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Thread: Cordesman so right, yet so wrong

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Cordesman so right, yet so wrong

    Vastly cheaper to use infantry and irregular forces than
    conventional forces, progressively easier to given such forces more
    advanced weapons.
    I got this from Anthony H. Cordesman "lessons from the Lebanon," that Steve linked somewhere.

    There are two important point to my mind.

    a.) The premise is, on one level, essentially correct, and extremely useful. - yet utterly misleading.
    b.) I strongly suspect Cordesman has no idea why this is the case. He just felt it was. - otherwise he would have expressed it very differently.

    There are real possibilities for "Infantry Centric" forces over "Classic Combined Arms."
    The war in the Lebanon gave a nano-second snap shot of why.

    IMO, this has nothing to do with "Irregular" or even "infantry" Forces, being "cheap." It's about leveraging resources for maximum benefit, and squeezing out capability from necessity.

    Again, I feel this is what the USMC, "Distributed Ops" managed to get wrong, and the essential utility of examining such ideas has got lost on the "go light, SOCOM, wood-ninjas" groupie fan club, that is so in love with form over function.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    It is Cheaper and more efficient to incrementally upgrade (light/conventional) infantry forces with vehicles (including armour), ATGMs, MANPADS, and fire support than it is to hold conventional combined arms forces

    This is essentially my statement and what I think Cordesman could have said.

    Anyone got a view on this? Always embarrassing to have to bump-start ones own thread but I feel my initial post may have killed any useful input.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Wilf,

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    It is Cheaper and more efficient to incrementally upgrade (light/conventional) infantry forces with vehicles (including armour), ATGMs, MANPADS, and fire support than it is to hold conventional combined arms forces

    This is essentially my statement and what I think Cordesman could have said.
    Honestly, I have to wonder at the accounting used for deciding "cheaper". Sure, maintenance costs are lower, but what is the immediate reactive ability in comparison, because social accounting for military force should always be negative accounting, i.e. "what will it cost us if we do not have X?" As for "efficient", again, I have to wonder. Will there be sufficient time for the upgrading and associated retraining?
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I will later on, at my day job now. For starters just read General James Gavin's famous magazine article from 1958: "Where is our Cavalry and I don't Mean Horses". A Dragoon force...mobile infantry or more important missilemen. is what was and is needed.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Honestly, I have to wonder at the accounting used for deciding "cheaper". Sure, maintenance costs are lower, but what is the immediate reactive ability in comparison, because social accounting for military force should always be negative accounting, i.e. "what will it cost us if we do not have X?" As for "efficient", again, I have to wonder. Will there be sufficient time for the upgrading and associated retraining?
    Never even considered this!

    I think Cheaper is a lazy word, but I can't think of a better one. I guess I mean "some capability for less money".

    The way I would look at this is, if it costs X to have 30 MBTs, procured, crewed and trained, can I get a greater capability, for less or the same money?

    ...and capability is not an ideal word either!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    ...and capability is not an ideal word either!
    Wilf your gonna love this...how about what is the Effect you want to have on the enemy?

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Wilf your gonna love this...how about what is the Effect you want to have on the enemy?
    And that effect varies from place to place, and enemy to enemy.

    Sorry, but I'm not a particular fan of "one size fits all" forces, be they silver bullet forces or "war on the cheap" forces. If you go heavy, what is the cost in terms of time, money, etc. lost when you need to downgrade?

    Slap, read Gavin's article a number of times. It's interesting, but not necessarily a catch-all. I also don't share your fascination with missiles, but that's a different story...

    Seriously, there were some very interesting things that came out of Gavin's article and the later Howze Report. But the Vietnam experience also showed the value of having armor to back up those dragoons in choppers. Likewise, the "tyranny of terrain" turned out being exchanging one limitation (roads) for another (LZs)...and still telegraphed movements to the enemy.

    Operationally, the most effective units in Vietnam were cavalry squadrons (divisional or the components of the 11th ACR)...combined arms units every one. Augmented with dismounted elements (an easy fix, really), they mustered a massive capability for their size and were in great demand throughout the region. Does this mean that they are what we need now? Not necessarily. Just pointing out that the "idea unit" often isn't something that planners can predict (Westmoreland, among others, tried to strip armor out of units coming to Vietnam and was later forced to reverse himself).
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Wilf,

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Never even considered this!

    I think Cheaper is a lazy word, but I can't think of a better one. I guess I mean "some capability for less money".
    I've been thinking a lot about "money" in its different forms and functions recently. One of the key functions is as an "accountancy measure", which is where we usually see "cheap" and "expensive" show up as terms. The problem with that is that all accountancy measures are based on assumed relevance for accounting purposes and, these days, "risk" doesn't enter into many of these schemes as an assumption (outside of the blatant forms such as insurance).

    In another thread, Norfolk used the term "Peace Dividend" which really highlights the problems with a lot of social accounting about the military - it's very short term.

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    The way I would look at this is, if it costs X to have 30 MBTs, procured, crewed and trained, can I get a greater capability, for less or the same money?

    ...and capability is not an ideal word either!
    Agreed, "capability" is not ideal . If we go back to accountancy measures, you could take the cost of unit X and Unit Y, figure the difference to upgrade X to Y in terms of both material cost (purchasing equipment, etc.), training cost, training time (not usually included) and associated risk of not having unit Y during the time to retrain in terms of potential loss. That's only first order accounting . If you want to get into second order effects, look at changes in retention rates based on moral loss, etc.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I agree with Steve and Slapout

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    It is Cheaper and more efficient to incrementally upgrade (light/conventional) infantry forces with vehicles (including armour), ATGMs, MANPADS, and fire support than it is to hold conventional combined arms forces
    That's a totally true statement and it can also be said that it will work.

    The problem as always is in the details -- combat use of vehicles of any type pose maintenance and tactical use issues that normally dismounted troops have difficulty with. Conversely, mounted folks in the dismounted role have tactical problems and logistic issues. If you really want to have fun, put a Mech unit in Choppers for an air assault; seen that -- it's hilarious...

    So, I guess the ol' bottom line is, yeah you can do that -- but should you?

    Which goes back to Steve's and every Military School's 'depends on the situation...'

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    After we came of alert for the 73 Yom Kipor (spell) war the causality estimates for the 82nd were as high as 80%! Bad stuff so General Krosen decided that we needed a better way to fight and we began a series of exercises to prepare us in Retrograde Operations and what does that look like. Hizballah(spell) fought their war almost exactly as the 82nd would have right down to the use of motorcycles. In fact that may be where they learned it from. Our Battalion commander had to carry around a bunch of Arab colonels and a General and show them how we would do it as some type of an exchange program that happened after the war. He was none to happy about it either.

    Once a missile has been developed that can be launched by a single infantryman and penetrate any Armored vehicle, that is a game changing event. Everything is nothing but a platform to launch a missile from the soldier to an ICBM...Shoot-Move-and Communicate. Soldiers should ride as close to the objective as they can get to save their energy. Once at the Objective they can dismount and fight fresh and they shouldn't have to carry all that stuff with them. Nothing but ammo,water and a radio...put the camping gear on a vehicle.

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    Slap, I believe that was in large part the goal of the SRATS program.

    I don't know if it will work. That's not my rice bowl, so to speak. I do know that you can build that vehicle, or one that looks and functions identically, entirely from parts built for offroading.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi SethB, Of course it will work. We proved it clould work as along time racing fan mostly NASCAR but also BAJA 500 now the 1000 fame. This is 1960's technology and very well proven. As part of our Ops they pulled ever Gamma Goat they could find which pretty much did the same thing as the STRATS but not as cool looking.


    You may not be old enogh to know what a Gamma Goat is so here is a link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioK6s...eature=related
    Last edited by slapout9; 03-21-2008 at 02:34 AM. Reason: add link

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post

    Seriously, there were some very interesting things that came out of Gavin's article and the later Howze Report. But the Vietnam experience also showed the value of having armor to back up those dragoons in choppers. Likewise, the "tyranny of terrain" turned out being exchanging one limitation (roads) for another (LZs)...and still telegraphed movements to the enemy.

    Operationally, the most effective units in Vietnam were cavalry squadrons (divisional or the components of the 11th ACR)...combined arms units every one.
    Thank you!! I have to say, I was never impressed with the Gavin article. While some of the observation was incisive, he cherry picked the operational record to prove his point, and this has since been hijacked by the very agenda monkeys, I suspect Gavin despised. We also now know, some of what he stated as authoritative, is entirely false.

    There is always the same old dichotomy of "better using what you have" and "using something better" - failure to understand this has lead to concepts like Manoeuvre Warfare, SBCT and ultimately FCS.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Steve, I don't believe in one stop shopping units either and I don't believe I said that but in the context of the Israeli conflict a Dragoon type unit would have be the better way to go. I am not fascinated by missiles I am an absolute Fanatic about them I was building Estes model rockets since I 10 years old. I hold the distinction of setting the playground on fire from the back blast. I grew up with Missiles including living in Orlando,Fl. during the 1962 Missile Crisis and my parents retired from what was then the Glenn L. Martin Company now Lockeed Martin so I have been around what was known as the back lot where they tested them for sometime.

    Wilf, you are quite right about the Agenda Monkeys he would have had no part of it. It was meant to be an illustration of what I think could be accomplished by Israel or anyone else for that matter if they were in that type of situation. Not sure what you mean about him being proven false?? If anything he has been proven right overtime.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    I am not fascinated by missiles I am an absolute Fanatic about them

    Missiles? I like missiles.
    Last edited by selil; 05-04-2008 at 10:41 PM.
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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Steve, I don't believe in one stop shopping units either and I don't believe I said that but in the context of the Israeli conflict a Dragoon type unit would have be the better way to go.
    No worries, slap. Never thought you did...even if your missile fixation almost seems LeMay-ish....

    Gavin had some good ideas, and many of the ideas put forward in the Howze report were never fully tested. I don't think he foresaw the LZ dependence because in the early stages I don't really think anyone understood just how much work would be involved lifting larger units via helicopter. I know none of the early airmobile folks really understood just how effective air cavalry would turn out to be...or how impressive it would be once it was combined with an armored ground element (the division cavalry squadron). It's a shame how quickly so many of those lessons were lost.

    Missiles are good, like any other weapon, in their proper context. And even some they're not designed for...how many times have we been bitten in our institutional ass because someone forgot what the RPG can do? But if you're dealing with an opponent that doesn't have armored vehicles, missiles can become dead weight...or considered too valuable to use on anything other than a tank. Usually it sorts itself out. But it's also a good example of the situational aspects of conflict.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    Missiles? I like missiles.
    Is that anything like "Mongo like candy."?
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Not sure what you mean about him being proven false?? If anything he has been proven right overtime.
    I merely meant that there are some statements that Gavin made, that I think events have proven to be incorrect.

    Below is Singapore's ATGM vehicle with twin SPIKE LR fibre optic guided missiles. Combined with the 7.62mm MAG on the front, it's the embodiment of the old Soviet "Machine Gun Anti-tank Company". Each AT-Platoon is 10 vehicles. 2-3 platoons per AT Coy.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    I merely meant that there are some statements that Gavin made, that I think events have proven to be incorrect.

    Below is Singapore's ATGM vehicle with twin SPIKE LR fibre optic guided missiles. Combined with the 7.62mm MAG on the front, it's the embodiment of the old Soviet "Machine Gun Anti-tank Company". Each AT-Platoon is 10 vehicles. 2-3 platoons per AT Coy.

    Wilf, uHH Doogies you just made my day....That is What I am talking about!!!!!!

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    This Singapore's ATGM vehicle reminds me Beaufre's TMO structure's mobile commando platoon.

    You can download structure here.
    http://rapidshare.com/files/101250367/TMO.pdf.html

    Here is Singapore's Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System. Take look at page 20.
    http://www.armada.ch/05-6/complete_05-6.pdf

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