• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

KevinB

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,188
Points
910
No. Not on your life. There is no way we could develop the right kind of leaders, above the rank of Major/MWO or so, to man such a formation - alone - in the reserves.

If you have a Reg F Bde that is 'augmented' with Reservists, then that might work. Over the course of 10-15 years you could then try to grow the reserve capabilities to staff up complimentary units, possible to BGp size.
I agree with you. I probably should have clarified, I believe the CF needs to fully integrate the Reg and Res structure - which will probably mean zero room for any Res Officers above Maj for some time - and very few NCO's above WO.

As the experience level grows - and a new reserve system gets implemented - that could change.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,900
Points
1,040
No. Not on your life. There is no way we could develop the right kind of leaders, above the rank of Major/MWO or so, to man such a formation - alone - in the reserves.

If you have a Reg F Bde that is 'augmented' with Reservists, then that might work. Over the course of 10-15 years you could then try to grow the reserve capabilities to staff up complimentary units, possible to BGp size.
I tend to agree and am starting to think that in general all battalions/regiments and brigades should be in a 30/70 or 70/30 RegF to Res F mix depending on their primary role. The important considerations are:

1) the Reg F components must mostly exist in full subunits so that they can properly train, career develop, maintain proficiency, develop doctrine and deploy if necessary;

2) the Res F components must be looked at primarily as an in-an-emergency-break-the-glass force, have a regulated training program designed to meld with their Reg F counterparts, must at the DP1 and DP2 level be trained identically as individuals on the same equipment as their Reg F counterparts and undergo collective training annually at least at the sub-unit but preferably at the unit level.

So when I say a 30/70 bn I mean one which has one full Reg F rifle company and two full Res F rifle companies and a spread throughout the rest of the bn at a roughly 30/70 level. Basically the Bn HQ can administer and train as a battalion year round with the one company that it has and ordinary Reg F career progression goes on with them. During peacetime it could even deploy a Bn HQ and rifle company with support from within its Reg F strength and Res F volunteers. In an emergency it can be mobilized as a full battalion. The Res F companies could have either a small Reg F cadre to provide leadership and support or draw those individuals from the reminder of the battalion as required.

A 70/30 bn would reverse the Reg F to Res F ratio and have two full rifle companies and one full Res F rifle company with the same 70/30 split in the HA and support companies. The point here is that subunits are 100% Reg F or 100% Res F (albeit such subunits might be augmented by a small RSS like staff from within the battalion.

In essence the 70/30 battalions would be at a higher level of readiness and deployment capability. In both cases each battalion would have the responsibility to train its Reg F elements during the Sep to May period and its Res F elements (as well as Reg F DP1 and 2 training) during the May to Aug period.

Ideally the battalion should be fully equipped for both its components but, in the short term until such equipment is available the Res F elements would train on their Reg F counterparts equipment. Obviously where equipment is only shared, full mobilization becomes problematic.

Brigades work in the same way. A 70/30 brigade group might have two 70/30 battalions and one 70/30 battalion and vice versa. Either way the brigade still has the ability to train full-time as a 3 battalion brigade group.

Certain trades could be predominantly or exclusively 30/70 units such as artillery and armour. Others should be predominantly or exclusively 70/30 such as brigade level CSS, while above brigade level CSS could be 30/70 or even less.

Basically leadership positions within the Res F would rise above the major level only rarely where an individual has undertaken the necessary training to rise above that rank and has achieved an acceptable amount of full-time experience. Certain trades might be able to achieve that more easily then others especially in support trades where an individual has similar civilian employment and been able to gain the requisite skills and experience.

So let's talk cap badges and geography.

Basically 70/30 bns remain at their Reg F bases and are based on existing Reg F bns. Their respective Res F battalion could come from any region of the country but should obviously be as close to the Reg F unit as possible. 30/70 bns on the other hand should be cap badged to whatever Res F units we want to perpetuate. The bulk of the Res F element of the bn HQ and support companies would be from that perpetuated unit. Their two Res F companies could be based on existing Res F units and one could even go so far as to allow each company to perpetuate a specific Res F unit (hell, give each of them their own honourary LCols too - but not honourary Cols) The bn headquarters should be in the local city from which their reservists are drawn. That leaves the question of the Reg F company/battery/squadron etc. That could vary. Some could be attached for training to a 70/30 bn at a Reg F base during the Sep to Apr training cycle. Others, depending on their needs could be put into the local region of their parent unit. We still have a mixture of urban and near urban bases that could accommodate a company sized element with adequate range and training facilities albeit they would need to travel to a larger base for more complex collective training. What's important, however, is that the battalion retains command over both its Reg F and Res F elements at all times and is responsible for their development.

Deployments.

We've already touched on that but based on the fact that 70/30 and 30/70 bns all have Reg F leadership either one can have its Reg F component deploy augmented by Res F volunteers from across the country or even with other Reg F subunits (as we've frequently done in Afghanistan). It's the same with brigade HQ. Since even a 30/70 brigade headquarters has Reg F leadership its deployable with augmentation and leaving an adequate level of rear party behind.

Numbers

I haven't run a staff check on math but based on 30/70 and 70/30 splits, one could theoretically realign our three Reg F and ten Res F manoeuvre brigades into three 70/30 brigades and three 30/70 brigades. With the current count of mech equipment we should be able to form:
  • one fully equipped 70/30 heavyish bde gp with one tank regiment and two mech inf bns with two bns worth of LAVs;
  • one partially equipped 30/70 heavyish bde gp with one tank regiment and two mech inf bns with one bn worth of LAVs;
  • one partially equipped 70/30 mech bde gp with three mech bns but only two bns worth of LAVs;
  • one partially equipped 30/70 mech bde gp with three mech bns but only one bn worth of LAVs;
  • one fully equipped 70/30 light bde gp; and
  • one fully equipped 30/70 light bde gp
I still see a bigger role for CS and CSS so at a minimum I would split the CCSB into one 30/70 CS brigade and one 70/30 CSS brigade. On top of that I'm highly open to creating at least one new 30/70 CSS bde even at the expense of one manoeuvre bde gp.

Overall numbers do not change. The intent is to create a better trained and more integrated Res F while reducing "non deployable" formations and units HQs into fewer but more "deployable" formation and unit HQs and subunits and to ramp up augmentation and mobilization capabilities.

🍻
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
1,010
Here's a basic question which I think has a big influence on how we choose to structure the Reserves.

Say we have a Reg Force Brigade which we deploy into a high-intensity conflict. As this Brigade begins to take loses are we going to use our Reserves to replace those loses and keep the Brigade up to strength, or are we going to replace the Brigade with new, fully formed Reserve Brigade?

For example, 2 Canadian Light Infantry Brigade Group is deployed to block a Russian incursion from Belarus into Poland and sustains losses. Do we replace that Brigade with 20 Canadian Light Infantry Brigade Group (Reserve) or do we use the personnel and equipment from 20 CLBG(R) to bring 2 CLBG back up to strength?

If the former, then maybe the 70/30 Reg Force Brigade - 30/70 Reserve Force Brigade structure makes sense. If however you're going to use your Reserves to reinforce the existing units then maybe it makes more sense to increase the number of units/sub-units within the Reg Force Brigade Structure rather than create additional Reserve Brigades (with all the overhead that comes with them).

So 2 CLBG might have 1 RCR, 2 RCR, 3 RCR, 4 RCR(Res), 5 RCR(Res) and 6 RCR(Res). Or alternately 1 RCR might have 3 x Reg Force Companies and 3 x affiliated Reserve Companies. These associations between Reg Force and Reserve units/sub-units could strengthen the level of cooperation and trust between the components of the Army.

I guess there are advantages to both approaches. Total unit replacement allows you to field a larger force and maybe has a short term advantage in unit cohesion (at least until losses require augmentation from other units) while reinforcement perhaps has some logistical advantages as you are only supporting the one Brigade in theatre, not both the original Brigade (which presumably you're now trying to bring back up to strength) and the new Brigade.
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
4,591
Points
1,060
I tend to agree and am starting to think that in general all battalions/regiments and brigades should be in a 30/70 or 70/30 RegF to Res F mix depending on their primary role. The important considerations are:

1) the Reg F components must mostly exist in full subunits so that they can properly train, career develop, maintain proficiency, develop doctrine and deploy if necessary;

2) the Res F components must be looked at primarily as an in-an-emergency-break-the-glass force, have a regulated training program designed to meld with their Reg F counterparts, must at the DP1 and DP2 level be trained identically as individuals on the same equipment as their Reg F counterparts and undergo collective training annually at least at the sub-unit but preferably at the unit level.

So when I say a 30/70 bn I mean one which has one full Reg F rifle company and two full Res F rifle companies and a spread throughout the rest of the bn at a roughly 30/70 level. Basically the Bn HQ can administer and train as a battalion year round with the one company that it has and ordinary Reg F career progression goes on with them. During peacetime it could even deploy a Bn HQ and rifle company with support from within its Reg F strength and Res F volunteers. In an emergency it can be mobilized as a full battalion. The Res F companies could have either a small Reg F cadre to provide leadership and support or draw those individuals from the reminder of the battalion as required.

A 70/30 bn would reverse the Reg F to Res F ratio and have two full rifle companies and one full Res F rifle company with the same 70/30 split in the HA and support companies. The point here is that subunits are 100% Reg F or 100% Res F (albeit such subunits might be augmented by a small RSS like staff from within the battalion.

In essence the 70/30 battalions would be at a higher level of readiness and deployment capability. In both cases each battalion would have the responsibility to train its Reg F elements during the Sep to May period and its Res F elements (as well as Reg F DP1 and 2 training) during the May to Aug period.



🍻

The largest regiment in the British Army served successfully on continuous operations for over 20 years, roughly along those lines. They were also the first regiment to fully integrate women into their structure, quite successfully. Might be worth having a look at their approach from some good ideas:


The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was an infantry regiment of the British Army established in 1970, with a comparatively short existence ending in 1992. Raised through public appeal, newspaper and television advertisements,[1] their official role was the "defence of life or property in Northern Ireland against armed attack or sabotage" but unlike troops from Great Britain they were never used for "crowd control or riot duties in cities".[2][3][4] At the time the UDR was the largest infantry regiment in the British Army, formed with seven battalions plus another four added within two years.[5]

It consisted mostly of part-time volunteers until 1976, when a full-time cadre was added.[6] Recruiting in Northern Ireland at a time of intercommunal strife, some of its (mostly Ulster Protestant) members were involved in sectarian killings.[7][8][9][10] The regiment was originally intended to more accurately reflect the demographics of Northern Ireland, and began with Catholic recruits accounting for 18% of its soldiers; but by the end of 1972, after the introduction of internment this had dropped to around 3%.[11] It is doubtful if any other unit of the British Army has ever come under the same sustained criticism as the UDR.[12]

Uniquely in the British Army, the regiment was on continuous active service throughout its 22 years of service.[6] It was also the first infantry regiment of the British Army to fully incorporate women into its structure.[6]

Battalion structure​


The first seven battalions raised made the UDR the largest infantry regiment in the British Army at that time.[43] Two years later, four more were added, taking the total to eleven – 8th (County Tyrone); 9th (Country Antrim); 10th (City of Belfast) and 11th (Craigavon).

The regiment was described in 1972 as:

Organised into 11 Battalions (59) companies: two in Belfast and the remainder cover county or sub-county areas. Seven of the eleven are commanded by regular commanding officers. In addition the training majors, quartermaster, regimental sergeant majors, chief clerks, and signaller NCOs are also regulars. There are a number of 'conrate' (full-time UDR) posts in each unit, including adjutants, permanent staff instructors, security guards, etc. Many of the officer and senior rank conrates are ex-regulars. The remainder are part-timers. Their main tasks are guarding key points, patrolling, and surveillance, and manning vehicle checkpoints. They do not operate in the 'hard' areas of Belfast, and are not permitted to become involved in crowd confrontations anywhere. Men are armed with self-loading rifles or sub-machine guns. The current strength of the Regiment is 7910.[65]
Until 1976 the full-time cadre were "conrates" (so called because they had a "consolidated rate of pay")[66][67] whose duties consisted of guarding bases and carrying out administrative tasks. The role of the regiment was expanded by raising full-time platoons, known as "Operations Platoons", to perform duties on a 24-hour basis. The first of these was raised at 2 UDR under the command of a sergeant. By the end of the 1970s, the permanent cadre had been raised to sixteen platoons. These were then increased to company strength with the conrate role being phased out and full-time UDR soldiers undertaking their own guard duties and administration.[68]

The full-time element eventually increased to more than half the total personnel.

In 1990, the regiment's numbers stood at 3,000 part-time and 3,000 full-time soldiers, with 140 attached regular army personnel in key command and training positions.[69] The standard of training of the permanent cadre made them suitable to be used in much the same way as regular soldiers and it was not uncommon for regular army units to then come under local command and control of a UDR Battalion Headquarters.[70]

The dispersal of UDR soldiers into their areas of responsibility was through sub-barracks of platoon or company size. Battalion headquarters would usually be located in the county town, but not always as some counties had two battalions. Guarded by conrate soldiers, these barracks would become doubly active after 6pm as part-time soldiers arrived for evening duties. After Ulsterisation began in 1976, many battalion headquarters had full-sized permanent cadre companies and these would maintain a 24-hour presence in the battalion's "tactical area of responsibility" (TAOR).

An example of this structure can be seen in the make-up of 2 UDR based at Drumadd Barracks in Armagh:

CompanyPart/Full-timeBaseHours of dutyNumber on duty
HQ CoyMixedArmagh, Command, Control & AdminAdmin 9-5, Watchkeepers 24 hr9-5 = 15, 24hr = 5
A CoyFull-timeArmagh2435
B CoyPart-timeArmagh/Newtownhamilton/Caledon7 pm – 2 am35
C CoyPart-timeGlenanne7 pm – 2 am35
D CoyPart-timeLoughgall7 pm – 2 am35

Sub-headquarter units would maintain contact with their own patrols and HQ by radio. In many cases the radios were operated by Greenfinches (female soldiers),[71] whose husbands or sons and/or daughters were on one of the active patrols, which led to tense moments when mobile units or foot patrols came under attack and submitted a "contact report" by radio.

 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060

ACE Mobile Force (Land) - North has been much on my mind of late. It was a light force, air-deployable, equipped with Bv206s (prepositioned) and a 105mm battery. It may have had an attached troop of engineers.

The standard call from SHAPE was for a single, reinforced battalion of:

3 Rifle Companies
1 Support Company with Mortar and Anti-Tank Platoons
1 Recce Platoon
1 Sigs Platoon
1 Pioneer Platoon
1 Fd Artillery Bty or Hy Mor (120mm) Platoon
1 Air Contact Team
1 HQ Liaison Officer

Medical Support to RAP and Chaplain
Ordnance and Supply Dets
Provost Section

This was essentially a standard Canadian battalion with an Artillery bty attached.

It was the alternate light grouping to the Canadian Airborne Regiment.


What happens if this:

Brigadier in charge of Militia Division is put in charge of the Reg Brigade.
The Reg Brigade then splits into two permanent elements that report to the Brigadier.

One element is the Light Infantry Battle Group under a Lt Colonel replicating the ACE Mobile battle groups. Notably we now have better air transport. That would give us three rapid reaction units, with or without airborne capabilities. They would regularly exercise with available helicopters.

The other element would be a Regimental Combat Team under the full Colonel currently commanding the Brigade Gp.

Two RCTs would be based on 2 LAV Infantry Battalions each, with the RCAC providing a large, independent Recce/ISR squadron, and a separate Armoured Defence squadron. Artillery, Engineers and Service Support to suit.

The third RCT would be based on the Swedish Pansar model with 3 Combined Arms Battalions/Regiments - each of two small MBT "squadrons" of 11 (using 66 of our available Leos and leaving 16 in reserve) and two LAV "companies" (size 11 to 16 vehicles each). Each with its own Recce tp. RCT to have separate Recce and Armoured Defence troops. Again Artillery, Engineers and Service Support to suit.

That gives 6 independently deployable entities. And if nothing else the Brigadier can have fun putting his light force against his heavier force and seeing how they make out.


By my count that means

3 Lt Bns, 4 LAV Bns, (7 of 9 existing Bns)

3 Recce Sqns, 3 Armoured Defence Sqns, (6 of 9 existing Sqns)
6 small MBT Sqns and 6 LAV Coys

The 5 remaining Lt Cols (2 Inf and 3 Armd) can fight it out for slots and reassign infantry and armd troops under their command as they see fit.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,900
Points
1,040
Here's a basic question which I think has a big influence on how we choose to structure the Reserves.

... As this Brigade begins to take loses are we going to use our Reserves to replace those loses and keep the Brigade up to strength, or are we going to replace the Brigade with new, fully formed Reserve Brigade? ...
The system I talked about above is designed to provide more deployable bde and bn HQs and deployable sub-units regardless of how they'll be used. In WW2 Canada trained and sent formed bns to the UK. Once they reached the maximum number of deployed divisions and brigades, replacement battalions were basically broken up on arrival and fed in as individual replacements rather than as formed units.

The important thing is to have a choice. If the system is to do individual augmentees or replacements from the get-go then you cannot replace full units or expand the size of the deployed force. If the system is designed to generate replacements as formed units then you still have an option to break the unit up and feed it in piecemeal. Incidentally the same goes for equipment. You can't replace battle damaged gear if you aren't holding replacement gear.

Any good army mobilization plan should have two clear elements to it: 1) how we expand existing military resources to full combat status and 2) how do we generate additional troops from the civilian population and more equipment from industrial base if required. I don't know for sure but I'm pretty positive that Canada does not have any viable mobilization plan.

ACE Mobile Force (Land) - North has been much on my mind of late. It was a light force, air-deployable, equipped with Bv206s (prepositioned) and a 105mm battery. It may have had an attached troop of engineers.
I was part of AMF(L)'s 105 mm L5 battery from 1972 to 1976 (Never went to Norway but had a sweet trip to Northerb Italy out of it). We were much more equipped with M113s, Lynxes, M577s and M548s then BVs and depended more on strategic Norwegian demolitions to stop the advancing Russians than our own firepower. Essentially we were the equivalent of the Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics but without a permanent presence.

There was nothing particulalry special about the AMF(L) battle group other than its tasking. In the 70s, We had three "lightish" brigades (actually at that time the brigades in Canada were known as "Combat Groups") with roughly nine battalions (there was some flux going on) and could form five such battle groups (mainly because 3RCHA and 5RALC only had two six-gun L 5 batteries each and 2 RCHA only had one six-gun L 5 battery (The AMF(L) battery). There was an additional L 5 battery dedicated to the Airborne and another with the Artillery school (with a variety of guns) and we even were able to fudge another six-gun C1 battery into 2 RCHA) That essentially left three to four battalions with no guns unless you mobilized reserve C 1 batteries which was a viable option in those days.

I didn't like our system in Canada then because we felt pretty second class to our big brothers in 4 CMBG in Germany. More important, other than the AMF(L) and to a limited extent the CAST Combat Group, we didn't really feel we had much of a role in life. Defence of Canada is a somewhat nebulous concept when you consider the vast territory, the lack of numbers and lack of equipment. Even now, when you think about it, its hard to get anywhere and once there its hard to be able to act, shield and sustain yourself. There's little threat there that can't be better dealt with than with air power and missiles. Believe me there is very little in the role that makes a young soldier say "this is sh*t-hot stuff I'm doing". At least in the 70s we could look forward to a posting to 4 CMGB at some point in our careers.

I've run your sample organization through my head several times and in essence (if I have it right) you end up with three Reg F Bdes with each brigade having one light Reg F battle group and one Regimental Combat Team. In two brigades the RCT has two mech bns plus recce/ISTAR, arty engr and CSS attachments while the third RCT has three combined arms bns (two LAV coys and 2 small tank sqns each) plus recce/ISTAR, arty, engr and CSS attachments. Unless I'm mistaken this is all accomplished with Reg F personnel while the Res F is left off to its own devices or plugging gaps in the three brigades.

I could see it done but I'm not really sure why. You could do all of this out of the existing establishment of the Reg F brigades with temporary regroupings which strike me as a bit more flexible that the suggested RCT construct. By cutting manoeuvre units down to ten bns (3 Lt, 4 LAV, 3 combined arms) rather than the existing twelve (3 Lt, 6 LAV and 3 armd) you put an added load on battlegroup HQ deployment rotations. One of my objectives was to create more deployable headquarters so that battlegroup deployed rotation load and Bde HQ deployed rotation loads can be spread out amongst more elements.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
4,591
Points
1,060
There was nothing particulalry special about the AMF(L) battle group other than its tasking.

🍻

Having been part of the AMF (L) Brigade in the north, our understanding that the 'tasking' was to make sure that someone from almost every NATO country was killed or wounded by a Soviet led invasion, mainly so those NATO countries couldn't wriggle out of their mandate to defend Europe.

Preferably, we would be extinguished while gloriously defending Norway or Denmark by Russian, and not other Warsaw Pact, troops.

Our equipment levels reflected that mission and wasn't too far removed from fairly lightly armed foot/lorry borne troops in WW2.

It wasn't until you added the 'heavy metal' of the Norwegians and USMC that we finally amounted to more than Motor Rifle Regiment roadkill.

In other words, I'd be careful about using the AMF (L) as an example for much apart from a 'forlorn hope'.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,900
Points
1,040
Having been part of the AMF (L) Brigade in the north, our understanding that the 'tasking' was to make sure that someone from almost every NATO country was killed or wounded by a Soviet led invasion, mainly so those NATO countries couldn't wriggle out of their mandate to defend Europe.

Preferably, we would be extinguished while gloriously defending Norway or Denmark by Russian, and not other Warsaw Pact, troops.

Our equipment levels reflected that mission and wasn't too far removed from fairly lightly armed foot/lorry borne troops in WW2.

It wasn't until you added the 'heavy metal' of the Norwegians and USMC that we finally amounted to more than Motor Rifle Regiment roadkill.

In other words, I'd be careful about using the AMF (L) as an example for much apart from a 'forlorn hope'.
Bingo.

As I said, I put most of my faith into those Norwegian demolitions which were to bring down all the bridges and fill the valleys with mountain rubble.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
The system I talked about above is designed to provide more deployable bde and bn HQs and deployable sub-units regardless of how they'll be used. In WW2 Canada trained and sent formed bns to the UK. Once they reached the maximum number of deployed divisions and brigades, replacement battalions were basically broken up on arrival and fed in as individual replacements rather than as formed units.

The important thing is to have a choice. If the system is to do individual augmentees or replacements from the get-go then you cannot replace full units or expand the size of the deployed force. If the system is designed to generate replacements as formed units then you still have an option to break the unit up and feed it in piecemeal. Incidentally the same goes for equipment. You can't replace battle damaged gear if you aren't holding replacement gear.

Any good army mobilization plan should have two clear elements to it: 1) how we expand existing military resources to full combat status and 2) how do we generate additional troops from the civilian population and more equipment from industrial base if required. I don't know for sure but I'm pretty positive that Canada does not have any viable mobilization plan.


I was part of AMF(L)'s 105 mm L5 battery from 1972 to 1976 (Never went to Norway but had a sweet trip to Northerb Italy out of it). We were much more equipped with M113s, Lynxes, M577s and M548s then BVs and depended more on strategic Norwegian demolitions to stop the advancing Russians than our own firepower. Essentially we were the equivalent of the Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics but without a permanent presence.

There was nothing particulalry special about the AMF(L) battle group other than its tasking. In the 70s, We had three "lightish" brigades (actually at that time the brigades in Canada were known as "Combat Groups") with roughly nine battalions (there was some flux going on) and could form five such battle groups (mainly because 3RCHA and 5RALC only had two six-gun L 5 batteries each and 2 RCHA only had one six-gun L 5 battery (The AMF(L) battery). There was an additional L 5 battery dedicated to the Airborne and another with the Artillery school (with a variety of guns) and we even were able to fudge another six-gun C1 battery into 2 RCHA) That essentially left three to four battalions with no guns unless you mobilized reserve C 1 batteries which was a viable option in those days.

I didn't like our system in Canada then because we felt pretty second class to our big brothers in 4 CMBG in Germany. More important, other than the AMF(L) and to a limited extent the CAST Combat Group, we didn't really feel we had much of a role in life. Defence of Canada is a somewhat nebulous concept when you consider the vast territory, the lack of numbers and lack of equipment. Even now, when you think about it, its hard to get anywhere and once there its hard to be able to act, shield and sustain yourself. There's little threat there that can't be better dealt with than with air power and missiles. Believe me there is very little in the role that makes a young soldier say "this is sh*t-hot stuff I'm doing". At least in the 70s we could look forward to a posting to 4 CMGB at some point in our careers.

I've run your sample organization through my head several times and in essence (if I have it right) you end up with three Reg F Bdes with each brigade having one light Reg F battle group and one Regimental Combat Team. In two brigades the RCT has two mech bns plus recce/ISTAR, arty engr and CSS attachments while the third RCT has three combined arms bns (two LAV coys and 2 small tank sqns each) plus recce/ISTAR, arty, engr and CSS attachments. Unless I'm mistaken this is all accomplished with Reg F personnel while the Res F is left off to its own devices or plugging gaps in the three brigades.

I could see it done but I'm not really sure why. You could do all of this out of the existing establishment of the Reg F brigades with temporary regroupings which strike me as a bit more flexible that the suggested RCT construct. By cutting manoeuvre units down to ten bns (3 Lt, 4 LAV, 3 combined arms) rather than the existing twelve (3 Lt, 6 LAV and 3 armd) you put an added load on battlegroup HQ deployment rotations. One of my objectives was to create more deployable headquarters so that battlegroup deployed rotation load and Bde HQ deployed rotation loads can be spread out amongst more elements.

🍻

There was nothing particulalry special about the AMF(L) battle group

That's a good thing. I don't want special. I want available.

We had three "lightish" brigades (actually at that time the brigades in Canada were known as "Combat Groups")

Also a good thing. We have three Battle Groups and three "lightish" Brigades (-). A combination of a lack of heavy kit and a lack of transport to move heavy kit makes this about as good as we get. In the meantime we have 3 Brigade constructs that can be deployed immediately or enhanced by Canadian active or reserve assets or by allied assets. We also have three light battle groups that can be deployed independently, form the basis of an expanded group or added to the RCTs. I consider that a reasonably flexible organization.
I didn't like our system in Canada then because we felt pretty second class to our big brothers in 4 CMBG in Germany

Unless I'm mistaken this is all accomplished with Reg F personnel while the Res F is left off to its own devices or plugging gaps in the three brigades.

That is a correct reading of the suggestion.

I could see it done but I'm not really sure why. You could do all of this out of the existing establishment of the Reg F brigades with temporary regroupings which strike me as a bit more flexible that the suggested RCT construct

I agree it could be done. And it should be done. But it isn't being done. The "RCT" types in the Brigade Gps seem to have no time for the Lt Battalion types - except for wishing that they were riding along in the back of the LAVs with them.

By separating the entities then I hope to have the two entities given time and space to concentrate on their own particular capabilities.



Our equipment levels reflected that mission and wasn't too far removed from fairly lightly armed foot/lorry borne troops in WW2.


Or the CAR in Cyprus?

Or the Paras and Commandos on the Falklands?

Or the Argylls in the Crater?

Or operations in the Balkans, or Malaysia, or Kenya or Indonesia

Or a hundred and one other post WW2, Cold War expeditions that happened while the Russians traded cigarettes and Vodka with the BAOR.


And thanks for the reminder that well placed demolitions can be more effective than a fire plan.


I know that there are jobs that are not interesting. Sitting around Canadian garrisons is probably one of them. A posting to Germany, or Norway, or Italy, or Cyprus, or Sinai, or the Caribbean, or all sorts of other places probably livens up a soldier's life regardless of the kit he is issued.
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
4,591
Points
1,060
That's a good thing. I don't want special. I want available.



Also a good thing. We have three Battle Groups and three "lightish" Brigades (-). A combination of a lack of heavy kit and a lack of transport to move heavy kit makes this about as good as we get. In the meantime we have 3 Brigade constructs that can be deployed immediately or enhanced by Canadian active or reserve assets or by allied assets. We also have three light battle groups that can be deployed independently, form the basis of an expanded group or added to the RCTs. I consider that a reasonably flexible organization.
I didn't like our system in Canada then because we felt pretty second class to our big brothers in 4 CMBG in Germany



That is a correct reading of the suggestion.



I agree it could be done. And it should be done. But it isn't being done. The "RCT" types in the Brigade Gps seem to have no time for the Lt Battalion types - except for wishing that they were riding along in the back of the LAVs with them.

By separating the entities then I hope to have the two entities given time and space to concentrate on their own particular capabilities.






Or the CAR in Cyprus?

Or the Paras and Commandos on the Falklands?

Or the Argylls in the Crater?

Or operations in the Balkans, or Malaysia, or Kenya or Indonesia

Or a hundred and one other post WW2, Cold War expeditions that happened while the Russians traded cigarettes and Vodka with the BAOR.


And thanks for the reminder that well placed demolitions can be more effective than a fire plan.


I know that there are jobs that are not interesting. Sitting around Canadian garrisons is probably one of them. A posting to Germany, or Norway, or Italy, or Cyprus, or Sinai, or the Caribbean, or all sorts of other places probably livens up a soldier's life regardless of the kit he is issued.


We had skis to go up against 7 airborne divisions plus some other stuff, like commando units, that were all (mostly) mounted in armoured vehicles.

So, pretty much a fair fight then :)
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,900
Points
1,040
We had skis to go up against 7 airborne divisions plus some other stuff, like commando units, that were all (mostly) mounted in armoured vehicles.

So, pretty much a fair fight then :)
We had lovely little Italian pack howitzers.

67677912_2498550303617188_8041577051959853056_n.jpg


I think your mob had them then as well.

See that little tube gizmo on the front of the shield. Yup, that's a yoke so that you could hitch the gun to a donkey, mule or horse. The true meaning of Horse Artillery.

😁
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
We had skis to go up against 7 airborne divisions plus some other stuff, like commando units, that were all (mostly) mounted in armoured vehicles.

So, pretty much a fair fight then :)

Not a fair fight. But Canada was offered the opportunity to preposition 4 CMBG in Norway and declined. The problem is not the organization. The problem is the politicians, or the army, or both, and the choice of the unit tasked.

And even if Canada had relocated 4 CMBG to Norway, would it materially have changed your odds against the Russians? Or the odds of the local Norwegians?

Not picking a fight. I'd lose. Just saying that we need more than one hammer in our tool box.

Cheers.
 

CBH99

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
700
Points
990
FJAG said something in his post that I’d been trying to say for a while now, but didn’t know how to say it without offending almost everybody in the room.

Canada, just due to it’s geography, and where we are located in the world - aircraft, missiles, and warships tend to be a better answer to any situation in which the ‘defence of Canadian territory in a combat capacity is concerned.’

We lucked out in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to the luxury of not needing to take ‘defence of the land’ very seriously. We have a massive country in terms of sheer sized combined with a pretty small population, which is also spread pretty thin.

We have the Arctic to our north. And even if the Russians did invade, and pushed all the way through the Arctic to land troops on Canadian soil…better hope they picked the right time of year. Otherwise, just let the NWT in winter just do it’s thing.

We have vast oceans on either side of us. On the other side of the Atlantic we have our European and NATO friends. On the other side of the Pacific - which thankfully is pretty big - we have more friends than enemies.

And to the south we have Uncle Sam, who - while they measure their GDP% for defence differently than we do, it can’t be argued they don’t take military spending extremely seriously.

The military itself is a HUGE employer in the US, and the industry that supports it is another HUGE employer. Global superpower, democratic, friendly people with which many of us have family on both sides of the border.


I have no idea how many battalions or brigades we should have
We had lovely little Italian pack howitzers.

67677912_2498550303617188_8041577051959853056_n.jpg


I think your mob had them then as well.

See that little tube gizmo on the front of the shield. Yup, that's a yoke so that you could hitch the gun to a donkey, mule or horse. The true meaning of Horse Artillery.

😁
Geepers you're old... 👴 Tell us, what IS your secret?
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
"Not a fair fight"

That line has stuck with me.

A company dispatched to the Baltic with no ATGMs and no mortars.
Special Servicemen recruited into 2nd Battalions and dispatched to Korea to fight at Kapyong
Medac Reservists
Hong Kong
Dieppe (a new book on the subject just released recently)
Sam Hughes's CEF, paper boots, his secretary's entrenching tool, the Ross rifle, the potato digger.

Even 4 CMBG - "the nuclear tripwire"

Our history is replete with politicians employing soldiers "inappropriately"

I am reminded of the "No more Vietnams" mantra of the US Army. A view held by the recently departed Colin Powell. A view that held that if the Army was heavy then the politicians would have to think carefully and slowly because rapid response would be difficult. A view that held that anything other than a Bradley was "too light to fight".

Conveniently Caspar Weinberger and Ronald Reagan figured out how to employ that Heavy Army and the power of the US Treasury to bankrupt the USSR without firing a shot on the Inter-German border. Or throwing a missile over head of Canada.

As to the comments about the utility of troops vs missiles, planes and boats - I agree with all. But I think that technology is affecting that balance. And one way it is affecting the balance in the magnification of the power of the man with the binoculars and the radio. As demonstrated in Afghanistan by the men in western saddles with B52s at their beck and call.

The defence of Canada may not depend on boots on the ground. But Canada can be defended by the Mark one eyeball and a smart phone. And an F35.
 

dangerboy

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
397
Points
910
"Not a fair fight"

That line has stuck with me.

A company dispatched to the Baltic with no ATGMs and no mortars.
Special Servicemen recruited into 2nd Battalions and dispatched to Korea to fight at Kapyong
Medac Reservists
Hong Kong
Dieppe (a new book on the subject just released recently)
Sam Hughes's CEF, paper boots, his secretary's entrenching tool, the Ross rifle, the potato digger.
Not to derail the thread but what is the new book on Dieppe?
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,900
Points
1,040
Geepers you're old... 👴 Tell us, what IS your secret?
No idea. I have a history of the males on my father's side of the family dying young of heart attacks and had two stents placed myself. All I can think of is my Mother's side's genes have added some longevity - it sure as hell isn't my exercise regime.

:unsure:
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
ROVY757ADVCPHLBEFK5ONQENAM.jpg


WASHINGTON — The mashup of an Australian small boat designed for safety and an American sensors and communications suite that helped Marines secure the Kabul airport during the August evacuation may help fill a capability gap as the U.S. Marine Corps eyes distributed operations in the Pacific.

Australia-based company the Whiskey Project is pitching its multimission reconnaissance craft (MMRC) as a way to meet the Marines’ needs to “sense first, see first and strike first” — in a craft with a low enough signature that it’s hard to detect, but has powerful organic and remote sensors and a communications package that can report back to decision-makers, company officials say.


"Not a fair fight"

As to the comments about the utility of troops vs missiles, planes and boats - I agree with all. But I think that technology is affecting that balance. And one way it is affecting the balance in the magnification of the power of the man with the binoculars and the radio. As demonstrated in Afghanistan by the men in western saddles with B52s at their beck and call.

The defence of Canada may not depend on boots on the ground. But Canada can be defended by the Mark one eyeball and a smart phone. And an F35.

The defence of Canada is custom made for Dispersed Operations with its emphasis on expeditionary advanced base operations.

"Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations is a form of expeditionary warfare that involves the employment of mobile, low-signature, operationally relevant, and relatively easy to maintain and sustain naval expeditionary forces from a series of austere, temporary locations ashore or inshore within a contested or potentially contested maritime area in order to conduct sea denial, support sea control, or enable fleet sustainment."


Although the US is applying the concept in a maritime environment I believe it is equally applicable in the Canadian context. The common denominator is "space". Too much space to hold by conventional means resulting in the classic dilemma of trying to defend everything while holding nothing. The difference between the USN/USMC operating environment and the CAF operating environment is that tropical waters are replaced with rocks and ice, palms replaced with pines.


Here's a question. Has Canada ever really had an Arctic Capable Brigade? When Canada was offered the opportunity to relocate from Germany to Norway, because of assumed Arctic expertise, was Canada actually capable of deploying, sustaining and operating a brigade in the Arctic? Is it now?

I believe that at least one USMC type "littoral" regiment, similarly armed but geared towards operating in the bogs, pines, rocks and ice of Canada's Arctic should be in our tool box.
 

McG

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
303
Points
880
when I say a 30/70 bn I mean one which has one full Reg F rifle company and two full Res F rifle companies and a spread throughout the rest of the bn at a roughly 30/70 level. ...

A 70/30 bn would reverse the Reg F to Res F ratio and have two full rifle companies and one full Res F rifle company with the same 70/30 split in the HA and support companies. The point here is that subunits are 100% Reg F or 100% Res F (albeit such subunits might be augmented by a small RSS like staff from within the battalion.
Why not a 60/40 Bn? 2 x Rifle Coy & 1 x Cbt Sp Coy that are Reg F and 2 x Rifle Coy that are PRes.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
3DA6C67A-1C1D-4306-8144-930E716664B4.jpg

Metal-Shark-Developing-Autonomous-Naval-Defense-System-for-the-United-States-Marine-Corps.jpg

580e6038p00qy4nqe009gc000rs00jum.png

743bc260p00qy4nqe00apc000rs00jum.png


 
Top