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Orders of Battle Orders-of-battle, TO&E's, and related information on who fought where and what they brought to the battle.

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  #31  
Old 25 May 17, 12:20
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A thought about the armored division combat commands:

The CC were supposed to be task forces and did not have permanently assigned battalions. Any battalion could be attached to the CC as the operational requirements dictated and CC commanders did not "own" particular battalions. If I understand correctly, this was supposed to be the idea behind brigades in infantry divisions when the army went to ROAD after the pentomic battlegroup era.

Brigades in IDs have done it that way many times - battalions from one brigade being opconned to another for an operation - but brigade commanders still have assigned battalions and are usually a bit more like RCTs than task forces. All things considered, is this habitual association for the best or is something in the way of flexibility and adaptability lost by it?
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  #32  
Old 25 May 17, 12:58
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In WWII, units assigned to CC's tended to say with that unit. Units that fought together fought better because they knew each other. The Independent Armor Battalions would be reassigned more often. I have seen where the 2nd and 3rd Armor Divisions had Infantry Regiments assigned to help them breakthrough the German line. These INFREG's would revert to their parent organization after the battle.

Vietnam was a whole different place. There were no Regimental Combat teams there and the brigades arrived already mixed up.

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  #33  
Old 25 May 17, 13:29
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
In WWII, units assigned to CC's tended to say with that unit.
I'm sure it was that way in some divisions but the 4th AD was known to make the most of the CC flexibility concept. They used flexibility, not habitual association, to good effect.

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Units that fought together fought better because they knew each other.
Usually.

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Vietnam was a whole different place. There were no Regimental Combat teams there and the brigades arrived already mixed up.
The brigades had three to four permanently assigned battalions. Cross attachment and opconning still happened but a brigade commander normally had his assigned battalions. So in practice it was more like a WWII RCT than a WWII CC.

I understand that there have been no real RCTs since the '50s. I'm just pointing out that brigades have usually operated more like RCTs than like CCs, even though the brigade concept under ROAD was supposed to be about flexibility instead of fixed formations.
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  #34  
Old 25 May 17, 18:47
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Brigades in IDs have done it that way many times - battalions from one brigade being opconned to another for an operation - but brigade commanders still have assigned battalions and are usually a bit more like RCTs than task forces. All things considered, is this habitual association for the best or is something in the way of flexibility and adaptability lost by it?
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Vietnam was a whole different place. There were no Regimental Combat teams there and the brigades arrived already mixed up.
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
The brigades had three to four permanently assigned battalions. Cross attachment and opconning still happened but a brigade commander normally had his assigned battalions. So in practice it was more like a WWII RCT than a WWII CC.
I guess it depends on when and where. The original ROAD concept in 1963 was to introduce flexibility along the model of the armored division CCs to the infantry division.

Reading the Vietnam AARs of 101st Airborne Division, the brigades tended to be pretty flexible, although 1st Brigade operated as a separate brigade deployed without the division for over 2 years. 4th ID, I think, was pretty flexible in its use of battalions between brigades, too- although I haven't read as many of their AARs. I'm not sure about 1st CAV, 1st ID, 9th ID, 25th ID and Americal (although Americal is different, too, because it was composited in Vietnam from separate brigades). But Vietnam was pretty close to the introduction of the ROAD concept.

I know that Korea practiced task organization, bouncing back and forth between "Triple Threat" and task organization of an armor-heavy brigade and an infantry-heavy brigade, but Korea, like Germany, was inhibited from implementing the ROAD flexibility because it was training for a single, well-known scenario. Even so, talking to officers that served in divisions in Germany in the 70s and 80s, the flexibility was understood even if not practiced all that much- the division CGs were pretty clear with the BDE COs that they owned the battalions and would task organize as required.

I think the loss of flexibility was generated by a couple of things. After the reductions in the 90s, the battalions evenly distributed across the brigades (a division of 9 battalions forms 3 brigades of 3; a division of 11 battalions has options, and almost necessarily is not equally balanced). Second, the centralization of command selection, with the allocation of certain brigades to Armor branch officers and certain brigades to Infantry branch officers, created a sense of ownership of certain battalions by branch.

Of course, beginning in 2004, we assigned battalions directly to BCTs instead of to divisions, which formalized the reduction in flexibility that had become habitualized over time.
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Old 25 May 17, 19:34
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One thing I noticed about BCT's is there was a difference in number of Battalions in a combat zone and "in garrison". Most BCT's in Iraq operated with at least three Infantry, Armor and/or Heavy Infantry. There was a number of oddities in Iraq as some Brigades deployed to fight as Infantry that were not trained much for the role. Case in point, Division Artillery for the 82nd Airborne left its cannon home and fought on foot. Many Heavy battalions also fought as Foot Infantry.

Back in CONUS and Germany the BCT's seemed to all have only two Infantry or Heavy Battalions assigned (plus the support elements). In one case the 256th Infantry Brigade did a rotation in Iraq with two Mech Infantry Battalions and one Armor Battalion. When they returned home it converted to a BCT with only two Light Infantry Battalions and the Armor Battalion converted to Cavalry. The 2nd and 3rd/156th Inf and the 1st/108 Armor had fought on foot in Iraq. The Washington Artillery may have fought on foot as well.

Using Heavy Troops as Light Infantry is wasteful of trained skills and could get unnecessary casualties as Welders, Mechanics and Main Gun Gunners learn to patrol on Foot. Also a factor is many women are assigned in these roles these days. If Rumsfelt and Bush needed so many more Light Infantry they could have raised several new Light Infantry Divisions, but they didn't. Politics...

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Old 25 May 17, 21:26
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
One thing I noticed about BCT's is there was a difference in number of Battalions in a combat zone and "in garrison". Most BCT's in Iraq operated with at least three Infantry, Armor and/or Heavy Infantry.
Sort of. I don't know of many battalions deployed without their parent BCT, although some were. 1-504 Infantry (1st BCT/82nd) deployed with 2nd BCT in 2007-2008. Both 1-504 and 3-504 deployed separately in 2005-2006, but that was before conversion to BCTs. 4th BCT/10th MTN sent its battalions on single battalion rotations to Afghanistan- both infantry battalions and the cavalry squadron, all task organized as somewhat balanced task forces. In the end, there wasn't a pool of separate battalions to plus up from, so any BCT that gained a battalion had a corresponding BCT that lost a battalion- and we were employing all of our BCTs just about as fast as we could rotate them, waiving dwell time in numerous cases at the height of the surge in Iraq.

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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
There was a number of oddities in Iraq as some Brigades deployed to fight as Infantry that were not trained much for the role. Case in point, Division Artillery for the 82nd Airborne left its cannon home and fought on foot. Many Heavy battalions also fought as Foot Infantry.
After the initial push to Bagdad, everyone was doing the same sort of mission. There was no need for the specialty units needed to conduct major combat operations, but lots of need for troops to pull security- which is not a necessarily infantry mission. Every unit that was going to Iraq trained as much as it could for the task- the Army was just to small to meet the requirements. The 82nd DIVARTY never deployed as a in lieu of brigade- its battalions made all of their deployments with their brigades. Sometimes, they did artillery missions (1-319 in OEF2, 3-319 in OEF3, 2-319 in the initial stages of OIF1, the firing batteries of 3-319 in OEF6) sometimes they did other things (firing batteries from 2-319 in Iraq 2004-2005; 1-319 in Iraq 2006-2007; 3-319 in Iraq 2007-2008; although the last two were after the inactivation of the DIVARTY).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Back in CONUS and Germany the BCT's seemed to all have only two Infantry or Heavy Battalions assigned (plus the support elements). In one case the 256th Infantry Brigade did a rotation in Iraq with two Mech Infantry Battalions and one Armor Battalion. When they returned home it converted to a BCT with only two Light Infantry Battalions and the Armor Battalion converted to Cavalry. The 2nd and 3rd/156th Inf and the 1st/108 Armor had fought on foot in Iraq. The Washington Artillery may have fought on foot as well.
We've gone over this numerous times. The. Army. Decided. That. BCTs. Would. Only. Have. 2. Maneuver. Battalions.

In the period from 2004-2007, almost every maneuver unit converted from legacy brigades to BCTs. The two mechanized infantry brigades in Germany (I think they were 2nd Brigade, 1st ID and 2nd Brigade, 1st AD; they were re-flagged to 170th and 172nd Infantry Brigades) retained the legacy organization until their inactivation. The ARNG retained some combat battalions that were not assigned to BCTs (they are assigning all of those battalions back to BCTs by the end of this fiscal year).

All that has nothing to do with the fact that practically everyone did stability/security missions in Iraq. Any unit that could reconfigure into HMMWV and/or MRAP mounted security forces did so- infantry, armor, engineers, field artillery, MPs, etc, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Using Heavy Troops as Light Infantry is wasteful of trained skills and could get unnecessary casualties as Welders, Mechanics and Main Gun Gunners learn to patrol on Foot. Also a factor is many women are assigned in these roles these days. If Rumsfelt and Bush needed so many more Light Infantry they could have raised several new Light Infantry Divisions, but they didn't. Politics...
Not deploying trained soldiers to do the required mission is wasteful, too. Other than some missions in Afghanistan, most of the missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan were not "Light Infantry" missions. Like I said, practically everyone available fought as motorized security forces.

How long do you think it would have taken to build new divisions? Divisions that we didn't need. Most of the expansion of BCTs was mostly infantry units. There's little difference in taking a mechanized unit and transitioning it to HMMWVs/MRAPs than taking a non-motorized unit and doing the same thing. Light motorized security work is primarily basic soldier skills. The real tough part to train for is the Counterinsurgency and non-military skills, but that is a change for any soldier, and a fault of the political decisions to occupy a country instead of defeating an enemy
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