Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen

daftandbarmy

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Colin P said:
problem is that any system will eventually be defeated, heavy armour still buys you a lot and for take out a major urban area, you need all the help you can get https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLCVi6PVNdY

And that means artillery. Lots and lots of artillery.

If there's one thing the decades long focus on the 'Current Operating Environment' has done to limit our effectiveness during a major conflict, it's probably the lack of effort on building and maintain overpowering indirect fire support.... from artillery.
 

GR66

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Very interesting discussion.

I'm curious how effective Active Protection Systems like Trophy are in a heavily urbanized environment.  The videos I've seen of the system in action are typically in fairly open areas with the incoming missiles/RPGs coming from relatively long range with a fairly clear line of site.  I wonder how effective they are in a dense urban landscape where an RPG might be launched from 10's of meters rather than 100's of meters.

I'm thinking that whatever vehicle chassis is used for an APC a 120mm Mortar equipped turret with its excellent elevation could be a very good option for urban warfare (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMOS).  I'd imagine it would be excellent in the direct fire role and with the high trajectory in the indirect fire role it may be more effective than artillery rounds in a city. 

Are there any good options for anti-tank weapons in an urban fight other than your own tanks?  From what I've read, most ATGMs have a minimum range in the ballpark of 100m-200m.  Is that enough if you're fighting in a city? 
 

daftandbarmy

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GR66 said:
Very interesting discussion.

I'm curious how effective Active Protection Systems like Trophy are in a heavily urbanized environment.  The videos I've seen of the system in action are typically in fairly open areas with the incoming missiles/RPGs coming from relatively long range with a fairly clear line of site.  I wonder how effective they are in a dense urban landscape where an RPG might be launched from 10's of meters rather than 100's of meters.

I'm thinking that whatever vehicle chassis is used for an APC a 120mm Mortar equipped turret with its excellent elevation could be a very good option for urban warfare (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMOS).  I'd imagine it would be excellent in the direct fire role and with the high trajectory in the indirect fire role it may be more effective than artillery rounds in a city. 

Are there any good options for anti-tank weapons in an urban fight other than your own tanks?  From what I've read, most ATGMs have a minimum range in the ballpark of 100m-200m.  Is that enough if you're fighting in a city?

Dismounted infantry is the best proven 'APS' for armour in urban settings, isn't it?
 

b00161400

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The saga continues....  We did PD today on cbt tm ops and I and the CO and a few OCs began discussing where to dismount.  Most people thought that the best bet was getting as close to the objective as possible before dismounting.  I am apparently not a very persuasive speaker!  Anyway, just sent this article out... again.
 

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Haligonian said:
The saga continues....  We did PD today on cbt tm ops and I and the CO and a few OCs began discussing where to dismount.  Most people thought that the best bet was getting as close to the objective as possible before dismounting.  I am apparently not a very persuasive speaker!  Anyway, just sent this article out... again.

I'm reminded of:

Prep for Battle
Advance to Contact
React to EFFECTIVE enemy fire.....

The debate became what was Effective enemy fire, how many casualties were necessary to determine if the fire was effective, and who decided if the fire was effective.  Then decisions on Dash Down Crawl Observe Sights Fire were made.

So when somebody says "as close as possible" are they going to make that decision based on an appreciation of what the enemy's capabilities are and dismount out of range?  Or, are they going to wait until they lose their first section?  Can the Platoon continue having sustained 25% casualties at the first contact?  Or does the OC order the Platoon to press on because the CO is only down 2% of his strength?
 

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Looks effective to me....
 

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daftandbarmy

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Chris Pook said:
I'm reminded of:

Prep for Battle
Advance to Contact
React to EFFECTIVE enemy fire.....

The debate became what was Effective enemy fire, how many casualties were necessary to determine if the fire was effective, and who decided if the fire was effective.  Then decisions on Dash Down Crawl Observe Sights Fire were made.

So when somebody says "as close as possible" are they going to make that decision based on an appreciation of what the enemy's capabilities are and dismount out of range?  Or, are they going to wait until they lose their first section?  Can the Platoon continue having sustained 25% casualties at the first contact?  Or does the OC order the Platoon to press on because the CO is only down 2% of his strength?

Safety is on the objective.
 

b00161400

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To play the devil's advocate, the argument is that the biggest killer of infantry on the battlefield is IDF (mortars and arty) and MGs.  Most people want to move through these weapons effects as quickly as possible and the LAVs armour is sufficient for dealing with MG and IDF (outside DPICM like munitions) weapons.  If there are unsuppressed anti armour weapons then there are probably unsuppressed MGs and mortars and dismounted infantry are going to get chewed up by these en route to the objective.  Vehicles now moving at the speed of dismounted infantry are now better targets for anti armour weapons as well.
 

Infanteer

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Look at the threats.  Enemy artillery (tube and rocket) will hit us if we mass before the attack in observable areas - this is where being mounted helps.  Other than that, the enemy artillery won't chase around dismounted soldiers with fire missions.  As our attack commences, the enemy's artillery is probably going to shift to counter-battery fire, or trying to disrupt our depth and reserves.

As we close into and out of the attack position, the enemy will largely have three systems to hit us with: mortars, direct fire from missiles and guns, and direct fire from small arms and machine guns.  Yes, being buttoned up in a APC can mitigate the threat from machine guns, but so can moving behind a main battle tank.  Direct fire anti-tank systems and enemy tanks will brew our vehicles up, passengers and all.  Mortar fire will be (and always was) problematic.  However, when you weigh the chance of a mortar round catching a section moving on foot behind a tank to that of an anti-tank guided missile or recoilless rifle smacking a 35 ton armoured vehicle moving at about 10-15km (because that's all you can really do buttoned up), I'd offer that the latter probably has a better chance of being catastrophic.  You can't reduce risk to nil, but you can mitigate it by "not having all your eggs in one light armoured basket."

This is where the Company Commander earns his money.  The attack position is, according to Land Ops, "the last position held by the assaulting force before crossing the LD...not under direct fire or observation and not a known or likely adversary artillery target."  The commander has to select a good attack position, one where the bigger danger to his or her force transitions from indirect fires to direct fires.

 

Colin Parkinson

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You may also have an enemy that uses armoured VBIED along with DF and IDF fires to disrupt your attack.
 

Kirkhill

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So, the answer is, "it depends"???  ;D

In which case, as suggested, it is up to the OC to earn his keep by paying his money and taking his chances.  And then, in the words of the USMC, improvise-adapt-overcome.
 

daftandbarmy

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Chris Pook said:
So, the answer is, "it depends"???  ;D

In which case, as suggested, it is up to the OC to earn his keep by paying his money and taking his chances.  And then, in the words of the USMC, improvise-adapt-overcome.

Especially if you're with Ariel Sharon at Abu-Ageila....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Abu-Ageila_(1967)
 

Red_Five

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Infanteer said:
Look at the threats.  Enemy artillery (tube and rocket) will hit us if we mass before the attack in observable areas - this is where being mounted helps.  Other than that, the enemy artillery won't chase around dismounted soldiers with fire missions. 

That is quite an assumption. A dismounted company advancing on an objective is a wonderful artillery/mortar target.

Now, I agree with pretty much the rest of your post, but we should not be assaulting the position if he has ATGMs still able to fire. You can't reduce the risk to zero, but why launch the assault if you haven't truly neutralized the position?

And sometimes we should ask - "why are we assaulting the position in the first place?" The combat team quick attack has become our new Trooping of the Colours.
 

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Tango2Bravo said:
That is quite an assumption. A dismounted company advancing on an objective is a wonderful artillery/mortar target.

First off, a dismounted company makes a great target if its all gobbed up at a debussing point and advances on line, but that's another discussion.

As for artillery, I am indeed making an assumption, but I based it on the fact that the Percentage of Incapacitation and Risk Estimation Distance for artillery systems are larger than that of mortar systems.  If the defensive fire is being planned in bands, the FPF for artillery systems striking our attacking forces will likely be passed before or as we get within assaulting distances - hence my statement that the primary indirect threat for assaulting force (fighting the last 300 meters) would be mortars rather than artillery.

But, we're probably splitting hairs here.  The infantry section isn't going to be happy with either a 152mm round or a 82mm mortar round falling on its head.

Tango2Bravo said:
but we should not be assaulting the position if he has ATGMs still able to fire. You can't reduce the risk to zero, but why launch the assault if you haven't truly neutralized the position?

Can a position ever be 100% neutralized?  Suppression and neutralization are temporal effects, the former much more so than the latter.  Even if we assume we get a good, steady base of fire to support an attack, ensuring 100% of the enemy is suppressed or neutralized is probably impossible.  In most force on force engagements (operational and training) that I've observed, the hardest part of the fight is identifying the enemy's locations.  Some positions won't unmask until the attacker closes, some positions will displace and move elsewhere, and some will get over the effects of fires and pop up an inopportune moments.

So, to answer "why launch the assault if you haven't truly neutralized the position" I'd answer that it is hard, maybe even impossible, to ever truly do so: the assault must commence with the assumption that something will pop up.

And sometimes we should ask - "why are we assaulting the position in the first place?" The combat team quick attack has become our new Trooping of the Colours.

Yes - we're prisoners of our own training environment.  The quick attack is a nice tool to evaluate quick battlefield decision making, but it seems to be the gold standard in assessing Performance Objectives for every level of manoeuvre command.
 

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A curious, and I hope not inappropriate question, but when running exercises are they ever allowed to play out to extinction?

Or are they stopped when one side gets behind on points?

Because it seems to me that the difference between an exercise and the real world is that in the real world, regardless of the initial plan, the fight continues until "safety is found on the objective" (a debatable point but understood) or until there is no one left to complete the mission.  The evidence for that is the number of Privates winning VCs to complete missions after their battalions have been "neutralized" physically or psychologically and have given up the fight.  Often the difference is that at some point somebody decides that the situation has evolved enough that a different approach is possible or necessary.



 

reveng

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If we assume that SOMETHING will always "pop up", don't we owe it to our soldiers to give them the best possible chance of surviving it?

Should we really be assaulting ANYTHING with a LAV? If we want to use our vehicles like landing craft onto a fortified beach, I think we need to go heavy. You will never fully eliminate the risk but at least you can manage it.

Many (not directed at the posters here) forget why we have used AVGP, Bison/Coyote. and finally LAV-3/6. It's purely $$$ and politics.

Since there's no HAPC/HIFV coming, that means it's time to look for alternatives. That means not teaching the same tactics our grandfathers learned when our numbers, technology, and willingness to accept casualties were vastly different. It also means failing units in Wainwright and holding promotions back until people are willing to re-visit the topic.

Anyways, just  :2c: from someone who wishes we could minimize the risk to our 20 year old Ptes on politically motivated missions.

 

Red_Five

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I recall circa 2002 that some LAV battalions wanted to assault with their LAVs "on-line" with the tanks. I was not comfortable with this. Let the tanks breach obstacles and assault the position while the infantry vehicles move up well behind to dismount wherever they feel is best. I feel this way regardless of the level of armour protection on the infantry carriers.

The assault tanks should be well in front of the infantry, rolling through and around the enemy position and hammering it along the way. They also destroy any enemy vehicles that were out of sight/reverse slope. The intimate support tanks are there to handle the enemy hero who "pops up."

 

Colin Parkinson

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In Syria, in the urban environment, you see the tanks moving up with overwatch, both drone and DF/IDF weapons. They didn't seem to use artillery provided smoke, possibly as it would work both ways and provide a chance for VBIED to move up on them. The BMP's are close, delivering infantry to nearby protection and then going back for more troops and supplies. After they conduct that mission, unloaded they are used for fire support, but with some causalities. It is a very deliberate slow moving assault.
In open ground, ISIS used DF supported armoured VBIEDs to attack prepared positions, if there is some success with reaching the position and detonating, the assault would be following on it's heels with fast moving wheeled APC's and then using ISIS fairly good light infantry skills to overwhelm the defenders who are recovering from the VBIED blasts. In essences a faster version of the tunneled mines and assaults of WWI. The Syrians seem to use tanks and dismounted infantry slow bounding to one source of cover to another when assaulting over open ground. Likely as their enemy does not have VT rounds, or coordinated artillery.

I am guessing that for our current ops, a good recce followed heavy short bombardment by multiple rocket launchers and 155's to disorient the defenders while the assault is taking place during the bombardment. Perhaps 1-2 batteries reserved to conduct quick pin point bombardments on areas of defending fire without interrupting the main barrage. of course getting hung up on a minefield 1/2 there would not be good.... The other minor problem is you do not have the artillery resources to do such an assault.     
 
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