Fighting Light.. what is the problem?

Now you're getting it.

Not comparing like with like.

You may not have noticed but, I have repeatedly asked what kit is being carried by soldiers now that is unnecessary and in what operational circumstance.

US Navy SEALS may have dropped body armour but the Taliban now rule Afghanistan. And why did US troops leave Afghanistan?

War does not exist in a vacuum.

I am not advocating that troops carry more than they need but that it is an inevitability that dismounted troops will.

As the Falklands demonstrated, the plan was never to march to Stanley. But the units could hardly turn round and say "this is not what they do" when that became the plan.
Isn't that what some of the (non-Marine/para) units actually did though - gave the yomp a bit of a go and then said bollocks to this.
 
Well, they can, and they do it all the time - police, contractors, LECs, fixers, etc. Resistance to that is less about the law, even in the UK, and more a combination of military institutional empire-building and civilian institutional risk-aversion. The US are much clearer that armed civilian or quasi-civilian branches are both acceptable and a risk that those branches may have to take.
I was a bit unclear, I meant in mainland Britain hence MPGS.
 
This is the bit that confused me. My experience of orders and taskings is limited (being dark blue: we reserve this clever stuff for more senior bods). However, if a patrol sets out, surely there should be clearly defined contingency orders for late finish/discovery of targets of opportunity/whatever and those contingencies set at a sensible level? Also, with the understanding that equipping the patrol to handle any contingency may mean that it cannot achieve its primary task?

ETA: this is a different question to the Falklands Invasion. Planning for loss of most helicopters probably wasn't a reasonable contingency and other constraints (weather) meant the sensible option wasn't practical. That makes it an extreme example: a good reason of why you exercise those and aim to be fitter and better soldiers than the minimum standard required, but not a good illustration of contingency.

Here’s a point I tried to make previously,

When are light role troops best employed?

Not in wide open spaces - you’d use armour
Not without air superiority - you’d use air assault
Not without a decent road network - you’d use mechanised

Light role infantry are used when the more log heavy can’t be…
 
Isn't that what some of the (non-Marine/para) units actually did though - gave the yomp a bit of a go and then said bollocks to this.
No idea. Did they? Which ones?
 
Here’s a point I tried to make previously,

When are light role troops best employed?

Not in wide open spaces - you’d use armour
Not without air superiority - you’d use air assault
Not without a decent road network - you’d use mechanised

Light role infantry are used when the more log heavy can’t be…
Or in the rear, where logs are not an issue.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
This is the bit that confused me. My experience of orders and taskings is limited (being dark blue: we reserve this clever stuff for more senior bods). However, if a patrol sets out, surely there should be clearly defined contingency orders for late finish/discovery of targets of opportunity/whatever and those contingencies set at a sensible level? Also, with the understanding that equipping the patrol to handle any contingency may mean that it cannot achieve its primary task?

ETA: this is a different question to the Falklands Invasion. Planning for loss of most helicopters probably wasn't a reasonable contingency and other constraints (weather) meant the sensible option wasn't practical. That makes it an extreme example: a good reason of why you exercise those and aim to be fitter and better soldiers than the minimum standard required, but not a good illustration of contingency.
The ubiquity of comms, even though they don't always work well, have encouraged higher HQs to have ever longer screwdrivers. I've been on (more than one) patrols where the commander on the ground hotmiked or refused to answer his boss (more than one) because they were insisting on micromanaging a ground situation they just didn't understand. They were kilometers away. This has also applied to operational commanders and London / PJHQ, as several histories of Iraq and Afghanistan recount.

While what you say is all sensible, theoretically how it should work, and in many cases actual doctrine, unfortunately we have allowed some unsuitable personal characteristics and destructive habits to run rampant.

Mix that together with a some careerism and citation / award hunting (not usually bravery medals, but M and OBEs), and all the comments about institutional risk aversion, and you have a seriously toxic combination, little of which is focused on 1. The mission or 2. The men.
 

Alamo

LE
Here’s a point I tried to make previously,

When are light role troops best employed?

Not in wide open spaces - you’d use armour
Not without air superiority - you’d use air assault
Not without a decent road network - you’d use mechanised

Light role infantry are used when the more log heavy can’t be…
Air assault without a favourable air situation? Good luck with that.
 

omegahunter

War Hero
The ubiquity of comms, even though they don't always work well, have encouraged higher HQs to have ever longer screwdrivers. I've been on (more than one) patrols where the commander on the ground hotmiked or refused to answer his boss (more than one) because they were insisting on micromanaging a ground situation they just didn't understand. They were kilometers away. This has also applied to operational commanders and London / PJHQ, as several histories of Iraq and Afghanistan recount.

While what you say is all sensible, theoretically how it should work, and in many cases actual doctrine, unfortunately we have allowed some unsuitable personal characteristics and destructive habits to run rampant.

Mix that together with a some careerism and citation / award hunting (not usually bravery medals, but M and OBEs), and all the comments about institutional risk aversion, and you have a seriously toxic combination, little of which is focused on 1. The mission or 2. The men.
"You are unworkable. Out" "That radio isn't working. Turn it off"
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
"You are unworkable. Out" "That radio isn't working. Turn it off"
Pretty much. The other one (hotmike) was to stop everyone else hearing two officers give contradictory orders.

It's nice to have comms.
 
Light role infantry are used when the more log heavy can’t be…

or, as in WW2 - light role infantry are best used when properly supported.

We seem to have adopted a default of light infantry being out there doing their own thing, unsupported, while the QRF sits on their proverbials waiting to react to a situation, rather than a well armed and equipped force pushing along behind the advance forces & carrying the armaments and logistics to both sustain them in the field and win the fight when it comes.
 
I still think that there's a place for (hu)man-hauled solutions such as mono-wheeled trailers.

Like this?

 
You aren't comparing like with like. A critical contingency Task Force level movement plan after a major operational failure, which incurred an unusually heavy burden, is not the same as mandating that same burden for routine, daily framework patrols within a kilometer of a static base.

We exercise this common sense proportionality all the time. If I'm going five minutes down the street to get milk, I prepare accordingly. If I'm leaving for five years, I prepare very differently. You seem to be arguing that all 5-minute trips need to be treated as if they might suddenly turn into five years. That isn't remotely realistic, even in conflict.

You may think you are being reasonable, but your argument is exactly the just-in-case mentality that needs to go. Of course we're never going to be able to prove 100% that everything will be always be fine, in fact we can pretty much 100% predict at some (undefinable) point it will not be. But refusing to take risk on unlikely and hypothetical contingencies adds real, measurable consequences which quickly add up to be worse than the hypothetical risks. It's better to be underequipped for, or say "no" to, the hypothetical tasks than to regularly underperform and fail the specified ones.

Hence IAO.
 
However, if a patrol sets out, surely there should be clearly defined contingency orders for late finish/discovery of targets of opportunity/whatever and those contingencies set at a sensible level?

In the good old days, pre micro management - They used to be called '' Actions on ''
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
or, as in WW2 - light role infantry are best used when properly supported.

We seem to have adopted a default of light infantry being out there doing their own thing, unsupported, while the QRF sits on their proverbials waiting to react to a situation, rather than a well armed and equipped force pushing along behind the advance forces & carrying the armaments and logistics to both sustain them in the field and win the fight when it comes.
Nail / head.

WW2 inf were lorry and sometimes tracked APC mounted, working with tanks and artillery doing the whole all arms thing.

For some reason most of current British Army infantry are not in all arms groupings and are only able to fight at 3mph (even if they're Rangers).

You want to stay alive you need all arms. there are just 3 regular MBT regiments and about the same of sensible SP arty (not the bloody light gun). That's enough to work with about 9 Bns maximum. The rest of infantry are largely a waste of rations in terms of combat capability - no matter how heavy their bergens.
 

itchy300

War Hero
I think we need to stop pretending that light infantry is suitable for use as general (line?) infantry. It doesn't have the carrying capacity, firepower or operational mobility to keep pace in a peer/near-peer battle. I'm a light infantryman, I have been for a long time and I've got a while to push yet but I'm not arrogant enough to pretend otherwise, despite my obvious superiority :-D.

Hopefully when boxer arrives the vast majority of people will have a seat to ride about on and simultaneously transform light role infantry from being generalist to specialist and play to it's strengths (low logistic requirement, tactical mobility, difficult terrain etc .)

We could brigade them together and have battalions of specialist light infantry in dedicated roles eg OBUA battalion, jungle, non-arctic mountain, FIWAF etc.. to become true experts rather.

This would partly be to experiment with tactics/doctrine and be a pool of knowledge/SMEs and partly to form subunits for specific operations
 
We could brigade them together and have battalions of specialist light infantry in dedicated roles eg OBUA battalion, jungle, non-arctic mountain, FIWAF etc.. to become true experts rather.
When I was first looking at joining the army (circa 1999) that's what the advertising brochure I read said - ie LI specialise in Mountain Warfare, D&D in fighting over farmland, RGR in jungle warfare...and then Afghan kicked off.

Not sure how true it was, however!
 
or, as in WW2 - light role infantry are best used when properly supported.

We seem to have adopted a default of light infantry being out there doing their own thing, unsupported, while the QRF sits on their proverbials waiting to react to a situation, rather than a well armed and equipped force pushing along behind the advance forces & carrying the armaments and logistics to both sustain them in the field and win the fight when it comes.

Indeed, the best light role infantry is armoured or mechanised....
 
Indeed, the best light role infantry is armoured or mechanised....

Q: How much does your Backpack weigh?
A: Couldn’t give a ****

7BE04B08-B8A1-4256-9326-1BEC269F2F0D.png
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Q: How much does your Backpack weigh?
A: Couldn’t give a ****

View attachment 674162
And yet, presumably on the advance in NWE 44 /45, all they have got with them is weapons, entrenching tools, webbing and small pack. Large pack / kit bag following up with CQMS hopefully, but sufficiently equipped to advance / patrol / dig in until resup.
 

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