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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

FJAG

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I figured Heavy is fully tracked - I don’t consider the current LAV, M777 and some Leo’s heavy.
I'll agree to call the heavy brigade in the "using what equipment we have" scenario an "ersatz heavy" brigade more designed to be able to teach and practice the skills and deploy with known risks and deficiencies. My two "if I were king" heavy brigades are tracked and more heavily armoured.
I do think you could field 2 medium Bde with a wheeled SPA and some other missing enablers.
Yup
A heavy Bde needs a blank slate and to be created from scratch - either retaining and augmenting the existing Leo2 or adopting a new MBT, a heavy IFV, a tracked SPA and all the other necessities.
Yup
I’m not sure you need two heavy Bde, and not sure Canada can afford the bill
I think the only way that Canada will ever commit to a true heavy brigade is if it commits to prepositioned flyover one in Europe. That means needing equipment back in Canada to train on. That essentially translates into two equipment sets. So one might as well have two sets of trained personnel (ResF heavy in my books).

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KevinB

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Good point. But if you have 1/3rd to 1/2 of the Bde predeployed -and all it’s equipment you could do fly over Bde ex’s and rotate the permanent personnel every 2 years or so - so you could cheap out back home and only have a battle group or so of kit in Canada.
 

FJAG

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Good point. But if you have 1/3rd to 1/2 of the Bde predeployed -and all it’s equipment you could do fly over Bde ex’s and rotate the permanent personnel every 2 years or so - so you could cheap out back home and only have a battle group or so of kit in Canada.
I think so too but I do take the issues raised by @Infanteer and several others re sharing equipment to heart.

I always look at things with recurring costs v a one time capital cost (albeit with recurring annual expenses) which is why I would want the minimum number of personnel forward deployed (some leaders, admin and a whole lot of maintainers) as a posting, while the rest flies over for rotational exercises only. If one converted to a more robust eFP then that might change to a combined arms type of battle group but quite frankly I'd want to stay away from deploying too much of the force forward - a cornerstone battalion headquarters and rifle company maybe.

Since I consider the heavy brigade an "in case of fire, break glass" type of force and not a real "QRF" I would want as much of it to be hybrid as practicable and therefore save recurring annual costs through reservists allowing more funds to go towards equipment purchases. This also has the benefit of having an equipped "follow-on" force available.

So, bottom line, if I'm going to cheap out anywhere its in forward deployed full-time troops costs. I'd funnel every nickel I've got into equipment.

When you think about it, we already have much of the expensive gear that we need for two medium brigades and a light brigade (if we really need a full light brigade) so most of the new equipment costs can go towards heavy. In many ways we're well positioned in that, based on Ukraine, we're not invested in too much heavy gear that needs replacing upgrading and we can basically design a heavy force based on some of the most relevant new lessons learned. Plus, I think we have a few years to work it out now.

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KevinB

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I think so too but I do take the issues raised by @Infanteer and several others re sharing equipment to heart.
Ack, I don't like time share concepts - but I also am very skeptical of Cdn Gov willingness to actually equip a forward force if it doesn't have troops -- I see it being a paper Army
When you think about it, we already have much of the expensive gear that we need for two medium brigades and a light brigade (if we really need a full light brigade) so most of the new equipment costs can go towards heavy.
I'd argue that one has about half of 2 Medium Bde worth - the LAV's, and that is really it.
As far as the Light goes, you have a bunch of M777, and that is about it.

I don't think the CA really has a true Bde worth of equipment, but more parts of 3 or 4 Bde worth of equipment, deploying a "Battlegroup" (or pieces of it) has been the cheap way of paying face value to commitments.
In many ways we're well positioned in that, based on Ukraine, we're not invested in too much heavy gear that needs replacing upgrading and we can basically design a heavy force based on some of the most relevant new lessons learned. Plus, I think we have a few years to work it out now.

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Kirkhill

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USMC thoughts on ISTAR, Recce and LAVs for their Force 2030

USNI

Marines Look Beyond LAVs as Recon Roles Expand​

By: Mallory Shelbourne
May 20, 2022 5:24 PM

Sgt. David Seeley, a squad leader with Battalion Landing Team 3/4, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and a native of Dunwoody, Georgia, walks past a light armored vehicle (LAV) at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan on Feb. 8, 2021. Marine Corps Photo


Marines are rethinking how the service does reconnaissance beyond its traditional light armored vehicles as part of the ongoing Force Design 2030 effort, officials said last week.

With more unmanned systems on the market and the Pentagon continuing a shift toward potential operations in the Indo-Pacific, the Marine Corps in the next year plans to experiment with ways to perform reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance in a sea environment, according to the service’s most recent Force Design 2030 update.

But the service says it cannot depend on ground vehicles alone to perform the reconnaissance mission.

“Our light armored reconnaissance (LAR) battalions must transition from their current ground vehicle-centric approach to an all-domain mobile reconnaissance approach. Sole reliance on armored ground vehicles for reconnaissance is too limiting, especially in complex littoral environments,” reads the Marine Corps’ latest Force Design update, released earlier this month. “Attributes such as reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting beyond the line of sight, littoral mobility, and equipment that integrates with special operations and joint forces are needed.”



A U.S. Marine LAV-25 light armored vehicle attached to Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), engages a target with an M242 25mm chain gun during exercise Alexander the Great 2019 in Volos, Greece, Jan. 8. Exercise Alexander the Great 2019 is combined training exercise between U.S. and Hellenic armed forces. US Marine Corps photo

During a roundtable with reporters last week, Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, the deputy commandant for combat development and integration, acknowledged that Marines will perform reconnaissance differently, depending on the region and operating environment.

“[Light armored reconnaissance] in the Indo-Pacific with III [Marine Expeditionary Unit] is most likely going to look different than light armored reconnaissance in II MEF,” Heckl said at the annual Modern Day Marine conference.

Heckl’s comments reflect how Marine Corps officials have recently described the service’s ongoing Force Design 2030 effort, which is aimed at preparing the Marines for conflict in the coming decade. The Marine Corps has said III MEF, based in Okinawa, Japan, will look different than I and II MEFs because III MEF is operating as the so-called “stand-in-force” in the range of Chinese weapons.

Marine Corps Systems Command, which is the service’s acquisition arm, has been working on the prototyping effort to replace the Light Armored Reconnaissance vehicle. That initiative includes evaluating a variant of BAE Systems’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle for the reconnaissance mission.

“My opinion is none of that works in the Indo-Pacific,” Heckl said of the vehicles. “I think LAR would look something more like a lot of unmanned in multiple domains.”

After several years of struggling to replace the aging LAVs, the Marine Corps embarked on a prototyping effort in 2020 that continued throughout last year.

“We are doing some demos and prototyping right now so we can get ahead and maintain decision space for the commandant as we flesh out what that recon capability’s going to be in the future,” Col. David Walsh, the acting program executive officer for land systems, told reporters. “We’ve now got a head start on if there’s a vehicle that needs to be fielded and bought to support that vision, we’ve now got a couple years head start. We’ve done some competitive prototyping and that vehicle won’t be 5 years out. It’ll be a couple years out from being fielded.”


U.S. Marines with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, utilize a laser rangefinder during a transit through the Strait of Gibraltar aboard San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD-24), April 26, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Force Design 2030 initiative has included the Marine Corps shedding some of its heavier equipment, like tanks, and investing in capabilities like anti-ship missiles, which the Marines want to fire from expeditionary nodes that smaller units set up on islands and shorelines.


With a heavy focus on reconnaissance,
the Marine Corps’ recent Force Design update said the reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance experimentation will influence how the service pursues ground vehicles in the future.

Choices made in the maritime mobility discussion above will also affect the [Ground Combat Tactical Vehicle Strategy], as will its integration with our uncrewed systems roadmap. We must continually refine this strategy to ensure it is operationally suitable and logistically supportable,” the document reads.

As the Marine Corps assesses how it will operate in the Indo-Pacific, the service needs to figure out how it will perform the reconnaissance mission across a vast region that mostly includes water.

“What do our organizations already recognize? They recognize that in terms of where the commandant has pointed us, then our focus is on how we operate in and affect battlespace that includes more than land,” said Maj. Gen. Ben Watson, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

“So if we’re going to own battlespace that includes water space, but we can only operate in wheeled vehicles and by walking around, then we are probably incapable of controlling that battlespace and maximizing our influence within it. So we’ve got to diversify the means with which we get ground.”

In addition to the maritime domain, the Marines need a strategy that factors in cyber and other non-kinetic elements, Watson said. Heckl said the MEF Information Groups would likely play a key role in performing reconnaissance missions when it comes to cyber-warfare.

“The biggest eye-opener for me as a new MEF commander was this new thing called MEF information group and the stuff – the scope, scale, breadth of what they were doing was eyewatering,” Heckl said. “But they’re short, we’re dramatically short in all [Military Occupational Safety]’s. They are low-density, high-demand. But I think that kind of highlights for you how much the MEFs are going to have to play into whatever this thing ends up looking like.”


Marines prepare to recover an RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial vehicle after a training flight during exercise Black Shadow at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Jan. 19, 2021. US Marine Corps Photo

Getting after this will also likely include manned-unmanned teaming, which is how the Navy and Marine Corps now describe their unmanned systems strategy. It would pair manned and unmanned platforms together to conduct various missions.

“So how do we leverage manned and unmanned teaming and the characteristics of unmanned systems to enhance the survivability and effectiveness of our more limited manned systems. Because that also speaks to the logistics challenge, right, demand reduction. Nothing consumes more than humans,” Watson said.

“They are problems that are actively being wrestled with and that we are trying to help shape as well as support from headquarters to get after what the commandant’s looking for.”

In its recent Force Design update, the Marine Corps said it will release “an updated and refined” strategy for ground vehicles that take into account how the Marines will get after the reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance mission.

The update also calls for the Marines to start shifting their light armored reconnaissance battalions “to mobile reconnaissance battalions,” beginning with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

The Marines have been told to use the work done by Task Force 61 Naval Amphibious Forces Europe/2nd Marine Division, recently created by U.S. 6th Fleet, as a springboard.



“Mobile reconnaissance battalions do not have to be mirror-imaged,” the update reads.


01 April 2022

U.S. Sixth Fleet Establishes Naval Amphibious Forces Europe Supporting Fully Integrated Navy-Marine Operations and Experimentation​


U.S. Sixth Fleet stood up Task Force 61 Naval Amphibious Forces Europe/ 2d Marine Division (TF-61/2) to synchronize command and control of deployed Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and advance the integrated Marine Corps capability in the Sixth Fleet area of operations (AOO) on March 16,


16 May 2022

U.S., Estonia Kick Off Exercise Hedgehog 22​


TALLINN, Estonia - Members of Task Force 61 Naval Amphibious Forces Europe/2d Marine Division (TF-61/2), operating under U.S. Sixth Fleet, joined their Estonian counterparts to kick off exercise Siil 22, also known in English as Exercise Hedgehog, in Tallinn, Estonia, May 16.

 

Kirkhill

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The Marine Littoral Strategy for the Indo-Pacificl is predicated on working in an Archipelago of Islands. The LAV has limited utility in that environment.

Task Force 61 conducted Operation Hedgehog in the Baltic. The Baltic is a shallow sea dominated by rocky archipelagoes of islands. The preferred vehicles for that environment are CB90s.

1653147382789.png

These are backed by small boat navies equipped with shallow draft, high speed missile boats and small corvettes




Most of Canada's territory is also incompatible with the LAV, our primary vehicle. We face the same ISTAR-Info-Cyber-EW challenges as the rest of the world.

And our coasts are dominated by Archipelagos

The Straits of Juan de Fuca
The Inside Passage
The Belcher Islands of Hudson Bay
The 1000 Islands of the St Lawrence
The Magdalene Islands of the Gulf of St Lawrence
And most importantly our Arctic Archipelago.

In addition we have massive estuaries, long navigable rivers and many systems of interconnected very large lakes.

We have a land mass of which 70% is not accessible by road.

In addition we have the same seasonality problem as the Swedes and the Finns. - for much of the year our waters freeze


Which raises the subject of Canadian People Movers

Kirkhill's list

CB90s
RHIBs
LCVPs

Argos
Sherps
Bv206s
(I understand the Bv206s won't handle the deepest snow but much of the High North is actually a windswept desert - and they float when the ice breaks)

VTOLs
UTTHs (Griffins)
MLH (Cormorants/Cyclones)
MHLHs (Chinooks)
(Future - Tilt Rotors)

STOL
Twin Otters
Buffalo
Hercs
CC-177s

Airport to Airport
Challenger
Polaris
Civvy Charters.


Fire Support is a separate issue.

Curiously enough the big question, in terms of Recce/ISTAR/Info/Cyber/EW is:

How many people do you need to move?

With the related question:

How many people are needed to deal with whatever is discovered?




Denmark and Norway have a more Blue Water orientation in keeping with their geopolitical positioning. Norway guards the approaches to the Baltic from the Arctic and the Atlantic. Denmark controls the chokepoint at the entrance to the Baltic. Denmark has recently switched from a small boat, local defence navy to a Blue Water ASW/AAW navy. Together with the Norwegians and the Brits they aim to dominate the GIUK Gap and protect the approaches to the Baltic and the Atlantic.
 

Kirkhill

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Autonomous operations in Archipelagos (with civilian traffic) is already here.


This relates directly to GFO_Nomad_Ranger_2021-copy.jpg

 

Kirkhill

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One other aspect of operations in the Baltic is the number of small submarines in service

Poland - 1x Kilo
Sweden - 5x AIP subs (1500 tonne)
Norway - 6x Diesel Electric subs (1000 tonne)

These are supplemented by the Dutch - 4x Diesel Electric subs (2500 tonne)


The UK backstops these with

  • 6x Nuclear Fleet subs (4000-8000 tonne)
  • 4x Nuclear Ballistic subs (16,000 tonne)

That represents a fleet of 16 conventional subs - very quiet with 5 Air Independent vessels backed by 6 nuclear attack subs and 4 nuclear ballistic missile subs.

To secure the Baltic and Scandinavia.
 

Kirkhill

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And more autonomy
And yes I know this is an Army thread....

One word -

Joint.

 

GR66

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Just going to throw this out there for the sake of discussion...

What if we dropped our love affair with the LAV and went all Light Infantry Battalions. That would theoretically allow us to deploy a full Light Infantry Division with the existing three Brigades.

Drop the number of Reg Force Batteries in the Artillery Regiments from two to one and make up the 2nd and 3rd Batteries of each Regiment from Reserve Artillery Units.

4th Artillery Regiment could provide the HQ and STA elements for the Divisional Artillery with three Divisional Artillery Regiments (1 x Gun, 1 x AD and 1 x HIMARS) each made up of one Reg Force Battery and two Reserve Batteries.

The Tac Hel units are combined together into the Divisional Aviation Brigade.

The Canadian Combat Support Brigade becomes the Divisional Sustainment Brigade and is augmented by the Engineer, Signal and Service Battalion elements from the 10 x existing Reserve Brigades.

Reserve Infantry/Armour/Artillery units are re-organized as Company-sized units each tasked to Force Generate a single Infantry or CS Platoon/Troop/Gun Detachment as per the existing STAR system. These Companies would be grouped together into Reserve Battalions under the three Reg Force Brigades.

These Reserve elements augmenting the Reg Force units would allow a deployed Brigade (or even Division) to be sustained with personnel.

The training and equipment delta between the Reg Force and Reserve Force would be eliminated.

Light forces are better suited to Defence of North America roles than LAV-based units and a Canadian Light Infantry Division would be an excellent compliment to the US Army's new 11th Airborne Division in Alaska. In a NATO role, a Light Infantry Division would be an excellent option for deploying forces to the new Nordic members (Finland/Sweden/Norway) as well as the Baltics in case of Russian attack and could be more quickly deployed than Medium/Heavy forces from Canada.

The LAVs (and Leopards) could be retained for war stocks and the Army could continue to run courses for their use/maintenance so that they can be used by the Battalions as required (for Latvia, Peace Keeping deployments, etc.).
 

IKnowNothing

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@GR66 I like the idea. But given that we have the Leo's, the LRSS, and the LAV's, it brings me back to working off the legacy MEB GCT structure to make use of the heavier equipment (with pre-positioned stocks in Europe, maybe Australia if we want to strengthen those ties)
 

daftandbarmy

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Just going to throw this out there for the sake of discussion...

What if we dropped our love affair with the LAV and went all Light Infantry Battalions. That would theoretically allow us to deploy a full Light Infantry Division with the existing three Brigades.

Drop the number of Reg Force Batteries in the Artillery Regiments from two to one and make up the 2nd and 3rd Batteries of each Regiment from Reserve Artillery Units.

4th Artillery Regiment could provide the HQ and STA elements for the Divisional Artillery with three Divisional Artillery Regiments (1 x Gun, 1 x AD and 1 x HIMARS) each made up of one Reg Force Battery and two Reserve Batteries.

The Tac Hel units are combined together into the Divisional Aviation Brigade.

The Canadian Combat Support Brigade becomes the Divisional Sustainment Brigade and is augmented by the Engineer, Signal and Service Battalion elements from the 10 x existing Reserve Brigades.

Reserve Infantry/Armour/Artillery units are re-organized as Company-sized units each tasked to Force Generate a single Infantry or CS Platoon/Troop/Gun Detachment as per the existing STAR system. These Companies would be grouped together into Reserve Battalions under the three Reg Force Brigades.

These Reserve elements augmenting the Reg Force units would allow a deployed Brigade (or even Division) to be sustained with personnel.

The training and equipment delta between the Reg Force and Reserve Force would be eliminated.

Light forces are better suited to Defence of North America roles than LAV-based units and a Canadian Light Infantry Division would be an excellent compliment to the US Army's new 11th Airborne Division in Alaska. In a NATO role, a Light Infantry Division would be an excellent option for deploying forces to the new Nordic members (Finland/Sweden/Norway) as well as the Baltics in case of Russian attack and could be more quickly deployed than Medium/Heavy forces from Canada.

The LAVs (and Leopards) could be retained for war stocks and the Army could continue to run courses for their use/maintenance so that they can be used by the Battalions as required (for Latvia, Peace Keeping deployments, etc.).

I've always been a 'light infantry guy but the extra capabilities of the LAV in communications, protection, firepower and mobility are a huge advantage, IMHO.
 

IKnowNothing

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I've always been a 'light infantry guy but the extra capabilities of the LAV in communications, protection, firepower and mobility are a huge advantage, IMHO.
Granted, but if we don't have/ can't get them in theatre in sufficient quantities in a timely manner that huge advantage does NATO no good and amounts to vanity spending.
 

IKnowNothing

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I'm sure the NATO in place' Divisions will rely on our mighty Battle Group to be there before they cross the LD for the big counter-stroke ;)
Tongue in cheek I know, but they want their Bde, and if we have any intention of actually providing it it should either be
-stationed there
-prepositioned for REFORGER style flyover
-light enough to deploy by air

otherwise it's just lip service with no real prospect of being deployed, and therefore arguably a waste of defense dollars.

Heretical solution, go with Light/Medium/Heavy, call a spade a spade and acknowledge that if the 28 tonne LAV 6 is our Heavy vehicle it's not a medium vehicle, give all the infantry and armour LAV chassis' and Leo's to 1CMBG, pre position a full Bde set in Latvia. Give 5CMBG all the TAPV's and tell them to figure it out. They're by no means ideal, but they're heavier than Lav 3's, and the RWS loadout shouldn't be set in stone. Deal with the shortcomings of our Heavy IFV being wheeled with a 25mm and no ATGM and our medium weight vehicle needing to be two to a section, do better with fleet selection in 10 years.
 

Kirkhill

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Polish prime minister calls for permanent bases in NATO’s east​


Poland is prepared to construct new bases to host more NATO forces and other countries along the alliance’s eastern flank ought to follow suit, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told security leaders gathered in Warsaw.

“Permanent bases of allies should be established in NATO’s eastern flank countries,” Morawiecki said Thursday at the Strategic Ark think tank forum. “
Poland is ready to build such bases (to include) light infantry units on a permanent basis.

Somebody likes the Light Infantry for the Eastern Front.
 

FJAG

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Just going to throw this out there for the sake of discussion...
I don't agree with everything you're suggesting but assuming that you are right in wanting to accomplish what you do, then you can do all that and still retain the LAVs.

You can always take the infantryman out of the LAV and let him deploy as light infantry but once you park the LAVs for any length of time its difficult to get them and their crews back up to snuff.

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Kirkhill

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I don't agree with everything you're suggesting but assuming that you are right in wanting to accomplish what you do, then you can do all that and still retain the LAVs.

You can always take the infantryman out of the LAV and let him deploy as light infantry but once you park the LAVs for any length of time its difficult to get them and their crews back up to snuff.

🍻

If you can do that then you can create Independent LAV Sub-Units and Sub-Sub-Units which can carry Lt Infantry.

You've already decided that there needs to be a Standard Section and Standard Platoon for both LAV and Lt Infantry and the Standard Section will be based on the number of soldiers in the back of the LAV. You also want to be able to get the whole platoon and their kit in the back of a Chinook. From that you ended up with a Standard Section of 7 and a Standard Platoon of 30 (28 would make more sense but...)

The consequence of those decisions, in my opinion, is that the Platoon's LAVs are an addition to the Platoon. Therefore the LAV Capt's LAVs are an addition to the Coy. And the Bn's LAVs are an addition to the Bn....

The proportion of cap-badges, trades or components can all be debated.

The Falklands only saw a couple of troops of Lt AFVs engaged to support two brigades of Lt Infantry.
 

FJAG

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If you can do that then you can create Independent LAV Sub-Units and Sub-Sub-Units which can carry Lt Infantry.

You've already decided that there needs to be a Standard Section and Standard Platoon for both LAV and Lt Infantry and the Standard Section will be based on the number of soldiers in the back of the LAV. You also want to be able to get the whole platoon and their kit in the back of a Chinook. From that you ended up with a Standard Section of 7 and a Standard Platoon of 30 (28 would make more sense but...)
You're confusing me slightly with @Infanteer here but yes and yes - 28 dismounts for the platoon.
The consequence of those decisions, in my opinion, is that the Platoon's LAVs are an addition to the Platoon. Therefore the LAV Capt's LAVs are an addition to the Coy. And the Bn's LAVs are an addition to the Bn....
You can argue that but I'd disagree - the same way that I'd disagree that the LAV crew or the ISV driver are "in addition" to the platoon. They are part of it. I suggested that specialty vehicles (such as BVs) should come with their own drivers and maintainers because they are a brigade resource and can be parcelled out to varying units and require special skills to operate and maintain.
The proportion of cap-badges, trades or components can all be debated.
Sure they can but IMHO its an unnecessary debate. One only changes things when there is a clear advantage. I don't even see a minor advantage.
The Falklands only saw a couple of troops of Lt AFVs engaged to support two brigades of Lt Infantry.
Not sure what a war with logistics limitations and poor terrain has to do with anything. Falklands was a unique situation and an interesting case study but not a pro forma example for general force (even light force) structures.

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markppcli

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Those light AFVs were also specifically picked out for their effectiveness in the Falklands. I’d imagine the Brits would have preferred more not less, the Arggies too.

A question for @Kirkill what do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of a separate carrier unit vice organic? I’m interested primarily because I can only think of two military organizations that have “carrier” units, and both have a very specific mission set.
 
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