Australian Army Discussions and Updates

You really don't get it do you? There are people on here who done this stuff in the real world and even a few, unlike the has-beens like me, who do it all day, everyday, including having deployed to combat zones. People like me, who are out of the loop are more free to talk about it than those in the loop, but there is a lot, the has beens like me are not up to speed on, though we still know more than the average person on the street or the average jouno.

On armour, armour, particularly tanks, save lives, fact. Tank units have much lower personnel requirements than infantry units but are far more survivable and have far greater combat power. The situational awareness of mounted verses dismounted is unbelievable, the networking of armour is fantastic as well. Armoured forces can cover much more ground in less time and are able to be redeployed tactically much faster than light infantry.

It feels like we are going around in circles. You have this idea that light infantry is cheaper has a lower logistic footprint and is perfectly adequate for or region. The thing is it's not survivable, nor is it able to deliver the strategic outcomes required by government policy unless it is beefed up with a lot of Gucci kit specifically developed for light forces. Start adding all this stuff and armoured vehicles don't look so expensive.

As for historically, the only time Australian forces deployed without heavy equipment was in the panicked defence stood up in 1942. Once the fighting left the mountains tanks were deployed when ever available. It's just common sense, how many men do you lose taking out a bunker? The answer when there was a Matilda available with the later 2pdr HE round is usually none.
I don't believe your first paragraph here was in any way necessary. I will address that and then hopefully we can move on. I do get it. I respect those who have served, including several close relatives, and those who do serve. I respect their experience and their knowledge, while also knowing from my own experience that they're not all experts on every aspect of defence, and nor would anyone expect them to be.

I agree completely with you that tanks save lives, and yes, they are much more survivable, have lower personnel demands, greater combat weight, absolutely. Spot on, all of your second paragraph, couldn't agree more.

As for going around in circles, I'm far from intending that. I was asking you genuine questions. I'm interested in your thoughts. I expect we will disagree on some aspects, here and there, but I was looking for context for some of your comments.

I should add that you continue to mischaracterise my position. I didn't say scrap armour and have an all infantry army, did I?

Historically, well as you say we deployed tanks when we could, though we didn't engage in the kind of armoured warfare that occurred in North Africa and Europe. The armoured forces we raised were sent in smaller numbers to support infantry. That was the reality of the terrain in which we largely fought.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Well, if I may, as someone who has advocated support for the apparent decision of the Army to abandon that model, and also questioned some other intentions, I would first refer to two paragraphs from that ASPI article shared by Massive:
Of course, that’s the purpose of this site, sensible defence discussion. I’m all for it. I’m not so sure however Army has abandoned the Beersheba model. 3 like brigades was the intent, but no-one ever said it would stop there. I’m sure Army would have 4, or 8 such Brigades if they were authorised, funded and the manpower found for them.

The one power-point presentation on this topic, which suggested a change in tack was a hypothetical force structure document IIRC, was not in anyway binding on Army and it gave our few details beyond a desire to expand the capability and presence of the 9th brigade in Adelaide as well as creating some additional land force capability in the West. If anything, it seemed to me in reality the foundation or very early steps, of pushing towards a primary land force with a 4 brigade structure, plus supporting elements.

The Beersheba brigade, as it is structured, is not conducive to many possible contingencies in our region. It's too heavy, not only for the likely operating environment - in terms of terrain, infrastructure, opposing forces, mission - but also for our logistical capabilities. A credible combined arms force - to borrow the writer's words - of brigade size would be of much greater utility in conflicts we've seen, and exited, in recent decades, being, basically, in the Middle East. In our region, lighter forces - in totality - are much more likely to be desired for the majority of possible contingencies.
The so-called heaviness of these brigades, ignoring that half the brigade is of course a light motorised force, is a good reason to disband them because they strain our logistics? Or a good reason to improve our logistics so that our long held strategic goal of being capable of deploying brigade sized combat formations can actually be realised?

Our forces are too heavy apparently to operate within our region as the argument from that writer goes, so how does this idea gel with the actuality that most SEA nations have much heavier forces than we do and will, with most of the bigger nations, be operating far more heavy armour in this region than we ever will?

Quick head count -

TNI-AD - more upgraded Leopard 2 tanks than we will have Abrams. More tracked IFV’s than we are buying, more wheeled armoured vehicles than our Cav units are equipped with. More heavy SP guns than we are buying under phase 1 and 2 combined of Mobile protected fires. More heavy armoured forces than we are planning.

Singapore - roughly 2.5x as many heavy Leo 2’s as we are buying. Roughly 2x as many heavy Bionix IFV’s as us. Roughly the same number of 155mm SP guns based on M109 variant as us. More heavy armoured forces than we are planning.

Vietnam - About the same heavy tank (T-90) as us, hundreds more other heavy tanks. Thousands of tracked IFV’s. Roughly similar numbers of ‘heavy’ SP guns as we will. More heavy armoured forces than we are planning.

Malaysia - About 3/4 our intended heavy tank force, about 3/4 of our heavy IFV force. Nil SP guns. Fewer heavy armoured forces than we are planning due to budgetary restrictions. Heavy armour remains present in numbers.

New Zealand - virtually no heavy armour due to budgetary restrictions based on political ideology and intended role of armed forces under this ideology.

Phillipines - about 2x planned number of 45t ASCOD 2 “light tanks” as we will have Abrams, a range of heavy wheeled 8x8 armoured vehicles, a range of heavy combat engineer and some heavy wheeled. SP guns. Fewer heavy armoured forces than we are planning due to budgetary restrictions. Heavy armour remains present in numbers.

Japan / China / Taiwan - so much more heavy armour it’s pointless listing it all.

Not very thorough, but to the point. Within our entire region there are only 3 major nations that have or plan to have less heavy armour than us and that is due primarily to budget restrictions. Apart from NZ they all aspire to have it and use it in warfighting scenarios within the region. Which makes me wonder why so many of these analysts seem to posit that it’s only our armour and not theirs, that is apparently so unsuitable? Sure, we have to get it there, but if we have to fight somewhere within our region then as the above clearly shows, in all likelihood we’ll have to fight heavy armoured forces…

None of this is to say we should throw the baby out with the bath water. The plan the Army has apparently now adopted - as shared with us by Raven - will see four combat brigades, rather than three, with 1 Brigade apparently focused on operations in our northern peripheries and 9 Brigade a combined arms force (stronger than now too, with the SP artillery and armoured engineering capabilities). It is reasonable to ask if 3 and 7 brigades should similarly adopt more focused roles. But, and this is important, there is no suggestion of fewer batteries, companies or squadrons.

Four combat brigades, with two "light" and two "medium" or "heavy", makes a good deal of sense given we've moved away from being driven by a need to sustain forces for long deployments in the Middle East, and pivoted back to our own region, while also keeping the option to go elsewhere too. Also, there's no reason why combined arms forces - tanks, IFVs, etc - cannot be deployed as part of a "light" brigade-based taskforce in our region, it's just that they will more than likely be a smaller element within such a force.

For my part, while I fundamentally disagree with Greg Sheridan about the acquisition of new, and a slightly larger number of, tanks, I don't agree that we should - or likely will - have more in service than planned. But at the same time I do wonder if we truly will order - or need - 450 IFVs and three armoured or mechanised infantry battalions.
Were the Beersheba brigades actually ONLY designed for deployment to the Middle East, given we never deployed even half of one of them? Rather we used the taskforce model we normally do… I get the sustainability aspect, but was the Beersheba brigade model specifically designed for those deployments given we weren’t sending heavy armour, artillery, mechanised units and so forth on any of those deployments?

To me the purpose of the Beersheba structure is to give our brigades the combat capability they need for a range of warfighting roles, with the ability to take elements from them as needed AND sustain them, not just for the MEA. If we need to deploy heavy we can from within this structure. If we need medium or lighter forces, we can generate them as well from within this structure. The main point though is any role we may need to undertake may need to be maintained and rather than once again going through a massive re-organisation to achieve this, why not simply keep (and enhance) what we’ve already developed?

As to numbers in armour (and everything else in reality) our forces are incredibly tiny by regional standards with little in the way of ability to absorb combat losses and maintain capability. As Jim Molan correctly points out, governments are in the business of taking risks. Ours have done so since WW2 by maintaining miniscule forces and engaging in military operations of choice. The one time we’ve been “forced” to engage beyond what we desired to, we very nearly failed. Here’s hoping we are never “forced” to again, because both the number of tanks and IFV’s we are planning on operating are going to be grossly inadequate in all likelihood, from a combat loss and normal fleet sustainability viewpoint.

Effectively the numbers of armour we are buying support the training capability now present across Army thanks to the Beersheba re-structure and a niche deployable armoured battlegroup at best, if you wished at all to be able to sustain it or even replace combat losses.

Anyone who thinks this level of capability is an over-investment? Well it sure won’t be, if we never, ever need to use it, is all I will say… It will be shown to be a significant under-investment…
 
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ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
With regard to tanks, do you think it's such a priority as to justify the expense in comparison to other capabilities? "Nice" to have, but not necessarily first on the wish-list? I mean, that would be three times the frontline strength planned, so maybe not three times the number of tanks overall, but clearly a lot more.

We might have four combat brigades by the time the Apaches are delivered. Not sure how regular a presence they're intending to have on the LHDs? I don't think they're modifying them for going to sea regularly, are they? (I think the Brits did that?) Is worth noting the Romeos have capability to fire Hellfire and APKWS.

Two squadrons of 12 each, and 5 for training, does make me wonder about what the average aircraft availability would be for each squadron. I would have thought more for deeper maintenance / attrition to maintain the squadron strength of 12?
Following on from the earlier points, it depends I guess what Government want Army to do. My personal preference would be to follow the US’s lead (and now the UK, who I’m told also think it’s a good idea, or at least an affordable one) and develop specific brigade combat teams for specific scenarios. Again I’d stick to the rule of 3’s because if Interfet, Iraq and Afghanistan has taught us anything, is that it is pointless sending military forces at all if the job extends beyond a single rotation and you have nothing left with which to rotate, or you’ve just lost your war, because again, you have nothing left to replace what you sent…

So a sustainable mix of 3 Armoured Brigade Combat Teams and 3 Infantry Brigade Combat Teams is what we‘d need to be capable of deploying one of John Howard’s Armoured Brigades and sustain it on the off-chance that the Brigade hasn’t won the war and come home in time for tea… Alternatively if / when we have to run Interfet Mark 2 and chuck 5000 soldiers onto a nearby island and it again takes 5 or more years to pacify, sorry, stabilise the place then something similar to an ICBT will be required, again, preferably one that can be sustained, because 5 years is a LONG rotation…

But generating 6 combat brigades with all the enablers and manpower that would entail, would be an enormous undertaking for us and extremely expensive.

I’m not sure we need to go as big as the US (or that we’d ever be funded to) brigades, but I think an ABCT structure of 2 mech inf battalions, a tank regiment, a Cav Regt, an Artillery Regt, a Combat Engineering Regt, a Signals Regt, a CSSB and Brigade HQ would be a very decent and regionally powerful capability x3.

The Australian ICBT could be 2 infantry battalions (equipped with Bushmasters or light as needed), a Cav Regt, an artillery regiment, a combat engineer regiment, a Sig Regt, a CSSB and a Brigade HQ x3

I think a larger land force structure of this nature, would cover just about any scenario those defence analysts who seem to hate our tanks could ever dream up, along with the range of Divisional enablers that we are planning for our force, appropriate estate investments, training command expansions and so forth.

But back in the real world, priorities of course always have to be weighed against one another, real world restraints apply and it would take an unprecedent commitment in modern times, for anything like the above to be considered let alone approved by Government.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Excuse me? I was making the argument that logistics is much more difficult with heavier forces. At the very least, where did I say otherwise? That's nothing but a strawman.

Similarly, again, I have said, continually, I got the premise of Beersheba's three like brigades, but it's not me who is planning to take the Army away from that, is it? And all I was saying in that regard is that I agree with the move. We're not sustaining long-term deployments in Afghanistan anymore.

I don't agree the Army will be short on armour when the range of projects are delivered. I think Land 400 Phase 3 might be a tad excessive (as in, maybe we could do with 300 instead of 450, and that this could deliver a saving that could be invested elsewhere. But I don't disagree with any of those projects.

Further, it's only the structure of the brigades that looks to be changing. There's no overall decrease in the units and sub-units. And, again, the only opinion I really offered there is that I could see an argument for two rather than three battalions equipped with the Land 400 Phase 3 winner (consistent with my comment above about a reduced order). I've asked earlier if people here think we will actually see an order for 450, what do you think?

I agree with the need for more air defence. I agree with the Army's watercraft projects. I'm not sure the moderators would want us to discuss the RAN in this thread, but, since you raised it, I would preference other capabilities over a third LHD.
I am giving you the basics, the real basics that you need to understand before you go on about force structures and TO&E. You are on an island, albeit a continental island, but to fight a ground war in foreign climes you have to go offshore. Your armoured equipment can neither swim nor fly on its lonesome, so you require other assets to get it there.

I am not an armoured warfare specialist because I have never understood the logic of carrying your home around and living in a hole in the ground, when your home can carry you around and supply you with 3 hot square feeds a day. However I do understand the basics.

Other posters on here who are highly knowledgeable in this area are taking their time to explain to you and the rest of us why certain things work and why others don't. Be like the rest of us and learn from them. Like most of us they are quite busy.
 
I am giving you the basics, the real basics that you need to understand before you go on about force structures and TO&E. You are on an island, albeit a continental island, but to fight a ground war in foreign climes you have to go offshore. Your armoured equipment can neither swim nor fly on its lonesome, so you require other assets to get it there.

I am not an armoured warfare specialist because I have never understood the logic of carrying your home around and living in a hole in the ground, when your home can carry you around and supply you with 3 hot square feeds a day. However I do understand the basics.

Other posters on here who are highly knowledgeable in this area are taking their time to explain to you and the rest of us why certain things work and why others don't. Be like the rest of us and learn from them. Like most of us they are quite busy.
Why is this comment in green necessary? I have been respectful in everything I have said. If you believe that not having served means one is automatically not as knowledgeable as someone who has served then you're clearly wrong. You - and one or two others - have misrepresented what I've said and then engaged with strawmen. To suggest I don't understand the basics, as you put it, is demonstrably false. In contrast, I respect ADMk2's contributions above. He's made reasoned comments and responded to what I actually said.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Why is this comment in green necessary? I have been respectful in everything I have said. If you believe that not having served means one is automatically not as knowledgeable as someone who has served then you're clearly wrong. You - and one or two others - have misrepresented what I've said and then engaged with strawmen. To suggest I don't understand the basics, as you put it, is demonstrably false. In contrast, I respect ADMk2's contributions above. He's made reasoned comments and responded to what I actually said.
This forum is moderated. You may not like it but have accept that any Moderator can and will intervene in any thread.

Your reply by implication means you disrespect a specific Moderator’s guidance and accept another’s discussion notes. Because I understand that you may find it difficult when multiple Moderators (like ADMk2 and ngatimozart are engaging in conversation with you)— you are getting away with just a warning.

The message from the entire team is simple — we all have the same goal — to seek a minor changes in posting behaviour.

No reply to this is necessary.

Edit: Warning points removed at the request another moderator, after review by the team. If you have any concerns with ngatimozart’s style, please take it off-line with him.
 
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Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
At the risk if weighing in on a topic that seems to have degenerated into name calling, I think everyone is being rather unfair to Anthony. I agree with a lot of his points, and he has been polite and informed with his posts. It seems group think has set in and everyone has been keen to pile on rather than actually discuss the topic.

To add something to the debate, it is worth remembering that Plan Beersheeba is well and truly dead. Plan Beersheeba was replaced four years ago by Plan Keogh, and even that is now well and truly overtaken by events. The logic that lead to the like combat brigade structures no longer stands up to scrutiny. We no longer have to rotate forces through ongoing operations (which was the main driver) and the training aspect is no longer particularly relevant now that the force generation cycle as we know it is no more. It is no surprise that a force structure that was designed for the challenges of 2010 is not optimal for the challenges of 2030, noting how much has changed/will change in that time.

I also agree with the premise that the Army is getting too heavy and will lack agility. Here I'm not talking about the fact that we will have tanks and IFVs etc, as heavy forces are definitely needed, it is the fact there is very little effort going into developing agile and rapidly deployable force elements to compliment the heavy forces. This is the key weakness of the like brigade structure. Because each brigade has both heavy and light elements you lose the advantages of both. You can't be agile and rapidly deploy because you are tied to the heavy forces. You can't really fight as a heavy force either as you have light forces as part of the brigade. In addition, the like brigade structure adds a massive sustainment burden. Every brigade must be sustain every single capability and equipment type, but only in small numbers.

If I was King for a day, I would do what Anthony more or less proposed - create two mechanised brigades and too light brigades. As it stands, 1 Bde will be light and optimised for littoral manoeuvre, and 9 Bde will be mechanised (albeit only having two battlegroups). I would split 3 and 7 Bde down the middle and create one mechanised and one light brigade. As 3 Bde will be co-located with the aviation units and at least part of the littoral manoeuvre capability, and with easy access to the port and RAAF Townsville, it would make sense to make them the light brigade optimsed to be rapidly deployable. As 7 Bde is closer to Shoalwater Bay (where most of the heavy equipment will be) it makes sense to make them the mechanised brigade. 7 Bde would have all the tanks and IFVs from 3 Bde, as well as the second regiment of PMF. At the same time I would create a better balance of tank and IFV by creating combined arms battalions and replacing one IFV company with a tank squadron.

Either way, the army of 2030 is going to look very different from the army of today. We will start to see some significant changes in the second half of this year.
 

south

Active Member
At the risk if weighing in on a topic that seems to have degenerated into name calling, I think everyone is being rather unfair to Anthony. I agree with a lot of his points, and he has been polite and informed with his posts. It seems group think has set in and everyone has been keen to pile on rather than actually discuss the topic.

To add something to the debate, it is worth remembering that Plan Beersheeba is well and truly dead. Plan Beersheeba was replaced four years ago by Plan Keogh, and even that is now well and truly overtaken by events. The logic that lead to the like combat brigade structures no longer stands up to scrutiny. We no longer have to rotate forces through ongoing operations (which was the main driver) and the training aspect is no longer particularly relevant now that the force generation cycle as we know it is no more. It is no surprise that a force structure that was designed for the challenges of 2010 is not optimal for the challenges of 2030, noting how much has changed/will change in that time.
concur, was halfway through posting a similar thing (far less eloquent, and from a far weaker knowledge base).

While there is a wealth of experience on forum, I found the previous page to be respectful, with inquiring comments and usually referenced. Isn’t that what we are after?

I’m personally happy for people to call me on anything I post; if I cannot defend it reasonably my position is probably not strong enough.
 
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ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
At the risk if weighing in on a topic that seems to have degenerated into name calling, I think everyone is being rather unfair to Anthony. I agree with a lot of his points, and he has been polite and informed with his posts. It seems group think has set in and everyone has been keen to pile on rather than actually discuss the topic.

To add something to the debate, it is worth remembering that Plan Beersheeba is well and truly dead. Plan Beersheeba was replaced four years ago by Plan Keogh, and even that is now well and truly overtaken by events. The logic that lead to the like combat brigade structures no longer stands up to scrutiny. We no longer have to rotate forces through ongoing operations (which was the main driver) and the training aspect is no longer particularly relevant now that the force generation cycle as we know it is no more. It is no surprise that a force structure that was designed for the challenges of 2010 is not optimal for the challenges of 2030, noting how much has changed/will change in that time.

I also agree with the premise that the Army is getting too heavy and will lack agility. Here I'm not talking about the fact that we will have tanks and IFVs etc, as heavy forces are definitely needed, it is the fact there is very little effort going into developing agile and rapidly deployable force elements to compliment the heavy forces. This is the key weakness of the like brigade structure. Because each brigade has both heavy and light elements you lose the advantages of both. You can't be agile and rapidly deploy because you are tied to the heavy forces. You can't really fight as a heavy force either as you have light forces as part of the brigade. In addition, the like brigade structure adds a massive sustainment burden. Every brigade must be sustain every single capability and equipment type, but only in small numbers.

If I was King for a day, I would do what Anthony more or less proposed - create two mechanised brigades and too light brigades. As it stands, 1 Bde will be light and optimised for littoral manoeuvre, and 9 Bde will be mechanised (albeit only having two battlegroups). I would split 3 and 7 Bde down the middle and create one mechanised and one light brigade. As 3 Bde will be co-located with the aviation units and at least part of the littoral manoeuvre capability, and with easy access to the port and RAAF Townsville, it would make sense to make them the light brigade optimsed to be rapidly deployable. As 7 Bde is closer to Shoalwater Bay (where most of the heavy equipment will be) it makes sense to make them the mechanised brigade. 7 Bde would have all the tanks and IFVs from 3 Bde, as well as the second regiment of PMF. At the same time I would create a better balance of tank and IFV by creating combined arms battalions and replacing one IFV company with a tank squadron.

Either way, the army of 2030 is going to look very different from the army of today. We will start to see some significant changes in the second half of this year.
And is this not the case of around and around we go? Presuming we won’t ever again be considering long, sustainable deployments and that the heavy elements will never need to be rotated in place, by like force elements, or even heaven forbid, have actual substantial combat losses replaced?
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The one power-point presentation on this topic, which suggested a change in tack was a hypothetical force structure document IIRC, was not in anyway binding on Army and it gave our few details beyond a desire to expand the capability and presence of the 9th brigade in Adelaide as well as creating some additional land force capability in the West. If anything, it seemed to me in reality the foundation or very early steps, of pushing towards a primary land force with a 4 brigade structure, plus supporting elements.

Our forces are too heavy apparently to operate within our region as the argument from that writer goes, so how does this idea gel with the actuality that most SEA nations have much heavier forces than we do and will, with most of the bigger nations, be operating far more heavy armour in this region than we ever will?

Quick head count -

TNI-AD - more upgraded Leopard 2 tanks than we will have Abrams. More tracked IFV’s than we are buying, more wheeled armoured vehicles than our Cav units are equipped with. More heavy SP guns than we are buying under phase 1 and 2 combined of Mobile protected fires. More heavy armoured forces than we are planning.

Singapore - roughly 2.5x as many heavy Leo 2’s as we are buying. Roughly 2x as many heavy Bionix IFV’s as us. Roughly the same number of 155mm SP guns based on M109 variant as us. More heavy armoured forces than we are planning.
1. Agreed. Singapore’s force structure has the needs to grow the fleet of 204 Leopard 2SGs to over 224 Leopard 2SGs, to meet MBT support requirements of the 3rd, 6th and 9th Divisions (which are seen as medium weight divisions in many countries).
(a) Each of these combined arms divisions has an Armoured Brigade (SAB), and two Terrex/Belerax equipped infantry brigades (SIB).​
(b) The 3rd Division’s 8th SAB (comprising of full time NSFs) will be first to the fight, in an emergency. The 6th Division’s 54th SAB, is part of the reserves that need mobilisation. The 9th Division’s 56th SAB is part of the reserves that need mobilisation in echelon. EACH of these 3 SABs has their own Leopard 2SG battalion.​
(c) Each SIB has 3 Calvary battalions (equipped with Terrex / Belrex vehicles), where the MBTs are not organic and come only when requested, as attached forces.​

2. Only the 25th Division (as AOR) hosts the armour training centre and it helps generate the 6 tank companies (with 14 Leopard 2SGs per tank company) required to support the 6 Terrex / Belrex SIBs, in the three divisions. These extra Leopard 2SG battalions, held in reserve by the 25th Division, help the SAF have a plan to take attrition and to force generate MBTs for the Terrex / Belrex SIBs in the face of combat losses — in the transition from conventional war into the counter-insurgency phase.

3. Even if the SAF lost a fight and the thunder run forces in the entire 4th SAB (2 armoured infantry battalions and a Leopard 2SG battalion) are wiped out in Motti battles like the Battle of Suomussalmi (in Feb 1940) during an attempted thunder run:
(a) Singapore can mobilise (within less than a day), the replacement 54th SAB (the 3rd and 4th armoured infantry battalions and a 2nd Leopard 2SG battalion from the 6th Division).​
(b) WITHIN 7-14 days, of activation of the 54th SAB, the SAF can send in the 56th SAB (the 5th and 6th armoured infantry battalions and a 3rd Leopard 2SG battalion from the 9th Division).​
(c) The goal is to send so much forces in echelon that tactical victory in day 1 to day 14 of war is meaningless for the Malaysians. It’s a scary thing for the Malaysians, facing a peer enemy. A SAF armoured brigade needs superiority in artillery and engineer support, to try and survive longer in the battlefield.​

4. The Australian Army is neither here nor there — as a middle weight force. The main culprits seems to be:
(a) lack of tanks, even with the increase in M1 numbers;​
(b) lack of ability to take attrition; or generate more Calvary troops in a short time (1 year or less); and​
(c) lack of a HIMARS battalion to support your division’s fire support brigade, despite an existing Australian plan for a AS-9 equipped battalion. The PLA is very artillery heavy.​

As to numbers in armour (and everything else in reality) our forces are incredibly tiny by regional standards with little in the way of ability to absorb combat losses and maintain capability. As Jim Molan correctly points out, governments are in the business of taking risks. Ours have done so since WW2 by maintaining miniscule forces and engaging in military operations of choice. The one time we’ve been “forced” to engage beyond what we desired to, we very nearly failed. Here’s hoping we are never “forced” to again, because both the number of tanks and IFV’s we are planning on operating are going to be grossly inadequate in all likelihood, from a combat loss and normal fleet sustainability viewpoint…

Effectively the numbers of armour we are buying support the training capability now present across Army thanks to the Beersheba re-structure and a niche deployable armoured battlegroup at best, if you wished at all to be able to sustain it or even replace combat losses.

Anyone who thinks this level of capability is an over-investment? Well it sure won’t be, if we never, ever need to use it, is all I will say… It will be shown to be a significant under-investment…
5. In a peer fight, the Australian Army’s 4 brigades cannot sustain themselves (to take attrition beyond 1 to 3 months), even if Australian forces win all battles — which means the Australian government has decided to take significant risk. I think it’s a mistake to assume a peer enemy, like the PLA, is less capable than the SAF in taking combat losses in its MBT fleet.

6. In any peer fight, if I were the enemy that has air parity, my number 1 goal is to kill Australia’s first division’s sustainment and transport battalions along with any supply depot — via loitering munitions, long range rocket attacks and superior artillery support by shear volume. The killing of sustainment forces will ensure that you run out of fuel before you run out of bullets, within 2 days. Therefore, I would take the fastest route to kill an Australian brigade’s will to fight. If that happens your army is out of the fight in less than a week from hostilities, unless allied and partner forces come to help.
 
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Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
And is this not the case of around and around we go? Presuming we won’t ever again be considering long, sustainable deployments and that the heavy elements will never need to be rotated in place, by like force elements, or even heaven forbid, have actual substantial combat losses replaced?
Unless whatever contingency that requires us to deploy a brigade continuously needs the exact ratio of forces that happens to exist in the current combat brigade, which is very unlikely, we can’t rotate brigades continuously now any way. Just about every single scenario that requires us to deploy a brigade now would require us to task organise across the three brigades, so what value is there in like brigades for continuous deployments? The like brigades were never designed to be war fighting brigades, but RTS brigades. You cannot fight with them, in any coherent form, in their current structure. If the brigades had different structures we could still deploy a brigade continuously, we would just have to task organise, the same as we would now. The last time I deployed, as part of 3 Bde, we took a company of 5 RAR with us after all. Your comments about replacing combat losses is a bit of a red herring, as like brigades do nothing to support that.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
In any peer fight, if I were the enemy that has air parity, my number 1 goal is to kill Australia’s first division’s sustainment and transport battalions along with any supply depot — via loitering munitions, long range rocket attacks and superior artillery support by shear volume. The killing of sustainment forces will ensure that you run out of fuel before you run out of bullets, within 2 days. Therefore, I would take the fastest route to kill an Australian brigade’s will to fight. If that happens your army is out of the fight in less than a week from hostilities, unless allied and partner forces come to help.
Just like that, magically, the entire sustainment force is destroyed within two days? Why even bother to discuss things like force structure if you are going to give the enemy capabilities like that. I would be very interested to hear the scenario that leads to this conclusion, as it sound suspiciously like a Tom Clancy novel. I think we need to keep this discussion grounded in reality.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
7. An intelligent enemy will try seek to destroy CSS and supply depots. Of course blue force goal is to stop them.

Q1: Can you assume air superiority, in a peer fight?​

Q2: Alternatively, do you assume air parity, in a peer fight?​

Q3: Can your army fight and move without at least air parity?​

8. In contrast to Malaysia, the SAF’s armoured brigades assumes air superiority and whenever there is an assumption of a loss of air superiority, for even a 6 hour or more period, it became much more complex for exercise troops to even wargame. The SAF ships 400 armoured vehicles to Exercise Wallaby for our brigades to train — with limited anti-air drills for forward deployed forces, for x number of hours a day. It’s never the whole day. The SAF at wargaming discovered:
(a) the absolute need at have least windows of air superiority to conduct heliborne ops — if not we can’t insert troops to the LZs; and​
(b) that our armoured battalions needs to be protected from most air strikes if they are to concentrate forces and advance at a good pace (if not they become a fat juicy target for the Malaysian Air Force).​

9. If you are planning to fight without air parity, you would conduct training with a greater emphasis on IADS to provide cover behind a line of air defences. Against the PLA with space capabilities (with multiple satellite revisit per day, for an AO of interest, to see where to attack) — you can’t even assume normal level of hiding works for your forward units.

Q4: Is Australia set up to move its supply depots at least twice a day?​

10. If not, some of these forward depots will be subject to missile strikes or harassing fire — that results in the need to move.
Just like that, magically, the entire sustainment force is destroyed within two days?
11. I did not attempt to describe how it can be destroyed (or how long it would take) — rather I tried to describe that without reliable CSS, your manoeuvre brigades will be lucky to survive beyond 2 days before needing to refuel. The PLA with ISR from space based capabilities (with multiple satellite revisit per day), can see where CSS elements are for them to attack. This means that any deployment of more than 12 hours at the same spot, is bad for supply depots. Unless you have missile defence, your supply depots need to stay mobile.

12. Appreciate the sharing of your thoughts. As you said, you wanted hypothetical discussions — so we are giving you what you want.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Just like that, magically, the entire sustainment force is destroyed within two days? Why even bother to discuss things like force structure if you are going to give the enemy capabilities like that. I would be very interested to hear the scenario that leads to this conclusion, as it sound suspiciously like a Tom Clancy novel. I think we need to keep this discussion grounded in reality.
Not necessarily. An enemy isn't going to fight according to your rules or plans. They have their own.

Before the allies landed at Normandy they destroyed the French rail network, attacked any German road, rail and canal traffic; basically if it was German and it moved in daylight it was shot up, bombed or rocketed, or a combination thereof. Any munitions, supplies, troop, armour, artillery, fuel etc., concentrations were attacked by heavy and light bombers. The allies did the same in the Pacific against Japan. Even a USN sub claimed a train.

The point is if a determined attack is made against Australian forces and the object is to significantly degrade their capability to resist or to destroy them, then your logistics and combat support will be a prime target. How the enemy attempts to achieve their goal is open for debate, but don't discount the probability. It was what Eisenhower and his planners did, and I think what Zhukov tried to do when Stalin let him.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
Its all too confusing.


1- If I want to have a Motorized PMV Battalion sized capability ready to deploy, how many like units do I need in the training, reading, ready cycle?
Is it a rule of three or four or more?

2- Now how many like units do I need to maintain said Battalion on long term deployment.
Is it a rule of three or four or more?

3 - I don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul to round out follow on Battalion rotations so the assumption is its in the sustainment structure.
Is this realistic?

4- Are there different cycle expectations the for a Tank , Mechanized or light Infantry Battalion?

I recognize that in this very basic hypothetical most deployments will be combined arms and tailored to a contingency, but as a very general guide I'd appreciate the feedback.



Regards S
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I'm confused about where all the extra troops are coming from. I can understand the principle that armoured / heavy units have lower manning requirement that light infantry and could see that changing the ratio of tanks to infantry could potentially make it possible to generate an additional brigade but how does this work if
the suggestion is to create two light brigades?
 
If I was King for a day, I would do what Anthony more or less proposed - create two mechanised brigades and too light brigades. As it stands, 1 Bde will be light and optimised for littoral manoeuvre, and 9 Bde will be mechanised (albeit only having two battlegroups). I would split 3 and 7 Bde down the middle and create one mechanised and one light brigade. As 3 Bde will be co-located with the aviation units and at least part of the littoral manoeuvre capability, and with easy access to the port and RAAF Townsville, it would make sense to make them the light brigade optimsed to be rapidly deployable. As 7 Bde is closer to Shoalwater Bay (where most of the heavy equipment will be) it makes sense to make them the mechanised brigade. 7 Bde would have all the tanks and IFVs from 3 Bde, as well as the second regiment of PMF. At the same time I would create a better balance of tank and IFV by creating combined arms battalions and replacing one IFV company with a tank squadron.

Either way, the army of 2030 is going to look very different from the army of today. We will start to see some significant changes in the second half of this year.
Appreciate your thoughts here, and just wanting to ask a few questions really:

So with the light brigades, what would you envision there? Two battalions each? Motorised, or have the Bushmasters held in a transport company or the like? What about cavalry? Maybe 2nd Cavalry stays where it is but exchanges the tanks for a light cavalry squadron that you were talking about earlier?

With the mechanised ones, the combined arms battalions is an interesting idea. Would you have two per brigade? Would that mean more tanks to sustain four squadrons in total, or would you maybe adopt smaller tank squadrons? Do you think the cultural challenges of combined arms battalions could be overcome? Would they be battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment, or some new identity altogether? What would you do with the cavalry regiments?

On somewhat of a tangent, what we've seen with 1 Brigade, is there an element there that it is more difficult to retain soldiers posted to Darwin? Not knocking the place, have visited and enjoyed it, but I could imagine it would be challenging for many to live there. And, if so, does that make it a factor in whether you would raise another battalion up there?
 
I'm confused about where all the extra troops are coming from. I can understand the principle that armoured / heavy units have lower manning requirement that light infantry and could see that changing the ratio of tanks to infantry could potentially make it possible to generate an additional brigade but how does this work if
the suggestion is to create two light brigades?
I guess it depends exactly what it all looks like.

If we took Raven's thinking, and made a few assumptions, then in total the four brigades might field: Four infantry battalions (possibly motorised or possibly the Bushmasters are held by RAAC / RACT squadrons), four combined arms battalions (total of 8 mechanised infantry companies, 4 tank squadrons), and four artillery regiments (two SP, two towed). Not so sure where it leaves cavalry, engineers, etc.

Just looking at the above though, that looks like an increase of one infantry battalion (less a company really), one tank squadron, and one artillery regiment. That's maybe an extra 1000 soldiers there? The combat support and service support will add more, of course.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Appreciate your thoughts here, and just wanting to ask a few questions really:

So with the light brigades, what would you envision there? Two battalions each? Motorised, or have the Bushmasters held in a transport company or the like? What about cavalry? Maybe 2nd Cavalry stays where it is but exchanges the tanks for a light cavalry squadron that you were talking about earlier?
I wasn't proposing anything new, just re-arranging what already exists. For starters, on current plans 1 Bde will be a 'light' brigade and 9 Bde will be a mech brigade. 1 Bde will, by mid-decade, consist on 5 RAR in a littoral manoeuvre role and 4 RAR in a motorised role, with a small regiment of M-777s and motorized engineers/signallers/logisitics etc. 13 Bde will reinforce, including with some form of cavalry capability. The full time component of 9 Bde will all be armoured/mechanised with 1 Armd Regt with M1 and Boxer, 7 RAR with IFV, along with a full regiment of self propelled guns and armoured engineers. It is not intended for 9 Bde as a whole to be a 'manoeuvre' brigade, but it will be able to generate some very robust battlegroups.

For 3 and 7 Bdes, you could literally just split them down the middle and have a light brigade and mechanised brigade left over. 3 Bde would send all their tanks and IFVs to 7 Bde, and 7 Bde would send all their motorised elements North. 7 Bde would have an ACR and two IFV battalions, while 3 Bde would have an ACR and two light/motorised battalions. Don't think only the combat units though, the biggest benefit is in the combat support and combat service support units. For example, 2 CER would be all mechanised, while 3 CER would be wholly motorised. 4 Regt would have M777s and motorised forward observers etc, while 1 Regt would be all self propelled guns and armoured forward observers. You would see significant efficiencies without having to change much at all.

If you wanted to do more than just re-arrange what already exists, you could do all sorts of interesting things. For example, as I said, you could exchange an IFV company for a tank squadron. You would thus have a better tank/IFV mix at the same time as saving some personnel. If you created combined arms battalions, you might have 6 RAR with 2 tank squadrons and two IFV companies, while 8/9 RAR had a tank squadron and three IFV companies. In 3 Bde, you could optimise the battalions for various tasks, while keeping more or less a common structure. For example, 3 RAR might specialise in airmobile/air assault operations while 1 RAR was optimised for amphibious/littoral operations etc. Both could still be motorized, but optimise their training for certain contingencies. In both brigades, I would keep a cavalry regiment with at least two sabre squadrons. Both would be Boxer mounted in 7 Bde, but I would probably only look to keep one Boxer mounted in 3 Bde, and create two 'light' cavalry squadrons (see earlier posts regarding light cavalry). I would make the cavalry regiments the centre of multi-domain and cross-domain capabilites for the brigades, with habitual attachments from the enabling brigades. Again, though, the point is not to concentrate on the manoeuvre units. The benefit is having all the enablers in each brigade optmised for that brigade.

With the mechanised ones, the combined arms battalions is an interesting idea. Would you have two per brigade? Would that mean more tanks to sustain four squadrons in total, or would you maybe adopt smaller tank squadrons? Do you think the cultural challenges of combined arms battalions could be overcome? Would they be battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment, or some new identity altogether? What would you do with the cavalry regiments?
If you just put the tank squadron in the IFV battalion to create a combined arms battalion, numbers would not need to change. If you went about swapping tanks for IFVs, then of course the numbers of each would change (tanks are cheaper than the IFVS, so no problem there). Combined arms battalions wouldn't work today due to cultural reasons, but the IFVs are going to force significant cultural change no matter what happens. By embedding tanks in the battalions you would assist in that cultural change, and as long as you had a critical mass of tanks it would be managable. I think you could keep the combined arms battalions part of the RAR, but if too many people got too upset you could just make one of the combined arms battalions an armoured unit and re-raise the RAInf unit in Darwin instead of 4 RAR. Either way, you would have to open up the leadership positions of the combined battalions to both RAAC and RAInf officers, which is a good thing.
 

Terran

Active Member

Okay Summery Sig’s NGSW family is being apparently offered for Australia’s Land 159 trenche 2 by Aquaterro. That program isn’t slated for another 3 years so it wouldn’t surprise me is more NGSW pitches recycle into it down the road.

Land 159 is split in 3 parts Tranche 1 is active set to be awarded in the next year or so for a number of Sniper rifles, scopes, Ghillie suit. As well as Knives, Pistol, PDW, “Low Profile weapons systems” (not sure what that is supposed to be if they are to adopt a PDW? Pocket pistol?Bodyguards SMG?), Shotgun and Breaching system.

Trench 2 will include replacing Current issue Styer AUG derivatives along with FN Minimi and MAG 58 as well as heavier machine guns, mortars, Rocket launchers and Grenades. Sig/Aquaterro are targeting the small arms side with the SPEAR, MG 68, and MG 338. Likely with the MCX SPEAR aimed for the “Close Combatant Assault Rifle”, MG 6.8 the Light Machine gun and the MG 338 for the Medium Machine gun requirements.
The SPEAR and 68 use a US DOD designed projectile in a Sig composite Metalic cartridge of steel tin and Brass to reduce ammo weight well allowing higher pressures. The 6.8x51mm round being derived from 7.62x51mm NATO. The aim being a weapon family with longer range and penetration vs 5.56mm. The MG338 is a Medium Machine gun (Currently not part of the Army NGSW but under evaluation for the USSOCOM and USMC) loaded with .338 Norma magnum offering more mobility than M2, more range than FN Mag (M240).

Truevelocity another Whom is also partnered for the US NGSW program as a Competitor with GDLS & Beretta announced last year they were involved in some capacity with Tranche 1. Australian LAND 159 — True Velocity

Tranche 3 is looking for a light weight automatic grenade launcher, less lethal munitions, command detonated munitions, unmanned weapons systems and loitering munitions.
 
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