Defending the Lillypad

GCoyote

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Location
Laurel, MD, USA
Country
llUnited States
This article from StrategyPage.com has been running through my head lately.

Planeload Reaction Force
January 26, 2004

The U.S. Army, trying to keep up with the marines in the "quick response" department, have studied their recent Iraq and Afghanistan experience and come up with a unique solution; the PRF (Planeload Reaction Force, which is not the official name, but is easy to remember). The carrying capacity of an air force C-17 transport was scrutinized and it was determined that you could get a Bradley fighting vehicle on board, as well as 75 troops. These soldiers would have two mortars with them, and their usual rifles and portable missiles. There would be specialists qualified to call in air strikes and naval gunfire or missiles strikes, as well as army artillery. The unit would have satellite phones so that they could always be in touch with the Pentagon. The troops would be on their way within twelve hours, to any trouble spot on the planet that still had an airport that would let a C-17 land. In other words, any airport that could handle a jet transport. . . .
So what you have is a dismounted mech company plus a Bradley. Three of those and you've got most of a battalion.

I'm going to swap a couple of standard packages like this for the factory OOB in Team Savage and tweak it a bit. [In theory you could do this with any map that has an airfield on it.] If it doesn't turn out too "squirrelly" I'll post the tac file and OOB for other to pick at.
 

dhuffjr

Forum Conscript
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
781
Reaction score
1
Location
Ohio
Country
llUnited States
The Marines used to have an air alert response battalion as I recall. The intent was to fly them in if needed. Kinda the way the 82nd airborne has alert battalions and an alert brigade to respond within a designated amount of time.

Interesting concept indeed. I'm interested in how your test turn out.
 

GCoyote

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Location
Laurel, MD, USA
Country
llUnited States
Probably the end of the month . . .

Setting up the OOB only took a few minutes. I think it still needs some fuel tankers and airbase troops to "defend" that won't add too much combat power.

Then I have to find some spare time to actually play it! ;)
 

pmaidhof

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
Country
llUnited States
man o' man, air alert sucked. Not certain if it is still maintained given optempo.
 

dhuffjr

Forum Conscript
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
781
Reaction score
1
Location
Ohio
Country
llUnited States
It was battalion right? Any other goodies?

In a similiar vein with MEU deployements they have a KC130 detachment in a nearby (whatever that means? 1000 miles 500 miles :)) for use as needed. I think I've read that anyway :D
 

pmaidhof

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
Country
llUnited States
It was a battalion reinforced with all kinds of cats and dogs. The lead company was on a two hour string.
 

TacCovert4

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
699
Reaction score
3
Location
Watching Girls Go By..............
Country
llUnited States
IIRC, this is still a part of the Army's Future Combat Systems Doctrine that they have been touting, I mean working on, for some time.

I'd be interested in helping formulate a scenario like this for a CPX.

Objectives for Blufor would be to capture objective A (the airfield), and objectives B and C, a strategic road junction and a town respectively.

Initial forces would be rotary wing, or tilt rotor (dependent on service), and would be used to deposit a company at most on the airfield, to take obj A. The airfield would have a security platoon augmented by a mere handful of vehicles with light weapons. Say an air defense squad armed with handheld missiles and machine guns. Another handful of lightly armed police would represent pilots and aircrews caught on the flightline.

For realism purposes, neither blue nor red forces can call arty on obj A, until it has been captured by blufor. This is to represent blue's and red's reluctance to damage an important installation that they will need. Once blue has captured the airfield, however, red is cleared to fire on it.

The rotary wing forces depositing the troops would also have to be long range or refuel capable, reflecting the deep strike nature of the mission.

Once obj A is secure, blue forces would arrive in planeloads, 1 every 15 minutes for the first 2, every 30 minutes thereafter. These would be reflected as reinforcements.

The road junction should be defended by a company in strength, with a platoon in fortifications, a mounted platoon, a heavy weapons platoon, and a platoon of foot infantry in reserve.

The town should have checkpoints at road entrances, and should be garrisonning the balance of the battalion, including a company of armor, and the battalion arty.

Any suggestions?
 

GCoyote

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Location
Laurel, MD, USA
Country
llUnited States
Hi Tac,

There are several ways this could go.

The article I got the idea from was primarily concerned with rapid reinforcement of a lightly defended airhead. It presented a scenario very similar to Team Savage in scope but the "plane load" concept leaves very little room for mobility assets. I think you'd need a minimum of 3-4 plane loads to make it interesting - Say three bare companies of infantry plus 3 Bradleys and some support weapons.

Rapid seizure of an airhead is a valid mission for Army Rangers, airborne, or airmobile battalions. Think of TF Mizokami with a smaller OPFOR or TF Nankervis if you want to use USMC.

This should be a mission we could run on any map with a suitable airfield and space for a decent fight.
 

TacCovert4

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
699
Reaction score
3
Location
Watching Girls Go By..............
Country
llUnited States
Another thing to consider is this variation:

the first planeload brings in 150 infantry apiece, quite possible, and still with 4 pallet positions availible for ammunition/supplies/heavy weapons, up to 30K lbs in weight IIRC.

The next 2 planeloads bring in the preestablished loadout.

The next 2 planeloads bring in multiple vehicles apiece, such as 6 uparmored humvees with mounted weapons, or 2 Bradleys, or 2 Strykers or LAVs, et cetera. Included would be base vehicle crews: commander, driver, gunner, a-driver.

In short, by careful planning of the first 5 planeloads, you can get a battalion of infantry, as well as a decent contingent of armored vehicles and lightskinned vehicles. Much more in line with the forces that would be necessary to rapidly prosecute a small airhead before enemy forces massed to cut it off and destroy it. With the first planeload concept, you end up with too little mobility, and therefore in many situations, too little ability to expand the airhead before enemy forces mass and destroy you with heavy regiments of armored cavalry.
 

GCoyote

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Location
Laurel, MD, USA
Country
llUnited States
That's kind of the imression I had. The article seems to be based on the availabilty of a mech inf unit nearby so all the US had to do was reroute a C-17, grab a standardized load, drop them off at the air.

I tried putting together an air-load planning spread sheet a couple of times but even tracking all the variables in loading a single type like C-17 gets very complicated. I originally tried to do a universal spreadsheet for C-17, C-130, and C-5, but that could only handle gross weight, vehicle over-height, pallets, and total troops. I'm pretty sure the results are only "somewhat" realistic.
 

dhuffjr

Forum Conscript
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
781
Reaction score
1
Location
Ohio
Country
llUnited States
I've got a spreadsheet in progress for amphibious shipping. Vehicle footprint in m2, troop totals, and aircraft are what I'm tracking. I've got the m2 fudged a bit to account for aisleways and the odd and end nooks and crannies that don't fit trucks.

Ships are a lot easier to do and fudge than aircraft. I've got a fair amount of stuff on my computer from when I was in a logistics "mode" and was scouring the net for stuff.
 

GCoyote

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Location
Laurel, MD, USA
Country
llUnited States
Interesting, most planes can't take vehicles side-by-side so I just ran go/no-go check against length, width, height, and gross weight. Anything that passes is potentially legal cargo. After that it gets tricky as you can fill a plane with troops but not max out the weight or you can max out gross weight with a single vehicle but have scads of floor space left. Real load planning software tracks everything including the changes in the plane's center of gravity that reduce manueverability and flight performance. Commercial software costs money, and the gov't versions aren't freely available - at least according to Google. :D
 

dhuffjr

Forum Conscript
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
781
Reaction score
1
Location
Ohio
Country
llUnited States
Commercial software costs money, and the gov't versions aren't freely available - at least according to Google. :D
Actually I asked for and was turned down ......imagine that :laugh:......the old archaic software the USMC used to use. I queried HQMC and got a um.......no response. :D

I pointed out they they themselves said it was antiquated :)

The spreadsheet works 'almost' as good. C-5s and C-17s pose a problem because they can load HMMWVs and Trucks two by two I think. Also the way they pack in helos is not readily modeled in a spreadsheet.
 

pmaidhof

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
Country
llUnited States
Given the general level of abstraction in many facets of TacOps, why wouldn't Dennis' spreadsheet or some other SWAG do? Provided that the designer informs the players that the air/sea movement data is based upon "x" source document, "y" spreadsheet, or "z" silly wild-ass guess, I'm sure the players would be fine with it.

With those who have commented on this so far, I'm sure that even most most out of left field idea will have been well thought out and believible.

Go for it.
 

TacCovert4

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
699
Reaction score
3
Location
Watching Girls Go By..............
Country
llUnited States
From personal experience, It is fully possible to transport 2 uparmored Humvees and 2 uparmored 7 tons pulling light utility trailers. This in a C-17.

Extrapolating, it should be more than possible, if done right, to transport 4 humvees and 2 utility trailers, possibly 6 Humvees.

One issue is, however, that to my knowledge, TacOps does not differentiate between fully uparmored soft-skins and standard soft-skins. An uparmored humvee is more than capable of absorbing MG fire, up to and (dependant on area hit) including 7.62 and 12.7. This makes it a viable option for a "hussar" light cavalry unit, that could be dropped into an airhead quickly to perform scout/infantry support duties.

Assuming 6 humvees in a C17, I would advise planeloads 4 and 5 carry the following:

--6 humvees, 2 .50 cal, 2 MK19, and 2 TOW.
--2 Humvees MK 19, 2 7 tons .50 Cal.

This gives you transport capability for 42 troops in addition to the 3 man crews in each vehicle. This gives you a light scout troop with a platoon of medium infantry. AT assets would be the 2 Tow HVees, and any integral Javelin teams the infantry might have.

I advise against MRAPs, as their protection comes at such a cost in weight as to make it only viable to bring 2-3 of them per flight. The airhead can better be served by bringing in either A) large numbers of mobile vehicles and ground based AT assets, or B) small numbers of more powerful vehicles.

I advise against trying to "bradley up" the unit, as those AFVs would be small in number, aren't quite powerful enough to make a long term stand against armor, and frankly suck at the scout role. Coupled with lighter vehicles however, Bradleys could be used as AFV destroyers, using long range missile fire to take out armor while the infantry was supported by its other vehicles.

One weapons system that I highly advise is the MK 19, for both it's counterarmor and counterinfantry roles. Light vehicles and infantry alike, including BDRMS and BTRS, will suffer under its fires, and if dismounted, it can make a useful emplaced weapon.
 

dhuffjr

Forum Conscript
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
781
Reaction score
1
Location
Ohio
Country
llUnited States
Coupled with lighter vehicles however, Bradleys could be used as AFV destroyers, using long range missile fire to take out armor while the infantry was supported by its other vehicles.
No need really. TOW armed HMMWVs have just as long a reach and you get more per plane load. Of course if the OPFOR has lots of artillery a Bradley will be more survivable.
 

JohnfMonahan

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
147
Reaction score
0
Location
Waterford, WI
Country
llUnited States
More like, anybody not? I remember using the little cutouts and figuring COB at the Army Transportation School long ago, in a galaxy far away. LOL
 

pmaidhof

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
Country
llUnited States
Okay, how many of you have MS Excel or a compatible spreadsheet program?
Yes, and for the neanderthals who do not, there are excel compatible readers available on the net subject to the effort of a google search. ;)
 

GCoyote

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Location
Laurel, MD, USA
Country
llUnited States
Attached is Mike Robel's Deployment planning work sheet [Full instructions are on sheet one]. It normally requires info about airfields and enroute deployment but you can probably ignore that and just use it to figure out movement of various parts of a medium brigade.

I have a much larger spread sheet that would need to be updated but it uses the TacOps 4.0.6 APu unit database to compute loads for up to 16 individual aircraft [more than a squadron I think]. Unfortunately I only finished it for the C-130. I had not gotten around to working out the more complex C-17 with different height and width restrictions in the forward vs the aft part of the cargo area.

If there is enough interest I can add that to my Holiday to-do list. :clown:
 
Top