• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Armoured RECCE

KevinB

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
8,293
Points
1,140
The US Army does indeed have RSTA Cav Squadrons in the BCT's
ABCT's have the M2A4/M3A4 Bradleys for RSTA
SBCT's have M1127 RSTA Strykers
IBCT's depend on the type - Airborne (then usually Hummer or now JLTV) and Air-Assault used to be the OH-58 role -

There is a lot of effort into Remote or Optionally Manned Recce down here tied in with UAS.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
4,797
Points
1,040
Let me pose a question here - but first a preamble.

Firstly I'm ignoring the question of close recce - i.e. a battalions recce elements and focusing on the bde and up.

In my early days each brigade had an armour regiment with tank squadrons and one Ferret later Lynx equipped recce squadron which served as the brigade recce element. It was very lightly armed and had few sensors.

That armoured regiment, in Canada eventually became mostly recce and still performing the recce role with much better developed sensors but still lightly armed (even with a 25mm and an interlude of Cougars with 75mm guns).

In the US, many divisions and corps, especially armoured ones, had a cavalry regiment (essentially a reconnaissance brigade) which, with the advent of the BCT was broken up and individual cavalry squadrons (battalions) were assigned to each ABCT, SBCT and IBCT. These have become ever more armed with the ABCT cav squadron having a company of tanks and the SBCT MGSs while all have Javelins and can call on attack helicopters and UCAVs.

With the return of the div in the US, I have not yet seen a movement to recalling the cavalry squadrons into a div or corps cavalry regiment so, at least for the time being, medium recce appears to remain with the BCTs (admittedly that may change and I've seen articles advocating for that and for other "strike-like" uses of ACRs).

It strikes me if we talking "cavalry" rather than "recce" we are either 1) needlessly playing with semantics, or 2) actually discussing a major change in both equipment and doctrine.

My question is that if the Armour School is starting to speak in terms of "cavalry" are we looking at a more capable more heavily armed and enabled "recce" force able to take on elements of both the screen and guard functions in the defence as well as a being more robust element of the advance guard?

🍻
 

McG

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
1,978
Points
1,160
I think the Canadian cavalry concept is an attempt to find a place now that TAPV has come on line.

And it can apply to PRes who can cavalry from a GWagon C&R.
 

MilEME09

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
3,783
Points
1,090
I think the Canadian cavalry concept is an attempt to find a place now that TAPV has come on line.

And it can apply to PRes who can cavalry from a GWagon C&R.
it also seems to be a more aggressive change in role, from sneak and peak recce to recce in force. Long term Cavalry may evolve into something more then TAPV, and could involve light tanks, if certain people get their way, and budget.
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,036
Points
1,040
Capbadges.
Infantry mafia doesn’t want Armored Cav
Armored mafia doesn’t want Infantry hitchhikers
No one wants to point out the emperor has no clothes…
My concern is that so many decisions appear to be made in isolation rather than as part of a coherent plan.

So you need a Cavalry Regiment to provide Brigade-level recce and they are going to fight for their information. So in a peer fight you're presumably going to use tanks and....LAVs? TAPVs? How can the LAVs or TAPVs keep up with the tanks? Or do you limit the maneuverability of the tanks by tying them to the LAVs/TAPVs?

Then there's the whole question of what Brigade are you providing recce for? If you're portioning out our limited number of tanks into your Cavalry Squadrons then do you have enough left for your Brigade Group? Any tanks available in reserve? You have either a heavy Cavalry Regiment performing recce for a Medium Brigade or a Medium Cavalry Regiment providing recce for a Heavy(ish) Brigade. Unless we buy more tanks I don't see how you can have both and as far as I know there is no plan to buy more tanks.

I'm not saying I'm against the idea of a shift away from sneak and peek recce to a Cavalry role for the RCAC, but it seem to me that changing doctrine without a plan of how it can actually be implemented within the forces we have (or without a plan for purchasing the required equipment in place) is putting the cart before the horse (pardon the pun).
 

Fishbone Jones

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
964
Points
1,060
Canada’s cavalry concept, as explained to me, is that recce and “sabre” tasks are just activities on opposing ends of a cavalry capability spectrum; and a TAPV can do any task a tank can do while a tank can also do any task that a TAPV can do. Obviously, terrain and threat will dictate which platform is better in any given incident. But, we are now supposed to be comfortable employing either platform anywhere on the cavalry spectrum of tasks.

I'll preface by saying, I haven't been part of the game since 13. If my data is dated and replaced, my apologies. Likewise if the Corps has settled the role and doctrine issues.

I've done both. A TAPV cannot go toe to toe with a tank. A tank has greater mobility and firepower, and armour and...and...

Canada gave up sneak and peek recce when we got rid our small, quiet platforms, like the Ferret. You can't sneak and peek in an 11 ft high vehicle, belching black diesel smoke and growling Jake brakes. But they keep trying. You're just asking for a HEAT round from 4 km away.

The armoured recce role has been in flux since, at least, the 90's. I commanded a Ferret in the mid 70's. When I retired in 2013, we were using the same tactics and procedures. My Tp Ldr Guide to the Galaxy still showed the PT-76 and T-64 as our main threat. The Corps needs to decide what kind of recce they want to do, how they want to do it, what resources are required. And then they have to tell the government what vehicle they need. They need to stop accepting whatever vehicle is thrown at them by the government or GDLS, and then trying to make it work by shoehorning it into our existing procedures.

Really simply, if you want them to fight for info, you need to give them something that can fight and survive hits. It needs to be able to go just about anywhere. Something along the lines of a CV-90120. Soucy rubber track to decrease noise and extend range and mobility while reducing maintenance. The CV-90 family can mount guns from 30mm cannon to a 120 smooth bore. They also have IFV variants.

If you want sneak and peek, something like a Wiezel. At just under 3 tons, you could put 2 x 7 car troops down anywhere you can put a Galaxy.

I'm not going to open the fight between track v. wheeled. If they want wheels, give them the same sort of thing on wheels. We're not here for that can of worms. There's a thread back there somewhere about track v. wheeled you can fire that puppy up again.

So, Adv to Contact, Screen and Surveillance, Withdraw in Contact. First in. Last out. Or maybe an NBCD survey. Lots of reasons for us to be up there.That's half of the job. There is also all of our RAS taskings to consider.

I don't think it'll disappear anytime soon. We fill a lot of small and diverse tasks. If you're going to take one of the Div/Brigade Commander's major assets, you better have something way better to replace it with.
 
Last edited:

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
4,797
Points
1,040
My concern is that so many decisions appear to be made in isolation rather than as part of a coherent plan. ...
... The Corps needs to decide what kind of recce they want to do, how they want to do it, what resources are required. And then they have to tell the government what vehicle they need. They need to stop accepting whatever vehicle is thrown at them by the government or GDLS, and then trying to make it work by shoehorning it into our existing procedures. ...
I've had another depressing interview this week with someone with intimate knowledge about the Army's transformation program in the 2002 to 2006 timeframe - before we went into Afghanistan in a big way.

In essence it was a furball that still plagues the Army today. Government funding played a part but there seems to be a consensus that essentially what happened to the Army happened because of the Army. Things like staffing issues in the infantry caused it to pull in on its basic skills in the rifle company and bit by bit throw anti-armour and pioneers under the bus. Afghanistan confirmed that trend.

For the armoured corps and the artillery the rejection of Cold War doctrine and the striving for an agile multi-purpose force kept them constantly searching for ways to stay relevant. The artilleries experience in Kabul with counter mortar radars and UAVs pointed it towards STA as a means to try to buy into the fledgling ISTAR while throwing SPs and gun batteries under the bus. If it hadn't been for Kandahar and the fact that the LG1 barrels were having their rifling torn out and cracking, the artillery would not even have the M777.

Air defence jettisoned everything except ADATS which was kept around, not for the out of favour AD role but so that it could be part of a Direct Fire Unit made up of the unholy trinity of ADATS, MGS and TOW-UA.

The armoured corps ended up with Coyotes and it took them years to figure out a doctrine that actually suited their capabilities - surveillance rather than reconnaissance. And thus experimentations with ISTAR configurations and concepts started. And tanks. Well the armoured corps jettisoned them as well, enthusiastically by some for the DFU mirage. The last minute Afghanistan reprieve kept them around but no one seriously considered them for the high intensity battlefield.

At least until Leslie tried to buy CCVs to go with them together with long range precision rockets. That idea died within minutes of him being out of the CLS position. Then ADATS got thrown under the bus and TOW (mostly) and Eryx.

We have not had a coherent plan since Charley Belzile headed the Army in the 1980s. What we've had is bickering amongst the major arms in a struggle for each to remain relevant in an environment where quite a few do not understand the other arms or, when they do, will undercut them to keep their own as whole as possible.

Being in the legal branch during this time (a branch which incidentally doubled in officer strength while everyone else was being cut and managed to get MGen status for its boss - and lets not mention the near doubling of GOFOs and all their staff weenies) I blissfully slept through all the infighting except for the bit that trickled over to CRes Council.

I'm finding that much of what the Army is, or isn't, today harkens back much more from what the Army did to itself than the lack of funding from the government. Perhaps its the funding uncertainties that drive the lack of planning but it's the lack of planning (notwithstanding the forests that had to die for the "Advancing with Purpose' change agenda) over the last two decades that's left the Army where it is today. There may very well have been reasons for everything that was done over the last twenty years, but a coherent plan was not one of them.

🍻
 

dapaterson

Army.ca Relic
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
7,191
Points
1,090
CCV was not originated in CLS lines. A different, retired, artillery general was the originator and driving force behind it.
 

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
3,070
Points
1,040
So acting as chief pot stir-er (since I started the thread). It seems to me that the Army has the vehicle it needs to do recce and fight for info, sans the weapon it needs to do the same role.

LAV 6 is perfectly capable of doing the job required if one were to change the turret to take ATGMs. Roughly comparable to a Bradley and certainly more protected than the Scimitar and various French offerings. (wheels vs tracks debaters please go elsewhere).

TAPV it seems despite its good mobility (teething problems aside - more than one poster on this forum has mentioned firsthand that the TAPV can hide places the LAV can't and go across some types of obstacles/difficult terrain better than the LAV can) has neither the weapon nor the survivability/signature to do the job outside of counter-insurgency operations.

Neither vehicle is well suited for sneak and peak, GWagon though having a smaller signature isn't ideal either with no survivability and not enough dismounts, and no weapons outside small arms.

All things considered, it seems to me that the RCAC should follow the fight for info doctrine ((I know, oversimplification), and have LAVs without the LRSS get ATGM turrets. A situation where instead of having doctrine match the vehicle, you can have the vehicle modified best as possible for the doctrine. A mixed group of LRSS and ATGM LAV is likely better than a mixed group of TAPV and LAV.

Question: Are there TAPV with LRSS equivalent gear?
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,583
Points
1,060
I thought I saw somewhere that the LRSS was electronically noisy?
 

IKnowNothing

Member
Reaction score
155
Points
530
TAPV it seems despite its good mobility (teething problems aside - more than one poster on this forum has mentioned firsthand that the TAPV can hide places the LAV can't and go across some types of obstacles/difficult terrain better than the LAV can) has neither the weapon nor the survivability/signature to do the job outside of counter-insurgency operations.
TAPV can have the weapon though. I might be wrong but other than shoehorning in the GMG I don't think that it's graven in stone that the RWS has to be an RS4 with C6 and GMG. RS6 with M230LF and a javelin.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,583
Points
1,060
I found this some years ago on an RRCA Powerpoint in the Public Domain



1649167889823.png

Disregard the numbers and focus on the array of tasks that the Artillery anticipates performing and assume that it is broken into Troops for accounting purposes. One task requires one Troop. Some will be brigaded into Batteries, some will be assigned to Battle Groups, some to Brigades.

Note the Act Function and the GBAD function.
Note the small number of Gun Troops, the absence of Mortar Troops and the lack of MLRS, AT and LAM Troops.
Note the (at the time) lack of Air Defence, the absence of VSHORAD, SHORAD, MRAD and LRAD Troops

And the Artillery wanted to add the MRR Radar (which it did), a longer range UAV, and a Meterological capability.


We talk about span of control.

At this point I figure that a Brigade should be commanded by a Brigadier so that he can continue to outrank his CRA because with that array of assets in a Brigade the CRA needs to be a Colonel because his Regiment needs to be an III Regiment and not an II Regiment just to manage all the Batteries and Independent Troops required.

This is not a slag of the Arty. It is to draw attention to all the technical skills that are necessary but taken for granted when talking about operating an independent Brigade Group. The Engineers can bring their own list. As can the Service and Sigs folks.

The problem as I see it is that both the Techies and the Combat arms types are at fault. The Techies are only too happy to say "We can do that!" while the Combat Arms are saying "Fill yer boots! That's not our job. - Charge!"

Meanwhile all of that lot needs to be protected, shielded, defended. Call it what you will. And that takes Infanteers that are not swanning around in LAVs like Spam-in-a-Can targets waiting to be useful.

And then there are the Infanteers necessary to protect the helicopters that should be working with the Brigade. And those protecting the BMA and the LoC. And a bunch of other mundane tasks.


And the RCAC searches for jobs to do.


Here's some thoughts.

All of that defensive work - turn that over to Reserve heavy infantry companies. They could even be Independent Companies attached to one of the three Regular regiments but outside the Battalion structure. They don't need to be part of a Battalion because they will be under control of the Service Bn CO, the CRA, the CRE, CRCAF, Bde HQ, on independent taskings.

Turn all of the Met work, the UAV work, the Air Space Co-Ordination Work, even the GBAD work, over to the RCAF along with the Helicopters as part of their Expeditionary duties. Hire bodies that don't mind being muddy and sleeping under canvas.

Transfer the FOO/FAC parties to the Cavalry and the Infantry. Teach them how to request fires to the Arty's satisfaction.

Let the Arty concentrate on STA work, Fire Support and Counter-Battery Fires and Fire Support Co-Ordination and equip them with SP Mortars, SP Guns and SP Missiles - Direct Fire (for taking out tanks, helicopters and UAVs) Indirect PGMs and LAMs and LRPFs

And that just leaves the RCAC and the RCIC to continue their grudge match as to who gets to lead raids.

Personally I would make the RCAC the ISR specialists using UAVs and conducting their jobs on foot or using what ever vehicle is most suitable to the terrain and environment. Maybe it is a tank. Maybe it is a snowmobile.

Like the Arty, the RCAC would find they have more technical specialties to fill than resources to fill them.

This is the typically Canadian conundrum. We normally seem to solve the problem by airily dismissing it and saying "Oh don't worry about that. We'll work in a coalition. Someone else will manage that!" The problem is that everyone else seems to be emulating Canada in that regard. All our Allies have big gaps in their systems and need all their assets themselves.

We need highly flexible, adaptable people capable of managing a broad array of tools and a toolshed full of gear that might come in handy someday.
 

KevinB

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
8,293
Points
1,140
The Inf and Armored are not FOO’s nor should they be.
Anyone can call for fire, I was a Foo Tech back in my R021 days, we often had Inf Pl and Coy commanders do a fire mission on joint ex’s
There is a big difference in Fire Planning, running a FSCC and simply Fire Missions, their need to be trained teams for anything beyond simple fire missions

You can’t take a Arm or Inf Capt out of their day job for a 3 month course, or expect them to be current without constant refresher work.

The CAF is simply to small for what it wants to be, which quite frankly I’m not sure even if the CAF really knows what it aspires to be when it grows up, as it constantly is max messaging.
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,036
Points
1,040
I'll go back to a point I made in another thread. Canada needs to decide if it is going to forward deploy heavy forces in Europe. That to my mind makes a huge difference to the type of force we want/need to build.

Based on what has happened in Ukraine the Russian Army is highly unlikely to launch any ground attack against NATO in Europe for years to come. It will take that long for them to implement any changes from the lessons they have learned in this war, replenish their equipment, improve their training, adjust their organizational structures, fix their logistics, etc. to be at a point where they could have any hope against a prepared NATO. Their only hope would be a surprise attack to make a quick, limited gain. Forward deployed forces would be the deterrent against that.

If we choose to forward deploy our military then heavy forces make sense. If not, then we don't have the airlift capability to move any significant heavy forces into theatre quickly enough to make any difference. We would be better off focusing on lighter, air deployable forces that we could move there quickly enough to have an impact against a surprise attack.

Where else are we likely to NEED a heavy Armoured Brigade that we can afford to take weeks to months to deploy?

  • A conflict with China is going to be air/sea conflict with the possibility of light land forces being required.
  • We are highly unlikely to initiate a land war against a nuclear armed North Korea so any conflict there is likely to start at least as a defence against an attack by the North. Again, rapidly deployable light forces would be of greater use than a heavy force that we'd have to ship over.
  • Iran is a very large country in both size and population and is largely mountainous. Not ideal tank country and I doubt that there is much appetite by the US to launch a land invasion. Any war against Iran is likely to be more an air war to destroy their military capabilities, a naval blockade and possibly airborne operations to strike key political/military targets.

I don't really see any other places where we are likely to choose to deploy a heavy armoured force. We're not willing to do it in Ukraine so I don't see us doing it in some other conflict in the 3rd World.

So, bringing it back the the Armoured Recce role, what's the point of having a heavy, tank-equipped Cavalry Regiment if we don't have an equally heavy Brigade to follow it up?
 

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
3,070
Points
1,040
Terminology Clarification Question: I was under the understanding that Canada has Armour, not Cavalry.

Cavalry AFAIK is an American term. Though with research there seems to be an argument that Cavalry refers to a type/style of armor employment.

Are the terms interchangeable or should we be using Armour in the RCAC context?

I know it seems pedantic but the terminology can be confusing.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,583
Points
1,060
The Inf and Armored are not FOO’s nor should they be.
Anyone can call for fire, I was a Foo Tech back in my R021 days, we often had Inf Pl and Coy commanders do a fire mission on joint ex’s
There is a big difference in Fire Planning, running a FSCC and simply Fire Missions, their need to be trained teams for anything beyond simple fire missions

You can’t take a Arm or Inf Capt out of their day job for a 3 month course, or expect them to be current without constant refresher work.

The CAF is simply to small for what it wants to be, which quite frankly I’m not sure even if the CAF really knows what it aspires to be when it grows up, as it constantly is max messaging.

Fine then. Each Infantry and Cavalry Unit gets an attached Fire Support Battery with FSCC, FOOs, Mortars, LRATGMs and MSHORADs.

Guns and Missile Batteries and STA assets stay under the CRA

ASCC and GBAD, with the Helicopters, UAVs and FACs go to the attached RCAF Squadron/Wing for coordination with Fighters and Aerial ISR assets like MALE, LRPA and Satellites

D&D Companies and firing batteries of all types can be Reserve heavy, if not Reserve exclusive.
 

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
3,070
Points
1,040
Fine then. Each Infantry and Cavalry Unit gets an attached Fire Support Battery with FSCC, FOOs, Mortars, LRATGMs and MSHORADs.

Guns and Missile Batteries and STA assets stay under the CRA

ASCC and GBAD, with the Helicopters, UAVs and FACs go to the attached RCAF Squadron/Wing for coordination with Fighters and Aerial ISR assets like MALE, LRPA and Satellites

D&D Companies and firing batteries of all types can be Reserve heavy, if not Reserve exclusive.
A wild thread on Army organization appears! Again... ;)
 
Top