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17 February 2013

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William R. Cumming

Would it really be required given the computer age that units could not be designed for each operation [combined arms would be best IMO] and drawn from a base?

The TO&E concept was hidebound even in my time in the military almost 50 years ago.

scott s.

Since you seem to know ROK, I live next door to 25ID so try to keep up with what's going on there, I see that USARPAC is now upgraded to 4 star. Does that mean that 8th USA is going away or downsized, maybe to Corps? Not long ago they sent the 1-27 Inf to ROK for a training deployment, so I guess the intent is that 25ID is going to support ROK?

Neil Richardson

"I see that USARPAC is now upgraded to 4 star. Does that mean that 8th USA is going away or downsized, maybe to Corps? Not long ago they sent the 1-27 Inf to ROK for a training deployment, so I guess the intent is that 25ID is going to support ROK?"

Scott:

In the short term, I don't think anything will change as the dissolution of the Combined Forces Command has been pushed back to 2015. South Koreans weren't sure if they could assume full command and control responsibilities after the shelling of Yeunpyeungdo.

The future of EUSA will depend on political decisions made at the highest level regarding ROK. When DoD negotiated the USFK force realignment back in 2003-2004, Rumsfeld told South Koreans that EUSA would be considered as just another field army, i.e. we would not consult with ROK on redeployment of units. To emphasize this point, the Army transferred the second brigade/2ID to Lewis which became a Stryker bde earmarked for deployment in Iraq.

Ultimately the question is going to be how much will the United States put up in the way of ground forces per our mutual defense treaty obligations after the CFC goes away? For decades, South Koreans had expected reinforcements of up to 550,000. That no longer will be possible nor should the United States pay the cost. If USFK would no longer exercise *wartime* opcon of ROKA and doesn't expect 12-15 BCTs in the event of a general war in ROK, there clearly isn't a need for EUSA. If the Army inactivates EUSA, the Air Force could do the same with the 7th AF. IMO rotating BCTs every 6 mos would decrease our footprint and help improve our bilateral relations (USAF component could be controlled by the 5th AF while maintaining Kunsan and Osan for training with ROKAF).

As for USARPAC, I think that's just the Army adjusting to the "Pacific pivot" as we'd like to be taken seriously by PACOM which as you know is a Navy command billet. Whether EUSA continues to exist or not, USFK will be a 4 star billet at least until the United States and ROK can figure out what we want out of this "relationship." For decades after the VN War, it was generally assumed that EUSA would be given I Corps and III Corps with USFK retaining opcon of Marine reinforcements from Okinawa in the event of a general war. 25ID was always considered as a part of the follow-on force package as long as I remember going back to 1975. As for the Wolfhounds, they were General Walker's fire brigade when Michaelis was the CO. Many Korean War veterans had considered them as the finest Army RCT.

Neil Richardson

WRC:
"Would it really be required given the computer age that units could not be designed for each operation [combined arms would be best IMO] and drawn from a base? The TO&E concept was hidebound even in my time in the military almost 50 years ago."

I assume you're wondering why I believe a tank BN should be added to 82AB and 101AB. I don't have any objections to replacing TO&E if there are better ways of handling things. IIRC we were joking about the US Army's adherence to doctrines, FMs, etc several years ago. I mentioned an often-cited quote from a Frunze publication which had described how difficult it was for the Red Army to prepare against American doctrines since we often neglected to read our FMs nor feel any obligation to follow them. There's some truth to that notion, and as I've always believed (and Rommel did as well) American soldiers tend to learn and adjust very quickly on the battlefield. The problem of course is that we also tend to forget things easily once a war is over.

Having an organic tank battalion would allow a division to train continuously and develop techniques, SOP, etc. That is a force multiplier IMO if a brigade would have to deploy and take even a platoon if not a coy as part of its initial package. During WWII, Gen. McNair had created GHQ tank battalions (independent BNs) which were intended to be attached to infantry divisions as needed. In practice, theater and army commanders tried to keep them permanently attached as often as possible in order to retain accrued learning that had taken place while these BNs were operating with a given division.

I'd assume that 82AB and 101AB will still be our "STRAC" regardless of what happens after RIF. I don't think it's wise to expect a BCT from these divisions to learn tank-infantry cooperation as they're deploying for an unexpected contingency. Until 1996, 82AB had kept two organic BNs of M551s (The worst tank ever fielded by the Army IMO), and they performed well in Panama as the paratroopers knew exactly what they needed to do in terms of providing security and understanding how to use them for direct fire support. We could hypothetically transport a tank platoon if not a company in the initial insertion package. When John Abizaid was a Ranger coy CO in Grenada, he had to commandeer a bulldozer to scare a group of Cubans into surrendering. I think we could do better than that, and an organic BN would allow these divisions to train better. The Marine Corps deploys a tank platoon as a part of MEU.

turcopolier

NR & WRC

Not sure what TO&E means in WRC's comment. The US army has been good at organizing for combat since WW2 when the armored divisions were built for that. When I served in a ROAD division as a kid the division was built for that as were the divisions in VN. What's the problem. Why do we have division structures at all any more? The BCTs and support brigades are the important units of action and support. Do we have division structures so that we can promote people to GO? pl

Neil Richardson

Col. Lang:

"Why do we have division structures at all any more? The BCTs and support brigades are the important units of action and support. Do we have division structures so that we can promote people to GO?"

Well we don't have to have a division structure. As I recall the intended design was to have the division take over the functions of corps. Of course in practice each division still retains Deputy Commanding General for Maneuver plus DCG for Support when this makes little sense. We could easily pare down divisional staffs IMO.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Neil!

William R. Cumming

Is my memory failing or do I often see articles arguing that the organic firepower of modern units now well exceeds that of larger units that often existed say in WWII?

If so has doctrine kept up with that change when it comes to organizational design in the armed forces? As a reductio ad absurben a modern cruiser has far more firepower than any WWII battleship [although admittedly less gun power] but does the end of the battleship mean the end of battleship tactics and strategies for the modern cruiser?

Should there be a lethality index and targeting index developed for the modern armed forces?

Since I am most familiar with nuclear weapons targeting and MAD still US strategic doctrine this change alone would have mandated massive changes in the US and Russian SIOPs IMO! Refer to the writings of retired 4-Star General Lee Butler.

Neil Richardson

WRC:
"Is my memory failing or do I often see articles arguing that the organic firepower of modern units now well exceeds that of larger units that often existed say in WWII? If so has doctrine kept up with that change when it comes to organizational design in the armed forces?"


I'm not exactly sure on what you're asking here. Usually it's doctrinal change that affects organizational design not the other way around. For example, after Korea the Army used Pentomic infantry divisions because "New Look"/Massive Retaliation meant that we had to prepare for the possibility of fighting with tactical nuclear weapons. This proved unwieldy and led to ROAD. AirLand Battle led to Division 86 and AOE. Improvements in target acquisition and C4ISR after the Gulf War were the main reasons behind the Army's decision to transition to modular brigade (we're again in a doctrinal limbo today IMHO).

As for organic firepower, I don't think there's such a thing as too much of it. In any engagement, fire superiority could mean the difference between success or failure of a mission. A cavalry troop on movement to contact under limited visibility would need all of its firepower plus whatever indirect FS it can get in order to either to break off contact or continue to probe which could result in a meeting engagement or a hasty attack (e.g., 73 Easting).

turcopolier

NR

"...after Korea the Army used Pentomic infantry divisions because "New Look"/Massive Retaliation meant that we had to prepare for the possibility of fighting with tactical nuclear weapons"

As I recall from the 50s, Liddell Hart wrote a book or paper that argued for limites spans of control andthus "the Pentomic Division" which had five battle groups each with five comanies? pl

Neil Richardson

Dear Col. Lang:
"As I recall from the 50s, Liddell Hart wrote a book or paper that argued for limited spans of control and thus "the Pentomic Division" which had five battle groups each with five companies?"

I didn't know that. I'd always understood it to be a design to improve survivability on the nuclear battlefield (disperse to survive and concentrate to attack). Also IIRC Gens. Ridgway, Taylor and Gavin had drawn from their experience in WWII namely airborne divisions had 3 parachute regiments plus a glider regiment given the prospect of high attrition in the first 48 hours after a drop. I thought a battegroup was supposed to be large enough to fight while small enough to be "expendable." I could be wrong, but wasn't command and control a big problem with 5 battlegroups and 5 rifle companies? Having five good battlegroup COs and five good company COs who could thrive in mission command could have made it work. But that might have been a closer reflection of the 82nd and 101st AB in World War II than the Army in the 1950s when an average company CO might not have met such high standards.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Neil and PL!

Are there any good open source studies of the US employment of armor and artillery in Iraq the last two decades and Afghanistan?

The last US tank I rode in was an M-60 and the last towed artillery the 105 mm. Are these weapons still used somewhere by someone in the world? How about 75mm pack artillery? Perhaps replaced by the Four deuce Mortar?

And is there any open source infor on the rise and fall of the Helicopter usage before, during and after the Viet Nam war by the US Army?

Is the "technical" meaning a weapons loaded 4x4 pickup and its usage discussed in any open source materials by insurgents or non-state actors?

Does US INTEL track the various wars now underway worldwide even when US not directly involved? Any open source that discusses weaponary and effectiveness of those weapons of any and all sides in open combat situations now being conducted somewhere?

How does research of actual combat operations and lessons learned get incorporated into doctrine and what part of DoD is responsible for that incorporation? Is this a formal system or largely ad hoc and word of mouth?

And speaking of Liddell Hart there seems a consencus that Guderian was his best student of the
expanding torrent" theory of armor employment? What is the future of the armored vehicle?

I know I know a fool can ask far more questions than wise men can answer? But I am fascinated by the use of the word "seedcorn" in discussions on this blog,this post and comments? Do the Service Academies have enough "seedcorn" as to analysis of current and past operations or probable operations?

And finally who would you say are the top ten strategic thinkers in Uniform in the Armed Forces today and where are they placed in the system?

Can you make Flag Rank today without civil political connections?

confusedponderer

Andrew Bacevich wrote a small monograph titled "The Pentomic Era - The US Army between Korea and Vietnam" on the subject, and delves into the tactical and political considerations and puts the Pentomic concept into a broader political and historical context.

It can be found here:

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA956178

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

The Pentomic Division interlude, and it was an interlude, between the large RIF atthe end of the Korean War and the ROAD organizational change was, I believe, budget driven. During the 50s, when SAC was recieving the largest part of the defense budget and the Army was drastically cut, the pentomic army was, to a great degree, a PR ploy designed to get the Army into the nuclear war "game" so as to increase funding. And, to use the budgeted funds so as to keep a sufficient number of divisions in the force structure. I think I got that from Gavin's book. Any thoughts?

WPFIII

turcopolier

WRC

"US INTEL track the various wars now underway worldwide even when US not directly involved?" Yes, they do.

IMO one can make one or two stars without civil political connections, after that it is different. pl

turcopolier

All

OK but I am quite sure that either Hart of Fuller wrote something about spans of control on a European atomic battlefield. pl

Neil Richardson

CP:

Thanks for this. I didn't know that Bacevich had written a paper on this.

Neil Richardson

Col.Lang:

Could this be the article?

B.H. Liddell-Hart, "New Warfare-New Tactics," _Marine Corps Gazette_, (October 1955)

Neil Richardson

WRC:

"Are there any good open source studies of the US employment of armor and artillery in Iraq the last two decades and Afghanistan?"
I don't think there's a comprehensive study that's been done yet (by this I mean something like Gen. Starry's "Mounted Combat in Vietnam"). Armor magazine put together a selection of articles on the use of armor which you might find useful.

http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/coin/repository/Armor_COIN_Selected_Works.pdf

"The last US tank I rode in was an M-60 and the last towed artillery the 105 mm. Are these weapons still used somewhere by someone in the world? How about 75mm pack artillery? Perhaps replaced by the Four deuce Mortar?"

I don't know about 105 howitzer or 75mm pack artillery, but M60s are still being used in large numbers by the Turks. The IDF also has a sizable inventory of up-armored M60s (Magachs) in their reserve units.

"How does research of actual combat operations and lessons learned get incorporated into doctrine and what part of DoD is responsible for that incorporation? Is this a formal system or largely ad hoc and word of mouth?"

Each service has different way of doing this. The Army has CALL which has been around since the 1980s. After Vietnam, TRADOC dealt with the operational art aspect of our doctrine which led to ALB. However, ad hoc also plays a large part. Back in the 1980s 2ACR and 11ACR would get together periodically (Lucky 13) to exchange and discuss ideas on tactics and techniques. I think the Army has a pretty good structure for dissemination of ideas and lessons learned today. After the disaster of Jiffycom, I am not sure if DoD is about to do another extensive joint transformation

"What is the future of the armored vehicle?"
I think main battle tank will see its role reduced for the foreseeable future (unless someone comes up with a better active protection system). Armored personnel carrier will be better protected perhaps at the cost of combat power. However, combined arms will still be crucial in future conventional warfare as it had been for thounsands of years.

"But I am fascinated by the use of the word "seedcorn" in discussions on this blog,this post and comments?"

When I used the word, I was mainly concerned with personnel (and training but I think they go together). We can talk doctrines and revolutions in military affairs forever, but ultimately it's men (and now women) who will determine how our forces will perform. I'd already mentioned Guderian and Patton in the interwar period. Doctrines, TTPs , SOPs can only try to guess or anticipate how the next fight might turn out. Hopefully they're not so far off the mark and that our future force can adapt quickly and lower the learning curve. However, finding and keeping the right personnel is far more important IMHO.

kao_hsien_chih

I seem to recall that Liddell Hart was a big fan of the "Mechanized Corps" that the Soviets put together between 1942 and 1944, which included, IIRC, 4-6 mechanized "brigades" without division HQ's, which suspiciously resembled battle groups of pentomic divisions. As I was reading this post, I was wondering about the Soviet experiences with these mechanized formations. I suspect that they couldn't have gone too well, considering lack of communication equipment and trained command cadre in the Red Army at the time.

scott s.

Thanks. Back in the day I was a navy staff puke at PACFLT and did a couple UFL exercises, so have a slight understanding of the command issues.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Neil and others! Helpful!

Any good open source analysis of whether the Goldwater-Nichols reforms in the 80's now need reform?

It always seemed to me that Don Rumsfeld and his snowflakes were an effort to manage in detail when he was supposed to lead organizational strategy! The result was almost total confusion when faced when actual ops! IMO of course.

Disclosure: Once worked for Rumsfeld and Cheney when they ran Nixon's Cost of Living Council.

Jake

USAF preparing for very deep budge cuts....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueSVyUptjSo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

rjj

WRT: "Disclosure: Once worked for Rumsfeld and Cheney when they ran Nixon's Cost of Living Council."

next time there is an open thread, would like to read more about the work ways of the lads --- though it is only curiosity (possibly morbid)on my part.


Neil Richardson

"I seem to recall that Liddell Hart was a big fan of the "Mechanized Corps" that the Soviets put together between 1942 and 1944, which included, IIRC, 4-6 mechanized "brigades" without division HQ's, which suspiciously resembled battle groups of pentomic divisions. "

That certainly was true as Fuller and he tended to believe that more was better. (Fuller was even more extreme in his belief in the primacy of tanks) However, Guderian and Tuchachevskii did not share this view (That might've been expected as the Red Army and the Reichsheer had shared a training school in Kazan after Rapallo). In fact the German army increased infantry (Panzergrenadiere) in 1941. Most historians who specialize in armored warfare tend to agree that the combat command system of US armored divisions was the best design of the war (Tank, infantry and artillery battlions were all tracked with three combat commands mixing and matching units into task forces depending on a given mission. Some divisions would use CCR in the same manner as CCA and CCB, but that probably was not the best practice in the long run). The Third Army in practice attached an infantry regiment to a combat command whenever possible. In a series of extensive studies conducted immediately after the war, the Army had recommended doubling of infantry in an armored division.

"As I was reading this post, I was wondering about the Soviet experiences with these mechanized formations. I suspect that they couldn't have gone too well, considering lack of communication equipment and trained command cadre in the Red Army at the time."

I'd look at several factors. First, operational art in the Red Army was of the highest caliber even in 1942 and continued to improve until the end of WWII. When the Army was developing AirLand Battle we had closely studied Deep Battle (or Deep Operations). Even after Stalin's purge of the officer corps, there were enough pupils of Tuchachevskii who'd survived. (Zhukov, Rokossovskii, Vasilevskii, Vatutin, Konev, etc.)

The Red Army at tactical level had been hampered by lower educational level of an average conscript. That meant it would've been very difficult to adopt mission-type tactics (Aufttragstaktik) which the Germans had used. In order to compensate for this, the Red Army and in particular Stavka would issue detailed operational plans. However as the Germans were to find out at Stalingrad, the Soviets understood how critical it was to achieve sufficient depth in Kesselschlacht which the Allied senior generals never figured out. (Patton and Collins were the exceptions but they just didn't matter. Patton was disregarded as a hothead cavalryman while Collins was just a corps commander. Eisenhower, Montgomery and Bradley ruled out deep envelopment after Cobra and during the German offensive in Ardennes. Patton and Collins had wanted to cut off the Bulge at the base, but they were overruled.) Also the Red Army was very good in maskirovka as Stalingrad and Bagration clearly demonstrated.

As Stalin once said quantity has quality all its own. If an army is highly skilled in operational art, quantity can mask some of the warts in tactics. However, tactical superiority generally can't compensate for mistakes made at the operational level (e.g., US VII Corps in 1991). When the Soviets introduced operational maneuver groups (OMG), the Army took serious notice as it was during the doctrinal debates on Active Defense and Airland Battle. OMG was essentially an updated version of "mobile groups" which Soviet fronts had used in WWII. Unlike these mobile groups which had been tank heavy if not tank pure, OMGs were pretty well balanced. That settled the doctrinal debate in the US Army as those of us who could do simple arithmetics figured out that servicing targets wasn't going to be sufficient when cavalry regiments would face 11 to 1 and heavy divisions would face 3 or 4 to 1 odds even in ideal scenarios. In open steppes of the eastern front in WWII, the Red Army could get away with a lot of tank heavy corps and armies. However, US sector in West Germany would've been far more congested on wooded terrain with rolling hills which was the reason why AirLand was finally adopted.

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