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Light Infantry on the modern battlefield


Rebs
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Hey!

I've been thinking about the role of light infantry, or regular non mechanized infantry, on the modern battlefield. As far as I know very few countries even have such units anymore, except for airborne and special operations units.

How would such units be used on the field, what kind of tasks they would be given? What roles would they fill? Basically how, where and why would they fight. I am rather familiar with the new finnish doctrine that focuses on the infantry doing aggressive strikes on enemy mechanized units retricted to roads in the rough wooded terrain. Then disengaging and calling artillery on the road. Would an airborne unit use similar tactics or would they fight in a more conventional manner eg. Making a clear defensive line?

So. Let's just take a british airborne unit as an example. How would it be used in a third world war like situation against a conventional capable mechanized force, where would it be used, what role would it fill in the greater scale of things and how would it fight?

This post was written on a mobile device towards the end of a 15 hour nighr shift. It might not be entirely coherent.

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Well, I think light infantry's strong point, at least in the strategic perspective, is mobility. Case in point - a brigade from the 82nd Airborne can deploy worldwide in 24 hours. An Armored Brigade Combat Team from, say, the 1st Cavalry Division, will get to Europe in a week or so, hopefully before T-90s are camping out in Kiev - and that's probably an optimistic assessment. Also, I think most countries retain significant amounts of light infantry. Most of the Baltic states only have Light infantry (well, one decided to be nice and give its brigade a ride in ex-German M113s). The US Army will have 13 Infantry Brigade Combat Teams by the end of 2017, and although these are equipped with a decent amount of HMMWVs (52 with M2 HMGs/Mk.19s and 28 with TOW-2s), at the end of the day the maneuver battalions are going to have to take Hill 284 or whatever the old fashioned way - on foot. And not all of them are airborne qualified - I think only 8 active duty IBCTs are airborne. The US Army national Guard had even more IBCTs. So Light Infantry remain a staple, even in the most splurged upon military in the world. 

Of course, just because you can get a Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to say, Ukraine, the day after a Russian Armored Corps rolled across the border doesn't help you if you can't effect the situation on the ground. In that sense, our Airborne Brigade (US Airborne Brigades, are, by the way, organized on the exact same lines as other US Infantry Brigade Combat Teams - or pretty close to it) would essentially be a delaying force (the more blunt term is speedbump) to buy time for the M1A2s and such to deploy from CONUS. If you have ground to trade for time, Light Infantry would play to their strengths and armor/mechanized force's weakness. That is, make defensive positions in urban areas/rough terrain, where armor will be much easier to deal with and you can face the enemy on more even terms. That is another of Light Infantry's key advantages - while the 60 ton M1 Abrams will get bogged down in that swamp real good, Private Miller and his M4/AT4 can cross it just fine (just don't expect him to be real happy about it.) If you really have ground to trade for time, well, if I had A US Infantry Brigade, I would use my Javelin ATGMs to full effect. IBCTs have an ungodly amount of Javelins - 76 to be exact B) .   I would deploy in a good ATGM position, and pop off a missile at the first BMP I see. While the OPFOR armor would probably have to deploy and search for your ATGM team, you can hop in your HMWWV (the FGM-148 is Fire and Forget, so once you pull that trigger you can skedaddle) and fall back past another missile team that is in another good position. While they give OPFOR another surprise when they reorganize and come back down the road, you find another good position and set up. This causes the OPFOR to have to keep deploying and wasting time. Even if OPFOR takes a "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" approach, you can still attrit them a good bit and have the odds a bit more in your favor when they reach your prmary defensive line. This whole approach, of course, assumes, you have ground to trade to time, and I doubt most politicians would like that option. So again, Light Infantry will deploy in easily defensible positions for them - broken terrain, woods, urban areas, bottlenecks, etc. 

Of course, the problem with that is that the enemy might not want to attack your modern rendition of Stalingrad, and instead elect to make your little town into a modern day Bastogne - without Patton coming to the rescue. While Light Infantry are strategically agile, Theatre and tactically wise they are sluggish compared to a Combined Arms Battalion (well, maybe not logistics wise, but maneuver wise). So you have to deploy them where you know the enemy is going to attack, which, unfortunately, may not be the most easily defensible position. 

So next scenario - the US III Corps is in Theatre and is duking it out with OPFOR. What's a light infantryman to do now? Now they would act like a fire brigade - kinda like the 101st Airborne in WWII. They would reinforce buckling areas of the front, due to their mobility (am assuming we give them trucks for this part of course) and act as speed bumps against any OPFOR breakthroughs, and buy time for heavy forces to reposition. Also, they would be used to attack broken terrain and urban centers, where we don't want to send our heavy armor in or want to use them in a more effective manner - like going for the jugular of that Russian armored division. As for attacking, I think NTC has shown plenty that sending light infantry, Strykers or no, against armor is asking for a bloodbath. 

 

Ok, so I have rambled on enough. Here's the bullet point answer

- Many countries still have light infantry in significant quantities

-Light Infantry's strong pointers are strategic mobility and abilty to move comparatively easily through rough/impassable terrain

-Infantry can give armor and mech a hard time in urban/rough terrain. 

-Can deploy as theater fire brigades - assuming you have the assets to move them in a timely manner.

 

If you need clarification (or want to tell me I am an idiot and have no idea how to use Light Infantry - which is perfectly fine with me!) just let me know.

Oh, and I, uh, kinda forgot about your "British Airborne Unit as an example." I used an American IBCT since I'm more familiar with it. I guess the difference with the brits would be less javelins - 16th Air Assault Brigade only has 27 Javelins, I believe :(

 

Oh, and as disclaimer, this was written by a 19 year old with no (current - but that's going to change in 14 days) military experience. So I could be completely wrong. 

Edited by Currahee150
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U.S. Marine Corps[edit]

The U.S. Marine Corps, has retained the regiment as a basic unit smaller than a division but larger than a battalion, and it continues to employ reinforced regiments as R.C.T.s in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Under current US Marine Corps doctrine, a Marine Division typically contains three organic Marine infantry regiments. Whenever a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) is formed within its parent Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), one of the division’s infantry regiments is designated as the base of the Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and serves as the Ground Combat Element (GCE) of the MEB.

The regiment, commanded by a colonel, consists of a Headquarters Company and three identical Marine infantry battalions. The regiment is then heavily reinforced by other division assets to form the RCT.

These reinforcements typically include:

One artillery battalion (drawn from the division’s organic artillery regiment), consisting of a Headquarters and Service Battery and four identical firing batteries, each containing six 155mm towed howitzers;

An armored vehicle battalion equivalent, consisting of an Assault Amphibian Company (Reinforced) (48 Amphibious Assault Vehicles), a Light Armored Reconnaissance Company (Reinforced) (27 Light Armored Vehicles) and a Tank Company (Reinforced) (14 Main Battle Tanks), each drawn from their parent division’s organic type battalion;

A combat support battalion equivalent, consisting of a Combat Engineer Company, a Reconnaissance Company (each drawn from their parent division’s organic type battalion), and a Support Company, formed from the parent division’s Headquarters Battalion, consisting of platoons from the Headquarters, Communications, and Truck companies.(copied from Wikipedia)

 

Again this is not your British Airborne unit, sorry....but the USMC has retained the regimental infantry concept since WW2, which is similar in some ways to the regiments of the British Army. Marine units of this type formed the right flank of the drive from Kuwait to Baghdad, and while they did not face the type of weapons system depicted in CMBS, their performance can give you an indication on the uses of light infantry with extra support provided to survive on the modern battlefield. With the help of special amphibious assault vessels maintained by the US Navy, the USMC is one of the few large organizations still capable of inserting into a battlespace from the sea.

Edited by Nidan1
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Fighting lightly armed militias is their strength. They are every effective and survivable in that role. Give the enemy lets say BTR-82As, plenty of arty support (without air power and MRLS being able to destroy them  before they do too much damage), modern body armor and equipment, you've got a problem on your hands.

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Ukraine form the end of past year is forming several new motorized infantry brigades. This is classical light infantry, unlike "elite" airmobole units. They mostly aimed for defensive operations, holding of chekpoints, convoy and guard operation in close rear area. They haven't APC/IFV in every squad just platoon/company of its per battalion and possibly tank company. These units will release mech.brigades for offensive operations if this will be need. In summer 2014 we have lack of mech. infantry capable to offense with big forces - this caused to dispersing of battalion tactical groups in different directions.

 

Close tasks have National Guard - almost the same light infantry, but unlike past summer campaign now their units mostly operate in mid rear and rarely on frontline. But some National Guard units have enough potential for flexible tactic - they also can provide raid operations and even local offensive.

 

And of course airmobile and airborne troops - they are "universal soldiers". Tough in defense ("Bravo height", Luhansk and Donetsk airports), surprise in raids (famous 470 km raid of 95th airmobile brigade battalion), rash in offensives (25th airborne attack on Zhdanivka and Vuhlehirsk)   

Edited by Haiduk
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@Currahee

Holy **** that's a wall of text

So basically it doesn't radically differ from our use, the finnish way that is, of light infantry. The main difference of course being that the majority of our land forces are made out of infantry companies with nothing more than trucks or at most wheeled APC's for transport. Our terrain also offers more advantage to light infantry than the Ukrainian steppe or the Fulda gap, our eastern border being mostly forests and swamps.

@Nidan

I doubt that US marines in Iraq can really be taken into account here, or anything in Iraq due to the curbstomp nature of the war. The Iraqi army can't realistically be compared to a fully motorized/mechanized force like the Russians. I was also under the impression that the US marines ride into battle on vehicles that have a bit more armour than your average HMMW.

@Antaress

That surely helped a lot in context of conventional warfare, like when you are fighting against a mechanized russian force. Oh and also funnily enough I was trained to take on a mechanized company that has arty and air support and modern equipment with a light infantry platoon. I guess i'm dead ;)*


So knowing that defense with light infantry isn't much different in the big world from our way of doing things. (we just let the enemy into our depth and then chop them to pieces) what about attacking. How about using infantry, like paratroopers in offensive operations. How would light infantry and airborne units be used in large scale offensives. I'd rather hear more about the NATO side of things as I'm somewhat familiar with the way the russians do their tricks.

Edited by Rebs
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Light Infantry in the offensive -

I'm not an expert, but I'd expect they'd be used to clear out built up areas. Need that forest/city block/canyon cleared? Send in some Light Infantry. Yeah, they'll take losses, but it sure beats the hammering mech and armor could be subject to if they went in. More importantly, while Light Infantry are clearing out that town, our Armored Brigade can be slicing through the Russians lines of Communication, or immolating their reserve force. Basically, in the offensive, Infantry get to do the dirty work of house/hedgerow clearing while freeing up maneuver battalions, to, er, maneuver and destroy the enemy. If your really audacious, you could use your airborne units to seize bridges and other key areas ahead of your advance, a la Operation Market Garden, but as history has shown, that can be quite risky. Sending Light infantry against enemy Mech or Armor in the defensive however can be incredibly costly. I suppose if used infiltration to the max you could manage to negate some of their advantages, but its still going to a rough day for your infantry if you do so, and that's putting it lightly. Of course this assumes you don't have so much support. If you have some A-10s and M777/MLRS on call, it wont be as bad. 

 

Marines-

Well, it all depends. The Marines can ride into battle on variety of things - Ospreys/Hueys, Amtracs, or their own two feet. They can kinda do what the want when the situation requires it. They can be a kick-ass mech force with LAV-25s, M1A1s, and AAVP7s, or they can go to their roots as a Light Infantry force with a handful of HMMWVs and their boots for transportation. A for their performance in OIF, well, yeah the Iraqi Army isn't the Russian Ground Forces, but you can still take some lessons and results from that war and carry them over to how it would go down with some Russians.

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reb: not dead 100%... everyone is trained to survive.. not all do ;) All the teams play to win and in themselves they are all good. But there is only one winner. I guess I'm too old and too seasoned to be an optimist  :D Dont worry you will be fine. Oups ! guess not ! As Han Solo would say: dont tell them the odds ;)

 

Joke aside.. prevailing against such a unit with light infantry is of course possible. Prevailing while still having a functional and intact unit after the battle is another question. A problem is losing 40-50% of your unit, not necessarily losing the battle.  

Edited by antaress73
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It's really all about the tactics ;) We basically let the enemy get into our depth, as it has to stay on roads in our heavily forested/swampy terrain. The mechanized forces are then ambushed from multiple points of the "column" simultaneously. Basically we try to gain a momentary superiority of fire, blow up a few of their precious vehicles, 'cause havoc and panic. Then we disengage and disappear into the woods and arty starts falling on the stopped mechanized units. It's not perfect and it's more likely to just slow down the enemy attack rather than stop it outright but it causes a lot of losses to the enemy. I'll just let the official video with english subs explain ;) 

@Currahee

Yeah, Light infantry on the offensive against mechanized units is the stuff I'm most interested about. To be honest I'm having trouble imagining light infantry even taking urban areas or bocage country without taking heavy losses. I mean, if the defending mechanized unit has had any time to prepare every suitable approach is going to be covered by a 20mm autocannon or at least a PKM. Only terrain I can even imagine infantry having a fighting chance is a dense forest, Urban combat is a slaughterfest anyways.

Going deeper into modern airborne tactics, how do the NATO airborne units fight? All I know about western airborne operations I learned in World War 2

 


 

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The only way Light Infantry can have a chance against competent mech/armor forces in defensive positions is if they get some help - like a detachment of tanks, or a flight of AH-64s, or some serious on-call artillery. If its just a  light infantry company versus a mech infantry company, with nothing else, the mech infantry will mop the floor with them. Combat Mission and the 11th Armored Cavalry out at Fort Irwin, California (they play OPFOR for US Army field exercises) will tell you that pretty conclusively.

 

Airborne

Not quite sure about the rest of NATO, but as for the US Army, I think the only big difference between a regular IBCT and an airborne qualified IBCT is that one can say "We are badass and can jump out planes. That is all." I think. I'm actually probably wrong about that. There are likely some differences in mission orientation - like seizing and holdiing key targets by air/from near the LZ - and Airborne IBCTs have to keep qualified for airborne ops, but once the Airborne IBCT is on the ground, I think the use the same rulebook as the rest of the IBCTs. I'm not real sure about all this though. Like you, about all I know from airborne ops is what I know from WWII. 

 

Oh, and I was wrong - modern US IBCTs have 102 FGM-148 Javelins. Not 76. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to that stuff, so I had to point that out so I could sleep.

Edited by Currahee150
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Light Infantry in the offensive -

I'm not an expert, but I'd expect they'd be used to clear out built up areas. Need that forest/city block/canyon cleared? Send in some Light Infantry. Yeah, they'll take losses, but it sure beats the hammering mech and armor could be subject to if they went in. More importantly, while Light Infantry are clearing out that town, our Armored Brigade can be slicing through the Russians lines of Communication, or immolating their reserve force. Basically, in the offensive, Infantry get to do the dirty work of house/hedgerow clearing while freeing up maneuver battalions, to, er, maneuver and destroy the enemy. If your really audacious, you could use your airborne units to seize bridges and other key areas ahead of your advance, a la Operation Market Garden, but as history has shown, that can be quite risky.

 

The 101st Airborne had trouble doing this even against light opposition in Iraq. They were supposed to be securing the highway and towns that made up the 3ID's supply lines but needed (and received) tanks for the actual fighting. Even then, they didn't have enough firepower on hand (three or four companies of Abrams) and found themselves snarled up in some nasty fights in built-up areas that the 3rd Infantry Division had smashed their way through without even slowing down. The other major light infantry centric operation was a sideshow; the 173rd Airborne Brigade dropped onto an airfield already held (and marked by) friendly-forces then stayed mostly static while calling down gobs of airpower to beat up Iraqis that were going out of their way to not inconvenience them. The major Iraqi formations in the north had already largely disintegrated and the brigade's presence didn't draw any defenders away from Baghdad. It was a sop to the original war plan that envisioned the 4ID coming from Turkey.

 

Overall it wasn't exactly a grand showing and one big reason the original plan of having light infantry take Baghdad was scrapped in favor of just sending heavy forces in.

 

edit: I guess taking Umm Qasr kinda counts, but there were tanks involved there as well, so I'm not sure how much credit is due.

 

Fighting lightly armed militias is their strength. They are every effective and survivable in that role. Give the enemy lets say BTR-82As, plenty of arty support (without air power and MRLS being able to destroy them  before they do too much damage), modern body armor and equipment, you've got a problem on your hands.

 

Even facing only lightly armed militias in Fallujah, tanks (and other forms of protected firepower) were the big winners:

"By far the best two supporting arms used were tanks and CAAT.  Tanks and CAAT were the infantryman’s best friend.  The battle would have been incredibly bloodier if it hadn’t been for tanks and CAAT.  The tanks were able to provide a 120 mm direct fire weapon on the spot of any contact within a matter of minutes.  The thermal sites were able to pinpoint exact position of snipers and then effectively neutralize them within seconds.  CAAT was able to use its M2 .50 caliber machine guns and Mk19 grenade launchers to breach as well as destroy buildings were fire was received from.  CAAT also helped the squads by clearing the buildings that lined the street in their lane.  The infantry should never attack in MOUT without tanks or CAAT."

 

CAAT = Combined Anti-armor Team, basically the infantry battalion's heavy weapons -- TOWs, MK19s, 50cals -- mounted on Humvees and operated as mixed sections. In the remainder of the AAR, they are very clear about the necessity to employ combined arms in built-up terrain, relying on firepower arms as primary killing tool, rather than sending infantry to clear buildings the hard way. This is consistent with every other AAR to come out of urban fighting in the last four or five decades.

 

 

So knowing that defense with light infantry isn't much different in the big world from our way of doing things. (we just let the enemy into our depth and then chop them to pieces) what about attacking. How about using infantry, like paratroopers in offensive operations. How would light infantry and airborne units be used in large scale offensives. I'd rather hear more about the NATO side of things as I'm somewhat familiar with the way the russians do their tricks.

 

Massive amounts of airpower and moving at a snail's pace while praying you don't get caught out anywhere.

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 <Snip> The thermal sites were able to pinpoint exact position of snipers and then effectively neutralize them within seconds.  CAAT was able to use its M2 .50 caliber machine guns and Mk19 grenade launchers to breach as well as destroy buildings were fire was received from.  CAAT also helped the squads by clearing the buildings that lined the street in their lane.  The infantry should never attack in MOUT without tanks or CAAT."

 

CAAT = Combined Anti-armor Team, basically the infantry battalion's heavy weapons -- TOWs, MK19s, 50cals -- mounted on Humvees and operated as mixed sections. In the remainder of the AAR, they are very clear about the necessity to employ combined arms in built-up terrain, relying on firepower arms as primary killing tool, rather than sending infantry to clear buildings the hard way. This is consistent with every other AAR to come out of urban fighting in the last four or five decades.    

 

This is interesting stuff.  Thanks for posting it. 

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@Currahee

Holy **** that's a wall of text

 

It' s not that unusual that people on this forum post long and well thought out posts. JasonC occasionally writes half a book and posts it here:

 

http://community.battlefront.com/topic/4353-firepower-thinking/

 

I recommend reading his posts on tactics thoroughly, he has some real talent an knowledge. I only could find the above thread via the forum search, but on my other PC i have a whole bunch of his posts added to my favorites in firefox.

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I think the cost-effectiveness of a light infantry unit on the modern  battlefield depends largely on its organic anti-armor capabilities and what you want to do with your light infanty unit. Think of a Stryker Infantry Battalion: It lacks armor, it lacks heavy direct fire guns, but nonthess the Javlin ATGM system that is assigned to every single squad gives it an enormous punch even aginst a heavily armored foe. Without the Javelins though, the very same Stryker Infantry Battalion would be almost useless against almost everything except a bunch or badly equipped Iraqi insurgents. But is the Stryker Battalion more cost effective than a compareable unit equipped with M2 Bardleys? Yes and no, it depends on what you expect from your unit. On the defense, in a fight against an unarmored unit or against a unit solely equipped with IFVs and no MBTs, i think the Stryker Battalion would be more cost-effective. It would be almost as effective against the threats aformentioned but it would be cheaper to field than a fully mechanized unit. On the offense, in a fight against an enemy constisting of a mix of IFVs and MBTs or solely MBTs, i would opt for the unit equipped with the M2 Bradley because the Stryker Battalion would very likely not be able to accomplish such a task without taking significant losses since its anti-armor and long range HE capabilities are dependent on a single weapon system with a compareably small stock of ammo. Casualties also matter in terms of cost-effectiveness: each destroyed vehicle must be replaced, each dead or wounded soldier must be replaced, each wounded soldiers hospital bill and each disabled veterans rent must be paid.

Edited by agusto
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My concern about light infantry on the modern high intensity battlefield is, how are you ever going to get away from the enemy artillery fast enough? Whether you're attacking,  defending, or just in transit on foot? That question was raised in my mind at Ft. Irwin, where my platoon was once suddenly 'killed' by artillery.

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@sublime

I never said US Light Infantry would be any exception. In fact, they were what I had in mind when I wrote my post. Javelin or no, US Light Infantry will have a really hard time (aka next to impossible) against competent mech/armor in the defense. If US Light Infantry are defending against said forces, yeah it's not gonna be fun, but it's not impossible.

And yes, US IBCTS have 102 Javelins. 3 Infantry battalions w/ 24 Javs each, Cav squadron w/ 24 more, and Brigade Engineer Battalion with 6 Jav = 102.

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Short answer:

In a full spectrum type conflict light infantry would clear complicated objectives that were isolated by mech forces, secure terrain and conduct air insertions. They're not going to charge at BMPs but they'd be hard to dig out when defending and free up higher capability forces.

In CMBS your IBCT type troops should be defending or attacking like forces. No way around it.

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Every army of any sophistication has light infantry.

 

Light infantry can be defined by troops that carry their equipment by their own power. Light infantry may be transported by vehicles but do not have vehicles inside their formations.

 

Classical examples are airborne, special forces, green berets, rangers, SEALs etc.

 

They are used to: screen, disrupt, fix, capture high value areas, encircle, recce and perform special actions.

 

I would argue the use of light infantry has only increased as time has gone on and global COIN and false flag operations grow in intensity and scope. In conventional warfare you still need a group of foot mobile commandos to seize key points that are unreachable by larger, slower moving formations.

Edited by tyrspawn
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My concern about light infantry on the modern high intensity battlefield is, how are you ever going to get away from the enemy artillery fast enough? Whether you're attacking,  defending, or just in transit on foot? That question was raised in my mind at Ft. Irwin, where my platoon was once suddenly 'killed' by artillery.

 

Yeah, I always wondered that too. You might only have five or six minutes before artillery/mortars make their presence felt against a competent defender, how much ground can you realistically traverse? A bog standard battalion shoot might blanket a 500m x 250m box with fragments. What if the defenders are under overhead cover and willing to call those airbursts down on their own positions? Even assuming you do win, what keeps the opposition from hammering the **** out of the position? Even worse, hammering your force if it needs to withdraw?

 

It seems like the assumption is that the firepower fight is decisively won before light infantry are committed to the fight.

 

I would argue the use of light infantry has only increased as time has gone on and global COIN and false flag operations grow in intensity and scope. In conventional warfare you still need a group of foot mobile commandos to seize key points that are unreachable by larger, slower moving formations.

 

Foot-mobile formations are always slower than heavy forces, regardless of size, especially when you're talking tactically. Operationally, they at least have the advantage of not needing tens of thousands of gallons of fuel, but you're not really shrinking the logistical footprint so much as shifting the weight around since firepower arms like aviation and artillery get leaned on harder, thereby eating more throughput themselves. Even planning light infantry operations is a meticulous process, whereas heavy-types tend towards very short planning cycles.

 

Taken from "Where is the Light-Heavy Organization in the Army's Future"

"The heavy companies led and attacked to seize key buildings and intersections while the Air Assault Infantry Company trailed and then cleared a large objective consisting of a city block with many government buildings and Ba’ath Party Headquarters. The tanks rapidly seized their objectives and shortly thereafter the Air Assault Infantry began clearing its objective. It seemed to the Task Force commander that the Infantry were moving at a snail's pace and as the day progressed he became more and more agitated waiting for them to report that their objective was clear and secure. At about fifteen hundred hours he got very upset when the Air Assault Infantry company commander reported the objective was clear and secure and that the company was going to go to ground for an hour to rest and rehydrate.

 

The Task Force commander had identified many more point targets thathe wanted the Infantry to clear and he, of course, wanted them cleared now rather than later. The Task Force commander linked up with the company commander and a ten-second visual inspection of the company showed him why they needed an hour to rehydrate and rest. They were worn out. The Task Force commander had traveled about one hundred kilometers in the past five hours checking out every aspect of his zone, though he was hot and dusty, he had ridden one hundred kilometers, standing comfortably in his turret. The Air Assault Infantry had probably traveled two and a half kilometers in the same time, however, they had been running, walking, and crawling that distance as they cleared their objective."

Edited by Apocal
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Apocal summed it up best.  

 

Light infantry is great if you need to force project "something" quickly all over the world.  It's a good unit to use as the heavy lifter for COIN type operations, peace keeping, or deterrence type missions.  

 

In terms of warfighting, it's pretty slow, and relies a lot on what supporting assets it brings to the fight.  The Stryker concept really is an attempt to address both of those issues, giving increased mobility and support to a boot-centric force. 

 

There's still a future for IBCTs, it's just one that's focused much more on fighting insurgents and the like than possible confrontations with near peer threats. 

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@sublime

I never said US Light Infantry would be any exception. In fact, they were what I had in mind when I wrote my post. Javelin or no, US Light Infantry will have a really hard time (aka next to impossible) against competent mech/armor in the defense. If US Light Infantry are defending against said forces, yeah it's not gonna be fun, but it's not impossible.

And yes, US IBCTS have 102 Javelins. 3 Infantry battalions w/ 24 Javs each, Cav squadron w/ 24 more, and Brigade Engineer Battalion with 6 Jav = 102.

ah yes well attacking would be an utter disaster unless terrain utterly favored the attacking light infantry so their havs could be rained down. and still itd be a mess. i meant more in your speedbump scenario. Saddam driving on Kuwait fall/winter '90 has a vastly different ending with javs imo. without them i can see the airborne units really being ground up and nearly wiped out air support or not...

you also misunderstood me i meant US light infantry WOULD be the exception because even countries with javelins besidesbthe US dont have them in the numbers needed.

Edited by Sublime
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