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Kirkhill

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2B:

I don't think we should confuse how the tank is used now with where the tank came from.  The tank came out of an infantry army that found itself in siege conditions without support.

Once the tank was on the ground, as an infantry support system in 1916, it was then grouped for an armoured assault at Cambrai in 1917 after having successfully being used in infantry support at Arras.

By Amiens it was part of the combined arms programme that breached the German lines but then became employed in penny packets again to support the advance.

The Cavalry continued to exploit on horseback.

You asked initially what this Direct Fire Support role is.  Arthur answered it pretty well.  Anything that can destroy obstacles in the way of an army (and I will argue from an infantrycentric position that an army means boots on the ground) is supplying support.  That continuum of support begins with the machine gun, ends with the ICBM and includes guns, tanks, helicopters, aircraft and missiles.

The primary role of an army is not just to destroy a government's enemies.  It is to impose the government's will.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I do not think of machine guns as "support" for the infantry.  They are the prime source of firepower.  Perhaps the role of the rifleman is to support the crew served weapon?

To risk a tangent, how did the opposing armies in Normandy view machineguns?  The British viewpoint seems to have been that machineguns (and tanks) would "support" the infantry.  In other cases (Armoured Divisions), the infantry would "support" the tanks.  The Germans, I believe, viewed their tank/machinegun/infantry piece more holistically if not always successfully.

I believe in combined arms.  Tanks and infantry work together, supported by artillery and other assets.  Do wheeled AFVs with cannons fit into this?  Perhaps, but we need to be careful about our expectations.
 

Gobsmacked

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Infanteer said:
What is the MGS being designed for? 
The MGS is meant to be a company-level support gun for the Strykers.  This is an infantry gun; essentially like a StuG of WWII fame  [BUT WITHOUT THE ARMOUR PROTECTION]

However, one has to wonder what sort of roles this thing will fill based upon its specs.  The LAV units were kept as cordon forces at Fallujah for a reason - you won't see an MGS replacing an M1A1 in an dismounted, urban assault.  So accompanying the Infantry in complex terrain (where our fights will most likely be) seems to be out.  So, what use does it have then?  It could advance behind the Infantry in a complex battle scenario; but this puts your infantry in the "trolling" role, and human tissue isn't as good as Chobham armour in taking fire - so I'm willing to say that this is bad on both the tactical and the moral level (see the Aussie Army Chief's statement).  Perhaps it can be used to backstop dismounted Infantry on other tasks - cordons and searches, VCPs, patrols, etc, etc.  But one has to wonder if a 105mm MGS will offer us anything substantial over the current LAVIII capability?
If heavier firepower is required, we have other means at our disposal like the new 155mm Excalibur round from our Gunner brethren or we have to consider that perhaps it is out of the league of a Light, wheeled force - giving Cavalry a longer, heavier lance does nothing to change the fact that you can shoot the horse out from underneath the guy.

So my question (and challenge) to the MGS crowd - the MGS is being adopted due to the fact that we've simply ripped some pages out of US Army transformation planning.  It seems that it was never considered if this planning even applied to our current organization and layout. 
To me, it seems that a DFS requirement of heavier, sustained fire from a stabilized turret with good sensory/targeting capability has already been largely filled out and that the we will not gain anything substantive from a 105mm MGS - there will be no "bang for the buck" on this one.  If we want maneuverable armoured capability that provides tactical mobility and heavy firepower, then we are foolish not to buy a modern MBT like the M1A1 Abrams, as this requirement is heavily dependent on protection that a LAV chassis can simply not provide.

If we wanted to add a real addition of capability to a LAV organization, I'd argue for the LAV-based 120mm gun that I discussed before - new 120mm rounds can be used as pretty potent low-velocity DFS while a 120mm indirect-fire capability for a sub-unit seems to be a pretty nice additional capability.

Couldn't agree with you more Infanteer (& 2B)!
See my two recent posts in Artillery Thread:
http://Forums.Army.ca/forums/threads/36703/post-309616.html#msg309616
http://Forums.Army.ca/forums/threads/36703/post-309825.html#msg309825
Some illuminating info re: MGS and AMOS capabilities.


Additionally, a May 05 briefing by Maj Parsons, OC HQ Sqn LdSH-RC, 'PROVISION OF INTEGRAL SUPPORT CSS TO THE MEDIUM DIRECT FIRE REGIMENT [MDFR]' as they are calling it now has some illluminating info on planned methodology of employment.

"Once MDFR transformation is complete in 2007, the LdSH-RC will have the following structure from which to generate F echelon capabilities:  1x Surv Sqn [16x Coyotes - 2x Tps], 3x MGS Sqn [4x MGS Tp (4 MGS)], 1x TUA Coy [3x Plts], and 1x MMEV-ADATS Bty [3x Tps].  This is an increase of 3 sub-units from the traditional structure of the Regt.
A Direct Fire Team [DFT] currently consists of:  4x MGS, 2x TUA, and 2x ADATS and is the current construct the Army foresees being generated to deploy as part of a TF.
* A fourth TUA Plt could be stood up in APS 2007, however, this issue is still being debated at higher levels.
Once the MDFR reaches IOC, expected to be sometime in 2007, it is expected that LdSH-RC will be prepared to generate 1x DFT for each TF that deploys, in line with the current Army plan that sees 2x TFs deployed and sustained indefinitely in 2 different locations."


Additionally, the current CO E Coy Maj Gentles confirms in a 28 July 2005 update that "we are structured for Force Generation of DFTs consisting of:  a HQ, 4x MGS, 4x TUA and an Echelon.  We are organized into two Platoons of two Troops, each Troop having 4x LAV ITAS TUA.  We see 4x TUA in a DFT [vice 2x TUA and 2x MMEV] until the MMEV is on-line."
While, in a 11 July 2005 'E Coy SITEP' he notes: "each Platoon is organized into two Troops of four TUA to facilitate Force-Generation for operations under the Direct Fire concept being developed by DGLCD and LdSH-RC.  We will need to grow to 3 Platoons in APS 06 in order to sustain a Troop sized commitment to one BG indefinitely."


Yet, , in February 2004, Comd LFDTS BGen G.W. Nordick observed "our Direct Fire [DF] Squadrons . . . must be organized as sub-units that will support a BG (or TSSU).  The two components that determine if a DF Capability will be sustainable are vehicles / equipment and the crews to man them [4 + 1 = 5].
There is little doubt in my mind that with Whole Fleet Management the equipment will be available to support two DF Sqns outside the country indefinitely.
**  However, from a crew perspective, a BG DFT of: 4x MGS; 2x TUA; and 2x ADATS [times two x five] would require: 10x Sqn HQs/Sp echs; 40x MGS crews; 30x TUA crews; and 30x ADATS crews to sustain."
  **

Unfortunately, current plans for LdSH-RC DF Regt provides only an eventual: 5x Sqn/Coy/DF Bty HQs/echs; 48x MGS crews; 24x TUA crews; and 18x ADATS crews.
***** A crew shortfall of: 5x HQs; 6x TUA crews; and 12x ADATS crews. *****

This gets even worse for an Unsustainable Sqn Level DFT deployment:
" from a crew perspective, a BG DF Sqn of: (16x) MGS; (6x) TUA; and (6x) ADATS [times two x five] would require: 10x Sqn HQs/Sp echs; (160x) MGS crews; (60x) TUA crews; and (60x) ADATS crews to sustain."
***** An Astounding UNSUSTAINABLE MGS-based DFS crew shortfall of: 5x HQs; 112x MGS crews; 36x TUA crews; and 42x ADATS crews. *****


The 27 April 2004 'ADATS/MMEV - A TRANSITION CONCEPT' Paper by former Co 4AD Regt LCol M. Lavoie confirms,
"ATOF.  This three-year cycle . . . is based on a rule of [1 + 4 = 5]; . . .
Based on the ATOF cycle formula, and the fact that MMEV-ADATS forces of sub-sub-unit [Troop] size are required for two separate operations, a requirement for ten sub-sub-units (10x Tps) emerges.  Because it is unlikely that this would be acceptable in terms of available PYs, risk must be assumed by ensuring that we are at least capable of maintaining support to one Tactical Self Sufficient Unit [TSSU] on a sustained basis and supporting a second TSSU on a surge basis.  Based on this concept, there would be a requirement for six sub-sub-units (6x ADATS Tps) in order to meet Army tasks [four plus one equals five for one TSSU sustained and one for the second TSSU].
(AND)
Our experience with ADATS has clearly demonstrated that when employing ADATS it must be used as a minimum in a Tp of four
(OR IDEALLY 6 TO UTILIZE ADATS NETWORKING CAPABILITY) due to high maintenance and support requirements, mainly fuel. "

Meanwhile, the 11 Jan 2005 'CHAIR-MMEV TTP WG' document 11000-1(Adjt), 'NOTES REGARDING THE EMPLOYMENT OF ADATS AS A DF SUPPORT ASSET AND INTERIM MMEV', by 4 AD Regt Adjt Capt Jeff Schamehorn reaffirm that:
" 'Penny Packeting', long recognized as a critical dilution of combat systems effectiveness, is a serious issue with the MMEV-ADATS due to the multifaceted nature of its capabilities.
It should also be noted that effective GBAD deployments are not possible with less than four (4) MMEV-ADATS.  In order to maintain the flexibility of concurrent DFS [Missile] and GBAD tasks, a minimum or two (2) MMEV-ADATS Troops, should be provided to a deployed TSSU where the possibility of hostile UAV / Cruise Missile / Assymetric air threat exists.
'Fire Team' - Level 2A.  Two (2) MMEV-ADATS, when grouped with a recce element, can be detached for a period of less than six (6) hours.
Troop - Level 3.  Two to Three 'Fire Teams' combined with the Command and Control necessary to identify, plan, and reconnoitre for MMEV task in support of TSSU ISTAR and ICP.  Also includes the non-specialist CSS assets necessary to extend MMEV function to the 24 hour period. 


(And Strongly Recommends) Grouping of MMEV-ADATS and TUA in a single DFS [Missile] sub-unit.  The commonality of DF command and control procedures for MMEV-ADATS and TUA are extensive.
Summary.  The proposed MMEV-ADATS v1 TTPs are enclosed as TAM804 [Annex B] to this document.  The overall intent is to employ the system as a weapons capable sensor, predominantly providing information to the Commander and staff and engaging targets at extended range to shape the enemy for the insertion of Close forces when necessary.  In this way the MMEV-ADATS is designed to meet the first two activities of the FEC: Develop the enemy with Sensors, and Engage with Precision from Stand-off range These precepts are most efficiently accomplished when the MMEV-ADATS, grouped with TUA as a DFS [Missile] Sub-unit, is deployed as 'Brigade Troops' similar to the specialized Sense and Act capabilities.



Direct Fire concept being developed by DGLCD and LdSH-RC  [MORE ON THIS LATER, TIME PERMITTING, HOPEFULLY BY CHRISTMAS - the History/Thrust is an eye-opener!]  :eek:

This is an increase of 3 sub-units from the traditional structure of the Regt.  [HOPEFULLY MORE ON THIS LATER - TIME PERMITTING.]
 

Kirkhill

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I believe in combined arms.
 As do I.  When warfighting.

But as my last line tried to suggest the army has jobs other than warfighting and those jobs need armed servants of the govenrnment willing to operate in a risky environment.  They will not necessarily always be conducting warfighting high intensity conflicts.  But I am dragging this thread off topic.

Again you asked what is direct fire support.  The first question is who are you supporting.  I am simply arguing that you are supporting the infantry as they attempt to impose the government's will on those that oppose it by eliminating obstacles.  And yes the machine gun is support for the infantry.

Your point about the German Army is valid.  I would agree that they were a more effective warfighting machine by employing an all-arms strategy.  The Brits had to shed a lot of baggage resulting from having a 3-Block army that was necessary to police the empire.

Both policing and warfighting are jobs for the army.  The infantry is the more useful tool for policing.  Warfighting demands all-arms cooperation and the infantry may indeed become a subordinate player.

However warfighting occurs when policing fails.  Therefore infantry-heavy policing forces need a strong combined arms formation to supply support, destroy obstacles and (frankly) rescue the infantry when they get in over their heads.
 

Garry

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Not to Hijack the thread, nor cause concern, but I had to jump in for a quick post on the origin of the tank.

From my readings it had nothing to do with the Army. The navy developed the tank.

(irrc....) A bright young Brit came up with an idea to break the trench stalemate. He was turned down by various factions, one at a time, within the Army. Frustrated at the response, he turned to the Royal Navy, and sold them on the idea of a fleet of land based battleships....hence nomenclature like sponsons, turrets, hull, etc. The word "tank" was a code word for the new weapon- can't remember if it was built in an old water tank factory or not, but there you go.

Point is, this trench crossing, wire crushing instrument of terror which returned modern conflict to a war of manouevre vice a war of attrition was a naval contribution.

Wish we had some, I think they save lives (and are danged fun to crew)

Cheers-Garry
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Vehicles like this could, in my opinion, be employed as reconnaissance vehicles.  By this I mean that they would be incorported into Coyote Recce Sqns to give some additional anti-tank firepower as well as the ability to fire HE rounds at "soft targets."  The point of this would be to win the recce battle and not to clear positions.

What advantages does it have over a missile armed vehicle?  I suppose that its rate of fire will be faster and it will not have minimum range issues.

 

Kirkhill

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So 2B.

Does that make it a "recce" vehicle or a "support" vehicle?  If it's the latter, supplying protection for recce vehicles and removing obstacles, then couldn't it equally supply similar services for other forces involved in other phases?  In which case we are back to the conundrum of holding the asset centrally for ease of crew/SSU training, maintenance and administration or tasking it out in packets on the "train as you fight" grounds - a concept more applicable to higher level training.  And if we do task out packets permanently doesn't that limit flexibility?  If recce squadron has a DFS troop and each LAV battalion has a DFS troop or two isn't it difficult to concentrate assets to support either the recce squadron, a LAV battalion or to act independently?
 

TangoTwoBravo

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In a Cavalry Troop, the M1s are not "supporting" the M3s anymore than the M3s are "supporting" the M1s. They both have complementary tasks within the greater Cavalry role.  I call the armoured car with the 105mm a "recce" vehicle because I see it operating in that role.

Permanent "combined arms" grouping versus cross attachment is, of course, a good argument.  I favour permanent groupings for recce elements due to the unique nature of the recce/cavalry task.  In the interests of efficiency we could group them before the CMTC serial and then leave them together for a deployment. 

We've discused this on other threads (the Combat Team of Tomorrow for one), but what does a DFS Troop give to a LAV Battalion?  Is the LAV Battalion intending to attack enemy positions and such relying on its LAV IIIs plus some 105mm guns in a direct fire role? 

A mobile gun system (pick your platform) can try to replicate the role of a tank in a Cavalry organization with greater success, in my opinion, than a tank in a Combat Team organization.  In a cavalry organziation the tanks are not leading but are coming up to engage recce elements found by the scouts.  In a combat team organization the tanks are leading, they aren't just firing from static locations to "support" the infantry on to the objective.  Cavalry units are engaging enemy recce elements but are not trying to manoeuvre in the face of the enemy's defensive positions.  A combat team is.

If our LAV Battalions are given a Cavalry role then the mobile guns systems could be a fit.

 

George Wallace

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I am more inclined to agree with Kirkhill.  The whole DFS role of the MGS et al is not Recce.  It is getting to large and combersome to do Recce with this type of organization.  At the same time it is too light to be effective against any 'Heavy Force' it is likely to encounter, should it be used as Recce.  Recce should be 'small' and 'light'.

If you want to use the MGS and friends in the Cav role, then they are again, too light.  Unless we want to back them up with M1 or Leo 2, we are creating only 'half' of a Cav Org. 

In both cases, I do not see these vehicles creating a viable or efficient Force.  They are only half arse attempts at either role.  They would be better used as a separate Unit, to conduct support to the other Arms as the need arises, being neither an efficient Recce or Cav capability.

 

ArmyRick

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2Bravo, I have to bring something up. MGs are not supported by the riflemen. It is the MG who supports the riflemen that can close with and destroy the enemy, up close and personal. As an infantryman, I had to sort out this one.

On tanks and infantry working together, I beleive that when they work together, they support each other mutually.

I have a bit of a thought. We are plowing ahead with MGS no matter what it seems (I like this MGS alternative better from the looks of it). I beleive we should put the MGS with infantry battalions (as the yankees plan to do) and if (God willing) the conservatives win, give the armor tanks.

Yes Mr Wallace, I did say tanks. I know you and I have butted heads about MGS in the past, but just to be clear, I beleive we should have tanks. I simply had accepted the fact that tanks were gone the way of the dodo bird in the CF but with conservatives having a chance, who knows?
 

George Wallace

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ArmyRick

I do agree with you on the point that the MGS if bought ( ;D ) should go to the Infantry and fill the role it did in WW II as a Tank Destroyer or Assault Gun.  That makes sense to me.  Another tool in the Infantry arsenal.  One that the new transformation seems to be stripping of the Infantry.

The Tank Destroyers and Assault Guns of WW II were deemed obsolete and replaced/upgraded in more modern times with SS11 and later TOW and HOTand TOWII.  Now more modern AT systems.  All were primarily in the Infantry inventory, not the Armoured. 

The disenters who called the Tank obsolete and all who believe in it to be 'Dinosaurs', have instead put us further into the past.  I suppose I should start calling them 'Pre-Dinosaurs'.  Definitely Pre-Wheel, as they seem intent on reinventing it.
 

Infanteer

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ArmyRick said:
It is the MG who supports the riflemen that can close with and destroy the enemy, up close and personal.

That's not what many armies thought of their infantry.  English's On Infantry suggests (and I believe it is correct) that German section and platoon tactics were superior due to organizing around their heavy weapons and not their rifles.  As discussed in the Infantry Attack thread, the close assault is overated (I think it was Joint Service Guy who said that); modern dismounted fights in complex terrain is all about firepower and suppression to enable tactical maneuver - it ain't a bunch of rifles providing this.
 

ArmyRick

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You can supress with all the heavy weapons you want but the battle aint won until the riflemen is standing in the trench or in the room with dead or captured enemy in front of him.
 

GK .Dundas

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ArmyRick said:
You can supress with all the heavy weapons you want but the battle aint won until the riflemen is standing in the trench or in the room with dead or captured enemy in front of him.
I do'nt think that we have any disagreement the argument seems to be on how you get there.
 

Infanteer

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ArmyRick said:
You can supress with all the heavy weapons you want but the battle aint won until the riflemen is standing in the trench or in the room with dead or captured enemy in front of him.

...and this all hinges on the fact that you ain't going to get to that point without suppressive fires - firepower is the foundation of a small units strength and the machine gun is the principle of dismounted infantry firepower.

"In particular, we should consider the relationship between firepower and movement, the need to achieve "fire dominance" before attempting manoeuvre, the use of a "reserve of fire" rather than soley a manouevre reserve, and the notion that suppression rather than manoeuvre leads to victory in close combat.  Manoeurvre is still critically important, but it happens before, after and around the flanks of close battle; in the close battle itself, suppression is the key to success."

In an effort to keep this on topic, I wonder if this principle applies to mounted warfare as well?
 

a_majoor

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Infanteer said:

The historical evidence would suggest this is correct. The ideal of mounted warfare is to be able to move quickly in order to disrupt the enemy plans, but once contact is made the battles degenerated into slugging matches between every system the two sides could bring to battle. In the late stages of WW II, the Canadians and British essentially had to batter their way through the Germans (although they were operating on terrain which restricted manouevre), German and Russian battles (culminating in Kursk) followed a similar pattern,  and the Russio Finnish "Winter War", Russio Polish war of 1920, and Russian Civil War followed similar patterns. Post war battles like the Arab Israeli wars also featured heavy slugging matches once the two sides met at key terrain (the Battle of the Chinese Farm in the Suez, the Battle of the "Valley of Tears" in the Golan heights and actions at the Militia pass in all wars).

Fire dominance covers a lot of ground, not only volume of fire, but also speed and accuracy (being good shots gave the Germans and Isrealis a huge edge over their more numerous enemies). The MGS/CV_CT provides a platform for fire dominance when embedded in an Infantry company, with the CV_CT able to provide rapid, accurate fire over a wide arc both vertically and horizontally, a huge edge in an urban battle.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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ArmyRick,

Are the C9s in a section there to "support" the riflemen, and the C6 in the platoon is there to "support" the rest of the riflemen?  When you site a defensive position, do you site your riflemen and then your machineguns and AT weapons to "support" them or do you do it the otherway around?

Infanteer touched on what I was thinking reference the WWII Germans here.  They seemed to build their squads around their MG42s, not the other way around.  British and US organizations, on the other hand, placed machineguns into higher level organizations which were then alloted to support other elements.

All,

I am staying on this point not to establish what I believe to be the "dominant" system but to question the notion of "direct fire support."  Direct fire weapons (from rifles to tank cannons) all involve the concept of "battlespace" in which an element will pretty much blaze away at an enemy element within range and observation.  To be truly effective, your firepower must also be mobile.  Manoeuvre is the combination of firepower and movement, imposing your battlespace over the enemy and defeating him.  The point of your movement should be to get to a better spot to blast away at the enemy. 

"Thunder Run" offers a modern example with some suprising examples of armour in the urban battle (lots of moving and shooting, not much "assaulting" under the support of gunfire).  "The March Up" also has some interesting insights (infantry dismount to find that the tanks have already killed everybody and the rest have run away).  That being said, there are some examples of trench fighting and house to house which show that you still need "riflemen" who can destroy the enemy up close (again, mostly with firepower)..

Do tanks support infantry?  Do infantry support tanks?  Or instead do they work in close conjunction using each others complementary capabilities in a manoeuvre battle?

Cheers,

2B
 

ArmyRick

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Yes Defensive positions are sited aroun d C6s, or if you have them .50s. However the approach in the infantry is that the C6s is a platoon SUPPORT weapon. It is a very important weapon, that I do not argue. The C6s and the other platoon heavy weapons are there for supporting the assault. Look at the platoon when organized for fighting patrols or deliberate attacks, C6s and other heavys are in the Support (Fire base) while your C9s can be grouped into security and cut off teams. Your ASSAULT consist mostly of guys with rifles or carbines.  But then again armour doesn't do fighting patrols.  In a defensive position, we are  not assaulting, we are holding ground. On that note we do task site sections to protect the GPMG from close up attack. Funny you seem to forget that the infantryman who must get close up and personal in CQB and destroy the enemy. This is best acheived with the individual rifleman's C7 or C8. I am not going to engage in this arguement any more. OUT.

As for tanks (like real tanks) I am of the beleive that infantry and tanks provide mutual support to each other.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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2Bravo said:
"The March Up" also has some interesting insights (infantry dismount to find that the tanks have already killed everybody and the rest have run away).  That being said, there are some examples of trench fighting and house to house which show that you still need "riflemen" who can destroy the enemy up close (again, mostly with firepower)..

Cheers,

2B

I have not forgotten that infantrymen must still be able to get up close.  It could be argued, however, that by the time your assault force is "assaulting" the fight has already been won or lost.
 

Infanteer

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ArmyRick said:
Yes Defensive positions are sited aroun d C6s, or if you have them .50s. However the approach in the infantry is that the C6s is a platoon SUPPORT weapon. It is a very important weapon, that I do not argue. The C6s and the other platoon heavy weapons are there for supporting the assault. Look at the platoon when organized for fighting patrols or deliberate attacks, C6s and other heavys are in the Support (Fire base) while your C9s can be grouped into security and cut off teams. Your ASSAULT consist mostly of guys with rifles or carbines.  But then again armour doesn't do fighting patrols.  In a defensive position, we are  not assaulting, we are holding ground. On that note we do task site sections to protect the GPMG from close up attack. Funny you seem to forget that the infantryman who must get close up and personal in CQB and destroy the enemy. This is best acheived with the individual rifleman's C7 or C8. I am not going to engage in this arguement any more. OUT.

Nobody is forgetting that "Assault" is one of the seven steps of battle procedure; the argument is on it's importance.  Instead of lecturing us on the obvious (assaulters carry rifles), you need to address the case presented that is best summed up by Joint Service Guy a while back:

Joint Service Guy said:
Fire is what breaks the enemies will to fight, most of the time, and the "Assault" is a figment of the imagination caused by mis-understanding how humans act in combat, or rather poor teaching of the core functions.

...and

Joint Service Guy said:
2. I don't believe the aim of close combat is to "close with and destroy". It is merely to defeat. Defeat, means the other guys gives up the fight and surrenders, runs or dies. I'm not being semantic or pendantic. I just don't believe that close combat is well characterised or explained.

Even close in fighting in complex terrain, like the Battle of Fallujah, demands "fire dominance" for victory.  Sure, Fallujah was won by assaulting Marines, but as the Kilcullen paper (among the others in the Aussie series) shows, these manoeuvring Marines would get into place to best employ superior firepower at the tactical level.  Look at all those videos from that battle; guys taking hard positions and laying out heavy fires to kill the enemy - the blobs that the article refers to.  When stand-off firepower failed or is irrelevant (which happens more than the USAF cares to admit), it is the Infantry that most get in close to supply it.  I think that the sterling performance of the M1A1 in Iraq, both in the "March Up" and in the gruelling insurgency battles in cities, attests to the notion of "firepower dominance" that was mentioned earlier.

In essence, the argument is that "WIN THE FIREFIGHT" is the most crucial step in modern combat, the determinant of victory.
 
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