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Inst
28 Jan 09,, 23:40
I noticed what I think to be a difference between Western militaries and ex-Soviet militaries. One places a lot of emphasis on airpower, whereas the other emphasizes artillery. Why is this the case? In recent wars, airpower has been very successful, but perhaps this is because the losing side tended to be technologically and doctrinally inferior. Against a near-parity force, would airpower be more effective or artillery be more effective?

zraver
29 Jan 09,, 00:06
Air power can reach farther with more weight of explosives. But it requires a level of support and risk to the delivery platforms that normal artillery does not. Artillery can throw really big bombs at you, or get the ones it can throw hundreds of KM behind the lines, but you can have it in awful big numbers and do a lot of work inside the tactical and limited parts of the operational zones.

So given this, which one is better? Well whats the mission?

troung
29 Jan 09,, 00:16
I noticed what I think to be a difference between Western militaries and ex-Soviet militaries. One places a lot of emphasis on airpower, whereas the other emphasizes artillery. Why is this the case? In recent wars, airpower has been very successful, but perhaps this is because the losing side tended to be technologically and doctrinally inferior. Against a near-parity force, would airpower be more effective or artillery be more effective?

Artillery can hang around the battlefield, regardless of the weather and time of day, SAMs don't scare it away, and is part of the same service.

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 00:34
I noticed what I think to be a difference between Western militaries and ex-Soviet militaries. One places a lot of emphasis on airpower, whereas the other emphasizes artillery. Why is this the case? In recent wars, airpower has been very successful, but perhaps this is because the losing side tended to be technologically and doctrinally inferior. Against a near-parity force, would airpower be more effective or artillery be more effective?

You have to have air superiority for air power to be any good, they can fly sorties unhindered, just look at both Gulf Wars, in the second the Iraqi Air Force fleed to Iran, no challenge for the US AF or RAF.

However Artillery has its uses also, a battle group in the assualt relies on its Artillery for immediate fire power up until the 'Last Safe Moment i.e. as the Heavy Armour and Mechanised Infantry arrive on the objective.

Stitch
29 Jan 09,, 01:22
I'm sure it also has something to do with cost; some recruits with a really big gun and some ammo is a lot less expensive than a multi-million dollar a/c with a highly-trained (and expensive) pilot at the controls, dropping several thousand dollars worth of ordnance. If I had to guess, I'd say a Division of artillery is less expensive than a squadron of fighter-bombers.

Officer of Engineers
29 Jan 09,, 02:06
I noticed what I think to be a difference between Western militaries and ex-Soviet militaries.Actually, it's the US military and everybody else. Canada sent tanks into Afghanistan mainly because we don't CAS assets and we found that relying on allied CAS is spotty at best.

kuku
29 Jan 09,, 06:37
I noticed what I think to be a difference between Western militaries and ex-Soviet militaries. One places a lot of emphasis on airpower, whereas the other emphasizes artillery. Why is this the case? In recent wars, airpower has been very successful, but perhaps this is because the losing side tended to be technologically and doctrinally inferior. Against a near-parity force, would airpower be more effective or artillery be more effective?

May be its because all the ex-Soviet nations have small economy in comparision to the USA.

Could you show some figures.
How many artillery guns towed and self propelled, MLRS do the US armed forces (Army+Marines) possess?

Can they be utilized for the same role, for example the huge US air force can be (has it?) utilized in places like Afghanistan for supporting quick deployments (lifting the artillery pieces to that place may take time plus the supplies and the crew).

PanSonic
29 Jan 09,, 07:28
This is a wrong comparison.
Airpower is not flying artillery, artillery is fire support, the air force is much more then that.
There are two different things, which you can not ask generally which is more effective.

Deltacamelately
29 Jan 09,, 12:39
Fixed wing Aircrafts have their own advantage as far as SEAD and CAS are concerned. However, this is applicable only when one can attain near or complete air supremacy, not while the enemy still has its point interceptors ready and painting your attack fighters. On the other hand, Artillery is no doubt a cost saving, rugged and effective alternative of CAS. It also an amazing battlefield shaper. However, in operations being undertaken at far off, geaographically disadvantegeous locations, Artillery is difficult to airlift - especially supplywise. Tube artillery is somewhat limited to the 10-20 km range due to cost. Aircrafts are cheaper in comparison. This seems to indicate, that for the larger tubes (maybe 6"+) the solution lies in a decicated close airsupport aircraft colocated with the attack helicopters to achieve rapid reaction time for counter battery fire for instance. Manned by Army pilots, produced to army spec and maintained by army personel. This is a realistic solution.

Debates about the Air Force not being able to effectively providing CAS for the Army comes in quite sometimes, for instance during the Kargil war. Some have always promoted the concept of a Ground/Air integration. The major thing is when your supply is coming from the sea, there is a limited amount of supplies that can be sent that way. Otherwise with reassured supplies, Artillery can prove to be a highly effective counter force/ ifrastructure asset, operating 24/7, unhindered. Climatic factors also have limited effect on Artillery performance.

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 15:29
I noticed what I think to be a difference between Western militaries and ex-Soviet militaries. One places a lot of emphasis on airpower, whereas the other emphasizes artillery.

How is the artillery of a western division organized ?
A soviet division would have 3 battalions of heavy howitzers plus a battalion of heavy rocket launchers.

S2
29 Jan 09,, 18:56
"Climatic factors also have limited effect on Artillery performance."

It has a decisive effect on the performance and motivation of some artillery officers...well, one that I know-me.:biggrin:

I hate, hate, hate being cold and away from my coffee. Shooting isn't even much fun then.

C.P. co-located with supply sergeant's coffee pot. Both located near FDC so I can monitor calls for fire and hear fire commands to the guns. Nice fire if you don't mind too. All's again right in my world.:cool:

Under such conditions I'll guarantee you 24-7 fires to the limits of observation and range if you'll guarantee me bullets.

EDIT- Yeah, no voice fire commands anymore. Probably no FM radio calls for fire either. Did I mention that I hate this digital sh!t almost as bad as the cold?

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 19:38
How is the artillery of a western division organized ?
A soviet division would have 3 battalions of heavy howitzers plus a battalion of heavy rocket launchers.

Lets start at the basics. The Building Blocks of a Brigade or Division starts with a 'Battle Group' (US = Task Force). 'Battle Groups' are very flexible; lets start with an Assualting Battle Group; this consists of the following:

1 X Armd Recce (Schimitar - 30mm Rarden Cannon)
2 x Armd Sqns (Challenger 2 - 120mm).
1 x Armd Inf Coy (Warrior - 30mm Rarden Cannon).
1 x Batt Low Level Air Defence (Javalin).
1 x Sect Anti-Tank Section.
1 x Tp Armd Engr.
1 x Batt Arty (AS-90 - 155mm Self-Propelled).
Various Support Units.

A Division can have up to 12 Battle Groups. Also with a Division you will have other assets such as MLRS, Attack Helicopters and Air Support which any Battle Group can call upon.

HistoricalDavid
29 Jan 09,, 19:45
I hate, hate, hate being cold

How cold's cold? I was so cold and tired on Saturday 1am, with flashlights banned, I ended up at the wrong stag position for my platoon's harbour area, and when I got to the right one I was hallucinating. But that's only the British countryside and not enough warm kit on. Still, I take it neither you nor I would perform well in this: http://www.drum.army.mil/sites/installation/pao/mediaEmbed/img/222-1.jpg :biggrin: Makes me long for bed just looking at it. :)

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 19:47
Lets start at the basics. The Building Blocks of a Brigade or Division starts with a 'Battle Group' (US = Task Force). 'Battle Groups' are very flexible; lets start with an Assualting Battle Group; this consists of the following:

1 X Armd Recce (Schimitar - 30mm Rarden Cannon)
2 x Armd Sqns (Challenger 2 - 120mm).
1 x Armd Inf Coy (Warrior - 30mm Rarden Cannon).
1 x Batt Low Level Air Defence (Javalin).
1 x Sect Anti-Tank Section.
1 x Tp Armd Engr.
1 x Batt Arty (AS-90 - 155mm Self-Propelled).
Various Support Units.

A Division can have up to 12 Battle Groups. Also with a Division you will have other assets such as MLRS, Attack Helicopters and Air Support which any Battle Group can call upon.

Artillery is spread not concentrated ?:confused:

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 19:50
How cold's cold? I was so cold and tired on Saturday 1am, with flashlights banned, I ended up at the wrong stag position for my platoon's harbour area, and when I got to the right one I was hallucinating. But that's only the British countryside and not enough warm kit on. Still, I take it neither you nor I would perform well in this: http://www.drum.army.mil/sites/installation/pao/mediaEmbed/img/222-1.jpg :biggrin: Makes me long for bed just looking at it. :)

Your own fault, should have worn the correct equipment.:P

Whilst serving on Chieftain on Ex Medicine Man 7 on the prairies in Alberta Canada, winter time, wake up in the morning inside the Tank and you reach up to open the hatch and the condensation had frozen inside. Go outside to undertake 'Before Use' Maintanence, lit fires under the tanks to heat the diesel and oils as they had almost solidified. Brrrrrrr, and thats when we had real bad clothing too.:)

Shamus
29 Jan 09,, 19:52
How cold's cold? I was so cold and tired on Saturday 1am, with flashlights banned, I ended up at the wrong stag position for my platoon's harbour area, and when I got to the right one I was hallucinating. But that's only the British countryside and not enough warm kit on. Still, I take it neither you nor I would perform well in this: http://www.drum.army.mil/sites/installation/pao/mediaEmbed/img/222-1.jpg :biggrin: Makes me long for bed just looking at it. :)Aw c'mon David,that picture could have been taken in my back yard right now...errr....minus the mountain range in the far background and the gents in full kit;):)).

HistoricalDavid
29 Jan 09,, 19:54
Your own fault, should have worn the correct equipment.:P

If I wear the warm kit and burn so much and two calories in physical effort, I sweat like a rapist in a sauna. No seriously, even with helly hansen > t-shirt > norgie > fleece > combat jacket, I'm often still cold.


Aw c'mon David,that picture could have been taken in my back yard right now...errr....minus the mountain range in the far background and the gents in full kit;):)).

Having weapons and a mission does increase the "responsibility" factor a bit. :)

S2
29 Jan 09,, 19:57
"Artillery is spread not concentrated ?"

Spread the tubes-concentrate the fire.

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 20:03
"Artillery is spread not concentrated ?"

Spread the tubes-concentrate the fire.

The artillery in the task force is under the command of the divisional commander or the task force commander ?

S2
29 Jan 09,, 20:11
Shamus is from Michigan. He speaks truth. I know what you mean, Chaobam Armor. We called them Alberta Clippers in Wisconsin. Crap would roll into Wisconsin with -30F at 0400-0500hrs. Awful time of the day. Then the wind picks up as the sun rises. Oh boy!

Ft. Drum, N.Y. I'm guessing.

Oh well. I'm demoralized and ready to surrender just talking about it.:frown:

I've heard of plenty of cold injuries at that big training area in England too-what Brecon Beacon or Salisbury. Seems like it's a big, wet, treeless, gorse-filled marsh.

Duck hunting weather can suck mightily and kill you too.

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 20:12
The artillery in the task force is under the command of the divisional commander or the task force commander ?

A Battle Group is Commanded by a Lt. Col (British Army), therefore all assets within that Battle Group is comtrolled by the said Lt. Col. If he requires additional support he will call into Brig HQ, and if it is available he will get it.

S2
29 Jan 09,, 20:29
We've three types of MTOE artillery- Dedicated, direct-support, and general support. Let me explain.

In my day, the only artillery that was organic to a unit's TO&E was the howitzer batteries found in the CAV Squadron (battalion for you Brits) of a Corps-level Armored Cav Regiment. Note corps-level. That's important.

Division artillery falls under the command of the DIVARTY C.O. (O-6 Colonel). He'd control and execute the fires of three direct support battalions and one general support battalion on behalf of the gaining division. TO&E for both Divisional arty battalions and armored cav how batteries include forward observers which are attached to manuever units within their organizations.

At the Corps level, artillery fires are commanded and directed by a Corps Artillery Commander (O-7 Brigadier General). He is assigned field artillery brigades and battalions that can be shifted at any time by an army level command. It was entirely possible during Desert Storm for an F.A. brigade to be providing general support fires to 18th Airborne Corps on one day and find themselves sliced over to VII Corps on the next.

Pick up yer gear and go.

These brigades are comprised of general support artillery battalions-not direct support. As such, the most notable TO&E difference might be the number of tubes (24 in DIVARTY 155mm battalions, 18 in Corps G.S. 155mm battalions) and the absence of F.O.s. None. As all fires are general support, general support-reinforcing, or reinforcing, calls for fire are generated by those units that are being reinforced.

Artillery is never held in reserve in the U.S. military. Not Army and not marines. No breaks for us. 24-7 for somebody down-range until the shooting stops.

A lil' rundown as I remember matters. Hope it helps.:)

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 20:32
If he needs artillery support he would get it from other batle groups as well or only from HQ ?

S2
29 Jan 09,, 20:39
"If he needs artillery support he would get it from other batle groups as well or only from HQ ?"

One or the other or both...or neither. It's possible that from time to time there might be a few more targets than tubes.

Makes for a long day all the way around...:))

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 20:53
These brigades are comprised of general support artillery battalions-not direct support. As such, the most notable TO&E difference might be the number of tubes (24 in DIVARTY 155mm battalions, 18 in Corps G.S. 155mm battalions) and the absence of F.O.s. None. As all fires are general support, general support-reinforcing, or reinforcing, calls for fire are generated by those units that are being reinforced.



Without F.O. how the general support artillery battalions provide offensive fire, interdiction or counter battery fire ?


One or the other or both...or neither.
That makes my ask again ... Who is in control of the artillery organic to a task force ?

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 21:14
As I said before a Battle Group is commanded by a Lt. Col. therefore he commands all assets under his Command, which includes Arty. A Battle Group is part of a Brigade, which is Commanded by a Brigadier. Battle Group Commanders get their order from the Brig. If a Battle Group comes into contact with the enemy, that information is relayed back from the contacting troops i.e. Armd Recce, to Command Troop of the Armd Sqns, the Lt. Col will assess the situation, and if he feels that the Battle group can take out said enemy he will, however the information he has been given goes bacl to Brig HQ, and if there are additional requirements above and beyond what the Battle Group has i.e. Fast Attack Aircraft, Attack Helicopters, GMLRS etc. he will ask, this is where the Brig comes into play, he may assign an additional Battle Group, aircraft etc.

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 21:15
How did we get onto Artillery when it started out as 'Centurions'?

Oooops wrong thread.

S2
29 Jan 09,, 21:28
"Without F.O. how the general support artillery battalions provide offensive fire, interdiction or counter battery fire ?"

D.S. arty F.O. sees target and issues a call-for-fire. D.S. battalion receives target and assesses profile. Assuming it needs more, the target can be passed to the DIVARTY TOC (tactical operations center) and assigned to the divisional G.S. battalion or to attached G.S. battalions/brigades from Corps Arty.

Counter-battery fire is typically executed on targets generated by FIREFINDER (AN/TPQ-36/37 Counter-Mortar Radars) unless spotted visually or (occasionally still) sound-flash ranging. Digitally wired between radar and gaining artillery unit right into their AFATDS computer in the FDC. Firing data generated and digitally sent to guns. Voila!

Rounds on the way!!!

In an attack, G.S. battalions/brigades may be attached to a Division and, possibly, further attached. Lots of redundancy built into receiving targets to service.

"That makes my ask again ... Who is in control of the artillery organic to a task force?"

Because it's a "task force", the implication is that it's an ad hoc organization of battalion size. As such, there'll be NO artillery organic to that force. NONE. The only artillery that is ORGANIC remains the howitzer batteries of a corps-level Armored Cav Squadron operating as part of an Armored Cav Regiment.

The term "task force" has specific doctrinal meaning in the U.S. military. We mix and match company-sized armor and infantry units within brigades to create battalion-sized "task forces". We further mix and match platoons of those companies within that "task force" to create company-sized "teams".

So a brigade comprised of two infantry battalions and one armor battalion may be task-organized to create three battalion-sized "task force"[s] within the brigade. Artillery is allocated by mission. Some units will be in direct support of that gaining manuever brigade. It will be their F.O.s on the brigade's battle-space. Other artillery battalions may provide reinforcing fires to the D.S. battalion supporting the brigade.

It's a rare day when an artillery battalion has only line of authority or one end-user of their fires.

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 21:31
As I said before a Battle Group is commanded by a Lt. Col. therefore he commands all assets under his Command, which includes Arty. A Battle Group is part of a Brigade, which is Commanded by a Brigadier. Battle Group Commanders get their order from the Brig. If a Battle Group comes into contact with the enemy, that information is relayed back from the contacting troops i.e. Armd Recce, to Command Troop of the Armd Sqns, the Lt. Col will assess the situation, and if he feels that the Battle group can take out said enemy he will, however the information he has been given goes bacl to Brig HQ, and if there are additional requirements above and beyond what the Battle Group has i.e. Fast Attack Aircraft, Attack Helicopters, GMLRS etc. he will ask, this is where the Brig comes into play, he may assign an additional Battle Group, aircraft etc.

Thank you.
If he concludes that he cannot release his task force in order to provide support for another Battle Group it is free to do so ?

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 21:42
Counter-battery fire is typically executed on targets generated by FIREFINDER (TPSQ-36/37 Counter-Mortar Radars) unless spotted visually or (occasionally still) sound-flash ranging. Digitally wired between radar and gaining artillery unit right into their AFATDS computer in the FDC. Firing data generated and digitally sent to guns. Voila!


The counter battery radar is attached at division level or corps level ?

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 21:44
The counter battery radar is attached at division level or corps level ?


In our Case Division.

gabriel
29 Jan 09,, 21:58
In our Case Division.

I guess it is the same way in the U.S.

Kernow
29 Jan 09,, 22:22
I guess it is the same way in the U.S.

I wouldn't be too sure on that, they have a massive Army, so may work differently.

S2
29 Jan 09,, 22:59
Here's a bit about target acquisition in the U.S. Army-

FM 6-121

Field Artillery Target Acquisition-FM 6-121 (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/6-121/index.html)

I was once a battalion S-2 officer (Intelligence) for a direct support field artillery battalion of a separate light infantry brigade. The brigade was equipped to operate in a semi-autonomous manner. Within our artillery battalion we had a target acquisition platoon that worked for me with a 1Lt platoon leader that was part of HHB (Headquarters, Headquarters Battery). It was comprised of a survey section, a metro section and our own weapons locating radar AN/TPQ 36 FIREFINDER section.

gabriel
30 Jan 09,, 07:48
thanks for the link ...

gabriel
30 Jan 09,, 08:11
The term "task force" has specific doctrinal meaning in the U.S. military. We mix and match company-sized armor and infantry units within brigades to create battalion-sized "task forces". We further mix and match platoons of those companies within that "task force" to create company-sized "teams".

So a brigade comprised of two infantry battalions and one armor battalion may be task-organized to create three battalion-sized "task force"[s] within the brigade. Artillery is allocated by mission.

What are the major differences between the concept of a task force and the concept of kampfgruppen used by the germans in ww2 ?

S2
30 Jan 09,, 16:00
"Kampfgruppen"

Entirely "ad hoc". Remember, "task force" is embedded into our doctrinal terminology as also is "team". Those terms define battalion and company-sized organizations that have been task-organized for combat by their higher headquarters.

So too the Germans but it wouldn't be unusual to see this arrangement extend to the regimental level(example- Kampfgruppe Friebe at Tarnopol in April 1944), division level (example- Group Von Manteuffel near Trosno at Kursk in 1943), corps level (example- Kampf Group Esebeck comprising 4 & 12 Pz Div, again on the northern salient of Kursk), or even army (example- Armee Abteilung Kempf along the southern side of the Kursk salient in 1943).

U.S. Army divisions carry an extensive list of battalions within their organizational tables. They also carry five to six brigade headquarters (three manuever brigades, a support brigad, DIVARTY, and a combat aviation brigade). ASSIGNED to each of those brigade headquarters is one headquarters company-nothing else. All subordinate units (battalions and separate companies/platoons) are attached and detached to those brigades by the division chief of staff or G-3 (Operations) officer on behalf of the division commander's intent. It is conceivable, therefore, that a Combat Aviation Brigade headquarters might have NO aviation units temporarily under it's aegis.

To that end, brigades more closely adhere functionally to the kampfgruppe concept than the fully formalized regimental structure. Again, within a U.S. Army Armored Cavalry Regiment every single unit of it's core structure is ASSIGNED- not ATTACHED and, although an ACR appears to be (and is) a balanced formation, it was designed as such from origins and not an organization created to meet a specific combat mission.

Mihais
30 Jan 09,, 16:56
Did you know of any instance when this system failed because of different units lack of coordination?In the a soviet style force you have a balanced division made of several regiments balanced regiments.This regiments train together for a long time(at least in theory) so the men get to know each other.I know that UK and US forces train a lot and that helps,but historically mixing units did not produced the best results.

S2
30 Jan 09,, 17:14
We've manuever guys here who can speak to this but our divisions stateside and kasernes in W. Germany were, functionally, closely aligned. So while we practiced task organization, we worked from a common doctrine that was reinforced by "habitual relationships".

While not formally linked, in point of fact, units did settle into a routine of sorts. One reason in Europe would be that most kasernes were brigade sized.
3rd Armored Div had three brigades, each in a different German city, as example. These communities were closed and close. As such, task organization for training always occurred within the brigade's assets unless the division was training together. You worked with the same guys often.

Tours in Europe were three years. A soviet soldier mobilized, trained, and de-mobilized over two years. I'm unsure which organization may have offered the more stable training platform but I suspect that our's did.

Mihais
30 Jan 09,, 18:05
Thanks S-2.Now I have some questions regarding cavalry.While I find the whole US concept of cavalry fascinating and extremely useful under the right circumstances,doesn't the whole heavy equipment make sometimes the job more difficult?I mean it's good to have a mobile force at corps commander disposal that can kill enemy recon,delay enemy advance and provide security wherever is necessary.But let's presume that during an offensive operation when speed is of the essence you encounter pockets of resistance,blown out bridges,all kinds of obstacles that must be bypassed in order to achieve the objective.Doesn't the whole heavy equipment become a burden? It makes more sense to me to have a light unit designed for recon and security that can be augmented than to have tanks waiting for fuel,arty waiting for ammo,all of them spread and way ahead the main force.Again I must emphasize that I like the whole idea of cavalry and I know it worked like a charm against the Iraqis both in GW1 and GW2,but I'm curious how would you adress this kind of situation.

zraver
30 Jan 09,, 20:22
Did you know of any instance when this system failed because of different units lack of coordination?In the a soviet style force you have a balanced division made of several regiments balanced regiments.This regiments train together for a long time(at least in theory) so the men get to know each other.I know that UK and US forces train a lot and that helps,but historically mixing units did not produced the best results.

The Soviet system fails for several reasons

1- no proffesional NCO's means a lack of long term instatutional memory.

2- twice a year induction

3- 2 year terms of service

4- IIRC a lack of the longer AIT type schools.

5- large numbers of non-Russian speakers


Thus noone in the unit (company level and below) has more than about five years experiance and they are getting recruits who are barely trained even by the standards of a brandnew private in the US Army. On top of this the lack of a unifying language means commands and drill have to be simplified and done by rote limiting innovation and tactical flexability. What the unit is able to learn gets gutted by 12.5% per quarter- 50% per year.

Contrast this to an average US platoon that will have a platoon seargent with more than a decade of experiance, and several staff and buck seargents with five or more years and scads of corperals and Spec-4's with 3 or more years. That is a lot of instatutional memory. They all speak English, and the longer they stay in the more schooling they get. Plus a Spec-4 or higher has probalby been in two or more units, more as promotions role in. So a trick learned in one unit gets disseminated through the army. Even the recruits who do not re-up are in for a 3rd longer and brought in multiple times per year so there is rarely a big drop in overall experiance.

The US system isn't perfect, but it does work rather well. IIRc the British use a much more regimented system that in its own way works to preserve instatutional memory. One of the Brits here is better qualified to speak on that. But as I recall they still allow lifers among the lower ranks so that if Corperal Jones is happy where he is at, doing the job he loves and has mastered he does not get forced out if he wants to stay. The US Army is very much up or out.

Mihais
30 Jan 09,, 21:14
Thanks Zraver.I'm aware of the limitations of the soviet army(and I would be curious of what Russian members have to say,but that would be offtopic).But what puzzled me was that in order to get a task force in the field the US division or brigade has to switch battalions(and lower level units)from different HQ's resulting in mixed units that did not know each other.Now,from what s-2 said I understand that US brigades achieved cohesivenes by being located and training together in a rather informal way.As long as you train and fight as a team it's ok,but why not create a combined force from the start,give it an identity as a permanent outfit and ,if need arise in combat,augment it with a higher echelon assets.To make my point more clear,you don't see brigade size task force composed of more than 2-3inf battalions 1-2 armour 1arty battalion and 1-2 engineer companies (give or take some of these)+some recon assets etc.. .The Soviet organization with 4maneuver battalions,1arty,etc... seems more stable(and I don't talk here about training or the fact that they lack experienced personnel;I'm just talking about organizing a force).

S2
30 Jan 09,, 21:30
"The Soviet organization with 4maneuver battalions,1arty,etc... seems more stable"

There's no stability borne of their organization for combat. There is predictability and rigidity. Not just in their organizational structure but in their battle drills as well.

Why needlessly commit yourself to such rigidity if you've the talent and means to seamlessly tailor your forces to meet any contingent need? We feel very comfortable task-organizing because we're convinced that our doctrine (which binds us) is fully understood and adhered to at all levels.

If anything, we're better than ever here IMHO. Since OIF Phase IV, we've integrated with U.S. Marine forces on numerous occasions in Joint task forces and done so effectively.

Mihais
30 Jan 09,, 22:03
''Why needlessly commit yourself to such rigidity if you've the talent and means to seamlessly tailor your forces to meet any contingent need? We feel very comfortable task-organizing because we're convinced that our doctrine (which binds us) is fully understood and adhered to at all levels.''
Fully agree.If you can do it than do it.

Mihais
30 Jan 09,, 22:36
''There's no stability borne of their organization for combat. There is predictability and rigidity. Not just in their organizational structure but in their battle drills as well.''
I must admit that I'm speaking only from books and wargames,so it's common sense that I put more value in your opinion than in mine,but I think there's a little more than that.While US Army and Marines can go and adapt to various circumstances,thanks to being the most trained and experienced in the world today,others can't do it so easily.That was the point I was trying to raise and to which you have answered.Having a force that is somewhat predictible is a lot better than having a force that does not coordinates well or not having a force at all( see the Georgians last August).Again I must emphasize that I 'm convinced your way of integrating various assets for various tasks is the best way(and not different fundamentally from other great armies of history).

bugs
31 Jan 09,, 00:38
The Soviet system fails for several reasons

1- no proffesional NCO's means a lack of long term instatutional memory.

2- twice a year induction

3- 2 year terms of service

4- IIRC a lack of the longer AIT type schools.

5- large numbers of non-Russian speakers


Practice makes perfect. This is a wise saying, which the Soviet Army accepts.
Accordingly, during his service every soldier goes through the same cycle of instruction four times.
Each of these lasts for five months, with one month as a break before the next one begins. During this interval, the soldiers who have completed their service are demobilized and the new intake arrives. In this month the recruits go through their Young Soldier's Course: the remainder overhaul and repair equipment and weapons, and do maintenance work at barracks, camps and firing-ranges. They are also used for various sorts of heavy work. This is not always for the Armed Forces; sometimes they become labourers on State projects. Then the five-month cycle of instruction begins. All the subjects in the training schedule are covered but during the first month the emphasis is on the individual training of each soldier. The youngest ones learn what they need to know and do, while the older ones repeat everything for the second, third or fourth time. As a soldier's service lengthens, the demands he must meet increase. A soldier who has only just joined may be required to do, for instance, 30 press-ups, one who has served for 6 months 40, after a year he will have to do 45 and after 18 months 50. The standards required increase similarly in every type of activity-shooting, running, driving military vehicles, resistance to CW materials, endurance without an air-supply in a tank under water, etc.
In the second month, while work continues on the improvement of individual skills, sections, crews and military teams are set up. In reality they exist already, since 75% of their members are soldiers who have already served in them for at least six months. The young recruits adapt quickly, for they are made to do the work for the whole team: the older members do not exert themselves but they squeeze enough sweat for ten out of the new arrivals so as o avoid being accused of idleness themselves and in order not to incur the wrath of their platoon or regimental commander.
From the second month, weapon training is no longer individual but to whole sections. Similarly, the sections, teams and other basic combat units receive all their tactical, technical and other instruction as groups. At the same time, members of these sections, teams and groups learn how to replace one another and how to stand in for their commanders. Sub-machine gunners practise firing machine-guns and grenade launchers, machine gunners learn to drive and service armoured personnel carriers, members of rocket launcher teams are taught how to carry out the duties of their section commander. Members of tank, gun, mortar and rocket-launcher crews receive similar instruction.
The third month is devoted to perfecting unit and in particular platoon cohesion. Exercises lasting for several days, field firing, river crossing, negotiation of obstacles, anti-gas and anti-radiation treatment of personnel and equipment-the soldiers carry all these out as platoons. During these exercises, section commanders receive practice in commanding a platoon in battle. Then come field firing and other practical exercises lasting for two weeks each, first at company, then at regimental and finally at divisional level. Two final weeks are taken up with large-scale manoeuvres, involving Armies, Fronts or even complete Strategic Directions.
After this an inspection of all the formations which make up the Soviet Army is carried out. Checks are carried out on individual soldiers, sergeants, officers, generals, sections, platoons, companies, batteries, battalions, regiments, brigades, divisions and Armies. With this the cycle of instruction is completed. A month is set aside for repair and refurbishing of equipment, firing-ranges, training grounds and training centres. In this month, again, the demobilization of time-expired soldiers and the reception of a new intake of recruits takes place. This is followed by a repetition of the entire training cycle-individual instruction and then the welding together of sections, platoons, companies, battalions, regiments, divisions, then the large-scale exercises and finally the inspection. So it goes on, over and over again.

by a book of v.suvorov.

zraver
31 Jan 09,, 02:19
Thanks Zraver.I'm aware of the limitations of the soviet army(and I would be curious of what Russian members have to say,but that would be offtopic).But what puzzled me was that in order to get a task force in the field the US division or brigade has to switch battalions(and lower level units)from different HQ's resulting in mixed units that did not know each other.

The units know each other, the typical US Brigade in a heavy unit (when I was in) was either 2 armor and 1 inf or 2 inf and 1 armor. Much like a combined arms regiment set up.




Now,from what s-2 said I understand that US brigades achieved cohesivenes by being located and training together in a rather informal way.As long as you train and fight as a team it's ok,but why not create a combined force from the start,give it an identity as a permanent outfit and ,if need arise in combat,augment it with a higher echelon assets.

Duplication of effort is the main reason. Instead of 2 master gunners in an armor brigade you'd need 3 for every slot. By grouping them in organic units you cut down on administrative costs and can then detail out units and support as needed.




To make my point more clear,you don't see brigade size task force composed of more than 2-3inf battalions 1-2 armour 1arty battalion and 1-2 engineer companies (give or take some of these)+some recon assets etc.. .The Soviet organization with 4maneuver battalions,1arty,etc... seems more stable(and I don't talk here about training or the fact that they lack experienced personnel;I'm just talking about organizing a force).

2 armor and 1 inf battalions will create 9-12 mixed asset company teams. A US armor battalion can have as many as 54 tanks (14ea in A,B,C,D +2 for the CO and XO) A 3 company battalion will have 44 tanks. Compare this to the Russian formations which vary from 29-47. A real mixed bag. Plus US units use a base 2 system. lead and wingman 2 pairs being a platoon, 3 platoons +command element being a company (2 up 1 back typical). Soviet units liked base 3, but this leaves somebodies butt in the win.

For example if a US platoon is doing a bounding overwatch and just after the lead element crosses a FSCAM feild gets deployed- the unit has lost half its effective firepower. If this happens to a Russian platoon they lose either 33% or 66% depending. Or if a tank is lost in combat the Russian platoon has lost 33% of its fire, but a US unit only lost 25%. On the second tank 66% vs 50%

Mihais
31 Jan 09,, 08:26
Bugs,that was the theory and if properly enforced it could have produced a reasonably competent massive army.But in practice,every force recruited in the soviet style suffers from lack of discipline,sloppy execution of drills and little enthusiasm for doing the job right.Why don't you cite the chapter that describes Suvorov's first command?I'm not considering that author to be the ultimate source on soviet army but in his book there are both sides of the coin. Now,for US guys:I know that you went quite often at NTC and practiced against a soviet style opponent(at least during the old days;now the opfor may be different).Common sense says that you found out what worked and what did not and you took steps to rectify what didn't.Also I read that said OPFOR was considered the most experienced soviet style outfit in the world.What was the average number of trials needed for a US brigade to master the opponent?What were the consequences for brigade commanders that failed twice in a row?

bugs
31 Jan 09,, 09:55
Bugs,that was the theory and if properly enforced it could have produced a reasonably competent massive army.But in practice,every force recruited in the soviet style suffers from lack of discipline,sloppy execution of drills and little enthusiasm for doing the job right.Why don't you cite the chapter that describes Suvorov's first command?I'm not considering that author to be the ultimate source on soviet army but in his book there are both sides of the coin.

Here is a link for the whole book:
http://militera.lib.ru/research/suvorov12/index.html

I consider the comparison of the capabilities of soviet forces versus western forces academic at best since is highly unlikely that a convention war in Europe would not turn in to a full nuclear exchange in a mater of hours.

Mihais
31 Jan 09,, 11:04
I had the book,but thanks for the link.My point was not to predict Nato vs. Soviets outcome in ww3 scenario.It has been done so many times that I will be bored to death to hear the same arguments,the same pro's and con's all over again.My point is,and always has been that while the US/UK system of task force/Battle group has clear advantages(flexibility being the most important,but others as well,as pointed by zraver),it is also somewhat more complex therefore more difficult to implement(its prequisites are experienced men and lots of training).From what S-2 and Zraver have said the main drawback I feared (poor cooperation between units)did not really occured.iNow,it would be interesting to know what happens when a newly formed army,with no significant traditions(Iraqi or ANA)is sent into the field.It works better with a somewhat rigid structure and command chain,or its better with the more flexible western approach(asuming they do have the basic skills and they do not flee the battlefield)?Plenty of experience in that respect in recent times.

bugs
31 Jan 09,, 12:43
My point is,and always has been that while the US/UK system of task force/Battle group has clear advantages(flexibility being the most important,but others as well,as pointed by zraver),it is also somewhat more complex therefore more difficult to implement(its prequisites are experienced men and lots of training).From what S-2 and Zraver have said the main drawback I feared (poor cooperation between units)did not really occured.iNow,it would be interesting to know what happens when a newly formed army,with no significant traditions(Iraqi or ANA)is sent into the field.It works better with a somewhat rigid structure and command chain,or its better with the more flexible western approach(asuming they do have the basic skills and they do not flee the battlefield)?Plenty of experience in that respect in recent times.

The soviet style organization would not work for any former state in the former USSR (except maybe Russia) not because is worse than the western organization but because they do not have the resources that the soviets had to make it work.In a pure conventional conflict the soviet doctrine relies on maximum concentration of forces in order to achieve a STRATEGIC penetration ( that means that they are prepared to lose many assets at a TACTICAL level in order to achieve it). It is not as bad as it first looks. The concentration of forces also provides security and lower losses because the greater the numerical superiority that one side has the greater the damage he can inflict on the other side and the smaller the cost to himself.
Neither Ukraine or Belorussia's or any state in the former USSR or the rest of the world for that mater has enough resources to achieve a numeric superiority as enjoyed by the former USSR .
Plus unlike NATO , the WARSAW PACT was not a union of equals lead by a strong leader, but in the event of war they`re army's would be incorporated in the soviet army increasing it`s numbers.

zraver
31 Jan 09,, 13:55
,it would be interesting to know what happens when a newly formed army,with no significant traditions(Iraqi or ANA)is sent into the field.It works better with a somewhat rigid structure and command chain,or its better with the more flexible western approach(asuming they do have the basic skills and they do not flee the battlefield)?Plenty of experience in that respect in recent times.

It depends, it hasn't worked very well at all in most cases, but I ques it could. But for a new army or one with limited resources going with a mixed combined arms force right off the bat adds to the administrative costs. Every unit that has a tank, needs a tank mechanic, and 1-3 people rarely know everything. However if you group all the tanks and mechanics organically the mechanics learn from each other, know each other and know who to ask about a particular problem. Thus when you parcel the tanks and support assets out you still get some of the benefits of an organic grouping. Thus the western style task groupings would serve even a new army better, and actually aid the growth of institutional memory and reduce the cost.

Now if you have enough resources, you can make a Soviet style system work, but most nations don't have the resources for that. Even the Soviets didn't. the 2 year term was a more a factor of cost and the need to have the Red Army act as a social glue than any tactical, strategic or operational need. If the Soviets had a professional NCO corps and a 3 year term their army would still not have been as good as the wests for reasons like language barriers and procurement issues, but it would have been much much better. Closer to Germany, although the Germans had a unified language and much small range of potential missions.

Mihais
01 Feb 09,, 19:18
Just of curiosity,how did you perceived the Cold War era Bundeswehr?The Germans do have a very anti-militaristic culture these days.Were the officers and NCO's proud of their traditions ,or just doing their patriotic duty?How would you rate,on scale of 1-10 the 1988 Bundeswehr,presuming that US VII Corp and BAOR are 10?How about the smaller armies,Belgians,Dutch or anybody else that you had met?I know it is subjective,but I'm here to listen opinions and learn as much as posible.