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4 GSR vs All Arms Arty Regiments

Bird_Gunner45

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Currently, there is talk of creating the "4 GSR", which would consist of Air Defence, STA, and Counter Battery (HIMARS) Batteries making up what used to be 4 AD.  Also, there's the thought of creating the all arm arty Regiment, which would see 1 and 2 RCHA and 5 RALC consist of a Field Battery, AD Battery, and STA Battery.

What's the best option?
 

McG

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Is "all arms artillery" the doctrinally correct term?  To me this would tend to imply the inclusion of (at the very least) other combat arms.  I would think composite artillery regiment would be the more fitting label.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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Yeah, composite might be the right term.... I'm not really sure that there's a term to describe the whole arty gang getting together... as for the Mortars, you still have some of them!
 

Mountie

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
Currently, there is talk of creating the "4 GSR", which would consist of Air Defence, STA, and Counter Battery (HIMARS) Batteries making up what used to be 4 AD.  Also, there's the thought of creating the all arm arty Regiment, which would see 1 and 2 RCHA and 5 RALC consist of a Field Battery, AD Battery, and STA Battery.

What's the best option?

Only one field battery per brigade???  With the proposed order of 30-some more M777s I hate to believe there would only be three field batteries Army wide?  Shouldn't they wait and see how the Optimal Battle Group experiment goes?  Are artillery regiments going to be around in the future or will it be individual batteries with each optimal battle group?  Its seems that one hand doesn't wait for the other hand to finish what's doing.
 

dapaterson

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The Arty solution seems to assume a high degree of augmentation from the Reserves for deployed operations, to man the guns.

Of course, to succeed that would require the Arty world to stop treating the Reserves as their red-headed bastard step-child.
 

tango22a

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DA Paterson:

Bravo Zulu, but they have been treating PRes like this for damn near sixty years or more, you must be joking if you expect them to change now!!!

tango22a
 

Lerch

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...are there even Air Defense reservists? I ask because having an AD battery in each Regiment (1, 2 RHCA and 5 RALC) would mean alot more people to man them...
 

dapaterson

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At this time 1 AD (the L&R Scots), 18 AD, 58e Bie AA and the Reserve portion of 4 AD were to have re-roled into field artillery, less 4 AD.  At this time there are no Reserve AD units.
 

Kirkhill

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Mountie said:
Only one field battery per brigade???  With the proposed order of 30-some more M777s I hate to believe there would only be three field batteries Army wide?  Shouldn't they wait and see how the Optimal Battle Group experiment goes?  Are artillery regiments going to be around in the future or will it be individual batteries with each optimal battle group?  Its seems that one hand doesn't wait for the other hand to finish what's doing.

I will try and find an old article but as I recall the Royal Artillery was trying to achieve this very thing.

Their future fires programme was based on requiring guns/missiles with greater precision so that fewer rounds needed to be fired (and ammunition carried), greater range so that fewer guns/launchers (and ammunition depots) would be required and more automation so that fewer gunners would be required to achieve the desired effect.

Also, with those reductions you need fewer loggies and EME types to maintain the capability.

Having said that.....there will always be a need for sustained, suppressive fire but that just means supplying more launchers/guns.....a task well suited to the Reserve role I would think.

I don't think that continuing the organization necessary to maintain hundreds of 25pdrs is necessarily the key to the future.
 

ArmyRick

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I did not know the Cf was getting 30 more M777. Cool if thats the case.

As far as reservist getting shaft treatment, that does not always happen. Maybe in the Regts it does but I have seen arty SGT and MCpl treat reservist pretty respectfully.

That should be a dead issue. An IED or an RPG doesn't care if your Reg F or PRes.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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No, there aren't any AD reserve units anymore, though there should be.  The AD right now is getting a large number of PYs over the next couple of years, as it will be augmenting the AD Bty and STA Batteries of the 4 GSR, as well as providing personnel for the HIMARs Bty. 

The main reason why having the Field Arty, AD, and STA combined into one force is that they all utilize the same resources now, being the STA.  AD is radar heavy, and could share radar feeds with the field side (ASCC/FSCC), while the FA is becoming more and more reliant on the STA for targetting, particularly with the HIMARs... it's hard to FOO something that's 20 km behind the lines (in a symmetric war).  The structure allows all elements to share resources in regards to STA which makes the most sense.
 

Cleared Hot

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
Currently, there is talk of creating the "4 GSR", which would consist of Air Defence, STA, and Counter Battery (HIMARS) Batteries making up what used to be 4 AD.  Also, there's the thought of creating the all arm arty Regiment, which would see 1 and 2 RCHA and 5 RALC consist of a Field Battery, AD Battery, and STA Battery.

What's the best option?

The problem with this thread is that the initial question is flawed.  It is not a matter of "which is the best option" because they are not mutually exclusive.  Keep in mind that 4 GSR stands for 4 General Support Regiment, then keep in mind what the Artillery Tactical Task of GS means.  I have attached a link in case anyone isn't familiar with Arty Tactical Tasks.  1,2,and 5 Regts are Direct Support (DS) to their respective Brigades and the Batteries are usually DS to a particular manoeuvre unit be it a Inf Bn or Armd Regt of that Bde.  Admittedly since Afgh they have started using the term OPCOM but that should be another debate about what is in reality a theatre specific nuance.

http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/caj/documents/vol_03/iss_1/CAJ_vol3.1_04_e.pdf

So, the fewer Btys a DS Regt has the fewer manoeuvre units can be supported at the same time.  While people may argue "who cares because we only ever deploy one unit at a time anyway". I would say that may be true now but what about the future.  Anyone who has been tracking what the CLS has been saying will know he is pushing big time for us to get back our formation level fighting ability to specifically include Artillery firing at the Regimental level.  As an aside, while you may see the current regts drop to two gun batteries, they will not go to one for a number of reasons not the least of which is how do you force generate the next battery when the one battery is in theatre?

In any case, back to 4 GSR.  This is not a new concept and has been in existence (doctrinally) for ever.  You can not use the DS Regts to fight the deep battle or their supported units go without support and those are the guys getting shot at.  DS regiments do not generally do counter battery either, they are usually supporting the close fight and may or may not have the range to do it.  Make no mistake though, they have extended range ammunition and precision rounds, so despite what some have alluded to in this thread, that is not why we need HIMARS (I won't say MLRS because we will not buy it).  We need HIMARS to fight that deep/shaping battle throughout the battlespace of the Bde, not just a unit.  4 GSR will not need FOOs (although they may have them) because it's sensors will be soundranging, UAV, radar etc., all resident in the Regiment.  In the end, this capability will not work for a unit but the Bde as a minimum.  Right now we have a Bde HQ in theatre with no fire support as the BG owns everything (hopefully that soon changes) but having a GS capability will give the formation more ability to influence the fight. - i.e. shape the battlefield for its units.

As for AD however, combining field and AD is just a bad idea all the way around.  They may wear the same cap badges but jobs they do are completely different and require very different skills, experience, training and expertise... it's just a really dumb idea.

No matter what decisions are made, the Regs will always need Reserve augmentation and the Res will always need Reg spt as well.  People on both sides are going to have to grow up and learn to play nicely.

This is a topic for which there are numerous classes on various courses a number of which I have taught.  One thing it is not is a new concept.  To say I have only skimmed the surface is an understatement - I acknowledge that but just tried to keep the post short.

-CH
 

Journeyman

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Cleared Hot said:
Right now we have a Bde HQ in theatre with no fire support as the BG owns everything (hopefully that soon changes)
I'm curious; why would you see it change?

Although this gets back to the 'preparing for war versus preparing for this war' debate, you've acknowledged that the 'Bde HQ' essentially has only one manoeuvre element -- the BG (yes, "in reality a theatre-specific nuance").

I believe it would be even less relevant to provide our Bde HQ with fire support if the influx of US units leaves CF troops focused almost exclusively on Kandahar city. As it is, I don't see the COIN environment providing much opportunity for formation-level influencing the fight/shaping the battlefield through fires. If we've got a surplus of guns/troops, push them down to the TICs who could best use their DS capabilities.

The only reason I could see for providing Bde HQ with integral fires in the current situation, never mind the latter city-focused scenario, is to try and force reality to fit doctrinal manuals. I think that would be hard to justify.


My 2 cents. Comme d'habitude, your milage may vary.
 

Cleared Hot

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Journeyman said:
I'm curious; why would you see it change?

Although this gets back to the 'preparing for war versus preparing for this war' debate, you've acknowledged that the 'Bde HQ' essentially has only one manoeuvre element -- the BG (yes, "in reality a theatre-specific nuance").

I believe it would be even less relevant to provide our Bde HQ with fire support if the influx of US units leaves CF troops focused almost exclusively on Kandahar city. As it is, I don't see the COIN environment providing much opportunity for formation-level influencing the fight/shaping the battlefield through fires. If we've got a surplus of guns/troops, push them down to the TICs who could best use their DS capabilities.

The only reason I could see for providing Bde HQ with integral fires in the current situation, never mind the latter city-focused scenario, is to try and force reality to fit doctrinal manuals. I think that would be hard to justify.


My 2 cents. Comme d'habitude, your milage may vary.

I guess that's what I get for trying to keep this short.  I was not expecting anyone to pick up on my comment that initiated your first question so I over simplified it a bit.  While admittedly I did say there is only one manoeuvre unit in theatre that is not exactly true.  Like everything else associated with this theatre there are a number of oddities and in this case the definition of manoeuvre unit may have to be changed.  The OMLT PRT and even NSE may and do need to call for fire from the guns but who gets to set the priorities?  If the Guns are given to the BG the BG does, so who will win out?  Generally speaking, if there are multiple units then resources that all will need must be held at the next higher level in this case Bde and that commander can cut them to whoever he wants in line with his priorities.  If that is the BG 90% of the time so be it.  This does not only go for guns, but also engineers, recce etc.  However, this goes to the ABG vs. OBG debate, so I didn't want to open that again here.  There is a reason that doctrinally guns are not supposed to be cut OPCOM/N.  FOO parties sure, but not the guns.  That's why I would like to see the guns belong to the Bde.  Do I agree that each unit needs some form of fire support? Absolutely, but that can be done by propper fire support planning and the propper use of Arty Tactical Tasks.  You don't have to own something to benefit from it.

As for the Bde shaping the battlefield we will have to agree to disagree because for OPSEC reasons I do not want to get into a discussion of what certain HQs are doing or what assets they are using to do it, but lets just say that shaping ops are being conducted almost daily and fire support resources are not only being employed in TICs.

The other thing we have to keep in mind is that these discussions/decisions came about before the US decided to send more troops.  Its bad enough we have to have the "this war or any war" debate let's not get into an "any war vs this phase of this war" debate.
 

Journeyman

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Ack. Thanks.

And avoiding presupposing the level of operational experience/knowledge of either one of us, you're right on the "agree to disagree" part.  ;)
 
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