Cold Start: An analysis

Ashutosh
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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Ashutosh » 15 Jun 2004 08:28

wyu, it seems this is the first time you are coming across writings by retired Pakistani military men. The one above is one of the more saner articles written by that gentleman.

Anyways - I happened to pose a question to you; however it got drowned in the other thread: what are your comments on PLA/PLAAF/PLAN/PLANAF war wastage reserves? Or is such a concept alien to them?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 15 Jun 2004 08:41

Originally posted by Ashutosh:
wyu, it seems this is the first time you are coming across writings by retired Pakistani military men. The one above is one of the more saner articles written by that gentleman.
Happens in all armies, I happenned to have a very strong distaste for a few of my generals but this is not the place for it.

Originally posted by Ashutosh:
Anyways - I happened to pose a question to you; however it got drowned in the other thread: what are your comments on PLA/PLAAF/PLAN/PLANAF war wastage reserves? Or is such a concept alien to them?
If I understand you right, are you talking about attrition warfare? IE, raising replacement armies?

Operationally, the Chinese doesn't believe in reserves. They believe in echelons. They keep a reserve as a matter of protection and as the final last gasp attempt in an echelon (ie, coy, bn, regt, div, or army - note, the PLA start calling them corps but they're really armies) objective. As such, they keep a smaller reserve (7 up, 1 back) than we, NATO, do (3 up, 1 back).

In WZC terms, this means that the Phase I would be relieved by Phase II that would be relieved by Phase III. Phase III would be relieved by running home.

What this gives them operationally is that it doesn't matter if you kill Phase I or Phase II, Phase III would still happen no matter what you do to the other two phases.

The weakness in such a system is that there is very little force stop an enemy's overwhelming and/or unexpected response.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby karthik.k » 16 Jun 2004 05:48

Originally posted by wyu:
The military situation is almost identicle to that of the 62 Sino-Indo War when the PLA left, they were in no position to challenge the InA relief force.
The point here is that for a political victory to work, the victim must be willing to play the part of the victim.
[OT POST] This is one thing that I always wanted to ask. Why didn't we try to take back what we thought was our territory from the Chinese ?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Calvin » 16 Jun 2004 06:06

OK Folks: Let us not divert this thread, which was started for a very specific reason - to understand the motivations behind and the assumptions underlying "Cold Start"

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Calvin » 16 Jun 2004 06:12

wyu and RayC: As one of those candy-asses that have not donned the uniform, could you please clarify why "faster mobilization" is not an integral aspect of this new doctrine?

My confusion arises from my understanding that the military typically has peace-time stations that are different from when they are "mobilized." Accordingly, does "Cold Start" imply an army that is activated at all times? Or does it mean an army that is physically (and temporally) located close to war-time stations at all time, even during "peace-time"?

wyu raises the issue of propaganda making a distinction between the attacking force withdrawing of its own accord, or "running away/chased away". In this context, is it transparent that the "degradation objective" is the sole end-game that Cold Start envisages?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 06:38

I don't think faster mobilization is a vital part of this doctrine. I think accelerated deployment is.

You have to take things in context. Most of the articles are by non-InA personel speaking from purely a speculative frame of mind, some not even military.

Mobilization is simply bringing a peacetime or stand-down combat-ineffective force up to war time strength in men, equipment, and material. That takes time.

Accelerated deployment is to send in a combat-effective force already standing ready which usually counts as a deployment.

NATO had its Immediate Reaction Force. The Soviets/Russians have their Air Assault Bdes. The Chinese have their Rapid Reaction Units. These standing forces usually have their sub-echelons rotated through. In Canada's case, each one of our three light infantry battalions take its turn as our contribution to IRF (Land).

That is the model the rest of the world is using and I cannot see the InA taking off in a very wild tangent that uses mobilization as its force build up, especially when mobilization has a built in liability - that of requiring time for build up.

Without going into details that might offend the Admins as to be too revealling, there is a need to deploy the smallest combat-effective force possible with the maximum combat-effectiveness possible to achieve any stated OPOBJ. Usually this means force multipliers and that may NOT mean copying Western examples.

Soviet operations were on par with even modern NATO C4ISR. That is because their pre-planning cover scenarios which we wouldn't even bother with.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 06:44

As for the propaganda part, I do not wish to start a debate about what happenned but why does both sides believe they won Kragil?

One is a military victory. The other is a domestic propaganda victory.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Calvin » 16 Jun 2004 06:50

OK, if I can repeat your words in the words of a civilian:

The concept requires a certain number of mobilized/ready-for-action "battlegroups" that can be "sent into action" at a "moment's notice." These components of these "battlegroups" are continually being rotated out with "combat-ineffective" groups.

The key to the punch or strength that these groups can deliver is a function of how large these "battlegroups" are, at any given point in time.

Obviously 100% of the forces could not be part of these "mobilized/ready-for-action" forces. The question I have, now, is what percentage of the total force can typically be ready-for-action? (are we talking about a third? a quarter? a fifth?)

Regarding going into revealing details, we are only concerned that we do not aid in the revelation of non-public information pertaining to India or any other nation. So, if you could illustrate your point regarding OPOBJ with a simplistic example, that will be appreciated. And if you could further dilate on your thoughts regarding the unnecessity of copying western examples, that would be appreciated as well.

Pending your comments, I will wonder out loud whether a surprise attack that doesn't destroy much (for eg., PA/ISI HQ as Narayanan suggests) is worth the effort at all. In otherwords, is a small achievable objective being attained merely an escalatory ladder?

p.s. Re: Kargil, is the key issue, though, not the mindset of the political (or in the case of Pakistan, the military) elite that are decisionmakers?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby RayC » 16 Jun 2004 09:09

The crux of the issue that because Pakistan has its troops closer to the border, it can sieze the intiative and initially gain some ground. This advantage has to be negated and then the coup de main launched. Currently, the coup de main forces have a very long mobilsation matrix. By having battle groups, that are technically geared to join battle early, it can stall the attack/ offensive by being launched immediate and at the same time take the battle into the enemy area and take some objectives which then can become launch pads for the coup de main forces.

The battle groups will be closer to the border and organisationally capable to ward off any attack/ offensive by the enemy and stall the same, while concurrently elsewhere other battle groups take the battle into the enemy area and are organisationally equipped to be powerful enough to effect a limited successful military result. Obviously, to have the punch and sustainability, it will have to be a joint services integrated effort. The organisational structure that is current obviously will have to be more versatile in armour, artillery and air dropped, air transported resources.

In the meantime, other heavier forces will mobilised from their peace stations and will come into the battle as they arrive.

This will eliminate to some extent the weakness of our long and tardy mobilisation.

(Be advised that this is but only a guess and speculative thinking without advantage of the facts on the ground and hence can be totally skewed and faulted).

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 09:26

I concur with the Brigadier,

I had a whole series of answers ready before I stop myself from posting. I've made this mistake before in imposing Canadian answers to similar Chinese problems and the PLA took a whole different route.

Currently, we don't know what the InA is thinking. All we know is the problems they would like to solve. I can give you what NATO, Russian, and Chinese answers are but would they fit the InA environment?

The one question I would like to ask, though, is that is this still a work-in-progress. If not, then, as an InA Officer have already stated, old wine in new bottle.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Calvin » 16 Jun 2004 09:41

RayC: From the early commentary (on the Divya Astra thread, for example) it appears that this is a doctrine designed to occur after an enemy attack.

wyu: Re - "old wine in new bottle", doesn't this appear to be a radical departure from the Indian doctrine of defense, to one of offense. Cold Start, it appears to me, is aimed at catching Pakistan unawares, at a moment's notice (probably <48 h). The issues as regards objectives etc are still not clear, and their propaganda/psyop value seem unclear as well.

Also, what proportion of the total force can theoretically be "battle-ready" unless you are in a state of complete mobilization?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby vishal » 16 Jun 2004 09:45

Originally posted by Calvin:
Cold Start, it appears to me, is aimed at catching Pakistan unawares, at a moment's notice (probably <48 h). The issues as regards objectives etc are still not clear, and their propaganda/psyop value seem unclear as well.[/QB]
Shades of "Zhukov 4" from Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy. Rapid mobilization by the Warsaw Pact forces, within 24 hours, leading to war with the intent of achieving strategic surprise.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby RayC » 16 Jun 2004 11:22

Colonel,

Lets have the Russian and the NATO concepts.

Calvin,

I wonder if the concept is to to catch Pakistanis unaware by using these groups in attack mode. We have, to the best of my belief, not been the aggressors and have been more on the reactive mode. But then, the battle groups will have the capability to be lauched in an offensive and laying the ground work for the coup de main forces.

'Old wine in new bottle' could be that we reuse the current resources (with some more add ons) and make the organisation (battle groups) more powerful in its organic command and resources structure (including logitics) rather than having to ask higher formation for additional resources i.e reinforcing artillery or having an engineer brigade as attachement or even an armoured brigade and so on. In such a form, it can 'take off' without the attachments marrying up that use to cause the time penalty in the earlier days. These battlegroups would also require better ISR facilties and sensors and based on a network centric warfare mode. Now, could it also means instead of being lean and mean, it becomes bulky! I am sure it can be worked out. Even though the whole concept is under wraps, it does excite.

No force can be 24 hours 'on the hop'. So, being ready to join battle would mean being able to 'kick off' without too much of delay or fuss. This will possibly eliminate concentration areas, assembly areas and the like and hence the time penalty for launch would be much less. I think it will be something like 'attacking from the line of march'. Such an idea had been practised long,long back when I was a junior but it requires tremendous amount of coordination and any 'snafus' (situation normal but all foulded up) can spell disaster but then as every thing in the army it becomes a 'safu' (self adjusting f up). :)

All this can become true if the Services stop their turf war, all this will remain a pipe dream. All armed forces the world over have turf war and they have never been eliminated.

If it works out, it will surely take the edge off the Pakistani advantage they have of now.

As per a British author on Arab (Muslim) mentality (reported in the newspapers on why Abu Gharib occured, which I can't get hold of now), the worst thing that can happen to them is being humiliated. That could be true because they do have a superior opinion of themselves even if not true on ground. Therefore if humiliated, it will be a better victory since (if you were ragged in College, you would have realised mental ragging is worse than physical ragging; imagine hours of being subjected to hours of inane moral lectures)the Pakistans will take years before they can rub off the shame of being defeated by emaciated, weak Hindu mob (they take every Indian to be a Hindu). Therefore, there seems to some relevance of using the Chinese 'moral victory' mode as in 1962 and therefore, we need not go whole hog to reach their nuclear threshold. Well, that is an opinion taht can be taken for what its worth.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby daulat » 16 Jun 2004 14:16

RayC - This will possibly eliminate concentration areas, assembly areas and the like and hence the time penalty for launch would be much less. I think it will be something like 'attacking from the line of march'. Such an idea had been practised long,long back when I was a junior but it requires tremendous amount of coordination and any 'snafus'
this reminded me of the first major contact between Russians and the Mongols. The Russian cavalry was chasing the 'rag tag' raiders and arrived on the trot on the open field in front of the Tartar army. Seeing the pathetic wooly nomads, the Russians changed from the trot to the gallop and plunged headlong into the attack in high spirits without pause for thought.

ofcourse, the Mongol coup de main was hiding behind the hills and then... blam. Not much was left of teh strung out exhausted russians once the hammer hit the anvil.

same problem occurs in any rapid advance/attack scenario I imagine?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Guest » 16 Jun 2004 15:11

Cold Start talks about battle groups. A "Battle Group" is a naval term relating to a group of heavy warship, in earlier days battleships, in soviet naval doctrine centered around Kirov class battlecruisers. Now the "battle group" term has reached land warfare ... interesting.

This is as aside to the main discussion.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Rudra » 16 Jun 2004 15:54

Daulat, not if you have recce assets (iaf, uav) revealing everything behind the hill. 155mm shells would decimate the 'mongol army' long before your rohan horsemen with the long lances reached that line.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 16:07

Battle Groups are Land Force terms for a very long time, usually refers to re-enforced battalions of two to five companies of both mechanized infantry and armoured companies. There are also battalion groups which are either infantry or armoured battalions re-enforced with non-organic combat service and combat support elements. The terms are used in NATO.

Calvin,

I don't know what the InA rotation would look like. It remains to be seen if the 8 Cold Start Battle Groups rotate between themselves or that active divisions rotate in and out of the CSBGs.

If CSBG is a done deal and all the work and thinking is finished and are now being put into practise, then the echelon is division, possibly a re-enforced one with an independent bde. There simply is not enough development time being put into it to bring the changes down to battalion and company level. Also, the amount of secrecy involved tells me that LCols and Majs do not have a Need-to-Know and thus, no changes to their current requirements.

The NATO model is ready-train-deploy. I'll use the Canadian example. One battalion is readying itself (usually a stand-down battalion) by repairing and refilling its TOE. One battalion is in training for deployment. One battalion is being deployed.

In the best case scenario, that's a four month rotation for each of the battalion. A battalion will spend four months getting ready, four months being trained, and four months being deployed and then repeat the entire cycle again. In practised, it's usually two months for ready and train and an eight month deployment. Also, it's not uncommon for a stand down battalion to flush out one of its companies for immediate deployment.

In the Russian/Chinese model, there are the Category A Force/Rapid Reaction Units and the Cat B Force. The Cat A/RRU remains at full strength but only one regt per division maintains combat effectiveness at any one time. The other two are going through ready-train. The Cat B Forces are kept at 25-30 percent strength (ie one regt) that is combat ready at any given time. The other two regts (unless it is their turn to be the cbt-effect force) are merely paper regts with their people doing actual civie jobs that actually give them a somewhat decent paycheque.

What the InA decides must be a reflection of its history.

To the Brigadier,

Sir, both the Russian and NATO models are air insert concepts of delivering a bde/regt into hostile territory. The main point in both doctrines is to make a very large portion of the enemy forces irrevelent.

The NATO model can be described as getting into the theatre the firstest with the mostest. In this concept, the Stryker Bdes fit the concept. The idea is to deliver a mechanized inf bde anywhere on earth within 72 hours. Even if the enemy force is ready, they wouldn't know where the Bde is until it is in theatre. Even then, it would take them time to muster the proper forces into proper positioning before attacking - that is assuming that the Stryker Bdes are not already conducting cbt ops.

What most people are ignoring when speaking of how light the bde is, they're ignoring its primary function - to fix an unready enemy for the B52s to pound. Imagine your prepared division facing north when you suddenly found a Stryker Bde behind you, conducting cbt ops, and directing B52s and B2s onto your HQ.

1) Your bdes/regts are out of position and
2) You're way too busy dodging bombs than trying to issue proper marching orders

The Russians think of their Air Assualt Bdes as an echelon and like the NATO model, seeks to make a large portion of the enemy force irrevelent. I will speak of what they're currently doing today and not what they were thinking of during the Cold War.

Somewhat similar to NATO thinking but at a subtle level, much more different, the Russians aimed to get into theatre with the mostest the firstest. Afghanistan and Chechnya provided them with air insert doctrine that works in conjunction with a ground force attack. What they aim for is to insert a cbt-effect force (coy to bde size depending on the OPOBJ) behind enemy lines to come BACK to meet up with their ground attack. In this way, the AA Bdes are always coming back towards strength and would be most likely using the same path an enemy relief force would use.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 16:09

Originally posted by Rudra Singha:
Daulat, not if you have recce assets (iaf, uav) revealing everything behind the hill. 155mm shells would decimate the 'mongol army' long before your rohan horsemen with the long lances reached that line.
3-7Cav in the Iraq War rushed so far ahead, so fast that they found themselves in the Medina Division's rear and was surrounded as a result.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Sribabu » 16 Jun 2004 16:23

Cold start - Some thoughts.

The political leaders of the country have no idea of how to fight a war and what it entails. They have always reacted (may be except for '71) and the last fight (Kargil) was within our boundaries. There has been no long term or strategic aims. For example, the chinese are building up the infrastructure along our borders, but all we seem to have done is make noises about it. They should realise that it is not Indian politics where making the loudest noise will win the polls.

Inspite of all the experience we have the army is more tactical than strategic. Their thinking, doctrines are all reactive. Even the cold start, all they are aiming at is to ensure that they can react faster, but there is no pro-active doctrines where pre-emptive attacks on an assembling enemy might be the only way to save our skins.

The cold start is to enable the army to attack TSP as soon as it receives orders, doing away with the need to mobilise in the traditional way. But again, it relies on the govt. giving the go-ahead. The trigger point is expected to be another act like attack on Parliament. There is no guarantee that either the current or future govts. have the guts to take such initiatives as they seem to be more scared of a nuclear conflageration than the parties of the cold war.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby daulat » 16 Jun 2004 16:26

Rudra, whilst I agree with you re UAVs and 155mm, I think wyu's example is pertinent. There are modern equivalents of hiding behind hills, etc. I am reminded of how well the Serbs managed to preserve their armour all through the NATO bombardment. Any NATO ground force going in would still have run up against them.

In the TSP scenario, stay behinds and jehadis could harrass and potentially cut off any lightly armed units too far forward, I think in 65 there was an incident when an armoured unit was cut off on the wrong side of a canal?

We would have to pay much more attention to air mobile units i think. oh and lots and lots of CAS and/or 155mm. As I think RayC pointed out a few months back, there is probably insufficient helilift capacity for some of these scenarios.

sribabu also raises a good point - which i direct to wyu, how does WZC deal with what used to be called 'transition to war', i.e. the changing political landscape prior to hostilities and presumably mobilisation?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Sribabu » 16 Jun 2004 16:35

The last time there was a trigger - attack on parliament, there was more than 48hr lag before the army was asked to mobilise. I think it was only Navy, which immediately set out to sea without having to wait for the mobilisation orders (please correct me if I am wrong). It is being assumed that once the army receives the go ahead, the CSBGs will take another 24hrs minimum before starting their action.

With the cold start, what is the guarantee that TSP will not launch pre-emptive attacks(as it has done before) on the assembly areas of CSBGs as these can be easily identified. For the PAF, this might be the only chance for them to play a role in the war anyway as they know that they will be out of action very soon once IAF starts flying. They might as well make the impact first when they can.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Calvin » 16 Jun 2004 16:53

Here is another question, are the remaining (i.e., non-combat-ready) troops typically ready for defensive operations, if the enemy counterattacks at a place of its choosing?

From wyu's and RayC's comments, its transparent that the 8 battlegroups are effectively 1/3 of the fighting men available to the western front. The question becomes to what kind of a punch can they deliver.

The question is also about how good of a fighting shape are the other 2/3 of the chaps to defend a Pak attack.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Vick » 16 Jun 2004 17:02

A small question, if someone would indulge me:
As Calvin pointed to, 1/3 of the WC will be in the 8 BGs. Would these 8 BGs also be what was refered to as "pivot" forces or will the pivot forces be separate from the BGs?

If the 8 BGs are also pivot forces, then they themselves can take up defensive position if required and tactically delay the OpFor till reserves move up. When that occurs, the BGs would then pivot and turn into a counter offensive force?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby karthik.k » 16 Jun 2004 17:36

Originally posted by Calvin:
Here is another question, are the remaining (i.e., non-combat-ready) troops typically ready for defensive operations, if the enemy counterattacks at a place of its choosing?
I am getting a little confused here. From what I understand of RayC posts, the battlegroups are the defensive formations. They have some offensive capability but are essentially meant to spoil a PA offensive and make sure we don't lose any territory, while the heavies prepare for the real blows.

RayC, would it be correct to think of the battlegroups are mobile and souped up holding corps broken up into pieces ? Would the current coup de main formations (strike corps) also be broken up into integrated battlegroups ?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Kapil » 16 Jun 2004 18:41

Originally posted by Sribabu:
The last time there was a trigger - attack on parliament, there was more than 48hr lag before the army was asked to mobilise. I think it was only Navy, which immediately set out to sea without having to wait for the mobilisation orders (please correct me if I am wrong).
Hi Sribabu,
It was indeed so.I believe it was the C-in-C who recalled everyone from leave and the first units had put out to sea by the evening of the parliament attack and were in position a few hours later.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby daulat » 16 Jun 2004 18:42

Originally posted by Sribabu:
With the cold start, what is the guarantee that TSP will not launch pre-emptive attacks(as it has done before) on the assembly areas of CSBGs as these can be easily identified. For the PAF, this might be the only chance for them to play a role in the war anyway as they know that they will be out of action very soon once IAF starts flying. They might as well make the impact first when they can.
this is where the 'transition to war' part of the doctrine needs to be in place. any PA or PAF mobilisation will be noted. They (PAF) cannot just go from normal cycles to full up offensive penetration mode overnight - aircraft have to be servicable, training sorties have to be undertaken, intelligence gathered, fuel and munitions procured and moved. these are things that can be tracked

probably IAF needs an equivalent cold start doctrine - which is to have deep defensive capabilities quickly mobilised (apart from the basic interception capabilities) which switch to counter air and offensive capabilities quickly. I doubt PAF will seriously think about large scale offensive ops, they run the very serious risk of being massively depleted in first 48 hours. then there is nothing left for longer term survival.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby RayC » 16 Jun 2004 19:16

Originally posted by Karthik Krishnamurthy:
O
I am getting a little confused here. From what I understand of RayC posts, the battlegroups are the defensive formations. They have some offensive capability but are essentially meant to spoil a PA offensive and make sure we don't lose any territory, while the heavies prepare for the real blows.

RayC, would it be correct to think of the battlegroups are mobile and souped up holding corps broken up into pieces ? Would the current coup de main formations (strike corps) also be broken up into integrated battlegroups ?[/QB]
They are obviously mobile. They could be used in defence as also in offence. In defence they could be used for proactive defence which means aggressively go into the enemy area to either halt any enemy designs or to capture objectives that will be of import.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby daulat » 16 Jun 2004 19:19

one of the issues for offensive defence will be the extensive fortifications in the punjab and jammu on both sides within the canal-river complex. either this is being done by heliborne, or with massive engineering support

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 19:19

Calvin,

I would strongly hesitate to use Western examples on the CSBG. That was the mistake I made with the WZC's brigadization. At this point, we don't know what the rotos are. We have a few hints and a few non-Indian examples in trying to do the same thing but that is all.

I'm not familiar with InA rotos but with Canadian rotos, the other two battalions can be brought up to combat status within 24 hours (as was done during 11 Sept when every battalion in the CF was alerted and was ready for deployment to the US but was never requested). The problem is that the battalions cannot be sustained and must stand down real fast if they have nothing to do.

Daulat,

That was the one part that got CDF confused for over 7 months (you see what kind of work this is, we don't have the answers up front all the time and must wait for clues. I expect the same thing with CSBG). However, this is the difference between mobilization and deployment.

An enemy force may very detect a PLA division getting ready. They should very well detect a Group Army getting ready. But so what?

Warning orders take 24 hours to issue. Marching orders 48. The PLA division should have 24-72 hours head start.

In the mean time, the enemy forces would already have their hands full dealing with Phase I and Phase II long before the PLA division even approach their Lines of Departure.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Nikhil Shah » 16 Jun 2004 19:26

Isn't the logical conclusion of this that there is going to be a lot of dependence on standoff weapons, very high altitude bombing, and generous use of special forces?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 19:26

Gentlemen,

I realize that most of you have questions that you would like answer but at this point, all I can say is that we don't know. Until we see exercises and/or official documentation, we simply don't know what kind of TOE and deployment schema the CSBG envision.

I can point to historic and non-Indian examples but again, do they fit the Indian environment?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Sribabu » 16 Jun 2004 19:27

Looking at the WZC and the problems with CS that I have raised, I think PLA is banking on the indecision of the Indian Govt. from launching pre-emptive attacks.

I am sure our guys will not be ready to launch them with the fear of starting the war.

How do we educate them that certain actions by the foe should be regarded as an offensive action even though he might be saying otherwise which is a perfectly valid excuse?

I think in such cases, one should first get ready even if it might be escalation of the situation. You can always de-escalate if the situation turns otherwise. But how do you handle the fear of escalation itself?

In the case of WZC, it is clear that just escalation through mobilisation and/or deployment might not be sufficient. We might need pre-emption. If we are afraid of escalation itself, how sure are we that we are capable of pre-emption?

Daulat,

I am sure PAF / PA know that PAF will not last for long against IAF. That is part of the reason why they rely so much on MANPADS. So, the logical assumption would be make good use of it while it lasts.

Assuming that the trigger event is controlled by them, I am sure they can ramp-up their availability at a short notice. This time instead of aiming the IAF, they might go directly for the assembly areas of the CSBGs.

As for the CS for IAF, you are right.The IAF will need to do both, ie., go after PAF and provice close support for the CSBGs. Does it have enough resources to do both simultaneously? How long does it take for IAF to ramp-up to these levels and deploy accordingly?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby daulat » 16 Jun 2004 19:35

I think we can split the spool up time issues between India-TSP and India-China, i.e. managing the transition to war, issuing the order to go, and being ready to go - and then going

with TSP there is a quicker faster cycle:

with China there needs to be more thought before we can postulate: and anyway, WZC or CS may not be doable over the Himalayas anyhow and we may be in more stable cycles

similarly for the 'when do we cease?' question.

I don't have a lot of time right now to cogitate on this, but would welcome thoughts from others for later reflection.

sribabu - whilst PAF may go for a use it or lose it scenario, they are more likely to go for a hide it and maintain H&D after Unkil has stopped the war scenario too. Note how saddam chose to hide the bulk of his air assets. i suspect that the pakgenerals will think like saddam

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Sribabu » 16 Jun 2004 19:42

Originally posted by Daulat:
sribabu - whilst PAF may go for a use it or lose it scenario, they are more likely to go for a hide it and maintain H&D after Unkil has stopped the war scenario too. Note how saddam chose to hide the bulk of his air assets. i suspect that the pakgenerals will think like saddam
I thought about that and it surely might be the case. But, considering that they did attempt at pre-emptive strikes before, I think that they may possibly do it again. So, atleast for the plans, I would keep it in the picture.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby daulat » 16 Jun 2004 21:23

sribabu, whilst i agree that pre-emptive strike could be a scenario, they did it in the past when they had equipment parity or superiority. now they have significant disadvantages in air-air, which would lead me to conclude that they would focus on defensive usage where they still have some advantages in terms of operating close to home, etc.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Sunil » 16 Jun 2004 22:12

I feel the cold start doctrine achieves the following:

1) It removes mobilization associated delays in deployment. This destroys any advantage the PA claimed to have with its shorter communication lines.

2) It vastly improves the striking power of units close to the border. This calls into question the PA's ability to resist such a challenge, it imposes a financial burden on the PA to improve its conventional deterrent capability and commits the PA to state of perpetual war alert.

3) By calling for eight battle groups, it greatly increases the number of things that the Pakistan Army has to keep track off. This increases the workload on PA ground intelligence teams and on intelligence processing centers. The task of assessment is complicated still further because now the Indian units sit right on the border and no one can tell when they will lunge or merely twitch. This will give the Pakistanis sleepless nights.

4) The emphasis on interservice cooperation between the IAF,IA and the IN places great demands on the PA, PAF, and the PN to do the same. This imposes a huge cost on the PA as in Pakistan they will eventually have to share power with the PAF and the PN, if they are to get any meaningful cooperation out of them.

5) By forcing the PA to confront its inability to mount an adequate conventional deterrent, it increases the PA's dependence on American security aid. Aid which will only be given in exchange for meaningful cooperation in the American led War on Terror. Every act of cooperation in the US led War on Terror causes deep fissures in Pakistani society and leads to severe internal bleeding. With each bleed the Pakistani Army is drawn into internal security duty to stem the bleeding, and its ability to post a conventional deterrent ebbs further. This forces them to turn to the Americans again, and so on. This is a vicious cycle that they simply cannot break out of in the foreseeable future.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby cellinisperceus » 16 Jun 2004 22:26

I have a small question on the Cold Start doctrine. How do the logistics work in case of these combined battle groups? While the rapid action in attack or defence with minimal time delay is quite welcome, how long can the forces sustain themselves? And how does it work with respect to the conventional corps formation in case the conflict is extended without going nuclear?

Under the usual corps or division formations in an attack role, the major key is logistical lines, I believe this would be true for these battle groups as well, won't it? Or would these units just achieve their pre-planned objectives and wait while reinforcements arrive? That certainly negates whatever advantages the tactical surprise gave them?

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Nikhil Shah » 16 Jun 2004 22:29

Sunil,

The biggest change this new doctrine is going to (and I am going on a limb here) is that political leadership will go through a mentality change to use armed forces for force projection. The only thing I have comparable in the industry/private organization's attempt at culture change is by bringing in new processes and tools to impose a culture change. It seldom works unless their is a top level commitment.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby wyu » 16 Jun 2004 23:05

Gentlemen,

I view CS and WZC a bit differently than you do. These are doctrines, not operational plans, and serves as an understanding how how the InA and the PLA approach their battle plans. They are not meant to be battle plans themselves.

WZC is not India specific. In fact, it is not even Taiwan specific. The PLA envisioned five possible Areas of Operations - Taiwan, Korea, Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, and Russia. WZC is meant for all five AOs.

Thus, it would be wrong to see CS as Pakistan specific, at least at this moment. I see absolutely no reason why CS could not be applied in the Tibet theatre of operations. China itself is a nuclear power with far more punch than both India and Pakistan combined. Why should not the InA take Chinese nuclear threshold into account?

I have alot more questions.

Why eight?
What are the Lines of Departure against Pakistan and China?
What's the difference in expectations between an independent InA division and a division within a corps?
What are the anticipated Lines of Communications?

I don't expect answers at the moment but merely asking the questions would point me (and others) where to look to give an overall picture.

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Re: Cold Start: An analysis

Postby Johann » 17 Jun 2004 23:55

Starting from the basics;

The IA has six 'holding' corps along the border with Pakistan split among three theatre commands. Brackets indicate Area of Responsibility

Northern Command:
XIV Corps [Ladakh]
XV Corps [Kashmir]
XVI Corps [Jammu]

Western Command:
XI Corps [northern & central Punjab]
X Corps [southern Punjab & northern Rajasthan]

Southern Command:
XII Corps [Rajasthan]

There are also three 'strike' corps I, II and XXI that would conduct deep offensive operations.

If I recall correctly it was Gen. Padmanabhan who remarked that the delay in deploying these large formations from their bases in the interior took too long, and that the 'holding' corps ought to be able to play a bigger role in offensive operations.

Other statements by IA spokesman suggested that once Cold Start was adopted the three 'strike corps' would become training formations.

It would not be unreasonable to assume that each one of the holding corps will receive at least one 'integrated battle group' to conduct offensive operations.

That would leave a discrepancy of two 'battle groups'. However during Parakram it was reported that XVII Corps had been temporarily created (with HQ element drawn from III Corps in Nagaland) to take care of Jammu while XVI Corps was reponsible for the southern stretch of the Kashmiri LoC. It has also been reported that a permanent relocation or bifurcation is being considered.

Of course it is also possible that the integrated battle groups are reserved for the aeas of operations that the old strike corps would have been deployed, so perhaps XIV and XV Corps would not receive any, but say XVII, XI and XII received two each.

The question remains how large these 'battle groups' are. Reinforced armoured brigades? Armoured divisions? It may not be clear for some time, until the strike corps start to lose units to the 'holding' corps.


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