Part 3 The Medium Battalion
Examination of the medium
battalion (Figure 7) does not show any revolutionary concepts. It is organized
in the triangular pattern of most US Army organizations since World War II, but
it does have a departure in that the companies have a fourth platoon, a trait
usually found only in US Armored Cavalry Units.
As we have seen from our
historical trait, its probable use of wheeled vehicles is not historically
unique in the US Army. Many other
armies, notably the Russian and French, use a combination of wheel and tracked
This organization is
designed to prevail through dismounted infantry assault instead
of mounted combat. To accomplish this
it has 8 10 dismounts per carrier
instead of the four of the Marines LAR battalion.
This requires a larger vehicle than the LAV-25 such as the LAV
or a variant of the LAV-Logistics vehicle mounting only a M240, M2, or MK-19
machine gun on a skate mount. Instead
of the LARs AT vehicles, it probably will use LAV-Assault Gun vehicles with a
There is significant debate
over the "worthiness" of wheels versus tracks.
Wheels are supposed to be more maintainable, faster in some
circumstances, more strategically mobile.
They can carry armament sufficient to knock out main battle tanks at the
cost of armor protection a trait shared with battle cruisers and tank
destroyers. Tracked vehicles have
better off road mobility and are generally considered more robust.
For anti-tank fires, the
battalion has 45 Javelins but no TOWs.
Unfortunately, Javelins have a range of only 2000 - 2500 meters and most
OPFOR ATGMs out range them. The brigade
AT company will provide long range fires, probably initially with 12 LAV-AT
type vehicles with TOW missiles.
Perhaps later, the Line of Sight Anti-Tank or FOG-M systems will take
the TOWs place. Many OPFOR ATGMs also
outrange the TOW with its 3,750-meter reach.
This lack of range could leave the battalion and its companies at a
severe disadvantage when faced with Former Soviet Union equipment equipped with
long range AT missiles.
Each company probably will have two 120mm LAV mounted
mortars, with four more at battalion for a total of ten mortars.
tracked version of this force is also under consideration, centering on the M113
and the M8 Armored Gun System. It is also possible that it will have a mix
of wheels and tracks.
New doctrine will have to be invented to provide this
organization a method to fight. Its four-platoon organization will be new to
anyone except armored cavalry troop commanders. As such, it will require some learning and
experimentation to find the best way to employ it and this is being done by the
heavy use of JANUS at Fort Knox and Fort Benning.
Even though this unit is not supposed to stand and slug it
out with heavy armored forces, we can imagine many situations where it may have
to. Since it
will likely be the first unit to arrive behind the assault forces of the 82nd Airborne Division or the US Marines, it may well
be called upon to do so as we can no longer expect an enemy to sit idly by while
we leisurely expand beach or air heads.
This organization shares many of the characteristics of its
predecessors in that it:
- Seeks to substitute speed and stealth for armor.
- Lacks long-range anti-tank fires.
- Has systems that may well be regarded as tanks (the
LAV-AG or AGS) when tanks are not available.
- Will more than likely have to fight against enemy forces
it was not designed to (the T-80/BMP combination) instead of a lower tech unit
such as the T-55/BTR combination.
On the positive side:
- In a rush to get fielded, is adopting off the shelf
vehicles after a "shoot out" instead of planning on new acquisition.
- Doctrine is being developed, in conjunction with existing
weapon systems, to provide a fightable organization from the start.
- Simulations are being used to develop tactics, tips, and
procedures for its employment.
- Has a large dismounted infantry component, which delivers
a high volume of general purpose and anti-tank fires in the 0 to 2,000 meter
- Its large infantry component corrects weaknesses of the
Bradley and LAR battalions.
Part 4 Comparative Lethality