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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

FJAG

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I hate the term BTG
Brigades exist for a reason.
I'm with you there.

The first time I heard the term "tactical group" used in earnest was in relation to 38 CBG Artillery Tactical Group. It's a stupid name and simply stood for the fact that 10 Fd Regt, 26 Fd Regt and 116 Ind Fd Bty had sunk so low that they could barely field a battery between them and were now going to share one commanding officer. In total they number 5 batteries: 18 (Regina), 64 (Yorkton), 13 (Portage La Prairie), 71 (Brandon) and 116 (Kenora) spread over 750 kilometres (albeit centred on Shilo).

Why do we keep playing these silly games?

😖
 

McG

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Artillery Tactical Group
The Artillery Tactical Group is the only occurrence of “tactical group” in the Canadian defence terminology bank. It is not a conglomeration of different artillery units; it is the C2, observers, and fire coordination bits that actually plug into a battlegroup.
 

dapaterson

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I'm with you there.

The first time I heard the term "tactical group" used in earnest was in relation to 38 CBG Artillery Tactical Group. It's a stupid name and simply stood for the fact that 10 Fd Regt, 26 Fd Regt and 116 Ind Fd Bty had sunk so low that they could barely field a battery between them and were now going to share one commanding officer. In total they number 5 batteries: 18 (Regina), 64 (Yorkton), 13 (Portage La Prairie), 71 (Brandon) and 116 (Kenora) spread over 750 kilometres (albeit centred on Shilo).

Why do we keep playing these silly games?

😖
Because of the perception in the Army HQ that it's not worth the effort to formally amalgamate the units, and this provides the pretence that perhaps someday in the future each unit may again have a CO and RSM.

The authorized size of the Army Reserve, cannot sustain all the CO and RSM positions of the post WWII legacy units, but god forbid anyone suggest that the Buckshot Fusiliers of Flin Flon Manitoba, all 57 of them (on paper) should have less than a LCol!
 

Ostrozac

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The authorized size of the Army Reserve, cannot sustain all the CO and RSM positions of the post WWII legacy units,
Oddly enough, the last major culling of reserve regiments was done in the 1960’s — a period when not only were the majority of WWII veterans still very much alive and with us, but many were still serving. Didn’t stop regiments with service in Hong Kong, Normandy and Italy from getting the chop and placed on the Supplementary list. Something has organizationally paralyzed a good portion of the Canadian army reserves for the last 60 years or so — I can’t put my finger on exactly what, but it isn’t the Second World War.
 

FJAG

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The Artillery Tactical Group is the only occurrence of “tactical group” in the Canadian defence terminology bank. It is not a conglomeration of different artillery units; it is the C2, observers, and fire coordination bits that actually plug into a battlegroup.
We're talking apples and oranges here.

We too have adopted "tactical group" here (and I saw the term as early as the 2005-2006 artillery reorganization), the same as the British Artillery who now have "Tactical Group Batteries" which describes what we've been calling an "OP Battery" (Actually the term "Artillery Tactical Group" preceded our formation of OP batteries). Either way those are made up of "artillery tactical groups" which include the observers, BC and FSCC and related staff.

38 CBG Artillery Tactical Group is a different kettle of fish and describes the mash up of the three reserve units.

Because of the perception in the Army HQ that it's not worth the effort to formally amalgamate the units, and this provides the pretence that perhaps someday in the future each unit may again have a CO and RSM.

The authorized size of the Army Reserve, cannot sustain all the CO and RSM positions of the post WWII legacy units, but god forbid anyone suggest that the Buckshot Fusiliers of Flin Flon Manitoba, all 57 of them (on paper) should have less than a LCol!

Frustrated Head GIF


Oddly enough, the last major culling of reserve regiments was done in the 1960’s — a period when not only were the majority of WWII veterans still very much alive and with us, but many were still serving. Didn’t stop regiments with service in Hong Kong, Normandy and Italy from getting the chop and placed on the Supplementary list. Something has organizationally paralyzed a good portion of the Canadian army reserves for the last 60 years or so — I can’t put my finger on exactly what, but it isn’t the Second World War.
I joined up within a year of the "culling". We had four guns in the gun park and a regiment's worth of 24 detachment commanders in the Sergeant's Mess. Unfortunately the "unit culling" was accompanied by the Snakes and Ladders fiasco which meant that most of the people who were amalgamated went on to "cull" themselves fairly rapidly. The Shyte show that was the interim Richmond Street Armories hastened that process.

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IKnowNothing

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I think what matters most about the structure, is what you intend the final structure's capability to be. With a Canadian Army hovering around 20,000 regulars and 15,000 reservists (those are very rough rounded off numbers you might be able to generate for a field force) the most you could ever deploy and marginally sustain would be a single division (say 20 - 23,000 all told). It would be more practical to generate and deploy a brigade (say 5,000) and the SSE, as is written, is for the deployment of battlegroups (1,5 - 2,500).
King IKnowNothing's intensions for the CA:
1. Expand eFP Latvia and sustain in perpetuity- Bde HQ for a multi-national Bde, fully manned and equipped LAV battalion, tank squadron, Cav squadron (1 & 5 tasking)
2. Be prepared to send a full Medium+Tank Bde to Europe in time of war (1&5 tasking)
3. Be prepared to send one LIB sized QRF anywhere as needed (2 tasking)
4. Be prepared to send and sustain a light - light mobility protected BG for non-near peer conflict (2 tasking)

Assumptions- ATGM, GBAD, SPG needs are met

2 CMBG-2 CLBG
Loses it's LAV's and the RCD. Pulls some sub-units from RCR to stand up a either a new light cav regiment or a new LIB (if light cav regiment is not deemed necessary). Pilots reserve reform to expand the Bde with PRes subunits in 70/30 battalions and a 10/90 4 or 5RCR. Receives the majority of CA TAPV's. Maintains the flexibility to provide all of leg/airborne/airmobile/ mobility protected wheeled. Has all the M777's in blend of Reg and PRes. Takes responsibility for all non NATO/peer fight taskings.

1 and 5 CMBG
Each with 3 Mech Battalions, 1 Cav Regiment, engineers, artillery attachments but no organic guns. Tanks pooled into one 85/15 (3 Reg squadrons, 1 PRes) total force tank regiment, SPG batteries and GBAD similarly pooled. Make use of reserves for individual augments and sub/sub unit gap filling of war-time type capabilities.

Each Lav Bn and Cav squadron falls into a 1 in 6 deployment rotation, Tanks 1 in 3 (half the duration?). The deployed tank squadron leaves one worth of tanks in Canada for the PRes to train on. For a war-time deployment the full tank regiment and all the guns are attached to the full (non eFP Latvia) CMBG remaining in Canada and shipped to deploy as a full intact Bde.

Multi-national Bde HQ becomes a semi-permanent separate entity.
 

McG

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Expand eFP Latvia and sustain in perpetuity- Bde HQ for a multi-national Bde, fully manned and equipped LAV battalion, tank squadron, Cav squadron (1 & 5 tasking)
You are proposing that Canada should have the privilege of commanding a MN bde while only contributing a battlegroup? If Canada wants to be lead nation or framework nation, then Canada needs to provide the plurality of the combat support & common combat service support.
 

FJAG

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You are proposing that Canada should have the privilege of commanding a MN bde while only contributing a battlegroup? If Canada wants to be lead nation or framework nation, then Canada needs to provide the plurality of the combat support & common combat service support.
A valid point but right now we command a battlegroup while only supplying one of its five manoeuvre companies. My guess is that countries will always be prepared to sit back and let someone else, willing to step up, do it. My guess is that it would be easier for Canada to receive international approval to assume the role of a brigade headquarters with only one battlegroup, than to get international commitments to fill out the remaining battlegroups and components.

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McG

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The CS and CSS for a BG are a much simpler beast than for a whole bde, and Canada does provide an on/off artillery battery to the battlegroup.
 

FJAG

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The CS and CSS for a BG are a much simpler beast than for a whole bde, and Canada does provide an on/off artillery battery to the battlegroup.
I would think that the CS and CSS for a battlegroup made up from eight different countries is anything but simple.

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Ostrozac

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Takes responsibility for all non NATO/peer fight taskings.
And this becomes the field upon which the regimental system fights its battles. Everybody wants a piece of everything, so if one of the brigades becomes the only place where you can potentially get six month rotations to Cyprus/Bosnia/Haiti/Eritrea, and similarly, if that brigade is cut out of the “real action” in NATO/North Korea, then it won’t be left to a single regiment. So you have to move 3PPCLI and 3R22eR to Petawawa, where they will feel like orphans in their regimental families — and we basically organizationally reinvent the Airborne Regiment, but not in a good way.

It’s pretty clear that we missed an opportunity in the late 1960’s when the infantry was downsized by going with ‘big’ 3 battalion regiments instead of single battalion regiments (which is essentially what the armoured corps went with), because the system we ended up with gives too much power to each regiment and therefore has to be divisible by three.

I mean, the infantry is eventually going to have to confront the ‘rule of three’, isn’t it? The Francophone population of Canada is at about 23% and dropping — at some point we won’t be able to sustain 33% of the battalions being R22eR. But that’s maybe a sacred cow to barbecue another day.
 

daftandbarmy

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And this becomes the field upon which the regimental system fights its battles. Everybody wants a piece of everything, so if one of the brigades becomes the only place where you can potentially get six month rotations to Cyprus/Bosnia/Haiti/Eritrea, and similarly, if that brigade is cut out of the “real action” in NATO/North Korea, then it won’t be left to a single regiment. So you have to move 3PPCLI and 3R22eR to Petawawa, where they will feel like orphans in their regimental families — and we basically organizationally reinvent the Airborne Regiment, but not in a good way.

It’s pretty clear that we missed an opportunity in the late 1960’s when the infantry was downsized by going with ‘big’ 3 battalion regiments instead of single battalion regiments (which is essentially what the armoured corps went with), because the system we ended up with gives too much power to each regiment and therefore has to be divisible by three.

I mean, the infantry is eventually going to have to confront the ‘rule of three’, isn’t it? The Francophone population of Canada is at about 23% and dropping — at some point we won’t be able to sustain 33% of the battalions being R22eR. But that’s maybe a sacred cow to barbecue another day.

The Canadian Army always did it's best work, in both world wars for example, when divisions and brigades were filled with regiments and other units drawn from across the country. In diversity there is strength, in more ways than one.

For example, I recall when the infamous Quebec Referendum of 1995 was evolving into a national crisis my Dad, a 3 Div Gunner from WW2 who supported the The Régiment de la Chaudière (amongst others) through many tough battles, called the regimental orderly room directly and said that he wished they would stay in Canada and the Canadian Army. The guy was almost in tears. And this from a kid who grew up in Victoria.

Having done pretty much the opposite of that since then, we seem to have unintentionally recreated - at an Army level - what continues to divide us as a nation with all the attendant in-fighting, ass covering, petty jealousies and regional exceptionalism.

The term 'Army of the West', for example, is not helpful when trying to build a stronger team IMHO.
 

markppcli

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The CS and CSS for a BG are a much simpler beast than for a whole bde, and Canada does provide an on/off artillery battery to the battlegroup.
And the Spanish provide a tank platoon, and the majority of the engineer support, full time.
 

IKnowNothing

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You are proposing that Canada should have the privilege of commanding a MN bde while only contributing a battlegroup? If Canada wants to be lead nation or framework nation, then Canada needs to provide the plurality of the combat support & common combat service support.
Thanks, like FJAG pointed out I was working off the current BG ratio, but scaled up.

If it won't fly then axe the MN Bde. Canada provides the full BG for eFP Latvia, NATO finds another lead nation to either keep 2 in Latvia or uses those commitments to man one of the 4 new ones.

And this becomes the field upon which the regimental system fights its battles. Everybody wants a piece of everything, so if one of the brigades becomes the only place where you can potentially get six month rotations to Cyprus/Bosnia/Haiti/Eritrea, and similarly, if that brigade is cut out of the “real action” in NATO/North Korea, then it won’t be left to a single regiment.
This BS should not be allowed to stand in the way of organizing the Army as effectively as possible .Not that I'm claiming my proposal is that, but whether it's mine or that of someone far more informed the theme of "that won't work, the Army can't get out of it's own way" is far too pervasive.
 
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KevinB

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Should not be hard to run Latvia ( if they wish) like 4 CMBG.

Rotate units every 3-4 years.

Put a CMBG Hq there - and 50% of the personnel for the Bde (and all equipment) and task some units as flyover.
 

Kirkhill

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Communicating during Dispersed Operations.

Offensively, small units dispersed widely... could scatter a range of sensors throughout, allowing the larger joint force a look inside. They could also ferry weapons closer to an adversary and act on targeting data faster or in more innovative ways — immobilizing an enemy... instead of (destroying) it, for example.

Defensively, small and scattered units blend in easier with local ... traffic and topography, making it harder for an enemy to find, target and hit them.


One thing about relying on Cyber, Electronic and Directed Energy Warfare it allows for a more aggressive posture. With less risk of killing people it allows for a more aggressive form of non-lethal commercial warfare. Although in a world where wars have started over the loss of an ear eight years prior, sometimes it is difficult to predict what will cause a conflict to flashover.


 
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