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Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen

Infanteer

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...except there is no historical basis or validity to the "three to one" rule.
 

Kirkhill

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Interesting comments from MJP and Infanteer.

But a bit confusing for me.  I get that the Bushmaster has a more stable platform than an MG on a tripod and so the beaten zone is likely to be smaller.  But at the same time it is stated that wind pushes the rounds around which, to my mind, would mean a larger beaten zone.  Also, part of the discussion has to include, surely, the elevation of the weapon (over or under 45 degrees (800 mils for the pedants)) and the number of weapons concurrently employed?
 

Colin Parkinson

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Infanteer said:
...except there is no historical basis or validity to the "three to one" rule.

It's quoted often, any idea where it came from?

did find this https://books.google.ca/books?id=_gl-6GlO_vUC&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&dq=3+to+1+to+overcome+a+defended+position&source=bl&ots=UceZs7LIWD&sig=v_1MStbrahnbKgmmDRoVBhlJNGY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiM3OTkrpzaAhXjzVQKHQ2fCokQ6AEITDAD#v=onepage&q=3%20to%201%20to%20overcome%20a%20defended%20position&f=false


and this bit
It seems the 3:1 rule is a pre WWI Prussian infantry doctrine, those guys did heaps of theory an gaming around dynamic as well as prepared battles and were probably to most thorough and experienced military in Europe at the time. So its c. 1900 military rule of thumb.

http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?746807-Force-Ratios-and-the-3-1-Rule-Debate
 

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Infanteer said:
There is scientific rigor to this which lends a lot of credibility to the outcome, but I've seen enough iterations unfold as you described while an OCT on Maple Resolve to feel quite confident in the outcome....

The problem is that anecdotes do not make a sound data set.

Would it not be great to say, "so we used to do this 50m dismount thing, but after a comprehensive war fighter study it turns out that was not such a good idea.. it turns out the best way to assault a prepared coy position with a mech inf coy is to XXX if you want to preserve the maximum amount of combat power post attack."

From the medical standpoint it read, wow... they only created the minimum number of casualties to take that important objectives.  Much nicer to have 30 casualties than 150 like the good old days of the 50 m dismount".

MC

 

ballz

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MedCorps said:
This would be an interesting war fighter study. Take a coy of experienced infantry dug in, take a coy of experienced mech inf conduct an attack using WES (or something better) where you role up right on the position and dismount. Repeat multiple times where you hold the terrain and weather as a constant, but flip up the defenders / attackers. Come up with a constant number range with respect to casualties / kills (both pers and LAVs). Be aware that you might need to do it quite a few times (I think over 30 to develop parametric numbers) before you can find a constant range emerge. If I was to guess I bet by 10-20 times you would have a sound range, even if you had to use a non-parametric data set. Once you have a number range you trust then repeat using different tactics to see if you can beat the constant for the 50 m dismount.

Only if we have companies of guys sitting around with nothing better to do but advance the art and science of warfare... assuming that this tactic is important to reinforce / dismiss in our doctrine.

MC

These absolutely should be tested, quantitatively, as you suggest. But, like you noted in your last sentence, we have too many other important tasks at hand... like doing IBTS stands for the 4th time this year so that you are "ready" when you get posted out prior to your unit assuming the high-readiness task.
 

Infanteer

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MedCorps said:
The problem is that anecdotes do not make a sound data set.

Would it not be great to say, "so we used to do this 50m dismount thing, but after a comprehensive war fighter study it turns out that was not such a good idea.. it turns out the best way to assault a prepared coy position with a mech inf coy is to XXX if you want to preserve the maximum amount of combat power post attack."

From the medical standpoint it read, wow... they only created the minimum number of casualties to take that important objectives.  Much nicer to have 30 casualties than 150 like the good old days of the 50 m dismount".

MC

...of course it could be useful: I was being somewhat facetious as I believe experience and historical research has given me enough of an idea to know the outcome.  I'm a big believer on OA, and have seen a few popular conceptions burst by proper analysis of battlefield events.

I'd offer, however, that the experiment you described would have difficulty achieving the desired data set as each iteration would quickly introduce new dependent variables.  After every iteration, the attacker and defender will learn a bit and start to alter their tactics ever so slightly based on the ground and the increasing knowledge of what the defender's position looks like.  Even if you swap out new companies for each iteration, your outcome will be exposed to other variables such as commander ability, etc, etc.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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There is plenty of useful work for the 25mm cannons firing directly in a defence or offence. They are not suited for indirect fire.

In the defence, as long as you site them so that they are not seeing farther than their effective range (as per doctrine) they can destroy BMPs/BTRs allowing the panzers to kill enemy tanks. Ideally we should have TUA and some form of ALAWS (Javelin/Spike/etc) on a scale of four per company, but the 25mm can do some good work firing directly.
 

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Colin P said:
It's quoted often, any idea where it came from?

It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"
 

daftandbarmy

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A bit dated, though topical:


The Ghosts of Omdurman


"What could American soldiers, well satisfied with their superb blitzkrieg through Kuwait and Iraq, possibly learn from Omdurman? ...Simply this-yesterday's solutions, no matter how dramatically executed, rarely address tomorrow's problems."


http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a512304.pdf
 

dapaterson

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Infanteer said:
It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"

One to fix, one to strike, and one in reserve (of course).
 

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I was thinking "to be in reserve."  :Tin-Foil-Hat:
 

daftandbarmy

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Infanteer said:
It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"

Well, if you really want to make a statement of intent, it's usually Infantry of course. With bay'nets fixed.... :)
 

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Infanteer said:
It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"

I did a TDG with my guys the other day and I went bold with my response and pursued a withdrawing en despite force ratios that would not be seen as favorable from the perspective 3:1.  My guys were very concerned about this and were citing the 3:1 rule.  It gave me pause to think but I wanted to make them think about the importance of being bold and opportunistic, and dare I say, dislocating the enemy which makes their strength less relevant.  It's interesting to note as well that I don't think you could find anything in our doctrine explicitly stating that 3:1 should be used, although it's implied in diagrams etc.

Certainly numbers do count.  The question is how much bigger the attacker should be in any particular scenario.  Could 3:1 be a good rule of thumb for the majority of cases, particularly where it is estimated that the enemy is likely to stand and fight?

 

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The 3:1 ratio has been around seemingly forever, and is often considered the "minimum" required to successfully prosecute an attack. As a handwave, I think it probably became "conventional wisdom" in the early part of the last century when formations were converting from being "square" to being "triangular" (i.e going from 4 platoons/company to 3 platoons/company; 4 companies/battalion to 3 companies/battalion etc.).

On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. Since this was urban combat, I'm not sure how applicable that would be to this argument overall. It also reminds me of some long ago threads where the arguments revolved around the differentiation between mounted infantry, mechanized infantry or going for even more highly coordinated Panzergrenadier type units with the dismounts operating in close coordination with the vehicles (vehicles being essentially mobile fire bases).

Based on some of the comments here, it would almost seem the best weapon for a LAV would actually be a breach loading mortar, allowing it to fire from behind cover or concealment, and providing a useful weight of fire for the advancing infantry (not to mention providing the ability to screen with smoke, provide plunging fire into trenches, between buildings or on rooftop positions). Properly equipped infantry would have man portable ATGM's, and tank support to deal with armour threats and direct fire targets.
 

Colin Parkinson

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That might invoke capbadge crossing......

We should have right now at least 2 batteries of 120mm mortars mounted in LAV's. That would be a easy add. You could use the breech loaded mortar as used by the Weisel.
 

daftandbarmy

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Thucydides said:
The 3:1 ratio has been around seemingly forever, and is often considered the "minimum" required to successfully prosecute an attack. As a handwave, I think it probably became "conventional wisdom" in the early part of the last century when formations were converting from being "square" to being "triangular" (i.e going from 4 platoons/company to 3 platoons/company; 4 companies/battalion to 3 companies/battalion etc.).

On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. Since this was urban combat, I'm not sure how applicable that would be to this argument overall. It also reminds me of some long ago threads where the arguments revolved around the differentiation between mounted infantry, mechanized infantry or going for even more highly coordinated Panzergrenadier type units with the dismounts operating in close coordination with the vehicles (vehicles being essentially mobile fire bases).

Based on some of the comments here, it would almost seem the best weapon for a LAV would actually be a breach loading mortar, allowing it to fire from behind cover or concealment, and providing a useful weight of fire for the advancing infantry (not to mention providing the ability to screen with smoke, provide plunging fire into trenches, between buildings or on rooftop positions). Properly equipped infantry would have man portable ATGM's, and tank support to deal with armour threats and direct fire targets.

One Falklands War AAR I attended suggested that between five and seven (attackers) to one (defender) was more likely the right solution, which was apparently achieved through concentration of collective force at specific times and places.

2 PARA clearly wasn't paying attention at Goose Green, of course, but they've always been a bunch of cowboys.  ;D
 

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Thucydides said:
The 3:1 ratio has been around seemingly forever, and is often considered the "minimum" required to successfully prosecute an attack. As a handwave, I think it probably became "conventional wisdom" in the early part of the last century when formations were converting from being "square" to being "triangular" (i.e going from 4 platoons/company to 3 platoons/company; 4 companies/battalion to 3 companies/battalion etc.).

On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. Since this was urban combat, I'm not sure how applicable that would be to this argument overall. It also reminds me of some long ago threads where the arguments revolved around the differentiation between mounted infantry, mechanized infantry or going for even more highly coordinated Panzergrenadier type units with the dismounts operating in close coordination with the vehicles (vehicles being essentially mobile fire bases).

Based on some of the comments here, it would almost seem the best weapon for a LAV would actually be a breach loading mortar, allowing it to fire from behind cover or concealment, and providing a useful weight of fire for the advancing infantry (not to mention providing the ability to screen with smoke, provide plunging fire into trenches, between buildings or on rooftop positions). Properly equipped infantry would have man portable ATGM's, and tank support to deal with armour threats and direct fire targets.

That was Killcullen referring to a number of Coy attacks he did wearing Miles while an instructor at the School of Infantry in Britain.  He experienced something similar later on a two way range on operations in East Timor.  Brendan McBreen (USMC) noted something similar in a Gazette article (Suppression is the Critical Infantry Task) based on a number of Miles section attacks.  Most important is the experience of Rommel as laid out in Infantry Attacks where he used most of his force in support by fire to allow for a small assault element to penetrate and then be exploited by the remainder of the force.

daftandbarmy said:
One Falklands War AAR I attended suggested that between five and seven (attackers) to one (defender) was more likely the right solution, which was apparently achieved through concentration of collective force at specific times and places.

2 PARA clearly wasn't paying attention at Goose Green, of course, but they've always been a bunch of cowboys.  ;D

This is part of the problem.  Is it 5 - 7 people on the assault, in the firebase, or split between them?  Does this apply when we're talking about tanks and other AFV's as well?  How does fires assets effect this ratio?
 

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Haligonian said:
This is part of the problem.  Is it 5 - 7 people on the assault, in the firebase, or split between them?  Does this apply when we're talking about tanks and other AFV's as well?  How does fires assets effect this ratio?

In the 'gutter fight' that is the lot of the Infantry, fire bases can become assault sections at any time (and vice versa) because, if you really have to 'take that hill', failure is not an option during the assault. So dividing it into neat little silos like 'fire base' and 'assault troops' is meaningless.

 
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