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Thread: Rifle squad composition

  1. #421
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    Ah, I see, all maka da sense now. That's partly the 'old' 1-Para, isn't it?
    Well yes, that's the idea. Last plan I heard it was 2 Coy's of Para, 1 Coy of Royal Marines and 1 Coy of RAF Regiment (the old "2 Squadron!"), but I think that may have all gone by the way in recent times - as there simply aren't enough bodies in RM or RAF Regt.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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  2. #422
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Some further thoughts.

    Let us look at a similar mission in difficult terrain to the one in the video. I think we all know that the GPMG is heavy and looses some of its effectivness (grazing fire) in the mountains. The fire support by mortars becomes more important because they can touch almost all places of the terrain. This goes also for the to a lesser extent for the 40mm.

    Would it make sense if the element on overwatch swaps the second GPMG for the observation and target acquistation/fire direction gadgets mentioned above, some additional MG ammunition and a DMR rifle? I could also imagine to have a dedicated HE-projector instead of the second GMPG, perhaps something like that new Korean Rifle, the XM25 or simply a simple 40mm GL with more ammunition carried by the team.

    Perhaps the key idea of the above post to emphasize and strenghten the ability of a "normal" element of the infantry to observe, recon and surveil the battlespace. This way it can better hunt for precious and much needed information and enemy elements. The same unit should also have the capability to effectively and efficiently direct the supporting indirect fire across two organic levels, the grenade launcher of the unit and the platoon's mortar and those of other layers. In certain missions under a certain METT-TC it may be worth to do so at the expense of the second GPMG.

    Overall this is part of the larger debate about the mobility, protection and firepower of the infantry.

    Firn
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-26-2009 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Author's request

  3. #423
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    The fire support by mortars becomes more important because they can touch almost all places of the terrain.
    They can also be very cranky when it comes to getting effects on target, in that sort of terrain.

  4. #424
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Interesting comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    They can also be very cranky when it comes to getting effects on target, in that sort of terrain.
    My experience is dated and thus refers to different weapons and ammunition (but in the same calibers other than the 120mm for 4.2" [107mm] switch) but Mortars rarely got cranky with good crews. Mountains were no problem and they generally were far more accurate there than Artillery...

    Possibly interesting aside, the Chinese in Korea could put a Mortar round in your hip pocket but were lousy rifle shots; the Viet Namese were not nearly as good with their mortars but were good rifle shots...

  5. #425
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Was that success due to registered targets and shift from known point missions?

    What I was basing my comment off of is the difficulty on the FOs end, especially if he is not a FO with those primary duties and commensurate degree of training.

    How about rifle grenades Ken? Any familiarity with them?

  6. #426
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That plus surprise targets and everything in between.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Was that success due to registered targets and shift from known point missions?

    What I was basing my comment off of is the difficulty on the FOs end, especially if he is not a FO with those primary duties and commensurate degree of training.
    Lot of calls for fire by unit NCOs not FOs. While their knowing what they were doing was definitely an asset, in my observation a good FDC could talk a poor FO or even Joe Tentpeg into getting stuff on target -- that's with manual calculation on an M16 Plotting Board, of course. A good FDC can fix all sorts of FO and weapon / ammo shortfalls. The best Computers were / are former FO /FIST guys.

    Part of the 'good' FDC problem is automation which adversely impacts innovative ability and part is that, unless watched, the FDC Chief will use his best plotter for everything and the others don't get to develop the skills.
    How about rifle grenades Ken? Any familiarity with them?
    Yep, they had some advantages but did require a hefty amount of training for 'accurate' use (accurate in quotes because they weren't consistent), the 40mm eased the training burden and works almost as well for most things and is at least as accurate. We're better off with the 40mm and the M79 /M203 / M 32 / M320. Not a fan of the Mk 19 though.

  7. #427
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Besides the points answered by Ken I justed wanted to point out that the mortar has traditionally been the mountain infantry's best friend. Not only does it allow you to suppress and target almost everything within range with considerable effect, but it can also do this job deployed behind ridges, on steep slopes and possibly close a good supply route. The FOs/platoon should have the tools and training to make the best use of it.

    Sending the vehicle supplied HE from afar is way easier on the backs of the humping soldiers.
    Last edited by Firn; 11-27-2009 at 08:45 AM.

  8. #428
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    the mortar has traditionally been the mountain infantry's best friend. Not only does it allow you to suppress and target almost everything within range with considerable effect, but it can also do this job deployed behind ridges, on steep slopes and possibly close a good supply route.
    The Soviet experience in Afghanistan underlines this experience. They quickly found that their 82mm Vasilek "semi-automatic" mortar provided stirling, timely and in most cases devastating fire support (especially in burst fire mode) in contrast to their SP and towed arty. I wonder how far along the Dragon system is progressing for the USMC? Hope it hasn't been cancelled (...would like to hear that the Royal Marines will subsequently aqcuire them in future. Ahhhhhh, BAe, god love yah ).
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 11-27-2009 at 10:54 AM.

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    One comment to Tukhachevskii's Afganistan comment. During IIWW Soviet troops used this kind of launcher in Caucasus. Fuchs can say now that this is copy of Nebelwerfer


  10. #430
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    While reading in another thread where I wanted to post I came across this post which puts some of my thoughts better in words than I did.

    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    but I'll lay it out here. Many dicussions throughout the SWJ revolve around weapons. Everyone talks about the ideal round, ideal lethality, ideal caliber, firing rates, etc..... Finally someone brought up one of my biggest pet peeves (Thanks Coldstreamer). POSITIVE ID. At what distance with the naked eye can a soldier positively ID (PID) his threat in any environment? Yes, the environment makes a difference and I know all the associated factors. For arguements sake let's say open desert:

    1. In local attire carrying an AK or RPG?

    2. In local attire hiding an AK or RPG under his clothes?

    3. In military uniform carrying an AK or RPG?

    4. In military uniform with no weapon visable?

    Aditionally lets use the same constraints with common current optics found within our force.

    1. ACOG 4x power

    2. M68 or EOTECH 0x power

    3. Binos (showing my age by allowing the old M22) 7x50

    4. Thermals (lightweight)

    5. ELCAN M145 3.4x power

    Staying in the daylight only realm, night becomes a completely different story.

    I'm not talking capabilities with sniper teams and other specialties. Most discussions center around the "force" in general.

    Additionally this changes based on the fight your in. Yes one can PID someone shooting from a much further distance or can they?
    Also trying to get the ability and equipment to ID something or somebody was perhaps the key issue of that old book written in 1920. What the "drag net" of observers logged down could then be dealt in a myriad of ways. Heavy MGs, a whole rifle platoon, snipers, raids or various doses of artillery fire were used to achieve the objective.


    Firn

  11. #431
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaur View Post
    One comment to Tukhachevskii's Afganistan comment. During IIWW Soviet troops used this kind of launcher in Caucasus. Fuchs can say now that this is copy of Nebelwerfer

    Fin stabilized, rail instead of tube-launched - very different and much smaller than a Nebelwerfer - also much less complicated (the ammunition).


    Mortars are not good against forward slope positions on a steep mountain, but that kind of position is rather rare anyway.

  12. #432
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Shoot high

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Mortars are not good against forward slope positions on a steep mountain, but that kind of position is rather rare anyway.
    if they're on or near the military crest provided one is present; the blowdown can do an amazing amount of damage. If there is no military crest then you are indeed stuck with direct fire. Reverse slope defenses are a more difficult target for everything, hence their popularity...

  13. #433
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    The fuze and frag pattern are also something that should be kept in mind. Most mortar bombs have a quite horizontal frag pattern (if they explode while descending straight down).
    This pattern is extremely inefficient against targets on near-vertical surfaces in comparison to their performance against target in flat terrain.
    Even proximity fuzes don't help much.

    A low trajectory (even direct fire) munition and some of the very rare forward frag mortar bombs (or air burst WP-Inc) can be much more efficient in that case.

  14. #434
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    A low trajectory (even direct fire) munition and some of the very rare forward frag mortar bombs (or air burst WP-Inc) can be much more efficient in that case.
    Perhaps a part of the solution.


    Corps to field more grenade launchers


    “The typical [Marine] company will … receive three MSGLs,” she said. “The MSGL is a commander’s discretionary weapon. Unit commanders will decide the means of employment.”
    ...

    “When there’s an exchange of fire going back and forth, one of our goals is to immediately gain fire superiority, and when you fire six rounds and you hear six explosions on the back end, sometimes that quiets the guy who’s shooting back at you,” Maj. Jody White, team leader for the weapon’s acquisition, said last June. “It allows us to maneuver at that point, and seek him out and destroy him.”

    This sounds like they are giving one of those big .40 revolvers to each rifle platoon of the company, doesn't it?

    This firepower comes at a price called weight. A dedicated grenadier with a lighter, stand alone single-shot launcher can carry a lot more rounds. This is important if it is used by light or mountain infantry. Still the M32 can make of sense, especially when you have to put quickly a lot of HE downrange. I rambled about this topic before.



    Firn


    P.S: It should be the L variant, capable to shoot higher velocity 40x46 mm grenades.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    The second variant is the Mk 1L, which features a new sliding buttstock and a 140 mm (5.5 in) long cylinder. Certain special-purpose grenades such as tear gas canisters and less-lethal impact rounds are too long to fit in older models of the MGL, but they will fit in the Mk 1L's extended chambers. As a result, the weapon can fire a wider range of ordnance, and is more suitable for use in peacekeeping and riot control operations. The Mk 1L also incorporates all the improvements found in the Mk 1S.
    Last edited by Firn; 02-25-2010 at 10:47 AM.

  15. #435
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Was that success due to registered targets and shift from known point missions?

    What I was basing my comment off of is the difficulty on the FOs end, especially if he is not a FO with those primary duties and commensurate degree of training.
    I'll use this to segue into a point I'd like to discuss - training specialists within the squad. Looking at the USMC squad composition and likely future missions, I'm considering task organizing my squads to create a squad headquarters with some specialist training, using one of the three organic fire teams. Keep in mind that these "specialists" will be cross-trained 0311s. I envision it looking something like this:

    Squad Leader
    Assistant Squad Leader
    Radio Operator
    Forward Observer
    Intel Specialist

    The other two fireteams would stay organized traditionally. Obviously I'm assuming some risk by concentrating these skill sets, but I don't intend to keep everyone else ignorant of radio operation, call for fire, or SSE. I do intend to have designated personnel focused on those skills, however. These specialists should ideally be mature and experienced, with a deployment under their belt, so they have a solid grounding in basic 0311 individual tasks. Most of the limiting factors that I've identified come from the practical constraints of training a company, namely a limited number of experienced infantrymen who can master these skills.

    I believe the biggest benefit would be freeing the squad leader to lead his squad without worrying about the details of transmitting routine reports, conducting CFF and all of the mental calculations that go with it, or keeping track of all of the information requirements from higher. This way, he can focus on the commander's intent. Unfortunately, the fire support initiatives I have seen geared towards increasing squad capabilities have focused on training the squad leader, which I think is a bad idea. Communications, fire support, and intelligence are all becoming increasingly technical, requiring more time to achieve mastery.

    I've been out of an infantry company for five years now, so I'm a little unsure of how practical this will be once my vision collides with reality. Any thoughts so far?

  16. #436
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I believe the biggest benefit would be freeing the squad leader to lead his squad without worrying about the details of transmitting routine reports, conducting CFF and all of the mental calculations that go with it, or keeping track of all of the information requirements from higher. This way, he can focus on the commander's intent.
    From a strictly time management perspective, there isn't a whole lot of separation, or flash to bang, between incidents and reporting, especially at the squad level, so I don't see "routine reporting" as a combat chore. I don't believe then that there are routine reports to be submitted, nor should someone else be relied on to maintain situational awareness of information requirements from higher. Those are elements of the squad leader's lot in life, and if delegated down to allow him to focus on commander's intent, what's left?

    If we are talking about static OP or fixed site security operations (for a patrol base), then there may be an advantage to some arrangement where the SL should not be the primary guy for such tasks, but squads are not the base unit usually for those type missions - platoons are.

    For some skillsets like CFF, sure, they could be pushed down further to a solid lance corporal who has a knack for it and can do it, and I'd argue that the Marine with the most time available would be a great candidate, since you are addressing the mounting training requirements. The guy with the most time is almost never the most mature or well-rounded Marine in the squad, so how do we resolve that fact?

    The core problem I see is the issue of radio assets. I myself do not know if each infantry squad has a PRC-117 assigned to them, but I'm pretty certain that PRC-148 and -152 radios are prevalent down to the squad and team. They serve as the conduit to the platoon, and under the rifle company experiment design, there are enablers that will be carved out from a platoon strength to do these tasks and can be farmed out down to squad levels.

    I hate to say it, but right now I'd just be happy getting a basic 0311 to show me he knows how to follow a TM and zero his RCO.
    Last edited by jcustis; 04-19-2010 at 04:09 PM.

  17. #437
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Where Are The Infantry Sergeants?

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...f&AD=ADA509378

    Where Are the Infantry Sergeants: An examination of the Marine Corps' policies and processes that adversely affected the availability of infantry sergeants to serve as squad leaders in the operating forces - Major Thomas M. Tennant

    This is another thesis paper submitted for a military studies masters degree requirement at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. The historical section that details the history of the squad leader has a lot of researched detail about the employment of squad leaders as far back as the AEF in WWI.

  18. #438
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    Organizing Modern Infantry: An Analysis of Section Fighting Power

    Link appears troublesome. Artilce is at Canadian Army Journal Vol. 13, No. 3.

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