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        In his 1997 book “Breaking the Phalanx” Col. Douglas Macgregor suggests ways that the army can reduce its tail, increase its number of combatants and, most importantly, develop a more efficient and responsive command structure.
        Currently the Army uses a system essentially unchanged from World War Two. It assumes that the position of the enemy is known, rear areas are relatively safe and that there is time for a prolonged build up of force. While such conditions continued to exist when the enemy changed from Germany to Russia this is no longer the case. Operations in the future are more likely to be of an expeditionary nature. Significant force needs to be projected globally.

        One of Macgregor's suggestions is that the army be reorganized into “Groups” of around 5,000 men, and that such groups be directly controlled by a Joint Task Force Command (JTFOR), a single integrated operational command structure that also integrates Air Force, Navy and Marine units to create a combined, coordinated force.
        A good idea on how JTFOR would work can be gained by looking at the four component sub-commands:-        Each of these four sections is commanded by a Major-General or equivalent. Commander of the JTFOR is a Lt-General or equivalent.

        The idea of changing the army into Groups has not been well received by some. Groups are usually described as being "between a brigade and a division in size".
        I think this statement does cause problems in that some people interpret it to mean that a single Group can do the job of a division. It is probably better to think of a Group as a reinforced brigade/ autonomous brigade/separate brigade/ large brigade etc. Interestingly, at 5000 men a Group is of similar size to a Roman Legion. Current US army doctrine states that a Separate brigade can have up to five maneuver battalions so Groups are in fact brigade size.
        That's the theory, but as the Colonel Macgregor points out:-

         (in common practice) "......brigade in US Army usage is a Colonel level command of roughly 2300 in garrison and reinforced to 3500 in war. The Brigade battlegroups in the British Army of 5,000 or more are closer to what I am suggesting."

        You can use the term “Brigade”, “Separate Brigade”, “Reinforced Brigade”, “Brigade Combat Team”, “Group” or even “Legion” for such a formation. I'll use the term Group for the simple reason that it is less typing.

        One objection to the proposed Group system is that it will destroy decades of divisional tradition and esprit. This is quite a valid concern.
        To the American soldier the Division is regarded in much the same way as the Regiment to a British soldier. This comparison also suggests the solution to the problem:- that the division becomes an administrative and training structure, providing battalions that are used to form Groups. This is the function of modern British Infantry Divisions. They have no role as field formations and are administrative in function. Such a policy also allows a system of unit replacement rather than replacement of individuals.

Group Command and Overall structure.
        A Combat Maneuver Group is designed to be a capability-based force module that includes Close combat, Stand-off attack, Armed Reconnaissance, embedded joint C4ISR and Sustainment elements. It is commanded by a Brigadier-General with a Colonel as Deputy Commander and another as Chief of Staff. C2 is divided into        Each of these sections is commanded by a Lt-Colonel.

        Most battalions within a Group will have a Local ADA platoon. The form of this unit will vary with availability and the type of battalion. In some battalions it will just be several squads of Stinger or Starstreak teams with transport vehicles. In other units it will be automated systems such as Avenger or Linebacker. An intermediate system would be Stinger or Starstreak teams riding on a M113 equipped with an anti-aircraft cannon.
        Battalion level ADA platoons will be structured to increase their utility when there is little threat of air attack. Missile equipped units will preferably have dual use systems such as ADAT or Starstreak, and where possible will supplement their missiles with gun systems. Gun-equipped ADA systems will be configured so they can also contribute to actions against ground targets.

        Infantry-Orientated battalions include an engineer platoon in their support company. This unit is mainly equipped for demolition and mine clearing. British Infantry battalions already have an assault-pioneer section at company level, and this is an alternate arrangement.

        In a heavy mechanized battalion both the Tank crews and the infantry will be members of the same battalion. This ensures that Armour and Infantry are used to working together to form a cohesive combat force.
        In a cavalry unit both tanks and infantry will be part of the same troop (company), as is the current practice.
        In other mechanized battalions they may be in separate companies. 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

        All maneuver battalions will have an organic platoon of mortars. In Armoured or Cavalry forces these will be some form of 120mm system. Infantry-Orientated Battalions may have 81mm,120mm or a mix of the two.

C4I Battalion.
        All Groups have a C4I battalion. As well as being the main information gathering structure of the Group it is also responsible for information distribution –both to the components of the Group and to other groups and JTFOR.
        *C41 battalion includes a ADA battery that is used to protect the group. This may be several Local SAM platoons but is more likely to contain a mix of longer range systems such as ADAT or Rapier with 40mm LVFV90 or 35mm Skyranger.
        An alternate arrangement would place the Group ADA unit in the Artillery/Strike battalion which would have better maintenance and targeting systems to support the unit.

        **In many proposed Group structures the Non-Line of Sight company contains a unit of EFOGM. In my proposed structure this has been moved to the Artillery Battalion where it can make better use of that formation's Target acquisition systems. In a Group that has a battalion/squadron sized Reconnaissance component UAVs may instead be found in those formations. Armed UAVs or UCAVs would probably be controlled by the Strike Battalion.

        In many forms of Group the C4I battalion will also include at least one Group Recon Troop/Coy or an LRSU Detachment or Company. Most Groups will have a larger reconaissance element which would be tabled as a separate battalion but would report directly to the C4I Battalion.
        In some forms of Group the C4I battalion may include a reserve company of M8 or M1 tanks.

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.
  • Reconnaissance Car Platoon 6 Amphibian LRVs, 12 Land Rovers/ Toyotas.
  • Foot Scout Platoon with eight 4 to 6 man teams.

  • Air Company.
            Assets of the Air Company may vary. Some Battalions may just have UAVs and a dozen small
    two-man helicopters, others may have AH-6s and possibly (A)CH-47 gunship/transports.
  • UAV Platoon.
  • Scout Helicopter Platoon.
  • Transport Helicopter Platoon?

  • Surveillance Company
  • NBC Recon - Tracked.
  • Ground Surveillance Radar (Terriers).

  • Armoured Recon Company.
            Some Battalions may have more than one Armoured Recon Company, particularly in a Group that lacks Armoured Battalions.
  • Three Scout Platoons each of two 76mm Tankitas and Four M113s.
  • Tank Platoon of six to nine light or medium tanks with 105-120mm.
  • Engineer Section in M113ESV.
  • 120mm Mortar Section from H&S Coy.

  • Headquarters and Support Company.
  • Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge.
  • EFOGM Section.
  • 120mm Mortar Platoon.
  • ADA -Flak tanks and Area Defence Jammers.

  • Combined Armoured Battalion         The battalion may also have a Route Reconnaissance Platoon with either M3 CFVs or M113.

    Cavalry Battalion (LRSG)
    Cavalry Battalion (LRSG) forms the main maneuver elements of LRSG.

    Air Company
  • UAV Platoon.
  • Scout Helicopter Platoon.
  • Attack Helicopter Platoon.
  • Transport Helicopter Platoon

  • Three Armoured Recon Companies.
  • Three Scout Platoons each of six M3s Medium CFV or two Tankita and four M113s.
  • Tank Platoon of six to nine medium tanks with 105-120mm.
  • Engineer Section in medium ESV.
  • 120mm Mortar Section from H&S Coy.

  • Headquarters and Support Company.
  • Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (two).
  • EFOGM.
  • 120mm Mortar Platoon.
  • ADA - Flak tanks and Area Defence Jammers.

  • Infantry Battalions
            Infantry Battalions are organised as described elsewhere and are used in various ways. The can be formed into Groups/Infantry Brigades which may or may not include an Artillery, Cavalry or Armoured Battalion. Battalions of Infantry may be added to an Armoured or other form of Group. Infantry Companies may also attached to other battalions.
             Infantry units can be patched to customise their capabilities.
             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.

    Combat Sustainment Battalion (CSB).-also know as the Group Support Battalion, Logistics Battalion or Log Batn.
            Present in all groups. In some groups this formation may have its own unit of helicopters for Medevac and vertical replenishment.
            Many CSBs will have a Escort and Patrol company.

    Engineer Battalion
            Many Groups will include an Armoured Engineer or Combat Mobility battalion. Some Groups have Engineer companies as part of the Maneuver Battalions.

    Artillery Battalion or Strike Battalion
            Termed a Strike Battalion to illustrate that it also controls assets in addition to traditional Guns and Rockets. This Battalion also coordinates Airstrike and Naval Gunfire (NGF).        Ratio of tube artillery to MBRLs may differ from that suggested above. MBRL has several advantages over conventional guns including reduced manpower needs and simpler handling of ammunition so in the future we may see the Strike Battalion fielding more MBRL than conventional guns. The developement of new types of warhead and rocket packs in other calibres compatible with existing MBRL systems will further increase the usefulness of these weapons. The MBRL components of the Battalion would be ATACMS-capable.

    More on ATACMS
    Other uses and rounds for MBRL

            It is possible that systems such as HIMARS could also be mounted on M1108s for increased mobility.

            *The Helicopter company has 12 UH60s, some of which could be used to launch missiles and act as ARA

            **The Strike battalion could also include systems such as armed UCAVs. The TAIFUN has a two to four hour loiter time and can carry a 25kg Shaped Charge warhead.

            Maneuver Groups are likely to be used for the full spectrum of military operations, from Major Theatre Warfare to Counter-Insurgency, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Aid. The usefulness of artillery in such roles will vary.
             For major conflicts Maneuver Groups are likely to be deployed alongside Strike Groups containing battalions of Tube artillery, MBRL/ATACMS and possibly Anti-tank and/or Air Defence systems.
            The Strike battalion of the Maneuver Group should therefore have systems that compliment rather than duplicate those in the Strike Group. It should also have systems that are useful in missions where Strike Groups are less likely to be present. For example, in counter-insurgency operations application of artillery needs to be more judicious and massed artillery formations are less likely to be needed. Long-range precision strikes will probably play a greater role.
            For these reasons I suggest that the TOE of the Strike Battalion organic to the Maneuver Group be modified.

  • Target Acquisition Battery

  • Local ADA platoon

  • Battery of 155mm SP guns using a system such as Soltam Rascal or Mk F3-type M113. Battery also contains several vehicles mounting medium range MBRL systems. It is possible that MBRL systems may be in the majority with only a couple of conventional guns being held.

  • Battery of towed 105mm Anti-tank guns. These can be used for both direct and indirect fire and can easily be moved by helicopter. Such guns can use guided rounds such as the LAHAT missile. Roles for these weapons include base defence and attacking targets too hard for MBRL attack. ATGs can also be used to fire special purpose rounds such as Starshells.

  • Anti-tank missile battery using system such as EFOGM or Polyphem. Also offers long-range precision strike capability.

  • Group ADA Battery. Systems selected so in absence of air threat they can also be used in an anti-tank or fire-support role.

  • UCAV Strike unit with TAIFUN. Offers additional precision attack capability.

  •         This Battalion may have its own Helicopter Company as described above.

    Airborne Groups.
            The Airborne forces are the first wave of the United States' Rapid Deployment or Crisis Reaction Forces. Recent terminology designates such forces as part of the "Contingency Corps".
            Because of their nature such groups will need special facilities and support units. It therefore makes sense for several such groups to be placed in the same location and under the control of the same administrative division. The obvious choice for this is the 82nd Division, which would also administer Airborne qualified support units.
            It is highly likely that most of the battalions of a group will be from the same regiment, so many airborne groups can legitimately be called Regimental Combat Teams.
            The role of the Airborne forces is such that often all the groups in a division will be sent against the same objective. The 82nd will therefore sometimes fight as a "traditional" field division, the only difference being that it is directly under JTFOR control rather than extra tiers at Corps and Army levels.

            Macgregor designates these Groups "Airborne-Air Assault" with a helicopter and UAV equipped Recon Batn, four Paratrooper Batns, a Strike Batn, C4I Batn and CSB. The Airborne-Air Assault Group would be co-located with the assets it would need, such as the Aviation Group and Patch units such as the CAB(ABN).

            In view of the increased need to project forces globally at short notice it is suggested the US has eight to nine Airborne-Air Assault Groups, one based in Europe and the others in CONUS.

    Airborne Group
            *The Recon battalion has a company of 12 OH-58D Scout helicopters and a company of three UH-60s and a UAV detachment for Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Designation. Ground vehicles of various types might also be added to this battalion. Alternately the battalion may have two Air Troops (helicopters) and two Ground Troops. It also has a air-mechanized Pathfinder platoon.

            **The Paratrooper battalions are either Infantry or Airborne-mechanized.
            Infantry battalions have a scout platoon and heavy weapons company equipped with light vehicles. Rifle companies may utilize AEBs or attached vehicles. Infantry battalions may have a CAB(ABN) attached for increased mobility and protection.
            Airborne-mechanized battalions have organic M113 and Wiesel vehicles. Such a battalion may include a company of M8 tanks. At least one battalion in each airborne Group is Airborne-Mechanized or has a CAB(ABN) attached.
            When warranted Guard Battalions may be deployed instead of Paratroop Infantry.

            *** The Airborne artillery battalion utilizes air-dropable systems. These are either towed or mounted on HMMWVs or M1108s. The parent division has a large pool of systems so additional or alternate batteries of heavy mortars or Short-range rocket launchers may be added to the battalion.
            The parent division also has an Aviation Group, Engineer battalion, Carrier Attachment Battalion and Anti-tank battalion. Units from these may be attached to the Group, depending on the mission.

            An alternative arrangement is for the Paratrooper battalions to be Airborne and Air-mobile trained and for several “Patch” units to be available. These have all the vehicles and weapons to convert an infantry-type unit into a formation such as Medium Mechanised Infantry.
            The Airborne Group would be supported by an Armoured Cavalry (ABN) Squadron from an LRSG. This would mainly be equipped with M8s but also has at least a troop of M113s and Tankitas to provide a helicopter liftable Air-mechanised element.

    Long Range Strike Groups.
            Col. Macgregor terms these “Light Reconnaissance Strike Group”. The LRSGs are Armoured Cavalry-based units that can be used to exploit bridgeheads seized by the Airborne groups. The LRSG is similar in organisation to an Armoured Cavalry Regiment but using C-130 transportable systems instead of Abrams, Bradleys and M109 155mms. If better airlift assets such as the
    C-17 are allocated for this force the LRSG will instead be based on heavier vehicles in the 20-30 ton range. These would include tanks with 105mm or120mm guns and an IFV with 35mm cannon, probably based on a common chasis.

    To quote Col. Macgregor:-
            “The a bridge to the future spearhead of land warfare. The LRSG is a 'dispersed mobile warfare' design explicitly organized for rapid decisive operations inside a joint force. It employs manned and unmanned aircraft and sensors forward with ground maneuver elements to provide the coverage needed to exploit the formation's potentially devastating, precise firepower. Along with strategic and tactical mobility, the LRSG has the precise striking power, superior mobility, and drive any enemy force on the ground into kill zones for joint precision strikes. If the enemy disperses to avoid strikes, the formation can mobilize sufficient combat ower on its own to destroy any enemy that it is likely to encounter today or in the years ahead.”

            There would be three LRSGs based in the CONUS and ready for immediate global deployment on a rotational basis.        *The C4I Battalion of a LRSG includes a Light Company and Surveillance Company structured as detailed for the Cavalry (RSTA) Battalion. The LRSG C4I battalion also includes a company-sized M8 tank reserve.

            **Various possible organisations for the Armoured Cavalry Battalion are possible. An alternative to the Cavalry (LRSG) TOE already suggested would have three Ground troops/companies each of nine M8 tanks (two platoons), thirteen M113-IFVs (two Scout platoons), two M577s, 2 Medic-carriers and 3 x120mm carriers/Assault Gun-mortars.
            As well as using lighter vehicles the organisation of the LRSG Cavalry Battalion differs from that of the current Heavy Cavalry Squadron/Battalion by not having a reserve tank company. Instead the C4I Battalion of the LRSG includes a single reserve Tank company of fourteen M8s.
            In place of the Reserve Tank company the Cavalry Battalion has an Air coy/troop of 12-16 Scout-attack helicopters and 2 UH60. This Air Troop is also responsible for the Battalion's Reconnaissance UAVs. The Medium Cavalry Battalion/Squadron (LRSG) also does not have an artillery battery instead relying on the Groups' Strike Battalion.

            Alternately the battalion will be of the structure suggested here. Either the ground company has two Tank platoons, two Scout platoons with Tankitas and M113s, LRVs section, an Engineer squad, tracked CSS platoon and Mortar section or it has a Tank Platoon of Nine Tanks, three Scout/Infantry platoons each of two Tankitas and four M113s and an Engineer squad, tracked CSS platoon and Mortar section.
            There would be an Air Troop, Surveillance company, Support company that might included mortars, 105mm howitzers, EFOGM and ADA.
            The Air troop would instead be composed of AH-6 Scout-Attack birds and ACH-47 heavy lift/gunships.

            ***An alternative is to have a battery of artillery with each cavalry battalion and the Air coy/troops formed into their own battalion. This organization more closely resembles the current Armored Cavalry Regiment TOE but the reverse is more in keeping with the role of this Group. The LRSG Strike Battalion would most likely have six MLRS/ATACM, UCAVs (300), four MD-600 Helicopters and six armed UH60s.

    Early Deploying Support Group (EDSG).
            It is envisioned that Airborne-Air Assault Groups will be the initial first wave of the ground element of an expedition. This will be followed up by LRSG and if possible, USMC elements. Heavy and Specialised formations may also later be deployed.
            There is no point in sending combat elements if they have no logistical support. The EDSG is a rapidly deploying logistics and support formation that can sustain a 35,000 to 45,000 man expeditionary force for 30-45days or until additional support forces arrive.
            The US will probably need two EDSG and these units are designed to deploy modules by airlift or use pre-positioned set at sea.

            For operations such as disaster relief the EDSG may be the first unit deployed.        *C4I Battalion includes EDSG HQ, RSOI (Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration) , Distribution MGMT CTR and Rear OPNS CTR.

            **Transport Battalion is likely to include a E&P security elements and a platoon of Guntrucks organic to the truck companies.

            ***General Support Battalions are described as multifunctional and include Chemical Decontamination and Military Police Units. It is possible that the bulk of the Battalion will be Light Infantry-type troops who will provide a useful pool of manpower for disaster relief, MOUT and Jungle operations.

            The Airborne, LRSG and EDSG would be the main expeditionary entry forces. These would be strengthened by other types of Groups such as those described below.

    Joint C4I Group.
            A field force will consist of numerous Groups. The C4I Group is intended to provide increased capability in Signal, Electronic Warfare, Military Intelligence and Psychological Operations capabilities. A large proportion of ISR and Communications will also be provided by non-Army elements of the joint force. This unit may include a
    LRSU Company and control Special Forces Reconnaissance units.Heavy Maneuver Group.
            Also called Combat Maneuver Group. "Counter Offensive" forces, intended for big wars.        *3 companies of 9 M1 and 14 M3 Bradley CFV, 1 company (17-20 tanks) of M1 Abrams MBT, Platoon of nine 120mm mortar carriers, Air recon troop including both helicopters and UAVs (16 OH58D and three UH60). Surveillance Company with SIGINT and Ground Surveillance Radar assets. Alternately the Heavy Maneuver Group will have a Medium Cavalry Squadron or a Cavalry (RSTA) Battalion.

            ** Two companies of M1 MBTs (36-42 tanks total) Two companies of M2 Bradley mounted Armoured infantry. One company of Armoured Combat Engineers. May include a Heavy Assault Gun platoon, M3 CFV or M113 Scout platoon, 120mm Mortar platoon and Starstreak or Linebacker platoon. The Combined Armoured Battalion is described further here.

            ***3 or 4 batteries of 155mm SPH or Heavy assault guns. One battery of MBRL. UCAV battery. EFOGM battery.
            A Heavy Maneuver Group is likely to include a Gun and Missile battalion attached in theatres were there is a strong threat of enemy armour.

            ****The Engineers in the Combined Armour Battalion form a mobility support unit or "Trailblazer" force. This is a combined engineer/construction/recon unit that finds and clears paths for the rest of the unit. Alternately the Engineers may be organised into an Engineer battalion and allocated to units in the groups as needed.

    Rocket Artillery Group, Operational Strike Group or Deep Strike Group
            Ground element of Deep Strike command of JTFOR. May deploy other long range systems as well as or instead of MBRL. For major conflicts Maneuver Groups are likely to be deployed alongside Strike Groups. Ratio of Strike and Maneuver Groups can be varied and in certain situations there may be a Strike Group with each forward deployed Maneuver Group.
            Alternately the Group may contain a mix of battalions of Tube artillery,
    Heavy Mortars, MLRS, Anti-tank and Air Defence systems. There may also be an Attack Helicopter Battalion which can serve as ARA.

    Theatre Strike Control Group.
            This is based on an idea of Carlton Meyer's. The Theatre Strike Control Group provides assets to support the mission of several Deep Strike Groups.