Thursday, 3 September 2015

Future Ground Combat Solutions

So what should the ground forces be trying to do to improve ground combat in the future?

Well, in my ever so humble opinion, any attempt to create a coherent picture of a large scale battle is a fools errand, keeping track of friendly forces might work but you arent tracking enemy forces on any better scale than blobology, and even thats pretty hit and miss.

Realistically, I see the next bog thing as speeding up support fires.
Currently, the best case scenario for support fires is minutes, even if they guns are dedicated the firefight that is currently occupying our imaginary soldier.
But thats all just chatter
Its people talking to each other, getting permission, and then finally pulling the trigger.

50 years ago, deconflicting the battlespace and avoiding friendly fire, sure but do we need to do this now?

Imagine, a soldier wants to call in support fire on a building
He flicks his rifle from burst to support, points his rifle at the target and pulls the trigger.
The rifle pings the target with a laser range finder to supply a range
The rifle has a built in digital (Or not) compass to supply a bearing.
The rifle (or soldier) has a gps/ins/step counter to supply a location

Ping that over short range comms to the section radio, which pings to the platoon, which pings to the support fires.  An unmanned vehicle (or not) with an automatic turreted 120mm mortar receives the ping, and drops a bomb on target for each trigger pull.

Heavier support fires than organic battalion arms?
Shared map, drag and drop, and the aircraft releases, or the gun fires

But as long as we have Major Generals clearing every shot, more information and quicker ways of transmitting it just wont work

Future Ground Combat problems

Over at Snafu I had a bit of a rant in the comments section on a variety of future ground combat system type programs.

The F35 has its problems but it is a well defined program
You can draw up a theoretical orbat, plug in Hornets, Growlers, Raptors, F35s, Sentry ect and give everything a reasonable task list.
The army family of "future" projects really dont meet that even limited criteria.
How the F35 should work is a known, *IF* it *WILL* work, remains to be be seen.
How the FCS should work was an unknown, creating a (secure) "shared battlespace" between a dozen ships, 2 dozen support aircraft and 4 dozen combat aircraft is complicated, but organisationally its been done since Chain Home and the Battle of Britain, obviously with far less glitz...
A British Armoured Brigade (just because I have better numbers) contains
58 tanks, 90 IFVs, 300 APCs, 90 high mobility trucks, 8 SPGs, a fleet of COTS utility logistics vehicles and around 5000 people.
Who sees what? What even gets seen?
Its easy (I use that lightly) with aircraft, you have radar, that sees the ground, clouds, atmospheric reflection, all of which are easily filtered out, and the enemy. You have IR, that sees the sun, which can be filtered out, and the enemy. And then you have a variety of secretive sigint type stuff, which again, picks up the enemy.
All of that data can be "Fusioned" and a coherent joint picture created.
But Ground Combat is pretty much all visual.
Yes, there are sigint sources, Yes, there are counter battery radar, but the vast majority of ground to ground engagements are two people who have eye contact shooting each other, a guy with eye contact on another guy telling a third guy to drop a bomb/shell on him.
As far as I'm aware, the cameras on tanks are just that, cameras. They are very good cameras, capable of seeing long distances, in the dark, through fog, smoke ect, but they still just show a picture that an in the loop human needs to interpret.
Sharing that camera feed is fairly simple, but its also pretty pointless.
So, whats the point of the FCS?
Even if it was technically possible to give 5000 infantrymen live access to each others gun sights, why....
Those are the questions the ground forces need to answer.
Dont get me wrong, I think the ground forces are in desperate need of new gear, but I think they need to formulate a better way of doing it, they already have all the data/information they can deal with, they need faster ways of communicating that, and I dont believe the army is willing to release its generals hold on the triggers.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

the refugees arent brave

Bravey isn't crossing the Aegean sea
its joining the anti Isis forces

Saturday, 29 August 2015

On Armoured Warfare (and not much on Leclercs in Yemen)

Soloman over at SNAFU has a couple of pages that have become general armour discussions, theres also one on Active Kill Protection

The problem really is lack of data.
We havent had Tier one Tanks shooting each other since the second world war (or maybe Korea?)

The Indo-Pak Wars have probably been the most illuminating,
As far as I can tell, the 47 war saw very little use of Armour, (beyond my favourite ever use, Operation Bison)

The 65 war saw some huge armour clashes, but using WW2 era tanks, some modestly upgraded, and the main lesson to be learnt appears to be that the "1st Armoured" division of any nation will be obliterated by a "Zvika Force" of hastily thrown together reinforcements.

71 didnt see many serious armour clashes, everything was a lot more subdued, with deep penetrations of undefended territory, but little wish on either side for a "schwerpunkt".

The 99 Kargil War was similar, it was a pretty light thing.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

If Katie Hopkins Ruled the World

I dont really know much about Hoppers beyond she was awesome on CBB and the Noisey Minority hate her.
But **** me this is the best comedic panel show since 8 out of 10 cats does countdown,

Give it a try.

Ive been nursing a hangover trolling labour list

Favourite comment so far

"However the Corbyn thing is far more serious I was scared when I read quickly the Times stuff on JC yesterday at my supermarket (as I do not buy Murdoch papers)"

Murdoch owns the highest circulation newspaper in the UK and the second highest circulation broadsheet.
Of the seven millionish papers sold per day, 2.5 million of them are Murdoch Papers.

Now, I dont buy in to the falacy that he "drives the agenda", but if you want to know what a third of voters think, its a good start to pick up the paper and have a read.

Is it any wonder so much of the left just lost it when that exit poll came out?

The mirror is a rag barely worth killing a tree for, but its a hot seller in my area, so I read it like the bible when I was politically active.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Brick BBQ / Oven Thingy

Appologies for the poor paint pics, art isnt my calling....

BBQing over wood/charcoal is the only way to bbq, using gas is just cooking, outside.

But the last time I BBQed, I spent £20 on charcoal, to cook (amongst other things) a 2kg leg of bone in lamb, that I paid about £8 for (yay for spring time)
Charcoal burns fast and hot, and a steel BBQ has little way of moderating that.
Even my heavily modified steel BBQ is still pretty weak in that regard, 6mm steel is better than 3mm steel, but steel is still steel.

So, I've been toying with the idea of building a brick one, the problem is, most of the designs are merely decorative holders for steel grills, which are fine for flash grilling steaks, but not much use for stretching your cook.

Very pretty, but not different from any other off the shelf steel BBQ when it comes to function.

Back to my poor artistry, I figure an internal wall, a narrow insulation gap and an external wall, a narrow gap in the front for an air inlet and to sweep out ash.
Load the stack with charcoal / wood, light it, and after a short blazing inferno, there should be plenty of residual heat in the brick and the coals to do some decent BBQ
Possibly add more of a chimney to the back and sides of the external facings, leaving the internal to hold the grills racks, and raise the fire pit up, a foot below the actual cooking surface is probably sufficient?

And after weeks of searching, I bloody find a page of them!

Monday, 17 August 2015

even for the party of state authority burnham is a piece of work

proudly boasting today that he has never defied the party, always restricting his concerns to behind closed doors "where they belong"

how dare the proles know the inner workings of government.....

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Strategic Bombing in Vietnam.

Line Backer II

During operation Linebacker II a total of 741 B-52 sorties had been dispatched to bomb North Vietnam and 729 had actually completed their missions.  15,237 tons of ordnance were dropped on 18 industrial and 14 military targets 

Damage to North Vietnam's infrastructure was severe. The Air Force estimated 500 rail interdictions had taken place, 372 pieces of rolling stock and three million gallons of petroleum products were destroyed, and 80 percent of North Vietnam's electrical power production capability had been eliminated. Logistical imports into North Vietnam were assessed by U.S. intelligence at 160,000 tons per month when the operation began. By January 1973, those imports had dropped to 30,000 tons per month.

Line backer II was launched in 1972 and was the first real effort at "strategic" bombing, even if it was ran by the worryingly inept Strategic Air Command.
80% of Vietnamese electrical power was knocked out along with 81.25% of its imports.

Operation Steel Tiger
400 B52 sorties against the Ho Chi Minh trail, effects were limited

Commando Hunt
By the wars end, over 100,000 Tactical Sorties had been flown against the trail and 1,700 Strategic Sorties.
Three million tons of bombs were dropped on the trail.
Again, to limited effect, because it was a trail.

If even a fraction of those bombs were dropped on Hanois logistical tail from 1965, would the Tet Offensive have occurred?

The attempt to cut off the logistical support of the insurgents was correct, it was simply, for political reasons, done in entirely the wrong way.

The (A) problem with war games.

Much has been made of the recent exercise in Lincolnshire between the IAF and RAF
There are two obvious flaws with this, the first, is that India "has form" when it comes to, optimistic reports following, wargames.

The second, is that we never really know what the purpose of the war game was, what the conditions were, and what assets were available
Even the huge Red Flag exercises are pretty tame in scale, with "simulated" distances and such

American Mercenary has covered the subject extensively recently

The Tornado Air Defence Variant (F3 in the UK service) was a fantastic platform (stop laughing) for the UKs needs, intercepting unescorted Russian Bombers at extreme ranges and keeping them away from the frigates enforcing the GIUK line.

Any wargame that gives a Tornado a long range shot at an unescorted Bomber will end in the predictable manner.
Any wargame that pits a Tornado in a dog fight against pretty much anything will end quite the other way.

Its a difficult game.