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The Optimal Battle Group vs. the Affiliated Battle Group

Brad Sallows

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>I think we need to focus on what's really happening

That's a legimate argument and important decision factor; essentially the same principle underlies the recent removal and shuffling of some capabilities between various arms.  I am mostly concerned for the loss of institutional knowledge - for example, the employment and function of a mortar or anti-armour platoon within a battalion, or in this case, the higher organizations and groupings of the manoeuvre support arms.
 

Mortar guy

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I agree that the ABG concept is not perfect and that it represents a trade off in some ways but it appears to be much better than the current ad hoc approach we use. I also don't really understand how the "loss of institutional knowledge/experience" argument works. Regimental level exercises and training are almost non-existant within the Engrs, Armd and Arty units so there isn't much experience/knowledge to lose. In the same way we don't have any institutional knowledge in commanding an Armd Bde, we don't have the capability to field a full Armd Regt right now without pretty substantial mobilization and trg anyway so why short change real world FG requirements for "nice to haves"?

Don't get me wrong, I think Capt Sensitive has it right and we should have full up Bdes with full up units but that ain't the reality of it.

MG
 

McG

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Mortar guy said:
I agree that the ABG concept is not perfect and ...
I see the Army's gone and changed its terminology on this topic.  I sat in on a DLCD presentation in the early spring and OBG was used to describe what is now called ABG in the plans & prioreties report.  At that time ABGs (as I read of them in a CIA annual mtg doc) were exactly what Capt Sensitive but a step better.  ABGs were full brigades with full units, but those full units were balanced so that all components would exist in the right numbers (no more CERs with 2 x Fd Sqn being expected to FG for 3 x BGs) to form 3 x ABG in each Bde.
 

vonGarvin

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Mortar guy said:
Don't get me wrong, I think Capt Sensitive has it right and we should have full up Bdes with full up units but that ain't the reality of it.

Of course, if I had a million dollars....but in the end, the optimal-affiliated battlegroups are probably a good thing (vice just another thing to bitch at).


PS: My name is Sensible, but hey, maybe I'm just being Sensitive?
 

dapaterson

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The key problem, as is too often the case, is resource constraints.

If we assume an Inf Bn is 3 line coys of 150, plus Cbt Sup Coy plus Admin Coy plus Bn HQ, we arrive at about 800 positions per Bn.  Nine Bns = 7200 positions.  Add in a recce sqn of +/- 200 positions, nine times, and that's another 1800 positions.  CS Engr Sqn is another 200; 1800 more.  Arty bty (with all the goodies) is 200 (1800)... that's 12 600 positions without manning the Svc Bns at all; unmanned Armd, Arty & Engr RHQs; nothing for the sabre sqns (someone's got to drive those Leo IIs); no AD, no TUA, no specialist engr capabilities...  Oh, and no CMBG HQs.  That's also not including any support at the bases, any support from the ASGs, or any schools.  And, of course, there's no Area HQ or Army HQ (snide coments aside, such HQs are needed... though perhaps not in the nubmers or size that they are).

Which means that the final model for the ABG will end up as a collection of compromises, with every corps and branch upset because they aren't doctrinally correct, or because the Regimental Goat Tender has been dropped from the authorised establishment.
 

Mortar guy

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PS: My name is Sensible, but hey, maybe I'm just being Sensitive?

I know your name. I didn't drink that much last night!

As for the ABGs being Bdes, that's the first I've ever heard of that. I did all the background reading on the ABGs prior to the CIA so as to brief my CO on the concept and I only ever saw ABGs referring to BG vice Bde level organizations. I have seen other presentations dealing with fully established and manned units and I never understood how the two were to be reconciled.

I guess there are just too many good ideas floating around out there.

MG
 

Brad Sallows

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>I also don't really understand how the "loss of institutional knowledge/experience" argument works.

I'm in no position to judge how far gone the knowledge base is.  If we're that far into the current "imperial policing" phase, we'll have to wait for the next archduke's assassination to turn it around.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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The Adjective Battle Group (ABG)  ;) project should perhaps focus on bringing the infantry battalions up to strength.  It might mean we would have to collapse three battalions, but having full-up battalions might be of more benefit than a permanent grouping of combined arms that may well end up working apart.

An infantry battalion with four full strength companies, an admin company and something of a combat support company would be a start.  Add in a HQ that includes a real S2 cell, an S4 cell outside of the Admin Coy, an ISTAR CC, an ESCC, an ASCC, an FSCC and an Information Operations CC and you have the baseline for a fairly effective unit that has a brain large enough to control the many enablers in today's battles and enough muscle to do something about it.  Generating these coordination centres would be no easy feat and would involve a fairly large number of officers and NCOs from other arms to make it work. 

To this would be added sub-units from other arms to fit the situation.  Make six of these infantry battalions and tell the government that you can sustain one in the field.  We would lose some command positions but these would fill out my OMLT units with the hard-core dissenters going to the Artic Training Centre.  There would still be armour, artillery, engineer and CSS units to generate the sub-units that would be bolted onto these Adjective Battle Groups (or potentially given to multi-national formations).
 

a_majoor

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First Captain Sensitive, then introducing the Adjective Battle Group. Spellcheck is going wild tonight!

Now I dont feel so bad looking over some of my past posts  :D
 

TangoTwoBravo

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The "Adjective Battle Group" was an attempt to make a snide comment about assigning adjectives to proposals (Optimal being my favourite.  Who said it was Optimal?)
 

McG

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Mortar guy said:
As for the ABGs being Bdes, that's the first I've ever heard of that.
I've worded myself poorly.  A Bde would be exactly 3 x ABGs, but all the elements would still be in their respective branch units.  If I look at this from the traditional perspective of Fd Sqns in a Bde it is:

the old way
    2 x Fd Sgn in a CER to support 3 x BG

ABG model
    3 x Fd Sqn in a CER to support 3 x BG

OBG model
    1 x Fd Sqn in each of 3 x BG

 

Mortar guy

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Voo (as they say in french).

Arthur - it wasn't poor spelling on my part either. I just think Capt S is a thoughtful, caring guy.

MG
 

vonGarvin

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Mortar guy said:
Voo (as they say in french).

Arthur - it wasn't poor spelling on my part either. I just think Capt S is a thoughtful, caring guy.

MG
And a little too sensitive for his own good!  ;D
 

vonGarvin

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Tango2Bravo said:
The Adjective Battle Group (ABG)  ;) project should perhaps focus on bringing the infantry battalions up to strength.  It might mean we would have to collapse three battalions, but having full-up battalions might be of more benefit than a permanent grouping of combined arms that may well end up working apart.
As I was reading "Barbarossa" (Alan Clark I believe) last night, I was reading about the consolidation period between Stalingrad and Kursk.  As the IG (Inspector General) for the Armour Troops, Guderian wanted his Panzer Divisions to be at full strength vice a bunch of understrength ones.  Each understrength div, he argued, had a tail as large as a full strength one, but in reality, all they did was clog the roads and provided underwhelming combat power.  "God is on the side of the big battalion" said Voltaire (I think).  So, would large, full strength effective battlegroups be better than a bunch of 200 soldier "battalions" that are tasked six ways from Sunday?
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Capt Sensational,

I guess if you have many tasks then having many small units is one response.  I would favour, I think, having a few really powerful units and then some "economy of force" units that get the holding actions. 

I'm going to ramble a little bit.

I've been with two "plug and play" battlegroups/task forces.  While people did miss the "one battalion" sourcing, the big things they (well, I) missed were the things that used to be integral.  The CSS company being, perhaps, the biggest one.  I was in a company with platoons/troops from all elements and about 10 units.  That never bothered me as much as not having a Sqn echelon.

It would be nice to have a battle group formed permanently, I suppose, but over a year of pre-deployment training I think that we can get past sub-units coming from different units.  What is much harder to overcome is over-centralized C2 and CSS structures in theatre.  This next bit might seem at odds with my first line, but a BG HQ that comes together like a train wreck is a bigger problem, in my opinion, than having sub-units from other arms join a battle group.

A unit that doesn't have its own reconnaissance assets, its own fire support and its own CSS will always be beholden to others.

I would suggest, in order of priority, the following:

a.  make companies full-strength to include A1 echelons
b.  have a CSS company integral to a Bn and do NOT take it away when they go to war
c.  have a BG HQ that includes the core Coordination Centres (this will be expensive)
e.  have four rifle companies
f.    bring back the missing combat support platoons once you have the people and have done the other bits

I am sure that many would move my last priority up, and I may well have that one wrong.  The BG HQ could get out of control and I might have to cut back a little, but the core centres should be there.

Having a recce sqn, an engineer sqn or an artillery battery permanently attached to the battalion would not, I believe, achieve as much as the first six.

With six of these real battalions the government could keep one in the field while still giving guys a break when they get back.  The other arms may or may not be attached to these battalions when they deploy depending on the mission.  Some of the other arms might attach elements to a higher level HQ.  If a second front opens then we face some heartache, and that is a major shortcoming. 
 

armyvern

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Tango2Bravo said:
Capt Sensational,

Captain Sensitive ... if you choose to run with this new one above, please post your name change into the thread located here.

Or my whip will start cracking ...

:D



 

vonGarvin

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ArmyVern said:
Captain Sensitive ... if you choose to run with this new one above, please post your name change into the thread located here.

Or my whip will start cracking ...

:D

Though I posted in that thread, where's that whip?
 

Nfld Sapper

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ArmyVern said:
Captain Sensitive ... if you choose to run with this new one above, please post your name change into the thread located here.

Or my whip will start cracking ...

:D


Kinky
kinky.gif
  ;D  >:D
 

a_majoor

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The real answer seems to be less having an ABG or OBG than simply filling all the slots of our current structure so when units trundle off to war they are not sending press gangs out to filch soldiers and sub units from other battalions or brigades.

The other thing which *may* help is using modern communications and IT technology along with modern management practices to finally shrink down the various HQ's and free up money and PY's to fill the rifleman positions.

 

McG

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a_majoor said:
The real answer seems to be less having an ABG or OBG than simply filling all the slots of our current structure so when units trundle off to war they are not sending press gangs out to filch soldiers and sub units from other battalions or brigades.
If you only look at the infantry, this may be true.  If each Bn is complete, then it does not need to steal from other battalions in order to provide what should be its core competency (ie: infantry platoons & companies).  However, if we don't have the other arms' building blocks balanced, then that will become the weak path.  Consider only a few years ago when infantry pers were complaining that tours were few & far between while other arms were were doing back-flips just to keep up with the demand.

Yes, it may be that for the infantry battalions we can go a long way simply by manning to 100% (or even 110%), but expansion is required where critical building blocks do not exist to be manned.
 
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