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Old 10-02-2010   #21
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Pentomic infantry divisvion consisted of five subunits commanded by colonels. The initial intent of the modularity mafia was to create five BCTs from division assets only. Hmmm - coincidence?

From what I read, Pentomic divisions did not include armor divisions which remained combat commands.
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Old 10-04-2010   #22
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I'm still struggling to learn whyTF the division has come back to favour with so many people. It's obvious to me that we should delete the division level, not the corps level.
Sorry, I disagree. Although I like the idea of having brigade groups you'll still need an intermediary HQ between Corps and Bde if not because of span of control then information overload (I think the two might be connected. A purely divisional HQ outfit, no supporting arms (etc), purely devoted to C&C (anyone remember that game? brings back memories...) will be needed (as per UK practice). In fact, if 'm not mistaken the whole Uv/Ux/Uy/Uz (or whatever the acronymns are, Yanks really do love 'dem acronyms) is based on the concept that a "divisional" type HQ will be set up (on an ad hoc basis) to manage the bdes. Can't see a corps commander having to deal with up to 5 manouvre bdes, a couple o' support bdes, maybe an artillery bde or two (if the US still has those of course) and maybe an aviation bde (for starters). Of course if fewer bdes are attached you've just got an old school Div anyway. Come to think of it, IIRC I read somewhere that US doctrine calls for US commanders to plan two levels below them (hardly aufragstaktik, but if it works for them, who am I to judge). IFF (if and only if) that's the case then a Corps cdr is going to have to plan not only for the 5 bdes (my maths isn't as good as TAH's, or anyones for that matter, so 'll forgoe mentioning the other bdes) but also for their constituent bns (lets say four) for a total of 20 and five Bde HQ. That's my take on it anyway.

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Old 10-04-2010   #23
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I can describe a leadership & command method that easily allows for such a corps, the span of command is no insurmountable challenge. It's basically about horizontal cooperation instead of synchronization planning, Auftragstaktik and about a different training of leaders.

Military history has seen many highly successful operations with a very small amount of directions from corps or division down to brigades.
The challenge at the operational level doesn't seem to be the span of command, but the understanding of the situation and issuing missions in a timely fashion.
An emphasis on reconnaissance / skirmishing forces helps with the former, minimal staff sizes and careful selection & training of leaders and staff personnel helps with the latter.

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Old 10-04-2010   #24
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I can devise a leadership & command pattern that easily allows for such corps, the span of command is no insurmountable challenge. It's basically about horizontal cooperation instead of synchronization planning, Auftragstaktik and about a different training of leaders.
Straight up, I'm sceptical about that but would love to stand corrected and see this occur. I think it might run all very well so long as every thing was IAW THE PLAN but at the point of departure from THE PLAN, I think the corps staff, no matter how augmented by staff and technology, would be unable to keep up with events. The complexity would not come so much from the conduct of combat/kinetic operations but from the need to sustain those forces one their initial loadout was consumed and equipment began to require maintenance, recovery, etc...

A centralised headquarters would also be just that, centralised, keeping the next higher level of command and coord away from where operations are being conducted i.e. unless the missionspace is so small or the tempo so slow, the corps command can only be close to some not all of the actions that may need influence/guidance from the next level up...
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Old 10-04-2010   #25
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Well, this may be the right time to mention that I'm not exactly convinced of planning or even a fan of planning. I'm more into creating opportunities and exploiting the same with cat-like reactions.

The force densities and the mobility of a well-organized and well-trained battalion exceed the horizon of a divisional headquarters anyway. To restrict brigades to Div Cmd and to lead a corps operation by issuing orders to two or three divisions isn't going to work well any more any way.

Such a mode adds too many restrictions, too many delays, too much friction ... let's just mention that it's a bad idea. The time of the division has passed away. it has actually passed away back in the 50's when NATO planned to defend a 1,000 km front-line in Central Europe with basically only 26 divisions instead of having 100-400 divisions on a 1,000 km front-line as Europe experienced it a few years earlier. The wide frontages required a mobility and agility which simply didn't fit into the division corset.

West Germany would have introduced a brigade-centric army without divisions based on late war experiences in the 50's, but didn't for entirely political reasons: The government had promised 12 "divisions" to Western Allies.

That's how outdated the division actually is.
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Old 10-04-2010   #26
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Default OK... frunning the BS flag up the pole

I don't even know where to start... but I will do my best to be brief...

Mandatory caveat upfront... I too am a fan of reducing unnecessary levels of bureacracy where and when appropriate...

"I'm not exactly convinced of planning or even a fan of planning. I'm more into creating opportunities and exploiting the same with cat-like reactions."

Hmmmm.... Not sure which of the two to begin with... is it that you don't enjoy planning or is it that you don't find the activity of identifying likely future challenges and possible solution approaches very productive? Trust me, I hate planning too... it sucks... never ending series of what if's that the CDR wants examined... that said, perhaps not everyone has cat-like reactions or that they should have cat-like reactions... sometimes you have to go slow to go fast... maybe this approach is good up to a certain point... but to be honest I'm not a fan

"Such a mode adds too many restrictions, too many delays, too much friction ... let's just mention that it's a bad idea. The time of the division has passed away. it has actually passed away back in the 50's when NATO planned to defend a 1,000 km front-line in Central Europe with basically only 26 divisions instead of having 100-400 divisions on a 1,000 km front-line as Europe experienced it a few years earlier. The wide frontages required a mobility and agility which simply didn't fit into the division corset."


Which operations are you referencing? Division centric operations in DS/DS weren't overly pedantric... leash was logistical not an inability to operate without detailed orders... OIF 1 wasn't exactly plodding either on the combat side... again logistics was the leash (that and a biblical-esque mud shower)...

How exactly have Division staffs impeded BCT operations in OIF/OEF beyond initial combat operations???

"The West German Army would have moved to BCT centric forces if not for NATO..."

and the obvious reason that keeps popping up... Resourcing, Managing and synchronizing non-maneuver combat enablers/forces

Redundancy in these capabilities is not sustainable (pun intended)... or at least that seems to be the case in this instance

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Old 10-04-2010   #27
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Which restrictions?
Well, a corps might order one division to give a Bde to another Div, but then you're again at a higher span of command for the latter division (and the div/bde staffs don't know each other). Keeping brigades under command of a specific division ties them together. You get bundles of brigades which you couldn't move as freely in a corps sector as you could without the division layer. That's one restriction.

A corps HQ has a picture of the corps area, issues missions to division HQs which in turn update their own intent and issue orders to brigades.
The lag in here should be obvious. Such a lag is a restriction on agility of command.


I'm not particularly interested in DS or OIF experiences. That's like boxing experiences based on punching ball training. The fact that there were problems at all is embarrassing. A competent army would have created very different challenges and a modern army structure should not be modelled with the least problematic and long since gone opfor in mind.
Yet, if OIF was of interest; the British 1 Armoured Division wasn't an effective HQ in that operation. It issued few orders, and those came often very late. The brigades pulled their weight.


By the way; the quotation marks (" ") are not for paraphrasing. Your third quote was paraphrasing and I would appreciate not to see false quotes.

I can assure you that nobody in the 50's thought of "synchronizing", for that is a much newer fashion - and mostly an anglophone fashion. There's an official military history book on the early years of the Heer (up to 1970) and it clearly tells us that the reason for the division in the second army structure was a political one. The German experts were advocating a brigade-centric army. The result was the Division 59, an often-copied structure which focused on the brigades and left only a small role for the division.
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Old 10-05-2010   #28
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The math earlier in this thread regarding span of control is incorrect. A Corps C2s (commands and controls) 3-5 divisions, plus appropriate support brigades (usually, a maneuver enhancement BDE, combat aviation BDE, battlefield surveillance BDE and fires BDE). A Division C2s 3-5 BCTs, plus appropriate support BDEs (usually, a CAB and a fires BDE, at least). So, eliminating the division HQ would increase span of control from 7-11 to 19-34.

Are there any examples of a military HQs handling that kind of span of control during operations? I can't think of any.

In LTC Melton's article on small vs large BCTs http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview...g05/melton.pdf discusses the span of control hypthetical for OIF 2003, in light of his proposed organization.

Using the proposals here to eliminate the division, span of control for V Corps in OIF 1 would have increased from 23 to 77. I reached this by using the task organization listed in On Point, beginning on pg 510 of the pdf file, or p 454 of the document. http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/download/csipubs/OnPointI.pdf In reaching the second count, I counted BN and BDE size elements that were directly subordinate to the divisions, the COSCOM and CORPS ARTY (division level elements). I assumed that the CO and smaller elements would have been split out to the BDEs if the divisions were eliminated. I can't see how a HQ manages 23 subordinates, even though some of them are fairly limited in scope, much less 77.

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Old 10-05-2010   #29
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The math earlier in this thread regarding span of control is incorrect. A Corps C2s (commands and controls) 3-5 divisions, plus appropriate support brigades (usually, a maneuver enhancement BDE, combat aviation BDE, battlefield surveillance BDE and fires BDE). A Division C2s 3-5 BCTs, plus appropriate support BDEs (usually, a CAB and a fires BDE, at least). So, eliminating the division HQ would increase span of control from 7-11 to 19-34.

Are there any examples of a military HQs handling that kind of span of control during operations? I can't think of any.

In LTC Melton's article on small vs large BCTs http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview...g05/melton.pdf discusses the span of control hypthetical for OIF 2003, in light of his proposed organization.

Using the proposals here to eliminate the division, span of control for V Corps in OIF 1 would have increased from 23 to 77. I reached this by using the task organization listed in On Point, beginning on pg 510 of the pdf file, or p 454 of the document. http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/download/csipubs/OnPointI.pdf In reaching the second count, I counted BN and BDE size elements that were directly subordinate to the divisions, the COSCOM and CORPS ARTY (division level elements). I assumed that the CO and smaller elements would have been split out to the BDEs if the divisions were eliminated. I can't see how a HQ manages 23 subordinates, even though some of them are fairly limited in scope, much less 77.
This will be a learing lesson for me. In OIF1 the brigade commanders reported to BGs right? The BGs reported to the division commander. What if the BGs were removed - does that limit the layers or is that too much for the division commander and his deputy to manage? The BGs removed fill corps staff positions probably like they do now. So that would be 3-5 BCTs, a FA brigade, sustainment brigade and CAB reporting to the division commander. Again, is that too much?

What if corps and division were combined - the division commanders are part of the corps command staff during operations? That might be putting many eggs in one basket.

It seems what LTC Melton recommends is combining BCTs, with a BG as the commander. This removes the BG as the "middle man" in drug enforcement talk - buy directly from the source. I'm I 2way off here and I need to stick to drug law enforcement or should I be promoted to general?
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Old 10-05-2010   #30
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The time of the division has passed away. it has actually passed away back in the 50's when NATO planned to defend a 1,000 km front-line in Central Europe with basically only 26 divisions instead of having 100-400 divisions on a 1,000 km front-line as Europe experienced it a few years earlier. The wide frontages required a mobility and agility which simply didn't fit into the division corset.
For all your bold pronouncments on the invalidity of the Division, the relative incompetence of the US Army, etc, etc there is nothing I can see that backs up your theories of an all singing, all dancing Corps that can handle such a large span of command.

The fact that all armies use a Division (a grouping of small formations), have used the division since Napoleon, and continue to use the Division as a organizational construct either means every professional military out there is crazy or perhaps you have to present a better case. I'm not being argumentative here - I am honestly asking you to present a comprehensive case as you've merely hinted at things with your posts.

LCol (ret) Jim Storr puts for a convincing argument of Divisional command in his book. He cites some operational analysis (on your favorite war, not the "punching bag" wars) of over 200 battles that concludes that the practical span of command for commanders is actually quite low - 1.7 subordinates committed on average to combat. This suggests that, historically, Division commanders have put forth at most 8 companies during a majority of their actions. Employment in DS and OIF seems to validate this observation.

The "so what" out of this is that bigger formations are unwieldy, despite the notions of "combat power" we like to ascribe to them. Combat power is nice, but only if the organization is one that can be properly utilized by a human commander.

Having a Corps Commander with 20-40 subordinates seems to fly in the face of this and unless you are going to take humans out of the equation, I don't know how you are going to get around it. What we probably need is smaller Bdes, Divs, and Corps served by smaller staffs.

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Yet, if OIF was of interest; the British 1 Armoured Division wasn't an effective HQ in that operation. It issued few orders, and those came often very late. The brigades pulled their weight.
The article Command of British Forces in Iraq (attached somewhere in these threads) indicates otherwise. Brigades in general suffer from the same problems that Divisions do in that the C2 is clunky and focused on output rather than outcome. The most famous example was the British Bde that issued orders to its battalions to take Basrah - 24 hours after those battalions had already entered the city.

I'd also challenge that command is a human thing, not a technical one, and that observing divisions in Iraq in 2003 is just as valid as France in 1940 as the essential human dynamic is unchanged.

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Old 10-05-2010   #31
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LCol (ret) Jim Storr puts for a convincing argument of Divisional command in his book. He cites some operational analysis (on your favorite war, not the "punching bag" wars) of over 200 battles that concludes that the practical span of command for commanders is actually quite low - 1.7 subordinates committed on average to combat. This suggests that, historically, Division commanders have put forth at most 8 companies during a majority of their actions.
So that study finds that, instead of the span of 5-7 commonly held to be manageable, actual practice is much less than that i.e. 1.7? Might that be commanders focusing on their main effort operation and leaving supporting operations to their staff to manage? Does he distinguish in the study between the span of a commander i.e. the individual, and the span of command i.e. a command headquarters and staff? Please don't misread the question as critical of the statement - I think it's a fascinating insight and am just seeking clarification for myself.

Once again, just for myself, how does that reduced span link into the 8 companies in the next sentence? Is that a reduction of the number of companies by the same reduction as for the span of command?
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Old 10-05-2010   #32
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What we probably need is smaller Bdes, Divs, and Corps served by smaller staffs.
That's different than what I usually hear. Many on this board (and other boards I've lurked on) seem to advocate a return to big brigades of three or four battalions.

The idea of a smaller division with a smaller staff is interesting. Am I correct that commanders of most Roman legions actually commanded about 10,000 men in the field because the famed legions of 5000 - 6000 men were supported by an almost equal number of auxiliaries? And, of course, the Mongol tumen was 10,000.

I don't know if those examples are applicable to modern warfare but I find it interesting that their strength is what we would think of as a small division.
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Old 10-05-2010   #33
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I'd say, though, that their support overhead would be a lot smaller though...no troublesome '6' to bitch about comms problems, a '4' whose main problem was skill in foraging...
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Old 10-05-2010   #34
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I'd say, though, that their support overhead would be a lot smaller though...no troublesome '6' to bitch about comms problems, a '4' whose main problem was skill in foraging...
You so funny.
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Old 10-05-2010   #35
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The emphasis was on "committed" in regard to "8 companies". Storr links it also to organization and appears to dismiss whatever the other units are doing (reserve, security..) as uninteresting.
---------------------------------------------------------

I wrote a lengthy response with an example of a typically complex action, but this is not the right place for such details. This has to suffice:


The current system is not very indicative or the actual potential for another reason; a different system would need a different doctrine and different training. It's doable.
Guderian is known as champion of armoured divisions and as influence on tank development and production. His most important contribution was another one, though: He transformed his armour commanders into commanders which were useful in his new system. He had to exorcise the fear of open flanks and slowness, for example. He had to select daring officers with the inner urge to move forward. The officer corps of 1935 wasn't suitable for the armoured division actions of 1940. Those actions would have appeared foolish and impossible in 1935 to most officers (and actually kept looking foolish & impossible up to their success in May 1940). They WERE impossible with 1935's officers.

The corps concept which I'm thinking of would require a different officer training, even if applied in Germany.
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Old 10-05-2010   #36
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That's different than what I usually hear. Many on this board (and other boards I've lurked on) seem to advocate a return to big brigades of three or four battalions.

The idea of a smaller division with a smaller staff is interesting. Am I correct that commanders of most Roman legions actually commanded about 10,000 men in the field because the famed legions of 5000 - 6000 men were supported by an almost equal number of auxiliaries? And, of course, the Mongol tumen was 10,000.

I don't know if those examples are applicable to modern warfare but I find it interesting that their strength is what we would think of as a small division.
The span of command at that time depended on marching speed, courier rider speed and visual battlefield range. 25,000-30,000 was the practical corps/army size until the 19th century.
This doesn't tell us much about today. It's merely interesting up to the early 20th century divisions, which were almost that large.
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Old 10-05-2010   #37
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Which restrictions?
Well, a corps might order one division to give a Bde to another Div, but then you're again at a higher span of command for the latter division (and the div/bde staffs don't know each other). Keeping brigades under command of a specific division ties them together. You get bundles of brigades which you couldn't move as freely in a corps sector as you could without the division layer. That's one restriction.

A corps HQ has a picture of the corps area, issues missions to division HQs which in turn update their own intent and issue orders to brigades.
The lag in here should be obvious. Such a lag is a restriction on agility of command.


I'm not particularly interested in DS or OIF experiences. That's like boxing experiences based on punching ball training. The fact that there were problems at all is embarrassing. A competent army would have created very different challenges and a modern army structure should not be modelled with the least problematic and long since gone opfor in mind.
Yet, if OIF was of interest; the British 1 Armoured Division wasn't an effective HQ in that operation. It issued few orders, and those came often very late. The brigades pulled their weight.


By the way; the quotation marks (" ") are not for paraphrasing. Your third quote was paraphrasing and I would appreciate not to see false quotes.

I can assure you that nobody in the 50's thought of "synchronizing", for that is a much newer fashion - and mostly an anglophone fashion. There's an official military history book on the early years of the Heer (up to 1970) and it clearly tells us that the reason for the division in the second army structure was a political one. The German experts were advocating a brigade-centric army. The result was the Division 59, an often-copied structure which focused on the brigades and left only a small role for the division.
Example 1: Task Organization... you find your example a restriction... that Armies in general and the US in particular find the attachment of another maneuver force troublesome? Which decade and situation do you refer to??? 101st received a balanced TF during OIF and we couldn't be happier... and I KNOW if you asked the LTC or CPTs in that unit that they would overwhelmingly tell you we employed them properly... and in the end they wanted to wear our combat patch... they were fairly emphatic... we certainly didn't find them a burden... nor did they feel as if they were malused or somehow otherwise neglected... anecdotal evidence - certainly... any less rigorous than your hypethetical... nope

Example 2: Orders process... exactly how deliberate/regimented do you perceive the orders process to be in execution??? Corps finishes their order, then the Division starts, etc? Beyond the initial orders self-flagulation that might be CLOSER to reality, but not really representative of the parallel nature of the process... in combat the orders are actually without much delay at all because we've already done the staff work prior to receipt of the order... The fact that a British Division issued the order after the fact is not necessarily a condemnation... I don't KNOW, but I SUSPECT the order was meant to "clean up" the battlefield and formally capture the VOCO issued as commanders executed with CAT-like reflexes... an order as opposed to a FRAGO actually has a shelf life... since I don't presume that our British allies are a bunch of bungaling baboons... I think it likely to be closer to the truth

Example 3: DS and OIF are not valid... they are what we have in the last 20 years... so we should delve back to the 1940s or 1950s or 1960s as more representative of our likely future challenges??? Why is that? For which future challenges should we organize???..

False quotes... my deepest apologies... did I misrepresent the West German's allies by calling them collectively NATO? If so, mea culpa... For the record, I don't find the 1970's German Army particularly interesting so I guess we are even... However, for the sake of argument... that force would be used to do what??? defend the IGB... didn't have to deploy (actually was against the constitution right?) fought on intimately familiar terrain... known and well rehearsed OPLANS... hardened facilities and incredibly nice road and rail infrastructure... this is exemplar and more intellectually interesting than the fights of the past 20 years in terms of informing the future???

To be perfectly honest, I'm usually far more swayed by your logic
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Old 10-05-2010   #38
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This will be a learing lesson for me. In OIF1 the brigade commanders reported to BGs right? The BGs reported to the division commander. What if the BGs were removed - does that limit the layers or is that too much for the division commander and his deputy to manage? The BGs removed fill corps staff positions probably like they do now. So that would be 3-5 BCTs, a FA brigade, sustainment brigade and CAB reporting to the division commander. Again, is that too much?

What if corps and division were combined - the division commanders are part of the corps command staff during operations? That might be putting many eggs in one basket.

It seems what LTC Melton recommends is combining BCTs, with a BG as the commander. This removes the BG as the "middle man" in drug enforcement talk - buy directly from the source. I'm I 2way off here and I need to stick to drug law enforcement or should I be promoted to general?
No, the DCG is not a link in the chain of command between BDE/BCT and DIV- he is just what the name says, a deputy. The chain of command goes DIV CG to BCT CDR. The DCG assists the DIV CG as he (the DIV CG) directs/requires.

As understand things, the traditional division is for the DCG-Operations/Maneuver to run the DIV TAC, the COS to run the DIV MAIN, and the DCG-Support to run the DIV REAR. This leaves the CG to place himself where he feels best, based on the fight. Obviously, this construct is better suited to a linear MCO, and to the traditional organization that had these 3 organizations (TAC, MAIN, REAR). I'm not sure exactly how DCGs are employed today- I'm sure there are members that can detail it better than I can- I've never worked above BCT.

As I understand LTC Melton, he is about maximizing span of control (4 BNs, RECON, FA, EN, BSB, a couple separates) is alot for a BCT to manage, but doable (in my opinion). In conjunction with the original concepts of modularity, I think we can eliminate one headquarters for most operations (MCO excepted), but at the cost of the huge increase in the BCT staff that we experienced in the 2004-2006 changes. Tradition kept us from implementing it, just like (AIUI) traditionalists killed the pentomic organization.

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Old 10-05-2010   #39
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Well, this may be the right time to mention that I'm not exactly convinced of planning or even a fan of planning. I'm more into creating opportunities and exploiting the same with cat-like reactions.
Based on my reading of German military history (Moltke the Elder and his political mirror image excepted-Bismarck) I'd say that's been a problem for a while. Yes, sure you can create opportunities on the battlefield, exploit gaps and infiltrate entire armour coprs into the Ardennes (for instance)...but then what? Dunkirk? Orsha?(i.e. the command conference duruing Op Barbarossa, eastern front). How the hell do you "plan" (sorry, dirty word) for contingencies (in a world of finite resources and a limited force size at your disposal)? How do you know which manourvre groups need to be augmented with extra armour/artillery/infantry/engineers? Where do you take an operational or even (if you're feeliong lucky) and operational pause to allow your log tail (or log pack if you're feeling corporate) catch up with you?

Oh look, we've penetrated 50 miles into Clairmont(Kelly Heroes reference there for all you fans!) shame we didn't have any bridging equipment or have sufficient logistics stored to maintain it given that our feline reflexes meant that all our unused CSS elements were commited to another bright spark suffering from over-activity! OTOH, ooooops, I really wich we'd thought this through (aka "planned") and had an extra few inf bns to secure our flanks (etc., etc., etc.). Or something along those lines.

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Old 10-05-2010   #40
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Posts: 3,189
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Well, thanks. I'll work on another way to communicate my idea and reasoning, for this crude & short approach obviously didn't work.

A proper explanation would take a dozen pages and reveal more than I'm read to publish today.
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