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What do we want from Army Doctrine and Cbt Tm in Ops?

Old Sweat

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Infanteer said:
Note, I said combined arms groupings.  Battle groups frequently have artillery and engineer elements attached.
It is also quite possible that a combat team may have other artillery attached, such as UAV and/or AD assets.

Speaking of AD, our doctrine should include a mention of our open flank, the one above us. If is possible that STA devices could be nearby or in location, especially in the defence.


 

FJAG

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Infanteer said:
Note, I said combined arms groupings.  Battle groups frequently have artillery and engineer elements attached.

Mea culpa. That was either too subtle for me or I just haven't gotten used to this concept of deploying single battle groups into a theatre. I'm an old guy remember. When I started all out TEWTs and staff training involved corps and divisions and the real world had a whole brigade deployed overseas and another for follow-up to the north flank.

I'm still a firm believer that any operational mission, if conventional, should be nothing less than a brigade and if not that then it's a role for special operations forces.  ;D

:cheers:
 

Haligonian

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Old Sweat said:
It is also quite possible that a combat team may have other artillery attached, such as UAV and/or AD assets.

Speaking of AD, our doctrine should include a mention of our open flank, the one above us. If is possible that STA devices could be nearby or in location, especially in the defence.

AD and the lack thereof is mentioned.  Not getting any reviewing done in this 10 man tent tonight!
 

Infanteer

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Haligonian said:
AD and the lack thereof is mentioned.  Not getting any reviewing done in this 10 man tent tonight!

Have each stove watch shift review a chapter.
 

Haligonian

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Still plugging away here.  With the annexes the offence chapter is over 100 pages.  I have eliminated a lot of stuff thus far based on not repeating stuff from higher doctrinal manuals and that SOPs should be in the SOP manual.

I've been asking myself what do we want from this thing?  Above I stated that we want it to be able to go to the field with us but is that what we really want?  If we want SOP's and drills in an SOP manual then do we really see sub unit comd's referring to this thing in the field?  Maybe the typical aide memoir is more appropriate for such uses?  And if it isn't required to fit in your day bag or tac vest then we could expand the page count to deal with more types of operations and to give the sub unit commander "one stop shopping."

This approach would see the manual vesting as much information onto the commander as possible with the expectation they absorb as much of it as possible prior to operations/training.  Once in the field they rely on the SOP/Drill manual and typical aide memoirs that we all carry.

Just red teaming this thing on a Friday night. 
 

Old Sweat

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I passed the CTCC in 1972 with a pretty good course report. It was an attended course back then, and it was not until a decade later that the Commander FMC told me there were "coded phrases" in it that indicated the letter grade. (I also had passed promotion exams, so I at least had some theoretical knowledge along with a bit of experience as a FOO. In those days the FOO was known as one of the "holy trinity" along with the infantry and armoured sunrays.)

Leaving that aside, I don't recall a lot of voluminous reference material telling us how to command a combat team as our previous training supposedly grounded us in the principles.  Keep it simple, anybody who gets to the level of subunit command in the combat arms probably has avoided making a habit of crapping in the cornflakes. A few exercises with competent constructive debriefings are worth a ton of "how to fight good" verbiage.

OK, I'm older than dirt and the army has changed, but just maybe this will help.
 

ballz

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I don't personally see the need/desire for this to be able to go to the field. That is what aide memoires are for and the Combat Team Commander course provides a pretty hefty one.

Old Sweat's comment about having the experience is more important than having sound doctrine made me think about when we were digging through PAM after PAM trying to figure out the defense... how all this institutional knowledge had been lost and not written down anywhere, and now we needed it... we didn't have any true experience to draw on, and neither did the institution as a whole, not that we could find anyway... so we *had* to fall back on the doctrine as a start state. We were looking for things as basic as how to do range cards, which 20 years ago I'm sure no one would believe could be forgotten.

We can't predict the future... we don't know if the next conflict is going to make us ignore this basic stuff for 5, 6, or 10 years... I'm not saying we're experts at combat team operations now but imagine if we didn't touch conventional combat team ops for 10 years because we were focused on a different style of warfare or different threat that consumed all our resources for that time period (like Afghanistan did)... and then 10 years from now, someone needs to dust off the books and get back into this... what will the book they dust off tell them?

Hopefully more than our current pubs told us about defensive ops...
 

daftandbarmy

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ballz said:
I don't personally see the need/desire for this to be able to go to the field. That is what aide memoires are for and the Combat Team Commander course provides a pretty hefty one.

Old Sweat's comment about having the experience is more important than having sound doctrine made me think about when we were digging through PAM after PAM trying to figure out the defense... how all this institutional knowledge had been lost and not written down anywhere, and now we needed it... we didn't have any true experience to draw on, and neither did the institution as a whole, not that we could find anyway... so we *had* to fall back on the doctrine as a start state. We were looking for things as basic as how to do range cards, which 20 years ago I'm sure no one would believe could be forgotten.

We can't predict the future... we don't know if the next conflict is going to make us ignore this basic stuff for 5, 6, or 10 years... I'm not saying we're experts at combat team operations now but imagine if we didn't touch conventional combat team ops for 10 years because we were focused on a different style of warfare or different threat that consumed all our resources for that time period (like Afghanistan did)... and then 10 years from now, someone needs to dust off the books and get back into this... what will the book they dust off tell them?

Hopefully more than our current pubs told us about defensive ops...

It's all been replaced by Army.ca or a virtual equivalent... or should be ;)
 

Haligonian

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ballz said:
I don't personally see the need/desire for this to be able to go to the field. That is what aide memoires are for and the Combat Team Commander course provides a pretty hefty one.

Old Sweat's comment about having the experience is more important than having sound doctrine made me think about when we were digging through PAM after PAM trying to figure out the defense... how all this institutional knowledge had been lost and not written down anywhere, and now we needed it... we didn't have any true experience to draw on, and neither did the institution as a whole, not that we could find anyway... so we *had* to fall back on the doctrine as a start state. We were looking for things as basic as how to do range cards, which 20 years ago I'm sure no one would believe could be forgotten.

We can't predict the future... we don't know if the next conflict is going to make us ignore this basic stuff for 5, 6, or 10 years... I'm not saying we're experts at combat team operations now but imagine if we didn't touch conventional combat team ops for 10 years because we were focused on a different style of warfare or different threat that consumed all our resources for that time period (like Afghanistan did)... and then 10 years from now, someone needs to dust off the books and get back into this... what will the book they dust off tell them?

Hopefully more than our current pubs told us about defensive ops...

Ballz, thanks for the reminder.  I'm reviewing the defensive chapter now.

On top of the list I mentioned at the start of this is there anything else you like to see explicitly discussed in the pub?
 

Haligonian

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Haligonian said:
Ballz, thanks for the reminder.  I'm reviewing the defensive chapter now.

On top of the list I mentioned at the start of this is there anything else you like to see explicitly discussed in the pub?

Another principle by which I'm approaching this thing.  We must explain why we do certain things and the inherent assumptions behind them.  By explaining why and the assumptions used our doctrine will be able to be much more instructive for those who lack experience in any particular area.  As Ballz noted above the defence is the perfect example.  We went several years paying lip service to the defence and often not practicing it at all.  We then have a generation of leaders with no experience of it and so they don't understand the why behind certain TTPs.  Those same leaders then start teaching at schools and can't provide required background to their students and we wind up in a vicious cycle where we have to regain precious institutional knowledge through experience.  If doctrine explains the why and the assumptions those can be re-examined to see if they're still valid and will enable people to better understand any particular TTP, it's importance, and how to modify it based on the situation.

As I read this thing I'm more and more convinced that it should become an annex in the Coy/Squadron in Ops pams.  I'm reading about the importance of a reverse slope position which clearly belongs in the Coy pam.  I've cut a lot so far but so much more could go if this were just sitting in the back of those two pams.
 

SeaKingTacco

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A pet hobby horse of mine in the defence has always been the importance of siting machine guns properly (enfilading fire from defilade; overlapping and mutually supporting arcs of fire; tgt registration) and tying them into the overall defensive fireplan.

If we want to have any hope of surviving a Russian MRR, reverse slope siting of mutually supported defensive positions, overhead cover, and camouflage all have to be stressed and backed up with first principle reasoning.
 

Kirkhill

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SeaKingTacco said:
A pet hobby horse of mine in the defence has always been the importance of siting machine guns properly (enfilading fire from defilade; overlapping and mutually supporting arcs of fire; tgt registration) and tying them into the overall defensive fireplan.

If we want to have any hope of surviving a Russian MRR, reverse slope siting of mutually supported defensive positions, overhead cover, and camouflage all have to be stressed and backed up with first principle reasoning.

Agree.

But why limit yourself to that template for machine guns?  Why not for other direct fire, line of site weapons?  Like Anti-Armour weapons?  You'd get a higher percentage of flanking shots and tend to obscure the launch signature.  And be better able to manage the fire of what are essentially single-shot weapons.

It worked for the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo against the French Cavalry.  Why not against Russian tanks?
 

daftandbarmy

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Haligonian said:
Another principle by which I'm approaching this thing.  We must explain why we do certain things and the inherent assumptions behind them.  By explaining why and the assumptions used our doctrine will be able to be much more instructive for those who lack experience in any particular area.  As Ballz noted above the defence is the perfect example.  We went several years paying lip service to the defence and often not practicing it at all.  We then have a generation of leaders with no experience of it and so they don't understand the why behind certain TTPs.  Those same leaders then start teaching at schools and can't provide required background to their students and we wind up in a vicious cycle where we have to regain precious institutional knowledge through experience.  If doctrine explains the why and the assumptions those can be re-examined to see if they're still valid and will enable people to better understand any particular TTP, it's importance, and how to modify it based on the situation.

As I read this thing I'm more and more convinced that it should become an annex in the Coy/Squadron in Ops pams.  I'm reading about the importance of a reverse slope position which clearly belongs in the Coy pam.  I've cut a lot so far but so much more could go if this were just sitting in the back of those two pams.

OK, now you've got me thinking.

Once upon a time, pams were just an 'Aide Memoire'... literally just a memory jogger for things you did alot anyways.

Now that skill fade is so prevalent in a variety of conventional war - and other - battle tasks, and turnover seems pretty high, we may need to re-conceive the whole purpose of pams that contain our doctrine.

And backing up our hard copy pams with this kind of YouTube product (well, not EXACTLY like this, but you get my drift) might be really, really important https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qBG_vZ0zDs



 

SeaKingTacco

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Chris Pook said:
Agree.

But why limit yourself to that template for machine guns?  Why not for other direct fire, line of site weapons?  Like Anti-Armour weapons?  You'd get a higher percentage of flanking shots and tend to obscure the launch signature.  And be better able to manage the fire of what are essentially single-shot weapons.

It worked for the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo against the French Cavalry.  Why not against Russian tanks?

Fair point. All crew served weapons need to be sited by the OC and protected by riflemen.
 

Old Sweat

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The challenge the army faces is beyond being solved by a set of new pamphlets. However, while it takes time, it can be done. The first step is to understand the issue and make and follow a plan.Think TEWTS, study groups and formal instruction as well as a lot of down and dirty FTXs, and the good, old brigade summer concentration that got us away from the garrison crap and thinking about fighting.
 

Kirkhill

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PLAY

A four letter word that nobody wants to utter.

But a key element in creating a flexible mind that reacts well to adversity.

You can issue all the pams, aides, guidances and principles you like but you can never generate a manual that will cover every eventuality.  As soon as you write down your plans the enemy will discern them, if not immediately from seeing them then over time from watching you implement them, and immediately do the other thing - the one not covered by any of the plans.

You need to develop the resilience in your troops to keep doing, to keep trying, even when the plans fail.

Fighting, in a cage or in the field, is not about the plan.  It is about never losing focus on winning.  And that means you keep doing things until you find something that works.

And that is facilitated in peace time by expensive, time-wasting, inefficient experimentation.

Also known as PLAY.

 
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