be pushing the concept of Deep Operations beyond the point of usefulness and confusing it with Shaping operations, which are of course related.  I, of course, also agree that if the Bde is given a ton of enablers, which I think is the case with these US bdes at NTC/JRTC then they then get a responsibility to fight deep.

What you've described above sounds similar to shaping operations to me which are done at every level.  Every echelon is responsible to shape conditions to allow for success by the echelon below them as well as considering how to isolate their objective within the limitations of their organic and attached assets.  However, by what you described above I feel like we could talk about a pl level deep battle. For example, by talking about neutralizing c-atking forces with an SF MG as the assault element fights through or is consolidating.

Land Ops talks about deep operations being against forces that aren't engaged in close operations.  That is pretty broad and falls in line with what you discuss above.  On the other hand out of FM 100-5 Operations (1986 AirLand Battle), pg 20,  "As with close operations, not all activities focussed forward of the line of contact are deep operations.  Counterfire, for example, is intended primarily to support the current fight, even though the targets attacked in the counterfire effort maybe located at great distances from the forward line of own troops (FLOT).  Similarly, electronic warfare efforts to disrupt the enemy's control of engaged forces are part of close operations even though the targeted emitters maybe well to the enemy's rear." Deep operations are not just about supporting the close fight, that would be more akin to shaping, but breaking the enemy's will, cohesion, and critical capabilities.  Further, while the FLOT will be an important control measure in identifying geographically what is deep I think the FSCL will also be critical in that and perhaps more telling on what operations are deep and what aren't.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #53 on: April 12, 2019, 05:55:41 »
An interesting article here related to this discussion but takes it up an echelon. 

The argument is that a Division (let alone the Bde) is a tactical organization that needs to focus on the close fight.  He introduces the idea of a 'tactical deep' which is geared to setting conditions for success in the close battle vice achieving larger operational/campaign objectives.  "'Tactical Deep' acknowledges that a division is simply not large enough to achieve a credible operational effect other than the defeat of a close enemy.  It also conceptually frees capabilities such as information manoeuvre and cyber to focus on operational-strategic impact away from the immediate close battle."

Operational Effect:  The Argument for a British Corps
https://uklandpower.com/2018/11/09/operational-effect-the-argument-for-a-british-corps/

It raises the question that if this guy is right where should our cyber, EW, and other such assets reside?  And if you decide to focus our Bde's exclusively on the close fight and being enabled by a higher multinational HQ then how do our staffs become familiar with employing these assets for the time when they will inevitably be pushed down.

Offline MCG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #54 on: April 23, 2019, 15:18:04 »
According to such sources as I can find, 4 Canadian Mechanized Battle Group became 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in 1972. I do not think that the C ever stood for Corps.
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.

I don't think tube artillery qualifies a formation to conduct deep operations.  If a CMBG is going to employ its artillery, it'll be aiming its piddly 8x howitzers in support of its lead unit.  Our tube artillery cannot really reach into an enemy's depth in any significant way.

While I understand the framework of close, deep, and rear could be applied to CMBG planning, I'm not really sure it is helpful, or useful.  Land Ops states that deep operations must be long range (probably not what I'd define a M777 as...) and protracted (probably not something 8 tubes could deliver, even with a leaflet drop from a CH-146 layered over it...).  I'm not sure a Brigade is the right organization to manage and coordinate such widely dispersed tactical engagements.  The CMBG, and I'd argue most (all?) brigade-sized formations are designed, scaled, and resourced to fight the "close battle," dealing with the problem to their front.  We should probably avoid teaching or training Brigade Commanders and their staff to go out trying to fight a "deep battle."
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 15:57:24 by MCG »

Offline MilEME09

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #55 on: April 23, 2019, 17:02:08 »
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.

Given they stood up that support brigade in Gagetown, I would suggest then moving all light infantry battalions there under a new brigade within 5 Div. Of course this would involve some rebranding perhaps, may I suggest the return of the Black Watch to the Reg Force? unfortunately I doubt this would happen as we would then be turning three battalions back into mechanized, and creating an entire regiment, the man power required would need a significant investment in increased man power, equipment and time. Interesting concept though, I would wonder how long they would be excepted to operate behind lines like that without resupply? would resupply have to be air mobile as well? it brings up a few logistical challenges. On top of which how about vehicles, pak arty, etc.... we don't really have kit to outfit a light air mobile brigade.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #56 on: April 23, 2019, 17:10:17 »
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.

This sounds like a variation of Marshal M.N. Tukhachevsky's "Deep Battle", simultaneous insertion of "Desanty" into the rear area to cause disruption while the main force is engaged in the front. And if we were to decide to group all the light battalions together, I would style them as "The Canadian Mounted Rifles" to reflect their role and mode of operation.

And the idea just might be feasible. After all, Australia is going to divest themselves of their "Tiger" attack helicopters, which fit well with Liberal procurement planning... ;)
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2019, 17:12:52 »
Only in doctrine, never in a real world formation's name.
I hear 1 CMBG has been playing with an idea it calls the tactical deep fight (apparently a 3 PPCLI idea) where the light battalion is used to conduct "tactical deep" operations via airmobile.  In CAXes, that has seen the battalion deposited somewhere far enough back that it is not destroyed on the LZ by opposing mechanized forces ... which normally means they are somewhere too deep to add value to the current fight and too shallow to influence the next fight.  We will see what comes in the next month as I am assume the Bde will look for an opportunity to experiment with this on Ex MR (and if it works I suspect we will hear of it here).

Arguably if we see light forces as an element of Canadian Army deep capability, they might be better set-up for success by grouping them in a single centralized light brigade.  Then we invest in a whole lot more airframes.

Each brigade having one light battalion and two LAV battalions undoubtedly came out of the limitations in the number of LAVs that we were prepared to purchase and the desire not to treat any one brigade differently from the rest by making it fully light and not out of any deep rooted tactical solution that was meant to be solved.

Considering that the key warfighting nations now organize around brigades and consider them the "primary combined arms, close combat force" it behooves us to organize ours as viable fighting organizations and not look for ad hoc missions to justify their Mickey Mouse structure. Instead lets move all the LAV's into two brigades and make one brigade light. Considering Petawawa already has the CSOR and that JTF and Trenton are close by, maybe it should become the centre of excellence for all things light while Edmonton and Valcartier concentrate on all things medium.

But that's just me.

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Online Chris Pook

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2019, 18:18:27 »
Each brigade having one light battalion and two LAV battalions undoubtedly came out of the limitations in the number of LAVs that we were prepared to purchase and the desire not to treat any one brigade differently from the rest by making it fully light and not out of any deep rooted tactical solution that was meant to be solved.

Considering that the key warfighting nations now organize around brigades and consider them the "primary combined arms, close combat force" it behooves us to organize ours as viable fighting organizations and not look for ad hoc missions to justify their Mickey Mouse structure. Instead lets move all the LAV's into two brigades and make one brigade light. Considering Petawawa already has the CSOR and that JTF and Trenton are close by, maybe it should become the centre of excellence for all things light while Edmonton and Valcartier concentrate on all things medium.

But that's just me.

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What a siwwy wabbit you are!

I'd go one farther and group all the tanks, guns and heavy engineers at Gagetown.  We only have enough kit for one regiment of each.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #59 on: May 05, 2019, 18:00:32 »
A lot of the talk thus far has centered around our fires ability (or lack thereof) and what the expectation should be of our Bde's in a so called deep fight.  What do we want from a maneuver perspective though?  What do Bns/Coys and Regts/Sqns need to be able to do and how many should we have?

I just finished reading Jim Storr's newest book and he has a portion in there on formation sizes and combat power.  He makes a point that, within reason, bigger is not better.  Armies would be better off with more smaller divisions than fewer larger ones.  Smaller formations are more nimble, able to change directions and employ reserves more quickly.  They keep a lower proportion of their forces out of contact and have a better ratio of CS and CSS units to combat units.  In WW 2 the best divisions appeared to have 20-25 sub units in them.  One of the major findings of his book is that operational level success comes from the ability to move rapidly to positions of advantage and if required to fight from those positions.  Smaller formations can move more quickly and hence stand a greater chance of achieving operational success.
 
So are our brigades too big? 

I think the first problem is structure which we've hit on in this thread and many other places in the forms.  Not enough tanks.  Too much recce.  Not enough guns.  Guns that are too slow (ie. not SP).  Mixture of light forces with mech forces.  The first problem then is less about the size and more about the structure and equipment in some cases.
 
In this case we have entire units which are not fit to purpose.  Light units and non SP arty units in mech brigades.  Insufficient B fleet vehs to move a Bde's worth of food, fuel, ammo, and stores on wheels.  This means that we will not be fast or sustainable enough to get where we need to quick enough, and ready to fight.
 
When we look to subunits in the Bde it is difficult to characterize us as too small or too big due to the structure issues described above.  Do the three light rifle coys within a CMBG really count as it seems unlikely that a light unit would deploy if the CMBG were going into a real fight?  Perhaps they would reroll?  Let's just assume they reroll those coy's into something mechanized then we find ourselves with a bde with at least 9 x rifle coys and a tank sqn for a total of 10 subunits.  If we look at the "ideal" structure of 4 CMBG then we see 9 x rifle coys and another 3 x tank squadrons for a total of 12 sub units.  The first scenario would see a 3 Bde division with 30 sub units and the second with 36 sub units.  This puts us well above Storr's historical ideal.  Interestingly the problem was even more accute when we had 4 rifle coys and a fourth sqn in the Armd Regts (is that right?  not sure we had a 4th sqn).  That puts us at a whopping 15 or 16 sub units in the Bde.  US Bdes are in this boat as their combined arms units have four sub units of a mix of mech infantry and tanks.

We find ourselves in a situation where our Bde's could be too unwieldy to rapidly seize opportunities on the b2attle field and get to where they need to get to quickly.  This is something we should probably play with in simulation.  Ex UR would be an ideal opportunity.  Split the exercise in half, one half with a large Bde and whatever 1 Cdn Div is used to playing with as HICON and then another where the Bde in the box get's smaller and 1 Cdn Div gets an addition small Bde to play with.  The interactor piece might be tough but there would be some great data pulled out of it.

Online Chris Pook

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #60 on: May 05, 2019, 18:16:06 »
Gulf War 1

1st Armored Division, UK (Maj. Gen. Rupert Smith, United Kingdom)
The United Kingdom initially deployed the 7th Armoured Brigade ("Desert Rats"). After Gen. Schwarzkopf called for another corps, that deployment was incresed to include a full division, designated 1st Armoured Division, though built out of pieces from various UK divisions deployed in Germany at the time. The overall commander of all UK forces in the theater was Lt. Gen. Sir Peter de la Billiere.

4th Armoured Brigade (Brig. Christopher Hammerback, USA)
14/20 King's Hussars (43 Challenger MBTs)
1st Royal Scots Infantry (45 Warrior IFVs)
3rd Royal Fusiliers Infantry (45 Warrior IFVs)
23rd Regiment, Royal Engineers
46th Air Defence battery (Javelin)
2nd Field Artillery Regiment (24 M109 SP howitzers)

7th Armoured Brigade (Brig. Patrick Cordingly, United Kingdom) ["Desert Rats"]
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (57 Challenger MBTs)
Queen's Royal Irish Hussars (57 Challenger MBTs)
1st Staffordshire Infantry (45 Warrior IFVs) (Lt. Col. Charles Rogers)
2 Warrior & 2 Challenger companies; A co. CO Maj. Simon Knapper
39th Regiment, Royal Engineers
664th Helicopter Squadron (9 Lynx)
10th Air Defence Battery (Javelin)
40th Field Artillery Regiment (24 M109 SP howitzers)

Division Troops
16/5 Queen's Royal Lancers Recon Battalion (24 Scorpion, 12 Scimitar, 12 Striker)
4th Army Air Regiment (24 Lynx with TOW & 12 Gazelle)
32nd Heavy Artillery Regiment (16 M109, 12 M110 SP howitzers)
29th Heavy Artillery Regiment (12 MLRS)
12th Air Defence Regiment (24 tracked Rapier)
32nd Regiment, Royal Engineers

EPW handling infantry battalions
1st Coldstream Guards
Royal Highland Fusiliers
King's Own Scottish Borderers

While I am no fan of our current structure I wouldn't underestimate the utility of light infantry, even in a mechanized force.  Especially if it is difficult to figure out where the front and the rear are.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #61 on: May 05, 2019, 18:23:11 »

While I am no fan of our current structure I wouldn't underestimate the utility of light infantry, even in a mechanized force.  Especially if it is difficult to figure out where the front and the rear are.

I'm not underestimating them.  Just pointing out the challenges of their employment in a mechanized formation.  In the example you give it's probably worth debating is an entire Brigade's worth infantry units really required just for EPW handling???  And is that best held at the division level or somewhere above so the Div Comd and Staff can focus on fighting the enemy.

Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #62 on: May 05, 2019, 18:31:19 »
Looking at that structure it would be interesting to see some research on 1 UK Armd Divs performance versus it's fellow US divisions which had three brigades and is some cases four maneuver units in those Bdes.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #63 on: May 05, 2019, 19:18:46 »
I've attached back to my earlier discussion for good measure.

In the Commonwealth tradition, the move away from the square was driven by casualties on the western front - triangular brigades were adopted to keep divisions up to strength by merging the fourth bn into the ailing three.  Of note, neither Canada nor Australia ever adopted this format in the First World War.

Binary formations were utilized in the Second World War, some to great success - US Army Armd Divs with CCA and CCB (yes, there was a CCR, but it was generally empty) and German Panzer formations which generally formed kampfgruppen around the Panzer and Panzergrenadier Regimental HQs - and some to great failure (the Italian Divisions).

The real crux of this is how much can a commander control in battle?  Jim Storr discussed a UK DERA study looking at Divisional activity in WWII, showing that at no time did any of the measured Divisions have all nine battalions employed at the same time.  Of the 81 days the measured divisions spent in combat, 43 featured only 3 battalions employed.  Thus over half the time divisions employed only 1/3 of their strength to defeat the enemy.  Looking further at this data, divisions only employed a majority of their forces 1/3 of the time.  He also looks at some work Dupuy did, looking at 200 engagements from the Second World War and concluding that the practical span of command for commanders is actually quite low - 1.7 subordinates committed on average to combat.  This suggests that, historically, Division commanders have put forth at most 8 companies during a majority of their actions.  Additional data from Suez and the Gulf 1 and 2 further support this view.

The "so what" out of this is that bigger formations are unwieldy, despite the notions of "combat power" we like to ascribe to them. Combat power is nice, but only if the organization is one that can be properly utilized by a human commander.  The Brigade is a system optimized to put 2-4 maneuver sub-units in the first echelon.

Going up a level to the unit, the Armoured Regiment of a CMBG should act as that third maneuver unit for the Bde.  We unfortunately see Armoured Regiments as force generators, probably as we have not had to conduct mobile warfare for about 70 years.  If we were to square battalions and armoured regiments, a CMBG of 1 Armd and 2 Inf units would give the Bde Comd the ability to create up to four square combat teams at any one time, with two COs to run that fight and a third in his hip pocket.  This fits very well with the research quoted above.

The core functions we should always look back to are Find-Fix-Strike-Exploit.  However, the elements executing these funtions do not have to be the same size - a Brigade does not need 1 Unit finding, 1 fixing, 1 striking and 1 to exploit.  Reserves/Counter-attack elements are generally better if they are smaller as they are more nimble and can react faster to a situation on the battlefield (i.e. it is easier to get a company moving down the road than it is a battalion).
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2019, 19:28:06 »
What a siwwy wabbit you are!

I'd go one farther and group all the tanks, guns and heavy engineers at Gagetown.  We only have enough kit for one regiment of each.

And, concurrently, scatter all the TAPVs in a haphazard fashion across the country to appease the militia, right?  ;D
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #65 on: May 05, 2019, 19:55:56 »
Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.
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Offline Haligonian

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #66 on: May 05, 2019, 21:13:57 »
Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.

I was thinking of that thread when I wrote this.  I was going to bring up the square cbt Tms!

I think tying frontages to weapons range and an infantry platoon’s ability to control ground is sound however those frontages don’t correlate with our FE concept,  ADO/ Close Engagement.  Nor do I think any modern Bde comd would be lucky enough to find himself in a situation where he need only worry about covering a 6-12 km frontage, at least on the defence.  Most scenarios will likely feature force to space ratios much lower than this.  I think defending on a broad front against a competent well equipped enemy is one of the major professional challenges of our generation that we need to figure out and tied to the purpose of this thread.

One of things I think that needs to be looked at is just how capable the LAV equipped rifle coy / Bn is at holding ground.  Going to Latvia I knew man power to man BPs, conduct security tasks and patrols, and man the LAVs with a crew and GIB would be a challenge but what also struck me was what this would mean for my frontage.  My platoons were reduced to essentially crew served weapons trenches and a HQ with no depth.  4 men of the 9 man sects were with the LAVs.  The dismounted BPs became more like a sense asset for the LAVs that would be queued to depart hides and occupy BPs based on a trigger. Mutual support with the neighboring coy was little based on the frontage and terrain. It wouldn’t have been that hard to infiltrate around us or to get sufficient IDF on to us to neutralize my posn for a penetration.

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #67 on: May 05, 2019, 21:20:43 »
Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.

I find your proposed structure vaguely familiar in that it replicates (vis a vis) numbers of combat arms sub units in the new triangular structure of the Armored Brigade Combat Team. While the ABCT's structure previously called for three combined arms battalions of two tank and two mech Infantry companies each plus a three-troop (company), cavalry squadron (battalion). The new structure (as of 2017/2018) has two armored heavy battalions (two tank companies, 1 Inf company), one Infantry heavy battalion (2 inf companies, 1 tank company) and an upgunned cavalry squadron which now has a tank troop (company) added to it's three reconnaissance troops (companies). (This is a net loss of two infantry companies across the entire ABCT.

My understanding is that these changes were not so much a result of any great tactical epiphany but more the result of declining numbers of soldiers within the army as a whole and a desire to not reduce the total number of ABCTs.

Stryker BCTs remained triangular with three rifle battalions with three rifle companies each (albeit each company has three rifle platoons and one Mobile Gun System platoon)

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« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 23:44:02 by FJAG »
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #68 on: July 01, 2019, 20:18:18 »
I'm coming late to this discussion and I only want to make a couple of points:

First, prior to 1970, when we were part of BAOR/1(BR)Corps we, 4CMBG, were, very definitely, in the "small division" (one Corps Commander used to refer to 4CMBG as his 4th (Breast-pocket) Division) and there was more than one plan to reinforce us with, inter alia, the Belgian brigade which was based near us, in Soest because no one believed that 1(BE) Corps could ever be mobilized and most people believed that a Belgian division could not be sent forward in anything like a reasonable time. There was also a plan to merge 4CMBG with whatever survived the Phase 1 ~ the covering force battle ~ and thereby reconstitute a Corps reserve ... of course, a lot of our "combat power" resided in one small unit: 1SSM Bty, RCA, which had the nuclear topped Honest John missile system. They were "ours," despite logically being a Corps Artillery asset, because of their relatively short (25 mile) range and, I think, Old Sweat will know better, the unique nuclear custodial and release agreement we had with the USA.

Second, assets like EW should, always, be controlled at the Corps or even higher level but deployed into brigade areas to provide some very direct support to brigade group commanders. There was a plan, circa 1980, to provide 4CMBG, in Lahr, with an EW Troop ~ 50+ soldiers ~ if, Huge IF, we could get the right vehicles ~ eventually the Bisons were "acquired" (and they were the right vehicles) by stealing them from the Reserve Army's allotments ~ and IF we could get airlift in time. I know as a fact that when Gen de Chastelain was Comd 4CMBG (Lahr) he put EW so high on his reinforcement priority list that it caused some real angst in Ottawa and St Hubert. But EW is a bit like artillery. The Corps should decide on how to deploy and, especially in the case of jamming, how and when to use it, but EW Liaison Officers (EWLO) should be deployed as far forward as possible, to Battle Groups if one has enough, to provide near real-time intelligence. In my opinion, the EWLO, who might, very often, be a RCCS or CIntC NCM, is one of the best tools a tactical commander can have and he should always want more of 'em.

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Offline Ostrozac

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Re: The Brigade Fight
« Reply #69 on: July 01, 2019, 23:10:53 »
The US Army started pushing Army Security Agency platoons down to brigade level early in the Vietnam War. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that a brigade in battle needs electronic warfare, whether organic or attached.

A more complex question would be intelligence derived from prisoner interrogation — in Afghanistan we maintained separate national custody chains for prisoners depending on the nationality of the unit of capture, that is unlikely to be possible in a conventional war; as I recall in both Gulf War I and Korea there was a single prisoner chain of custody for the entire coalition. But I recall much drama in recent years about transferring prisoners to US and Afghan custody. Are our JAGs cool with Coalition POW Camps and are we set up to access the intelligence we need from the prisoners in those camps?