Author Topic: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen  (Read 25770 times)

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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2018, 17:18:44 »
The problem is that anecdotes do not make a sound data set.

Would it not be great to say, "so we used to do this 50m dismount thing, but after a comprehensive war fighter study it turns out that was not such a good idea.. it turns out the best way to assault a prepared coy position with a mech inf coy is to XXX if you want to preserve the maximum amount of combat power post attack."

From the medical standpoint it read, wow... they only created the minimum number of casualties to take that important objectives.  Much nicer to have 30 casualties than 150 like the good old days of the 50 m dismount".

MC

...of course it could be useful: I was being somewhat facetious as I believe experience and historical research has given me enough of an idea to know the outcome.  I'm a big believer on OA, and have seen a few popular conceptions burst by proper analysis of battlefield events.

I'd offer, however, that the experiment you described would have difficulty achieving the desired data set as each iteration would quickly introduce new dependent variables.  After every iteration, the attacker and defender will learn a bit and start to alter their tactics ever so slightly based on the ground and the increasing knowledge of what the defender's position looks like.  Even if you swap out new companies for each iteration, your outcome will be exposed to other variables such as commander ability, etc, etc.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2018, 17:19:53 »
There is plenty of useful work for the 25mm cannons firing directly in a defence or offence. They are not suited for indirect fire.

In the defence, as long as you site them so that they are not seeing farther than their effective range (as per doctrine) they can destroy BMPs/BTRs allowing the panzers to kill enemy tanks. Ideally we should have TUA and some form of ALAWS (Javelin/Spike/etc) on a scale of four per company, but the 25mm can do some good work firing directly.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2018, 17:59:29 »
It's quoted often, any idea where it came from?

It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2018, 18:05:00 »
A bit dated, though topical:


The Ghosts of Omdurman


"What could American soldiers, well satisfied with their superb blitzkrieg through Kuwait and Iraq, possibly learn from Omdurman? ...Simply this-yesterday's solutions, no matter how dramatically executed, rarely address tomorrow's problems."


http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a512304.pdf
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2018, 18:12:16 »
It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"

One to fix, one to strike, and one in reserve (of course).
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2018, 18:22:45 »
So, 3 to 1 in verbs then?  8)
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2018, 18:40:32 »
So, 3 to 1 in verbs then?  8)

Well, in that context, "reserve" is a noun.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2018, 18:52:24 »
I was thinking "to be in reserve."   :Tin-Foil-Hat:
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2018, 21:45:39 »
It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"

Well, if you really want to make a statement of intent, it's usually Infantry of course. With bay'nets fixed.... :)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Haligonian

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2018, 11:52:24 »
It's probably something drawn from a Lanchester Law.  Problem is that better modelling has shown the problems in the Lanchester equations.

Whenever someone says "you don't have 3 to 1," just ask "3 to 1 what?  People?  Bullets?  Tanks?  Artillery?"

I did a TDG with my guys the other day and I went bold with my response and pursued a withdrawing en despite force ratios that would not be seen as favorable from the perspective 3:1.  My guys were very concerned about this and were citing the 3:1 rule.  It gave me pause to think but I wanted to make them think about the importance of being bold and opportunistic, and dare I say, dislocating the enemy which makes their strength less relevant.  It's interesting to note as well that I don't think you could find anything in our doctrine explicitly stating that 3:1 should be used, although it's implied in diagrams etc.

Certainly numbers do count.  The question is how much bigger the attacker should be in any particular scenario.  Could 3:1 be a good rule of thumb for the majority of cases, particularly where it is estimated that the enemy is likely to stand and fight?


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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2018, 12:50:54 »
The 3:1 ratio has been around seemingly forever, and is often considered the "minimum" required to successfully prosecute an attack. As a handwave, I think it probably became "conventional wisdom" in the early part of the last century when formations were converting from being "square" to being "triangular" (i.e going from 4 platoons/company to 3 platoons/company; 4 companies/battalion to 3 companies/battalion etc.).

On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. Since this was urban combat, I'm not sure how applicable that would be to this argument overall. It also reminds me of some long ago threads where the arguments revolved around the differentiation between mounted infantry, mechanized infantry or going for even more highly coordinated Panzergrenadier type units with the dismounts operating in close coordination with the vehicles (vehicles being essentially mobile fire bases).

Based on some of the comments here, it would almost seem the best weapon for a LAV would actually be a breach loading mortar, allowing it to fire from behind cover or concealment, and providing a useful weight of fire for the advancing infantry (not to mention providing the ability to screen with smoke, provide plunging fire into trenches, between buildings or on rooftop positions). Properly equipped infantry would have man portable ATGM's, and tank support to deal with armour threats and direct fire targets.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2018, 16:54:41 »
That might invoke capbadge crossing......

We should have right now at least 2 batteries of 120mm mortars mounted in LAV's. That would be a easy add. You could use the breech loaded mortar as used by the Weisel.

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2018, 19:45:03 »
The 3:1 ratio has been around seemingly forever, and is often considered the "minimum" required to successfully prosecute an attack. As a handwave, I think it probably became "conventional wisdom" in the early part of the last century when formations were converting from being "square" to being "triangular" (i.e going from 4 platoons/company to 3 platoons/company; 4 companies/battalion to 3 companies/battalion etc.).

On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. Since this was urban combat, I'm not sure how applicable that would be to this argument overall. It also reminds me of some long ago threads where the arguments revolved around the differentiation between mounted infantry, mechanized infantry or going for even more highly coordinated Panzergrenadier type units with the dismounts operating in close coordination with the vehicles (vehicles being essentially mobile fire bases).

Based on some of the comments here, it would almost seem the best weapon for a LAV would actually be a breach loading mortar, allowing it to fire from behind cover or concealment, and providing a useful weight of fire for the advancing infantry (not to mention providing the ability to screen with smoke, provide plunging fire into trenches, between buildings or on rooftop positions). Properly equipped infantry would have man portable ATGM's, and tank support to deal with armour threats and direct fire targets.

One Falklands War AAR I attended suggested that between five and seven (attackers) to one (defender) was more likely the right solution, which was apparently achieved through concentration of collective force at specific times and places.

2 PARA clearly wasn't paying attention at Goose Green, of course, but they've always been a bunch of cowboys.  ;D
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2018, 09:15:01 »
The 3:1 ratio has been around seemingly forever, and is often considered the "minimum" required to successfully prosecute an attack. As a handwave, I think it probably became "conventional wisdom" in the early part of the last century when formations were converting from being "square" to being "triangular" (i.e going from 4 platoons/company to 3 platoons/company; 4 companies/battalion to 3 companies/battalion etc.).

On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. Since this was urban combat, I'm not sure how applicable that would be to this argument overall. It also reminds me of some long ago threads where the arguments revolved around the differentiation between mounted infantry, mechanized infantry or going for even more highly coordinated Panzergrenadier type units with the dismounts operating in close coordination with the vehicles (vehicles being essentially mobile fire bases).

Based on some of the comments here, it would almost seem the best weapon for a LAV would actually be a breach loading mortar, allowing it to fire from behind cover or concealment, and providing a useful weight of fire for the advancing infantry (not to mention providing the ability to screen with smoke, provide plunging fire into trenches, between buildings or on rooftop positions). Properly equipped infantry would have man portable ATGM's, and tank support to deal with armour threats and direct fire targets.

That was Killcullen referring to a number of Coy attacks he did wearing Miles while an instructor at the School of Infantry in Britain.  He experienced something similar later on a two way range on operations in East Timor.  Brendan McBreen (USMC) noted something similar in a Gazette article (Suppression is the Critical Infantry Task) based on a number of Miles section attacks.  Most important is the experience of Rommel as laid out in Infantry Attacks where he used most of his force in support by fire to allow for a small assault element to penetrate and then be exploited by the remainder of the force.

One Falklands War AAR I attended suggested that between five and seven (attackers) to one (defender) was more likely the right solution, which was apparently achieved through concentration of collective force at specific times and places.

2 PARA clearly wasn't paying attention at Goose Green, of course, but they've always been a bunch of cowboys.  ;D

This is part of the problem.  Is it 5 - 7 people on the assault, in the firebase, or split between them?  Does this apply when we're talking about tanks and other AFV's as well?  How does fires assets effect this ratio?

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2018, 09:48:25 »
This is part of the problem.  Is it 5 - 7 people on the assault, in the firebase, or split between them?  Does this apply when we're talking about tanks and other AFV's as well?  How does fires assets effect this ratio?

In the 'gutter fight' that is the lot of the Infantry, fire bases can become assault sections at any time (and vice versa) because, if you really have to 'take that hill', failure is not an option during the assault. So dividing it into neat little silos like 'fire base' and 'assault troops' is meaningless.

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2018, 05:14:57 »
In the 'gutter fight' that is the lot of the Infantry, fire bases can become assault sections at any time (and vice versa) because, if you really have to 'take that hill', failure is not an option during the assault. So dividing it into neat little silos like 'fire base' and 'assault troops' is meaningless.

My point is that saying we need a ratio of 5-7 attackers to every one defender doesn't really help me plan to best employ my force when I have a variety of assets to use and different ways of employing them.

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2018, 12:20:44 »
My point is that saying we need a ratio of 5-7 attackers to every one defender doesn't really help me plan to best employ my force when I have a variety of assets to use and different ways of employing them.

Well, if it's Parachute Regiment troops, you can plan on 1:3 at least then :)
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2018, 07:46:49 »
A good blog here that discusses qualitative assessments of history that of course includes military history.  Specifically this thread discusses the 3-1 rule and for the most part debunks it.

http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/blog/tag/3-1-rule/

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2018, 07:56:53 »
Not really tracking the follow-on of your question... You didn't think I was inferring we use it for indirect fire, did you?

You might want to ask the Canadians who fought in Italy about that one. The Germans taught them all about the deadly effects of plunging HMG fire, from guns which were very difficult to spot because they were dug down in defilade. 25mm falling on unprotected troops, HQ or CSS units, or gunners in battery positions, would probably still have the same effect it did back then.

If I recall correctly, this is why the FN MAG and the C6 were originally fitted with mortar sights, but you don't strictly need those sights to do IF with an HMG. Back in the days of the AVGP, I can recall training for IF in the defence, by marking inside the turret rings and adjusting onto identifiable features. I'm not a LAV guy but I bet a smart MCpl could figure it out.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2018, 08:18:04 »
On the other hand, there was a thread here some time ago where Australian experiments were conducted using much greater ratios of firebase to assault. I can't remember if the overall force ratio was still 3:1, but the experiments were almost like WWI era "Bite and Hold" tactics, with the majority of the company forming a firebase and an assaulting force as as small as a reinforced section was actually going in after very limited objectives. ...

Rommel talks about doing something very much like this, in his book "Infantry Attacks". He describes his experiences in a Jager regiment in WWI. In particular, he relates an assault on a very strong Italian alpine position at Cimolais, which he achieved with his battalion against a dug-in and well-prepared enemy battalion. He did it by massing his machine guns (and some light mountain guns) to concentrate on a single key part of the Italian position. Once that was broken, he was able to use it to unlock the rest of the Italian position and drive them out.

One point he makes is that his LMGs were firing at their extreme range, and at first he thought they might not do much good. What he found was that the psychological effect of the rounds cracking overhead and smacking into the dirt still suppressed the enemy.

He didn't have three to one in a textbook sense, but he assessed that he didn't need it. He struck at the weak point, and then the odds began to change in his favour, so that it was never 1:1 at the point of assault.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2018, 17:05:39 »
You might want to ask the Canadians who fought in Italy about that one. The Germans taught them all about the deadly effects of plunging HMG fire, from guns which were very difficult to spot because they were dug down in defilade. 25mm falling on unprotected troops, HQ or CSS units, or gunners in battery positions, would probably still have the same effect it did back then.

If I recall correctly, this is why the FN MAG and the C6 were originally fitted with mortar sights, but you don't strictly need those sights to do IF with an HMG. Back in the days of the AVGP, I can recall training for IF in the defence, by marking inside the turret rings and adjusting onto identifiable features. I'm not a LAV guy but I bet a smart MCpl could figure it out.

Not doubting the ability to use machine guns in such a way, we have an SF kit for a reason. For the 25mm, I just don't think the physics are on the side of using it indirectly with much success with what we currently have. It would definitely require different ammo (low-velocity), etc. The cannon has a muzzle of velocity of ~1100m/s, the trajectory is pretty darn flat as a result. Those rounds are well outside of an infantry company's fight before they come back down. The AVGP had a heavier round coming out at less than half that speed, so the trajectory wouldn't even be comparable.

Anyway, my point about "other ways" was more along the lines of using them in a fire base or multiple firing positions, for cut-offs, etc.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2018, 18:58:07 »
Good read.I guess the difference would be the terrain.If you are in a high threat environment from enemy ATW speed and overwatch are essential.LAV's would be fine in a low threat environment.Most of my experience is light infantry with mobility from helicopter or parachute then you are footmobile.I read the reports of Israeli armor having a tough go the last war they had.I think in the next war they will use attack helos with their armor to suppress the infantry and ATW threat I know I would.They have an aversion to casualties which might preclude infantry moving ahead of the armor. If there is a follow on to Bradley I wonder if we took an Abrams and made it a squad carrier with something like a 25mm gun and maybe eternally mounted anti tank missiles ? We know that would fit into a C17.

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #47 on: July 22, 2018, 19:22:29 »
After reading about namer it looks great but its based on the Merkava which we don't have, namer is 60t and the Abrams is 70t but if you remove the 120mm gun I would like an Abrams version better.We have spares for that.I don't think you would need more than 250 abrams IFV's.Just a guess.

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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #48 on: July 22, 2018, 19:44:00 »
I wonder how significant the redesign would be to mount the engine in the front.
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Re: Chariots on Fire by Maj Cole Petersen
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2018, 19:57:17 »
After reading about namer it looks great

Agreed.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 22:30:54 by Jarnhamar »
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