Fighting Light.. what is the problem?

In your hypothetical patrol, how long is it both distance and time? How far away from the PB. How big/what readiness is the QRF in case the patrol gets in a contact. How friendly are the LNs? How densely populated is the area. What’s the temperature?

Do you mean what are the contingency plans to bring in logistics beyond immediate combat requirements?

Or is it easier to have the blokes chin strapped carrying the contingency to save you the bother?
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
In your hypothetical patrol, how long is it both distance and time? How far away from the PB. How big/what readiness is the QRF in case the patrol gets in a contact. How friendly are the LNs? How densely populated is the area. What’s the temperature?
Problem is your hypothetical planning session remained hypothetical. The British Army I knew mandated the same answer to everything pretty much regardless all of the factors above.

There is and was also a lot of extraneous kit soldiers carried, and I would start with ECM (often it was totally unwarranted). I'd add a range of more esoteric ammunition or weapons, basically everything in what used to be called CEMO, and half the belt kit of CEFO. For example, unless you are a gunner, carrying your entire weapon cleaning kit on patrol when you basically only ever use three bits of it is extraneous. Ditto jetboils or any cooking kit: food = calories even when cold.

Body armour / ECM were the specific problem introduced post-2000, but I'm fairly sure the habit of carrying far too much was ingrained well before then.
 
Do you mean what are the contingency plans to bring in logistics beyond immediate combat requirements?

Or is it easier to have the blokes chin strapped carrying the contingency to save you the bother?

What are the contingency plans in your hypothetical patrol? And the other parameters. I’m not sure I’d expect a QRF to crash out if it got dark or it was 2° and raining on a 14hr patrol.
 
Problem is your hypothetical planning session remained hypothetical. The British Army I knew mandated the same answer to everything pretty much regardless all of the factors above.

There is and was also a lot of extraneous kit soldiers carried, and I would start with ECM (often it was totally unwarranted). I'd add a range of more esoteric ammunition or weapons, basically everything in what used to be called CEMO, and half the belt kit of CEFO. For example, unless you are a gunner, carrying your entire weapon cleaning kit on patrol when you basically only ever use three bits of it is extraneous. Ditto jetboils or any cooking kit: food = calories even when cold.

Body armour / ECM were the specific problem introduced post-2000, but I'm fairly sure the habit of carrying far too much was ingrained well before then.
If you’re fighting another green army, you probably don’t need ECM, after that you need it, which is why we need to work on making it lighter.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Right if we can’t transport the troops on wheels then the least we can do is move their kit and support scales of ammo! USMC had the mule in the sixties, we have had stormer, quad bikes and APC’s and yet we seem unable to train as we should fight!
The troops will soon learn what is needed and what isn’t
In fact every unit should undertake a fit for role exercise annually where ammo is replaced by weights and replenishment is actually practiced in the field!
It’s the only way to learn how to exercise the whole unit in action without live fire in both directions!
The pln sgts could even rebalance ammo in the sections if the ex was conducted realistically and under supervision!
The closest we ever came to this was replens on medman and the occasional Rhine Army corps ftx!
 
Problem is your hypothetical planning session remained hypothetical. The British Army I knew mandated the same answer to everything pretty much regardless all of the factors above.

There is and was also a lot of extraneous kit soldiers carried, and I would start with ECM (often it was totally unwarranted). I'd add a range of more esoteric ammunition or weapons, basically everything in what used to be called CEMO, and half the belt kit of CEFO. For example, unless you are a gunner, carrying your entire weapon cleaning kit on patrol when you basically only ever use three bits of it is extraneous. Ditto jetboils or any cooking kit: food = calories even when cold.

Body armour / ECM were the specific problem introduced post-2000, but I'm fairly sure the habit of carrying far too much was ingrained well before then.

Thing is, I’ve never seen the “Army” mandate much be carried outside RMAS and even then it wasn’t often checked.

Which is why I specifically asked, what extraneous kit is actually being carried?

Would a jetboil be extraneous in a Norway winter?
 
What are the contingency plans in your hypothetical patrol? And the other parameters. I’m not sure I’d expect a QRF to crash out if it got dark or it was 2° and raining on a 14hr patrol.
If it’s cold and raining, then the blokes will get cold and wet.
And hungry.

The daylight cycle of 24hrs are fairly predictable, so darkness shouldn’t come as a surprise.
A couple of sets of NVGs for if you’re really caught out.

Planning and humping stuff for the expected is par for the course.

Moving on foot with the world on your back, just in case, is boll0cks.
 
If it’s cold and raining, then the blokes will get cold and wet.
And hungry.

The daylight cycle of 24hrs are fairly predictable, so darkness shouldn’t come as a surprise.
A couple of sets of NVGs for if you’re really caught out.

Planning and humping stuff for the expected is par for the course.

Moving on foot with the world on your back, just in case, is boll0cks.

How long can soldiers be effective, cold and wet in 2° rain?

What happens if this patrol last longer than initially planned and it gets dark?

Are the QRF bringing the NVGs out? What the distance? How long will it take? How permissive is the environment between the patrol and the QRF?
 
Thing is, I’ve never seen the “Army” mandate much be carried outside RMAS and even then it wasn’t often checked.

Which is why I specifically asked, what extraneous kit is actually being carried?

Would a jetboil be extraneous in a Norway winter?

A jetboil is extraneous on a patrol in Norway.

Enormous loads are carried until a patrol base is established, then it’s movement in belt kit and ‘pocket contents’ only.
 
How long can soldiers be effective, cold and wet in 2° rain?

What happens if this patrol last longer than initially planned and it gets dark?

Are the QRF bringing the NVGs out? What the distance? How long will it take? How permissive is the environment between the patrol and the QRF?
Weeks on end in the Falklands.
 
If it’s cold and raining, then the blokes will get cold and wet.
And hungry.

The daylight cycle of 24hrs are fairly predictable, so darkness shouldn’t come as a surprise.
A couple of sets of NVGs for if you’re really caught out.

Planning and humping stuff for the expected is par for the course.

Moving on foot with the world on your back, just in case, is boll0cks.

That bit there. There's a fair bit of thought that should go into the expected. The Ive-seen-ladders-used-to-cross-an-imaginary-minefield-so-lets-bring-them needs proper focus. Hopefully this is where experienced SNCOs should cough very loudly and whisper "stupid idea" as they clear their throats.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
If you’re fighting another green army, you probably don’t need ECM, after that you need it, which is why we need to work on making it lighter.
Just not true. God this myth needs to die. Yes, put it on vehicles, because a) they can carry it, and b) vehicles are forced through chokepoints a lot more than foot patrols are. The threat is higher and the cost is lower. But vehicles and VIED are a very different beast to foot IEDs and ECM.

In all cases except for somewhere like Sangin, varying routes, avoiding vulnerable points (hereafter: tactical patrolling) is an effective counter to foot IEDs. The basic observation is that it is functionally impossible to RC-IED an entire area, so it doesn't happen. Resourcing, digging the things in covertly, and identifying routes prohibits doing it on a large scale. 'IED belts' were (again, Sangin aside) largely a myth, because it was impossible to lay them. This is just tactical patrolling: skills that we knew in NI, I was taught at Sandhurst, and we almost universally binned off in Afghanistan. The ECM 'need' resulted from FIXing ourselves with static locations, then compounded by a lack of tactical patrolling. Most of all, ECM only counters a relatively small proportion of IEDs, which weren't even the favoured / most advanced type (that would be PPIED), so any enemy which discovers their RC-IEDs don't work will almost instantly switch type.

The IED war was a tactical failure on our part, not a tactical victory by the other side. Foot ECM was a highly detrimental (because weight, and it limited freedom of action to the bubble: it unnecessarily scared soldiers and prevented tactical movement and response) and minimally helpful (because almost as soon as it appeared, RC-IED disappeared) element of that failure. We have decided to ignore this lesson for reasons that are unclear to me, but I would be unsurprised if they didn't link to our regular boast that British industry produced the best ECM in the world.

Before people get on their high horses, I tested this in contact personally over many patrols, as well as shared notes with units like PF who did the same: we all came to the same conclusion that tactical patrolling drills reduced IED strikes to almost zero, and this included areas which had been identified as "IED belts". We did this without carrying ECM, because we wouldn't have been able to cover the ground the job required if we had. Moreover, in several operations since (in a sub-green army opponent) foot ECM has been binned, so clearly it is possible.
 
You asked how long a man can be effective when cold and wet.

I answered it.

Except that wasn’t a patrol. And lots of soldiers got trench foot.

Your avoidance to answer any details about this hypothetical patrol says a lot.
 
ECM is still trotted out as the Holy Grail of force protection.

It may have reduced the attack rate in Afghanistan, but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t eliminate the IED threat, as a pressure plate, tripwire or command wire from a battery can initiate a bad day at the office.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
That bit there. There's a fair bit of thought that should go into the expected. The Ive-seen-ladders-used-to-cross-an-imaginary-minefield-so-lets-bring-them needs proper focus. Hopefully this is where experienced SNCOs should cough very loudly and whisper "stupid idea" as they clear their throats.
Hmm, I'm pretty sure the ladders thing was a valuable, if limited, lesson from direct operational experience. Carrying ladders originated in Sangin (possibly earlier from the US in urban fighting in Iraq) and then spread outwards, because it allowed you to cross walls and ditches in places other than the chokepoints, which is where IEDs would be placed. It's the same function as carrying ropes in mountains: it hugely expands the route options your patrol has when mountain routes are otherwise highly constrained and so vulnerable to ambush.

In those cases, I think it was probably the experienced SNCOs who coughed loudly and whispered "we're doing it". Of course, this doesn't mean we should issue every platoon flying out to eastern Europe with a ladder.
 
ECM is still trotted out as the Holy Grail of force protection.

It may have reduced the attack rate in Afghanistan, but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t eliminate the IED threat, as a pressure plate, tripwire or command wire from a battery can initiate a bad day at the office.
Who is trotting it out?
 

Latest Threads

Top