Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Reading Takaos last makes me wonder if there is a place for pioneer battalions in the ADF?

With the almost constant call on the ADF for HADR maybe some reserve Btns could be converted and a couple of regular Btns cross trained in the role. Maybe a couple of new units could be raised.

They would still be infantry, but better trained and equipped for a role they end up doing anyway.
 

Sierra Mike

New Member
Reading Takaos last makes me wonder if there is a place for pioneer battalions in the ADF...
I don't see that the ADF/Army has the people power to support dedicated pioneer battalions.

However it does have all the elements to support most HADR missions, specifically engineers, medics, logisticians and supply train, planners and a means to deliver. It also has the flexibility to size and shape specific responses to unique needs.

What really needs to improve is a broad understanding of the need, that is:
  1. what HADR is and isn't
  2. who is best positioned to deliver it
  3. and how it is delivered
in my view the public and political response of "we must be seen to be doing something" and "where is the ADF?" question doesn't do any favours to the ADF and detracts from the ADF's raison d'etre.
 

OldTex

Active Member
Reading Takaos last makes me wonder if there is a place for pioneer battalions in the ADF?

With the almost constant call on the ADF for HADR maybe some reserve Btns could be converted and a couple of regular Btns cross trained in the role. Maybe a couple of new units could be raised.

They would still be infantry, but better trained and equipped for a role they end up doing anyway.
Perhaps this should be one of the roles for the GRES/ARES Field Engineer Regts with the addition of Reserve Construction Squadrons under the Command of HQ 2DIV. The type of Field Engineer training needed to construct/repair roads and airfields, operate water supply points, construct bridges and operate ferries is applicable to HADR as well as DACA/DACC and rear area responsibilities during warfighting actions.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I guess it depends on what type of multi "operational scenario" falls under your classification.

The defence force obviously needs to be multi facetted, but designed and structured for a particular region certainly isn't poor forward planning imo.

There's a counter argument to your point being you risk being a 'jack of all trades and a master of none', ineffectual in the face of a well prepared opponent precisely designed for particular operational scenario's. There's evidence of this right throughout history.

Without beating around the bush, he's obviously referring to China, I think it's safe to say you can throw the rule book out the window for the next decade in regards to defence procurement and what we may or may not have done in the previous 30-40 years as an indication of what we might do in the next decade.

I very much think we will tailor our decisions to a potential conflict with China in the Pacific and the operational scenario's surrounding the consequences of that.
Every decision ever made in life includes relative priority as one of the factors leading to said decision to one degree or another.

My problem with the current debate is that for reasons unclear to me, it seems to be automatically assumed that if regional tensions were to brew over and Australia found itself in actual conflict with China we’d luckily be in a position once again, where we could afford to deploy a partial component of our forces (air and naval, perhaps with just a couple of ground-based missile firing units for good measure) and that’s all we’d need to do. The rest of ADF would sit at home and watch, or something…

Unfortunately history shows us that every single time we have conducted combat operations in the Asia-Pacific region, it is substantial ground forces that we have required, with a substantial less requirement for air and naval forces, transportation and logistics aside…

In 1945, very few “analysts” foresaw us fighting Chinese and North Korean forces on the ground in Asia in almost brigade level strength. Yet 5 years later we were and we needed all the armour and artillery others had (but we didn’t) to do it, too…

In the 60’s and 70’s when we decided to go and fight wars in Asia once again, right into the very heart of the theatre where our academics tell us our ‘tanks can’t go’ we actually, in reality deployed extremely heavy armour and (yet again) substantially sized ground forces to these combat operations, while our airforce and Navy did much less of the heavy lifting (no disrespect intended to either service by the way, but that was the reality).

In the 80’s and 90’s our defence academics led by the inestimable Paul Dibb, thought it would be an excellent idea to defend our air-sea gap, substantially unbalance our forces in doing so in order to fund it and invest in (cough…) “high-end” war fighting capabilities for our air and naval forces. Then we ran headlong into Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan for more than 20 years of combat operations of varying intensities… Oops. Appears their crystal ball may have been a bit hazy then too.

Now we are told once again an operational scenario is ‘most likely’ where our land forces will have the least utility and we should therefore invest in air and naval forces to the exclusion of our land combat capability. But more than this, it is advocated we should actually strip our Army of capabilities and funding already approved, that aren’t perceived to have utility in this ‘most likely’ scenario.

Forgive the walk down memory lane, but hence why I have said here and elsewhere, that such a plan were it to eventuate, would be extremely short-sighted (and foolish, IMHO) in the least.
 
Last edited:

spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
in the case of both Korea and Vietnam the enemy had effectively no naval forces; there was a significant air war in Korea. Malaysia was counter insurgency. Timor and the later proxy wars are never going to be your major force determinant because of their nature; and for the proxies the reason for being there and the concomitant government decisions about which forces to commit, as also exemplified by Gulf 1 and of course Gulf 2 which has led to an ongoing commitment for Navy. But government could have chosen other courses in all those situations, an option almost certainly not available in a major conflict.

China has a very significant ability to project power across the Pacific using naval and air forces, greater in relative terms than Japan had in 1941. If you get into a stoush with them you’d best be able to operate in that environment. That requires a “balanced” force which includes competent forces in all three environments.

That is something defence has being trying to develop, with various levels of support from governments, for at least the last 25 years - the internecine arguments of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, and the baleful influence of FDA, have been noticeably absent although budget reality always intrudes.and of course there can always be arguments about how well a particular investment decision contributes to that aim.

And you’d better have the full support of some very competent allies.
 
Last edited:

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I don't see that the ADF/Army has the people power to support dedicated pioneer battalions.

However it does have all the elements to support most HADR missions, specifically engineers, medics, logisticians and supply train, planners and a means to deliver. It also has the flexibility to size and shape specific responses to unique needs.

What really needs to improve is a broad understanding of the need, that is:
  1. what HADR is and isn't
  2. who is best positioned to deliver it
  3. and how it is delivered
in my view the public and political response of "we must be seen to be doing something" and "where is the ADF?" question doesn't do any favours to the ADF and detracts from the ADF's raison d'etre.
How can we not have the manpower to train and equip some of our existing manpower to do what we are already getting them to do?

If the ADF is doing it already then provide them with the training and equipment required, in accordance with the doctrine and strategic planning, such frequent, and ongoing taskings deserve.

I am not talking about raising or re roling regular battalions, I am suggesting providing the required equipment and training to, say, the three motorised RAR battalions and maybe give 2 RAR an amphibious pioneer capability. This would be iaw doctrine developed to cater for the continual employment of ADF in these roles.

To facilitate this training cadres would have to be stood up that could also facilitate the raising or conversion of reserve infantry and or artillery units to become pioneers.

Not every infantry unit is going to be armoured infantry, we will not be buying enough vehicles for this. They will not be para infantry or marines. This is something that makes them more versatile and would take some of the strain off other elements going forward.
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Another thought.

Pioneers have fought as infantry, but have also been drawn from other combat arms, as well as being grouped with work/labour units, and logistics units.

Why not embed logistics, heavy construction, military police, surveillance, intelligence and health capabilities. Ironically this is not dissimilar to the infantry battalions of old.
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Volk, I think adding a sqn to each of the combat engineer regiments would make more sense.
They already possess the skills of pioneers, and would be more effective.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
in the case of both Korea and Vietnam the enemy had effectively no naval forces; there was a significant air war in Korea. Malaysia was counter insurgency. Timor and the later proxy wars are never going to be your major force determinant because of their nature; and for the proxies the reason for being there and the concomitant government decisions about which forces to commit, as also exemplified by Gulf 1 and of course Gulf 2 which has led to an ongoing commitment for Navy. But government could have chosen other courses in all those situations, an option almost certainly not available in a major conflict.

China has a very significant ability to project power across the Pacific using naval and air forces, greater in relative terms than Japan had in 1941. If you get into a stoush with them you’d best be able to operate in that environment. That requires a “balanced” force which includes competent forces in all three environments.

That is something defence has being trying to develop, with various levels of support from governments, for at least the last 25 years - the internecine arguments of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, and the baleful influence of FDA, have been noticeably absent although budget reality always intrudes.and of course there can always be arguments about how well a particular investment decision contributes to that aim.

And you’d better have the full support of some very competent allies.
Indeed, I am not arguing against the development of more capable Australian air and naval forces, quite the opposite. Simply that doing so at the expense of ground forces is a fools errand and is something that should not even be contemplated by our “strategic” planners, if they are at all interested in the lessons of history as any guide of what actual combat operations tend to entail…
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Volk, I think adding a sqn to each of the combat engineer regiments would make more sense.
They already possess the skills of pioneers, and would be more effective.
What I was looking at is there's a lot that combat engineers do that pioneers don't meaning pioneer roled units can still be primarily, and highly effectively, infantry.

They would be able to deploy effectively as a combat element of a brigade while also being suitable for HDAR.

Highly effective and capable wherever they are needed rather than being left home because they are seen as too specialised.
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
What I was looking at is there's a lot that combat engineers do that pioneers don't meaning pioneer roled units can still be primarily, and highly effectively, infantry.

They would be able to deploy effectively as a combat element of a brigade while also being suitable for HDAR.

Highly effective and capable wherever they are needed rather than being left home because they are seen as too specialised.
Yeah, but combat engineers can also be pretty effective infantry to. Having say 3 Sqns of Pioneers in the engineer regts also makes some sense. Good cross training. In my day, infantry pioneers , 3 RAR, main roles were clearing LZs for choppers, digging command posts, building and demolishing bridges, setting booby traps, blowing stuff up, even preparing rough landing strip's for CC08s and I think even C130Hs. Also responsible for training digs in rifle companies in booby traps and blowing stuff up. I don't think whole battalions would be of much use to the ADF. But having squadrons attached to field engineers might be useful, a stepping stone to full blown FEs.
 

Mikeymike

Member
Reading this about all of the Boxer variants. Does anyone know if the Australian army is looking or investigating other variants? Are there any here that could be of interest? Boxer Armoured Vehicle - Details and Variants - Think Defence
There are numerous boxer variants, all seem to be in different levels of development. From the graphic in this tweet you can see the different ones planned (At least what the state of play was back in 2020)


As far as I am aware the variants Australia has shown interest in and according to this article are included in the current procurement include:
- Reconnaissance
- Command and Control
- Repair and Recovery
- Ambulance
- driver training
- Joint Fires

Not sure Australia has shown interest in other variants but I am guessing they would probably at least look if other countries start to introduce them.
 

Attachments

Bob53

Active Member
Had a flick through ASPI today and there are several articles surrounding dropping IFV project as part of the upcoming defence review. What I can’t find is any suggestion on any alternative! How would our soldiers ride into battle if there was no IFV?




this is probably a dumb question but who is best placed to judge what’s best…lobbyists like ASPI …I assume they talk with senior ADF staff …or ADF commanders themselves ….assume they have a real world view of what is and is nor working, shortfalls to requirements, understand the logistics…who gets trusted with what’s right! I hope it’s not people without real world ADG experience.
 
Last edited:

Massive

Active Member
Had a flick through ASPI today and there are several articles surrounding dropping IFV project as part of the upcoming defence review. What I can’t find is any suggestion on any alternative! How would our soldiers ride into battle if there was no IFV?
I am hopeful that the defence review will identify and come up with a plan to address the marked lack of land power in the ADF (among other things). Critical to this is a minimum amount of mass - a larger, heavier regular army and a clear role for the reserves.

As an indication, I feel for the regular army this would be something like 3 heavy brigades (indicatively - tanks, IFV, armoured engineering, SPG, and a missile regiment for each brigade for want of a better title with NLOS, Loitering munitions & light SAMs), plus a lighter single littoral/amphibious brigade. For the reserves it would be organisation into brigade combat teams, protected transport etc with a clear mobilisation plan.

Risk of fantasy fleet of course but the lack of land power in the ADF is pretty glaring.

Regards,

Massive
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
I am hopeful that the defence review will identify and come up with a plan to address the marked lack of land power in the ADF (among other things). Critical to this is a minimum amount of mass - a larger, heavier regular army and a clear role for the reserves.

As an indication, I feel for the regular army this would be something like 3 heavy brigades (indicatively - tanks, IFV, armoured engineering, SPG, and a missile regiment for each brigade for want of a better title with NLOS, Loitering munitions & light SAMs), plus a lighter single littoral/amphibious brigade. For the reserves it would be organisation into brigade combat teams, protected transport etc with a clear mobilisation plan.

Risk of fantasy fleet of course but the lack of land power in the ADF is pretty glaring.

Regards,

Massive
No idea as to what the review will suggest for Army and in particular the future IFV.
All Guess work.
As to expanding into what ever capacity ; these things do take time.
Equipment takes time to manufacture, personnel need training, skill sets at the low levels need to be refined and when complete need to be worked up into larger formations.
All time consuming and challenging stuff which while maybe appealing and indeed necessary, may not fit into the perceived prioritys of the review.

Lack of time seems to be the govering priority , so it will indeed be interesting as to how that is addressed.

For Army I just don't know but I have my concerns.
We live in strange times, but somehow I don't see Army getting that sort of force structure any time soon.
Which is a shame as we probably should of already had it for a decade or two
As to the IFV , my guess is it will still go ahead, but with reduced numbers ordered.
However!
If it is indeed cancelled ,then maybe some extra Boxers could be a possibility.

Hmmmmmmmm


Regards S


PS. Can you get 100 years of service out of an M113 ?
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
For gawds sake don't encourage them.
There's actually a bit of a cycle, peace time and leading up to war armour is perceived as being less important than other neglected capabilities and it becomes a come with what you have situation.

During conflict efforts are made to get what we can, often unsuccessfully. Immediately post conflict we tend to get what we needed but didn't have, but in smaller than ideal quantities.

As things settle down and we look to a peace dividend, armour is one of the first areas to suffer. Artillery, naval aviation, tactical aviation, and more specialised naval capabilities also tend to suffer.
 

Massive

Active Member
PS. Can you get 100 years of service out of an M113 ?
While I get the dark humour I am becoming quite anxious about our security situation and the lack of a plan to address it in a reasonable time frame.

A clear plan for the Army is urgently required - both Regular and Reserves. And it cannot look like the old plan.

Complete lack of anything but tokenistic at best Tank, IFV, armoured engineering, Massed Fires and SAM capabilities is just the start. And a clear understanding of the warfighting role of the Reserves would be useful.

It really is quite worrying.

Regards,

Massive
 
Top