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Old 12-21-2008   #401
Distiller
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Both the ground troop head honcho and the pilot should have their asses kicked for such a stunt. I'm not against stunts, but they have to have some merit. Can't see one here, only the risk of 75 troops lying burnt and crippled on an Afghan mountainside.
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Old 12-25-2008   #402
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Default As the culprit who introduced the CH-53E discussion

and the ensuing hijack down the path of vertical envelopment , I feel the need to redirect to the original track. Rifle Squad composition.

In the past pages a mention of the Marine Corps testing of a 12 man squad under combat conditions surfaced. The Marines were going to test the one man shorter squad in Afganistan in 2007-2008.

Did it happen? And has there been any comments on this "new" size aquad and its effectiveness?

Did the Marine Corps make the first fireteam leader the squad leader with responsibilities to lead his fireteama nd the other two in his squad?

Any comment or statement about how this concept was received bythe troops and what kind of problems stuck their ugly heads up during the testing period, would be appreciated.
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Old 11-04-2009   #403
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
30 Man Platoon Outline

Manning
1 Officer, 1 Sergeant, 2 Corporals, 2 Lance Corporals, 24 other ranks

Weapons.
30 x Individual Weapons/Carbines (5.56mm)
6 x 40mm UGL kits, or 40mm launchers
2 x GPMG (7.62mm)
2 x Long Range Rifles (8.6mm)
1 x 60mm Mortar Hand Held
2 x MAW, - Alcotan / Panzerfaust / 84mm
M72 type LAW and M200 type Rifle grenade issued as required.

3 x ATGM Posts held for Anti-armour mission

Communications
30 x PRR
6 x PRC-148 or 710 type multi-band hand held.
1 x HF Manpack
6 x Commanders GPS sets (PLGR) and PDAs

Night Vision
30 x NVG and IR Weapons pointer
4 x Weapons mounted Long Range Night Sight
4 x Thermal Weapons sight
6 x Light Weight Laser Range Finder

Organisations organised by mission, transport and operational requirement.
2 x Multiples
Each multiple is 3 x 5 man teams. Each multiple Commanded by the Platoon
Commander, and the Platoon Sergeant.
3 x Sections
3 Sections of 2 x 5 man teams, or each section as 3,3,4 groups.
5 x Sections of 6 men
6 Sections of 5 men.

Transport (as dismounts)
5 x 6 man APC
4 x 8 man APC (2 spare seats)
3 x 10 man APC
10 x M/WMIK crews (2 Sections of 5 vehicles)
I just came upon this thread, so forgive me for posting so late.

Mr. Owen, I had a couple questions about your 30-man platoon TOE from way back.

I recognize the desire to pack more HE tossers into the platoon, but does this really leave enough basic infantry for CQB, room clearing, and so on in a 30 man platoon?

If you have 5 CSWs (2xGPMG, 2xMAW, 1x60mm mortar, not including ATGMs), you'll tie up at least 10 men carrying and supporting them. Take away two more for the LRRs, for a total of at least 12 soldiers tied up supporting CSWs or wedded to a big weapon. You may even tie up more as ammo bearers for the CSWs.

Add in 3 ATGM posts plus missiles and that's at least another 6 soldiers. Given that, and taking away the PL and PS, two thirds of your platoon will be non-door kickers.

I see you also include a carbine for each man in the platoon, allowing some men to drop their CSW and become riflemen, as needed. However can a foot-borne CSW gunner reasonably carry a carbine plus ammo in addition to his CSW+ammo? They are probably overloaded as it is (especially factoring in body armor).
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Old 11-04-2009   #404
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Smitty, if you have 3 ATGMs in use, you are probably not in a serious door kicking (i.e. COIN/CT) environment. If you are facing tanks, you probably are focused on that level of threat.
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Old 11-04-2009   #405
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Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
Smitty, if you have 3 ATGMs in use, you are probably not in a serious door kicking (i.e. COIN/CT) environment. If you are facing tanks, you probably are focused on that level of threat.
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Understandable, but then does the Company keep the ATGM posts when not in use? If that's the case, why not just have the ATGMs at the Company level and attach as needed to Platoons?

Regardless, even without the ATGMs, there are still at least 12 soldiers tied up with CSWs or LRRs. Is this a reasonable ratio of riflemen to CSW/LRRs?

On a separate note, I worry that rounds for the current crop of crew-served MAWs are just too heavy to carry in significant numbers. The average CG round weighs 3+kg. Most other MAW rounds are significantly heavier (IIRC, Panzerfaust 3 rounds are >10kg each). How many rounds does an average 2-man CG team carry? 4?

This is where the RPG-7 is nice. It has a range of rounds from 2kg to 4.5kg.
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Old 11-05-2009   #406
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Smitty View Post
If you have 5 CSWs (2xGPMG, 2xMAW, 1x60mm mortar, not including ATGMs), you'll tie up at least 10 men carrying and supporting them. Take away two more for the LRRs, for a total of at least 12 soldiers tied up supporting CSWs or wedded to a big weapon. You may even tie up more as ammo bearers for the CSWs.


Add in 3 ATGM posts plus missiles and that's at least another 6 soldiers. Given that, and taking away the PL and PS, two thirds of your platoon will be non-door kickers.
Who carries what weapon and when would be decided by the mission. This is what the platoon has available, NOT what the platoon carries. Items not in use would be back-loaded.

Nor are the scales absolute. I would expect the scales to vary with mission and the type of formation. Facing a lot of armour (could happen), you would need double the ATGM posts.

....and this is not the last word in TOE. It's merely an example to extrapolate things from. I'm speaking about scaling the platoon at a conference in Brussels in December, so I'll be working on this some more. Thanks for the interest.
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Old 11-25-2009   #407
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What about the addition of a spotting scope per GPMG team? This way the biggest source of direct firepower would have excellent observation capabilities at hand. It should greatly enhance the capability to detect and identify the targets and to observe the effect of the force (suppressive fire by the GPMG, the effectivness of the IDF and so on)

Firn

P.S: One in Owen's DMR team would of course be nice too. In decent conditions you can easily see moving men from 15km or more with a good one. I recently came across the very interesting book 'Sniping in France, with notes on the scientific training of scouts, observers, and snipers'. It of course a bit biased, having been written in 1920 by Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard, but is very informative and not only concerning the quintessential importance of telescopes (spotting scopes) for observation in both static and open warfare.

Last edited by Firn; 11-25-2009 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 11-25-2009   #408
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Quote:
What about the addition of a spotting scope per GPMG team?
I'd say no. The are bulky and not so easy to put into use. A good quality pair of binos or a well-glassed monocular is satisfactory.

Last edited by jcustis; 11-25-2009 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 11-25-2009   #409
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
I'd say no. The are bulky and not so easy to put into use. I good quality pair of binos or a well-glassed monocular is satisfactory.
That is what I thought too before I spend some time with a good spotting scope. On can get one suited for most situations for 0,7 kg with a light tripod. With 1,3 kg you can have a brilliant one. There is a huge world of difference between a quality spotting scope with a 30x W (or 20-60x) eye piece or and 7x or 12x binos. You must try and see to believe. One can easily get handheld a rather steady picture with some aiming technique and a steady one when using a tree or wall. A tripod is of course the best way to use it.

Overall I do think that pound for pound it can be a very valuable addition, especially in places like Afghanistan. To exchange some firepower for far more observation power can be the sine qua non.

Firn

P.S: The Part III of the Appendix (p. 239) has some of the many observations in the book. Interesting aspects are the close link between observes with telescopes and aerial photography or the close cooperation between machine guns, snipers and artillery with the observer with the so priced telescopes.

Last edited by Firn; 11-25-2009 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 11-25-2009   #410
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firn View Post
P.S: The Part III of the Appendix (p. 239) has some of the many observations in the book. Interesting aspects are the close link between observes with telescopes and aerial photography or the close cooperation between machine guns, snipers and artillery with the observer with the so priced telescopes.
Yep, that's the part of the book most "Snipers" don't bother reading. (It's Part IV, Appendix C, page 192 in the Leo Cooper 1994 Edition.) I strongly recommend all of the Appendix. It shows how far many modern sniper doctrines have strayed from the original intent, and yet cling to the least relevant parts.

Hopefully UK operations in Afghanistan are forcing some long over-due changes.
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Old 11-25-2009   #411
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It's OK for a picket team, but I wouldn't include a spotter scope into a squad in general. It's enough if two are available at the platoon sergeant's vehicle.
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Old 11-25-2009   #412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
It's OK for a picket team, but I wouldn't include a spotter scope into a squad in general. It's enough if two are available at the platoon sergeant's vehicle.
Not sure I agree. If you want every fire-team in the platoon to be able to perform an OP task, then a good tripod mounted spotting scope per team is a good idea. Having said that, something like this maybe a much better choice lb for lb.

....and yes, it's Israeli, but I've actually played with it, so I'm more confident in it's recommendation.
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- 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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Old 11-25-2009   #413
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That's strange. I thought I knew that you like the equipment pool concept.

It's called "Mutterschiff " (concept) concept in Germany. An infantry squad has a mothership (Boxer APC) where it leaves all unnecessary equipment. This allows for much more equipment for choice than the squad could reasonably carry at once. A squad .50BMG rifle and Pzf3 munitions, for example.

I applied this to the platoon for even less often needed equipment; a spotting scope, for example.
So there would be a squad mothership and a platoon mothership (platoon Sgt vehicle).

I would assign spotting scopes to the latter because it's unlikely that the platoon needs to equip more than two observation posts with such a device.

The utility of such a scope is after all
- to detect/identify something far away (beyond the normal area of interest/weapon range of infantry)
- to identify suspicious objects within weapon range (but at the upper end of it) that could not be identified with binoculars (snipers).
Both preferably from a fixed position.

The long range aspect reduces the quantitative requirement; a platoon could make do with two easily in almost all situations.


We should also keep in mind that monocular optics are quite exhausting to the eye and have a very small field of view due to their strong magnification; they're therefore not very good for general observation tasks (detecting movements).

- - - - -

Thermal sensors are great for the detection of otherwise adequately camouflaged targets/objects and for looking/aiming through simple smoke - and not for much else afaik.
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Old 11-25-2009   #414
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I like the concept of a sensible pool of ressources strapped to an AFV or stored in a combat outpost. I think there is a natural tendency by the boots on the ground to do just that. If they do so always with sensible stuff is another question.

Thinking of the example in this post I can see how 4-6 spotting scopes for a platoon in an Combat outpost on an Afghan hilltop could make quite a difference. Perhaps a mixture between larger and smaller ones would be wise.

Let us take the mission of this platoon. Basically you would want to have at least a spotting scope in an overwatch position, best if teamed with an GPMG, a DM, HE-projector and someone capable to control and direct indirect fire. With binos and something like CORAL-CR (target acquisition capabilities and thermal sensor) you have a complete sensor package to support your other elements around and in the village quickly. This means something from 6-9 people.

On of the other elements might also want to have one spotting scope if the establish an OP outside or inside the village. In this specific instance it could also have been helpful. So you have a need for something between two and four spotting scopes, with the others remaining at the outpos. Others may need less, while under some (very) rare circumstance not even one might be useful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs
The utility of such a scope is after all
- to detect/identify something far away (beyond the normal area of interest/weapon range of infantry)
- to identify suspicious objects within weapon range (but at the upper end of it) that could not be identified with binoculars (snipers).
Both preferably from a fixed position.
Agreed, although many underestimate the ability to get a quick stable position with a spotting scope, especially in the 15-30x range.

Quote:
We should also keep in mind that monocular optics are quite exhausting to the eye and have a very small field of view due to their strong magnification; they're therefore not very good for general observation tasks (detecting movements).
I do not agree with the notion that they are that exhausting. If you cover your passive eye up and look with both eyes open through a good optic you don't tire too easily. Still I would swap eyes after 10-15 minutes, perhaps even before. For general movement detection binos are usually far better, however for small movements in distant places spotting scopes are great. With a 30x fixed eyepiece you have roughly a field of view of 35-40m at 1000m.


Firn

Last edited by Firn; 11-25-2009 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 11-25-2009   #415
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I meant "fixed position" tactically, not mechanically; a unit not moving. Spotting scopes aren't what a patrol leader would use on a 30 sec stop.

I have a dominant eye (which happens to have less sight clarity nevertheless). Viewing through a monocular with the other one is very tiring - and the idea of binoculars is very much based on the notion that binoculars are less straining to use.
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Old 11-25-2009   #416
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News from UK.

Quote:
The British Army is already providing an immediate
response by redeploying 7.62 mm L96 sniper
rifles (made surplus by the arrival of the L115
.338 rifles) and 7.62 mm L7 General Purpose
Machine Guns (GPMGs) down to section level,
carried by foot patrols. This is good, but not
ideal; the manually-loaded L96 is slow-firing,
the GPMG very heavy.
http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/btbjdw.pdf

It seems that 1 unit has HK 417 in squad.

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Old 11-25-2009   #417
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaur View Post
The British Army is already providing an immediate
response by redeploying 7.62 mm L96 sniper
rifles (made surplus by the arrival of the L115
.338 rifles) and 7.62 mm L7 General Purpose
Machine Guns (GPMGs) down to section level,
carried by foot patrols. This is good, but not
ideal; the manually-loaded L96 is slow-firing,
the GPMG very heavy.
GPMG very heavy? Really? Compared to what? A Javelin Round? Sorry but the article referenced is trying to say that something that is not actually a problem, is problem.

GPMGs into the platoon, some sniper weapons, and light mortars solves 90% of the problems. Giving every man an HK-417 just makes the old problem worse and the platoon less effective per kg of carried weight. The UK could solve the problem. It chooses not to.
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- 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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Old 11-25-2009   #418
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Also interesting to see that (on the photo that Kaur posted) the UK SF are using L85's instead of their much lighter Colt Canada sfw (M4 with 16" barrel). Wonder if that is for increased long range accuracy or maybe to do with reliability. The latter would be a reverse from early L85 days.
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Old 11-26-2009   #419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
Also interesting to see that (on the photo that Kaur posted) the UK SF are using L85's instead of their much lighter Colt Canada sfw (M4 with 16" barrel). Wonder if that is for increased long range accuracy or maybe to do with reliability. The latter would be a reverse from early L85 days.
These guys are actually SFSG, so not actually SF. They are using the L85 because they are not scaled as SF except for UORs. SF are still using C8's (L-119) ... last I heard.
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- 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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Old 11-26-2009   #420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
These guys are actually SFSG, so not actually SF. They are using the L85 because they are not scaled as SF except for UORs. SF are still using C8's (L-119) ... last I heard.
Ah, I see, all maka da sense now. That's partly the 'old' 1-Para, isn't it?
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