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Old 05-21-2010   #21
Red Rat
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Default HQs and Planning Times

We allow (hours):

++++++++++++Execute++++++++++++++Planning and Observation

Corps ++++++++ 48 ++++++++++++++++++++++++ 24-96

Div ++++++++++ 24 ++++++++++++++++++++++++ 12-48

Bde ++++++++++ 12 ++++++++++++++++++++++++ 6 - 30

'Execute' is time from receipt of orders through battle procedure to executing the plan. That is quite slow but:

a) We never claimed to be good at manoeuvre warfare (unlike COIN )

b) Rather then rely on a finely honed HQ of men (and women) tried, trained and few, we have dumbed down our officer corps and added layers of process and bureacracy instead - all of which adds time and diminshes tempo. We call it progress
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Old 05-21-2010   #22
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Those are crappy peacetime figures. They were thrown overboard in 2003 even by the U.S.Army and that was overdue.

Formation leaders who lead from their Schwerpunkt (up front) were able to make on the spot decisions and turn around their formation or a big chunk of it in much less than two hours.


The allowance of days for preparations should be a relic of the days when front lines were established and defended. Formations had to be much, much more agile even back in that long gone age once the front line was penetrated.

Feel free to allow 6-96 hours if you want to recreate France's disaster in 1940.
A German armour Corps was expected to move about 300 km in 96 hrs and to defeat several rifle divisions on the move in '41.
Vehicle cruise speeds were increased by about 50-75% since 1941, communications gear has been improved - modern peer vs peer mobile warfare could easily exceed the gold standards set in WW2 by 25-50%.

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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
Maybe but IIRC, Guderian's Corps orders were for operations were issued about every 24 hours. Orders issued at midnight should carry through for 24 hours. EG: He issues Corps Order No 14 at 20:00hrs on the 27th and does not issue 15 until 23:15 on the 28th.
Month, Year?

Guderian led mostly from up front, so his Corps orders were quite often "follow me" messages. The important decisions were made at the advance party (Vorausabteilung) which was in his direct reach if not direct control.

Last edited by Fuchs; 05-21-2010 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 05-21-2010   #23
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'Execute' is time from receipt of orders through battle procedure to executing the plan. That is quite slow but:

a) We never claimed to be good at manoeuvre warfare (unlike COIN )
Wow... seriously? Where do those times come from? The SOHB? or LWC?
To quote Lt Col Jim Storr, in his work on UK Command.
Quote:
Patton was absolutely clear. In his ‘Letter of Instruction to Third U.S. Army’ , he said that a division should have twelve, or preferably eighteen, hours from the physical receipt of the order from corps headquarters. We will assume that the ‘one thirds, two thirds’ rule applies. That means that at each echelon of command a headquarters should take no more than one third of the total time available to both plan and give its orders. If we have twelve hours for a division, then we have eight hours for a brigade, and about five to six hours for a battle group.
Now actually I think BG's should aim, in training, to complete in 4 hours, so this pretty generous.

Quote:
Rather then rely on a finely honed HQ of men (and women) tried, trained and few, we have dumbed down our officer corps and added layers of process and bureacracy instead - all of which adds time and diminshes tempo. We call it progress
.... that is a huge problem and one that folks keep pointing out, so I wonder why we do nothing about it?
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Old 05-21-2010   #24
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Those are crappy peacetime figures.
Concur
Quote:
Month, Year?
1940
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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 05-21-2010   #25
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Hmm, shock therapy then.

http://wi.informatik.unibw-muenchen....Mellenthin.pdf


Quote:
Commanders and subordinates start to understand each other during war. The better they know each other, the shorter and less detailed the orders can be.
from a corps level wargame:

Quote:
Generals Balck and von Mellenthin accepted the challenge and conferred privately over the map. General von Mellenthin, at one point, turned to the American participants to announce that they would not take long. He observed that in Russia they normally had about 5 minutes to make such decisions. In a very short time they arrayed their forces and expressed their willingness to explain their concept.

There is an almost irresistible temptation to put words in their mouths in the course of explaining their proposal. But in fact it was short, crisp, and simple. Their concept was the following:

(...; 7 bullet points on 3/4 of a page - 186 words - follow. The 8th bullet point is an explanation and cautioning.)
There may be a bit boasting involved, but it fits to German military history writings.


About leading from up front and how it influences the agility of a Corps' leadership: I was quite stunned to learn in 2008 that a Russian division commander had been wounded while being in an advance party, leading from up front a flanking attack. To me, this was the worst news of the month. I did not expect them to behave like that (his bad luck is unsystematic and not of interest).



@Wilf:
You're apparently referring to the hours immediately after the more than three days rest forced on the armour corps by Hitler (the infamous stop order at Dunkirk). Guderian was obviously able to let his corps quite loose in the first hours of advance (15 km to Dunkirk only) after days of waiting & preparations. The anecdote tells therefore little. An average figure for the hot phases (the peak challenge situations) of 1940 and 1941 would be much more telling.

Last edited by Fuchs; 05-21-2010 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 05-21-2010   #26
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
I cannot see any advantage in a multi-national HQs. Why are they required to run multi-national formations, divisions or Corps?


HQ Size: Well here's an issue in itself. HQ benefits nothing from size. There are endless command studies that show this.
There is no advantage in wartime - you do need liaison but otherwise multinationality only creates friction. They are advantageous in peacetime for training purposes, interoperability, and the chance for a, say, Dutch lieutenant colonel to gain experience at a level he is unlikely to reach in his own army.

HQ have gotten so big because generals like big staffs...I have yet to meet one who has failed to criticize big staffs or who has actually reduced the size of his own. Big staffs allow you to revel in the weeds and micro-manage...small staffs can't do that. Also, headquarters no longer have to move, so there is no penalty for a bloated staff, at least not any that show up during a campaign.

Seriously, though, a larger staff does allow the headquarters to perform more functions - not necessarily efficiently or quickly. The root problem is that our leaders have trouble suppressing their appetite for centralization, and functions that were in the past performed at lower levels have continued to migrate upward. Staffs are huge because we have essentially replicated subordinate artillery, engineer, logistical, aviation, and other functional headquarters within the higher echelon.

Ironically, the much slower pace of decision making in counter-insurgency actually encourages the growth of staffs.
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Old 05-21-2010   #27
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Wow... good find. Say what you like about the Germans... but you guys are thorough!

Quote:
@Wilf:
You're apparently referring to the hours immediately after the more than three days rest forced on the armour corps by Hitler (the infamous stop order at Dunkirk). Guderian was obviously able to let his corps quite loose in the first hours of advance (15 km to Dunkirk only) after days of waiting & preparations. The anecdote tells therefore little. An average figure for the hot phases (the peak challenge situations) of 1940 and 1941 would be much more telling.
Understood, but based on Patton's comment, I cannot really see anyone issuing Corps orders more than once per 18 hours at the very most. People need sleep, so unless we have convincing evidence that that wouldn't cut it, I can't see how you can get much quicker than that.
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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 05-21-2010   #28
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Originally Posted by Eden View Post
They are advantageous in peacetime for training purposes, interoperability, and the chance for a, say, Dutch lieutenant colonel to gain experience at a level he is unlikely to reach in his own army.
Concur
Quote:
Seriously, though, a larger staff does allow the headquarters to perform more functions - not necessarily efficiently or quickly.
Yet the almost the sole purpose of staffs is to be quick and efficient.
Quote:
Ironically, the much slower pace of decision making in counter-insurgency actually encourages the growth of staffs.
Concur. Combat operations against competent regular enemies are the most demanding in planning, execution and skill - so yes, "COIN" does not require high staff performance.
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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 05-21-2010   #29
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Why this focus on "Corps orders"?
Where is the stone with the law written in it that says you need to issue regular corps orders, probably even in a certain interval?

A Corps Cmdr can keep his intent and still order a Bde to turn towards another direction to adapt a changed situation.

A Corps Cmdr can also decide on the spot to attack a few hills farther or to attempt an immediate river crossing with the effect that he'll advance another 50 km in a few hours.

A Corps Cmdr can also sense a crisis in one spot and tell a Bde to disengage elsewhere immediately in order to re-engage at the crisis.
Or he might want to make the enemy think that he's up against four brigades instead of one by disengaging and re-engaging from different directions.

Then think about a Bde or Corps being called to another spot ASAP. We don't suggest that the correct answer to the theatre Cmdr is "OK, we'll begin to move in 36 hrs.", do we?


Today's armies are fully motorised with vehicles that can march at 60-90 km/h! There's enough time to be found once you don't aspire to reach another continent by tomorrow.


And sleep? Come on. There's enough time for that once you're tired enough to immediately fall asleep once given the opportunity. Men can keep functioning satisfactorily on only 5 hrs sleep/day for quite a long time. Sleep is a leadership problem.


My take on battlefield agility and quickness is that this is something that can be trained. It takes a few weeks of free play exercises only.
Begin by booting a sluggish Cmdr, then proceed kicking asses and keep "killing" slow Cmdrs during the exercises so their 2nd in Cmd get a chance to prove how quick they are.
Use small formations (small brigades). Use independent units (companies for security, recce).Chase them around, let them turn, disengage, reengage, change defence-offence-march-offence, make sure that no unit goes to rest without making sure that leaving the area in any direction would be a perfectly fluid affair based on a bit organisation and SOPs, let them march in parallel on secondary roads, detect and fire slow-thinking officers, hammer a few slogans into their minds.
A few weeks later, they'll be much, much faster and have more than double the value of an average NATO Corps.


About oversized staffs:
30% of a staff does 70% of the work (if not 20/80!).
5% of the staff officers create 30% of the work - and that's almost entirely unnecessary work because some people simply spin around, keeping people busy for no reason.
In fact, some work that's being done was generated in order to neutralise idiots and keep them from doing actual harm.
Most of the staff work wasn't even thought of before the staff became bloated.

Make sure you have the right Cmdr for the formation and he knows the key people of his staff.
Then force him to select 100 personnel for his staff, take away all others and form some experimental Bn with them.
Then force him to ditch another 10 in the next month, again, again, again and again.
A slimmed-down staff will be unable to keep all that chatter (reports) going and will relieve subordinate units from superfluous reporting and answering.
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Old 05-21-2010   #30
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
A Corps Cmdr can also decide on the spot to attack a few hills farther or to attempt an immediate river crossing with the effect that he'll advance another 50 km in a few hours.
River crossings demand a lot of planning, especially opposed ones, and you may march 50km in a few hours, but 50km opposed advanced will take about 24 hours or more, based on all the analysis I know of.
Quote:
A Corps Cmdr can also sense a crisis in one spot and tell a Bde to disengage elsewhere immediately in order to re-engage at the crisis.
How many vehicles in a Brigade? Brigades cannot just break contact and skoot off somewhere. You need to draw back to assembly areas, plan routes, de-conflict convoys on the MSR etc etc etc.
Quote:
Then think about a Bde or Corps being called to another spot ASAP. We don't suggest that the correct answer to the theatre Cmdr is "OK, we'll begin to move in 36 hrs.", do we?
How far and what's the state of readiness. Switching a Corps between armies, would require at least 24 hours. If you can show me it being done quicker, then I'm all ears.
Quote:
Today's armies are fully motorised with vehicles that can march at 60-90 km/h!
Convoy planning speeds have not changed since WW2 - where all US and UK armies were fully motorised.
Quote:
Men can keep functioning satisfactorily on only 5 hrs sleep/day for quite a long time. Sleep is a leadership problem.
Concur, but you cannot keep a planning staff working 24 hours a day
Quote:
My take on battlefield agility and quickness is that this is something that can be trained. It takes a few weeks of free play exercises only.
Begin by booting a sluggish Cmdr, then proceed kicking asses and keep "killing" slow Cmdrs during the exercises so their 2nd in Cmd get a chance to prove how quick they are.
I do not know. We have little evidence and experience in this area.
Quote:
About oversized staffs:
30% of a staff does 70% of the work (if not 20/80!).
5% of the staff officers create 30% of the work - and that's almost entirely unnecessary work because some people simply spin around, keeping people busy for no reason.
There are a few extensive studies in this area, that reach very firm conclusions, backed up by experience. Formations do not demand much more than 20 officers. The IDF thinks you can work with as little as 10.
Quote:
Make sure you have the right Cmdr for the formation and he knows the key people of his staff.
Concur.
Quote:
Then force him to select 100 personnel for his staff, take away all others and form some experimental Bn with them.
Then force him to ditch another 10 in the next month, again, again, again and again.
At the formation level no experimentation is necessary, at least based on the studies I have seen and the officers I have talked to who study this.
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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 05-21-2010   #31
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I would submit that no western army has conducted a corps-level operation anywhere in the world since 1991, at least not in a tactical sense.
I would disagree. OIF I definately fits the bill for Corps-level tactical operations with at least 3+ Divisions (1UK, 3Inf, 1MarDiv, TF Tarawa) maneuvering under the command of V Corps.
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Old 05-21-2010   #32
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
HQ Size: Well here's an issue in itself. HQ benefits nothing from size. There are endless command studies that show this.

As an aside an IDF Formation HQ is less than 100 men, all up. - It's a Signals Company. The actual key players number less than 10.
Do you have access/links to any of this - all I've been able to find is the (very good) Storr article on Brit Brigades in Gulf War 1 and 2. Staff size (and bloat) has always held my interest as a look into organizational theory/military culture.
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Old 05-21-2010   #33
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River crossings demand a lot of planning, especially opposed ones, and you may march 50km in a few hours, but 50km opposed advanced will take about 24 hours or more, based on all the analysis I know of.
Read the book that I told you about today. ;-)

And btw, who opposed an advance for 50 km in a row? Such a depth of defence is admirable and something I'd really encourage (even more, but that's a long story), but you're unlikely to face it unless you're in pursuit and do it wrongly.

Quote:
How many vehicles in a Brigade? Brigades cannot just break contact and skoot off somewhere. You need to draw back to assembly areas, plan routes, de-conflict convoys on the MSR etc etc etc.
We shouldn't think of brigades as one piece. They're more like a mobile cloud of units.
Their TO&E is furthermore not cast in stone. The byzantine vehicle inventories of modern units are stupid and need to (and can) be changed.

Today's road network density and off-road capability of modern vehicles allows for a great deal of agility & quickness on part of brigades.
The problem are men who haven't been trained to exploit this potential because neither Cold War nor post-Cold War armies have made it a priority.

Last edited by Fuchs; 05-21-2010 at 08:44 PM. Reason: format
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Old 05-21-2010   #34
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Do you have access/links to any of this - all I've been able to find is the (very good) Storr article on Brit Brigades in Gulf War 1 and 2. Staff size (and bloat) has always held my interest as a look into organizational theory/military culture.
Would you by any chance have a link to that article?
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Old 05-22-2010   #35
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Do you have access/links to any of this - all I've been able to find is the (very good) Storr article on Brit Brigades in Gulf War 1 and 2. Staff size (and bloat) has always held my interest as a look into organizational theory/military culture.
Sorry. My source is an IDF Brigade commander, who I spent the best part of day talking to, while watching a tank live firing exercise on the Golan.
Storr is about as good as you get with Command and also someone very familiar with IDF Command issues.
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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 05-22-2010   #36
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And btw, who opposed an advance for 50 km in a row? Such a depth of defence is admirable and something I'd really encourage (even more, but that's a long story), but you're unlikely to face it unless you're in pursuit and do it wrongly.
Good point, but the 2-km/h number comes from a great many sources on overall campaign rates of advance, the exception being desert operations. Even the Soviets only planned on 70-80 km per day - which they admitted was very optimistic.
Quote:
We shouldn't think of brigades as one piece. They're more like a mobile cloud of units.
Their TO&E is furthermore not cast in stone. The byzantine vehicle inventories of modern units are stupid and need to (and can) be changed.
Again concur, but organisation to enable that is pretty critical. Even a slimmed down BG is 70+ vehicles. Most slimmed down formations will be 500+.
Quote:
Today's road network density and off-road capability of modern vehicles allows for a great deal of agility & quickness on part of brigades.
The problem are men who haven't been trained to exploit this potential because neither Cold War nor post-Cold War armies have made it a priority.
In Europe, that true, but stand-off fires and a contested air environment may well make this very challenging.
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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 05-24-2010   #37
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Good point, but the 2-km/h number comes from a great many sources on overall campaign rates of advance, the exception being desert operations. Even the Soviets only planned on 70-80 km per day - which they admitted was very optimistic.

Again concur, but organisation to enable that is pretty critical. Even a slimmed down BG is 70+ vehicles. Most slimmed down formations will be 500+.

In Europe, that true, but stand-off fires and a contested air environment may well make this very challenging.
Concur with all the above. Even in NW Europe with its infrastructure, trying to find routes capable of taking main battle tanks can be challenging. Good staffwork (especially in coordinating instructions) is about identifying the exceptions that will derail the plan.

Of course much of the problems involved are not insurmountable, but because they are not practiced we have introduced a greater degree of friction again. IMHO part of the reason the UK army has got so bureacratic is not because things are necessarily more complex (I am with Jim Storr on this one) but because in the old days we would have said 'SOP' and everyone would have known what to do. Now we say 'SOP' (standard operating procedures), and everyone has to look it up and discuss it. This is particularly true for formation level manoeuvre.

By the way, the UK army no longer conducts field training above battlegroup level.
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Old 05-24-2010   #38
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By the way, the UK army no longer conducts field training above battlegroup level.
I guess we'll just have to hope that all our potential enemies feel the same way. - Sometime this year I might visit a "Brigade Live Firing" exercise. Clearly not the UK Army!!
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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 10-01-2012   #39
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Default A multinational formation

Fuchs, according to FM 3-31:
Quote:
effective planned and executed multinational operations should in addition to achieving common objective, facilitate unity of command without diminishing freedom of action and preserve unit integrity and uninterrupted support.
With this being said, I believe the DIV should be the lowest tactical level a multinational unit should operate. The DIV has the resources, can coordinate and has the expertise to deal with the myriad of issues a multinational force operationally operates.

r/
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**The views expressed in this are those of MAJ Rizzuto, Command and General Staff College, and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, DoD or the US Government. **


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...and now to something completely different, something that will likely not interest most Americans:


We had and have a fashion in Central Europe, the creation of multinational corps and formations.

A multinational formation is the Franco-German Brigade in Müllheim/Donauschingen/Immendingen (isn't it funny? Germany comes first in its German designation; Deutsch-Französische Brigade ).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-German_Brigade

A multinational corps example is the I. German/Dutch Corps.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I._German/Dutch_Corps

There was much talk about "combined" ops, but these multinational efforts were rather of political nature than about military necessities in my opinion.

I like the idea of multinational corps because they offer better opportunities to gain and sustain experience at the leadership level of a Corps for smaller armies (like the Dutch one). There's also a small gain in experience by learning from each other. The cohesion problem shouldn't be serious with national formations in a multinational Corps.


I do dislike the concept of a multinational Brigade for its serious cohesion and friction disadvantages. It would be OK if we would rotate it - for two years a Brigade with the Danes, next two years with the Dutch, next two years with the Czechs, then French, Belgians and again. That would at least maximize the learning and exchange effects.
The permanent (and politically quite immune) Franco-German Brigade is a dumb idea form a military point of view (or actually, mine).
It's immune to disbanding because every step back in European unification process is being considered to be a disaster and spell of doom for the EU (quite an exaggeration), but not on my part). The multinational Brigade and Corps are being considered to be prototypes for a unified European military, and seen as permanent. It would be politically very difficult to end the experiment.



Any thoughts?

Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-01-2012 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Fix quote
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