AJAX - the ‘NOT the CR2 upgrade’ thread

arfah

ADC
There were some initial problems with discipline when the Guard mobilized during WWII since they were little too much like a close knit family but that got dealt with quickly. Same with volunteer regiments during the Civil War. Familiarity can breed contempt.

Way O/T but…

13 Oct 1942.

Nearly 2000 “farm boys from North Dakota” arrive as the 164th Infantry Regiment, on the beaches of Guadalcanal to serve as emergency reinforcements for the 1st Marine Division during the Guadalcanal Campaign of World War II. Bold, brave, and determined, their mission was simple: to defend the tactical airstrip known as Henderson Field and to stay alive.

Within hours upon their arrival, the 164th would become synonymously known as the first U.S. Army unit to offensively engage the enemy during #WWII. The Japanese Navy welcomed the newcomers through the night with 14" artillery shells that turned palm trees to toothpicks and left holes the size of basements. The Regiment lost its first Soldier that very first day and, as word spread, the Guardsmen quickly learned the realities of war. They did not waver.

Just 12 days later, the 164th would fight alongside the Marines in what was officially called the Second Battle for Henderson Field, but was unofficially called The Battle of Coffin Corner because of the thousands of enemy dead that had to be buried there. Capt. Al Wiest, Commander of Co M, 164 Infantry, overheard Marine Lt. Col. Chesty Puller, Commander 1st Bn, 7th Reg't, 1st Marine Division, say, "Those farm boys can fight, I can tell you that much."
 
There were some initial problems with discipline when the Guard mobilized during WWII since they were little too much like a close knit family but that got dealt with quickly. Same with volunteer regiments during the Civil War. Familiarity can breed contempt.
In 1812 the US had problems with some of their National Guard regiments which were mobilized for service in the war. I'm not sure if that is the name used for them then, but they were the state based reservists. Some of them treated the areas of the US outside of their home state as enemy territory and handled their logistics problems by simply looting wherever they went. As the American logistics were a shambles in many cases this happened quite a bit in some areas. This did not make them popular among their fellow Americans they encountered.

Another problem in early to mid 19th century in the US was that the reserve units (I assume these are national guard again) were often seen more as social clubs for the officers than as serious military units. The officers were typically the sons of wealthy businessmen who treated their reserve commitments as an opportunity to socialize and network with people of similar background. Actual competence or leadership ability mattered less than how much money your family had.

The actual US Army was a more serious and professional affair, but it was small and chronically short of money.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
In 1812 the US had problems with some of their National Guard regiments which were mobilized for service in the war. I'm not sure if that is the name used for them then, but they were the state based reservists. Some of them treated the areas of the US outside of their home state as enemy territory and handled their logistics problems by simply looting wherever they went. As the American logistics were a shambles in many cases this happened quite a bit in some areas. This did not make them popular among their fellow Americans they encountered.

Another problem in early to mid 19th century in the US was that the reserve units (I assume these are national guard again) were often seen more as social clubs for the officers than as serious military units. The officers were typically the sons of wealthy businessmen who treated their reserve commitments as an opportunity to socialize and network with people of similar background. Actual competence or leadership ability mattered less than how much money your family had.

The actual US Army was a more serious and professional affair, but it was small and chronically short of money.

The National Guard's precursors were the individual States' militias as constituted by the various Militias Acts from 1792.

These were finally superseded by the establishment of the National Guard in 1903 with the Militia Act of that year (New York had a "National Guard" from 1824)
 
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gafkiwi

War Hero
The National Guards precursors were the individual States' militias as constituted by the various Militias Acts from 1792.

These were finally superseded by the establishment of the National Guard in 1903 with the Militia Act of that year (New York had a "National Guard" from 1824)
The Chieftain had an episode where he delved into the 'many' armies of the USA. An interesting watch.

 

gafkiwi

War Hero
Interesting comparison here. 20t for the BAE offer, 30-40t for the GDLS one.
I wonder how they stack up in comparison against the Sprut SDM1 sitting at 18t with its 125mm seeing as they seem to fill similar roles. Guessing there would be less protection to keep its amphibious capability.
 

Mr_Relaxed

War Hero
In the 1980’s the US Army tried to replicate the British regimental system but it didn’t work out. One was the creation of the COHORT system, company sized unit that would go through basic training together and then deploy to their duty station. The experiment lasted from 1981 to 1995 but failed due to a number of issues involving, among other things, promotion and career progression.

Master of Military Art and Science Theses
So how comparable would you say the US Army’s Regimental Combat Team concept was to the UK system?

I thought the US only dropped that to move to the more modular brigade post Korea as the Cold War got going?
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I'm reluctantly biting.

Many here may well dislike officers, or hold them in contempt. My suggestion to them is try it yourself; it's not easy. When I taught at RMAS with very few exceptions the ex NCOs (some 20% of the intake at that time) were mediocre leaders at best.

For sure the switch to 12 years and the de facto removal of the 3 year SSC is likely to have had an adverse impact on recruiting wild cards - 12 years is a hell of a commitment on both sides. The simple truth is that the weak officer on a 3 year SSC was not extended, and soldiers were effective in ensuring weakness was obvious (as were the rest of the officers in the mess).

It's relatively easy to identify those with leadership potential, AOSB does that well.

It's relatively easy to develop leadership potential at RMAS (although much of that is theoretical) as well as instilling the skills and knowledge to produce a junior commander and manager. The product of RMAS is an entry point leader/commander/manager. Post special to arm training the development of lead/command/manage skills is pretty much on the job training.

In terms of tactical command ability, Clausewitz, Liddle Hart and (most recently) Allan Mallinson all believe in the concept of a commander's coup d'oeil which, like leadership may be a natural gift that is nurtured (cue discussion Commanders and Leaders; born or made?). an army that lacks budget for challenging tactical training is unlikely to develop commanders.

None of the above has anything to do with the strategic shaping of the Army of the future. Nor does it have anything much to do with intellectual development.

The Staff College and RCDS may add a strategic view. Or they may propagate group think. Certainly the selection process does not encourage the wild cards and favours conformists. But that is generally true of any large organisation and particularly government service. Hence, I would argue, the NHS, and Education departments which are at least as challenged as the Army. Indeed the MOD and whole Civil Service might benefit from bringing in outsiders at senior level (I know they say they do that, but it's window dressing).

The comparison with state of RN and RAF is not entirely fair or useful. The former is platform centric and is managing to cover up the lack of platforms with interoperability with NATO etc. Which is fine, but they should make it clear that we are only able to protect national interests if they're our allies national interest too. Which is bad news for the Falklands. RN procurement has not been an unqualified success either - Crowsnest springs to mind RAF have ruthlessly deleted platforms to stay in the technology led game with F35 and Tempest. The cock ups in Nimrod/P8 and Wedgetail are neatly obscured by the "yebbut Red Arrows" and "Ooh Spitfire" approach.

Land warfare is far more people centred. To the advocates of robot warfare, what happens when all my robots have killed all your robots (or vice versa)? If it was a vital national interest there is no choice but fight on.
Army people at the sharp end come in tribes, with cap badges and history.,

While many here, in the MOD and in the wider population deride the Regimental system - and indeed the large regiment approach so beloved of RGJ/Lt Div/Rifles/CDS may have transformed it beyond all recognition - note that when the US Army was rebuilding post the Vietnam debacle one of the things that impressed them most about the British Army was the Regimental system - in as much as it made people more likely to opt into combat. (Only evidence is anecdotal from US Army personnel I served alongside / met over my career). Whatever the Army's current problems (and they are legion) it is not the regimental system. No attempted "fix" of the Regimental system will solve the Army's problems either.

For sure the Army spent much of 1997-2015 kicking the can down the road, focusing on rebuilding post the end of austerity cuts and desperately seeking any conflict to get stuck into. (To be fair, it was brilliantly successful at finding conflicts to get stuck in!) As the increasingly intractable issues of these conflicts used more thought time, budget etc. The predominance of lt role experienced officers and the mistaken (IMHO) assumption that armour was no longer needed led to programme drift.

The latest defence review was an exercise in obfuscation and betting the ranch on Strike being the way ahead.

In commerce failing companies die. If they have asset value they get dismembered by asset strippers; if they have potential they get taken over by turnaround guys and sorted. Note that these turnaround guys are not from within the company.

The question is, surely, how does the Army (and probably the whole MOD) find a turnaround team? Generals and senior civil servants need not apply.
You want to get that over to the Changing the Army thread.
 
So how comparable would you say the US Army’s Regimental Combat Team concept was to the UK system?

I thought the US only dropped that to move to the more modular brigade post Korea as the Cold War got going?
It might have been comparable prewar but I doubt it lasted long into the war. National Guard regiments had a high percentage of older soldiers, and they were rapidly replaced once it was discovered that many weren't fit enough for combat. (Marines had the same issue - look at the wholesale replacement of officers and senior NCOs at Guadalcanal.) As for the regulars, they rapidly got dispersed as the Army grew from one to ninety divisions. Senior officers were always lamenting about how hard it was to train their units as cadres were constantly siphoned away for newly forming units.

Yes, the regiment was the basis of the army, but it just a tactical formation, with soldiers having no long term affiliation. During the Cold War there was a regular rotation of forces between the US and foreign deployed forces, but that was by individual replacements and not by formed units. Interestingly, in the 1980's they did swap out the airborne battalion in Italy with one from the 82nd, but that was so painful that they never repeated it.
 
In what way?
Not really sure. The battalion was moved to Italy in its entirety because there couldn’t be a gap in coverage, given that the the airborne unit was the contingency unit for all of Europe. Vicenza was a small base, with limited housing, so billeting was a mess. Throw in the movement of families and belongings and it got messy.
 

riksavage

War Hero
Moving back in the general direction of armour. I see the South Koreans are offering the Noggies Black Panthers (K2NO) to replace their 2nd hand Leopards, this comes on top of the recent K9 SPA order. Same gun fitted as the CR3. In-service date 2025-30

K2NO comes equipped with CROWS, NAMMO programmable ammunition, Kongsberg's BMS, Trophy APS and R&S Nano Drones.

I do admire the way the Scandinavian countries appear to keep their kit current without going down the rabbit hole of untested futuristic tech.


The Koreans and Ottomans have really got their sh*t in one sock when it comes to indigenous design and production of all things green, heavy and deadly.
 
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Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The Koreans and Ottomans have really got their sh*t in one sock when it comes to indigenous design and production of all things green, heavy and deadly.
Whilst also being on top of drones, cyber… It’s almost as if they see a need for all of it.

How very last century. They could learn a few things from us.
 

riksavage

War Hero
Whilst also being on top of drones, cyber… It’s almost as if they see a need for all of it.

How very last century. They could learn a few things from us.
Plus they only wear a one colour beret!

BAE has had a lot to do with Turkey’s rise as a key producer of armoured vehicles.

Never seen a Turk or Korean wearing a stable belt either - priorities, priorities!
 
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Moving back in the general direction of armour. I see the South Koreans are offering the Noggies Black Panthers (K2NO) to replace their 2nd hand Leopards, this comes on top of the recent K9 SPA order. Same gun fitted as the CR3. In-service date 2025-30

K2NO comes equipped with CROWS, NAMMO programmable ammunition, Kongsberg's BMS, Trophy APS and R&S Nano Drones.

I do admire the way the Scandinavian countries appear to keep their kit current without going down the rabbit hole of untested futuristic tech.


The Koreans and Ottomans have really got their sh*t in one sock when it comes to indigenous design and production of all things green, heavy and deadly.
The Poles are considering a version of the K2 as well:
K2PL: A Polish-Korean Future Main Battle Tank. Proposal With Support
 
Makes some sense with them already having a working relationship with Korea with their SPG being based on a Korean/K9 hull
Yes, this option appears to have the most support, particularly with technology transfer and domestic production. But it boils down to a question of cost.

The Poles take the threat from Moscow very seriously.
 

StormsInAfrica

War Hero
Excellent post, particularly your closing question.

My thoughts; start with working out who can / how to deliver the now. Deliver those capabilities that have been approved. It’s simply not acceptable to have squandered multiple major initial gate approvals to the point where the Army has no medium or heavy capability. Yes, the other two services have had some procurement disasters, but they have predominantly had successes. It’s vital that the Army gets Ajax and Boxer right, even if getting Ajax right means doing a Nimrod.

Next, form some kind of “skunk works” setup to develop future visions. Very radical for an institutional hierarchy, but what is there to lose? There has to be a place where innovators can group and it’s not in the mainstream chain of command. We have to break the culture of “tactics being the opinion of the senior officer present”. Harness the bright people who have a stake in the future, irrespective of rank.

And then work out how to make people accountable.

And keep it small.

Embed DSTL to deliver the OA, <INSERT DOMAIN> Warfare Centre to produce CONOPS/CONEMP, a Requirements Manager and Requirements Engineer pairing to work up the URD/SRD and Industry SMEs to chip in with the art of the possible.

There is no doubt that AJAXs woes are in large part attributable to poor systems engineering. That is doesn't "fit" anywhere is a commentary on DE&S (why this sits with DE&S and not the great and good piling out of JSCSC is a mystery to me) SOSA approach to acqusition not being embodied properly. The IR was another of these but for more specific project reasons I won't go into on here.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
And keep it small.

Embed DSTL to deliver the OA, <INSERT DOMAIN> Warfare Centre to produce CONOPS/CONEMP, a Requirements Manager and Requirements Engineer pairing to work up the URD/SRD and Industry SMEs to chip in with the art of the possible.

There is no doubt that AJAXs woes are in large part attributable to poor systems engineering. That is doesn't "fit" anywhere is a commentary on DE&S (why this sits with DE&S and not the great and good piling out of JSCSC is a mystery to me) SOSA approach to acqusition not being embodied properly. The IR was another of these but for more specific project reasons I won't go into on here.
Do you mean fit in terms of the procurement process or the order of battle?
 

StormsInAfrica

War Hero
Do you mean fit in terms of the procurement process or the order of battle?

The ORBAT.

We don't view the LAND (or any domain) System of Systems as a "moving picture".

I've argued up the river for a "threats" input to the Capability Reference Frameworks (these could be produced at O-S and modelled as NAF OV-1s).

Having not bothered to do this, design changes at the system level seldom respond to a defined "threat system of systems", with the drivers for these changes residing firmly in the heads of SO1s various. Incidentally, this is why many decisions taken in the past appear capricious with no traceability back to a firm OA grounding. User community decision makers will always fall back on their experience (which may or may not be relevant).

The threat SOS picture changes, our SOS picture remains static. This is down to resource and lack of SQEP in both User communities and DE&S.

An example: Russia have fielded a nuclear powered, nuclear armed long range UUV. They have developed several classes of submarine to carry this weapon, a new array of static SONAR sensors to protect the platforms and the "SHELF" submersible nuclear power plants to power the array, in addition to submarine capabilities to locate and service these power plants. That is a complete system of systems that dramatically changes the threat picture. Correspondingly our picture needs to change to deal with this emerging threat.

AJAX is no different: where and why does it respond to the current threat picture facing LAND?
 

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