Tactics & military craft

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shiv
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 13 Dec 2017 08:00

I was happy to start a discussion on the LCA thread that brought BRFite old timer and fighter pilot Air Commodore "Tikoo" Sen aka "Abhibhushan" out of hibernation. Browsing through his blog again I came across a blog post that describes the model of Air Force-Army coordination in wartime. I suspect this is still the case even as "network centric warfare" is apparently being developed.

But it is an informative blog post with a Venn digram of how the system was structured. I think that is a useful link on this thread
https://tkstales.wordpress.com/old-syst ... nd-battle/

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby suryag » 13 Dec 2017 19:38

Hope this is the appropriate thread

BSF's 'Operation Arjun' forced Pakistan Rangers to talk

"Operation Arjun", targeting farms and residences of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers and retired Pakistani Army officers, was unleashed after heavy Pakistani firing and shelling killed Border Security Force constable K.K. Appa Rao on August 25.

Rao, deployed with BSF's 192 Battalion in Jammu sector's Budhwar border outpost, fell victim to snipers of the Pakistan Rangers.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 13 Dec 2017 22:52

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Thank you sir. Nice post. Did the English have better gunnery drills and training and perhaps discipline to achieve the higher rate of fire or was it that the smaller Calibre cannon lend itself to higher rate of fire. I think they gave a huge importance to gunnery and had better drills.


i think ramana explains it better re gunnery. I would say that in the elizabethian period the Spanish military would have been the most capable and powerful force, particularly at sea, in Europe. the English in some respects were water borne guerrillas. any competent ship particularly a fighting one needs discipline and organisation amongst its crew, but I don't think the English developed these skills in depth till about a hundred years later. they were beaten by the dutch in their home ports as well and lost their flagship which was towed away, but its the Georgian period where the RN became the eminent naval force - only replaced by the USN in ww2

the establishment of artillery as a battle decider on land was perfected by napoleon, but for a long time before that the guns were the most important part of the battle. for example - at Plassey, the hardest fight of the day was between the English infantry and the French gunners! (on opposite sides)

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 01:03

Ramana sir ,

I’ll start on those questions tomorrow. It’s been a busy day.

Akshay

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 01:09

Surya G, sorry am writing form a mobile device which is playing up so can’t quote your article. I think it’s better on the border watch or CT Ops thread. The reason is that they article doesn’t tell us much about the tactics employed to achieve the impact. And rightly so as revealing ops details would compromise the chances of repeating it in future. But even then I would have hoped that atleast some general indications could be given but it’s quite silent.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 01:21

To add to Lalmohan above post;
- The Spanish after defeating the Moors and Reconquista were a super power for about 150 years after that. And the age of Exploration established them as master of seas along with Portuguese. Prince Henry the Navigator etc.
- English Navy under Elizabeth was a privateer navy consisting of commandeered ships.

Technically, the Armada failed because Spain's over-complex strategy required coordination between the invasion fleet and the Spanish army on shore. But the poor design of the Spanish cannons meant they were much slower in reloading in a close-range battle, allowing England to take control.


Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Royal_Navy

- Cromwell established the Royal Navy under Robert Blake (General of the Sea) and Anson developed it.

The execution of Charles I forced the rapid expansion of the navy, by multiplying England's actual and potential enemies, and many vessels were constructed from the 1650s onward. This second reformation of the navy was carried out under General-at-Sea (equivalent to Admiral) Robert Blake during Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth.


Anson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_An ... aron_Anson

Artillery reform was introduced by Gustaf Adolphus of Sweden

Perhaps Adolphus’ greatest contribution, however, was his work in field artillery. Equipping each of his brigades with up to 12 light regimental guns, he greatly increased the organic firepower of his infantry and for the first time allowed the artillery arm to play a role in the offensive instead of being a static spectator in a battle of maneuvers.[22]


All European armies copied his reforms.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_ ... ish_Empire

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 14 Dec 2017 17:24

IAF tactics of air combat attracts most attention. However, conflicts of relatively smaller scale require different tactics. Eg: Kargil.

I am posting a short video, most likely an official video on the IAF action in Kargil. Good insights of IAFs active use of multiple types, jointness with the IA, roles of different fighters and use of Mi 17s in the video. Missing from this is transport aircraft and troop plus supplies airlift.


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 14 Dec 2017 17:37

Another video from Kargil era. This one is mostly a graphical representation of what happened. Excellent maps and ground position of enemy. Also, specifically talks of why Mi 17s and not the gunships. Though posted to discuss tactics, the video is a homage.


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 20:20

Section : Smallest building block of the Indian Army. This description pertains to a standard infantry rifle section . Other arms will be discussed next.

Composition : 10 men comprised of a fire/LMG/support group with 3/4 men and a rifle/ assault group of 6/7 men. Commanded by a Havildar / Havildar Major. Historical note - Some say this configuration has its genesis in WW1 when the machine gun was coming on to the battlefield and the Germans created tactics to exploit it. They created small groups of men who could 'fire and move' on the battlefield which gave them huge mobility advantage against the allies who were resorting to tactics reminiscent of an earlier era of musket warfare - they would form up in long lines abreast and advance under advancing arty fire straight into german machine gun fire.

Fire and Move : The infantry often has to close in with the enemy and take ground. Section structure and tactics are designed for this objective. The support group lays cover/suppressive fire so that the assault group can move closer to the enemy. For this purpose naturally at least two LMGs are needed - consistency of fire has to be maintained while one LMG is reloaded, volume of fire must be sufficient to keep the enemy head down and the range of their weapons must be enough to give cover when the assault group is a few meters up ahead. Therefore they need 2 LMGs and these days often carry a Rocket launcher as well - this gives more flexibility to give cover. Personal weapons are also carried - INSAS or AK in the valley in CI OPs but those are different tactics. Ammunition must also be carried for the LMGs and RL so there is a lot of weight to carry so at least 3/4 men are needed for the task. The assault group needs to keep moving toward the enemy and finally closes in and storms them. So they cannot carry too much load (though they are increasingly being forced to do so).They carry their personal weapons and their bayonets (and khukris and dahs as applicable). Atleast 6/7 men are needed to storm a position so that's the bare minimum of the assault group. Assault group is really the 'bayonet strength' of a an infantry battalion. You can see why.

Offensive tactics : In offensive role the section as a part of the platoon will usually have to close in with the enemy. A part of the platoon's task will be given to the section - for example section 1 will advance on right flank, section 2 on left and section 3 will pin the enemy down in the center.

There is an enemy bunker on a vantage point protected by two machine gun emplacements on left and right. Lets take Section 1. It has been given the task to destroy an enemy MMG emplacement on the right which is guarding a vantage point which the platoon has been ordered to take. The terrain is semi arid and bushy and the MMG emplacement is 400 mts away.Section one commander decides to advance taking advantage of the natural cover available. The first cover is 150 mts from the section position. The whole section advances as one crawling because the section commander does not want to alert the enemy of his intentions by firing unless absolutely necessary. They reach the first cover without incident. There are two covers next - one is 150 meters and another is 100 meters. Section commander designates one for the assault group and one for support group respectively . He also decides to wait 30 mins for sun to go down a bit and cast long shadows to before the assault group moves. 30 mins later, the support group opens up with both LMGs and assault group takes off on a serpentine route towards their cover. The enemy is caught by surprise and initially don't where the fire is coming from. The assault group takes a risk during this window and moves very fast sacrificing some cover for covering distance. Soon assault group is at cover and then they lay covering fire for support group to reach their cover. Support group reaches their new position and opens up with their LMGs while assault group crawls towards the MMG emplacment. Close to it they split into 2 groups and attack the emplacement from both flanks. First using grenades and then bayonet to the cries of 'Bol Badri Vishal Laal ki jai'. The position is captured and support group marries up with assault group.

Main points to note - main takeaway - fire and move, terrain plays a vital role in deciding the assault plan, the section operation is just one part of the platoon's operation. The other sections are taking the other machine gun emplacement and the bunker. Attack has to be co-ordinated so that all positions are engaged and enemy cannot support one form the other. He has sighted his MMGs exactly for that purpose - to support each other.

Command, control & ethos - Section is the smallest 'unit' of the army and is supposed to be very close. Camaraderie must be very high and all must behave as close brothers. They live, eat, sleep, pray together. In effect they are close family. Regimental spirit and ethos keeps this bond. I would recommend reading Gen VS Raghavan's book - Infantry in India to understand how this evolved.

Defensive tactics : Main objective is to concentrate the firepower where its most needed - this changes from minute to minute. A section can typically hold a trench or a position against superior numbers say 2-3 times. Main command and control challenge is to keep morale up as there will be repeated attacks by the enemy. The enemy will seem numerous and it is easy to forget that you are part of a huge army because all the troops will see is the enemy in bigger number in front of them. Tactics will depend upon existing weapons, cover, how long you have to hold for. Is it a delaying action or a defend to last man and bullet.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 20:23

Quiz - why is infantry called queen of battle

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 20:38

deejay wrote:Another video from Kargil era. This one is mostly a graphical representation of what happened. Excellent maps and ground position of enemy. Also, specifically talks of why Mi 17s and not the gunships. Though posted to discuss tactics, the video is a homage.



Thanks DJ, excellent video. Brings out ethos very well. Nubra 3 did not have flares and was asked to stay on ground but Flt Lt Muhilan refused. Flt Commander Sq Ldr Rajeev Pundir volunteered to be co pilot to give him moral support and his experience. What was feared happened and they and their crew made the supreme sacrifice. The IAF will not stop flying because of casualties. This is ethos both of the service and the unit. As, if not more important than tactics. That's why ethos is never far away when tactics are discussed.

However I have a somewhat controversial question if I may. What was the assessment after the operation - was the other 3 choppers evading the missiles more a matter of luck or more a matter of having the CMDS. If it was the second, operations should perhaps have carried on. Would a two flight operation be effective, had we given our ingress points away and would the enemy now be forewarned and we didn't have very many options to get operational surprise for the next sorties ? Perhaps the constraints of the terrain were such that these problems were insurmountable ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 14 Dec 2017 21:30

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Quiz - why is infantry called queen of battle


Infantry has the most flexibility for deployment akin to the maximum freedom of movement of the Queen on a chess board. In this respect, it is also the most determinative piece of the game.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 21:31

Correct, Shivji will give you a bottle of scotch.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 14 Dec 2017 21:53

Akshay Kapoor wrote:
May I suggest the following - why don’t we do this as a dialogue. You ask some questions and we will try to answer with examples. This will make it interesting for the readers. I want them to visualise situations and explore them and see what is the most logical course. That’s really what tactics are. In the post the Shiv sir posted Pete sir understood the situation very well and then responded in a most innovative and logical manner.


Sir,

Thank you for your kind offer. May I start with some questions to understand the basic functioning of an infantry battalion in conventional warfare?

1. Typically, how far away is the firm base from the forward elements in contact with the enemy? Can you give an idea for both mountainous and plains deployment?

2. Is the Bn HQ usually located in the firm base?

3. Does the company held in reserve usually stay at the firm base?

Some miscellaneous questions:

1. As I understand it, most battles are lost because the actual situation is obscured by the 'fog of war'. The lost opportunities are usually only known much after the fact. With advancement in satellite, high endurance UAV and remote sensing, how much of this 'fog of war' can be removed? Is it still possible for an entire Armd Div to be "concealed" like the Pak 6 Armd Div was in 1965? At an infantry battalion level, will the proposed Battlefield Management System (BMS) give a better overall picture to the Bn or Bde HQ so that mistakes like having to retake Dograi can be avoided? Or is the level of information still too patchy/fluid/overwhelming that it is difficult to build a coherent picture?

2. Maneuver theory books (Lind, Leonhard) talk about 'surfaces' and 'gaps'. Is this old wine in a new bottle?

3. Can the model of RR (integrated Inf, Engg, Arty, Signals, ASC) be a model for organization for conventional war? For example, if the armor component were to be added, would this form a 'Stryker Brigade' type of force?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 14 Dec 2017 21:57

Akshay Kapoor wrote:...
Thanks DJ, excellent video. Brings out ethos very well. Nubra 3 did not have flares and was asked to stay on ground but Flt Lt Muhilan refused. Flt Commander Sq Ldr Rajeev Pundir volunteered to be co pilot to give him moral support and his experience. What was feared happened and they and their crew made the supreme sacrifice. The IAF will not stop flying because of casualties. This is ethos both of the service and the unit. As, if not more important than tactics. That's why ethos is never far away when tactics are discussed.

However I have a somewhat controversial question if I may. What was the assessment after the operation - was the other 3 choppers evading the missiles more a matter of luck or more a matter of having the CMDS. If it was the second, operations should perhaps have carried on. Would a two flight operation be effective, had we given our ingress points away and would the enemy now be forewarned and we didn't have very many options to get operational surprise for the next sorties ? Perhaps the constraints of the terrain were such that these problems were insurmountable ?


Kapoor Sir,

The volunteering of Sqn Ldr Pundir is very significant. He was the Flt Cdr of the other unit from Sarsawa (152 HU) and not Nubra Warriors. Ethos of the Indian military is brilliantly captured here.

On the effectiveness of CMDS:

Prior to Kargil, there was very little knowledge on actual effectiveness of the CMDS. Basically, for the mission no one was sure that CMDS works for slow moving helicopter. From this perspective, you can deduce that lacking trust in the system, crew of all 04 helicopter literally volunteered for a one way flight. However, the actual ops proved that CMDS works. In a typical 04 helicopter strike the whole package will deliver the weapons load and exit the theater in 02-03 mins window. In that attack, 20 MANPADS were fired in this very small window. 1 every 9 seconds or lesser on an average. The fact that only 01 found target and that too on the helicopter without CMDS makes it very clear that a) MANPADS did not always get a lock on the helicopter b) CMDS were effective as a counter.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 21:59

However I have a somewhat controversial question if I may. What was the assessment after the operation - was the other 3 choppers evading the missiles more a matter of luck or more a matter of having the CMDS. If it was the second, operations should perhaps have carried on. Would a two flight operation be effective, had we given our ingress points away and would the enemy now be forewarned and we didn't have very many options to get operational surprise for the next sorties ? Perhaps the constraints of the terrain were such that these problems were insurmountable ?


I talked to my classmate in 1999. He said the fourth helicopter was shot as it had no CMDS. All the other three had evaded multiple SAMS. The operational surprise was over and terrain constraints were not conducive to helicopter rocket attacks. The targets were more point than area targets where rockets would be useful.

The Mi17 helicopter crew made the supreme sacrifice as the higher calling was to conduct the strike and not just live for another day.

Ben Lambeth in his book "Airpower at 18000 feet' writes that decision was taken to use fixed wing aircraft to deliver ordnance. Hence Migs and later jaguars , M2K were all used to keep out of SAM range.
Flt. Lt. K. Nachiketa made a two pass attack which caused the engine flameout as altitude effected the air supply to the engine. After multiple attempts at restart had to bail out. Sq Ldr Ahuja flew around the area and was attacked with SAM. Rest we know.

Then tactics got changed to bombing using CCIP, Laser guidance and GPS. Some trial and error in early days as aircraft computers were not set for high altitude delivery on targets which are also high altitude. All with fighter cover from Mig 29s with AAMs.

In fact the Muntha Dalo base was hit with a dumb bomb and Tiger Hill with LGBs. Total 7 were dropped and were Paveway II acquired from US. The initial problem was fitting them to the M2Ks and integrating with Litening pods.

IAF dropped about 55000 kg bombs. Due to the hilly point target nature a near miss was a wasted bomb. Hence the drive for those pellet bombs and guidance. Still going on.

The IA on the other hand had to use 155mm guns in direct fire mode to get the bunkers/sangars etc.

BTW, British Indian Army in Burma had to use 5.5 in guns in direct fire mode to clear Japanese earthen (no concrete) bunkers that could withstand near miss of 1000 lbs bombs. Same bombs still used by IAF. So the more it changes the more it stays the same.

Now a quiz for you.
Why was the infantry called PBI!

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 22:04

Akshay with your permission, I am going to post the Delhi Uty link on the NCC handbook so people; can read the basics of units formation up to battalion. Its much more modern than in my days in college! The bonus is it has handbooks on IN and IAF too.
TO me the last on Personality and Leadership is very good primer even for civilians in all walks of life.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 22:05

Anoop, Too many questions in one post! :(

IA conventional formation IBG is macro RR.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby sudeepj » 14 Dec 2017 22:10

Akshay ji,

Do Indian Army infantry sections have two LMGs these days? I have vague recollections that the Indian Army section was geared towards offensives and assault operations and therefore had only one LMG, while the Pak army being more defensive had two LMGs per section.

The idea being that a section would divide up into two rifle assault teams and the LMG team creating a fire base. The two rifle teams would move alternately from cover to cover, not giving the defensive machine gun enough time to bear on the moving team. So while the Indian sections were geared towards conducting assaults and therefore had one LMG and two rifle teams, the Paki sections were geared towards defense and had two LMGs, not leaving much rifle strength to conduct assaults.

Have we also moved towards two LMGs per section? How does this impact the classic assault of an enemy defensive position, as I tried to describe above?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 22:15

Deejay, the 1965 war was the first real combat operations of the IAF. Please try to look at Air Marshal Johnny Green and Air Marshal MS Wollen setting up the Gnat tactics to fight the PAF Sabres. I think that is a landmark fighter tactics lesson.

There are accounts on the web and can post links. I think Shiv has similar links.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 22:20

Anoop wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:
May I suggest the following - why don’t we do this as a dialogue. You ask some questions and we will try to answer with examples. This will make it interesting for the readers. I want them to visualise situations and explore them and see what is the most logical course. That’s really what tactics are. In the post the Shiv sir posted Pete sir understood the situation very well and then responded in a most innovative and logical manner.


Sir,

Thank you for your kind offer. May I start with some questions to understand the basic functioning of an infantry battalion in conventional warfare?

1. Typically, how far away is the firm base from the forward elements in contact with the enemy? Can you give an idea for both mountainous and plains deployment?

2. Is the Bn HQ usually located in the firm base?

3. Does the company held in reserve usually stay at the firm base?

Some miscellaneous questions:

1. As I understand it, most battles are lost because the actual situation is obscured by the 'fog of war'. The lost opportunities are usually only known much after the fact. With advancement in satellite, high endurance UAV and remote sensing, how much of this 'fog of war' can be removed? Is it still possible for an entire Armd Div to be "concealed" like the Pak 6 Armd Div was in 1965? At an infantry battalion level, will the proposed Battlefield Management System (BMS) give a better overall picture to the Bn or Bde HQ so that mistakes like having to retake Dograi can be avoided? Or is the level of information still too patchy/fluid/overwhelming that it is difficult to build a coherent picture?

2. Maneuver theory books (Lind, Leonhard) talk about 'surfaces' and 'gaps'. Is this old wine in a new bottle?

3. Can the model of RR (integrated Inf, Engg, Arty, Signals, ASC) be a model for organization for conventional war? For example, if the armor component were to be added, would this form a 'Stryker Brigade' type of force?


Oh Boy. We have just done infantry section. Now I need to do ARMD Corps, ENGRS and ARTY as well. Then Company and finally battalion. So do wait for sometime but I promise we will address your questions.

Btw my offer for dialogue framed in questions was for Ramana sir so that he could direct the course of this discussion to max benefit for the readers. This thread was his brain child.

Ramana sir , pls comment on my post on section. And let’s build up as we planned from there. Very good idea to post the links.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 22:22

Anoop, do read my link on sniper tactics on the previous I’ve. It’s a thread and I had posted on snipers in response to an article by Gen Panag.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2017 22:45

Delhi Uty link to NCC Handbooks. Do read the to get basic understanding of history, organization and units.

In particular the handbook on Personality and Leadership is good no matter who you are.

http://ncc.du.ac.in/new/handbook.html

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 14 Dec 2017 22:50

sudeepj wrote:Akshay ji,

Do Indian Army infantry sections have two LMGs these days? I have vague recollections that the Indian Army section was geared towards offensives and assault operations and therefore had only one LMG, while the Pak army being more defensive had two LMGs per section.

The idea being that a section would divide up into two rifle assault teams and the LMG team creating a fire base. The two rifle teams would move alternately from cover to cover, not giving the defensive machine gun enough time to bear on the moving team. So while the Indian sections were geared towards conducting assaults and therefore had one LMG and two rifle teams, the Paki sections were geared towards defense and had two LMGs, not leaving much rifle strength to conduct assaults.

Have we also moved towards two LMGs per section? How does this impact the classic assault of an enemy defensive position, as I tried to describe above?


Very well spotted and an insightful question. This is exactly the kind of discussion we are trying to get. Yes I think we are increasing the firepower of the infantry. I don’t know if it has been fully adopted but some bns do have it. The offensive or defensive orientation can be changed according to the situation. One LMG can remain with fire group and one can be used by the assault group. It all depends on the specific task. For example notice on the example I gave that the assault group splits close to target. No hard or fast rules. My post was more of an illustration re tactics and the general principals. For example In a defensive role all LMGs may be concentrated in a particular area.

I am not sure about the most recent situation. So happy to have other inputs.


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 15 Dec 2017 00:22

PBI ie Poor Bloody Infantry. Cause they had to walk into battle.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 15 Dec 2017 00:23

Do read Gen Raghavan’s book. My wife presented it to me on my birthday. Has some excellent civilizational lessons as well.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 15 Dec 2017 00:37

Akshay Kapoor wrote:https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.ndtv.com/india-news/each-soldier-carries-about-40-kg-in-battle-why-the-army-cannot-downsize-1284838%3famp=1&akamai-rum=off



Excellent reference

The exercise, shared with NDTV, shows a section - 10 men per section - of the infantry now carries with it two Light Machine Guns (LMG) , one Rocket Launcher, besides personal weapons. Each LMG has about 700 rounds on the weapon and another 500 rounds is distributed and carried separately by soldiers of the section.

In all, soldiers in a section carry 1400 rounds of LMG ammunition packed in 34 magazines on them. Besides, four rockets carried with the launcher, the section carries another six rounds on them.

"Apart from this, each solider carries his personal weapon - either an AK-47 or INSAS and ammunition on himself. All these add up to about 40 kg carried by each solider," the commander said.


More importantly, [b]out of 10 soldiers, four are required to man the LMGs and the rocket launchers, leaving six men to carry out an assault
.

"The bayonet strength - soldiers available to charge or storm into features - is about six soldiers per section, the bare minimum required to carry out an assault," the commander said.

[/b]
On Platoon and Company and battalion/regiment organization. I think some confusion here
Armored Corps has regiments while Infantry has battalions.

Could be mechanized infantry are called Regiments?

At the Platoon level or at the Regiment Level, comprising four combat companies - one Support and Logistic Company and Headquarter Company - this ratio gets even more skewed.

Each regiment carries with it battle field surveillance radars, snipers with at least 200 rounds of ammunition, three Multi-Barrel Grenade Launchers (MBGL), three Automatic Grenade Launchers (AGL) and ammunition besides Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs). Each infantry unit also carries an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and heavy communication equipment.

"At the regiment level the manpower crunch is starker and pressure even more severe," the commander said. "Over the years, vehicle drivers for instance have been trained as electricians, or to fire ATGM, man radars, double up as nursing assistant for injuries since number of battlefield nursing attendants have been cut down. Some are trained as mechanics to repair vehicles on the spot," the officer said and added "every infantry unit has been skinned, flab doesn't exist."

Similarly, artillery and mechanised units have been crunched and the number of men in non-combat supply and service arms - like Army Supply Corps, Ordnance - have been cut over the years.

"Unless there is a quantum jump in the fire power and real time surveillance equipment with each unit it is difficult to imagine where the cut down can happen," the commander said.



One AMC officer told me he got to fire at the Chinese in 1962. He said every soldier has to fire a rifle first.

Akshay, I will do so.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 15 Dec 2017 00:59

Ramana sir, good point about the Regt vs battalions. Mech is definitely battalions like inf. Armd, ENGRS and Arty are regts. Stuck out for me too. Sounds like DDMitis. I am a little sceptical of some of the points the above article. Each Regt carries battlefield surveillance radars ? And UAVs ? Highly unlikely. We don’t have enough HHTIs Hand Held Thermal Imagers to protect brigade headquarters in sensitive areas - URI was a big example of failure on this count. And what would an infantry bn do with a battlefield surveillance radar ? It would just add to logistic chain and impede mobility.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 15 Dec 2017 22:22

Sections in other arms :

Please read the NCC link Ramanaji posted. It is excellent especially the sections on Field Craft - assessing terrain, navigation, moving and Battle Craft - firing, section tactics (as I explained as well), communication, drills in different situations.

All soldiers of the Indian Army irrespective of arm will be given the above as basic training. This is the very basics of bearing arms and functioning as a body with other troops in a section.

But obviously infantry and mech will develop these much more while other arms will develop skills and train for their specific roles

Armd Corps : Tank is the basic formation equivalent to a section. 3 tanks make a Troop commanded by an officer - Lt/Captain. Also includes 2/3 vehicles to carry logistics and comprises 16 men. A troop is equivalent to a platoon. In armour a premium is placed on individual initiative under fire. NCOs/JCOs/Officers are expected to display a high degree of autonomous thinking and exploit opportunties as they come up. This is also because a troop can sometimes be detached from the rest of the regt and be in support of an infantry attack. Or rush in to defend infantry. So some autonomy is necessary.

ENGRS : Sections do not carry LMGs but platoons do. Section must be able to function a part of the platoon in whatever task is alloted - mining, mine clearing, bridge demolition, bridge laying, road clearing using demolitions, road making, booby trap diffuse etc. Every sapper soldier is trained thrice - as a soldier which means all infantry tactics are taught, as a sapper which means all field engineering tasks listed above and as a tradesman - electrician etc. Platoons will often need to function independently in support of infantry in the offensive or defensive task and are commanded by officers instead of JCOs in the infantry. 3 Platoons make a Field Company which is equivalent to an infantry company.

Arty : A battery is divided into 2 sections of 3 guns each. So an arty section is roughly equivalent to a infantry platoon, ENGR Platoon and ARMD Corps Troop. 3 Batteries make a Regt.

ASC also has sections and platoons

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 16 Dec 2017 05:35

Akshay Thanks.

Before going farther please explain thed gamut of skills an individual soldier has to master to become effective in combat.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 16 Dec 2017 07:09

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Section : Smallest building block of the Indian Army. This description pertains to a standard infantry rifle section . Other arms will be discussed next.

Composition : 10 men comprised of a fire/LMG/support group with 3/4 men and a rifle/ assault group of 6/7 men. Commanded by a Havildar / Havildar Major. Historical note - Some say this configuration has its genesis in WW1 when the machine gun was coming on to the battlefield and the Germans created tactics to exploit it. They created small groups of men who could 'fire and move' on the battlefield which gave them huge mobility advantage against the allies who were resorting to tactics reminiscent of an earlier era of musket warfare - they would form up in long lines abreast and advance under advancing arty fire straight into german machine gun fire.

Fire and Move : <snip>

Offensive tactics :<snip>

Defensive tactics :<snip>



Great information. A very long time ago - around when BR was just coming up I got and later uploaded a video of Indian Army Tactical combat training from the Maratha Light Infantry regimental centre. The video quality is not great - Videotape converted by me to VCD quality of 1990s, but it describes the training for many of the things that you have written about. I had not understood the video until you post reminded me..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEBwZ6ZFxuE

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 16 Dec 2017 07:34

The questions that occur to me are as follows (wrt to the functioning of small army units on the battlefield) such as advancing under fire towards an enemy MMG post.

What can modern tech offer to make it easier?

I will simply list a few things that I think are actually being implemented by the US in its innumerable wars

Locating the troublesome MMG and communicating its location so it can be taken out by either mortar support from behind, or air support or UCAV support. In fact this may mean "more weight" for each soldier to carry in terms of comm equipment. It also means secure and continuous communication. In extensive war across many fronts - every infantry section may not have the luxury of third party fire support but I wonder if we (the nation) can make this possible.

The other thing that occurs to me is the close ranges. When our men are pinned down just 150 meters away from an enemy MMG post - any "fire support" has to be extraordinarily accurate in order to hit the MMG and not our own men.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 16 Dec 2017 10:41

Shiv A 120mm mortar CEPnis around 170m. If it's located and sited by GPS and the Fuze andvchargevare set by a ballistic computer the CEP becomes half ie 75 m. If the barrel. is rifled further improvement. Now if ut has a precision fuz it can be 10m.
I dont know blast radius of 120mm mortar round.

Point is not so easy to take it out.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 16 Dec 2017 10:42

I think mortar precision Fuze would help a lot.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Dec 2017 13:56

ramana wrote:Akshay Thanks.

Before going farther please explain thed gamut of skills an individual soldier has to master to become effective in combat.


The NCC handbook you linked is an excellent resource for the above though I was a little surprised at the candour in some aspects. But I'm sure its properly thought through and approved etc. Anyway BRF has its own self correcting mechanism - no one reads useful information anyway ! Anyway I will summarize what the main skills needed are :

1. Ability to respond to command and function as part of a team ie section. This is especially necessary under fire. Achieved by drill on the drill square, regimentation and instilling discipline. Examples - Shivaji's soldiers were hardy and highly disciplined. They would move with little baggage train and this high mobility allowed them to win spectacular victories and save our civilization from great evil. Later the british used Indian troops against their own bretheren. These Indian troops were trained to exploit the muskets - move in closed ranks under fire and do a bayonet charge. The drill square was a key training ground for instilling this ability to take orders, move as a unit and be highly discplined under fire.

This is the core of a soldier, the foundation of an army. Without this an army however well equipped is just a mob and an ineffective mob at that.

2. Weapon skills - self explanatory. Weapon has to be part of the body and enough familiarity is built with weapon before the first round is even fired. Fire discipline is crucial.

3. Fearlessness in combat - this is done by battle innoculation training. Shivji your video has a LMG firing in the background. Thats for battle innoculation. Bayonet training teaches aggression and fearlessness.

4. Communication - Commands must be understood to be obeyed so the hand signals and other communication protocols must be known.

5. Field Craft - ability to understand the terrain and appreciate it. Main objective is to locate enemy, estimate distance to enemy, estimate good routes to enemey, use natural cover in the land, navigation and map reading. The hand book explains this very well.

6. Battle craft - Battle drills at section level. Fire and move, how to give fire orders and how to follow them, various movement formations, offensive and defensive drills. My post talks about fire and move and gives an example and the handbook covers it fairly extensively. Point to note - these are tactics in books but for the troops they are drills. Instilled in and hammered in. They must come naturally and automatically and therefore even though a soldier is taught all this in basic training it has to be constantly reinforced. Different roles require different tactics and therefore drills. Therfore when units are inducted in the valley or soldiers are posted to RR they have to go to Corps Battle School for learning CI Ops even though this is now taught in the regimental centres where baisc recruit training takes place. And when battalions or troops are de inducted and moved to a different terrain this has to be unlearned and drills for the new terrain and role - desert, plains, jungle, riverine or high altitude has to be learnt. Reorientation of a unit takes about 6 months.

Therefore there is constant pressure and also constant learning. There is so such thing as a 'peace' role. Units are under enormous pressure these days and have been for a long time.

7. First aid

8. Survival training in different terrain

I think this covers the essentials

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Dec 2017 14:08

shiv wrote:The questions that occur to me are as follows (wrt to the functioning of small army units on the battlefield) such as advancing under fire towards an enemy MMG post.

What can modern tech offer to make it easier?

I will simply list a few things that I think are actually being implemented by the US in its innumerable wars

Locating the troublesome MMG and communicating its location so it can be taken out by either mortar support from behind, or air support or UCAV support. In fact this may mean "more weight" for each soldier to carry in terms of comm equipment. It also means secure and continuous communication. In extensive war across many fronts - every infantry section may not have the luxury of third party fire support but I wonder if we (the nation) can make this possible.

The other thing that occurs to me is the close ranges. When our men are pinned down just 150 meters away from an enemy MMG post - any "fire support" has to be extraordinarily accurate in order to hit the MMG and not our own men.


Sir, I will answer your question in more detail afrer giving it some thoughts but there are some immediate (not so modern) solutions which will save lives, imporve morale and make us more effective in battle. The following are needed asap :

1. Night Vision Goggles - all troops
2. Easy to use short range communication equipment so that section commander doesn't have to shout his orders out. This has to be issued to all troops
3. Good helmets and BPJs
4. Shoes, standard issue water bottle and some decent personal equipment like blankets, mugs and mess tins. Not 100 year old designs pls.
5. Knee Pads
6. Weapons

All of these were part of the so called ISAS - Infantry Soldier as a System. I remember visiting a GOCnC ie Army Commander in his office some years ago and there was this big picture of the ISAS on his wall. I asked him 'sir any chance this might become reality'. His response 'if there is will at govt level the essentials can be done in months'. 'If we carry on as present forget my lifetime maybe not in yours either'.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Dec 2017 14:25

To answer your specific question wrt to the MMG scenario. The first question is how do you sight it and establish range. What tech do the US use and at what range can they sight ? Then how do you neutralise it. Mortars can indeed be used but remember it was 2 MMGs guarding a bunker and Section 1 task was the right MMG. So unless mortar can take out both MMGs and the bunker roughly simulatenously the other two sections will still have to do their jobs and now have lost the element of surprise. Bunkers are hard to take out by arty and mortar in indirect fire.

Rockets/ anti tank missiles are better options to my mind. But needs clear line of sight.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Dec 2017 14:47

I think in general (not on the MMG scenario) what would help are better LMGs which are lighter, belt fed and can lay better surpressive fire and need less barrel changes. And good RL or Missile solution at platoon level might help - light, flexible to take out diff tragets. May help us to get rid of cumbersome AGLs.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Dec 2017 15:03

ramana wrote:Shiv A 120mm mortar CEPnis around 170m. If it's located and sited by GPS and the Fuze andvchargevare set by a ballistic computer the CEP becomes half ie 75 m. If the barrel. is rifled further improvement. Now if ut has a precision fuz it can be 10m.
I dont know blast radius of 120mm mortar round.

Point is not so easy to take it out.


Sir minor point - the highest calibre of mortar in a battalion would be 81 mm. 120 mm mortars are arty weapons.


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