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Phil
July 5, 2012 4:14 pm

I take it back there is some detail!

I wish to be smug for a moment if I may. That the brigades would be stripped of their CS and CSS assets and they’d get these from a pool was a prediction of mine.

Otherwise, interesting, I will read on.

Phil
July 5, 2012 4:14 pm

I take it back there is some detail!

I wish to be smug for a moment if I may. That the brigades would be stripped of their CS and CSS assets and they’d get these from a pool was a prediction of mine.

Otherwise, interesting, I will read on.

Phil
July 5, 2012 4:17 pm

So excited I double tapped.

The MRAP and PM battalions are interesting. Looks like Jackal is coming back too.

Looks like changes to TA terms and conditions will be consulted on.

Modern kit for the TA too.

Doesn’t say how 16X will be organised.

I guess 24 Engineer Regiment goes as 3 Commando is not needed to deploy as a Brigade now. Perhaps there are more changes to that Bde afoot.

x
x
July 5, 2012 4:48 pm

Doesn’t matter if 3Cdo deploys as a whole or not. Somebody has to dig holes tactically and build stuff. I wonder how much input 1SL had on that decision if any.

tjposhea
tjposhea
July 5, 2012 5:33 pm

16 x
Will have

2 para
3 para
1 rirish

Then as their reserve element

4 para
2 para

Who both as of April left the ta brigades they were in and joined 16 x.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 5:42 pm

Fairly comprehensive. Still a bit lost as to where these adaptable forces are going to be plucked from? Surely there isn’t enough manpower to achieve what they’re planning? Unless “Brigade” is being used as a very loose term.

x
x
July 5, 2012 5:46 pm

The armoured brigades are similar to what I have talked about. But the protected battalion in Mastiff is a mistake. Go to two brigades or scrap the protected battalion. There to make use of kit methinks. Unless it is for force protection.

Phil
July 5, 2012 5:48 pm

The adaptable forces infantry plot I think is bigger than they have represented.

If you go with what we know and assume 16X and 3 Commando and the standing commitment plot remains the same you have

3 RF Bns
3 RF Bns
3 RF Bns
4 in 16X
1 in 3 Commando

1 Land Warfare Bn
2 Cyprus
1 Brunei
3 Public Duties

Thats 21 battalions which leaves 10 missing. I think 16X is going down to 3 Bns so thats 11 missing. If 3 Cdo drop 1 Rifles then that’s 12 missing.

x
x
July 5, 2012 5:57 pm

Two brigades with 3 batts mounted in Warrior.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 6:01 pm

That’s another good point, where the bloody hell was 3 Cdo in that document? Did I lose them? Not sure as well whether those Light Recce regiments in Jackals are supposed to be TA?

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 6:02 pm

Phil the missing battalions are in the Adaptable Force. 10 regular 15 TA battalions in seven infantry brigades. I think 4 PARA and 2 RIR are now attached to 16 Air Assault so that leaves them 23 battalions.

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 6:04 pm

Chris B 3 Commando is not an army formation, but an Royal Marine Brigade with attached army units.

x
x
July 5, 2012 6:07 pm

@ Chris B

On the same theme, why wasn’t the 2300 RAF Reg included? That is in excess of 3 batts of infantry.

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 6:07 pm

Looking at the cavalry regular regiments.

Three CH2
Three FRES Scout
Three Jackel

then there are the TA regiments, logic would suggest one regiment in each role. (yes I know logic used in a defence discussion).

X would rather have the adaptability of three more infantry battalions. Let the RAF Police guard airbases. If deployed overseas use an infantry company.

Phil
July 5, 2012 6:07 pm

“Phil the missing battalions are in the Adaptable Force.”

I know that but thanks.

What I am interested in is

(a) what is the model of employment of the AF if it is committed to an enduring brigade level committment, which SDSR and the new announcements confirm. This will reveal if we plan for an open ended commitment or if we are going to have a time limit. From the TA needing to do one tour in 5 years it suggests an open ended commitment model which means there’d need to be enough the in the adaptable pool for 5 AF Bdes to get the regular one tour every 24 months and the TA one tour every 5 years. Will TA combat units make up formed units?

(b) pairing of TA combat units suggests that TA combat units will continue to augment regular units rather than deploy as units themselves – is this correct?

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 6:19 pm

Phil b) pairing of TA combat units suggests that TA combat units will continue to augment regular units rather than deploy as units themselves – is this correct?

That question was asked in the house, the response was that individuals would deploy when needed (as now) but there would be more use of formed units from platoon upwards.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 6:33 pm

@ Jim,

“Chris B 3 Commando is not an army formation, but an Royal Marine Brigade with attached army units.”

— I know, thank you anyway. What I meant was that presumably somebody in her Maj’s government asked the question about where the Royal Marines will fit into all of this regardless of what service they are ostensibly a part of. For example with Afghanistan they are rotated through alongside the army and in line with army planning. Surely then the Royal Marines are factored into the Reaction force somehow, as they have been with deployments as light infantry to Iraq in the conventional stages?

I hope that makes sense.

x
x
July 5, 2012 6:44 pm

Still not getting my tiny brain around how 3Cdo is loosing its engineers. Especially as 16AAB keep theirs…..

Everybody is building amphibs. “We” concentrate our combat power in 3 armoured brigades. WTF?

I think it is crap.

Phil
July 5, 2012 6:46 pm

“at question was asked in the house, the response was that individuals would deploy when needed (as now) but there would be more use of formed units from platoon upwards.”

I hate these sorts of wishy washy answers. It is obvious whoever asked the question was asking it on the same basis as I was, yet they get fobbed off. Infantry has deployed as TA sub units for some time on HERRICK when they did BSN FP. I just wonder how it is all going to mesh together. I know they have a battle rhythm or a generation cycle in mind, but they aren’t hinting at it.

tjposhea
tjposhea
July 5, 2012 6:49 pm

@ x

I think one of the commando engineer squadrons is becoming independent. Whilst why they kept the para engineers appears simple to me. It takes longer to train someone to parachute than it does walk of a boat, although I still would have kept the commando engineers myself.

Phil
July 5, 2012 6:51 pm

“Still not getting my tiny brain around how 3Cdo is loosing its engineers.”

They’re not, 24 Commando Engineers was a regiment in name only, they are keeping their now once again independent squadron and their volunteer squadron.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 5, 2012 7:10 pm

RE “That question was asked in the house, the response was that individuals would deploy when needed (as now) but there would be more use of formed units from platoon upwards.”

Put together what was said in the House and what Gen. Peter Wall said in the Soldier Magazine (I think The Times printed it word for word, too):

called up reserves might be 10% to begin with, rising to 30% of the fielded force in round 4 or 5 (assuming 6 monthly rotation)
– interesting difference in delivering this message:
–by SecDef to the politicians and the population at large, a division level commitment would be best effort (implying not for long)
– to the members of the Forces (from now on, a Whole Force, with reservists counted in)if a force is still in the field after 24-30 months and reserves make up a third of it, *even a formed brigade was hinted at*, that is not very short term (and different from delivering an enduring, brigade-level commitment)

x
x
July 5, 2012 7:31 pm

@ Phil & TD

Thanks.

Phil
July 5, 2012 8:19 pm

Yes sub-units will give a much bigger picture.

For example a lot of the CSS and CS capabilities are at the squadron / battery level rather than the RHQ with the RHQ often just assuming a babysitting role.

It’s good to see ARRC finally being chinned off as a traditional Corps organisation. Alas, the final part of the Cold War Army is laid to rest a mere 22 years and 5 large operations after the end of the Cold War.

x
x
July 5, 2012 8:30 pm

@ TD

No it isn’t. I have calmed down now. :)

Mike
Mike
July 5, 2012 9:43 pm

Re the RAF Reg and RM not changing, these are primarily army reforms, naval and air force reforms will come in due course (I believe, such as Squadron structure and vessles). One thing to remember, not all that number of rock apes are gunners either, but fall under the ‘raf reg’ banner, same with the marines.

x
x
July 5, 2012 11:06 pm

We live in a Purple World I keep getting told here……..

The RAF Reg are men with rifles. Of the 3 “RAF airfields” at some level of risk only one is defended by the RAF Reg. I don’t see any RAF Reg squadrons at MPA. I don’t see them defending the SBA in Cyprus. So I think when infantry is being cut it is reasonable to ask how 2300 men with rifles escape cuts when battalions are being cut.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 11:14 pm

Just to clarify, I wasn’t expecting either the RM of RAF Regiment to be canned or even reduced, understanding that they’re not Army assets. What I was thrusting at is how do the Royal Marines fit into the Reaction Force and/or the Adaptable Force? Surely as the sole Amphibious assault force, they must have been considered in terms of the Reaction Force?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 5, 2012 11:28 pm

@ ChrisB – “Surely as the sole Amphibious assault force, they must have been considered in terms of the Reaction Force?”

I agree.

x
x
July 5, 2012 11:33 pm

@ Chris B re reaction force

Yep I agree. But the Army has decided reaction means Chally2 and Warrior.

I have said lots of times we should have one very well equipped armoured brigade with the regiments assigned for 4 years or so. The other brigades for these COIN type ops and to be able to field a cavalry regiment and an armoured battalion to re-enforce the armour brigade. And then 3Cdo and a Parachute Brigade, not merged, but working in concert.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 11:51 pm

Hold on there x, as has been pointed out 3Cdo is a naval asset not an army one, so the army has no power to dictate and say “this is what we want to do with 3Cdo”. I just assumed that some sort of consultation had taken place? Or maybe it’s just the rule for the document, that only army units can be named and outlined, while behind the scenes there is a plan for how Naval and Air Force units will be integrated into all of this?

Would be nice to know how 3Cdo fits into the jigsaw.

jed
jed
July 6, 2012 1:16 am

Chris

3 Cdo is indeed part of the Reaction Force, with a battle group based on a single Commando and supporting elements, transported by 1 x Albion, 1 – 2 Bay and the LPH, as part of the “high readiness” elements – the other being a battle group provided by 16 AAB.

X – with 6 x Point class available aren’t we the only European military that could actually move / deploy an armoured brigade by anything other than an Autobahn based “road trip” across continental Europe ….? (Well quicker than having to arrange the leases for available mercantile capacity).

Also in many respects its better to train 6 battalions for high tempo armoured manouvre warfare,
And then if you really need to, refresh them in the basics of infantry foot work, and deploy them without their Warriors.

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 6, 2012 1:30 am

So where are the MLRS batteries the most useful firepower the army has? 39 Regt has been ‘disappeared’. Seems odd given the statement in the preamble about changing the balance between suppression and precision. Perhaps its putting MLRS btys into field regts. Incidently the CS etc in the armd inf bdes will be under divisional c0mmand, I sense that some posters hereabouts aren’t too au fait with how armies actually organise!

0n the whole its a fairly rational plan except for the excessive number 0f infantry bns. The interesting questi0n is whether the Reg/TA pairing is going to extend to the arty, ISTAR (mostly arty – 3 reg regts), engr, etc bdes.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 6, 2012 7:33 am

Interesting that within the 3 RF Brigades there is an “Armoured Cavalry” Regiment, while the recce symbol is shown. This must be a deliberate decision by MoD, as there is no one who does not know the distinction. There’s some pretty deep disquiet on the regimental forum (registration required and not visible to outsiders) about this, particularly if it implies a move to fighting for information as a default, rather than a last resort if sneaking about doesn’t work.

@ Obsvr,

I don’t think MLRS was deployed in Gulf 2 (it certainly was in Gulf 1 – I had lots of fun asking for various grid squares to be removed) – this very much surprised me. It’s not really a precision weapon system.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 8:40 am

James, I read it just as having to find a pair for the term Light Cavalry (which also now appears in ORBAT), RE
” particularly if it implies a move to fighting for information as a default, rather than a last resort if sneaking about doesn’t work.”
– nicely puts a lid on the number of SV Scouts that will “have to” be ordered, too
– more of the recovery/ command post/ combat engineering/ ambulance versions… or is that just wishful thinking

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 6, 2012 9:50 am

“0n the whole its a fairly rational plan except for the excessive number 0f infantry bns.”

A contingency against a Scottish secession?

“Don’t worry chaps, we’ll muddle through”

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 6, 2012 10:40 am

jed,

“with 6 x Point class available aren’t we the only European military that could actually move / deploy an armoured brigade by anything other than an Autobahn based “road trip” across continental Europe ….? (Well quicker than having to arrange the leases for available mercantile capacity).”

Other European countries have thought about this too:
http://forsvaret.dk/SOK/eng/International/ARK/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_50104.htm

Jim
Jim
July 6, 2012 10:53 am

@Anixtu

Interesting that with the Albion,Bays and Point class ships available the UK still had to use a Danish Ark to transport military equipment.

x
x
July 6, 2012 11:34 am

@ Red Trousers

But we live in the era of the UAV, the intelligence gathering panacea don’t we? We don’t need FRR do we? ;)

I had wondered about it too. As an outsider I read it as perhaps the UAV (and other assets) takes on some of the reconnaissance load and that with fewer “tank” regiments there is a need for the “cavalry” to do more fighting. And if that is the case perhaps the ASCOD is a tad under gunned. Smacks of a fudge. Why was I thinking about? Because of that Mastiff mounted protected battalion which makes no sense no only in terms of mobility but in firepower too. And then I looked for firepower and saw this wonderful formation called cavalry….

x
x
July 6, 2012 12:07 pm

@ Jed

I would humbly suggest given the logistics load of a light infantry brigade per month (17,000tons source Brassey’s) the Points would be better employed helping support 3Cdo if the balloon went up. The tonnage and weight of cargo to support an armoured brigade is considerably more. Moving armoured vehicles in the first instance is only the start of the problem. Consider how quickly an armoured brigade is actually able to stay in the line against a peer enemy. We tend to forget how quick GW1 was and the weakness of the enemy in GW2. Personally I see ground troops being used in less than war situations either like Sierra Leone or covering evacuations in “hot Libya” type scenarios, and really as “place markers” who gets across the beach quick enough to plant their flag. I think the cost of one MBT, let alone running it, would buy an awful lot of ATGW. Considering the speed I think events will happen and the geographical extremes I wonder where the peer armoured threat comes from. And if we say that us being armoured trumps their being light well that is flawed because I think the war would be over by the time our tanks get there. But……….

I don’t think we should get out of armour completely. We should just recognise that the next time we use it will be a GW1/GW2 re-run. We can’t do any more than that now; GW1 put the Army under strain for 3 tank regiments and 3 Warrior battalions. Therefore we don’t need the depth of armour. Better one brigade with “pimped” Chally3 and everybody mounted in Warrior and it all networked. All well rehearsed and all at the top of its game. Assign the regiments for 4 to 5 years. You might join the Army and only see Salisbury Plain and BATUS but heck a lot countries have military that don’t go anywhere. Then with the Points, leased, and STUFT will we have enough shipping to move it when we want at short notice. And that leaves the rest of the Army to join the RM and Para’s being ready to go anywhere light when there’s a need. I see Army2020 as a bit Cold War.

Finally, to use that much hackneyed phrase and in joke here, “WE ARE AN ISLAND DON’T YOU KNOW!!” At a fundamental level let those with land borders worry about big heavy tanks and lots of heavy AFV/MICVs I am not anti-armour. I think the Army has missed an opportunity to hone and concentrate armoured power to a level perhaps only the US can match.

I also find it odd that the likes of the Danes and Canucks find uses for tanks in Afghanistan, we don’t, and then the Army basically rebrands 1 Armoured Div as the answer to our land forces needs for the next couple of decades. That says there to me there is little imagination in the Army’s upper echelons.

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 6, 2012 12:09 pm

@RT

The international treaty on ‘bomblet’ munitions meant that all UK dumb MLRS stocks of ICM are being destroyed (the situation with the AT4 rds is less clear). However, for the past several years GMLRS has been used, several hundred rounds in Afg. This is precision, ie 10 fig coords reqd, and pleasingly accurate, I realise this may be a bit beyond cav competancies :-) Unfortunately the large order for the 155mm ‘death to panzers’ son of SADARM shell was cancelled a few years back, but perhaps resurrection looms. I have to say that I’m not over enamoured by 155mm Excalibur (now cleared for service with AS90, or at least demonstrated compatibility), GMLRS delivering a substantially larger pile of HE is preferable and the Loitering Munition gives improved flexibility, but almost certainly at higher cost.

Short Trousers
Short Trousers
July 6, 2012 12:22 pm

@ Red Trousers – Interesting observation; I noticed in the French armoured thread they talked about the Sphinx as a cavalry vehicle and the Crab as a recce one. Asking as a civvy interested in military tactics/strategy do we currently have armoured cavalry and what is their role? How is this seperate from recce units?

Simon
July 6, 2012 12:42 pm

Personally I don’t understand why we don’t have ground forces organised in battlegroups from the outset. That’s the formation they’ll need to fight under if deployed in small or medium-sized operations isn’t it? So it should be the formation they train under and “live” under.

It also makes sure we maintain the correct balance of assets to work cooperatively together: x MBT + y AS90 + z troops + etc.

We should then “design” battlegroups for different terrains/adversaries/threats along with the logistics needed to deploy them. Maintenance would, of course, be centralised for economic reasons.

I’m no expert and even less so on land forces but these “battlegroups” seem akin to “airgroups” and although we always seem to go on about a TAG (Tailored Air Group) they’re nearly always the same when push comes to shove and a few TAG formations is all we ever really needed to “design” – for the differing circumstances we may face.

The reason I say this is that I think that the current way the British Army is organised is outdated and entrenched in our history of having a large empire and huge armies. The RAF in contrast it relatively new and does not suffer the same problem. The Royal Navy is just a shadow of its former self anyway so has morphed into essentially a single battlefleet.

TightTrousers
July 6, 2012 1:09 pm

Ouch – this is uncomfortable for both the army and myself…

x
x
July 6, 2012 2:18 pm

Simon said “The reason I say this is that I think that the current way the British Army is organised is outdated and entrenched in our history of having a large empire and huge armies.”

No. For over two centuries when Britain rose from second tier European power to the world’s first super power we had a SMALL army and a LARGE navy. The idea of large British Army is a 20th century invention. The period of decline and European fixation. We may not have a Empire, but we are still dependent on trade with far flung places, and just as a LARGE navy was useful to an empire it is still useful to a second tier nation dependent on trade. Unlike a LARGE army.

PS: Nothing annoys me more than Europhiles who call those like me Little Englanders.

http://abagond.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/map_of_the_british_empire_in_the_1920s.png

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 6, 2012 2:51 pm

@ Simon,

the reason for not battle grouping permanently is that is far more efficient in terms of logistics and individual training – you concentrate similar assets and needs into one place. When you go out of barracks for collective training, you match up Squadrons or Companies into Battlegroups and then train together. Personally, I’ve never identified an issue with it.

We had this discussion on TD a month or so ago. Someone (can’t recall who) got most insistent that permanent BGs were the way to go for reasons that appeared to be nothing more than a sense of neatness. Myself and others were unable to persuade him.

I think you’ll find that the RAF is also pretty similar – it keeps Tornadoes in one Squadron, Pumas in another and AWACS in a third. They all come together for operations, but back at home it makes life easier for the maintainers and trainers if they are not trying to fix different aircraft types, or train crews on different equipment.

Phil
July 6, 2012 2:52 pm

“Personally I don’t understand why we don’t have ground forces organised in battlegroups from the outset.”

This comes up a lot. It has been tried by various armies at various times but it is simply better to have the types of kit centralised when in barracks, the expertise, the maintenance, the logistics, the training, the admin, all of it is better centralised. This is why the Army spends a lot of time creating standards, SOPs and various other procedures so everyone can work together when needed with minimal fuss. Seeing as the brigades are and will be based together in garrisons the commanders will know each other anyway. And they will train and deploy as battlegroups. It is just far simple to centralised everything in peacetime.

Monty
July 6, 2012 3:18 pm

A few points:

– Hard not to view this as a gradual dismantling of the regimental system
– Guards, Rifles, and Scottish division have so far maintained their strong identities, everyone else seems to be steadily morphing into nondescript units bereft of tradition and geographical focus
– Am I right in thinking that we will only have a total of three Challenger 2 regiments? If so, what happened to the other 100 tanks we are so supposed to be keeping after the other 250 from existing stocks were moved to reserve status?
– Scout SV makes no sense: what are these regiments: recce or light tanks?
– i would prefer Warrior and Challenger 2 to be complemented by a highly mobile Centauro-type 8×8 with a 120 mm gun and 8×8 FRES UV with 40 mm CTA
– Foxhound makes sense for protected mobility, but Jackal does not because it lacks proper protection. I would prefer a new 4×4 along the lines of the KMW Fennek
– Not clear how this structure would allow for rapid expansion should the need ever arise.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 6, 2012 3:22 pm

“We had this discussion on TD a month or so ago. Someone (can’t recall who) got most insistent that permanent BGs were the way to go for reasons that appeared to be nothing more than a sense of neatness. Myself and others were unable to persuade him.”

That would be me.
I’m quite happy that the current setup may be ill-suited to permanent battlegrouping, but should this always be the case? If the MBT and the APC or IFV were based off a similar chassis with similar systems, wouldn’t a permanent mixed unit be better?

Phil
July 6, 2012 3:41 pm

“I’m quite happy that the current setup may be ill-suited to permanent battlegrouping, but should this always be the case? If the MBT and the APC or IFV were based off a similar chassis with similar systems, wouldn’t a permanent mixed unit be better?”

It depends on what is easier really. Seeing as the brigades are in super garrisons now anyway, and the tanks are likely to be in the hanger 300 metres away from the MICV does it matter that much really? If the vehicles have a defined enough role, and a defined enough set of specialist kit (whether that is just the turret on top) then the differing training requirements and operational requirements would need a separate unit to make them efficient.

It is really a natural process and is why the units are organised so, kit will naturally migrate and be centralised as it is more efficient, who would have 2 challengers and 2 warriors in one hanger from unit A and 200 metres away in another hanger, have 2 warriors and 2 challengers from unit B? Madness! So you park the kit in the same hanger and then if you have 50 vehicles, all centralised, they need 50 crews, they need support personnel and admin personnel and commander, standard TTPs, standard training regimes and hey presto! A regiment!

A million things become so much easier when centralised like that, even with kit that is similar but having different roles. That said there is no hard and fast rule, all units mix vehicles to some extent but the units overall mission can make it more efficient to simply centralise.

Put yourself in a commanders shoes, he has 2 companies of warrior and 2 companies of tanks. He has infantry, he has crewmen, all needing very different training etc his job becomes much more easy if he just has t worry about infantry or tanks. And the bother of attaching one of his companies to another and accepting another from another unit is really no bother at all.

Essentially then, it boils down to ease. If it remains easier to centralise kit and easy to attach sub units to your unit and vice versa then you will have units as now. If some day it somehow became a massive ball ache to cross deck companies and squadrons we’ll see permanent battlegroups. But seeing as the Army dances to the same tune with SOPs etc then it’s very simple to integrate another sub unit into yours, especially when you have been operating in that culture for decades.

So essentially the Army gets to have its cake and eat it. It gets efficiency in centralised kit and training and it gets the tactical versatility of being able to cross deck sub units. I know people talk about unit integration etc but as I am sure James will attest it really is not a big deal as the sub unit operates as a sub unit and unless the blokes in charge of the new sub unit are proper throbbers then its business and usual and no bother. You’re likely to have worked together in the past many times and know each other socially anyway.

wf
wf
July 6, 2012 4:19 pm

@Mr.fred: I wanted a combined “armoured” unit too. With the current focus on armoured infantry heavy brigades, I suspect the scope for altering battlegroups has effectively disappeared anyway

Jed
Jed
July 6, 2012 4:37 pm

x- I understand where your coming from, but it is what it is, and 6 Points can move armour, or they can provide logistics to 3 CDO, ships, as you know are quite flexible…. :-)

Monty –

“Scout SV makes no sense: what are these regiments: recce or light tanks?”

Why does it not make sense ? It meets the Armies stated requirement for a an armoured recce vehicle, in the weight category required to provide a certain level of protection. It will also be able to mount various sensors on the turret, or even a mast. As I suppose it could also provide fire support to infantry with its 40mm CTA it could be a “Recce Light Tank” – why doesn’t it make sense to you ?

“I would prefer Warrior and Challenger 2 to be complemented by a highly mobile Centauro-type 8×8 with a 120 mm gun and 8×8 FRES UV with 40 mm CTA”

But it looks like we have taken the “Cheap” route of consolidating the “fighty” stuff on what we have, Chally and Warrior, which just happens to be trakced. Why would we find money to “complement” Chally with a Centauro type vehicle ? We will be lucky to find funding for enough FRES UV to replace all those ancient and clanking FV43xx series and CVR(T) series APC’s, command vehicles, engineer, recovery and REME repair types !

“Foxhound makes sense for protected mobility, but Jackal does not because it lacks proper protection. I would prefer a new 4×4 along the lines of the KMW Fennek”

Jackal of course is not protecte mobility, but I think you know that – Jackal is both “light recce” and mobile fire power for Infantry. I don’t like the vehicle because of it’s design and that fact that it puts the driver / commander right over the front axle. However many of the existing / ex-Squaddies who frequent TD seem to like the concept of a light recce truck where the crew are “heads out” for increased situational awareness. Plus of course, there is no money for a Fennek, and we have loads of Jackals…….. However hopefully eventually, in the name of “standardization” Jackal will be replaced by Foxhound WMIK, and / or a Fennek type “Foxhound Scout” perhaps…. :-)

What makes less sense to me in the overall kit domain is:
1. 3rd battalion of Inf. in Reaction Brigades on Mastiff (OK, understand why) and then “UV” – so we are committed to funding a FRES UV APC ?
2. Infantry battalion (Protected Mobility) in Adaptive brigades gets Foxhound LPPV

So where does this leave the new Multi-role Vehicle (Protected) (MRV(P)) – the “armoured son of OUVS” ??

Will it be:
1. Light – LPPV – Foxhound family c. 7 Tonnes
2. Medium – MRV(P) – up to 14. Tonnes
3. FRES UV – “heavy wheeled” (?) c. 25 Tonnes and over (e.g. Mastiff 2)

Thoughts ?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

Hi x,

Without counting myself in (what is a europhile in this defence context that we are discussing?),
what would be right term then, RE “who call those like me Little Englanders”?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 6, 2012 4:55 pm

Like I said, I can accept that there are advantages with the current armour/infantry split. Warrior and Challengers in separate units is how it is now and not likely to change.

But.
What if?

In the future, Warrior will wear out or be surpassed. Challenger will reach the end of its life. At this point we will need a replacement, for both platforms, at about the same time. It would make a certain amount of sense for the replacement to be a highly common platform with similar levels of protection, varying only in troops and weapon systems carried. If these systems are similar enough, then mixed battlegroups become less problematic in logistics terms in both peacetime and on operations. It is probably not going to break down so far as having part platoons – a unit’s vehicles will be pooled so you would have two companies of each.
The unit has vehicle crew and infantry, just like IFV-equipped armoured infantry have at the moment. What is so special about MBTs?

To use a contemporary comparison, the Israeli Merkava IV and Namer are matched armoured vehicles with a high degree of commonality and similar levels of protection, even if there is a little bit of a hoo-haa at the moment about the level of active protection systems being fitted to Namer.

It does throw up a further question. The Army 2020 Brigade has two AI battalions. What does the second one do while the first is gallivanting around in a couple of armoured battlegroups, or is this going to alter the makeup of the armoured battlegroup? What can an AI battalion do on it’s own? It really doesn’t have the firepower to prosecute an attack against any kind of competent opposition on its own.

x
x
July 6, 2012 5:01 pm

@ Jed

How much armour and how much it takes to support that armour is a problem.

You are saying we have 10 lorries load to shift, but because we have one lorry we are all right.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 6, 2012 5:03 pm

@ Jed,
“3 Cdo is indeed part of the Reaction Force, with a battle group based on a single Commando and supporting elements, transported by 1 x Albion, 1 – 2 Bay and the LPH, as part of the “high readiness” elements – the other being a battle group provided by 16 AAB.”
— Cheers. There was not mention of it in the document I could see so wasn’t sure how they’d been factored in. Cheers.

@ X,
You need to broaden your history book collection a bit mate. The British played quite a significant part in the construction and maintenance of the Empire. It wasn’t quite as tiny as some think.

Phil
July 6, 2012 5:20 pm

Mr Fred

I don’t disagree that having vehicles with as many common components as possible is a bad thing. It’s a good thing.

The question to me is, why do you want permanent battlegroups? What are their advantages in your eyes?

Phil
July 6, 2012 5:28 pm

“It does throw up a further question. The Army 2020 Brigade has two AI battalions. What does the second one do while the first is gallivanting around in a couple of armoured battlegroups, or is this going to alter the makeup of the armoured battlegroup? What can an AI battalion do on it’s own? It really doesn’t have the firepower to prosecute an attack against any kind of competent opposition on its own.”

I imagine that one armoured infantry brigade will come to high readiness and within that brigade the three tank and infantry battalions will rotate at 2 month intervals the very high readiness battlegroup role. So you see, the battlegroup is pretty much organised when it is on task and before it goes. The picture is quite complex.

An AI battalion can do all sorts, it would have been very valuable as lead element in all our operations since the end of the Cold War except Sierra Leone. The Cheshire Regiment in Warriors were first into Bosnia, there was a lead battlegroup in Kosovo, Iraq, even Afghanistan it would have had a role and does have a role. That lead element might slot into a larger NATO or US force or it might begin developing the infrastructure needed to bring in the larger force or it might do force protection or it might sit precariously in the desert along a far too long a front waiting for an Army to attack it. Nobody is expecting a single AI to rock up and go to war. And I am sure that as the crisis barometer goes up or down the number of force elements in the lead brigade will increase from high readiness to very high readiness if something more than a battlegroup is envisaged.

What you are reading is just a broad operating model, a planning assumptions model, a minimum level of readiness.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 5:28 pm

Hi Jed, just to delight you, picked up a quote from another blog about what is now called the Havoc, for the USMC, and it is regarding your choices (first comes the anti-climax; none of these is the right answer)

RE: “Will it be:
1. Light – LPPV – Foxhound family c. 7 Tonnes
2. Medium – MRV(P) – up to 14. Tonnes
3. FRES UV – “heavy wheeled” (?) c. 25 Tonnes and over (e.g. Mastiff 2)”

Now, 7…14…next must come a choice of just over 20, not some commercial truck with lots of armour plates on it, surely?

So, the quote “Even better if they [USMC] choose the AMOS turret for a mortar carrier variant to go with the personnel carrier. I assume the primary armament of the MPC will be an ATK 30mm Bushmaster? Or will they go with a .50 remote control station, like the Stryker?
Really not settled, there’s still debate internally on how much MPC is going to be taking on roles planned for EFV, and whether EFV2 happens or not”

Looked at SNAFU,too, even they approve

x
x
July 6, 2012 5:31 pm

@ Chris B

Compared to the Continental armies the British Army (that is “white”/born in England/you know what I mean) in the time of European empires was small.

May I suggest you go to find how many British Army soldiers there were India outside the two world wars? Remember this was our largest colonial possession in terms of population. And with the least secure borders.

And as for widening my history library may I suggest you find a copy of “Honourable Conquests” which tells how the RE help construct the infrastructure of empire. The part about canals in India is very good. But make no mistake it was a mere handful of white European men who brought about those changes.

In 1902 the British Army had about 220,000 soldiers. The French close to 500,000. The Belgian army that met the Germans in the opening weeks of WW1 had 117,000 soldiers. So given our super power status and world wide commitments I would say the British Army was small.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 6, 2012 5:41 pm

Phil,

The idea behind the permanent battlegroup is to imbue the formation with increased cohesion and sense of being the same unit, improving internal communications and leading, possibly, to better infantry and tank coordination. Train as you fight and that sort of thing.

Jed
Jed
July 6, 2012 5:41 pm

x – “You are saying we have 10 lorries load to shift, but because we have one lorry we are all right”

I am saying no such thing ! I was talking about what maritime lift capabilities we have without going to STUFT / leasing. That is all – please don’t put words in my mouth.

Loosing a Bay was stupid, not replacing 2 current LPH with at least 1 purpose designed ship would be even more stupid (CVF cant be CV and LPH at the same time, no matter how big it is). As I said back thread somewhere – Maersk AFSB please……

ACC – I am well aware of the Marine Personnel Carrier :-) I based my weight categories on what we currently have, and although Havoc may be “light end” of 8 x 8, I don’t think we necessarily need a “fighty” 8 x 8, but could make do with something RG35-like.

I try not to go to SNAFU anymore, and the fact that Sol things something is a good idea, really, really does not make it right !

Comrad
Comrad
July 6, 2012 5:54 pm

Gent’s,

A quick question, I understand we will be losing at least 30% of our front line MBT & Artillery and this has been known for a while know, with Jackal and shortly Scout I can understand why we are only losing two RAC regiments (4no Amalgamating).

But whats happening with the Artillery…. 30% loss of kit, no new kit comming in, but only loosing one regiment how does that add up.

Can someone please advise.

Many thanks

Comrad.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 6:01 pm

, knew how to wind you up ” the fact that Sol things something is a good idea, really, really does not make it right !”
– but the fact remains, the USMC buys the best, and (so far) they have had the money… even squandered some, by over-speccing (but then again: who hasn’t?)

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 6, 2012 6:18 pm

@ X,

Who do you think was manning the garrisons of all those Navy stop overs?

And you can’t exclude non-white, british born numbers from the army because if you did the same for the Navy then you would see a massive loss of manpower as well. We funded colonial forces that coupled with our home growns proved to be quite formidable.

Many armies abroad only achieved the sizes they did by conscripting large numbers of poor quality infantry into their service as needed, while ours was largely voluntary* and professional, while still maintaining significant size.

The armies role in building and then sustaining the empire gets a very bad rap compared to the Navy.

Phil
July 6, 2012 6:21 pm

Mr Fred

Okay, but do you think there is a problem with unit cohesiveness? We’ve used the battlegroup concept since the war and indeed it’s entire point is its dynamic structure. Really as most I am sure will attest the company or squadron is the social and cohesive centre of gravity in any unit. And it’s essentially self contained able to slot in anywhere because of SOPs etc

I don’t think there is a problem with fighting cohesiveness. The Germans used the kampfgruppe to good effect and even the Soviets, ruthless in their drive for military effectiveness still formed ad hoc battlegroups and did not keep permanent battlegroups.

As I’ve said, they’ve been tried and they never really stick. Their raisin d’être is their versatility and you lose that when they are permanent.

Simon
July 6, 2012 6:26 pm

Red Trousers, Phil,

Re: battlegroups from the outset…

I suppose it’s because when I look at the formations that are touted to operate from Albion, Ocean, Wasp, JC, Mistrale, etc (i.e. small armies) you tend to see that they’re all the same/similar.

I’d just therefore expect that for a multi-pronged and/or larger offensive more battlegroups would be better than multiple battalions of armour and multiple battalions of infantry… if you get my gist? This then makes (civvy) me see the battlegroup as the main building block of a fighting army, regardless of logistics, maintenance and support.

Simon
July 6, 2012 6:31 pm

x,

I bow to your grater knowledge about the reasons for army size (WW1/2 rather than Empire) but my point is still that the current formations appear to be based on a huge army mentality rather than making the most of smaller operational units.

I suppose it’s akin to operating multiple small companies (and I mean the commercial type here) rather than one big unwieldy PLC. The smaller companies are more capable of improvising… adapting… and overcoming problems.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 6, 2012 6:36 pm

Phil,

I see two very similar medium-weight platforms in service in the Army, one by the Armoured corps and one by the corps of Infantry. I’ve read papers from Armoured officers who kind of ignore the contribution of Armoured Infantry. It makes me wonder if there is a cohesion problem between armour and infantry.

A further question:
If companies are now the building blocks of the military where previously it was the battalion, should we not treat the battalion as we have the Regiment and deploy the companies independently?

Phil
July 6, 2012 6:51 pm

“If companies are now the building blocks of the military where previously it was the battalion, should we not treat the battalion as we have the Regiment and deploy the companies independently?”

You’re getting me wrong. Its hard to explain. A company is a building block in a very human sense, it is about the maximum number of people your normal human can call a peer group. Daily life is focused on the squadron or the Company. Different companies will be up to different things and your chain of command goes to your OC. Your OC will know you personally, as will all the Officers and the NCOs and vice versa. They are the hub of your existence, lost of companies and squadrons have their own bars for example.

And cohesiveness works in strata’s. You as CO will get to know the other OCs, you need to be cohesive with them, you don’t need to worry about their platoon commanders as they are his problem. So you have companies slotting in and out and really you only need cohesiveness at a rather thin level and at that level most of the Officers, as I am sure James will attest, will broadly know one another and will train together before being signed off as ready to go somewhere or go to high readiness.

Phil
July 6, 2012 6:54 pm

“It makes me wonder if there is a cohesion problem between armour and infantry.”

Surely the proof is in the pudding and since 1943 or so we have launched countless operations using battlegroups and are currently fighting in battlegroups (or combined forces as they are known in Afghan) and have done so perfectly satisfactorily. They represent a dynamic mix of capabilities which is why you didn’t see them in the Falklands as there was no need to swap light infantry companies for light infantry companies (although it was different when Sir G copped it).

x
x
July 6, 2012 6:58 pm

@ Simon

Um. I don’t know. You see in one way I see defence as something that should be easy to cost. You have so many formations that have so many personnel, so many vehicles, need to be trained and kept, and throw in a contingency. If you have so many brigades, you will want so many divisional support troops, etc. and so on. The bigger the army the more “support” it needs to get its job done. Armies only achieve through massing “firepower”. The question is how much “firepower”? A brigade will have front of in a static role of about what 4 to 5 miles? Two brigades and one brigade in reserve say. Not alot. That is where WW1 scale of manning comes in. We will have 80,000 regulars.
The structure should be simple to work out, it is the scale that causes problems.

Phil
July 6, 2012 7:01 pm

“I suppose it’s because when I look at the formations that are touted to operate from Albion, Ocean, Wasp, JC, Mistrale, etc (i.e. small armies) you tend to see that they’re all the same/similar.”

They are, but there are also examples of different organisations. And you have to generate the sub elements in those formations and its done most efficiently by parent units who concentrate on that role.

Phil
July 6, 2012 7:02 pm

“it is the scale that causes problems.”

And alliances are the only realistic solution and have been for 500 years.

Simon
July 6, 2012 7:27 pm

x,

You see, this is where I really don’t know. How big should our army be?

The following is going to seem a little ill-informed (or just plain mad) but whilst flicking through various books and web-sites I tend to come to the conclusion that a well balanced force is supported from the air, and with that being the main cost limitation, it tends to define the land forces that can operate beneath it in relative safety.

Here goes… I make it about 100 troops (or a company) per jet. It seems to be the number that keeps cropping up (it’s also 100 troops per mid-lift utility copter). So, with a dwindling air force I’d expect a dwindling army. In addition, with an increase in effectiveness per air-force asset I’d expect the same from the army – i.e. more and more elite forces… and with that I’d expect more and more elite units, working together their whole careers, knowing each other’s moves and tactics, rather than flung together and expected to work by protocol.

Mad?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 6, 2012 7:28 pm

Phil,

Perfectly, or satisfactorily? Is there room for improvement?
Given that platoons work alongside troops, doesn’t the cohesion need to be at that level?

Phil
July 6, 2012 7:39 pm

“Given that platoons work alongside troops, doesn’t the cohesion need to be at that level?”

There is always room for improvement. You won’t have a pristine organisation there are always enough idiots to go around.

It really depends on what you mean by cohesiveness. It is not beyond the wit of man to work well with an arm or service manned by people you do not individually go on the piss with. Atts and Detts are a fact of any military operation at almost every level, even a patrol with have atts and detts. The infantry know the fire control orders to give to the tanks and the tanks use the same radio and voice procedures and the same command framework as the infantry so they can operate perfectly well. As to understanding each others role, you don’t need to work with the same blokes to know their TTPs and you’ll likely anyway train with them before being declared ready to deploy or engage with the enemy. To be honest some of the worst examples of lack of understanding a role is to be found amongst combat units and their medics and combat units have embedded medics in them permanently, often, although this is changing, from the same unit.

So being with a unit full time doesn’t mean they understand you and not being with a unit full time certainly has been proven to show that they can perfectly well understand you.

So given that swapping sub units is easy, and training centrally is efficient, and unit cohesiveness a myth above company level for your average Tom, where does the advantage lie in having admin and training ball ache permanent battlegroups that quite often have to be changed anyway?

x
x
July 6, 2012 8:06 pm

@ Simon

Well that is one relationship I suppose, how much air space can we protect equals any many troops we have. I would suggest how much stuff can we shift logistically dictates how many troops we have. Or perhaps it is more a combination of such relationships?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 6, 2012 8:14 pm

Yet Armour and Infantry units have recce sub-units with dedicated and specialised vehicles. Armoured infantry already have infantry and vehicle crews mixed.

Phil
July 6, 2012 8:26 pm

Yeah as I said there is no black and white rule. They didn’t always, but thinking moved on and regiments got recce platoons with CVRT because the BG commander needs his own organic eyes and ears. Tactical requirements outweighed the centralisation impetus. It’s all a balance.

x
x
July 6, 2012 9:14 pm

@ Mr fred

Back when the army adopted APCs they considered getting the RTR to drive them.

Phil
July 6, 2012 9:23 pm

They did didnt they? APC squadrons.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 6, 2012 10:13 pm

@ Mr Fred:

“The idea behind the permanent battlegroup is to imbue the formation with increased cohesion and sense of being the same unit, improving internal communications and leading, possibly, to better infantry and tank coordination. Train as you fight and that sort of thing.”

I’m not sure you understand just how well it currently works in practice. I’d also note that Phil has got it completely spot on in his observations of how Regiments / battalions in close physical proximity work and inter-relate on a day to day basis. The Brigade based Garrison has really helped.

I’ll give you some examples, pretty random and not inter-linked with each other, and they scale from social to gritty training:

1. All officers go through Sandhurst, and then at various points in their career meet up for courses, often residential. just because I was in a recce Regiment then an armoured Regiment did not mean that the infantry were a total mystery to me, and it’s vice versa as well (not excluding any other cap badges, but we’re talking BGs here).

2. You live cheek by jowl. I’d be cutting my grass at the quarter on a Saturday morning, my neighbour in the Highland Fusiliers cutting his – you’d talk over the fence, get friendly. The wives would swap recipes or go on a girls’ shopping trip, the kids run in and out of each other’s house to play with different toys.

3. Smart Brigade Commanders deliberately encourage interchange, whether it be with a Dinner Party at his quarter in which he’s deliberately mixed up the guest list of officers under his command, or whether it’s a Brigade TEWT in which you work in syndicates of mixed cap badges to solve test problems.

4. Training is on a Brigade basis. I’d roll my Squadron out of the barracks for a day on the training area just as my neighbour rolled out his company of Warriors from their barracks for the same training exercise.

5. The Messes at all levels invite each other to events. There’s inter-Regimental footy competitions, normally a Brigade Athletics shield. We even had in 7 Armd Bde an inter-Regimental Pace Stick competition, while none of us were Guardsmen (we had to import a Warrant Officer from London District for the judging, and there was a Brigade Warrant Officer’s dinner to mark the event, with all of the Adjutants invited along as well).

I could go on, but Phil has made a very eloquent and sensible case for why it just does work – you get the best of both worlds with the centralisation efficiencies, and the fact that you all live and work together meaning that swapping of sub units is really not an issue, at all.

Final example – we took a Royal Marine Mortar platoon to BATUS in (ummmm – think it was 94, about November time. Bastard chilly, I recall). We’d never worked with them before, we were based in Catterick, they all came from some orchard in Somerset. And do you know what? Even that worked, really very damned well. Common SOPs, common approach to life, get on with it philosophy.

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 7, 2012 6:43 am

@LD

GMLRS has the advantage of reasonable range, immunity to battlefield AD for pehaps another decade or two, and being able to engage any point target that has been acquired by a means with the requisite mensuration capabilities. Probably starting with real-time satellite imagery at the top end through to anybody on the ground who can accurately fix the target point to 1 metre in three dimensions. No doubt JETTS is important although nothing has been said publicly for a while, I think one of the last statements was that JETTS would do all UK targeting, which implies from Trident down, probably to the FPC at BGHQ for fireplanning (with the NWRP preventing infantry COs and ship’s captains from having ideas above their station!).

LM was supposed to be cheap and cheerful, the launcher certainly is compared to the M270 SPLL. It’s not clear whether its been terminated completely or just not going to be deployed to Afg. The advantage of LM is its rapid response, ability to deal with moving targets and no need for precision mensuration. The problem with LM is that once its up you’ve got to use it, there’s no recovery and if you haven’t got one in the air in the right parish then its may be unlikely that you can get one on the scene in time to deal with a moving target. It’s not entirely clear what the manpower economics are like, but launch detachments per round rady to fire aren’t going to be any smaller than GMLRS (and possibly bigger given the need for air vehicle fuelling) and the GCS/CP arrangements seem to need a reasonable size cast if you have a flock aloft – certainly a lot more than a GMLRS bty CP, and probably with a lot more training, ie once all the bits are in place target data from JETTS will probably go into the SPLL FCS untouched by human hand but LM may require a more complex C&C loop with image analysts and controllers.

The thing about both GMLRS and LM is a reasonable size warhead, a few times more than a 155mm shell and a few times less that a 225 kg bomb.

The problem with armed UAS is their size and payload, and perhaps the added complexity of the need to land with unused weapons, not forgetting that battlefield AD is taking UAS seriously (read DCDC’s updated FCOC paper). Obviously payload is less of a problem with Reaper sized platforms, but armies don’t like being tied to fixed infrastruture such as hard runways (hence alternatives for Watchkeeper). It will require a reasonable size air vehicle to carry a handfull of GMLRS class warheads. There’s also the manpower economics, bit like LM but with a heap more groundcrew, definitely not cheap and cheerful. I also think there’s an element of horses for courses, UAS having one or two weapons just in case they find a high value fleeting target is one thing, being able to deliver serious massed firepower is another, not fogetting that the search for targets is not necessarily the same thing as the search for information to fulfill the commander’s EEIs. In other words more UAS would be required and the extra may not be cost effective compared to alternatives.

The quantity issue is often overlooked, the significant reality is the need for simultaneous strikes in fairly close proximity to support ground manouevre, and the prospect of several UAS closing on a target is not going to do a lot for surprise (nevermind airspace deconfliction), the case study is UK – 9 GMLRS at the same impact second on individual targets in a Taliban position, even that seems to have been a new version of ‘shock action’, and a GMLRS troop of 3 SPLLs can have 36 in the air at once (although I’m not sure that UK could afford too much of this and assuming that such a crowd of arrivals is possible without bumping into each other).

So the short answer is there’s no easy answer and a lot of numbers to be worked through.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 7, 2012 11:39 am

Wasn’t that repeated in A-stan “Back when the army adopted APCs they considered getting the RTR to drive them” when, for a change, there was enough space in the back of the MRAPs?
– no dilution of the infantry strength and no need to train designated drivers

Tubby
Tubby
July 7, 2012 11:45 am

Can I ask a question which hopefully will not come across as offensive (and it if it does, it will be down to my lack of knowledge)?! Given that Adaptable Forces will be the forces used for enduring operations including UN peace keeping type roles is there any utility of three Light Role Battalions, should they not also be equipped with Foxhound and become Protected Mobility Battalions?

Phil
July 7, 2012 11:57 am

Tubby

There is going to be more than 3 light role battalions and yes they are quite versatile and if the operation was enduring it is more likely that the PM vehicles will be in theatre and light role battalions will fall in on them. I wonder if the number of PM battalions in the Adaptable Force will be a constant thing or whether they will be increased or decreased as needed.

Tubby
Tubby
July 7, 2012 12:00 pm

Another couple of equipment based question (apologies, being a bit clueless, equipment is easy to ask about). How can they have already decided that they will use the Mastiff for the Heavy Protect Mobility Battalion’s when they have not decided which kit to bring back from Afghanistan, and does it tell us anything about what FRES UV will be (i.e. will we be looking at something similar to Mastiff but the fancy open architecture system integrated from scratch)? Does this mean that the Bulldog is all but guaranteed to abandoned in Afghanistan, and how does the protected mobility version of FRES SV fit into the future structure? Why the Jackal in the light cavalry regiments, wouldn’t the re-hulled CRV(T)’s be better in the role? Finally, presumably when they list a vehicle in the transformation brochure they are only talking about the main one in each battalion, with there being other types attached for different roles (like for example the much derided Panther)?

Tubby
Tubby
July 7, 2012 12:08 pm

Thanks Phil,

Looking at Figure 5, I take it that I am misunderstanding it and that is simply showing rough split between Yeomanry Regiments and Infantry Battalions, and the rough split between readiness levels?

Mark
Mark
July 7, 2012 12:12 pm

I’ve read thru these and not being an area I know much about can I ask do people see this change of structure a positive change or should more radical thinking been applied?

Is these protected battalion in mastiff drawn from lessons in Iraq where supply lines where targeted and city patrol work required quickly both of which the armoured tracked vehicles were less useful.

Could the recon/IFv and Protected role been preformed by the same vehicle like the vbci or did money stop this.

I do like the foxhound idea in the adaptable units think its a gd vehicle we could do a lot with hope we maximise it’s potiental.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 7, 2012 12:23 pm

Hi Phil, RE
” I wonder if the number of PM battalions in the Adaptable Force will be a constant thing or whether they will be increased or decreased as needed”
– I think it gives an indication of what number of Mastiffs can realistically be thought to be available (In A-stan that was only 60+% of the total fleet)

The army made a big song and dance in the Parliamentary Committees about MRAPs (Mastiffs particularly)not being suitable for manoeuvre units, ie. making those units non-manoeuvre, which is protected mobility only
– so, when the UV comes, they will go
– not too soon, though, as the SV & refurbed Warrior & (without any specific mention, so far) Chally2+ will all enter into the relevant units between 2018 and 2022

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 7, 2012 12:31 pm

Foxhounds…
– only 300 ordered so far (I think another 100 optioned)
– 4 in the back, gives you 1600 infantry men (2400 total), so the so far ordered quantity is only about 3-4 bns’ worth
– I would not be surprised if the next 100 order is for the patrol version

Then we could send a peacekeeping bn with proper kit to somewhere “hot” and don’t mean the climate
– patrolling the demarcation line on Cyprus that in part runs along the SBA perimeters can be done on foot or in Landies, no doubt

Phil
July 7, 2012 2:00 pm

“4 in the back, gives you 1600 infantry men (2400 total), so the so far ordered quantity is only about 3-4 bns’ worth”

negative, the only unit needing a full allocation would be the ones on or ready for operations, others would just need training scales. It’s more likely that day to day units will hold a small scale and there will be a training pool to work up on before falling in on the operational vehicles either in the UK or in theatre.

Phil
July 7, 2012 2:02 pm

“Looking at Figure 5, I take it that I am misunderstanding it and that is simply showing rough split between Yeomanry Regiments and Infantry Battalions, and the rough split between readiness levels?”

I think Fig 5 is misleading because if you add up the sums there are a lot of light role infantry battalions missing which to me means that the figure is meant more to showcase the generation model than absolute unit numbers in the Adaptable Force although there will be only 3 light cavalry regiments.

I think they just haven’t worked out the final TA details and so couldn’t show the entire structure.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 7, 2012 2:26 pm

Hi Phil,

I am fully aware of the Whole Fleet Management, but you seem to be stuck in the Afghanistan 1 in 5 rotation, RE
““4 in the back, gives you 1600 infantry men (2400 total), so the so far ordered quantity is only about 3-4 bns’ worth”

negative, the only unit needing a full allocation would be the ones on or ready for operations, others would just need training scales.”
– as an all out effort, what can you field?
– I do agree with your next post, 2 minutes later

Phil
July 7, 2012 2:30 pm

“I am fully aware of the Whole Fleet Management, but you seem to be stuck in the Afghanistan 1 in 5 rotation, RE”

No. Im just saying that the only unit that needs its full allocation is the one at operational readiness. If I’m stuck in Afghan you’re stuck in BAOR!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 7, 2012 4:05 pm

@ Phil
Oh well, I’ll leave at your favourite phrase “you’re stuck in BAOR!” AKA Cold War

Andy
Andy
July 7, 2012 9:12 pm

I get the feeling there’s more to come in the CS/CSS area. Prepare to see more Reg sub-units go to the wall and hybridisation becoming more and more the norm

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 7, 2012 11:46 pm

Hi Andy, intrigued by “hybridisation”? What could that be?

In my books (speculating):
-tryly mixed arty rgmnts (AS90/ LG/ GMLRS… there were never more than 6-9 units to support a bde in A-stan)
– keep combat engineers (are they getting an SV wagon?) and light mobility enhancers (the 39 rumoured Warrior-based bridge layers) organic and divvy up the rest, according to need, from the renamed Theatre Troops
– Surveillance Bde (is that what Frenchie was talking about, differentiating intelligence from recce – of course not a perfect translation): UAVs and everything that builds up the bde-level picture, for planning ops and targeting for above bn-level assets?

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 8, 2012 4:07 am

“tryly mixed arty rgmnts (AS90/ LG/ GMLRS… there were never more than 6-9 units to support a bde in A-stan)”

Not sure what you mean by that. To support Afg RA has had elements of a lot of regts in theatre at any one time. The main regt has been the fd regt that is normally direct spt to the bde. However, although they have less than their full complement of guns (peak at 12 now less) they have to be be reinforced by another regts worth of tactical parties and perhaps more). Then there’s a troop of 3 SPLLs from the MLRS regt, most of a UAS bty and elements of other types of tgt acquisition btys all grouped into an ad hoc theatre STA bty, a group from the Rapier regt dealing with airspace management (this regt has a bty always in FI) and sundry inviduals from other regts filling gaps. In RA ‘unit’ = ‘regt’.

While anythings possible in the adaptive fore, in the flex force the Cdo and AA regts will remain LG, the Armd Inf Bdes seem likely to be 2xAS90 1xMLRS and probably 2xTac although 3 isn’t impossible. AS90 will remain 8 guns WE, MLRS probably 6 but it depends on the TA role which could add another troop in some cases.

Andy
Andy
July 8, 2012 11:26 am

. The hybridisation I was thinking of is Regts with a permanently established mixed Reg/Reservist ORBAT; a Reg framework (RHQ, HQ Sqn/Coy, and a mix of Reg and TA Sqns / Coys). Happens already, of course (some units in the Log Bdes) but see it happening more frequently

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 8, 2012 12:06 pm

Looking at the numbers and assuming that a support company/squadron has the same number of vehicles as a rifle/sabre company/squadron then that should mean about 340 Warriors and 200 Scouts (deployed strength)

Phil
July 8, 2012 12:50 pm

The trouble with true hybradisation is that the whole unit is reduced to a once in five years tour not a once in two. And it also means that no hybrid unit could ever be at high readiness. They have their place but should be used carefully.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 8, 2012 2:42 pm

Yes “should mean about 340 Warriors and 200 Scouts (deployed strength)”
– exactly
– as the SV contract has a minimum (and then an optioned quantity on top; don’t remember the figures now, but have put them on the army thread when that was running), then that minimum minus 200 of the turreted Scouts gives a fair number of the other versions… v good)

What’s not so good is that the roll-out,from 2015 on with a regiment every 6 months, seems to have slipped

Mike W
July 8, 2012 3:48 pm

Obsvr

“While anythings possible in the adaptive fore, in the flex force the Cdo and AA regts will remain LG, the Armd Inf Bdes seem likely to be 2xAS90 1xMLRS and probably 2xTac although 3 isn’t impossible. While anythings possible in the adaptive fore, in the flex force the Cdo and AA regts will remain LG, the Armd Inf Bdes seem likely to be 2xAS90 1xMLRS and probably 2xTac although 3 isn’t impossible. AS90 will remain 8 guns WE, MLRS probably 6 but it depends on the TA role which could add another troop in some cases. but it depends on the TA role which could add another troop in some cases.”

I have been following your knowledgeable comments on here for some time now. Usually your meaning is crystal clear but the above paragraph rather flummoxed me. That is possibly because, for economy’s sake, you are writing in rather a cryptic, shorthandish style. Could you possibly explain in more detail what you mean by the following:

“AS90 will remain 8 guns WE, MLRS probably 6.” Presumably this refers to the numbers of weapons in a battery. I can accept 8 per battery for the AS90s – that has been the case for some time but I thought that in GMLRS batteries the number of launchers was 9.

Then you say:

“the Armd Inf Bdes seem likely to be 2xAS90 1xMLRS” Are you referring to the ratio between batteries within a mixed regiment here or possibly to the number of of artillery regiments within a brigade?

While I am on the subject, what so you think of the idea of small mixed “hybridised” Artillery batteries? There is one active in Afghanistan at the moment, I believe, consisting of(according to some reports) a mixture of small numbers of GMLRS, of Light Guns and of Exactors (Spike NLOS on M113s). Could be the future. No?

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 9, 2012 9:04 am

@MW
apologies I have a habit of tending to brevity but also pedantic – guns and lnchrs are not weapons the wpns are the shells and warheads!

originally MLRS btys were 9 lnchrs [3 tps] however it seems that 6 is now the normal establishment although its possible that they get a third tp from the TA.

SP btys returned to 8 guns c.1982 however the peace estblishment is only 6, the 7th & 8th guns are war estb along with a lot of bodies; an AS90 bty increases its headcount by about 50% when fully mobilised. I grinned when I read in the MoD brochure that mobilised strength increases by about 10% – further evidence of MoD being arithmetically challenged?

I’m assuming 3 firing btys 2 being AS90 (total 10 btys) also fits with the fleet total. operating a bty with 2 types of guns as one fire unit isn’t a practical runner [but not technically impossible] although being dual equipped is reasonable as long as someone tells you which one to deploy with.

Currently guns are in a couple of btys MLRS in a separate tp of another bty and Exactor probably similar [the odd cryptic ref suggests its being operated by the theatre ISTAR bty which is logical given its likely control system and the necessary skills]. However they are all under the fd regt comd.

Mike W
July 9, 2012 2:35 pm

Obsvr

Thanks for the reply.

“I’m assuming 3 firing btys 2 being AS90 (total 10 btys) also fits with the fleet total.”

Much clearer now.

“guns and lnchrs are not weapons the wpns are the shells and warheads!”

Yes, you’re right. I’m suitably chastened!

Cheers. Carry on with with the telling analysis and comments.

Jed
Jed
July 10, 2012 12:25 am

Observer – actually shells and warheads are exactly that, the launchers are indeed the weapons, be they tubes or rocket launchers – stuff that gets fired is simply a round of ammunition :-) Of course add it all together and it’s a “weapon system”…..

Anyway, we digress.

I wonder actually if the AS90, due to it’s tactical utility as short barreled, and fairly short range “system” wont be pulled together in 3 x 18 Gun regiments, with 6 tubes per battery – as in the US Army system for supporting their Heavy Brigade Combat Teams.

So 3 x 18 = 54, plus an 18 gun training regiment = 72, with the rest as spares.

I can see MLRS launchers being split between ‘divisional’ artillery role for the deployable division, and some smaller (4 launcher ?) troops for supporting the “Adaptable Force” in enduring operations.

On a kit based view – should we keep the other half (approx 80 units) of the AS90 fleet as a reserve in “mothballs” – or perhaps take of the turrets (store them as spares ?) and use the hulls for ammo resupply vehicles and Battery Command Vehicles ?

It would be nice to get some details, but as this does not have to be solidified before 2020, we could be waiting for a long time !

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 11, 2012 6:20 am

Hi Mike W,

A misunderstanding: UAV (I tried to emphasize the 2.5 kg sensor load being sufficient for the job)in the Desert Hawk size class
– no runways, and still easy to recover

No missiles on UAVs either, as NLOS is ground launched

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 11, 2012 6:23 am

Some comments missing from the end of this thread, including Mike W’s that I am responding to (did not work last night) and at least one of mine, in response to Jed?

Mike W
July 11, 2012 7:06 am

Yes, there are some comments missing from the end of the thread, including one from TD himself, I think.

Sorry if it was a misunderstanding. I tend to leap to conclusions. Yes, I’ve nothing against UAVs like Desert Hawk: light and, according to reports , quite useful in Afghanistan. I thought you mentioned a range of UAVs from 2.5 kg upwards. It is when you get to UAVs like Watchkeeper that the cost dwarfs that of a Fire Shadow missile. (I believe MBDA tried to keep the cost of a Fire Shadow missile down to that equivalent to a GMLRS missile or below)

Rather like Jed’s idea of converting spare AS90s into re-supply and command vehicles. There was a plan for AS90 limber vehicles some years ago but it never went anywhere. Would it cost that much?