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Thread: Infantry Unit Tactics, Tasks, Weapons, and Organization

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    Youíre talking about two different things here though. A commando mortar at platoon level is for direct fire and does indeed offer great response capability at that level. The tubes at company and battalion level are for stand-off indirect fire. One advantage of having greater numbers of tubes/sections in a battalion mortar platoon is the ability to leapfrog behind a moving battalion, while always keeping one foot on the ground. Increased numbers of 60 mm at company level would offer the same potential, but does the advantage at this level outweigh the weight and manpower penalties?

    [snip]

    IMO having some 60s at company is cool; it gives some measure of organic indirect support. But donít get too exited by trying to make in Ďenoughí, coz it never will be. You canít equip sub units at all levels as if they have to fight the war by themselves. And if they do have to fight their part of the war by themselves (distributed ops), well, battalion might lend them a section of 81s.

    [snip]
    So what are your thoughts on Col. Odom's infantry Company. He, and his collaborators, have two 60mm tubes per weapons squad of each inf plt with 4 81mm and 4 120mm in the company mortar (indirect fires) platoon. Personally, I can't see why you'd want the redundancy with the 81/120 combos. Nor could I figure out for the life of me how two 60mm tubes at plt would be supplied (manpower/ammo wise).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post

    Urggggh. All this talk about mortars. Our infantry have no mortars at all! NONE!!! Kiwi and Canadian infantry are sooooo hard done by, itís just not fair. And arty never really wanted them in the first place!
    Don't Canadian infantry still have some (rather old) 60mm mortars with the 81s having being moved to arty?

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    Council Member Infanteer's Avatar
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    We do, and they still get used. However, there appears to be no plan to replace them, as some in the Army have seemingly won an argument that a AGL with a digital FCS and fuzes can replace a mortar.

    The 81mm mortars were moved from the Infantry, who wanted them, to the Artillery, who didn't want them. I believe it was a manpower issue, as mortar platoons were rolled into understrength rifle companies.

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    Why would anyone want an 81MM mortar in the artillery? It doesn't make sense...

    You aren't saving people, just moving the slots? Someone has to crew the tubes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    So what are your thoughts on Col. Odom's infantry Company. He, and his collaborators, have two 60mm tubes per weapons squad of each inf plt with 4 81mm and 4 120mm in the company mortar (indirect fires) platoon. Personally, I can't see why you'd want the redundancy with the 81/120 combos. Nor could I figure out for the life of me how two 60mm tubes at plt would be supplied (manpower/ammo wise).
    I think it is over the top, even if the company was to be fully mechanised. Even for a chunky company like that I would limit it to 2 or 3 81s at the most, and preferably just 60mm long range.
    At platoon level, even a large platoon, I would not go beyond 1 or 2 commando mortars. The article mentions light mortars for platoon. I donít know if that denotes direct fire on indirect fire.

    Unless mechanised I would probably restrict it to either one or the other. So either a few 60mm long range at company level (capable of being used in direct fire mode for flexibility) or a commando mortar at platoon level. As you say, the bombs need to be carried.

    I also tend to agree with you regards the redundancy of 81/120. That has always puzzled me a bit, even at battalion level. I think it makes more sense to choose either one or the other, which ever one. Keeps things much simpler, including types of ammo (at 3 or 4 different types of bombs for each).
    The only exception I can see is an arms room concept where both are available and a mission specific choice is made, but that would have its own complications and I doubt that it would really be worth the trouble.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infanteer View Post
    We do, and they still get used. However, there appears to be no plan to replace them, as some in the Army have seemingly won an argument that a AGL with a digital FCS and fuzes can replace a mortar.
    True, I forgot about your 60s.

    Yup, it looks like youíll be trading your apples for cauliflowers.


    The 81mm mortars were moved from the Infantry, who wanted them, to the Artillery, who didn't want them. I believe it was a manpower issue, as mortar platoons were rolled into understrength rifle companies.
    Maybe itís just me, and I am likely to be bias since 81 is what I know, but I just canít see much utility for a medium 81 outside of an infantry battalion. It is their flexibility, relatively light weight and bulk, and immediate availability to the battalion commander that makes them useful. If the powers that be say we canít have it there, then just get rid of it. Give arty a few extra guns instead, or 120 mm mortars at minimum (which is what I think will happen here eventually).
    I has been suggested (canít remember where I read it) that arty may be inclined to use Ďtheirí 81s to defend their gunlines, and their guns to support infantry. (That may of course have been a bit of infantry propaganda.) To them it always used to be a water pistol, and just because they now own it, doesnít mean that sentiment will change a great deal.
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    I also tend to agree with you regards the redundancy of 81/120. That has always puzzled me a bit, even at battalion level. I think it makes more sense to choose either one or the other, which ever one. Keeps things much simpler, including types of ammo (at 3 or 4 different types of bombs for each).The only exception I can see is an arms room concept where both are available and a mission specific choice is made, but that would have its own complications and I doubt that it would really be worth the trouble.
    I have the same issue with the stryker 120mm mortar carriers which also carry 60mm for dismounted use (or is that 81mm?). Where's the ammo carried for that? Surely, they have to sacrifce some ammo for 60mm?

    Also, I know the USMC has been planing to field composite 120mm/155mm batteries for MAGTF operations with some in the Coprs advocating that the 120mms be organic to the inf bn. What's the deal with that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    I also tend to agree with you regards the redundancy of 81/120. That has always puzzled me a bit, even at battalion level. I think it makes more sense to choose either one or the other, which ever one. Keeps things much simpler, including types of ammo (at 3 or 4 different types of bombs for each).
    The only exception I can see is an arms room concept where both are available and a mission specific choice is made, but that would have its own complications and I doubt that it would really be worth the trouble.
    I think the idea behind the mix of 81s and 120s in the Stryker Infantry Battalions are based on a couple of points.

    1. The unit's real forte is supposed to be dismounted operations, including Air Assaults. Easier to carry 81s for that role then 120s.

    2. 81s have a shorted minimum range and a smaller minimum safe distance then 120s. Means you can drop 81s closer to friendly troops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TAH View Post
    2. 81s have a shorted minimum range and a smaller minimum safe distance then 120s. Means you can drop 81s closer to friendly troops.
    It depends.
    Rheinmetall developed a kind of 120mm shrapnel round that generated armour-piercing fragments forward, apparently with substantial fragmentation to the sides. This was advertised as something that could penetrate APC roofs, but it looks also like an answer to the problem you mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    I have the same issue with the stryker 120mm mortar carriers which also carry 60mm for dismounted use (or is that 81mm?). Where's the ammo carried for that? Surely, they have to sacrifce some ammo for 60mm?

    Also, I know the USMC has been planing to field composite 120mm/155mm batteries for MAGTF operations with some in the Coprs advocating that the 120mms be organic to the inf bn. What's the deal with that?
    The SBCT IN Company mortar sections have 2 mortar carriers, with 2 mounted 120mm and 2 dismountable 60mm. The SBCT IN BN mortar platoons have 4 mortar carriers, with 4 mounted 120mm and 4 dismountable 81mm. The rational behind the arms room concept is that you can mix/match systems based on the mission. Air Assault? Hand carry the 81s/60s. Mounted movement? Bring the heavy stuff.

    Generally same idea with the USMC composite batteries. The idea is that a mix of systems will be embarked with the MEU, and the CDR can tailor what he brings ashore based on the mission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    The SBCT IN Company mortar sections have 2 mortar carriers, with 2 mounted 120mm and 2 dismountable 60mm. The SBCT IN BN mortar platoons have 4 mortar carriers, with 4 mounted 120mm and 4 dismountable 81mm. The rational behind the arms room concept is that you can mix/match systems based on the mission. Air Assault? Hand carry the 81s/60s. Mounted movement? Bring the heavy stuff.

    Generally same idea with the USMC composite batteries. The idea is that a mix of systems will be embarked with the MEU, and the CDR can tailor what he brings ashore based on the mission.
    Do the carriers carry both natures/kinds of ammo? And waht, hypothetically, speaking, if you need everything?

    IMO arms room is fine for so-called small wars but for a big one you might find yourself short-handed, so to speak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    Do the carriers carry both natures/kinds of ammo? And waht, hypothetically, speaking, if you need everything?

    IMO arms room is fine for so-called small wars but for a big one you might find yourself short-handed, so to speak.
    60 x 120mm rds AND 35 x 81mm rds OR 77 x 60mm rds.

    If you "need everything", then you fill out your crews will 11Bs, or you man your 120s until you run out of ammo, and then switch to the smaller system.

    Remember, the arms room concept didn't reduce the number of crews, it just increased flexibility by adding different options for those crews to man. A 1995 infantry battalion had 4 x 81mm tubes and 6 x 60mm tubes, with 10 crews. A 2010 SBCT IN BN has 4 x 81mm tubes, 6 x 60mm tubes and an additional 10 x 120 tubes with the same 10 crews. A 2010 IBCT IN BN has 4 x 81mm tubes, 6 x 60mm tubes and an additional 4 x 120 tubes with the same 10 crews. I don't see how adding capability can be construed as a problem.

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    ...unless you care about disadvantages, such as logistical problems and increased training requirements (less time for training as defensive infantryman).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    ...unless you care about disadvantages, such as logistical problems and increased training requirements (less time for training as defensive infantryman).
    The "logistical problems" are minimal- you have to manage a couple more types of ammunition that are already in the log train anyway. The 120mm is an addition to the Infantry BN, but was already present in the Cavalry, Mech and AR BNs. Not a big deal.

    Additional training time is minimal- the fuzes, charges, fire control and crew procedures are all the same. The biggest difference is setting up the bipod/baseplate on the dismounted systems, which were already present when you had a dismountable 120mm mortar, like in the old M1064 mortar carriers.

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    The French journal "Doctrine" devoted an entire issue to the topic of tactics in context of small wars.

    http://www.cdef.terre.defense.gouv.f...ctrine18us.pdf

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    Default I know this post was long ago, but ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post

    Another structure I quite like is that of the Austrian Jagers. The platoon looks a bit like the German platoon in WW2.
    The coy has 214 pers and is led (of course) by a command and logistics element. It has 1 heavy weapons platoon with 3 anti-armour sections with 2x Carl Gustav each and one mortar section with 2x 81mm mortar, and a command section.
    The 3 Jager platoons each have a command section of 10 including a signaler and 2 snipers (quite a large section, I donít know what else is in there). Then there are 4 sections of 8, with 1 GPMG MG3 each.
    The heavy weapons coy has a 50 man assault pioneer platoon, a mortar platoon with 4x 120mm mortar, a platoon with 4x20mm cannon and an anti-tank platoon with 4x2 Bill2.

    These sections are too small for F&M. 2 combinations of 2 of these 8 man sections would be quite doable but then what have you got? 2 half platoons which is not that different from 'my' 2 section platoon.
    I'm new to this website so I thought I'd just respond.

    The austrian Jaegerkompanie was restructured in 2005.
    It now consists of the following elements:

    - command section (CO, 2ic, first seargent, signals nco, 2 sig/drivers, 2 sig/runners)
    - supply section (ncos responsible for supply, vehicles, ammunition and weapons, medic ...)
    - sniper squad (3 sniper teams ŗ 3 soldiers - sniper, observer, driver)
    - 3 jaeger plts
    x command team (plt leader, 2ic, one sig/driver)
    x 3 jaeger squads (squad leader, 2ic, 5 riflemen, 1 driver)
    x 1 weapons squad (squad leader, 4 soldiers, 1 driver)
    x each soldier has a steyr aug; in addition each jaeger squad has one
    machine gun (mg74; 7,62x51) and a carl gustav; the weapons squad has
    in addition to the steyr aug 2 mg74 and 2 carl gustavs
    - 1 AT plt
    x command team (plt leader, 2ic, one sig/driver)
    x 2 AT squads with each 2 ATGM BILL

    All in all, its now around 150 soldiers compared to the old 212 soldiers.
    But the old structure came out of the positional defense systems used by the austrian armed forces during the late 70s, 80s and 90s.

    The new one is much more flexible although I hope that it will change some more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    The "logistical problems" are minimal- you have to manage a couple more types of ammunition that are already in the log train anyway.
    And it doesn't seem like it would be any more difficult than the days when it was 60mm, 81mm, and 4.2".

    The 120mm is an addition to the Infantry BN, but was already present in the Cavalry, Mech and AR BNs.
    Why didn't infantry battalions have 120mm for a while? They had 4.2" years ago.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    And it doesn't seem like it would be any more difficult than the days when it was 60mm, 81mm, and 4.2".

    Why didn't infantry battalions have 120mm for a while? They had 4.2" years ago.
    I didn't know that we ever had 60s, 81s and 4.2s in the same BN. I thought that the standard was 3 x 81s in the company, and 4 or 6 x 4.2s in the BN Mortar Platoon, with the exchange of 81s for 60s on some light MTOES in Vietnam. I'm not sure what the old airborne BNs looked like.

    The 3 x 81 mortar platoon in the company was exchanged to a 2 x 60 section in the mid-80s Light Infantry Division MTOEs, and the 4.2s changed to a 4 x 81 platoon (what was that organization called? J Series? AoE?). I'm not sure what the 9th ID (Motorized) looked like at this time- I understand that it changed multiple times the entire time it was HTTB. Infantry battalions had only 81s and 60s from then until the Force XXI experiments in the late 90s, but some (my both battalions I was an FSO for in the 82nd) didn't get the arms room 120s until after GWOT. The arms room concept was tested (by some BNs in 10th and 101st, IIRC), and then formalized with the introduction of the "Modularity" MTOES in 2004-2006 (at least in the active component, although even active we have 2 or maybe 3 BCTs still on legacy LCD XXI MTOEs, but I think they are all heavy, not light).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    I didn't know that we ever had 60s, 81s and 4.2s in the same BN.
    You're probably right as far as official MTOEs go. But haven't some units task organized all along? I saw a post on another message board and the poster said his unit in Korea had 60s and 81s in the rifle company arms room and 4.2s in the battalion's combat support company.

    And I know that rifle companies in Alaska in the early 80s had 90mm RRs in the company weapons platoon but rifle companies at Bragg didn't. As far as I know, the Alaska troopers were the only other unit outside the Ranger Battalions still using 90s at the time.

    The 3 x 81 mortar platoon in the company was exchanged to a 2 x 60 section in the mid-80s Light Infantry Division MTOEs, and the 4.2s changed to a 4 x 81 platoon (what was that organization called? J Series? AoE?).
    Correct, I remember that one. 3/325 changed when we rotated from Bragg to Vicenza.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    You're probably right as far as official MTOEs go. But haven't some units task organized all along? I saw a post on another message board and the poster said his unit in Korea had 60s and 81s in the rifle company arms room and 4.2s in the battalion's combat support company.

    And I know that rifle companies in Alaska in the early 80s had 90mm RRs in the company weapons platoon but rifle companies at Bragg didn't. As far as I know, the Alaska troopers were the only other unit outside the Ranger Battalions still using 90s at the time.

    Correct, I remember that one. 3/325 changed when we rotated from Bragg to Vicenza.
    It may have happened, but I have never heard of it. I do know that Korea has often lagged on implementing TOE changes, for whatever reasons (for instance, they never converted to the LCD XXI MTOEs, and retained 4 line companies in their tank/mech BNs until they converted to the modular MTOEs). It would be likely, when converting from 81mm to 60mm in the rifle companies, that the rifle companies retained the 81s, at least for some time, and especially if they recieved their 60s before the MTOE became effective.

    I don't know about 90mms, either, but the same thing could have happened- the MTOE authorized Dragons (that's what replaced the RRs, right?), but either hadn't been fielded yet, or there was a delay in turning in the 90s, so the arms room had them both for a while.

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