Part 5 Gaming it
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this
organization, TACOPS 3.0 was used to compare and contrast the Medium Battalions
with a three-company team mechanized infantry task force in various scenarios.
Different organizational variations were also considered. Brigade Combat
was also used to supplement this work.
The enemy in each case used the BTR-80 and T-80 based on
organizations found in FM 100-60 Armor and Mechanized-Based Opposing Force
Each test was run
Offensive Scenario Development
The first test was an offensive scenario with the two US
variants pitted against a dug in BTR-80 Company reinforced with a T-80
Unlike the other simulation runs (discussed later), in this case, the
enemy had to be totally destroyed to end the scenario.
The attack was conducted as shown in Figure 11.
A supporting attack
was made in the north with one company to seize the support by fire positions,
while the main attack, with two companies, was in the south.
The lead company in the south seized OBJ 1, overwatched by
the northern company.
Once OBJ 1 is secured, the trailing southern company passes through it
and takes OBJ 2, and the process is repeated for OBJ 3.
Once OBJ 3 is
seized, either the northern company can seize OBJ 4 or the company on OBJ 3 can
In both cases, the US force successfully attacked and
destroyed the enemy unit in less than an hour. The conventional M2/M1 TF reduced
the enemy strength much more quickly initially, but needed a little longer to
dig the OPFOR out of their holes than the Medium Battalion.
finished at about the same percent strength (87 for the medium versus 93 for the
Mech) and both units could have been probably withstood a counterattack or
continued the attack to subsequent objectives.
Figure 12 and 13 shows how these organizations compared
with each other in terms of combat power over the course of the game.
Offensive Plan of Attack
Offensive Strength over
a defensive scenario was run where the two organizations defended against an
OPFOR Motorized Infantry Brigade, again organized per FM 100-60.
were conceived as if the medium battalion was protecting an airhead or beachhead
while other elements deployed or arrived. I sought to defeat the enemy attack on
the battalions initial positions, although there was some maneuver in each
The US defensive plan is shown in Figure 14.
Again, the general pattern of the two scenarios was about
the same. The US force won in about an hour. The medium battalion fared better
than the mech battalion, ending at 59% strength versus 48% strength.
(Figure 15 and
In defensive scenarios, the simulation ended when the enemy strength was
reduced to 60% or the friendly strength to 50%.
While the enemy penetrated the mech defense further than
the medium version, at no time was the US sector in danger of being penetrated
through the rear boundary. Critical to success of the medium battalion was its
10 mortars to smoke friendly positions to shield them from enemy fires. Because
of the long-range fires of the M1s, this was not quite so necessary with the
While the first echelon was destroyed pretty handily,
neither organization was well suited to deal with the follow on attack by the
BMP and Tank Regiment of the OPFOR division, as can be seen by the end state
shown in Figure 17.
Defensive Strength Over Time
Defensive Strength Over Time
Defensive End State
Support for the Medium Brigade
Medium Brigade has only an Engineer Company for mobility, counter-mobility, and
survivability support. Reports indicate that this company will be more focused
on improving mobility for the Medium Brigade instead of counter-mobility or
survivability. This is perhaps more in tune with the role of the brigade in
Stability and Support Operations (SASO) and Military Operations in Urbanized
Terrain (MOUT). In a standard defensive mission, this would seem to be a
scenarios run without engineer units, defending units were placed in defilade to
reduce their vulnerability to direct fire. In the others, each unit was
recon/counter-recon phases saw the scout platoons stripping off the enemy recon
elements though casualties were usually heavy.
provided 3 155 batteries, an MLRS battalion, and several air sorties in support
of the Medium battalion while BCT provided 3 155 batteries and 4 A-10 sorties.
All Fire Support assets were used in TACOPS while in BCT, the air sorties were
not used. Neither scenario provided for PGM attacks and only HE and Smoke were
available for the 120mm Mortars.
engineers using TACOPS, the BLUEFOR won each time, with an average ending
strength (of all unit types) of 50% and an average OPFOR strength of 37%.
When using BCT, the
BLUEFOR also won each time, with an average ending strength of 81% and OPFOR
strength of 16%. With engineers, using TACOPs scenarios,
the average BLUE end strength was 59% and OPFOR was 36%.
With BCT, BLUE
strength was 89% and OPFOR strength was 23%.
the increase in survivability for BLUE was about 10%.
This difference may
be significant in defending against a follow on force.
The difference in
BCT OPFOR strength is attributed to the improper placement of the minefield in
such a manner that the BLUE force could not range most of it.
games, casualties were higher when shifting battle positions or counterattacking
by fire was attempted, highlighting the difficulty of knowing when to start the
movement of friendly forces to subsequent positions.
LAV or AGS for
the Medium Brigade?
the popular attention is fixed on the possibility of wheeled combat vehicles for
the Armys new medium brigades, tracked vehicles, such as the venerable M113 and
the M8 Armored Gun System are also in competition.
Adopting the M113 and AGS would have some advantages in
that the Army has lots of M113s still in use and many spare parts for them.
The M8 was type
classified and ready for production when it was cancelled and so is not readily
available. The main disadvantage of these two vehicles is they do not have
common repair parts; something that hopefully buying a system of wheeled
vehicles would provide. Recent developments in the evaluation process
indicate that a mixture of tracks and wheels may be acceptable or another series
of vehicles, not necessarily of the same family.
first glance, from a comparison of TACOPS vehicle characteristics, the observer
would expect these two organizations to perform pretty much the same.
Table 1. Vehicle Armor
II Armor (KE)
Table 2. Weapon Lethality
Weapon / Range
M2 .50 cal
.95 / 30mm 
.60 / 23mm
.10 / 35mm
.95 / 70mm
.50 / 55mm (1500m)
.2 / 45mm
.05 / 40mm|
.60 / 1400mm
.90 / 1400 mm (1500 m)
.90 / 1400mm
.90 / 1400mm|
.90 / 590 mm
.8 / 575mm (1500mm)
.15 / 520mm|
.95 / 35mm
.66 / 20mm
.1 / 10mm
can be seen, the LAV III is both better protected and more lethal than the M113
while the M8 Level II is much better armored and armed than the LAV-AG.
It is the M8s
armor and reach that makes the M8/M113 battalion more lethal.
continue to evaluate engineer issues, the scenario was played out in hasty and
Except for substituting M113 variants and M8s for the different LAV
variants, the two organizations were structured the same.
The OPFOR was a
Without engineer support, the M113/AGS organization did
Its lethality, on average was diminished to an average of 3828 (47.6%)
out of 8027, with its high being 3999 (49.8%) and its low being 3897 (48.5%). On
average it had 88 (48.3%) systems left out of 152, its high being 96 (52%), and
its low being 73 (40.1%). It reduced the OPFOR to an average lethality score of
9896.4 (46.4%) out of 21298 and reduced the total weapons systems to an average
of 142 out of 344 (41.3%).
dug in, the battalions performance was much better.
at the end was 4932 (61.5%), with a high of 6208 (72%) and a low of 3895
(48.5%), while reducing the OPFOR to an average of 9135 (42.8).
These results compare to an average LAV lethality value (without
engineer support) of 4094 out of 8027 (51%) and ending OPFOR strength of 9330 out
of 21298 (43%). With Engineer support, the LAVs ended at an average of 4639 out
of 8027 (57%) and the OPFOR at 7687 / 21298 (36%). (Figures
AGS BLUFOR Lethality
AGS OPFOR Lethality versus
Taxis or Fighting Vehicles?
attention has also been fixed on examining the performance of the Medium Brigade
based on LAV-25 vehicles. However, the mission of the Brigade revolves heavily
on dismounted assault and the infantry school may have a preference for using
the logistics carrier equipped with the M240 7.62mm Machine Gun, M2 HB .50
caliber machine gun, or theMK-19 Automatic Grenade Launcher instead of the
LAV-25 in order to carry more dismounts. This would be a return to the "battle
taxi" concept of infantry, which the US Army used when heavy units were based on
the M60/M113 series of vehicles.
portion studies how a LAV-LOG based battalion compares to a LAV-25 battalion.
The OPFOR, as for the other tests, was a BTR-80/T-80 regiment without thermal
for the previous tests, two scenarios were used: One in which the TF was dug in
and one in which it was not. Organizationally, the TACOPS lethality values
for the LAV-25 Battalion is 8027 and the LAV-LOG Battalion is 7782.
difference between the two organizations is, of course, the lack of the 25mm gun
on the LAV-L
carrier. This difference removes much of the ability of the battalion to fight
at long range. The entire killing power of the organization beyond 1,000 meters
is dependent upon the Javelin AT missile and the LAV-AG. My expectation was that
this organization would do much worse in combat when compared to a LAV-25 based
Theoretically, the LAV-L organization is capable of
destroying a BTR-80 regiment, as shown below:
# Javelins 45 * 4 rounds = 180 shots
TACOPS Ph = .9
TACOPS Pk = .9
Theoretical Vehicles killed 180 * .9 * .9 = 145
# LAV AGS 12 * 20 rounds = 240 shots
Tacops Ph (105mm @ 1500m) = .5
Tacops Pk = .6
Theoretical Vehicles Killed 240 * .5 * .5 = 60
Total Kills 205
Number Fighting vehicles in BTR-80 Regiment = 187.
course, this assumes a flat surface, perfect shooting, no supporting weapons,
and no friendly losses. Still, it shows that the battalion should be able to
defeat a BTR-80 based regiment.
engineer support, the LAV-LOG based organization did rather poorly.
Its lethality, on
average was diminished to an average of 3914 (51%) out of 7622, with its high
being 4844 and its low being 3575. It reduced the OPFOR to an average lethality
score of 11070 (51%) out of 21298.
Lethality without Engineer
dug in, the battalions performance was much better.
at the end was 4459 (57), with a high of 5659 (72%) and a low of 3667 (47%),
while reducing the OPFOR to an average of 9037 (42%).
Lethality with Engineer
results compare to an average LAV lethality value (without engineer support) of
4094 out of 8027 (51%) and reduced the OPFOR to 9330 out of 21298 (43%).
support, the LAVs ended at an average of 4639 out of 8027 (57%) and reduced the
OPFOR to 7687 / 21298 (36%) as shown in earlier sections of this
difference in values when compared to the LAV-25 battalion is probably due to my
increasing ability to initially deploy the battalion (although all deployments
were fairly similarly) judge the best time to begin displacement of the force,
and better use of artillery.
the 25mm cannons, units ran out of Javelins much faster.
LAV-AG losses were
high because I displaced them last when moving to subsequent battle positions. I
found that the best time to begin moving to subsequent positions is when the
enemy is at about the 2000-meter line. This of course negates the Javelin.
If minefields do
not delay the enemy, then displacement is a very near thing and minimizes the
contribution of dismounted infantry in the delay or mobile defense.
Part 6 Observations and Recommendations