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Thread: Light infantry foot mobility standards?

  1. #21
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    For instance, some members of the now defunct NYPD Stakeout Squad used to shoot competition and thought it helpful for stress inoculation.
    The problem with that is the problem that JMA alluded to, people are interested in competition and they concentrate on the things that work in competition and then they start figuring competition is the actual object and stress teaching what works in competition. It all goes around around and around and ends up a game.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Free-play exercise campaigns brigade vs. brigade, red cell vs. security company, patrols vs. patrols, MI and recce vs. counter-recce/CCD team - that's where soldiers should compete.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    Back to subject of sustained marching with loads or going straight into a fight after a hard march: I think the best 20th Century historical examples would probably be the Chindits and Marauders from WWII's CBI and the Mobile Guerilla Forces (Blackjack Projects) from Vietnam.

    Don't know what they averaged but I imagine the info is out there.
    ...the Long March, Chinese invasion of Tibet, the 85% foot-mobile German army in 1940-1945?

    And now prepare for the usual reminder:
    There were campaigns in military history (even WW2!) that did not involve anglophone troops on either side.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Fuchs: The classic image of German infantry marching in WWII depicts them carrying an equipment belt, rifle, helmet and not much else. No big mongo pack in sight. The would imply wagons along to carry things. Is that what more or less was?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Yes, infantry platoons had their own carts - typically a small wagon with one or two small horses ('Panje' horses) in 1942-1945 on the Eastern front.

    An infantry division was (April 1940) supposed to have 16,860 men, 1,743 riding horses (especially for officers, scouts and couriers), 3,632 cart horses and 895 horse carts. The quantity of cart horses and carts had to be increased after immense horse losses in late 1941; the replacements were more resilient, but also weaker Russian horses, and their smaller carts.
    Often times former Red Army soldiers (especially minorities) were employed as volunteers for many logistical tasks - charioteer was a typical task. These volunteers often received German uniforms, but without rank insignia. Some even received iron crosses and other medals. Speaking about such volunteers in German language is of course not very PC.


    Typical rifle company:
    3 horse carts each 2 horses or 3 horse carts each 1 horse + 1 cart with 4 horses
    1 field kitchen cart with 4 horses
    1 supply train (Verpflegungstroß I) with 1 horse cart + 2 horses

    Companies were also supposed to have some 3 metric ton trucks. Military vehicles were required to have a marching gear for 4 km/h (foot march speed). Civilian vehicles were more typical post-mobilisation, of course.

    Quick source: "Das Handbuch der deutschen Infanterie", Alex Buchner,

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    Foot mobility standard given for finnish soldiers in newest soldier's hand book is 15km (10miles) in eight hours with combat gear+field gear (~40kg/88lbs). Althought most times (In peacetime. In wartime? ) field gear will travel in platoon's truck. Only recon and sissi units carry their field equipment.
    I wonder if its grown motorisation/mechanisation of army, reduced training times, or aknowledgement of fitness rate of typical reservist, because in eighties stardard was 20-25km march, fullgear and eight hours.

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    Default Foot march

    Ft. Bnning, under Maj. Gen. Latham in 1976 required every IOBC class to do 25 miles without pack, but with rifle and pistol belt and canteens, in 8 hours. We built up to that with several shorter foot marchs and easily did the requirement. Was footsore, but I believe we could have performed a mission at the end of the march. (it rained the whole time for ours).
    Upon my arrival at B Co., 2/327 in Feb 77 I was told that B Co. had done 25 miles in four hours a year before with one SSg. dead of a heart attack. Never sa
    w any documentation of that. Wish I knew that SSgt. name. Anyone?
    Tipy
    Was told that MG Latham had seen soldiers stop and give up and die during retreats during the Korean war. Wonder what ever happened to MG Latham?

  8. #28
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Some more tidbits:

    The VW Typ 82 Kbelwagen (cheaper jeep equivalent of WW2) was required to have a gear for foot march speed. It was meant to allow 4 km/h minimum speed.


    Another detail:
    I read a book about pre-WWI militaries in Europe (great power, focus on Germany and Austria-Hungary) again.
    It mentioned
    30 km required foot march / day
    25 km practical march / day
    50 km as one-time only exceptional forced march

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipy View Post
    Ft. Bnning, under Maj. Gen. Latham in 1976 required every IOBC class to do 25 miles without pack, but with rifle and pistol belt and canteens, in 8 hours. […] Upon my arrival at B Co., 2/327 in Feb 77 I was told that B Co. had done 25 miles in four hours a year before with one SSg. dead of a heart attack.
    That’s a passable marathon pace without boots and the rest of the kit.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    To add to what Ganulv said, this website

    http://www.marathontrainingexpert.co...thon-time.html

    states that the average time for men to complete a marathon is 4 hours 30 minutes. I doubt B Co. did that.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Foot march: MJ Latham

    Tipy asked:
    Wonder what ever happened to MG Latham?
    He retired in 1980 and a Google article states:
    General Latham’s military career took him from leading an infantry platoon in combat during the Korean War to being the Deputy Commander of combat ready Army Corps in Germany. General Latham’s career began by leading a mortar and rifle platoon in Korea for two years.
    Link:https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q...HIEtbSCJTGJesq

    He really did like walking:http://www.uta.edu/publications/utam...ture%20Stories
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    To add to what Ganulv said, this website

    http://www.marathontrainingexpert.co...thon-time.html

    states that the average time for men to complete a marathon is 4 hours 30 minutes. I doubt B Co. did that.
    Running 26.2 miles at any pace is an accomplishment -- I've never run farther than 20 miles at a time myself but it was plenty! for me, the difference between 12 and 15 miles isn't so much, but there is definitely a difference between 15 and 18 -- but 4 hours 30 minutes is as you say average. I think the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon is 3 hours 10 minutes.

    Twenty-five miles in four hours in kit wouldn't be a superhuman feat but it would require serious athletes, not just a bunch of guys in good shape. Seems like overkill to me, though. Twelve-and-a-half miles in two hours with that load would tell me enough about general fitness. (Or as my high school cross-country coach once told me, "Most world class distance runners aim to run 100 miles a week because it's a nice round number. 88 seems just as round to me." )
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    Running 26.2 miles at any pace is an accomplishment -- I've never run farther than 20 miles at a time myself but it was plenty! for me, the difference between 12 and 15 miles isn't so much, but there is definitely a difference between 15 and 18 -- but 4 hours 30 minutes is as you say average. I think the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon is 3 hours 10 minutes.

    Twenty-five miles in four hours in kit wouldn't be a superhuman feat but it would require serious athletes, not just a bunch of guys in good shape. Seems like overkill to me, though. Twelve-and-a-half miles in two hours with that load would tell me enough about general fitness. (Or as my high school cross-country coach once told me, "Most world class distance runners aim to run 100 miles a week because it's a nice round number. 88 seems just as round to me." )
    Often the original intention behind this training is good... but in peace time the 'means to the end' often becomes the end in itself.

    The idea behind these marches is to approach the enemy on foot and surprise them by putting in an attack after the march. For this purpose the Brits use 'march and shoot' exercises where at the end of the (often) ten mile march troops need to shoot for a score.

    The idea is for the company/platoon to arrive together in a condition to launch directly into an attack. So the speed is controlled (or should be) and the weight carried should equate to first line ammo plus a reserve (including light mortars) to sustain an attack on arrival with enough spare to fight off any counter attack before reinforcements and/or the land tail arrives.

    This is the idea... but you will always find (idiot) officers who turn it into a speed competition leaving the troops in no condition to fight at the end of the march.

    As they say... some mothers have them and the army gets them.

    Edit: I note I commented much the same earlier in the thread. In fact I would go so far as to recommend that a company commander gets fired/relieved if 6 men (two per platoon) drop out of the march (which must be conducted at a controlled pace). If more than two drop out per platoon you fire the officer and the sergeant.
    Last edited by JMA; 03-28-2012 at 03:54 PM.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Often the original intention behind this training is good... but in peace time the 'means to the end' often becomes the end in itself.

    The idea behind these marches is to approach the enemy on foot and surprise them by putting in an attack after the march. For this purpose the Brits use 'march and shoot' exercises where at the end of the (often) ten mile march troops need to shoot for a score.

    The idea is for the company/platoon to arrive together in a condition to launch directly into an attack. So the speed is controlled (or should be) and the weight carried should equate to first line ammo plus a reserve (including light mortars) to sustain an attack on arrival with enough spare to fight off any counter attack before reinforcements and/or the land tail arrives.

    This is the idea... but you will always find (idiot) officers who turn it into a speed competition leaving the troops in no condition to fight at the end of the march.

    As they say... some mothers have them and the army gets them.

    Edit: I note I commented much the same earlier in the thread. In fact I would go so far as to recommend that a company commander gets fired/relieved if 6 men (two per platoon) drop out of the march (which must be conducted at a controlled pace). If more than two drop out per platoon you fire the officer and the sergeant.
    Nice comment JMA. It is good to be reminded what the actual purpose of the thing is.

    The same thing happens in with American police in shooting. High qualification scores get to be an end in themselves. So many things seem to turn into sporting events, as you note.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Nice comment JMA. It is good to be reminded what the actual purpose of the thing is.

    The same thing happens in with American police in shooting. High qualification scores get to be an end in themselves. So many things seem to turn into sporting events, as you note.
    Carl its simple and here is what its all about from US experience (repeat):

    A good example of a successful march occurred during World War II. It was the grueling foot march during the Sicilian campaign from 20 to 21 July 1943. The 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division performed this march. The battalion was directed to move on foot across mountains from Aragona to San Stefano to enter into a coordinated attack on enemy forces in San Stefano. The battalion made this record-breaking, 54-mile, cross-country march in only 33 hours due to continuous marching. Two hours after arrival, the battalion was committed in the attack on San Stefano, which resulted in its capture.
    Training should be aimed at being able to replicate that magnificent feat.
    Last edited by JMA; 03-28-2012 at 04:49 PM.

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    Good post JMA, and an instructive bit on the utility of the march as a means and not an end. I see the attitude you've mentioned quite frequently in our Battle Fitness Test.

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    In the Indian Army, foot mobility is the norm since most of the infantry is up in the mountains and the High Altitude.

    Eyeball to eyeball contact does not allow air transportation!

    And roads are non existent in most places!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    In the Indian Army, foot mobility is the norm since most of the infantry is up in the mountains and the High Altitude.

    Eyeball to eyeball contact does not allow air transportation!

    And roads are non existent in most places!
    So what (may I ask) is your fitness standard in this regard? Carrying what weight? What distance within what time, uphill or flat or whatever?

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    Why are march fitness, agility fitness and weight carried such a evergreen topic?
    Isn't the answer simple enough?

    Self-discipline in training and in defining the loads.

    It's really, really simple to trace almost all failures ever associated with these topics to failure in regard to the aforementioned requirement.

    It's usually a failure of leadership either in regard to the leader's self-discipline during routine tasks or in regard to his self-discipline in making decisions. It's easy to dodge a difficult decision (weighing the pro and cons of loads) by just ordering the men to carry (too) much. In the end, the leader can claim that his mission was impossible because the men were not capable enough. That's an especially easy pretext when the leader hasn't been in charge (or the team hasn't been coherent) long enough to coin the fitness and competence of his men himself.

    It's really not so important how much certain armies marched in certain ages per day. Leaders need to make difficult decisions and need to prepare their men, and it's always a trade-off.


    What's interesting is not what others did or do; it's what kind of fitness your troops are expected to have (expected by higher HQ) and how you can match this and other expectations through exercise and load definition.

    It's always a trade-off, an optimisation - and the cure-all for the problem is to arrange leadership dynamics in a way that does not encourage an overemphasis of loads carried and does not tolerate major training inefficiencies.
    The solution is thus in the (junior) officer corps, not in weight tables, thinner fabrics or polymer cartridge cases. The senior leadership only needs to grow some political backbone and adjust its casualty aversion in a way that allows for strategic success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Why are march fitness, agility fitness and weight carried such a evergreen topic?
    Isn't the answer simple enough?
    Yes it is. There are two reasons why there should be a standard both at recruit training level and for trained soldiers. Once achieved the troops can be relied upon to meet that standard in war time and also the individual troops know that they can do it and develop the self confidence in their ability in that regard.

    Self-discipline in training and in defining the loads.

    It's really, really simple to trace almost all failures ever associated with these topics to failure in regard to the aforementioned requirement.
    I'm not sure what you mean.

    Start with loads. There are ammunition and equipment scales/tables out there (or should be) for just about any phase of war and other activities. Therefore such an exercise will encourage planning in how to distribute the weight yet be able to concentrate the it where its needed in the shortest time.

    Using ammo/equipt scales that would be needed for a night march leading to a first light attack (as per the example above) is always a good bet.

    How often should this be practiced? Well that depends on whether in peacetime or at war. In peacetime annual 'march and shoot' competitions are the norm (I believe) where at war realistic training/rehearsals are fitted in as and when required.

    It's usually a failure of leadership either in regard to the leader's self-discipline during routine tasks or in regard to his self-discipline in making decisions. It's easy to dodge a difficult decision (weighing the pro and cons of loads) by just ordering the men to carry (too) much. In the end, the leader can claim that his mission was impossible because the men were not capable enough. That's an especially easy pretext when the leader hasn't been in charge (or the team hasn't been coherent) long enough to coin the fitness and competence of his men himself.

    It's really not so important how much certain armies marched in certain ages per day. Leaders need to make difficult decisions and need to prepare their men, and it's always a trade-off.

    What's interesting is not what others did or do; it's what kind of fitness your troops are expected to have (expected by higher HQ) and how you can match this and other expectations through exercise and load definition.

    It's always a trade-off, an optimisation - and the cure-all for the problem is to arrange leadership dynamics in a way that does not encourage an overemphasis of loads carried and does not tolerate major training inefficiencies.
    I agree if you are saying that battalion and company officers should be held accountable to make sure their troops are battle ready (which includes physical fitness to a laid down standard). If the unit/sub-unit fails to meet the standard you fire the officers, however, IMHO, the officers who turn the whole thing into a game should also be fired.

    The solution is thus in the (junior) officer corps, not in weight tables, thinner fabrics or polymer cartridge cases. The senior leadership only needs to grow some political backbone and adjust its casualty aversion in a way that allows for strategic success.
    You are correct if you mean that it is the responsibility of the officers and the NCOs to arrive at the objective with the unit together and intact and ready to engage the enemy. So yes there must be careful consideration of the terrain to be traversed and the speed required (and achievable).

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