The Strategypage is a comprehensive summary of military news and affairs.
December 8, 2022

Part 6 Observations and Recommendations

As expected, principles for a lightly armored wheeled force are the same as for a heavier tracked force, but their employment is different. Lessons learned included:

Lessons Learned

On average, the LAV battalion faired better than an M113/M8 force in terms of survivability and in inflicting casualties on the attacking OPFOR force. I attribute this to the overall better armor of the LAV force, together with the lethality of the 25mm cannon when compared to the .50 caliber machine gun of the M113.

The M113/AGS force is more vulnerable to artillery fire than the LAV force. Both are more vulnerable to indirect fires than a heavy task force.

The US needs a longer range ATGM and/or a countermeasure device to balance out the long-range fires of the OPFOR ATGMS. The AT-6 and AT-10s outrange the TOW and the M1A2 by at least 1,000 meters.

Engineer support made about a 7 – 10 % difference in the survivability of the organization when defending.

The large amount of mortars is a plus, enabling a massive amount of indirect fire on the enemy. (120mm PGM ammunition will make them more lethal still.)

The best use of smoke is to smoke friendly positions to defeat the acquisition of my units by the enemy. Of course, if the enemy has thermals then this will have less effect.

In an age where our casualty tolerance is very low, it appears that a force that relies on close in combat action to achieve decisive results is not the best course of action. The force should have sufficient long-range weapons to destroy and suppress the enemy before the enemy closes to 1,000 meters.

The attacking medium force must make shorter bounds then a heavy task force. It is more similar to an air assault battalion than it is to a mechanized infantry task force.

Massive overwatch fires are necessary (sometimes I would have as many as seven platoons over watching the move of a single platoon). Infantry and Javelins must be deployed whenever the carriers halt.

The medium Scout Platoon is more lethal than the heavy TF Scout Platoon, but the temptation to use it to fight is much greater, since they are not in HMMWVs.

Even more than the heavy force, finding or creating a flank is a necessity. The lighter vehicles are much more vulnerable on the flanks than is a heavy force, making being caught in a fire sack or against a mine field a real trap.


Each battalion should have an anti-tank platoon of 4 – 6 LAV-ATs for long-range fire support, then the brigade AT company could be used as a reserve and its fires concentrated.

Provide an engineer battalion as the minimum size engineer force for the medium brigade, ensuring it has a mix of mobility, counter-mobility, and survivability equipment.

Each battalion should field a platoon of LAV-AD for short-range air defense.

To reduce vulnerability to artillery, one vehicle per platoon should be equipped with the AN/VLQ-9/10 Shortstop Electronic Protection System (SEPS) designed to counter artillery and mortar proximity fuses. A similar device should be developed to counter ATGM’s.

To reduce vulnerability to enemy air, the battalion should have an Air Defense Platoon based on the LAV-AD.

Do not adopt as the primary combat vehicle of the battalion the LAV-APC armed with a small caliber weapon. The primary combat vehicle of the battalion should carry a 25mm or 30mm cannon in order to provide sufficient support to the dismounted infantry force and kill the enemy’s supporting vehicles before they close to within 1,000 meters.

Some Other Thoughts

As we adopt the LAV organization, it will provide a distinctive footprint on the battlefield, giving the enemy a vital clue about what type organization he is fighting. WE should convert most, if not all, reconnaissance organizations to the Medium Battalion Organization to deny the enemy knowledge of what type organization he is fighting. Behind its reconnaissance screen, our force could be airborne, air mobile, light, mechanized, or medium infantry and the enemy would not know for sure until he was in the main battle area. Specifically, we should consider some of the following options:

Convert all battalion and brigade scout platoons to LAV-25 fighting vehicles. This would standardize training for scouts and provide more firepower to the battalion. With the reduction in maneuver companies from four to three, this would give the scout platoon more capability in the counter-reconnaissance fight.

Convert the divisional armored cavalry troops to LAV-25s. This would again provide the armor force some measure of standardization in training across the force as well as significantly increase the combat power of these organizations.

Convert the 2nd ACR to a LAV-25/LAV-AG structure as soon as possible. It should be third in priority to the IBCTs and would again improve training across the armored force and provide increased combat power to the corps commanders.

A Name

I propose this organization be called Dragoons. Historically, dragoons were mounted infantry, using their horses to get to the battle and then dismounting for combat. Much of the strength of this organization, regardless of what combat vehicle is selected, will be in its infantry and this name will give them a heritage and name that emphasizes their importance.


Armor in World War II: American Armored Doctrine,

Bernstein, Lewis, Army Experimental Formations and their possible influence on the Establishment of the Force XXI Experimental Force, Center for Army Lessons Learned, Fort Leavenworth, KS October, 1996.

Demarco, Lou, Mechanized Cavalry Doctrine In World War II,

Gable, Christopher R, Leavenworth Papers Number 12: Seek, Strike, and Destroy: US Army Tank Destroy Doctrine in World War II, Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, September 1985.

Gordon, John IV, and Wilson, Peter A., The Case for Army XXI "Medium Weight" Aero-motorized Divisions, a Pathway to the Army of 2020, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA. May 1988.

HMS Hood Association, Origins of the Royal Navy Battle Cruiser,

Riggs, Scott, Strike Force: An Independent Proposal, (Personally published by Major Riggs and provided to the author.)

US Army Armor Center, Brigade Combat Team Website,

Program Manager, Light Armored Vehicles,

PM, Firefinder Shortstop Electronic Protection System (SEPS),

USMC, MCWP 3-14 (Coordinating Draft), Employment of the Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., January, 2000.

About the Author

Mike Robel is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, with 16 years of active duty as an Armor Officer. He served in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment as a tank and cavalry platoon leader and a cavalry troop executive officer patrolling the very edge of the Free World along the border between East and West Germany. His other service was in the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) {The Big Red One} in Fort Riley, Stuttgart, Germany, and the Persian Gulf, where he commanded companies in all three brigades of the division and served as a battalion maintenance officer, battalion supply officer, battalion assistant operations officer, division armor training officer, division assistant operations officer, and as a brigade supply officer.

After leaving active duty, he worked for Logicon Advanced Technology as a database manager for the 87th Exercise Division in Birmingham, AL and managed the 2nd ACR’s simulation center in Fort Polk, LA, where he used the Army’s Corps Battle Simulation, Battalion-Brigade Battle Simulation, and JANUS. He is now a Knowledge Acquisition and System Test Engineer working on WARSIM 2000, which is the Army’s next generation battle simulation.

He has played board wargames since he was 8 years old (Avalon Hill’s U-Boat), and computer wargames since Avalon Hill’s MIDWAY for the TRS-80 Computer. He worked for Intracorp/360 for a year as the 360 Product Manager and was involved in the final production of HARPOON 2 (ADMIRAL'S EDITION). He has play-tested and developed scenarios for a plethora of wargames including HARPOON CLASSIC, HARPOON II, V FOR VICTORY, STEEL PANTHERS, GREAT NAVAL BATTLES, ULTIMATE MILITARY SIMULATOR II, PATRIOT, TANKS, and HIGH COMMAND as well as Army simulations.

He has been published in a variety of publications including STRATEGY PLUS,, COMMAND Magazine, Armor, Infantry, Military Review, and Army Times on a variety of computer games and various historical and contemporary military and historical topics as well as a strategy guide for TANKS!

He now lives on Merritt Island, Florida where he has a front row seat for space shuttle launches and the beach.


[1] The LAV III+ is larger than the Marines LAV-25 at the cost of amphibious capability but it has heavier armor than the M2 Bradley.

[2] TACOPS is a commercial wargame developed by a retired Marine Officer. It assigns lethality values to each weapon.

[3] BCT is similar to JANUS is look and feel, thought it is a wholly commercial product.

[4] A BTR-80/T-80 organization was used as the basis for this evaluation because the author felt if the medium weight battalion could stand up to it, it would have no problem with other less capable threats.

[5] In TACOPS, there is no LAV-III AG combination. It can be assumed that should the US Army buy the LAV III, an Assault Gun version would have equal armor to the infantry support carrier.

[6] Probability of hit at the given range / armor penetration at the given range.

[7] While the AGS and the LAV-AG both have a 105mm gun, in TACOPS, the LAV-AG only has a 2500-meter range while the M8 has a 3000-meter range. This difference is probably due to fire control.

[8] In TACOPS, the only weapon possible is the 7.62mm Machine Gun.

[9] The Pk is a rough estimate from the armor penetration ability of the weapon against the armor rating of vehicles in the scenario.

Return to Introduction


© 1998 - 2022 All rights Reserved.,, FYEO, For Your Eyes Only and Al Nofi's CIC are all trademarks of
Privacy Policy