C2 and TELIC - Death By Battle Procedure

Discussion in 'Iraq (Op TELIC)' started by Gravelbelly, Jun 23, 2005.

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  1. Had this article pointed out to me. The conference itself is interesting, and a lot of the other papers I looked at seem to specialise in statements of the incredibly bl**dy obvious (here, Charlie, let's knock up a few PowerPoint slides and a three-page essay and get a long weekend in Denmark)....

    ....but this UNCLAS article on C2 in TELIC is pretty damn good. Anyone who's been following the subject in ATDN (spotter!) since "Death By Battle Procedure" should find it fascinating.....


    edited to update link...
  2. It explains a post Telic conversation I had:

    "Was that report we did on (subject) any good to you then ?"

    "Never saw it."

    "But we sent it to (your formation)."

    "Never saw it."

    "How on earth could they not send it to the one unit that might have found it useful ?"

    Kind of deflating to realise that all the hours we put in to get the product correct might have been as naught as no-one who needed it would have seen it.
  3. The official 'Lessons from Op TELIC' contains this report, and is equally fascinating (!) to those who care about this sort of stuff. I'll dredge up a link...wait out.
  4. Very interesting, I will be showing this to my Civvie management as similar situations have arisen here.

    One thing crossed my mind about the account of the 1RRF not reporting incoming attacks of battalion strength. I seriously wonder whether they didn't want another set of orders so, having beaten off the attack(s), carried on doing the obvious tasks.
  5. I hope this has ruffled more than a few feathers.
  6. I heard that HQ 7th Armd Bde were given an info copy of the 16 AA Bde Op Order for TELIC 1, which they never read. Apparently it was such a huge document it would have taken a Staff Officer days to read, and so the COS didn't expect anybody to waste so much of their time. Any truth in this?
  7. Many thanks for posting this report. As usual, the abstract says it all and I'm taking it in for my boss to have a look at as a lot of the issues described are directly applicable to our own operational sluggishness at the moment.

    The first paragraph that I've highlighted just about says it all about ops in the Metropolitan Police.

  8. I have had a look for the seminal work 'Lessons Learned from Op Telic' which I have in hard copy, but cannot find online. However, I believe we are circling the same critical point: as an Army we are addicted to planning for its own sake, with vast amounts of time, energy and staff effort being consumed endlessly regurgitating pointless truth after half-arrsed guess. Op TELIC is a case in point, wherein a group of staff officers (described in the report as 'supernumerary') worked (literally) round the clock in shifts articulating plans even while events around them changed. The case of the 16 AA Bde OpO is but one example of Plans staff generally working in isolation, completely out of touch with either their Commanders, and certainly outside the Decision/Action Cycle of the troops under command.

    I'm not going to turn this into a 'let's attack the orthodoxy' thread, but we must learn from these events - isn't this why they're called 'Lessons Learned'? We must move away from being dazzled by supposed idiot savant doctrinaire types and focus on fighting the war, not planning for events that will, in all likelihood, never come to pass. I bet the one military aphorism that we all know is 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' - why don't we acknowledge that wise man and act accordingly?

    'Better a half-baked plan that has time to be rehearsed than a great plan too late.' General Patton.
  9. Some of it may be due to the "Powerpoint Effect".

    See http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_pp

    From where I sit the balance between content, presentation and timeliness is wrong. Instead of a good enough plan in an acceptable format on time we have to have a perfect plan perfectly laid out - but it turns up so late that the lads on the ground simply cuff it and luckily we've got away with that so far.

    Because of this the information flow out of units is paradoxically slower than ever despite all the bandwidth - because instead of a phone call or terse signal with the info has to be supplied in a perfect Word document or Powerpoint show. Better a handwritten overlay faxed in time than a wonderful Powerpoint slide turning up after the attack has gone in.

    Looking at WW2 we see the British Army successfully controlling hundreds of thousands of men using documents we'd reject today to control hundreds.

    In training are we criticised more for the quality of what is done or the presentation ? In day to day work how do we balance the same ? I'm not arguing for sloppy work or not bothering, just focusing on what matters.

    Another problem contributing to HQ inflation may be the "me too" factor. When a conflict shows up everyone and his dog wants to go along - maybe we should be far more ruthless in not taking them. Kind of begs the question why we are overflowing with Majors and so on while we're short of infantry privates.
  10. Apocryphal tale. Apparently the instruction for the recent Queen's Jubilee Parade through London was larger than the detailed orders for Operation OVERLORD.....
  11. I think there's also an element of technology taking over.

    As a young clerk, I can recall manually typing out orders on the skins that were then used to reproduce them to the quantity required.

    The time involved, and the quality produced, meant that my officers of the time were brief and to the point, if they wanted the information disseminated in the time frame.

    Nowadays, with the advent of laptops, printers and photocopiers that can be taken into the field in Squadron CPs, let alone Div HQ, we can produce a lot more, and people feel that they have to.

    The fact that it's information overload, and that most readers of such a paper mountain lack the time to read it, let alone understand it, is not considered. All Staff Officers have to have an input, lest they think that the Commander will consider them a useless mouth - and perhaps reflect that within their OJAR.
  12. Perhaps?? :D

    You're right - this is definitely part of the problem. Less process = more thought = fewer products, but of higher quality.

    Hmmm...I'll think about this equation some more... :D
  13. So, "Big Hand, Small map" has left the building, then?

    Fascinating report, warts and all. I can add that 16 AA use Rock Drills as an SOP and it seems to work.

  14. Nothing new here,

    Please find an excerpt from an interview with Lt Gen Gaecke, a German Divsional Commander and later Army COS on the Eatern front in WW2.

    A full copy is available on request if you PM me. If you give me a bit of time I will find what his boss Gen Balck said in a similar interview from a Comd's perspective:

    Q: Is the current German division staff organization similar to what it was in WWII?

    A: No. It now has an American—style G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 and a separate chief of staff.

    When I see the enormous staff apparatus that we have now constructed, partly under your influence, I often ask, “My God, how is this going to work?”

    Here is how we controlled our divisions in both the West and the East in WWll; My division commander and I would sit together in a half—track vehicle with the map on our laps, exchange opinions -- “Should we go to the left or to the right, should we do it tonight or tomorrow at dawn?” -- then we’d scribble our instructions, give them to the driver next to us, and he’d pass the orders along to a couple of radio operators in the back of our vehicle.

    Now we’ve built the division staff into a little city with operations centers, communications centers and whatnot -- with everything now in formal writing and transmitted by teletype machines.

    I must add that what we now understand the daily command briefing to be -- this assembly of 10, 12, or 15 experts ranging from weather to religion -- simply didn’t exist in World War II. One man, the Ia or the chief of staff, would go with his papers to the commander who was perhaps at his cot or his morning coffee; the verbal report would be delivered quickly while the general sat there. There was no huge theater required. During unusual crises, a second staff officer covering supply or intelligence, for instance, might come along.
    I just borrowed from our military archives the combat diaries and logs of our division during the initial Russian campaign. It was a most peculiar feeling to see the orders, all very simple, that I had written in pencil so that the rain wouldn’t smear them —- and each had the radio operator’s stamp to confirm that they had been transmitted. I said to myself that these distinguished gentlemen of today probably wouldn’t believe that we could actually run our divisions this way.

    Q: What was the attitude toward verbal versus written orders?

    A: The general approach was that orders were given individually and verbally by telephone or radio directly to the recipient. Then, in the evening, when things were less hectic, a written, sealed version of the order would be issued to follow up and to provide a basis for the unit diary. To actually operate using formal written orders would have been far too slow. Coing through the staff mill, correcting, rewriting and reproducing in order to put out a written order would have meant we would have been too late with every attack we ever attempted.

    There are lots of other disadvantages to these huge staffs. You get far too many vehicles which are too hard to move and that attract the attention of enemy aircraft. The whole apparatus becomes sluggish and slow. All of that needs to have the fat thoroughly trimmed away one of these days.

    Comments from a sucessful (He was, yes I know Germany wasn't) WW2 German general in 1979.
  15. I know the guy who wrote it, and as I'm now a civvie in the defence world, I have used it as an enlightening read for my "colleagues" who think they know what they are talking about when they start throwing military buzzwords and thinking they know what it means!!