The conversion of many units into MR-battalions would create a much needed large pool of effective light infantry. Should the strategic or tactical situation change they can easily be converted into additional mechanized units.
An Infantry battalion acting in isolation or as part of another Group is supported by a Service Support Company (Infantry) which includes a small force of trucks, light tracked vehicles (Millenibren or BV206) and ADA systems (such as Troubadour). If an Infantry Brigade is formed these Support Companies are formed into a Battalion.
The battalion may also have a Route Reconnaissance Platoon with either M3 CFVs or M113. Personnel in the battalion may be rotated through different duties within the battalion so they serve time as tankers, IFV crews and as dismounts. This promotes better understanding of the capabilities and applications of the different components in the force One suggestion made to me was that Tank companies should revert to the old arrangement of five tanks per platoon and seventeen in each company, so the battalion has 36 MBTs. This gives a Tank:Bradley ratio of 5:4, which interestingly is the ratio in the current US Armoured division structure. I now prefer the idea of giving each Tank Company three platoons each of six tanks. A platoon can divide into two three-tank sections or three two-tank sections as needed. This organisation gives each Tank Company 20 tanks for a total of 42 per battalion. This is close to the strength of the current all-tank battalion which has 14 tanks in three companies for a strength of 44 (four companies of 14). Tanks may be a mix of Bull, Bitch and Sentinel types Bradley companies have three Bradley platoons of four vehicles each usually with a 120mm mortar section and an ADA section. The Heavy Mortars and ADA would probably be allocated from platoons in the Battalions HHC. The mortar section would have 120mm mortars, either AGMs or M1064s. ADA systems such as Linebacker or Bradleys with Blazer turrets rearmed with Starstreak will also be capable of providing fire support against ground targets.
An idea proposed by Reed Judd-Dyer is for Infantry dismounts and IFVs and their crews to be in seperate platoons with their own Platoon Leaders. He feels that dedicated vehicle PLs and PSGs would be more familiar with how to most effectively use the vehicles for combat and support. All infantry in the army would have the same training and could rotate freely between light, airborne, and mechanized units and would be more capable and ready to dismount to perform their core missions. Rotating between these other roles would require a system of inter-battalion platoon rotation, however and personally I prefer rotation through the other arms of the battalion. My variation of Reed's idea is for the infantry company to have three to four infantry platoons and one platoon of IFVs. Each section of IFVs has enough vehicles to move one infantry platoon and IFV crews are organic to the IFV section. In practice a platoon would have a number of infantry squads controled by the infantry platoon leader and a bradley squad controlled by a bradley section leader
A unit of 155mm Heavy assault guns might form part of the HHC. There would also be a platoon of M3 CFV or M113 for battalion route reconnaissance.
For a Division or Group that is mainly equipped with heavy Abrams MBTs it makes sense to have a medium cavalry battalion with greater mobility. In a lighter Division or Group the use of a medium cavalry element will greatly increase its combat power. It is also possible we will see a return of Medium cavalry units using such systems as the M113, M8, BMT or M60z.
A good structure for all of these formations is to combine several ground troops with an organic Air Troop, as was proved successful in Vietnam. To this might be added a Support Weapon Troop and Surveillance Troop which includes UAVs, Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR), Ground SIGINT and EW. Each Ground Troop has two tank platoons, each of five tanks, and two infantry platoons or may be composed of three Infantry platoons and have nine tanks in a single tank platoon. There would also be an Engineer Squad, maintenance/supply platoon, a 120mm mortar section and in some forces, a Reconnaissance and Support platoon of Tankitas and LRVs. Alternately a pair of Tankitas would be organic to each Infantry platoon. Tank and Infantry platoons would often pair up to form "Demi-troops". The Air troop would have a mix of AH-6 light helicopters and ACH-47 Heavy Lift/Gunships. Ultralight two-man Scout helicopters might also be used.Tankitas, LRVs and M113s can all be heli-lifted by Chinooks for vertical envelopments, the heavy armament of the Tankitas adding extra punch to these light forces. The Cavalry Squadron would also have additional engineering, indirect fire and medical components and also have systems such as Starstreak and EFOGM. The proposed Cavalry battalion is structured so that it has a considerable capability for independent action. It has considerable organic support elements and its manoeuvre elements are larger than conventional companies. In view of this "Doubled" Platoons (Demi-companies/Demi-troops) will probably be commanded by a Captains and the Companies by Majors. One of the most useful variations of this Cavalry Squadron structure will be that based on M8s and M113s since this formation will be transportable by C-130, and therefore have a high degree of strategic mobility. In effect the manoeuvre elements of this force are two (or more) mixed companies of Tanks (M8) and Light Track (M113 and Tankitas) and a company of Helicopters. All of these elements are organic to the same unit and therefore used to working together as a cohesive combined arms team. This suggests that the helicopter company will be very effective as the battalion's Maneuver Air Support (MAS)
I envision two forms of Cavalry Squadron (Battalion):-
Cavalry Battalion (RSTA) The Cavalry Battalion (RSTA) is found in the Armoured Maneuver Group but may also be found in Groups predominately made up of Infantry. It serves as both a reconnaissance force and a mobile combat force.
Light Company. The Light Company provides low profile reconnaissance and surveillance.
Medium Mechanized Infantry will either be Light/MuRo Infantry that have been equipped with suitable vehicles by a CAB or Patch Unit or they may be an Infantry unit with organic M113s vehicles. In either case these vehicles will be equipped with applique armour and improved armament such as Starstreak and 30mm ASP cannon. Each Medium Mechanized battalion would also include a Recon platoon of Tankitas and a platoon of Assault Gun-mortars. As an interim measure the unit would use M1064s and M113 armed with 106mm RRs. The capability of the battalion may be expanded by the addition of other weapon systems. There may be a Long Range Anti-Ground Target Missile Platoon with EFOGM and/or Ground Hellfire. The ADA Platoon would be equipped so that it can be used against ground targets in the absence of an airborne threat. The Battalion might also have a platoon of M8 Tanks.
Medium Mechanized units would compliment other types of formation, including Straight leg infantry, patched MuRo infantry and Heavy Armour. In a major conflict they would operate alongside the Heavy units and operate in areas where Heavy vehicles can't. In lesser operations they may prove to be far more useful than Heavier forces.