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Subject: New brigade structure
longrifle    1/27/2006 8:26:04 PM
More controversy about the new brigade structure.,15240,86397,00.html
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ambush    RE:New brigade structure   1/27/2006 9:00:30 PM
I have always favored having three-maneuver elements over just two; be it 3 fire teams to a rifle squad, 3 squads to a platoon and so on (yes I was in the Corps). I also believe that you cannot have to many trigger pullers. I also may be a dinosaur and technology just may offset the lack of boots on the ground. However that article does point out an inconsistency. If the Army’s most technologically advanced brigades-Stryker are configured with 3 maneuver battalions and a recon elements why not the new brigades? As World War II went on and Germany’s equipment and manpower problems increased it decreased the number of battalions in its Regiments and Divisions yet made the same demands on them. It was like arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. Of course today’s technology could be worth one battalion on the ground just as you need fewer aircraft to accomplish the same mission.
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Horsesoldier    RE:New brigade structure   1/27/2006 10:15:15 PM
From the perspective of a former cavalryman, I think the guys writing the study are a tad bit retarded if they think a cavalry squadron (or "recon battalion" if you don't know what you're talking about . . .) is *not* a maneuver element.
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longrifle    RE:New brigade structure   1/28/2006 12:06:32 AM
Well, I'm not a 19D but I would think of a cav squadron as a manueuver element. But a cav squadron is short on dismounts, correct?
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interestedamateur    RE:New brigade structure   1/28/2006 5:48:26 AM
I believe the future aim for US Brigades under FCS is to go back to 3 maneuvre btns. The FCS brigades will need fewer support troops, allowing more frontline units.
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ambush    RE:New brigade structure   1/28/2006 8:05:13 AM
Speaking from a Marines point of view, so I could be wrong, but are the reconnaissance assets in the new Brigades really a maneuver element in the same sense as a "line" battalion or aare they a supporting asset like artillery? The Reconnaissance Battalion in a Marine Division is never or almost never sent on missions as a battalion or even company element as you would a regular infantry battalion or Company. It units are detached to support other units. You do not deploy the Scout Sniper platoon as a platoon but assign teams missions. Are the reconaissance elements going to operate as a squadron or battalion or will they operate as teams/platoons in support of maneuver battalions? Under this new Brigade organization is the Commaner going to organize his assets, to included recon/cav to support his two "line" battalions scheme of maneuver or organize his assets to support his two "line" battalion and one reconnaissance battalion? I can see where in a mech armor organization the recon element could have the Armor/firepower to act a third maneuver element bu tI could only see this happening in the light and even Stryker outfits under unusual circumstances No matter how you cut it the Brigades are still one combat arms battalion smaller than they used to be. I think the question still remains can technology make up the difference?
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Carl S    RE:New brigade structure   1/28/2006 9:17:04 AM
I was not impressed with the write up in the link. The study it describes has some valid criticisms, but they werre poorly described. The new organization makes sense if the US Army is only involved in fighting insurgencys in one or two different nations. The excuse is the need for a larger number of brigades for proper unit rotation to & from the US. A secondary reason is the requirement for larger intel & information handling section at this level. Third, since the brigade has a wider variety of support units as permanet components, rather than attachements from support pools it has more responsibility for training and operational matters. Hopefully the assumption about the ability of the larger brigade HQ are correct. Hopefully the assumption about low risk of conventional wars, the assumption of the realative effectiveness of NetCentric warfare, and the other high tech aids remain valid (they seldom do). Hopefully the brigade staff will be up to the task and stay on top pf the broad issues of doctrine and future needs for all those disparite support units.
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Carl S    RE:Two Manuver Elements History   1/28/2006 9:51:34 AM
The Wehrmacht used the twin or square organization many times. In 1942 many infantry regiments were reduced from three to two battalions. Extra support weapons like mortars were added to replace part of the fire power. The Luftwaffe Field Service (infantry) and Volksgrenadier divsions were organized with two regiments of three battalions. There were a waide variety of organizations for the panzer & motor rifle (panzer grenadier) divsions. Some of these included 'square' two element organizations. In the case of the panzer divs and the square regiments the Germans used highly flexible task organized groups for combat. The paper TO/TE was largely irrelevant. The Italians reorganized their army into infantry divsions of two regiments. Several lightly armed Facist Black Shirt battalions werre susposed to added to make up for the missing firepower. But these were not always available, and many failed in combat. Infantry replacement shortages caused the British army to short many of its divsions one brigade. An effort to make up for this consisted of keeping a pool of independant Guards infantry and tank brigades. The idea was to plug these into the short handed divsions as needed. The US Army orgaized most of its armored divsions into two 'combat commands' with three battalion size manuver elements each. Even before entering combat most armor divsion commanders found this unsatifactory and were organizing a third ad hoc combat command. This caused the combat command comanders to lose a battalion, so they reorganized their task forces to reform a third manuver element, which caused the task force commanders to come up short a company... The US parachute regiments originally had just two manuver platoons per company. Again the regimental and divsions commanders were forming a third unauthorized platoon. In 1944 these third platoons were offcially recognized. At the start of WWI both the Germans & French had their infatry organized rigidly into corps of two infantry divsions, the divsions were divided into two inf brigades, of two inf regiments each. Both army reorganized into the triangular system over the following year. The Japanese invaded China with a army mostly organised on the paired manuver element system. Over the enxt two years a lighter triangular divsion became the standard, tho some square or paired divsions remained. The Red Army was using largely square organizations in 1941. After reorganization during 1942 some square elements remained, but units of three and four manuver elements were the majority.
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Carl S    RE:Four Manuver Elements   1/28/2006 10:18:36 AM
The four manuver element organization is rarer on paper. It seems to appear a little more often on the battlefield. It seems to work where highly trained/experienced commanders are present. Most infantry battalions started WWI with four rifle companys. Casualties caused many to reduce to three, or convert the fourth to a weapons support unit. The British retained a four rifle company battalion through WWII. The French Cavalry of 1940 organised its medium Souma (S35) and light Hotchkiss (H39) tanks into four troop squadrons. The Red army prefered to organize its post 1942 Tank, Mechanized Infantry, and Cavalry, Corps into four manuver elements. These divsion size organizations usuall had: Tank Corps. three tank brigades, one motor infantry brigade Mech Corps. three mech infantry brigades and one tank brigade Cavalry Corps. three horse/motor brigades, one tank brigade The mech infatry brigade refered to above had three motor rifle battalions and one small tank battalion as a fourth element. Post WWII the Soviet Army has maintained the 'three/one' organization in its tank and motor infantry divsions. The US Army and British Army have periodicly added a fourth battalion to the manuver brigades. The USMC has a slot for a fourth company in its battlions. These are activated when the manpower is available. The Marines also have a prefrence for dividing a MAGTAF into four manuver elements. Tho again this is dependant on the mission, and what is available to fill it out with.
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longrifle    RE:Two Manuver Elements History   1/28/2006 4:32:47 PM
For some odd reason the WWII glider regiments had two battalions each, while parachute regiments in the same divisions had three.
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longrifle    RE:Four Manuver Elements   1/28/2006 4:43:01 PM
We know that two basic elements have worked on occasion; some commanders can effectively employ four. Three seems to be tried and true though. Or perhaps more accurately three plus one for light troops. The Stryker organization, regardless of whatever you think of the vehicle itself, seems to be holding true with three basic elements plus the cav squadron. Both Schoomaker and MacGregor were cav officers. How did they come to such opposite conclusions with similar backgrounds?
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