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US Army Waypoint 2028

MilEME09

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Except that, before WW2, we had two regiments that don't exist anymore:

The Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers.


Because, in Canada, it appears that the reward you get from a grateful country for being wiped out during a bravely fought 'forlorn hope' defensive battle, with the survivors being tortured for years after in POW camps, is to be obliterated permanently from the order of battle.
Well there are currently 9 infantry Regiments on the supplementary order of battle,and only the Halifax Rifles have come back from the dead.
 

Kirkhill

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FJAG: Re Arty - try this one. Looks as if you were right on the COA.


Artillery At Every Level

A significant nuance in the Army plan: the new ERCA battalions will belong to Division Artillery (DIVARTY) commands. Why does that matter? Today, DIVARTY units have staffs for planning and coordination, but no permanently assigned artillery of their own, only whatever batteries they borrow from either higher headquarters (corps) or subordinate ones (brigades). Giving DIVARTY their own long-range weapons provides division commanders a new tool to shape the flow of battle on a much larger scale than the village-by-village, neighborhood-by-neighborhood struggle of counterinsurgency.

ERCA’s just one part of the Army’s top-priority modernization drive, the development of a whole family of Long-Range Precision Fires weapons to take on artillery-heavy adversaries like Russia and China. The Army was already creating five Multi-Domain Task Forces equipped with multiple types of missiles – subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic, with ranges of 1,100 miles and up – that will report directly to theater HQs.

With the ERCA battalions at the division level, and Multi-Domain Task Forces at theater level, the Army will fill longstanding gaps in its order of battle and create a hierarchy of artillery units, one where every level has longer-ranged and more expensive weapons than the one below:

Lockheed’s prototype Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) fires from an Army HIMARS launcher truck in its first flight test, December 2019.
  • Armored brigades will retain their existing artillery battalions, equipped with the M109 Paladin, a tracked and armored howitzer; but they’ll get access to new and improved Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAPs). Paladins fire 155mm ammunition, reaching ranges of almost 25 miles if the new XM1113 rocket-boosted shells are used. (The Paladins are being upgraded from the M109A6 model to the M109A7, a program called Paladin Integrated Management, but both versions share the same gun, with the PIM upgrade focusing on automotive components).
  • Armored divisions will gain the new ERCA battalions, equipped with the M1299. This is a new armored howitzer using the Paladin PIM chassis but a new turret, new propellant, and an almost 50 percent longer cannon barrel (58 caliber instead of 39) that can fire the same 155mm ammunition as Paladin, but much farther: over 40 miles for the rocket-assisted XM1113 shell. Future ramjet-boosted rounds will extend range even further.
  • Corps headquarters will retain their existing brigades of rocket/missile launchers – using a mix of wheeled HIMARS launchers and tracked MLRS ones – but gain new, longer-ranged munitions to shoot out of them. The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), with a 43-mile range, will be replaced by GMLRS-Extended Range, now in testing and able to fire over 90 miles. And the Reagan-era Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), with a range of more than 185 miles, will be replaced by the new Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), with a range greater than 300. (Future upgrades will increase PrSM’s range, potentially as much as three-fold).
  • Finally, several theater commanders will gain one or more of the new Multi-Domain Task Force units. The Army plans two in the Pacific, one in Europe, one for the Arctic, and one for global response. While MDTF arrangements are still in flux and are likely to be custom-tailored to a given mission, the default design – as revealed in a recent paper issued by the Army Chief of Staff – will include two batteries of long-range missiles. One battery, called Mid-Range Capability (MRC) but be capable of firing further than 1,100 miles, will wield supersonic SM-6 Standard Missiles and subsonic Tomahawks (both already in service with the Navy). The other battery will field the new Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (co-developed with the Navy), whose classified range is likely several thousand miles.
  • Theater HQs will also get a new coordinating element called a Theater Fires Command to oversee all these long-range assets. Currently, Rafferty said, the theater-level Army Service Component Commands (ASCCs) lack the staff to plan such complex bombardments, gather intelligence on targets in peacetime, or coordinate adequately with allied artillery. The new Fires Commands are meant to plug that gap.


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quadrapiper

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Material problems exist at #2 Rifleman level - but yes they increase the further up
From an outsider: various people have, over the years, posted about a variety of supply depots and maintenance/overhaul layers that have entirely disappeared or been contracted out. That slide in capability, combined with fully employed inventories of things like tanks, seems like a problem worth sorting out even before the finer points of how to organize the pointy end.
Bodies are no doubt an issue - but I'd argue that the CA also loves to have a lot of useless HQ's and positions that could be at the coal face are sitting in front of a computer.
Surprised that particular issue hasn't been handled: HQ position reductions would be effectively zero-cost, unless I'm missing something, if implemented within the existing posting cycle. Imagine entire HQs could also be stood down at relatively low additional cost if flagged as go-to manning pools for emergent tasks.

That said, a certain malicious part of me would be entirely happy to see gaggles of HQ-dwellers ejected directly back into their last "real" posting.
 

Kirkhill

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From Wiki

Here is a list of HIMARs Brigades - I couldn't find a similar list for 800 to 1000 MLRS launchers that the US Army also holds.

23px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png
United States
 

Kirkhill

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From an outsider: various people have, over the years, posted about a variety of supply depots and maintenance/overhaul layers that have entirely disappeared or been contracted out. That slide in capability, combined with fully employed inventories of things like tanks, seems like a problem worth sorting out even before the finer points of how to organize the pointy end.

Surprised that particular issue hasn't been handled: HQ position reductions would be effectively zero-cost, unless I'm missing something, if implemented within the existing posting cycle. Imagine entire HQs could also be stood down at relatively low additional cost if flagged as go-to manning pools for emergent tasks.

That said, a certain malicious part of me would be entirely happy to see gaggles of HQ-dwellers ejected directly back into their last "real" posting.

With respect to the command positions - I don't see much wrong with retaining the existing mid level management if they are assigned as a matter of priority to fill the needs of something like a US Standard Division (Heavy, Medium or Light). The next issue one of filling out the ranks with both regulars AND reserves, although not necessarily militia. I have come to accept that there is an untapped reserve of mid level managers at NDHQ that could be profitably exploited.

As to the whole issue of kit selection, procurement, supply and maintenance - indeed that needs to be resolved. Resolution would be easier once we defined our intention.

I kinda like intending to build a "Standard Division" to fit in to the US/Five Eyes Construct.

I am going to guess that the 5 Theaters (North, South, Central, USAREUR-AF and IndoPac) will have available for reinforcement I, III and XVIII Corps with the following divisions:

101st Air Assault Division (Joint Forcible Entry Division) - 3x Heliportable Motorized Infantry BCTs
1 US Cavalry Division (Penetration Division?) - 3x Abrams/Bradley Combined Arms Brigade Combat Teams
1 US Armored and 1, 2, 3, 4 Infantry Divisions (Standard Heavy?) - 2x Abrams/Bradley Combined Arms Brigade Combat Teams and 1x Stryker BCT

7th and 25th and 10th Mountain Infantry division (Standard Light?) - 3x Motorized Infantry BCTs
82nd Airborne Division (Joint Forcible Entry Division) - 3x Airborne Motorized Infantry BCTs.

All Divisions can work under Corps Command or can be split up into individual BCTs. All BCTs are used to working with separate tanks/assault guns, fires and aviation and each division has its own MSHORAD capability.

As I said earlier a Heavier Lt Division or a Lighter Heavy Division mixing LAVs and Lt Infantry instead of Abram/Bradley and Stryker BCTs could be a legitimate aspirational, and useful, goal.

Something that could be deployed as an entity or as independent BCTs or even as an HQ with 5 Eyes and other Allied BCTs.
 

Kirkhill

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Army Times Jan 2, 2019

The changes over the past few years and those coming up will put the Army at a total of 31 BCTs in the regular Army, comprised of 11 armored. 13 infantry and seven Stryker brigades once complete.

The Army National Guard will hold 27 BCTs, among them five armored, 20 infantry and two Stryker brigades. This gives the total Army 58 BCTs.


If both this 2019 statement and the Waypoint 2028 structures are true then.....

11 Armoured BCTs = 1 Penetration Div of 3 ABCTs (3 Total) and 4 Standard (Hvy) Divs of 2 ABCTs each (8 Total)

7 Stryker BCTs = 4 Standard (Hvy) Divs of 1 SBCT each (4 Total) + 3 additional

13 Infantry BCTs = 1 Abn Div of 3 IBCT each (3 Total) + 1 Air Aslt Div of 3 IBCT each (3 Total) + 7 additional

7 IBCT + 3 SBCT equivalent to 3 Standard (Lt) Divs of 2 IBCT Lt Motorized each ( 6 Total) + 1 SBCT each ( 3 Total) + 1 Separate IBCT.

All told that equals 1 Penetration Div, 4 Standard Hvy Divs, 3 Standard Lt Divs, 1 Air Aslt Div, 1 Abn Div and 1 Separate BCT - 10 Divs, down from 11 currently with the Separate IBCT (probably the 173rd Abn?)

With an additional 27 BCTs in reserve and whole raft of separate arty brigades, most of them (including rockets) in reserve as well.

As to the "Tank" Battalions in the light divisions

From the 82nd Abn - Oct 2018

More than three decades after getting out of the armor business, soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division have reactivated a company that will add Marine Corps armored vehicles to its formation.

Last week, the All American Division reactivated Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The unit transitioned in 1984 after having served as the United States' only “airborne tank battalion,” according to the Fayetteville Observer. Following that shift it became the 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor Regiment, continuing its armor mission until it was deactivated in 1997.

The unit was active in the division since 1968 and served as an armored unit for airborne forces. It included the M551 Sheridan tank in its arsenal.

But this time around, soldiers will be driving a vehicle in the Marine Corps inventory, the Light Armored Vehicle-25A2. Members of the division began training on and testing the LAVs in 2016, as reported by Marine Corps Times.

Soldiers conducted airdrop tests with the LAV and chose it over the Army’s Stryker vehicle due to its lighter weight, portability and firepower, officials said at the time.

Four LAVs can fit on a C-17, versus only three Strykers. The LAVs being used by the division come equipped with a 25mm cannon.


Edit to note: Both this and the previous post cannot be true at the same time. The previous post assumes that all 11 current divisions will continue on the Regular OrBat. This post assumes that only 10 will survive.
 
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daftandbarmy

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Army Times Jan 2, 2019




If both this 2019 statement and the Waypoint 2028 structures are true then.....

11 Armoured BCTs = 1 Penetration Div of 3 ABCTs (3 Total) and 4 Standard (Hvy) Divs of 2 ABCTs each (8 Total)

7 Stryker BCTs = 4 Standard (Hvy) Divs of 1 SBCT each (4 Total) + 3 additional

13 Infantry BCTs = 1 Abn Div of 3 IBCT each (3 Total) + 1 Air Aslt Div of 3 IBCT each (3 Total) + 7 additional

7 IBCT + 3 SBCT equivalent to 3 Standard (Lt) Divs of 2 IBCT Lt Motorized each ( 6 Total) + 1 SBCT each ( 3 Total) + 1 Separate IBCT.

All told that equals 1 Penetration Div, 4 Standard Hvy Divs, 3 Standard Lt Divs, 1 Air Aslt Div, 1 Abn Div and 1 Separate BCT - 10 Divs, down from 11 currently with the Separate IBCT (probably the 173rd Abn?)

With an additional 27 BCTs in reserve and whole raft of separate arty brigades, most of them (including rockets) in reserve as well.

As to the "Tank" Battalions in the light divisions

From the 82nd Abn - Oct 2018




It's cool... but tricky for a variety of reasons. Like sometimes complicated kit, like a tank, can break when it hits the ground, even if the parachute doesn't fail:

 

FJAG

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I couldn't find a similar list for 800 to 1000 MLRS launchers that the US Army also holds.
III Corps - 75FAB - 2-4FAR, 3-13FAR, 2-18FAR. 2-20FAR;
7 Trg - 41FAB - 1-6FAR, 1-77FAR;
210FAB - 6-37FAR (M777 &MLRS), 1-38FAR
138FAB - 1-623FAR (KyARNG)
142FAB - 1-142FAR (ArkARNG)

For a total of eight active and 2 ARNG battalions.

220 MLRS launchers were upgraded to the M270A1 standard in 2005. My guess is that these are all the ones either in or designated for active service. I expect that the overall reduction is due to the introduction of HIMARS which started fielding concurrently in 2005. I haven't found any documents to support it but my guess is that many MLRS units were rearmed with HIMARS at that time. Some meatball math would indicate at 220 systems, the Army could field ten three batteries of six M270A1 launchers per battalion (180), but not at 9 launchers (270) without upgrading more launchers to A1 standards.

Generally MLRS battalions used to be organized with three batteries with nine launchers per battery. That was reduced to six per battery. On top of that, a cursory review shows most of these battalions have only two active batteries each. I'm not sure if there are plans to fill battalions to three batteries or reup the launchers per battery.

There's a more comprehensive view of the Army's Long Range Precision Fires in a March 2021 backgrounder for congress here:


🍻
 
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KevinB

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For a total of eight active and 2 ARNG battalions.

220 MLRS launchers were upgraded to the M270A1 standard in 2005. My guess is that these are all the ones either in or designated for active service. I expect that the overall reduction is due to the introduction of HIMARS which started fielding concurrently in 2005. I haven't found any documents to support it but my guess is that many MLRS units were rearmed with HIMARS at that time. Some meatball math would indicate at 220 systems, the Army could field ten three batteries of six M270A1 launchers per battalion (180), but not at 9 launchers (270) without upgrading more launchers to A1 standards.

Generally MLRS battalions used to be organized with three batteries with nine launchers per battery. That was reduced to six per battery. On top of that, a cursory review shows most of these battalions have only two active batteries each. I'm not sure if there are plans to fill battalions to three batteries or reup the launchers per battery.
Never overlook the Armies habit of leaving older systems in place in the ARNG...
Or the fact some states will upgrade their gear before the Regular Army at times (Looking at you Texas).
 

Kirkhill

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Never overlook the Armies habit of leaving older systems in place in the ARNG...
Or the fact some states will upgrade their gear before the Regular Army at times (Looking at you Texas).


Here's a question:

An MLRS Section consists of a Section Chief, a Gunner and a Driver, an M270 track and 2 pods of missiles.

A HIMARS Section consists of a Section Chief, a Gunner and a Driver, a truck and 1 pod of missiles.

So a HIMARS Section uses the same manpower but has half the effect.

The high-mobility artillery rocket system is operated by a crew of three: the driver, gunner and section chief. However, the computer-based fire control system enables a crew of two or a single soldier to load and unload the system. The fire control system includes video, keyboard control, a gigabyte of programme storage and global positioning system (GPS). The fire control computer allows firing missions to be carried out in automatic or manual mode.

Is there any reason why a HIMARS Section couldn't be reformed as a Section Chief, two Gunner/Drivers, 2 trucks and 2 pods of missiles?

That would suggest that one M777 gun section with 10 gun numbers could be sacrificed to field 3 Sections of 2 HIMARS, 6 trucks total, with 6 ready to fire pods of 6 GMLRS/GMLRS-ER missiles.

Or, one M777 could alternately field 2 Archer SPHs and 2 HIMARS Trucks

Also, it seems to me that the HIMARS can exploit road networks to move faster. 85 km/h vs 64 km/h. The M270 Track has the tactical advantage but the HIMARS has operational advantages as well as being more easily air portable. It seems to be more compatible with the Corps Mission while the MLRS seems more like a Heavy Division asset, or at least a Corps asset more suitable for Heavy Division support.

Is it reasonable to suggest that for the Army the HIMARS is likely to be employed in support of the Light Divisions, with 6 packs of GMLRS and GMLRS-ER (70 and 150 km) and the Theatre/Corps with the PrSM twin packs (500 km) while the MLRS will be retained for the Heavy fight?
 

FJAG

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Here's a question:
...
Is it reasonable to suggest that for the Army the HIMARS is likely to be employed in support of the Light Divisions, with 6 packs of GMLRS and GMLRS-ER (70 and 150 km) and the Theatre/Corps with the PrSM twin packs (500 km) while the MLRS will be retained for the Heavy fight?
That's the way it basically is now although I think the corps/div factor is not as relevant as the anticipated theatre that the corps/div would be deployed to.

If you look at the deployments of MLRS they are with corps that have a preponderance of armour or are in armor likely theatres while HIMARS is more rapid reaction oriented. When the HIMARS entered service and the MLRS was being upgraded, the US Army, like us, were aiming more towards lighter expeditionary forces (Strykers and LAVs and light infantry). I think that's why the number of upgraded MLRS were limited to just a portion of their fleet.

Basically neither HIMARS nor MLRS is a div asset in the US. They are currently in arty bdes at the corps level or in independent arty bdes. Whether they remain at corps or are devolved to a div, or even lower, is a question of the particular circumstances of each deployment. For example HIMARS was deployed to Afghanistan to support the fight there which at times was just a brigade directed by a div HQ, directed by a Corps HQ and even after the main US fighting forces departed. In an army like the Brits and their MLRS, there is really only a Div that it will support. My guess at this time (based in art on these recent 2027 Waypoint articles) is that organizationally they will both be corps assets and more likely the difference in their deployment based more on whether or not the theatre is essentially a "heavy" deployment of armoured forces or a "light" deployment of rapid reaction forces.

🍻
 

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Here's a question:

An MLRS Section consists of a Section Chief, a Gunner and a Driver, an M270 track and 2 pods of missiles.

A HIMARS Section consists of a Section Chief, a Gunner and a Driver, a truck and 1 pod of missiles.

So a HIMARS Section uses the same manpower but has half the effect.
You could make a heavier HIMARS off the HEMTT - and use the MLRS 2 pod launcher
- or you could give the option to tow a Launch Pod trailer off the MMTT-HIMARS - which would double your launch capacity.


Is there any reason why a HIMARS Section couldn't be reformed as a Section Chief, two Gunner/Drivers, 2 trucks and 2 pods of missiles?
Rank structure - and the "union" ;)

That would suggest that one M777 gun section with 10 gun numbers could be sacrificed to field 3 Sections of 2 HIMARS, 6 trucks total, with 6 ready to fire pods of 6 GMLRS/GMLRS-ER missiles.
Different Role - the 777 is a direct support gun for the most part -- while the rockets are GS/CB/PDS
Or, one M777 could alternately field 2 Archer SPHs and 2 HIMARS Trucks

Also, it seems to me that the HIMARS can exploit road networks to move faster. 85 km/h vs 64 km/h.
Why the fascination to get rid of the 777?
I believe the answer is to push the 777s to 2 RCHA and the supporting Res units
Get a SPG for 1 CMBG and maybe 5, and their supporting Res units.

Then focus on what Div Arty needs.
 

Kirkhill

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Different Role - the 777 is a direct support gun for the most part -- while the rockets are GS/CB/PDS

Why the fascination to get rid of the 777?
I believe the answer is to push the 777s to 2 RCHA and the supporting Res units
Get a SPG for 1 CMBG and maybe 5, and their supporting Res units.

Then focus on what Div Arty needs.

I am constantly given to understand that the Artillery is short of gunners. My solution is to make the gunners that are available more effective.

10 gunners on a single 155mm tube with a range of 30 km, or even 7 gunners on a 105mm tube with a 15 km range, seems to me to be inefficient when I can use those same 10 gunners to man 3 SPHs under a separate Section Chief, or even, if you prefer, 6 gunners manning 2 SPHs and 4 adding to the ammo train - although the ammo train should be rendered less manpower intensive as well.

For similar reasons I like the idea of the Rocket Systems - and would push them down to the Division Level, or up in Canada's case. They are simple. Easy to operate. And don't require a lot of manpower. And they are flexible.

The other point concerns range.

The greater the range the more firing points available to engage the same target. That means less requirement for close support guns on the front line. The closer the guns are the more they are at risk and the greater difficulty they have switching targets. That means more guns are required, more gunners and less efficient ammunition distribution, meaning more and longer and more vulnerable ammunition trains. All of which increase costs.

I would sooner, given the current concerns over costs and manpower, exploit the increased ranges available and mount cannons and rockets on trucks, and have them throw expensive missiles (bullets and rockets) at the enemy. Does your average assaulter really care if the launcher is on the ground beside him? Or does he just want the target to go away?

As for light troops - do they really need to lift guns forward 50 km? Or would the be content with rounds that can be launched from the same FOB their helicopters lifted from and that can approach the target from any direction while loitering overhead?

I know missiles have their disadvantages, but so do the guns - and chief among them are manpower, vulnerability, range, ammunition and predictable flight paths. Flight paths that can be back tracked easily - high-lighting the source for counter-battery fire.

Thus - instead of a limited number of gunners manning a small number of cheap, short range guns I would sooner those gunners manned a large number of long range missiles. As a compromise I would split the difference by allocating some small number to manning automated, self propelled guns with the longest ranges possible.
 

KevinB

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I am constantly given to understand that the Artillery is short of gunners. My solution is to make the gunners that are available more effective.

10 gunners on a single 155mm tube with a range of 30 km, or even 7 gunners on a 105mm tube with a 15 km range, seems to me to be inefficient when I can use those same 10 gunners to man 3 SPHs under a separate Section Chief, or even, if you prefer, 6 gunners manning 2 SPHs and 4 adding to the ammo train - although the ammo train should be rendered less manpower intensive as well.
777 can do 70km with certain ammo.
The 777 can do a lot of things that the SPG and Rocket systems can't - so while it is somewhat manpower intensive - a lot of those bodies are really only needed for manhandling - and ammunition, and frankly you could get by with 4 trained folks and 6 folks given an hour of instruction.
- really in a pinch you could get by with 2 trained folks - and 8 OJT's but stuff would be slower.

You can't effectively jump or sling SPG's - the UH-60 can sling a 777 - which while not in CAF inventory is the bird of the USA, the UH-60 can't drag a M109, Archer etc around - so no airmobile support either.

For similar reasons I like the idea of the Rocket Systems - and would push them down to the Division Level, or up in Canada's case. They are simple. Easy to operate. And don't require a lot of manpower. And they are flexible.
I am all for rockets in their place - rockets can und terrain like no ones business - and the Pods can also launch LR Precision Strike - but they are extremely logistical burdens due to the consumption - the cube required for one pod is significantly larger than several hundred 155mm rounds.
The other point concerns range.

The greater the range the more firing points available to engage the same target. That means less requirement for close support guns on the front line. The closer the guns are the more they are at risk and the greater difficulty they have switching targets. That means more guns are required, more gunners and less efficient ammunition distribution, meaning more and longer and more vulnerable ammunition trains. All of which increase costs.
You cannot do close support with rockets - and the longer the range the less accurate you are with tubes - unless you go to precision munitions for Danger Close missions - which would be frightfully $$$$$.

I would sooner, given the current concerns over costs and manpower, exploit the increased ranges available and mount cannons and rockets on trucks, and have them throw expensive missiles (bullets and rockets) at the enemy. Does your average assaulter really care if the launcher is on the ground beside him? Or does he just want the target to go away?
Everyone wants targets to go away - but they also want support -- airmobile or airborne ops required dedicated Arty assets -
As for light troops - do they really need to lift guns forward 50 km? Or would the be content with rounds that can be launched from the same FOB their helicopters lifted from and that can approach the target from any direction while loitering overhead?
Stop thinking of FOB's - that's a GWOT'ism. Think tertiary lines of attack and asymmetrical warfare.
I know missiles have their disadvantages, but so do the guns - and chief among them are manpower, vulnerability, range, ammunition and predictable flight paths. Flight paths that can be back tracked easily - high-lighting the source for counter-battery fire.

Thus - instead of a limited number of gunners manning a small number of cheap, short range guns I would sooner those gunners manned a large number of long range missiles. As a compromise I would split the difference by allocating some small number to manning automated, self propelled guns with the longest ranges possible.
You're missing the point I am making with the 777's-- I agree with the SPG aspect for Mechanized/Armored Forces, and GS Rocket Support BUT - they cannot be used for Airborne or Air Assault Missions unless you are "already there" and then why would you do anything Air wise?

You need a diverse portfolio when you have a Global Mission - if the CAF needed to put guns into the Arctic - the 777 can be jumped.
I'm not seeing an easy day to get anything you are talking about there?
A 777 can also be used in Mountainous regions, where track and wheels are not able to get there.
 

FJAG

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I am constantly given to understand that the Artillery is short of gunners. My solution is to make the gunners that are available more effective.
It is but there is still much depth and breadth in the reserve force artillery that can be exploited. Besides on a day to day basis (i.e. Reg F) you do not need much artillery deployed and for peacetime use rocket systems are not the answer. An adequate show of force is given with guns of all natures.
10 gunners on a single 155mm tube with a range of 30 km, or even 7 gunners on a 105mm tube with a 15 km range, seems to me to be inefficient when I can use those same 10 gunners to man 3 SPHs under a separate Section Chief, or even, if you prefer, 6 gunners manning 2 SPHs and 4 adding to the ammo train - although the ammo train should be rendered less manpower intensive as well.
We currently man 24 M777s which equates to 240 Reg F gunners actually on guns (and detachments are rarely full). That's a little over 10% of the artillery. If we follow Kevin's idea (which I endorse) and mass the guns in one regiment in one light brigade that would bring the number on detachments down to 180 - make 1/3 of those reservists and you are down to 120 or just over 5% of the Reg F. That's not breaking the bank.
For similar reasons I like the idea of the Rocket Systems - and would push them down to the Division Level, or up in Canada's case. They are simple. Easy to operate. And don't require a lot of manpower. And they are flexible.
I'd definitely argue the word "flexible". Their ammunition range is limited to a small group of explosive munitions. Neither smoke nor illuminating is in the inventory. The cost per round also vastly exceeds conventional tube launched munitions making less available on the battlefield. The size of round is much greater and the sustainment system can handle multiple conventional 155 rds for each GMLRS or ATACMS. Operational flexibility is also impaired in that once loaded with a specific rocket, changing to a different nature requires unloading and reloading pods. Guns can change ammo natures quite easily..
The other point concerns range.
They do have that.
The greater the range the more firing points available to engage the same target. That means less requirement for close support guns on the front line. The closer the guns are the more they are at risk and the greater difficulty they have switching targets. That means more guns are required, more gunners and less efficient ammunition distribution, meaning more and longer and more vulnerable ammunition trains. All of which increase costs.
I've mentioned before that the number of people on a given systems detachment is false math because there is a balancing out when you add in ammunition handling systems, fire direction centres and maintenance and logistics folks.

Close support can mean "Danger Close" support. You don't want to use an MLRS in providing that, guided or not. Also guns do not have "greater difficulty" switching targets. They are almost always sited with a centre of arc that covers the supported arm's area fully.
I would sooner, given the current concerns over costs and manpower, exploit the increased ranges available and mount cannons and rockets on trucks, and have them throw expensive missiles (bullets and rockets) at the enemy.
Okay so it's not just tube artillery its just towed tube artillery.
Does your average assaulter really care if the launcher is on the ground beside him? Or does he just want the target to go away?
Yeah? That's never been an issue one way or the other.
As for light troops - do they really need to lift guns forward 50 km? Or would the be content with rounds that can be launched from the same FOB their helicopters lifted from and that can approach the target from any direction while loitering overhead?
That's the funny thing about war and even OOTW missions. You never really know what you might want to do and need to do it with. It's having options that are important. I'm a great fan of loitering munitions and say that we need them in our inventory. They'll end up doing a lot of the precision close-in work guns do now but they still won't do everything like neutralize a company position, lay a smoke screen nor illuminate the battlefield (and yes - we still do a lot of that) An army needs options! We downplayed that two decades ago.
I know missiles have their disadvantages, but so do the guns - and chief among them are manpower, vulnerability, range, ammunition and predictable flight paths. Flight paths that can be back tracked easily - high-lighting the source for counter-battery fire.
Towed guns are definitely more vulnerable, especially when moved by helicopter because they lose their organic transport for a while and are basically fixed in place where they are dropped. That is a factor that must always be considered. That said, sometimes that is the only way that you get your fire support into place where needed. Moving M777s forward into austere and barely protected places (sometimes by air sometimes by wheels over IED'd roads) happened frequently in the early phases of Kandahar. It's a risk you have to take on occasion to be able to provide the necessary support.
Thus - instead of a limited number of gunners manning a small number of cheap, short range guns I would sooner those gunners manned a large number of long range missiles. As a compromise I would split the difference by allocating some small number to manning automated, self propelled guns with the longest ranges possible.
I disagree. If all I had in a peacetime Canadian Army with the potential mission mixes it might face and all they gave me is one three-battery regiment to have, I'd have a battery each of M777, something Archer-ish and HIMARS. I want a Swiss Army knife regiment that would allow me to send the right system with whatever battle group we slap together for whatever the mission might be.

With our current force, and assuming we have some money to spend, I'd have to see what the final brigade structure shake out is. If it ends up with two mech brigades and one light brigade, I'd have a regiment of 18 M777s, two regiments of 18 155mm SPs each and a two battery regiment of HIMARS with the bulk of Reg F gunners with the M777s (at least two batteries worth - a 70/30 mix) and the rest having one Reg F battery each with a very high ratio of reservists to fill out the rest. That would be 5 Reg F firing batteries (as opposed to the current 6) and 6 Res F firing batteries (as opposed to the current zero).

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daftandbarmy

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Well there are currently 9 infantry Regiments on the supplementary order of battle,and only the Halifax Rifles have come back from the dead.

For interest... just to remind the 'Regs' we've still got them outnumbered (in terms of Regimental Senates, at least :) ):

 

Kirkhill

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It's Saturdary Morning.

And the discussion is capabilities and assets - especially dollars and people. Again. As always.

We have few of both. We want the flexibility to be everywhere and do everything for everybody. We can't.




As much as I would like to see us commit to a serious (ie Brigade level at least) capability for the bush, muskeg, tundra and arctic - 85% of our land claims, it is abundantly clear that that is not going to happen. The government doesn't want it. The politicians don't want it. The bureaucrats don't want it. Treasury doesn't want it. And most importantly, the Army doesn't want it.

The most the Army is going to commit to the task is a small, independent battalion equivalent capable of operating in independent company teams. That has been the gold standard since 1946 and has been the rationale behind jump companies, the CAR and the Arctic Response Company Groups.

An Arctic Response Brigade was tried in 1946, failed, and never tried again. It isn't going to happen.

Just as a heliborne Brigade isn't going to happen. Most of the necessary kit is made outside of Canada and it is just as hard to deploy as an Armoured or even a LAV Brigade. They all need Big Honking Ships. Which the Army wants but isn't willing to pay for and the Navy doesn't want.

The Army, and Canada, are committed to a LAV based, "Medium" force that can run highways, operate in towns and villages, and occasionally go off trail if the ground isn't too boggy. The government, politicians, bureaucrats and treasury like them because they are built in Canada with Canadian dollars by Canadian workers and earn Canadian votes. And they might come in handy if they ever need "tanks in the streets" again.

The Army has accepted that and is wholly committed to the LAV and the Medium force.

But it is stuck with a vehicle that, while it has its merits, is not the vehicle it really needs and wants for the battle it wants to fight in the places it wants to be. So it tries to stretch the capabilities of the vehicle to match its aspirations. And it gets bigger, and heavier, and harder to deploy and less tactically mobile. As an example I offer the amphibious capability being traded for armour. The lighter, smaller, amphibious AVGP, LAV 2, Coyote, Bison for the heavier, larger, road bound LAV 3s and 6s. The early models were all amphibious, a real asset in a country with as many rivers, streams and lakes as Canada . Forget about needing amphibiosity for ship-to-shore movement. In Canada, domestically, it is an advantage to be able to cross rivers when the bridge is out. The weight expended in the supplying that capability is much more valuable than the weight expended in more armour. Domestically we aren't going to be defeating 30mm rounds. To be fair we might encounter RPG HEAT but that is better met with add-on bar armour. A capability better met by having a rugged drive train and a light cocoon which can sacrifice payload for the extra weight of the spaced protection.

But it has its merits and can be usefully employed in a variety of roles, domestically and abroad.

The Army has always seen itself as an expeditionary army, despite the government. The government has always been an isolationist government. The Army looks to the Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea and the Cold War for its justifications. The government and the people see those as aberrations that they don't like repeating. So the Army stretches even as it reach exceeds its grasp.

It really wants a "Penetration Force". A Brigade at least. It wants Leos or Abrams, CV90s or Bradleys, M109s and MLRSs. Even though they don't have the means to get them to the battle with their allies and friends. Lacking Big Honking Ships they are reduced to hoping their friends will give them a lift or, as in the case of the Norwegian CAST Brigade, saying "We're here if you need us. Come and pick us up when you're ready."

The Army got its tanks, enough to train, maintain and deploy a battalion sized Regiment and a company sized Squadron of Armoured Engineer Vehicles - the things necessary to get all those tanks over the rivers and lakes that criss cross Canada and most of the world's battlefields. It had the opportunity to add some CV90s or Bradley's to the mix to enhance the breaching capability and create at least a small Penetration Group - bigger than a battalion but smaller than a brigade.

So now, like the airportable capability the Army has a battlegroup sized penetration capability that lacks "enablers", lacks focus and is widely dispersed - playthings for regimental politics.

The bulk of the Army is now defined by Six Heavy Armoured Car Battlegroups that are highway bound, and lack the ability to cross water, even the smallest of streams, without help from engineers or the Navy. Even the Air Force is of limited use because the vehicles will only fit into the 5 C17s the RCAF operates, in small numbers. Given enough time then the RCAF can move the Army...given enough time.

Those battlegroups could be useful in a number of scenarios. Not all scenarios, and many scenarios increase the risk of inappropriately employing them. The risk could be decreased, and their utility increased, by adding some common enablers - all of which are well known to the Army but just never seem to get bought, even as it directs its available dollars to the purchase of more Heavy Armoured Cars. A pattern obvious since at least the 1980s - 40 years.

One simple way the Army could increase the flexibility of its Heavy Armoured Car battlegroups is the simple expedient of separating the troops, patrollers and assaulters, from the vehicles at the section, platoon, company, battalion or even brigade levels. Gunners and engineers are not parts of the battalions but they (should) train, and mess, regularly with the units they will fight alongside. The same is could be true for the Armoured Cars. It is a practice not uncommon in a number of armies, including our allies. But, the Army chooses to adopt the tightest, most inflexible solution available by tying the section directly to its vehicle. That may produce a highly effective Armoured Car Section - but at what cost to flexibility?

So.

The Army has committed itself to the Heavy Armoured Car Medium Force based on the LAV 6. Fair enough. It has given up trying to be all things to all people.

Which, finally, brings me to the Artillery. One of the most common enablers in any army. But, like many others, one that has been rejected in Canada for more Heavy Armoured Cars.

The world is full of artillery systems capable of engaging a multitude of targets. Thats the good news because the world in which those 6 Heavy Armoured Car Battlegroups wish to operate is a target rich environment with lots of things to shoot at. Most of the imminent threats to those Heavy Armoured Cars come through the air - everything from ICBMs to bullets. The good news is that technology is evolving so that bullets can be knocked out of the air by other bullets. Those would be really useful enablers for the Heavy Armoured Cars. But we're not buying those. We buy more Heavy Armoured Cars instead.

Another way to protect those Armoured Cars is to destroy the things throwing missiles, bullets and bombs at them. So guns and rockets and aircraft. The catalogue is full.

My choice is to match the Heavy Armoured Cars with Artillery with similar levels of protection and mobility. In other words, highway bound, wheeled, non amphibious vehicles with protection against 30 mm rounds. The other characteristic is a weapon with the greatest range possible that I can fit on to such a platform to keep the enemy at bay as far as possible. These days that means weapons with ranges of 70 km and over. Cannons can achieve those ranges, as can the M777, with expensive custom rounds. But missiles can range farther.

One area where I think my thoughts run differently to those commonly expressed here is that I do not see the missiles (rockets) as expensive, limited guns. I see them as cheap, flexible aircraft. I don't see them as ballistic weapons firing bullets that can only engage in straight lines. I see them as launchers that can deploy missiles that can fly complex flight paths and, currently, deploy loitering munitions that can circle in a cab-rank over the battlefield. That can engage the enemy from any aspect, including their rear, including behind cover all the while making it difficult to track the missile back to its launch point. The launcher, in any event, has moved down the highway to a new launch point and may have already launched another batch of missiles.

Are those missiles more expensive than bullets? Yes.

Are those missiles more expensive than a squadron of helicopters operating from a Forward Operating Base (in the rear)? More expensive than a squadron of F18s (or F35s) operating, for a limited time, weather permitting, from an airfield a long way to the rear?

If the 81mm mortar is the Battalion Commander's Artillery than I suggest that RPAS, LAMs and HIMARS launched GMLRSs should be seen as the Brigadier's Air Force. One that lets her see, and fight, beyond the hill.

A further reason I favour artillery generally is that I aspire to minimize the number of Canadian casualties. And the more effective we can be without having to close with to destroy then the fewer Canadians are put at risk and the more likely, I believe, that the governement will be inclined to deploy the Army. And the more deployments, the more utility, the more visibility, the more money and the more people.

The M777 was a relatively cheap capital expenditure that ate up more people than the artillery had available to do all the jobs asked of it. It is still doing that.

One section equals one gun.

One section, with the same manpower could equal 3 guns with greater range, and more mobility, or 2 guns and more ammunition with equal mobility.

As for strategic mobility 2 of the C17s could lift 4 to 6 guns. Heck they managed to get a squadron of tanks into Afghanistan, given enough time and some help from their friends. And the Dutch managed to get their tracked PzH2000s into the field as well.

Will the Archer work well in Muskeg? Probably not. But apparently we don't anticipate working there with artillery in any case.

So, my prescription for the Artillery stands: Medium Range Air Defence, Wheeled Self Propelled Howitzers, Wheeled MLRS launchers, Guided Missiles, Loitering Munitions and Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

And get rid of the M777s. Or dump them on the Reserves.
 
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Kirkhill

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Say what you like about the M113 and the Lynx. They may have been "too light" for Europe, despite serving there for 40 years and still being employed around the world but they had the distinct advantage of being employable in all of Canada, could cross lakes and rivers and soft ground, and, be delivered by the C130s as well as the C17s. 17 C130s and 5 C17s. How many M113s is that? How many troops is that that don't have to hump it?
 
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