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World Wide Marine Corps & Amphibious Ops Discussion

This is a discussion on World Wide Marine Corps & Amphibious Ops Discussion within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; This thread has been started to discuss current and future Amphibious Equipment, operations and personnel including force structures, policy, procedures ...


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Old December 23rd, 2010   #1
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World Wide Marine Corps & Amphibious Ops Discussion

This thread has been started to discuss current and future Amphibious Equipment, operations and personnel including force structures, policy, procedures and doctrine.

I am of course interested in Australia's future Amphibious Capability and how we will structure our forces to meet this new challenge and how it relates to our Allies. I have attached a presentation from early December on Australia's future capability from the Joint Implementation Team:
http://www.defence.gov.au/opEx/exerc...df/hawkins.pdf
The way ahead appears to mirror US/UK style ARG's & ARE's, with OTH style operations. Interesting to note they have used a Bay Class as a possible example of the Phase 4C Sealift Ship, and still use the LCM1E (although IIRC the type of craft for the LHD's has not been selected as yet)
Also in the presentation (and as has been done before) the liberal use of AAV pictures, as far as I know this style of vehicle has been ruled out, but is it on a "wish list" ? With the concept of OTH I can't see the likes of the LCM doing what is required of this type of operation. What type of alternatives are out there for the Australian Forces ? The likes of the EFV (If it ever eventuates) is well and truly out of our reach.

I look forward to your comments and discussions on these subjects

Cheers, and have a great Christmas and New Year
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Old December 24th, 2010   #2
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Thanks for the link,

Regarding of suitability of the deployed forces for the LHD, of the 3 options available and the man power limitations of the army and the deployable battle groups, I donít think it would be feasible to have a specialist amphibious battle groups within an Australian context, unless army had a manpower increase and additional equipment was purchased to form 3 amphibious assault groups along the lines of an USMC MEU separate from current formations.
I cannot see the current government spending the additional $$ to support a an increase of this size i believe that all units will have to embark on the LHD for limited time to gain some knowledge of amphibious operations but will be a master at none of the complexities of amphibious operations.

It was also interesting to note that on page 42 under escorts/strike group what appears to be fixed wing JSF for CAP/CAS do the army know something we donít hoping to increase army aviation support onboard the LHD.



Merry Christmas to one and all
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Old December 25th, 2010   #3
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Thanks for the link,

Regarding of suitability of the deployed forces for the LHD, of the 3 options available and the man power limitations of the army and the deployable battle groups, I donít think it would be feasible to have a specialist amphibious battle groups within an Australian context, unless army had a manpower increase and additional equipment was purchased to form 3 amphibious assault groups along the lines of an USMC MEU separate from current formations.
I cannot see the current government spending the additional $$ to support a an increase of this size i believe that all units will have to embark on the LHD for limited time to gain some knowledge of amphibious operations but will be a master at none of the complexities of amphibious operations.

Im just curious as to what you guys think about giving all units some amphipbious training, as opposed to creating one specialist group. My first thought is that having a specialist group would offer a greater chance of success on such missions (assuming one at a time was all that was required), it would limit the operational choices of the Australian Armed Forces (ie. a campaign requiring more than one amphibious assualt to occur simultaneously would have less chance of success due to lack of training and experience on the part of the other units).

While I am far from decided on the issue, I like the idea of having multiple units given this training and experience, especially in Australia's case where any campaign in its immediate locale is bound to have a largely amphipbious character. I realize that this would result in lower effectiveness per unit, across the board, but it would open up different operational possibilities, yes?
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Old December 26th, 2010   #4
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Im just curious as to what you guys think about giving all units some amphipbious training, as opposed to creating one specialist group. My first thought is that having a specialist group would offer a greater chance of success on such missions (assuming one at a time was all that was required), it would limit the operational choices of the Australian Armed Forces (ie. a campaign requiring more than one amphibious assualt to occur simultaneously would have less chance of success due to lack of training and experience on the part of the other units).

While I am far from decided on the issue, I like the idea of having multiple units given this training and experience, especially in Australia's case where any campaign in its immediate locale is bound to have a largely amphipbious character. I realize that this would result in lower effectiveness per unit, across the board, but it would open up different operational possibilities, yes?

In my vision of the amphibious battle group would be along the lines of a US Marine MEU, Army would need to expand to accommodate the 3 extra battalions. These extra battalions would rotate in the amphibious role along the lines of QRF (quick reaction force), but also called upon as part of their tasking to provide personnel for Operation Resolute as part of Transit Security Element (TSE).

Operation Resolute - Royal Australian Navy

Publication:Semaphore - Issue 8, 2004 - Royal Australian Navy

Media Release - Department of Defence

Marine Expeditionary Unit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Australia at the moment has no battle group specialising in amphibious warfare, but with the new amphibious ship being built and the yet to be selected sealift vessel will dramatically increase Australiaís ability for OTH insertion of an amphibious battle group consisting of one or more LHD/sealift. Currently all the Regiments have limited exposure of amphibious training with the RAN, including the 1st Armoured Regiment. At the moment Australia has the ability to provide a combined arms team of limited strength depending of the situation, and the ability to deploy them via HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Kanimbla/Manoora.

With 3 specialist battalions with light/ heavy Armour and artillery attached based in Townsville/Darwin and either Sydney (Newcastle?) or Perth, with all its equipment available in QRF fashion it has the ability to deploy with maximum force, but once on the scene the commander can make the assessment on what assets to deploy ashore, it might be the case of a light raiding party to secure an terminal/airfield, but if the situation destabilise rapidly the task force has the equipment to back itself up if thing get heavy. For instance take the incident in Blackhawk down (not that Australia would attempt anything like this) on how a light force runs into trouble against overwhelming numbers and it came down to Pakistani heavy armour to extract the lighter force from a hostile situation which was beyond their control. It shows the importance of defence being able to inject the necessary equipment to get the job done, to protect the security of ADF personnel whatever the task at hand is.
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Old December 26th, 2010   #5
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In my vision of the amphibious battle group would be along the lines of a US Marine MEU, Army would need to expand to accommodate the 3 extra battalions.
There's zero chance of that happening, nor should it.

The biggest problem with working out the best model to fit the amphibious ARE/ARG concept is fitting into the force generation cycle. The Army isn't going to get any bigger, which means the commtiment will come from the existing brigades, which will still be required to rotate through scheduled operations and maintain all other contingency forces as required. That is by far the biggest problem, both for us and our major allies. Its no good having an excellent 'marine' unit of you send it to Afghanistan every two years, as it is no longer a marine unit. For instance if you asked the Royal Marines to conduct an opposed landing right now they would laugh at you - they've spend so much time being used as normal (if very good) infantry, they haven't trained for their core role in years.

As such, to my mind the only workable solution is the second one.

The first COA, having a dedicated 'marine' battalion is unworkable as there is no capacity for rotation. The requirement is for an online battlegroup good to go at all times - a single unit cannot maintain this. They might be able to maintain a company group for the ARE year round, but they would still have to go through the normal reset, readying, ready cycle of all other units. Who takes on the ARG role when the 'marine' battalion is in reset or readying? Also, a single unit cannot maintain all the FE required for the ARG anyway, meaning it would still have to leach capability from other units within a brigade. Further, having a dedicated 'marine' unit is one less unit you can rotate through ops, unless you decide to forgo the amphib capability for 18 months or so while they deploy.

The third COA, having each battlegroup rotate through as the 'marine' unit is obviously unworkable. Again, no single unit can provide all the FE required, meaning that other units are still going to have to be tapped to support anyway, but the biggest kicker again is force generation and the location of the enablers. No matter where the 'marine' unit is based, the key enablers are stil going to come from 10 FSB in Townsville. Jumping around from brigade to brigade is going to make the support arrangements particularly hard to maintain.

The second COA, having a single brigade maintain the ARE/ARG capability, to me is the only workable COA. It would work exactly the same as the current rotation for the RCT/RBG in 3 Bde. A single unit would be the 'online' unit and provide the HQ and the majority of the personnel, while each other unit would provide the necessary FE at the required training level/standard and NTM. The online unit can rotate every year to a new unit that has reached the required training level/standard.

Of course, this still doesn't fit in with the force generation cycle, but it is the best fit of the three COAs. It will still be particularly difficult to rotate the 'marine' brigade through scheduled ops while maintaining the ARE/ARG commitment, and it will still require the brigade to maintain its own reset/readying/ready cycle inside of the brigade reset/readying/ready cycle. The possible change of scheduled deployments from the current 8 month rotation to a 12 month rotation to align with the posting and promotion cycle and the force gen cycle will help in this regard if it happens as well.

I think the biggest thing with this is remembering that the Australian Army is too small to be good at everything, as the ADF too often tries to do. We can't afford a specialist 'marine' establishment within the Army, we're just not big enough. It's also worth remembering that, for the manoeuvre forces, amphib ops is just another way of getting too the battle - as soon as you drive off the LCU, you fight the same as if you drove the whole way there, or parachuted from a plane, or whatever other method you normally use to get to the fight. The real kicker in amphib ops is the support units that man and operate the ships, docks, flight decks etc, and the staff officers that plan the whole thing that goes into it. As long as those enablers are specialised and full time amphib experts, its relatively easy for the manoeuvre forces to drive onto the ships, be bored for a week and then drive off the ship at the other end.
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Old December 26th, 2010   #6
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There's zero chance of that happening, nor should it.

The biggest problem with working out the best model to fit the amphibious ARE/ARG concept is fitting into the force generation cycle. The Army isn't going to get any bigger, which means the commtiment will come from the existing brigades, which will still be required to rotate through scheduled operations and maintain all other contingency forces as required. That is by far the biggest problem, both for us and our major allies. Its no good having an excellent 'marine' unit of you send it to Afghanistan every two years, as it is no longer a marine unit. For instance if you asked the Royal Marines to conduct an opposed landing right now they would laugh at you - they've spend so much time being used as normal (if very good) infantry, they haven't trained for their core role in years.

As such, to my mind the only workable solution is the second one.

The first COA, having a dedicated 'marine' battalion is unworkable as there is no capacity for rotation. The requirement is for an online battlegroup good to go at all times - a single unit cannot maintain this. They might be able to maintain a company group for the ARE year round, but they would still have to go through the normal reset, readying, ready cycle of all other units. Who takes on the ARG role when the 'marine' battalion is in reset or readying? Also, a single unit cannot maintain all the FE required for the ARG anyway, meaning it would still have to leach capability from other units within a brigade. Further, having a dedicated 'marine' unit is one less unit you can rotate through ops, unless you decide to forgo the amphib capability for 18 months or so while they deploy.

The third COA, having each battlegroup rotate through as the 'marine' unit is obviously unworkable. Again, no single unit can provide all the FE required, meaning that other units are still going to have to be tapped to support anyway, but the biggest kicker again is force generation and the location of the enablers. No matter where the 'marine' unit is based, the key enablers are stil going to come from 10 FSB in Townsville. Jumping around from brigade to brigade is going to make the support arrangements particularly hard to maintain.

The second COA, having a single brigade maintain the ARE/ARG capability, to me is the only workable COA. It would work exactly the same as the current rotation for the RCT/RBG in 3 Bde. A single unit would be the 'online' unit and provide the HQ and the majority of the personnel, while each other unit would provide the necessary FE at the required training level/standard and NTM. The online unit can rotate every year to a new unit that has reached the required training level/standard.

Of course, this still doesn't fit in with the force generation cycle, but it is the best fit of the three COAs. It will still be particularly difficult to rotate the 'marine' brigade through scheduled ops while maintaining the ARE/ARG commitment, and it will still require the brigade to maintain its own reset/readying/ready cycle inside of the brigade reset/readying/ready cycle. The possible change of scheduled deployments from the current 8 month rotation to a 12 month rotation to align with the posting and promotion cycle and the force gen cycle will help in this regard if it happens as well.

I think the biggest thing with this is remembering that the Australian Army is too small to be good at everything, as the ADF too often tries to do. We can't afford a specialist 'marine' establishment within the Army, we're just not big enough. It's also worth remembering that, for the manoeuvre forces, amphib ops is just another way of getting too the battle - as soon as you drive off the LCU, you fight the same as if you drove the whole way there, or parachuted from a plane, or whatever other method you normally use to get to the fight. The real kicker in amphib ops is the support units that man and operate the ships, docks, flight decks etc, and the staff officers that plan the whole thing that goes into it. As long as those enablers are specialised and full time amphib experts, its relatively easy for the manoeuvre forces to drive onto the ships, be bored for a week and then drive off the ship at the other end.

I agree that there is zero chance of expanding Army under the present government.
Sometime ago I recall that at the time Chief Of Army had a desire to make the army an army of two’s away from one’s. If that was to be the case it would mean an increase IMO of three Battalions, which would consist of re-raising 4 RAR, delinking 8/9RAR and raising another Battalion 10 RAR.

An increase of this magnitude would require a massive boost in defence spending, not only for army but RAAF/RAN.

RAR
2x Amphibious Battalions=6RAR/10RAR
2x Airborne Battalions= 3 RAR/4RAR
2x Mechanized Battalions=5RAR/7RAR
2x Motorized Battalions=8RAR/9RAR
2x light infantry Battalions = 1RAR/2RAR

Armour
2x Armoured Regiments= 2 CAV re roles into an heavy Armoured Reg (2nd senior armoured Reg)
2x Cavalry Regiments =3rd and 4th (delinks)

Artillery
2x Field Regiments (M198Gun/M777Gun)
2x Field Regiments (SPG)

Engineers
As per current structure

Signals
As per current structure

Combat services Support
As per current structure

As you can see that there are a number of changes in the Army structure, but is it the right direction to go about restructure army to become proficient with the new capabilities entering the ADF in coming years.it will also be intresting to see what happens with Land 17 artilley replacement.
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...goahead-01928/
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Old December 27th, 2010   #7
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It's a bit outside the scope of the topic, but an Army of twos is very nearly as useless as an Army of ones. The minimum required to enable rotation is three, with four being ideal as it allows not just for rotation but time for higher level training as well.
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Old December 27th, 2010   #8
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The concept of army of twos was achieved a while ago and has little to do with infantry battalions and other combat units., At the minimum there was 4 1/2 infantry battalions in the Australian Army well above two. The difference between mech, mot, lt, para inf is not enough to make a difference for sustained operations. Army of twos was all about the vital support units. As learnt in East Timor it was not a good idea having a single terminal troop because they need to be replaced to sustain a capbility. So now there are two (+) terminal troops and so on. Army of threes, fours, Project Beersheba, whatever the name is today is all about making the Army more sustainable in deployment.
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Old December 27th, 2010   #9
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So I supplose the question is where the ADF/Government want to be with regards to US/UK standards and certification levels ? and how this will come into play with our operations and interoperability with each and how we wish to deploy and utilise this upgraded capability ?
Obviously the closer we align ourselves with the American style the more cost in dollar terms and personnel. And the closer we try to align ourselves with the USMC standards and certification levels would also mean a change in equipment for the ADF and how we operate
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Old December 27th, 2010   #10
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It was also interesting to note that on page 42 under escorts/strike group what appears to be fixed wing JSF for CAP/CAS do the army know something we donít hoping to increase army aviation support onboard the LHD.
These like the Orions and Wedgetails also pictured would be shore based and operating in support of the amphibious operation.

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Also in the presentation (and as has been done before) the liberal use of AAV pictures, as far as I know this style of vehicle has been ruled out, but is it on a "wish list" ?
These two pictures are included because they show Australian Army personnel training with the USMC. If Army had a wishlist requirement it would be in the issues section of the presento. Army has the project to acquire 24 odd independent operations and raiding watercraft. This is going to be a crucial project to ensure we end up with something survivable and capable of escorting the LCMs. This is much better to be something like the CB90 (or smaller similar) rather than RHIBs or rigid raiders. A day boat is better than a raft.
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Old December 27th, 2010   #11
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These two pictures are included because they show Australian Army personnel training with the USMC. If Army had a wishlist requirement it would be in the issues section of the presento. Army has the project to acquire 24 odd independent operations and raiding watercraft. This is going to be a crucial project to ensure we end up with something survivable and capable of escorting the LCMs. This is much better to be something like the CB90 (or smaller similar) rather than RHIBs or rigid raiders. A day boat is better than a raft.
Always nice how an Aussie pop's up when pushing a point, I have no doubt the Army (and Navy for that matter) would not knock back the ability if offered ? But unlikely
Now the CB90 is certainly a very good possibility, and I think from an ADF point of view a very good answer to landing heavy gear without having the need for an AAV style vehicle for protection, and this style would tie in nicely with the MH's landing the combat troops in waves, with the LCM1E (or whatever we go for) bringing in the heavy stuff, although I still would have concerns about the LCM1E's ability to do proper OTH, its simply to slow.

Abe, I remember you had a few suggestions a couple of month's back that would fit the LHD's nicely, but have lost the reference you posted ?, but if we get something around the same size as the LCM1E's (23.3 x 6.4) the CB90 (15.9 X 3.8) would be able to fit into the well dock of the LHD, a tight fit but doable

Edit: Just to clarify with regards to the CB90, I mean something along this line, but would prefer something able to self beach and recover as well to off-load troops alongside the LCM's, and probably something a bit heavier than a .50 cal

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Old December 27th, 2010   #12
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Always nice how an Aussie pop's up when pushing a point, I have no doubt the Army (and Navy for that matter) would not knock back the ability if offered ? But unlikely
Now the CB90 is certainly a very good possibility, and I think from an ADF point of view a very good answer to landing heavy gear without having the need for an AAV style vehicle for protection, and this style would tie in nicely with the MH's landing the combat troops in waves, with the LCM1E (or whatever we go for) bringing in the heavy stuff, although I still would have concerns about the LCM1E's ability to do proper OTH, its simply to slow.

Abe, I remember you had a few suggestions a couple of month's back that would fit the LHD's nicely, but have lost the reference you posted ?, but if we get something around the same size as the LCM1E's (23.3 x 6.4) the CB90 (15.9 X 3.8) would be able to fit into the well dock of the LHD, a tight fit but doable

Edit: Just to clarify with regards to the CB90, I mean something along this line, but would prefer something able to self beach and recover as well to off-load troops alongside the LCM's, and probably something a bit heavier than a .50 cal
You Australian guys always have something interesting to say. The title of the thread would lead me to believe that was about the role of amphibious and marine operations worldwide.

Since there has not been a full scale amphibious operation conducted against entrenched opposition in over sixty years, I think if that were to happen again it would be very different kind of operation with very different challenges and assets from the past. I know that naval marines have many functions, missions, and capacities in their respective navies but the role of amphibious assault against entrench opposition is the only one that nobody else would even consider trying. Landing on shores with minimal resistance is something even the Army can do and if there is little or no resistance civilian vessels can and have in the past have been pressed in to service to do it. Maybe not very efficiently or quickly or cleanly but it has been done. The reason that there are specialized amphibious ships is to do that one thing that cannot otherwise be done even though they can do lots of other things very well too.

Are you guys are interested in exploring the more theoretical aspects of the amphibious problem which have not been rethought in a long while? Otherwise when you talk about ships, boats, and such you are just talking about the color of the bus. Sorry if that sounds sontty.
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Old December 27th, 2010   #13
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Now the CB90 is certainly a very good possibility, and I think from an ADF point of view a very good answer to landing heavy gear without having the need for an AAV style vehicle for protection, and this style would tie in nicely with the MH's landing the combat troops in waves, with the LCM1E (or whatever we go for) bringing in the heavy stuff, although I still would have concerns about the LCM1E's ability to do proper OTH, its simply to slow.
Well the requirement for the independent operations, raiding craft (TLC: Tactical Littoral Craft) rules out something like the AAV/EFV because they are both 20% water, 80% land amphibious vehicles. This boat will need a fair bit more sea range than an EFV could provide. In terms of major landings the role of this boat would be to escort the LCMs not so much provide landing capability. Landing capability would be for advanced forces, low intensity operations, etc. I agree with problems with the LCM1E and obviously made that point in comparison to the UK FLC program.

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Abe, I remember you had a few suggestions a couple of month's back that would fit the LHD's nicely, but have lost the reference you posted ?, but if we get something around the same size as the LCM1E's (23.3 x 6.4) the CB90 (15.9 X 3.8) would be able to fit into the well dock of the LHD, a tight fit but doable
This is probably going to be the biggest problem with the TLC: size. Each LHD will need to carry around six of them so this is probable driving the under 10m, 10 tonnes ORC/RHIB type requirement compared to a 15m, 15-20 tonnes CB90 type. But my concern is the ORC/RHIB will lack the range, carrying capability flexibility (for cargo missions) and importantly protection of an enclosed day boat type. There is a smaller cousin to the CB90: the SB90E which is 12m long and displaces under 10 tonnes. Similar ship is the Northrop/ACB JMEC (Joint Multi-mission Expiditionary Craft). This could be the solution for the Army.

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Old December 28th, 2010   #14
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2x Motorized Battalions=8RAR/9RAR
2x light infantry Battalions = 1RAR/2RAR
Why raise 2 x more regular battalions? The difference between the two types above is presently 6x6 land rovers. Redundant.

All infantry (mechanised, para, red headed left handers etc), regardless of how they arrive at the battle (in tracks, trucks or falling like birdshit from the sky ) are light infantry once you strip away their extraneous capabilities. This is not a capability that needs to be maintained by supporting two independent battalions dedicated to that role, rather it is a skillset that should be practiced and maintained by all infantry. We found at 5/7 RAR (Mech) that it is too easy to allow the basic infantry skills to go astray when you rumble around in buckets all the time.
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Old December 28th, 2010   #15
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Why raise 2 x more regular battalions? The difference between the two types above is presently 6x6 land rovers. Redundant.

All infantry (mechanised, para, red headed left handers etc), regardless of how they arrive at the battle (in tracks, trucks or falling like birdshit from the sky ) are light infantry once you strip away their extraneous capabilities. This is not a capability that needs to be maintained by supporting two independent battalions dedicated to that role, rather it is a skillset that should be practiced and maintained by all infantry. We found at 5/7 RAR (Mech) that it is too easy to allow the basic infantry skills to go astray when you rumble around in buckets all the time.
Why have we got it know?

Well going by current listing and their role you can see that we have Light, Parachute, Mechanised and Motorised battalions on the books, you are quite right in what you say that they are all light infantry but regular training with the assets in a specific role be that Amphibious, parachute, Mechanised or whatever will ensure that there will be little disruptions in a fast and quick deployment if needed.

The only other way i can think of doing this so the cycle of Reset/Readying/ready is intact is by keeping 9x Battalions, as you say once at their objective they all become light infantry. So now we will only require two additional Battalions, reraise 4RAR and delink 8/9RAR.

3x Amphibious battalions
3x Parachute Battalions
3x Mechanised battalions

Would the RAAF have enough assets for a Battalion drop plus other lift requirements?

Regular Infantry
The regular infantry was formed in 1948 from elements of the 2nd Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) and is composed primarily of battalions of a single large Regiment, the Royal Australian Regiment this consists of seven regular battalions

1RAR (light Infantry)
2RAR (light Infantry)
3RAR (Parachute Infantry converting to Light Infantry)
5RAR (Mechanised Infantry)
6RAR (Motorised Infantry)
7RAR (Mechanised Infantry)
8/9RAR (Motorised Infantry)

The Royal Australian Regiment will be able to provide a total of seven battle groups for deployment.
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