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Conventional Forces in MAD

Weinie

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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?
I get that it is contentious/fun/intellectually stimulating to determine what NATO and Canadian conventional force posture/config will be most aptly positioned to exert dominance over Russian/China forces in the future. But until you acknowledge the reality, (and include it in planning/COA's), of the influence of nukes in the strategic context, this conjecture is baseless.
 

GR66

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Sigh.............I get that it is contentious/fun/intellectually stimulating to determine what NATO and Canadian conventional force posture/config will be most aptly positioned to exert dominance over Russian/China forces in the future. But until you acknowledge the reality, (and include it in planning/COA's), of the influence of nukes in the strategic context, this conjecture is baseless.
I don't discount nuclear forces but realistically if a war turns nuclear our pre-war conventional force posture basically becomes irrelevant.
 

Weinie

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I don't discount nuclear forces but realistically if a war turns nuclear our pre-war conventional force posture basically becomes irrelevant.
Which is the exact same thing I implied above.
 

GR66

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Which is the exact same thing I implied above.
Are you then suggesting that due to the threat of nuclear weapons that preparing contingencies for a conventional war against Russia or China is useless?

If you don't have the conventional forces in place to defend against Russian/Chinese military attacks would you then institute a clear first-use nuclear policy instead? Any Russian/Chinese conventional attack would result in a Western nuclear response?
 

Kirkhill

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I get that it is contentious/fun/intellectually stimulating to determine what NATO and Canadian conventional force posture/config will be most aptly positioned to exert dominance over Russian/China forces in the future. But until you acknowledge the reality, (and include it in planning/COA's), of the influence of nukes in the strategic context, this conjecture is baseless.

OK. I'll acknowledge the nuclear imperative.

And then?

Does it matter if we deploy 700 soldiers with tanks or 700 nurses and doctors or 700 civil servants? They all meet the trip-wire requirement that ties the fates of Canadians to the locals.

They all will suffer exactly the same fate in a nuclear exchange.
 

Weinie

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OK. I'll acknowledge the nuclear imperative.

And then?

Does it matter if we deploy 700 soldiers with tanks or 700 nurses and doctors or 700 civil servants? They all meet the trip-wire requirement that ties the fates of Canadians to the locals.

They all will suffer exactly the same fate in a nuclear exchange.
Yup.
 

GR66

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In a nuclear war it won't matter if our troops are based in Adazi, Latvia or in Edmonton, Alberta. I'm still not sure what point you're trying to make. You seem to be suggesting that there is no point having conventional forces prepared to face Russia or China because...nuclear.
 

Weinie

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In a nuclear war it won't matter if our troops are based in Adazi, Latvia or in Edmonton, Alberta. I'm still not sure what point you're trying to make. You seem to be suggesting that there is no point having conventional forces prepared to face Russia or China because...nuclear.
I'm suggesting that unless we are prepared/equipped to win outright and decisively in a nuclear war, then discussions about conventional force structures are moot. We can have the biggest/baddest/bestest/whateverest......(you can supply the adjective est) force in the world, I am simply stating that strat nukes change the way that "war" is waged, and the political calculus.
 

KevinB

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I'm suggesting that unless we are prepared/equipped to win outright and decisively in a nuclear war, then discussions about conventional force structures are moot. We can have the biggest/baddest/bestest/whateverest......(you can supply the adjective est) force in the world, I am simply stating that strat nukes change the way that "war" is waged, and the political calculus.
Seriously disagree bro.

No one really wins in a full out Nuclear war, some may not loose all, but all will loose some. Sure you may win briefly, but it’s not really a win if half your population is ash.

Given Canada isn’t a nuclear nation it’s only option is a convention multi spectrum capable combat force. With a backup need for the world largest TTHAD bubble.

Here in the US, we have both, but our conventional combat power means we don’t need to use our nuclear Arsenal. We can reduce everyone else to rubble with conventional forces. We just have the nuclear Arsenal to ensure that if anyone else goes nuclear they are removed from the planet first - so we’d call that a short term win.
 

GR66

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I'm suggesting that unless we are prepared/equipped to win outright and decisively in a nuclear war, then discussions about conventional force structures are moot. We can have the biggest/baddest/bestest/whateverest......(you can supply the adjective est) force in the world, I am simply stating that strat nukes change the way that "war" is waged, and the political calculus.
Explain to me exactly how you go about "winning" a nuclear war? I don't agree with your assertion that any conflict between nuclear armed nations will automatically lead to full-scale nuclear exchange and therefore there is no point building up conventional forces to face military threats.

I believe there are many instances where two nuclear nations can have conflicting interests that they are willing to use force to secure but aren't considered to be existential threats to their existence if they were to lose and therefore trigger a nuclear war.

I'll just agree to disagree with you though and leave it at that so as to not further derail this thread.
 

Weinie

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Seriously disagree bro.

No one really wins in a full out Nuclear war, some may not loose all, but all will loose some. Sure you may win briefly, but it’s not really a win if half your population is ash.

Given Canada isn’t a nuclear nation it’s only option is a convention multi spectrum capable combat force. With a backup need for the world largest TTHAD bubble.

Here in the US, we have both, but our conventional combat power means we don’t need to use our nuclear Arsenal. We can reduce everyone else to rubble with conventional forces. We just have the nuclear Arsenal to ensure that if anyone else goes nuclear they are removed from the planet first - so we’d call that a short term win.
Sorry Kev, but your last point in highlight, invalidates your second sentence, or confirms my thesis. My point was simply that unless you can be assured that you can "win" a nuclear war, with no repercussions, then it is futile to plan to win a conventional war with a nuclear armed opponent.
 

KevinB

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Sorry Kev, but your last point in highlight, invalidates your second sentence, or confirms my thesis. My point was simply that unless you can be assured that you can "win" a nuclear war, with no repercussions, then it is futile to plan to win a conventional war with a nuclear armed opponent.

Everyone on the planet generally wants to leave it to the next generation. Which is why MAD has worked for almost 80 years.

If you let a madman or rogue regime do whatever they want out of worry of what they may do if confronted, is it worth leaving the world for more generations.

I’d argue no, so I’m fine with a short term win if it comes to that, as I know we have enough TTHAD etc for some of America to survive, while Russia would be glass and ash.

Better to die standing than live a coward or under the boot of tyrant.
 

Weinie

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Everyone on the planet generally wants to leave it to the next generation. Which is why MAD has worked for almost 80 years.

If you let a madman or rogue regime do whatever they want out of worry of what they may do if confronted, is it worth leaving the world for more generations.

I’d argue no, so I’m fine with a short term win if it comes to that, as I know we have enough TTHAD etc for some of America to survive, while Russia would be glass and ash.
MAD has worked because the alternative is far too "phuqued up" to contemplate.

I'm happy that you would think some of America would survive. I have four kids, and the thought that any one of them would be caught in, and then somehow be expected to survive the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, is a horrifying consideration to me. They don't even have a clue about what is transpiring, but I feel it is worthwhile to allow future generations to inherit the world.
 

OldSolduer

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MAD has worked because the alternative is far too "phuqued up" to contemplate.

I'm happy that you would think some of America would survive. I have four kids, and the thought that any one of them would be caught in, and then somehow be expected to survive the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, is a horrifying consideration to me. They don't even have a clue about what is transpiring, but I feel it is worthwhile to allow future generations to inherit the world.
FWIW I agree. Who wins in a nuclear exchange? Cockroaches because that species has survived for millions of years.
 

FJAG

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Sorry Kev, but your last point in highlight, invalidates your second sentence, or confirms my thesis. My point was simply that unless you can be assured that you can "win" a nuclear war, with no repercussions, then it is futile to plan to win a conventional war with a nuclear armed opponent.
The purpose of a conventional force is two fold: to win a conventional war, sure - but more important is deterring a conventional war.

If you can't do that then the Putins of the world will take their conventional forces and gather the low hanging fruit wherever they think they can get away with it on the assumption you won't start a nuclear war over some Georgia or Chechia or Donbas. If all you have are nuclear weapons then the only way that you can stop aggression is with nuclear weapons. That's a really bad world to be in.

Let's not forget; conventional forces in Europe and Korea have deterred a conventional war in Europe and Korea since the 1950s.

Let's also not forget that when the last nuclear pulse settles there will still be conventional forces and teeth and sticks after that. Yup, in the fifties, sixties and seventies we trained to fight under nuclear conditions. Not everything will be gone. Men will fight over what's left. Or roll over and submit and hope their tummies will be rubbed and not eviscerated.

🍻
 

KevinB

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MAD has worked because the alternative is far too "phuqued up" to contemplate.

I'm happy that you would think some of America would survive. I have four kids, and the thought that any one of them would be caught in, and then somehow be expected to survive the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, is a horrifying consideration to me. They don't even have a clue about what is transpiring, but I feel it is worthwhile to allow future generations to inherit the world.
I have three, which is part of why I don’t want a nuclear exchange, and also because of that I’m pretty sure most Russians don’t either.

Don’t fear the man with 100 or thousands of nukes, fear the man who wants 1…

We have clashed many times with Russia before, they know that the USA, United Kingdom, and France all spend money on the respective Nuclear Arsenals. We don’t have moths in any of our silos, our bombers are fueled and our subs are not listing to port at a pier.

I’m not suggesting we recklessly attempt to wipe Russia out, I’m simply saying that giving up our values or commitment to other nations shouldn’t be done out of fear of what VVP might do.

MAD works because the alternative is horrific.
The only way it doesn’t if when the horrific isn’t as horrific as the alternative.

I also think it’s foolish to ignore one’s conventional military simply because a nuclear threat exists.
 

Weinie

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I have three, which is part of why I don’t want a nuclear exchange, and also because of that I’m pretty sure most Russians don’t either.

Don’t fear the man with 100 or thousands of nukes, fear the man who wants 1…

We have clashed many times with Russia before, they know that the USA, United Kingdom, and France all spend money on the respective Nuclear Arsenals. We don’t have moths in any of our silos, our bombers are fueled and our subs are not listing to port at a pier.

I’m not suggesting we recklessly attempt to wipe Russia out, I’m simply saying that giving up our values or commitment to other nations shouldn’t be done out of fear of what VVP might do.

MAD works because the alternative is horrific.
The only way it doesn’t if when the horrific isn’t as horrific as the alternative.


I also think it’s foolish to ignore one’s conventional military simply because a nuclear threat exists.
I do not think the alternative in Ukraine is as horrific as a nuclear war. However:

Support Ukraine. Check.

Build strong conventional forces. Check.

Reinforce and support a Rules Based International Order. Check

Rely on a almost 70 year old megalomaniac (who has ruled for more than 20 years) to aspire to any of the above. Check your common sense.

And I do not give a fat rats' ass how many we can fling back, from how many NATO nations. Destruction is final,

I am unable to give any worthwhile advice on how to deter VP.

Strategic patience.
 

Kirkhill

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... If all you have are nuclear weapons then the only way that you can stop aggression is with nuclear weapons. That's a really bad world to be in.

Actually, that is what I'm most concerned about. That Vlad may end up losing/wasting all his conventional means of waging war and be left with nothing but his nukes.

Problematic.
 

KevinB

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Actually, that is what I'm most concerned about. That Vlad may end up losing/wasting all his conventional means of waging war and be left with nothing but his nukes.

Problematic.
He’s going to, the question is how many innocents are we going to let be lost before that happens?

I see three options - no one will like them but here goes.

1) First strike on Russia: sink their subs, bomb their static strategic storage locations and crater their airfields and use JSOC to remove other options. Followed up by NATO ground incursion to secure and de-nuclearize Russia

2) Assassinate VVP:

3) Roll into Ukraine after giving Russia 48hrs to immediately vacate to 1991 border. NATO will give security guarantee for Russian 1991 border.

Plus combo options.

4) 1&2

5) 1, 2 and after #1 is secured immediately go to #3

#1 Requires meticulous timing, planning and let’s be honest, luck.

#2 Is generally viewed as poor form, and still doesn’t guarantee that Russia is in better hands or the situation is stabilized.

#3 To me offers the most reasonable chance for success, and less likely to escalate option.
 

quadrapiper

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#2 Is generally viewed as poor form, and still doesn’t guarantee that Russia is in better hands or the situation is stabilized.

#3 To me offers the most reasonable chance for success, and less likely to escalate option.
Wonder if someone internal would see to #2 if #3 is executed successfully.
 
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