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Does a Regt support a Bde or does 3 Btys support 3 BGs?

GnyHwy

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I pose this question to ponder whether a Regt as a whole is more effective than 3 Btys properly placed. 

The standard of 3 or 4 Btys linear in past certainly made sense for a number of reasons.  Self protection, logistical, C2.

We have come leaps and bounds as far as C2 goes and our ability to move and provide immediate, accurate support I believe is unparalled. 

Is there a need for a Regt or should we be fighting as Btys with more C2 ie. FSCCs and HQs?
 

Petard

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Gny, I don't think anyone sticks to linear deployments per se, but you're question is one best answered on the Arty Ops course.

I would argue though we do need Regt's, and not just to Force Generate. I'll take a stab at an explanation though...
Artillery must retain its flexibility to mass or become decentralised as needed, and we should not be steered by current ops to reorganize ourselves to the lowest common denominator, Bty deployments, but we do need to consider the realities of what we actually got.

As you should know Artillery is grouped as needed, reinforced where required, commanded at the highest level but responds to controls at the lowest level. All that to say it gets focused by the highest level commander, based on the senior gunner's advice, on where those Artillery assets can be most effectively used to influence the battle space.

Doctrine-wise a Regt supports a Bde, but there are a lot of possible situations that might occur, and each might need a different type of massing of forces to respond to. For example that Bde might have 3 separate BG's maneuvering, with each possibly supported by a Bty, or one of the BG gets 2 Btys support and one BG gets 1 Bty and the 3rd BG gets none, or one BG gets the whole CS Regt plus a reinforcing or even possibly a Gen Support Regt reinforcing as well, or none. The Arty Ops course should be teaching how to achieve that kind of flexibility, especially on how to mass should the Bty's be deployed with some distance between them, as I think you're implying. You need the Regt level C2 to achieve that kind of flexibility.

Whole fleet management and Force generating reality however dictates that we must be prepared to support a tasked BG with a Bty on 1st line of ops, and some FOO/FAC and SCC's on a 2nd line. The wild card is the remote possibility of a surge or spike deployment of a Regt, in either a Close Support or CS/reinforcing role (assuming neither 1st or 2nd line of Ops forces are committed). Remoter still is the possibility of a General Support Regt deployment (which doesn't actually exist right now in our ORBAT, but usually has rocket and STA capabilities with accompanying SCC's and maybe even AD) .

I don't think we need to change too much to our doctrine, and it might be a moot point anyway. In the short term,  I think we will see even the Bty deployments come to an end post 2011 and actually see only the support to 2nd line of Ops type of commitment happening, if anything. That by itself does not mean we should give up and loose the Regt level capabilities.
 

vonGarvin

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With the loss of mortar platoons at the battalions, does this alter the support required, assuming that the support of 1 Regt/Bde Group was the norm prior to the dissolution of those platoons?  Or would the doctrine need adjusting to the point that the Artillery needs to provide BG support in the form of a platoon per battalion, in addition to the regiment/brigade group?
 

Petard

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For what's it worth, I believe Infantry Bn's must have their Mortar Pl's back, with MFC's and FSCC, but this is highly unlikely any time soon with all the extra-manpower requirements that would mean(while the Infantry is somehow overborn right now?), but anyway the idea an Artillery Regt, as a residual task, can FG a mortar Pl for ea Bn within the Bde, hasn't worked in the past, but this might work in the future for probably all the wrong reasons.

The only way I can see it working with Artillery Regt's FG mortar capabilities for Bn's, is if we roll everything up post 2011 and all the artillery is tasked to FG are mortar Pl's, FOO/FACs, and some SCC's, and we park M777's et all against a fence somewhere. We would have to rely on a coalition partner then to do all those higher level C2 and fire support tasks that our own Artillery has been doing, consequently I would say we would loose the skill sets and capabilities to do those higher level artillery tasks ourselves, and to some degree, we already have.

Techno-V, I know you're well aware of it, but for others...
The M777 deployed in Afghanistan did not operate as the BG's indirect fire support unit, it was operated somewhat like Artillery has always been used, sent by the highest level commander to where ever it had the greatest effect, and sometimes that meant the Cdn deployed Inf Bn and assets went without any indirect fire support save their 60's. It is for that reason, principally, I would argue the Infantry have a need for organic indirect fire support within the Bn's. We are about the only main NATO country that doesn't do this.
 

GnyHwy

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Can anyone speak on the optimized BG.

I am unfamiliar with the current optimized BG.  Has that answered any of these questions or has it just been a flavour of the day?

 

Old Sweat

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There is a thread of the optimized versus the affiliated battle group that addresses some of the issues you raised. It would be well worth your while to search it our.  It is probably far back in the order of march as it has not been posted on for several months.

For whatever it is worth, I am not a fan of the optimzed version.
 

GnyHwy

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After reading the optimized BG post.  I would have to say I am not a fan.  Somewhere, along the same lines that Old Sweat mentions in that thread is, that it is a solution for a problem that we don't necessarily have.
IMO, the only way to optimize a BG is for the task at hand and to try to predict that is waste of time, resources and skill fade will be an issue as 1 x LCol cannot meets the need of an entire BG for a continuos period.  Especially when they are of several different trades.

For Arty specific.  Presently, we are looking at 2 x Gun Bty's, 1 x STA Bty, 1 x FOO Bty and HQ for a Regt.  With this model we would not be able to support 3 x BGs but, a soluton could be 1 x Reinforced, 1 x Normal and 1 x reserve BG.

It seems that the modular type Regt that we have been conductiing for sometime is the only solution ATT (manpower being a key factor).  IOT better the support the army as a whole the modular concept seems logical to me.  As well, the training pool within a Regt must be kept tight IOT cross train of necessary.

In closing, IMO the only way to run a Regt whatever the model is within a Bde is to keep it together and the CO recieve tasks from the Bde Cmdr.  With his full Regt in 1 place he will better be able to fill any role asked of us whether it be Guns, Mortars, Observers/FACs, STA or Ops staff.
 

GnyHwy

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For Techno,  I would agree that the Inf should keep the mortars but, whats mentioned in many other posts and topics is that it's a man power issue.  You guys are the pros at direct close combat and we, Arty are indirect pros.  As well, we do train light, usually our 3rd Bty, and a close support mortar Plt is something I believe we can provide (not my job to allocate Plts but, I know we have very capable and willing troops for this).
 

GnyHwy

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I agree.  It just doesn't seem to be a reality ATT as it sems our Cmdrs want our Inf to focus on close combat.
 

GnyHwy

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As well, from my recolection of the 90s.  The mortar platoon guys were not given the respect and merit deserved amongst the Btl.

That tells me it would be tough to ask guys to specialize in something that doesn't carry as much weight in a Btl as say, fighting patrols.
 

Michael OLeary

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The infantry corps never developed a very good appreciation for or understanding of the capabilities of our mortar systems.
 

GnyHwy

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Mr O'Leary,

I think we may have found some middle ground.  We in the the Arty, do understand the capabilities and the repercussions of any any indirect system.  That said, although we have many people studying and learning (myself included) we have much to improve upon. DC and blue SA being big ones IMO.

Please advise how you see an Arty Regt within a Bde.
 

Michael OLeary

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I think the role currently (and traditionally) filled by the Regt HQ is essential, whether within a Bde context or over any geographically grouped batteries.  The Batteries as we currently know them can provide sufficient observers and CPs for their 'slice' of the Bde, but the higher control capability is still required to manage the combined activities of multiple fire units, observers and any other assigned Artillery assets within the area of operations.  Whether the assets within a Brigade AO are a group of independent batteries or the batteries of a single regiment, that Regt CP capability still has to be provided for coordination of the firepower above any single Battle Group FSCC.
 

GnyHwy

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Flexiblity is certainly the key.  The 3 x Btys of old is all but gone.  Currently, we are asked to provide an STA cababillty, more FOO's partys (4 FOO dets x 6 qual pers/Bty (very difficult)),  Doctrine provides 2 x FOO dets/Bty with basic quals.  An extremely large gap and that is not even including all the LAV quals needed.

To stand up an experienced FOO Bty alone would be a feat.

Gun Btys/Mortar Tps/Plts would be a bit easier as that is our our job.

STA brings a whole new can of worms as there are many new capabilities that we have not bought into yet.

I believe our HQ element will always be strong as we bring SA and experience to the table there.

Manpower is the common denominator amongst all trades.
 

GnyHwy

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The main reason I rasised this thread is to stress that we have come so far from doctrine that I don't belive we could ever get back there. 

I believe we are on the right path and to revert back to doctrine would be a negative step and most likely an impossibility.

As hard as it may be for most to swallow, more command elements i.e. 0/95, FSCC in larger numbers are needed.

 

Old Sweat

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GnyHwy said:
The main reason I rasised this thread is to stress that we have come so far from doctrine that I don't belive we could ever get back there. 

I believe we are on the right path and to revert back to doctrine would be a negative step and most likely an impossibility.

As hard as it may be for most to swallow, more command elements i.e. 0/95, FSCC in larger numbers are needed.

Can you run this argument by me very slowly and using little words only, please? I thought that we all were in general agreement that our employment of artillery was in accordance with the accepted principles. Whether the organizations we are using, which are a creature of limited resources and not preference, actually match the doctrine may be another matter entirely.

It seems to me that our existing organization allows us to plug other stuff like gun batteries and rocket systems in quite easily. And ditto for stuff that flies. It also allows us to support other forces, conventional and otherwise.

Can we delve into the FOO Battery for a bit? I could make a case for one, but perhaps not one per regiment. What is the thinking behind one per regiment; is this the way to provide a third BC and FSCC for the brigade? What about FACs? We apparently have some from other arms posted to our regiments. Where do we put them?

I guess some of this is hypothetical and my use of "we" is suspect since I have been retired for 15 years. However it beats the crap out of growing flowers or rocking on the front porch or bitching about TD Canada Trust customer friendly policies.
 

GnyHwy

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Just speaking of the OPs ATT.  The FOO Bty per Regt hasn't happened yet but, I believe the thinking behind it would be this.  Limited resources being everyone's issue, and qualified soldiers in the OP "stream" are the biggest shortfall. I believe that was the main reason we started streaming in the first place, and even with that we are not able to keep up. Standing up 4 x OP Dets from 1 x traditional bty has been difficult.

I will compare a Bty and OP dets as you would remember it to what it looks like now.


Before, an OP det  consisted of:

1 x Capt qualified FOO course. He may have had FAC but the old FAC qualification is a joke compared to today.
1 x MBdr qualified Comms, FOO Tech (now called OP Det 2i/c)
2 or 3 x Bdr/Gnr qualified Comms and Driver.

Total 4 or 5 pers qualified approx. 9 courses. Approx. 15 months training combined for all pers' courses.

The entire Bty had a BC's Det and 2 OP Dets totalling approx. 15 pers with 27 courses. Approx. 45 months of training for the entire Bty's worth of OP Dets.


Now, an OP det consists of:

1 x Capt qualified FOO, FAC (the FAC crse now is 2 months followed by continuation training).
1 x Sgt qualified Comms, OP det 2 i/c, LAV Gnr, LAV OPV CC, OP Det Cmdr, maybe FAC with the same criteria as FOO.
1 x MBdr qualified Comms, OP det 2 i/c, LAV Gnr, LAV OPV CC, maybe OP Det Cmdr, maybe FAC.
3 x Bdr/Gnr qualified Comms, Driver, 1 or 2 will be LAV Gnr.

Total 6 pers qualified approx. 20 courses. Approx. 30 months training combined for all pers' course.

The entire Btys OP Troop now has a BC's Det, 4 x OP Dets and a FSCC totalling approx. 36 pers with 120+ courses. Approx.  180+ months of training for the Bty's  OP troop.

Further to that, there is continuation training for all FACs and the type and amount of equipment we use in the OPs now compared to old is not even in the same ballpark.

To have an OP Bty makes sense when you are looking at standing up those kind of numbers on a continuous basis. 


Finally, you mentioned this Bty providing the Bde FSCC and that would be logical as most FSCC WOs will have come from the OP stream.  The BC, FSCC O and WO will have followed the training plan above.  The FACs will all be in this Bty as well.

Hope this didn't make it more confusing for you and the numbers I came up with even surprised me. They are indeed correct though.
 

Old Sweat

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Thanks. I had not factored in all the other courses, although in the bad old days OP party folks had to have comms and driver courses and of course a tech. What we did not have to cope with were the various LAV gunner and crew comander courses and the FOO course was not even a gleam in the school's eye. Instead COs were supposed to train their gun end officers to be able to move up to the sharp end. This was done on the puff range and by local observation of fire courses, which involved each of us getting to fire a mission or two a day for up to five days on the ranges. As for the OP tech, that was largely by osmosis once a tech was slotted into the job. (Mind you the army had fought the Second World War and Korea that way, and it had seemed to work.) Furthermore, we would have been lucky to have more than a qualfied FAC or two in the regiment, but that did not matter because the air force had little to offer and would not let non-air force FACs control aircraft. Things have changed, and largely for the better.

To sum up, there was a training load then, but it was not as great. From experience I can tell you that a number of the FOOs were not very good shots. One in particular in 1 RCHA in the early sixties was known as Captain Grid Square, as if he managed to get his opening round in the same square as the target, it was considered a minor miracle. It may be that the failings of the system, real and imagined, were masked by the amount of guns and ammunition that could be dumped on an enemy position in wartime. Research, both at the time and later, seemed to support that theory.
 
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