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The State of Army Doctrine

b00161400

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I'm currently attending Expeditionary Warfare School with the USMC which is their AOC equivalent.  I've had the opportunity to read a lot of USMC doctrine and a lot of US Army as well.  What has struck me is the quantity in that they actually cover off everything the force is expected to do, the quality is pretty good from my perspective, but, most importantly, people actually know it, reference it, and use it as a basis for professional discussion. In my experience Canadians don't know their doctrine and the doctrine isn't kept up to date or properly published.  A perfect example is combat tm operations.  While LGen Devlin was the Comd of the Army he stated that the combat tm and combat tm training was the center of gravity for the army.  How can our center of gravity have doctrine that has been "interim" since 2004 and spends the vast majority of its content describing the conduct of drills in great detail?

Doctrine should give us a starting point and a place to go when we are looking for answers to questions.  Before you go and ask your pl comd/OC/CO something the first thing going through our heads should be, does the answer already exist in doctrine or officially recognized TTP's.  Doctrine establishes the "box".  The Canadian Army subscribes to maneuver warfare and believes that thinking outside the box is essential, however, for our junior officers/NCOs, I would suggest knowing where/what the box is in the first place would be important before thinking outside of it. 

It also seems like a lot of our doctrine is written for officers. The assumption is that no one else will/should refer to it. The Marine's capstone publication is MCDP-1 Warfighting.  This publication is on the Commandant's reading list and expected to be read by every Marine and then conversations within units at squad and platoon level are had on it.  How does that compare to our Land Operations which I would bet that 99.9% of Canadian enlisted members have never glanced at.  You can find Land Operations here http://info.publicintelligence.net/CanadaLandOps.pdf  Compare that to MCDP-1 in terms of accessibility to junior ranks, you can find it here, http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/mcdp1.pdf

Perhaps most importantly doctrine establishes the vocabulary of our profession so that we can actually have professional discussions where the terms being used are recognized by all, and if they aren't they can refer to a publication that has it.  I haven't been able to find the Canadian publication that has all of our terms, perhaps an AOC grad can point it out to me if it exists.  The US has Operational Terms and Graphics FM 1-02 for the Army or MCRP 5-12A for the Marines (same pub just different numbering for the services).  Hand books from the infantry school or whatever other school aren't the same as they aren't as widely available. You can find it here to see what I'm talking about. 

http://ofp.umbr.net/Other/milpubs/Operational%20Terms%20and%20Graphics%20%20%20(MCRP%205-12a).pdf

Does anyone else see this as a problem or am I blowing this out of proportion?  Shouldn't we be devoting resources to publishing proper doctrine?  In an "interwar" period it seems to be that we should be ensuring that we are investing in our intellectual capital to ensure that we are prepared as possible for unforeseen conflicts in the future.  How can we do this without a proper doctrinal foundation?
 

Lightguns

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You are seeing a problem we have had my entire military career. The fact is that we do not consider doctrine important because we are not able to experiment with anything we write down. In the main we have not been resourced to explore doctrine since the 1950s. I have spent my full career with notional heavy infantry anti tank weapons that we never purchased, notational tank destroyers that we never designed let alone built. Now we have no real AT capability, no AD, half our artillery is mortars and so many different vehicle types that we can no longer afford service them.  Discussions on doctrine are useless in a military that cannot experiment with the basics. Our doctrine should focus on platoons and platoon support because it takes the resources of the entire army deploy and support anything larger in high intensity combat.
 

Lightguns

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I forgot to mention, congrats on getting Expeditionary Warfare School, that is really a prize plum for anyone interested in exploring doctrine.  The Marines are very intense in developing in their intellectual combat power.  Do well, come back, write often, argue well and make a difference in our ¨colour of the embroidery thread¨ military. 
 

b00161400

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Thanks.  It's been great and getting the gazette every month for the past 4 yrs has been helpful.


The marines really believe in their intellectual capital and professional devt.  As part of the course we write papers, go on battle studies, receive visits senior ranking pers and do the normal practical exercises. In addition to the normal curriculum there is a number of additional learning opportunities.  Monthly there is a historical tactical decision lecture led by Dr Gudmundsson (author of On Infantry second edition!). There is a number of battle studies taking place every two or three weekends visiting the battlefields of the overland campaign led by a tour guid from the parks dept and there is a small group who gets together to host VIPs for supper like American ambassadors and snr generals. A lot of this is being put together by students!
 
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Haligonian: congratulations indeed, on attending such a prestigious course.
I have been reading the Marine corps Gazette since the 70's. Here is where the widest variety of doctrine (land sea, and air) is discussed and doctrine needs to be critically discussed in order for it to have life. What is most refreshing to me is that Capt X will publish a critique of higher ranked officers' opinion.  Even USMC NCO s do the same. It was my experience in the Canadian Forces that my career took a serious bad turn when providing an academic argument contrary to 'policy'.  (I wouldn't call it doctrine.) The Canadian officer corps is just too thinned skinned to get into the rough and tumble world of doctrine critique and therefore there is no life in Canadian military doctrine.
Lightguns. I agree with the inferred opinion of Canadian military equipment, which begs the question: so what should our land doctrine be, given we don't have a mechanized army? Our doctrine is set in a dream world. Our country is the second largest in land mass.  We have a huge length of coast line and so on.  I don't recall ever reading a credible national defence policy.  The scope for writing a Canadian doctrine for land operations given our resources, is unbounded.  That's the problem.  It's always been easier (and safer for one's career) to just adopt another country's.  So why bother discussing it?  One might as well critique a book of fantasy.  Or!
 

Infanteer

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Unfortunately, Canadian Army doctrine is Beer, Hockey and Left Flanking - shaking us out of that will be difficult.

It doesn't help that PAMs are no longer PAMphlets but 400 page tomes that nobody actually reads because they just say the same old crap about the spectrum of conflict and the moral plane over and over again.

So, I'm in an Infantry battalion; what does it look like?  Well, The Infantry Battalion in Battle was written in 1992 and has neat things like Mortar Platoons.  If we can't get this updated, I wonder what DAD, with its establishment of 1 Col, 6 LCols, 12 Majs and 1 Capt, have been doing?
 

The Bread Guy

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Infanteer said:
....  I wonder what DAD, with its establishment of 1 Col, 6 LCols, 12 Majors and 1 Captain have been doing?
If they're doing anything, the cynic in me pictures 19 senior officers doing a lot of pencil editing of one junior officer's writing.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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Haligonian said:
I'm currently attending Expeditionary Warfare School with the USMC which is their AOC equivalent.  I've had the opportunity to read a lot of USMC doctrine and a lot of US Army as well.  What has struck me is the quantity in that they actually cover off everything the force is expected to do, the quality is pretty good from my perspective, but, most importantly, people actually know it, reference it, and use it as a basis for professional discussion. In my experience Canadians don't know their doctrine and the doctrine isn't kept up to date or properly published.  A perfect example is combat tm operations.  While LGen Devlin was the Comd of the Army he stated that the combat tm and combat tm training was the center of gravity for the army.  How can our center of gravity have doctrine that has been "interim" since 2004 and spends the vast majority of its content describing the conduct of drills in great detail?

Doctrine should give us a starting point and a place to go when we are looking for answers to questions.  Before you go and ask your pl comd/OC/CO something the first thing going through our heads should be, does the answer already exist in doctrine or officially recognized TTP's.  Doctrine establishes the "box".  The Canadian Army subscribes to maneuver warfare and believes that thinking outside the box is essential, however, for our junior officers/NCOs, I would suggest knowing where/what the box is in the first place would be important before thinking outside of it. 

It also seems like a lot of our doctrine is written for officers. The assumption is that no one else will/should refer to it. The Marine's capstone publication is MCDP-1 Warfighting.  This publication is on the Commandant's reading list and expected to be read by every Marine and then conversations within units at squad and platoon level are had on it.  How does that compare to our Land Operations which I would bet that 99.9% of Canadian enlisted members have never glanced at.  You can find Land Operations here http://info.publicintelligence.net/CanadaLandOps.pdf  Compare that to MCDP-1 in terms of accessibility to junior ranks, you can find it here, http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/mcdp1.pdf

Perhaps most importantly doctrine establishes the vocabulary of our profession so that we can actually have professional discussions where the terms being used are recognized by all, and if they aren't they can refer to a publication that has it.  I haven't been able to find the Canadian publication that has all of our terms, perhaps an AOC grad can point it out to me if it exists.  The US has Operational Terms and Graphics FM 1-02 for the Army or MCRP 5-12A for the Marines (same pub just different numbering for the services).  Hand books from the infantry school or whatever other school aren't the same as they aren't as widely available. You can find it here to see what I'm talking about. 

http://ofp.umbr.net/Other/milpubs/Operational%20Terms%20and%20Graphics%20%20%20(MCRP%205-12a).pdf

Does anyone else see this as a problem or am I blowing this out of proportion?  Shouldn't we be devoting resources to publishing proper doctrine?  In an "interwar" period it seems to be that we should be ensuring that we are investing in our intellectual capital to ensure that we are prepared as possible for unforeseen conflicts in the future.  How can we do this without a proper doctrinal foundation?

We do have a doctrine document in "Land Forces 2021- Adaptive Dispersed Operations" which is similar-ish to the Air-Sea battle doctrine. In reality, the focus of the moment is on the creation of a structure compatable with the "Netcentric warfare" theory, which in turn is based on the Generational theory of warfare (4GW as the kids call it).

I fully agree that during an interwar period we need to focus on officer education on the nature of war and the creation of a flexible doctrine (and realistic). There's no way that anyone can predict the nature of the next war, and realistically we've been putrid at it (see WW1, WW2, Korea, Afghanistan, the fall of the Soviet Union, etc).

The key thing for us right now is to take a cold, hard look at the ADO model. What lessons of the enduring nature of warfare were learned from our experience in Afghanistan that can be applied to this model (which is essentially a Revolution in Military Affairs theory updated)? Is Canada, as a nation, ever going to be able to apply the model or should we instead focus on what we can do in line with the priorities of the Canada First Defence Strategy?

On a side note, I laugh every time I see the reference to JIMP operations... if you want a laugh look up "Jimp" in the urban dictionary.... it's sadly appropriate.....
 

daftandbarmy

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An interesting Wikipedia article on the subject of doctrine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_doctrine

I must admit, to me anyways, 'doctrine' can seem like a policy manual for the intellectually/ socially challenged which, of course, is not going to set us up well for the next war (s).

I can't count the number of times that I've heard senior people yell things like 'you did not follow doctrine and have therefore failed' which, of course, is more about their own egos than winning the war.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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daftandbarmy said:
An interesting Wikipedia article on the subject of doctrine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_doctrine

I must admit, to me anyways, 'doctrine' can seem like a policy manual for the intellectually/ socially challenged which, of course, is not going to set us up well for the next war (s).

I can't count the number of times that I've heard senior people yell things like 'you did not follow doctrine and have therefore failed' which, of course, is more about their own egos than winning the war.

As the article states, doctrine is supposed to establish the way in which the army intends to fight, or "establish the box". As a trainer, this is vital as we want our young leaders to understand the box before they begin to think outside of it. Thats the difference between making informed decisions on the violation of various principles of war and the potential consequences and people "just winging it". We like to imagine that winging it is a good practice, but in reality it is not... not even close.

 

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Two flexible organizations:

amoebaproteus450.jpg


rattlesnake_striking.img.jpg



The adaptive advantage of a flexible skeleton.  The rattler moves with purpose.  The amoeba drifts.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Haligonian said:
Does anyone else see this as a problem or am I blowing this out of proportion?  Shouldn't we be devoting resources to publishing proper doctrine?  In an "interwar" period it seems to be that we should be ensuring that we are investing in our intellectual capital to ensure that we are prepared as possible for unforeseen conflicts in the future.  How can we do this without a proper doctrinal foundation?

The Combat Team publication is indeed Interim and it is from 2004, but that does not make it a bad publication. We should not be surprised that it contains mostly drills. Combat teams will generally operate with TTPs. What more do you want in that book?  That the Army Commander made combat team training the centre of gravity doesn't mean that we need a new or bigger Combat Team Commander manual. What he did do was place the emphasis on assigning resources to make sure that we do that training.

Our Land Ops is a bit on the heavy side and I'm not sure that we need the EBAO/Influence Activities bits in the detail that they have. Still, I see nothing fundamentally flawed with it. I would not invest much time making Troopers and Corporals read Land Ops. They should focus their time and effort on the things that they do. Now, as an OC I went over sub-unit (and branch) theory with my Sqn such as principles of employment and the types of tactical tasks that we would execute. I would not, however, get into the levels or spectrum of conflict. Do they need to know the Forms of Offence?

I expect Captains in the field force above Platoon/Troop command to know the Land Ops book in detail.

While the Infantry Battalion and Armoured Regiment books are quite aged, there is a new Battle Group in Operations book.

Doctrine is a great starting point, and we should indeed know when we are departing from doctrine.  I think that you are absolutely right that we should know the disposition of "the box" before we step outside of it. I can recall several times in the past few years in the field force when I was involved in head-scratching debates on issues with other Majors until one of us looked up the issue. We often found the doctrinal answer and resolved the issue (or not!). We should understand and respect our doctrine but not place it on an alter and worship/memorize it.
 

b00161400

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Infanteer said:
Unfortunately, Canadian Army doctrine is Beer, Hockey and Left Flanking - shaking us out of that will be difficult.

It doesn't help that PAMs are no longer PAMphlets but 400 page tomes that nobody actually reads because they just say the same old crap about the spectrum of conflict and the moral plane over and over again.

So, I'm in an Infantry battalion; what does it look like?  Well, The Infantry Battalion in Battle was written in 1992 and has neat things like Mortar Platoons.  If we can't get this updated, I wonder what DAD, with its establishment of 1 Col, 6 LCols, 12 Majs and 1 Capt, have been doing?

I assume DAD is Directorate of Army Doctrine or something like that? Seriously though what do they do? Does anyone have experience writing doctrine?  My understanding is that current infantry doctrine has been farmed out to the infantry school and has been given as a secondary duty for course officers.

Bird_Gunner45 said:
We do have a doctrine document in "Land Forces 2021- Adaptive Dispersed Operations" which is similar-ish to the Air-Sea battle doctrine. In reality, the focus of the moment is on the creation of a structure compatable with the "Netcentric warfare" theory, which in turn is based on the Generational theory of warfare (4GW as the kids call it).

I fully agree that during an interwar period we need to focus on officer education on the nature of war and the creation of a flexible doctrine (and realistic). There's no way that anyone can predict the nature of the next war, and realistically we've been putrid at it (see WW1, WW2, Korea, Afghanistan, the fall of the Soviet Union, etc).

The key thing for us right now is to take a cold, hard look at the ADO model. What lessons of the enduring nature of warfare were learned from our experience in Afghanistan that can be applied to this model (which is essentially a Revolution in Military Affairs theory updated)? Is Canada, as a nation, ever going to be able to apply the model or should we instead focus on what we can do in line with the priorities of the Canada First Defence Strategy?

On a side note, I laugh every time I see the reference to JIMP operations... if you want a laugh look up "Jimp" in the urban dictionary.... it's sadly appropriate.....

I'm familiar with ADO and I'm using it to write a paper here on the training of infantry sections.  I agree with much of what you've said but my concern is geared more towards the current army and our ability to actually discuss issues professionally, acquire equipment, and understand how we should relate to ideas like ADO.  As Infanteer alluded to, how is it that we don't have a document that we can throw at a 2LT or Lt just joining an infantry Bn to help him understand how the unit operates?

daftandbarmy said:
An interesting Wikipedia article on the subject of doctrine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_doctrine

I must admit, to me anyways, 'doctrine' can seem like a policy manual for the intellectually/ socially challenged which, of course, is not going to set us up well for the next war (s).

I can't count the number of times that I've heard senior people yell things like 'you did not follow doctrine and have therefore failed' which, of course, is more about their own egos than winning the war.

As you can imagine I disagree.  Our lack of doctrine and the resulting undisciplined procurement is what has led us to buying TAPV's and then coming up with organizations for them and buying C16's for infantry platoons that can't employ them.

Bird_Gunner45 said:
As the article states, doctrine is supposed to establish the way in which the army intends to fight, or "establish the box". As a trainer, this is vital as we want our young leaders to understand the box before they begin to think outside of it. Thats the difference between making informed decisions on the violation of various principles of war and the potential consequences and people "just winging it". We like to imagine that winging it is a good practice, but in reality it is not... not even close.

Exactly.
 

b00161400

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Tango2Bravo said:
The Combat Team publication is indeed Interim and it is from 2004, but that does not make it a bad publication. We should not be surprised that it contains mostly drills. Combat teams will generally operate with TTPs. What more do you want in that book?  That the Army Commander made combat team training the centre of gravity doesn't mean that we need a new or bigger Combat Team Commander manual. What he did do was place the emphasis on assigning resources to make sure that we do that training.

Our Land Ops is a bit on the heavy side and I'm not sure that we need the EBAO/Influence Activities bits in the detail that they have. Still, I see nothing fundamentally flawed with it. I would not invest much time making Troopers and Corporals read Land Ops. They should focus their time and effort on the things that they do. Now, as an OC I went over sub-unit (and branch) theory with my Sqn such as principles of employment and the types of tactical tasks that we would execute. I would not, however, get into the levels or spectrum of conflict. Do they need to know the Forms of Offence?

I expect Captains in the field force above Platoon/Troop command to know the Land Ops book in detail.

While the Infantry Battalion and Armoured Regiment books are quite aged, there is a new Battle Group in Operations book.

Doctrine is a great starting point, and we should indeed know when we are departing from doctrine.  I think that you are absolutely right that we should know the disposition of "the box" before we step outside of it. I can recall several times in the past few years in the field force when I was involved in head-scratching debates on issues with other Majors until one of us looked up the issue. We often found the doctrinal answer and resolved the issue (or not!). We should understand and respect our doctrine but not place it on an alter and worship/memorize it.

I think combat teams are likely to operate with TTP's when they are in the advance to contact, likely through an enemy security area, outside of that they may find themselves operating more deliberately.  So what would I like to see in it? I think a chapter on direct fire control would be good (we have next to no doctrine on this in any of our pams, US doctrine devotes a full chapter to it from squad to Coy).  A piece on Cbt Sp to include aviation should be included. Merry Up drills should be discussed. Some further detail on the sustainment portion. How much fuel and ammo are those tanks and LAV's going to need? How about something about the strengths and weaknesses of employing dismounted forces in conjunction with the tanks/mechanized portion. Fighting in Built Up Areas. How about addressing the fact that a square cbt tm would likely be rare.  How many square cbt tms can we actually produce in a Bde?  3? So perhaps the comd creates those three or maybe he chooses to make more cbt tms by giving a trp or two to each coy.

I applaud the detail of the drills described but they all use a square cbt tm and I think that drills have a tenancy to ossify thinking.  I have experienced it myself and maybe it is just me but often my initial reaction to a tactical problem is to throw down a mental sitemp on the map and it looks just like a cbt tm hasty attack every time and I need to give my head a shake and start fresh.  Perhaps this comes from conducting work up for and then conducting the CTCC as a Coy 2IC before coming here but I think I'm a product of the system.  I think those drills apply to very limited situations.  How often is the enemy going to throw unsupported platoons with open flanks out on key terrain?  That is what we train for with the cbt tm hasty attack and that is what is described in that Pam.

I wouldn't force Cpls/Trps to read land ops either.  But not because I don't think it's worth while for them to understand the nature of war but because that publication is not easily read nor targeted to a general audience and I think it's worth our time to be able to explain it to our junior ranks.

I assure you that Captains who haven't attended AOC have not read Land Ops.  I would put the rate at 90%.  Of that 90%, 70% don't even know it exists.

I obviously agree with your last comment.  I'm not trying to put doctrine on a shelf but as a junior captain on the verge of entering into senior 'captaindom' I've gone looking for answers or at least a guide before and I've found that it doesn't exist and I've had to go ask where I've often found the answers less than satisfactory.  On this course I've seen the power of at least having a place to go to get some guidance.  Everyone is singing off the same sheet of music and speaking the same language.
 

dapaterson

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I think I read somewhere that "Doctrine provides a common start point for deviations".
 

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Jim Seggie said:
We have doctrine? Really?

Learn something new every day.....

CSS Doctrines just started an update of sorts, until last year the books said traveling at night in loose packets was the safest way to deliver supplies and operate................cause we know that is so true in the days of IR and NVG's. As much as I hate to suggest a large gathering of officers, I think we need a conference or focus group to shape doctrine over the next 30 years. Many books I've seen were originally printed in the 50's with only minor paragraphs added as time went on but stayed in the context of the original document. A revamp of doctrine could also lead to a shift in training among other things within the forces, which may be for the better.
 

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Haligonian said:
I assure you that Captains who haven't attended AOC have not read Land Ops.  I would put the rate at 90%.  Of that 90%, 70% don't even know it exists.

Your experiences is rather typical - you have had your eyes opened on your current course, and are looking around, blinking in the light, and asking where is our doctrine?  It is, in fact there - you have just not yet had cause to look for it.  The same light would have gone on if you were attending AOC.

I obviously agree with your last comment.  I'm not trying to put doctrine on a shelf but as a junior captain on the verge of entering into senior 'captaindom' I've gone looking for answers or at least a guide before and I've found that it doesn't exist and I've had to go ask where I've often found the answers less than satisfactory.  On this course I've seen the power of at least having a place to go to get some guidance.  Everyone is singing off the same sheet of music and speaking the same language.

The actual definition of doctrine is "the body of that which is taught".  This implies that we have it, we just don't write it, 'cus no one would read it...
 

daftandbarmy

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Of course, doctrine and culture are entwined in ways that make it hard to figure out how to influence one without the other. Regardless, unlike pre-WW2 France, it's important to get it right:



Culture and French Military Doctrine
Before World War II
Elizabeth Kier

When war broke out in May 1940, the French army found itself saddled
with a highly defensive doctrine that was incapable of breaking the German
assault. France used the interwar period to bolster its military and was
well prepared to fight a war against Germany-but only if Hitler fought
the war on French terms. As a result, few defeats were as rapid or as devastating
as the May-June campaign in Western Europe.

http://people.reed.edu/~ahm/Courses/Reed-POL-359-2011-S3_WTW/Syllabus/EReadings/02.1/02.1.Katzenstein1996The-Culture186-215.pdf
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Indeed, AOC is the course where we teach doctrine, with Land Ops being a big part of the doctrinal curriculum. That is what I mean when I say that I expect a Captain to know Land Ops. 

Combat teams live in the world of TTPs - and the main ones are found in the Combat Team book. I took a six month Captains course with the US Army, and indeed they placed more emphasis on the company commander controlling direct fire than us. I am not convinced that we need to do that. Now, the Tactics School combat team quick attack against an isolated enemy platoon is a teaching vehicle. Battle Group in Operations (2011) talks about the various ways to group and fight as a Battle Group. Battle Groups deal with doctrine and TTPs. Land Ops talks about everything up to the operational level (turning movements etc).

I do find that our manuals have gotten a bit wordy, with too many nice buzzwords and fancy adjectives.
 
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