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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

Underway

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Yes, all of those countries have invaded Russia at one point or another. Actually, the Lithuanian/Polish Empire was a massive predator of the Russian people for decades. The Swedes invaded Russia through Estonia and Finland.
 

GR66

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Or, as has been argued upthread, is there a role for infantry at all?

If crew-served then transported. One small vehicle with two people or many strong backs?

As to the issue of preserving capabilities, and designing armies, you might be interested in this article.

So what does an Army do when enemy aircraft, loitering munitions and precision fires take away their ability to maneuver? Or if they are just simply overmatched by the enemy's technology and hide among the civilian population? Or when their military objective is geographically limited and then they settle in to defend?

A lot of these ideas may be 100% correct for the initial stages of a conflict where maneuver is the name of the game and there are still lots of expensive precision weapons to be used. But what happens when all those loitering munitions and ATGMs have been expended and the armies take to the cover of urban centres? Infantry and cheap HE will then become very important.

I'm with FJAG in his idea that we should have both ends of the spectrum...the high tech precision munitions supplemented by a large volume of cheap HE. The same might be said of our infantry. Have a solid core of mechanized forces for the start of the fight, but be prepared with a mass of light infantry when all the expensive gear is expended.

Of course I'd prefer to have a core of high tech mechanized infantry to start the fight with an even larger mass of equally high tech mechanized infantry to continue, but we have to be realistic.
 

FJAG

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I've been mulling over where in the organization some of these loitering munition systems belong. I've toyed with the Deep Strike Brigade model and have been wondering just exactly how the recce elements and infantry elements in it work together - who does what when it comes to engaging the enemy.

The more I thought about it the more my old corps affiliation keeps rearing its head and for all intents and purposes, all that these new weapon systems are is nothing more or less than over-the horizon anti-armour artillery. They essentially do what anti-tank artillery did when positioned amongst the infantry front line but also so much more beyond that. The big thing is you do not want to tie these systems down to a local area, like artillery you want to mass their fires at critical points across the entire front, as they develop.

Yes there is a role for recce albeit its a much more aggressive role than in the past. Giving them the ability to call in either area neutralization (if that's still a thing anymore) or precision strikes from delivery systems well behind the lines seems appropriate (with the usual leveling of FOOs/JTACS amongst them) IMHO this screen should have some tanks (if for no other reason then local counterattacks) as well as some direct fire anti-armour missiles and, of course GBAD.

As for infantry, they too have a role with a variety of direct long and short range anti-armour weapons which should be organic to the battalions, again augmented by indirect fires support. Just not so sure it's in a deep strike model. Strikes me (pun intended) their place is more in the traditional main line of defence which would be dispersed wider and deeper and with a greater reserve that could position itself once the main enemy thrust line is discerned)

Just as an aside, I'm not too fond of the term "Deep Strike" - sounds like something out of a Marvel Comic. I like "Cavalry" - it allows for the wearing of neat Stetsons on parade.

All-in-all I don't see much difference in who does what, just a lot of adjustment for the weapon systems out there at any given time.

Russian and China are always being invaded by others. China builds a big wall. Russia uses buffer states as their wall. Modern translation is anti-access/area denial.

Re Russian Wars --> go here for a complete list - Warning! Its a really long one.

🍻
 

medic5

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China's history is filled with both foreign invasions and fracturing/reunification. Probably is why the CCP is so authoritarian and maintains tight control of the PLA.
 

Kirkhill

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The challenge in defending Canada... is that there is no external threat. We've effectively neutralized the true external threat by being best buddies with it, the US. Any other threat would be sea-based. If you want to defend the homeland against conventional threats, invest in airpower and naval power.

I agree entirely with Underway. The majority of Canada's professional defence effort should be focused on the RCN and the RCAF and a strong CANSOFCOM. And for the record, as far as I am concerned, Special Operations does not imply that the Operators are Special but that their Operations are Special, Special in the sense of not being ordinary, conventional.

Which brings us to Maj Hendell's question: What does that leave for the Army?

And there I find myself, broadly, in agreement with FJAG. The Army should prepare for the Spanish Inquisition... as in that which no one expects.

We have different prescriptions for the same set of symptoms.

FJAG, as I understand, continues from the Army's stated desire to be infantry-centric and proposes vesting the artillery in the Reserves.

I am coming to the reverse. Discard the infantry-centric Regular force and vest the Cavalry and Artillery and Mounted Infantry in the Regular, Expeditionary Force. And commit the Militia to an infantry-centric home defence force supplemented with light cavalry and artillery support.

The Brits, in my view, have taken their Light Division, Heavy Division and Air Mobile Brigade and reconfigured them into two an Air Mobile Brigade Gp, two Light Brigade Gps, two Heavy Brigade Gps and two Special Operations Brigades. They retain two Div HQs with additional ISR, Cyber and EW assets. The sacrifice has been that of Divisional Support Troops. They have rolled the Divisional Support Troops into the single Deep Strike Brigade to include the Divisional Recce Regiment, the Divisional Artillery, what is analogous to the Divisional MG Battalion and, presumably the Divisional RE Regiment.

My proposal sees Canada creating three Div HQs with Divisional Support Brigades (instead of the single Canadian Combat Support Brigade) that would form the core element of Canada's Expeditionary Force. They would be the organizing principal, along with deployable RCAF wings, around which allies could form. The model is somewhere between the Latvian ePF and the Canadian 21st Army Group with a bit of the Korean War vintage Commonwealth Division thrown in.

The rationale is that, as noted before, the commitment is of treasure more than blood. That means that foreign interventions by the government are likely to be supported longer. Also the commitment is of things that many allies will have trouble finding the treasure to buy themselves. Finally the skills learned by the Expeditionary Force are technical skills that will be useful to the defence of Canada and that can be transmitted to the Home Defence force in the event the Grand Inquisitor appears. It is my expectation that in the expeditionary wars Canada will be supporting people committed to expending their own blood in defence of their territory. It is my hope that if Canadian territory were similarly threatened then Canadians would be similarly motivated.

The consequence then is that a Canadian Division Support Brigade would be operating with local infantry and armoured brigades under command. One of three on deployment at any one time and rotating in and out of theater.

At home, those same CDSBs would be the core of the Militia based Homeland Defence, together with CanSOFCOM and a Light Infantry Brigade.

So, my prescription:

CanSOFCOM

Cdn Lt Brigade - 2 RCR, 2 PPCLI, 2 R22eR.

1 Cdn Div HQ (Joint)
1 CDSB - LdSH(RC), 1 PPCLI, 1 RCHA, 1 CER
1 Expeditionary Wing RCAF (ISR, Satellites, UAS, LRPA, F35 GRS, CC-130, CH-146, CH-147)

2 Cdn Div HQ (Joint)
2 CDSB - RCD, 1 RCR, 2 RCHA, 2 CER
2 Expeditionary Wing RCAF (ISR, Satellites, UAS, LRPA, F35 GRS, CC-130, CH-146, CH-147)

5 Cdn Div HQ (Joint)
5 CDSB - 12e RBC, 1 R22eR, 5 RALC, 5 CER
5 Expeditionary Wing RCAF (ISR, Satellites, UAS, LRPA, F35 GRS, CC-130, CH-146, CH-147)

Militia

10x Infantry Brigade Groups each committed to growing to full Brigades in the event of the Inquisitor.
Standard practice would be a Reg Force and C Class Cadre, a B Class Immediate Reaction Call Out Force of Company Strength, an A Class Parade Strength capable of generating a Battalion Strength unit in extremis, and a strong Supp List Reserve of trained soldiers with prior service.

The Militia Infantry Brigades to include light cavalry squadrons, and close support/GBAD-CRAM batteries.

The Reg Force CDSBs to be organized something like:

The CDSB Arty Regiments to be large regiments with HQ and Services Bty, STA Battery, FOO/FAC Battery, GBAD-CRAM Battery, AT Battery, 3x Cannon Batteries, 1x SSM Battery.

The Cavalry Regiment to be modelled on the Swedish Pansar Unit with two small Tank Squadrons (9-14), two LAV Squadrons, and two Mortar Tps as well as a Loitering Munitions Tp.

The LAV infantry battalion, and the Cavalry LAV troops to be crewed by 3, with 6 dismounts carrying AT weapons and MGs. The Infantry Battalion also to be equipped with a vehicle mounted LR AT company.

This organization calls for 6 infantry battalions, 3 of which will be highly automated and mechanized while 3 will depend on their legs and wings.

All other reg force elements will also emphasize motors over muscles.

The Militia will focus on manpower, light weapons and light vehicles, home defence and Aid to the Civil Powers.
 
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Brad Sallows

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Yes, all of those countries have invaded Russia at one point or another. Actually, the Lithuanian/Polish Empire was a massive predator of the Russian people for decades. The Swedes invaded Russia through Estonia and Finland.

Huh. Apologism for tyranny and colonialism reaches a new high.
 

Underway

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Huh. Apologism for tyranny and colonialism reaches a new high.
I knew exactly what you were trying to say. Ignored it and turned it around. And yes all of those listed countries committed the same brutality on the Russians as the Russians visited on them right back. Picking sides over there is fraught with moral missteps, particularly if your memory is long enough.

I'm just speaking to the Russian mindset within a historical context. I frankly don't care who's great grandpa, grandpa or father killed who or invaded whom. History repeats itself. Russia tries to get border states on their sphere (invasion, puppet gov't whatever works). Someone invades Russia through those states. Russia collapses and because they have no natural geographic defense, they get predated upon by those border states. Russia gets strong and controls them again. Rinse repeat.
 

Brad Sallows

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Sure, but I can guess that some people not might have understood what you were trying to say. I've come across that "mindset" offered up (by Russian apologists/supporters) as an excuse for Russian behaviour repeatedly over my decades. (Similarly for China.)
 

Colin Parkinson

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Side note C.G.E. Mannerheim, the Finnish Winter War hero against the Soviets, actually spied on China and assessed invasion routes for Imperial Russia as a decorated officer.
 

Underway

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Side note C.G.E. Mannerheim, the Finnish Winter War hero against the Soviets, actually spied on China and assessed invasion routes for Imperial Russia as a decorated officer.
Ukrainian nationalists sided with Nazi Germany against the Soviets, and were some of the most "effective" at dealing with the "Jewish problem". Those same nationalist groups are in some cases who we are training in Ukraine to fight the Russians again. Like I said morality over there is full of missteps. Best to not focus on right and wrong and focus on geopolitical interests or you'll go crazy.

Back to Force 2025....

I've been doing quite a bit of reading up on CMBG organization and the sub organizations that make them up. Question for those better in the know.

What is the point of the Light Infantry Battalion in a CMBG. It seems kind of an orphan. Is it to retain the jump capability? Doesn't that skill set now reside within CSOR or do they have a different role? Are they used for air deployment/vertical envelopment type things or are they to hold ground behind the CMBG. Provide security or garrison forces.

No idea really. It just seems odd to have the tanks, the LAV 6's doing fire and manouver warfare. Wouldn't they leave the light battalions behind?
 

Infanteer

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What is the point of the Light Infantry Battalion in a CMBG. It seems kind of an orphan. Is it to retain the jump capability? Doesn't that skill set now reside within CSOR or do they have a different role? Are they used for air deployment/vertical envelopment type things or are they to hold ground behind the CMBG. Provide security or garrison forces.

No idea really. It just seems odd to have the tanks, the LAV 6's doing fire and manouver warfare. Wouldn't they leave the light battalions behind?
Here is how I understand how it all went down, pulled from various secondary sources. In the 1990s the Army faced a major organizational change. 4 CMBG was shuttered up, the Airborne Regiment was disbanded, and FRP was in full swing. The Army had to move pieces around in what really was its last major structural change.

The Third Battalions were reduced to cadres in 10/90 battalions; led by a Reg Force CO, but with most of its personnel drawn from affiliated reserve units. Also, upon disbanding the Airborne Regiment, a Airborne training company remained behind in Trenton.

Near the end of the 1990s, the decision was made to put the airborne elements into the Third Battalions as para companies, with the rest of the 10/90 unit being augmented from PYs from other places (including the other Battalions) to create the light battalions. However, around the turn of the century, the idea was to get rid of them, and to plow their PYs into the First and Second Battalions to keep them up to strength. But 9/11 happens, and 3 PPCLI heads out with the 101st Airborne Division to Kandahar, and now light forces are seen as a necessary capability in the war on terror and the age of insurgency. So they get retained on the order of battle. Shortly after, the combat support companies in all battalions are cut; there were other pressures, but that equaled out to the 9 x companies that the centre needed to harvest..

Now the argument is that light forces are required, even though they are within a the mechanized brigades that were really just their temporary homes at the end of the 1990s until they were supposed to be shelved. Everyone is keen to do some sort of deliberate force design for them, as opposed to the awkward evolution that led to their creation. Fast forward almost 20 years, and there has been lots of light forces talk, and a MID that was partially implemented (but in contradictory ways - why is your strategically ready force have all of its capabilities partially embedded in the reserves?), and you end up where we are now, with light battalions still awkwardly afloat with no real centre of excellence, and still in search of a valid mission within the Army.
 

FJAG

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Cynic that I am I was just going to say that we couldn't afford the LAVs to equip the last three battalions.

That aside, we've flirted between mech and light forces since the 1960. 4 CMBG in Europe was fully mechanized and we had mechanized elements in Canada as well to support and reinforce 4 CMBG but when we formed Force Mobile Command in the 60s and went through the unification debacle, two of our brigades were designated for defence of Canada roles and were light and supposedly air transportable. We continued in that vein until the mid to late seventies when we bought a fleet of AVGPs for the lighter forces while the Europe and Europe-oriented forces were more into Leos and M113s. That really gelled in 1976 with both 1 and 5 brigade being fully mechanized :giggle: in M113s and AVGPs while 2 Brigade turned itself into the light and limber Special Service Force with 1 RCR, the Cdn Airborne Regiment, the RCD, 2 RCHA and 2 CER as our all singing and all dancing rapid reaction force.

Around the time that 4 CMBG came home the SSF was disbanded, the Airborne Regiment kicked to the curb, the AVGPs started to be relegated Bosnia and numerous other uses before going to foreign countries but 2 CMBG was stood up again. The redistribution of equipment created the three more or less identical brigades with two mech (M113) and one light battalion each (It went so far that the artillery regiment in each brigade had two M109 batteries to support the mech battalions and we acquired the 105mm LG1 to support the light air mobile battalions. As the LAVs came in they essentially replaced the M113s in the six mech infantry battalions with those old venerable APC now redesignated as Tracked LAVs (TLAV) and relegated to a wide variety of duties.

I think you can tell between what Infanteer says and my own thoughts from before the 1990s that the way we deal with the issue of light v mech forces is not always rational and deliberate. Sometimes there is a strategic purpose from the government of the day; sometimes its because there isn't enough money for all the equipment or people needed; sometimes its serendipity and the whims of whoever is in the CLS slot at the time and how many bright ideas are being bandied around in committee. You've got your finger on the key issue though; there is no doctrinal reason to have one light battalion in what is essentially a mechanized brigade.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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nd
Here is how I understand how it all went down, pulled from various secondary sources. In the 1990s the Army faced a major organizational change. 4 CMBG was shuttered up, the Airborne Regiment was disbanded, and FRP was in full swing. The Army had to move pieces around in what really was its last major structural change.

The Third Battalions were reduced to cadres in 10/90 battalions; led by a Reg Force CO, but with most of its personnel drawn from affiliated reserve units. Also, upon disbanding the Airborne Regiment, a Airborne training company remained behind in Trenton.

Near the end of the 1990s, the decision was made to put the airborne elements into the Third Battalions as para companies, with the rest of the 10/90 unit being augmented from PYs from other places (including the other Battalions) to create the light battalions. However, around the turn of the century, the idea was to get rid of them, and to plow their PYs into the First and Second Battalions to keep them up to strength. But 9/11 happens, and 3 PPCLI heads out with the 101st Airborne Division to Kandahar, and now light forces are seen as a necessary capability in the war on terror and the age of insurgency. So they get retained on the order of battle. Shortly after, the combat support companies in all battalions are cut; there were other pressures, but that equaled out to the 9 x companies that the centre needed to harvest..

Now the argument is that light forces are required, even though they are within a the mechanized brigades that were really just their temporary homes at the end of the 1990s until they were supposed to be shelved. Everyone is keen to do some sort of deliberate force design for them, as opposed to the awkward evolution that led to their creation. Fast forward almost 20 years, and there has been lots of light forces talk, and a MID that was partially implemented (but in contradictory ways - why is your strategically ready force have all of its capabilities partially embedded in the reserves?), and you end up where we are now, with light battalions still awkwardly afloat with no real centre of excellence, and still in search of a valid mission within the Army.

Tangentially, this is a nice paper about why we need Cbt Sp Coys back in the Infantry Battalions:


BACK TO THE FUTURE: ENABLING THE INFANTRY BATTALION

The aim of this service paper is to recommend returning the 81mm Mortar and Assault Pioneer Platoons to the Infantry Battalions. Since these capabilities were divested, to the Artillery and Engineer Corps respectively, a great deal has changed in the Canadian Armed Forces. High attrition in the post-Afghanistan period, coupled with modest recruiting means that the requirement for the maintenance of these relatively new capabilities, within their new corps, has drawn attention and effort away from their core capabilities. The Infantry Battalion in Battle still lists Mortar Platoon and Assault Pioneer Platoon as part of the Battalion order of battle as these key enablers are required for the infantry to be able to achieve its tasks.1 These capabilities should be returned to the Infantry Corps to ensure that they are manned in accordance with their importance, and to allow the other corps to focus their own efforts on their essential capabilities.


 

dapaterson

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Capabilities were not divested to other corps. Responsibility to deliver effects was transferred without resources to make it so.

The CAF needs to decide what it wants to be when it grows up and do so within the parameters the government dictates in terms of personnel and funding limits.
 

Brad Sallows

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I was ruminating on the way Canada sometimes openly free-rides on US defence spending (any time we officially acknowledge/assume that we don't really have to do something ourselves because the US does or will do it). In view of that, or the prospect of it, being a good neighbour seems the least possible repayment. Yet often the people most happy to spend money on things other than defence are among the most likely to show the back of the hand to the US, and cheer on our politicians when they do so.

One way to be a good neighbour is to at least look after our own territory. So the question raised is whether our forces are properly arranged and equipped to handle all possible tasks in our airspace and sea spaces short of general war (without requiring US assistance or involvement, although co-operation is welcome). In particular I'm thinking of the unmentionable topic of being able to patrol under sea ice. That leaves the navy and air force holding most of the obvious tasks, but what must the army have to support them? (Obviously not mechanized forces for most of the country and its coastlines.)
 

daftandbarmy

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I was ruminating on the way Canada sometimes openly free-rides on US defence spending (any time we officially acknowledge/assume that we don't really have to do something ourselves because the US does or will do it). In view of that, or the prospect of it, being a good neighbour seems the least possible repayment. Yet often the people most happy to spend money on things other than defence are among the most likely to show the back of the hand to the US, and cheer on our politicians when they do so.

One way to be a good neighbour is to at least look after our own territory. So the question raised is whether our forces are properly arranged and equipped to handle all possible tasks in our airspace and sea spaces short of general war (without requiring US assistance or involvement, although co-operation is welcome). In particular I'm thinking of the unmentionable topic of being able to patrol under sea ice. That leaves the navy and air force holding most of the obvious tasks, but what must the army have to support them? (Obviously not mechanized forces for most of the country and its coastlines.)

You mean the Canadian Rangers, right?
 

FJAG

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Capabilities were not divested to other corps. Responsibility to deliver effects was transferred without resources to make it so.

The CAF needs to decide what it wants to be when it grows up and do so within the parameters the government dictates in terms of personnel and funding limits.
Is it the CAF or the Army though?

I know that everyone fights for resources around the table and the Army's a bit behind on that but I doubt that either the Navy or the Air Force care very much about how the Army assigns priorities within it's own bailiwick.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: ENABLING THE INFANTRY BATTALION
Had to chuckle about that article when I first read about 1 RCR having to use the old salts to teach TOW to Ukrainians on Op Unifier. Had the same problem when the artillery had to teach M109 usage to the Latvians 13 years after divestment.

He's got his facts wrong in some of the paper. the infantry didn't "give up nine mortar platoons for the artillery ... to be able to force generate three mortar troops". The PYs for those platoons went elsewhere (as he later points out not one PY went to the artillery, they all went to the CMTC). The artillery was double tasked with guns and mortars and in fact had to reshuffle its own PYs by cutting guns in favour of filling in the FSCC positions and MFC positions the infantry lost.

Again when I'm at my most cynical I figured some old Airborne guy said "hey the airborne battery had six L5s and 12 mortars and could do that sh*t so what do we have to lose?"

Also the 81mm mortar was not used in local defence of the M777. It was used in defence of the FOBs and to support infantry operations close in to FOBs. Also his discussion about massing artillery is incomplete. As a general principle that's right but in Afghanistan the greatest contribution of the M777 was its high precision delivery of single rounds to take out point targets in a danger close environment and with limited collateral damage.

I entirely agree with his view that the infantry should have its mortar platoons (and under armour) and pioneers back (and its anti-armour platoon which he thinks isn't all that necessary because you can just hand out Javelins like candy), but this is a really weak paper for a major to write. For crying out loud he has seven references in his bibliography and four of those are Wikipedia. 🤦‍♂️

🍻
 

devil39

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Here is how I understand how it all went down, pulled from various secondary sources. In the 1990s the Army faced a major organizational change. 4 CMBG was shuttered up, the Airborne Regiment was disbanded, and FRP was in full swing. The Army had to move pieces around in what really was its last major structural change.

The Third Battalions were reduced to cadres in 10/90 battalions; led by a Reg Force CO, but with most of its personnel drawn from affiliated reserve units. Also, upon disbanding the Airborne Regiment, a Airborne training company remained behind in Trenton.

Near the end of the 1990s, the decision was made to put the airborne elements into the Third Battalions as para companies, with the rest of the 10/90 unit being augmented from PYs from other places (including the other Battalions) to create the light battalions. However, around the turn of the century, the idea was to get rid of them, and to plow their PYs into the First and Second Battalions to keep them up to strength. But 9/11 happens, and 3 PPCLI heads out with the 101st Airborne Division to Kandahar, and now light forces are seen as a necessary capability in the war on terror and the age of insurgency. So they get retained on the order of battle. Shortly after, the combat support companies in all battalions are cut; there were other pressures, but that equaled out to the 9 x companies that the centre needed to harvest..

Now the argument is that light forces are required, even though they are within a the mechanized brigades that were really just their temporary homes at the end of the 1990s until they were supposed to be shelved. Everyone is keen to do some sort of deliberate force design for them, as opposed to the awkward evolution that led to their creation. Fast forward almost 20 years, and there has been lots of light forces talk, and a MID that was partially implemented (but in contradictory ways - why is your strategically ready force have all of its capabilities partially embedded in the reserves?), and you end up where we are now, with light battalions still awkwardly afloat with no real centre of excellence, and still in search of a valid mission within the Army.
In the late 1990s we had COs who referred to the "Light" Bns (which they weren't) as equipment deficient Bns (which they probably were...but trying very hard to be something else and likely succeeding with time).
 

McG

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Around 2000, I heard General Jeffery (then CLS) refer to the 3rd Bns as “battalions awaiting APCs” with the idea being they existed as a reservoir of PYs in the hope that the government might keep buying more of the new LAV3.
 
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