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  #1  
Old 08 Nov 15, 14:21
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Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) vs. Reconnaissance Strike Groups (RSGs)

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In early September he circulated a PowerPoint presentation showing that in a head-to-head confrontation pitting the equivalent of a U.S. armored division against a likely Russian adversary, the U.S. division would be defeated. “Defeated isn’t the right word,” Macgregor told me last week. “The right word is annihilated.” The 21-slide presentation features four battle scenarios, all of them against a Russian adversary in the Baltics — what one currently serving war planner on the Joint Chiefs staff calls “the most likely warfighting scenario we will face outside of the Middle East.”

In two of the scenarios, where the U.S. deploys its current basic formation, called brigade combat teams (BCTs), the U.S. is defeated. In two other scenarios, where Macgregor deploys what he calls Reconnaissance Strike Groups, the U.S. wins. And that’s the crux of Macgregor’s argument: Today the U.S. Army is comprised of BCTs rather than Reconnaissance Strike Groups, or RSGs, which is Macgregor’s innovation. Macgregor’s RSG shears away what he describes as “the top-heavy Army command structure” that would come with any deployment in favor of units that generate more combat power. “Every time we deploy a division we deploy a division headquarters of 1,000 soldiers and officers,” Macgregor explains. “What a waste; those guys will be dead within 72 hours.” Macgregor’s RSG, what he calls “an alternative force design,” does away with this Army command echelon, reporting to a joint force commander — who might or might not be an Army officer. An RSG, Macgregor says, does not need the long supply tail that is required of Brigade Combat Teams — it can be sustained with what it carries from ten days to two weeks without having to be resupplied.
http://www.politico.eu/article/insid...astern-europe/
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  #2  
Old 08 Nov 15, 16:48
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I like most of MacGregor's ideas. His suggested Light Recon Strike Group seems to be more or less a beefed up and modernized version of the old Armored Cavalry Regiment. I think MacGregor proved that he understands armor and maneuver warfare at 73 Easting.
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Old 08 Nov 15, 19:36
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That was a nice, long article but nowhere did it describe was a RSG was composed of. From MacGregor's past, I can only surmise that it is similar to an ACR, but I can't be sure. Comparing it to a Stryker BCT is pointless, since the two units serve different purposes and scenarios. Why didn't he just compare it to an Airborne Brigade? It would have made as much sense.
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Old 09 Nov 15, 16:54
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I would certainly be interested in more details about the RSG concept but I think it is correct to surmise that it is more like an ACR and less like an armor division. My guess is that it's a much lighter and smaller unit that operates independently as the armored Cavalry does. That's what the term "recon" implies to me.

This makes sense if the unit has air cover and is more nimble than it's antagonists. Lots of little units flitting around, striking enemy weaknesses, calling in air support on targets of opportunity.

But I'm unclear on how it's different from the Stryker BCT.
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Old 09 Nov 15, 17:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipser View Post
But I'm unclear on how it's different from the Stryker BCT.
More armor? The problem with an ACR is although it is highly mobile and has great firepower for its size, it can't hold ground. It is very light in infantry.
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Old 09 Nov 15, 17:41
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Search for Light Recon Strike Group. MacGregor has detailed info online about it.
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Old 10 Nov 15, 01:01
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Yeah, it's not happening. 40,000 troops that can deploy anywhere in 24 hours? With their equipment? Not happening.
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Old 10 Nov 15, 02:06
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If you use the old ACR format which had M-1 Tanks and Bradleys, it could be much more survivable. It will also be harder to move. Maybe they can use POMCUS stocks at Diego Garcia?

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Old 10 Nov 15, 11:50
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The colonel's briefing shows Pumas exclusively. Some with 30mm and some with 120mm. I believe the colonel has modified his equipment suggestions over the years while sticking to the same organizational template.
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Old 11 Nov 15, 10:52
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Fair Point

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Originally Posted by johns624 View Post
More armor? The problem with an ACR is although it is highly mobile and has great firepower for its size, it can't hold ground. It is very light in infantry.
Mobility is only effective so long as you are allowed to employ it. The moment the enemy threatens an objective you are required to physically hold, your force has to be able to go toe-to-toe with him and win. Given the utter lack of depth in the Baltic region, I'm not entirely confident MacGregor's plan would play out as well if tested by a neutral third party.
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Old 23 May 16, 21:15
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ARMVAL

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Originally Posted by ipser View Post
...
This makes sense if the unit has air cover and is more nimble than it's antagonists. Lots of little units flitting around, striking enemy weaknesses, calling in air support on targets of opportunity.

....
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
The colonel's briefing shows Pumas exclusively. Some with 30mm and some with 120mm. I believe the colonel has modified his equipment suggestions over the years while sticking to the same organizational template.
ARMVAL Was a long series of excercises the USMC ran back in the late 1970s. Red Force was a Soviet 'Mechanized force, trained to Soviet standards & equipped with the the common BMP models, tanks, artillery of the era. Red force received a few weeks of training for Soviet tactics & equipment ops and passed a standard Red Ary combat evaluation at the end of it.

Blue force was primarily light armored wheeled vehicles, heavily armed with 25mm automatic guns, large caliber guns, AT missiles, mortars, artillery and air support. The most advanced communications and fire control equipment were provided. & the Blue force trained to the USMC combat readiness eval standards modified for the exercise.

The NTC had just been set up & the USMC had got the use of it for six months. 2-3 times a week a mock engagement was scheduled. As per the intent for the NTC detailed records of the engagements were compiled. Number or rounds fired, at which targets, hits and hit locations on the vehicles, locations of each vehicle, ect...

The Concept was to test a nimble, fast, agile unit with high fire power on the vehicles and in support vs a standard Warsaw pact opponent. The hope was to show how a light easily deployable force could out manuver and out do on the ODAA a heavier mechanized enemy.

The Blue force got its ass kicked.

Badly.

Every engagement.

About half way through Blue Force finally started winning engagments, & soon won them consistently. The change was in a new emphasis on planning and using fire power, to its maximum effciency. Racing around the desert was not getting it, trying to simply out manuver the enemy was not enough. As the commander of the Red Force Lt Col Diggs told me; "It does not matter how fast your vehicle is. You cant out run a sabot round."

What made the difference is the Blue force learned to use their fire power to maximum efficiency. They had to spend a lot more training time learning the exact effects of each weapon and its optimal and worst target. They had to learn the procedures and drill for operating the weapons to the the maximum possible. They had to learn their procedures for organizing multiple weapons on targets perfectly, and then refine them so they worked even better, Command and control had to be made more efficient and faster.

Bottom line was the speed that matters was the ability to place the exact firepower required on each target at precisely the right moment. Racing the vehicles around was still useful, but the goal was not 'penetrating' or flanking' enemy units but to place the exact weapon needed at the exact location at the precise time needed. That included all the supporting arms of artillery, fixed wing, and helos.

It was nice that Blue Force won engagements and found the right approach. what bothered the observers, all the way out to distant me, was that to get to that point Blue Force had to train to a extremely high standard. A true elite in the top few percentile. Also even to the end of the ARMVAL exercises Red Force could still prevail. If some component of the Blue Force failed in organizing/coordinating its ops, the battle swiftly unraveled for it and the BMP1 & T55 of Red took Blue Force apart.
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Old 30 Dec 16, 19:37
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Bump.....

....It looks like the RSG idea will get a test run at least: http://futuredefensevisions.blogspot...alysis-of.html
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Old 30 Dec 16, 19:58
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If the National Guard gets four maneuver battalions in each Group, I am willing to listen. This would however mean raising new formations. I also don't see why you need a Brigadier General to run it. A Colonel should be able to do so with his XO and the Battalion Commanders being Lieutenant Colonels. Too often we see "reorganizations" which ask for more senior officers to lead fewer men. Isn't it time we train officers to command a unit at least one grade above their job? We also need to get more officers out of offices and into the field training with the troops. Their are too many chairborne commandos sitting in offices trying to get to 20 years service.

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Old 30 Dec 16, 20:33
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Quote:
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If the National Guard gets four maneuver battalions in each Group, I am willing to listen
.

I don't think the proposed mission of the Recon Strike Group could be a National Guard mission. I think MacGregor originally proposed three RSGs to be in rotational readiness. If I understand MacGregor's RSG idea correctly, and I may not, it would be the first sustainable maneuver force to deploy. So it would likely go in after airborne/air assault forces. So long before NG activation.

The RSG was never intended to be the only type of group in the army. MacGregor also had plans for airborne/air assault groups and heavy combat groups, etc.

Quote:
This would however mean raising new formations.
Or at least reorganizing.

Quote:
I also don't see why you need a Brigadier General to run it. A Colonel should be able to do so with his XO and the Battalion Commanders being Lieutenant Colonels.
The idea is that it will be bigger than a current brigade (colonel) but smaller than a current division (major general). Hence the brigadier general idea.

Quote:
Too often we see "reorganizations" which ask for more senior officers to lead fewer men.
True, but this idea is supposed to flatten some command structures.

Quote:
Isn't it time we train officers to command a unit at least one grade above their job?
I thought they were expected to be able to. That might be different than trained to. I don't really know, I'm out of my depth there.

Quote:
We also need to get more officers out of offices and into the field training with the troops. Their are too many chairborne commandos sitting in offices trying to get to 20 years service.
There are NCOs in that category also. Might be the nature of the beast. Again, out of my depth.
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Old 30 Dec 16, 20:48
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MacGregor was the brains behind the Brigade Combat Team and the Battalion Combat Team. Someone changed his idea of having two to four maneuver battalions in a Brigade into actually funding more brigades with only two maneuver battalions in them. The Louisiana National Guard had its Armor Battalion changed into a recon battalion and so it became a two battalion brigade. The nasty part is in many rotations to Iraq the 256th Brigade never fought with just two maneuver battalions, there was always a battalion added in from some other state. Once a National Guard Combat Arms Battalion is converted or deleted, it seems to never come back.

I would like to see these deleted battalions raised again. The Texas National Guard was once a Heavy Division with at least nine maneuver battalions. They changed it completely when it was converted to Light Infantry. One Brigade was converted to Combat Support units and the remaining Brigades each lost a maneuver battalion. How did the Army fix this? They attached two other National Guard Brigades from other states! The Texas Division was no longer from just Texas! Where they once had nine maneuver battalions they now have four!

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