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What size force could we actually deploy?

GR66

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I have a theoretical question for those with much deeper understanding of our military capabilities than I.

Assuming that the CF were to become involved in high-intensity land combat with a peer or near-peer enemy, what size of force would we actually be able to deploy and support in the field?  What kind of supporting force structure would we need to keep such a force in the field for a realistic period of combat while maintaining it's general capabilities (i.e. forget the idea of mass conscription to send waves of riflemen at the enemy once all of our vehicles have been destroyed!).  Assuming that we would be acting as part of a coalition, where would this force fit in with our partners (i.e. a unit capable of independant operations, a Corps level asset or a Divisional level asset?). 

How does your "reality" match up with our actual current capabilities/force structure?
 

brihard

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If we put everything in play? Theoretically a division of probably 2:1 mech:motorized infantry (I'm including a reserve callup in this).

Looking back to Germany, we had a brigade deployed as, if I'm not mistaken (if I am I'll be quickly corrected) a corps level strategic reserve. I imagine we would have more success providing three independent manoeuvre brigades to allied divisional or corps formation for such a capacity than we would in trying to deploy a CanDiv.

Our logistics would be stretched, however if our brigades were deployed as corps assets that logistical shortfall would be mitigated to a degree by corps logistical assets; i.e., we would probably find ourselves substantially supported by the Americans.

The fact that each of our brigades would come with its own organic field engineer, artillery, field amb, and armoured/recce regiments would make them relatively potent as brigade level formations, and probably ideal to serve as strategic reserves to go where needed.

I expect our fast air and SOFCOM units would get pooled with the remainder of the coalition force, and we would draw on coalition air support as needed.

I probably don't know much more about this than you though, so I'll sit here now and await my slap down.
 

George Wallace

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Brihard

Just a small correction on what you say we had in Germany.  We did not have a Brigade in Germany, we had a Brigade Group.  It was larger than a Brigade and more able to sustain itself.
 

dapaterson

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The very short (and unsatisfactory) answer is:  it depends.

What are the national strategic objectives we are trying to realize?  What level of disruption are we willing to endure?  Do we maintain garrisons and training infrastructure (people, equipment, bases) or do we close them to re-direct personnel to this notional war effort?

Who are we allied with in this scenario?  Complimentary capabilities vary depending on who we are working with.


Our largest constraint would probably be equipment.  Going off Wikipedia (less than ideal, but an open source reference) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modern_Canadian_Army_equipment) we have:

203 Coyote
651 LAV III
199 Bison
1143 M113 & variants (MTVL etc)

66 Leo C2
95 Leo 2A4+
40 Leo 2A6

96 C3 Howitzers
28 LG-1 Howitzers
12 M777 Howitzers

Try to assemble that into some sort of fighting force, while retaining some on the side for log stock, and others for training, and remembering that you add complexity to the support tail as you go with odd combinations of vehicles in a single formation.


Alternatively, look at the current Army force structure (Reg F):

3 Horse Artillery Regts (Bns)
3 Armd Regts (Bns)
1 AD Artillery Regt (Bn)
3 Cbt Engr Regts (Bns)
1 Engr Sp Regt (Bn)
3 HQ & Sig Sqns
1 Electronic Warfare Regt (Bn)
9  Inf Bns

Organized into three Brigade Groups.  Play with those pieces to see what may be possible - but looking at the equipment constraints above.


And, as previously mentionned, the support piece would be quite challenging; we have limited strategic air mobility assets, and no Big Honkin' Ships.
 

GR66

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Thanks for the input dapaterson,

I'm think it would be a fair assumption that we should not expect a lot of notice in order to gear up for a major conflict.  Of course we could be lucky enough to see something far enough away to do some specific preparation, but I think it would be prudent for any nation to assume that they will have to (at least initially) respond with whatever forces they already have available.  Also with the lead times for major military equipment being what they are I think we should assume any war will be a "come as you are" affair.

The 2005 White Paper called for being able to indefinitely deploy 2 land Task Forces of approx. 700 personnel each (to be expanded to 1,200 personnel) as well as a separate, short-term/reinforcement Task Force of approx. 1,000 personnel.  I take that to likely imply 2 combined arms Battle Groups and an additional (light?) Battle Group.

We currently have 1 Battle Group in Afghanistan (with supporting units).  Would we be physically capable of deploying a 2nd Battle Group there (or somewhere else) right now with the manpower and equipment we have?  Is deploying (and sustaining) a Brigade Group even a remote possibility?

As for allies I'd assume that we'd be looking at fighting alongside the Americans and/or the Brits/Aussies.  I'm not sure that anyone else has both the expeditionary capabilities to deploy alongside and close enough political ties that our Government/citizens would support working with.
 

dapaterson

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Saying we have a single BG deployed is true.  It`s also true that income tax was introduced as a temporary measure to fund WWI.

Looking at the current ORBAT (and no, I do not have an unclas source for it) the size of the land commitment is precariously close to the size we committed to have deployed on two lines of operations.

In other words, when we speak of (roughly) 2800 folks deployed, that represents more than the Army`s commitment of 2x700.
 

bdave

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Whta causes our armed forces to be so small?
It is a restriction brought on by budget, by necessity (don't need more than X amount of Y,Z) or by poor infrastructure?
 

Jungle

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GR66 said:
We currently have 1 Battle Group in Afghanistan (with supporting units).  Would we be physically capable of deploying a 2nd Battle Group there (or somewhere else) right now with the manpower and equipment we have?  Is deploying (and sustaining) a Brigade Group even a remote possibility?

We did just a few months ago: OP HESTIA.

We deployed a 2000 strong TF in a matter of days following the earthquake.
 

danchapps

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Jungle said:
We did just a few months ago: OP HESTIA.

We deployed a 2000 strong TF in a matter of days following the earthquake.

As well as all the pers involved with TF3-09 (2800ish), and Op Podium (can't remember he numbers)
 

GR66

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Jungle said:
We did just a few months ago: OP HESTIA.

We deployed a 2000 strong TF in a matter of days following the earthquake.

Noted and point very well taken. 

I'm curious though if the 1 month deployment of the 3 R22eR Battalion Group (Jan 14th arrival of advance party to March 22nd return of last member according to the OP Hestia Fact Sheet) along with all the other units can be fairly equated with an "indefinite" deployment of a 1,200 person strong Land Task Force undertaking combat operations as envisioned in the 2005 White Paper (the Afghan mission representing the other Task Force). 

 

brihard

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Jungle said:
We did just a few months ago: OP HESTIA.

We deployed a 2000 strong TF in a matter of days following the earthquake.

It's worth noting that the logistics of developing what was essentially a light force centered on a humanitarian mission is very different from deploying a combat capable force with all its heavy equipment.
 

Jungle

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Brihard said:
It's worth noting that the logistics of developing what was essentially a light force centered on a humanitarian mission is very different from deploying a combat capable force with all its heavy equipment.

It is worth noting that the eqpt that is deployed in Afg would not be suited for a similar mission in Haiti; there would be very little use for LAV-3s, Leo 2s etc...

The point is that for a few weeks, the CF had 3 major lines of ops going.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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GR66 said:
I have a theoretical question for those with much deeper understanding of our military capabilities than I.

Assuming that the CF were to become involved in high-intensity land combat with a peer or near-peer enemy, what size of force would we actually be able to deploy and support in the field? 

How does your "reality" match up with our actual current capabilities/force structure?

If you are asking us what we think the CF could deploy, why are you asking us if our reality matches our actual capabilities?  Since you are asking us our opinions they should be one in the same.  Are you asking us what we'd like to see or what we think there is?
 

brihard

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Jungle said:
It is worth noting that the eqpt that is deployed in Afg would not be suited for a similar mission in Haiti; there would be very little use for LAV-3s, Leo 2s etc...

The point is that for a few weeks, the CF had 3 major lines of ops going.

Certainly. My comment was within the context of the original question in the thread- what could we deploy for warfighting?

But yeah, you're absolutely right that we were able to simultaneously maintain that level of commitment for a time in terms of manning.
 

ArmyRick

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We better get something straight. Operations means operations and that includes Full Spectrum of Ops (Afghanistan), domestic (OP Podium) and Humanitarian. Each operation still requires a mission analysis, a proper estimate and than it takes resources. Usually our most valuable resource, man power.

Lets not be sitting here and monkey around with "only war fighting ops"... Deploying soldiers (in Canada or abroad) is a big deal and to the troops on the ground it can be taxing (A soldier dealing with IED or fire fights in the stan or a soldier lugging 500 sand bags a day in some flooded area as examples).

BTW DAPaterson, we DO NOT have 1143 some odd M113s. That was like the original early sixties purchase. We are down to about 200 maybe 250 tops functional TLAVs in service. I do know of some areas or bases where M113s are just sitting and waiting to be scrapped. Those ones are no way deployable or usable anymore.

Wikipedia is not the most trusted source as you already know. I remember someone screwed around with the article on USMC recruit training so it said something to the effect of having to run 3 miles barefoot over broken glass with meat tied tied to your butt while angry dogs are chasing you.

Thats my two cents.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Further to my last question, I think that you need to refine your problem.  Are you looking at indefinate combat with a peer/near-peer?  If we call Desert Storm or the invasion part of OIF "peer/near-pear" combat then bear in mind that the organized fighting phase was actually pretty short. 

All that to say that there would be a difference between "surging" a force for short-duration high-intensity fighting with a peer/near peer (no rotations) and sustaining a prolonged stability operation/COIN mission (many rotations).
 

Haggis

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ArmyRick said:
I remember someone screwed around with the article on USMC recruit training so it said something to the effect of having to run 3 miles barefoot over broken glass with meat tied tied to your butt while angry dogs are chasing you.

They don't do that?

One factor that must be considered regardless of the size of force needed is that there must be the political will to dispatch the force.  Having four, six or ten brif\gades is useless if the political will to deploy them is absent.
 
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Before one gets to troops to tasks, its a good idea to conduct an analysis of the mission.  What is it that the troops should be expected to do?  The spectrum of conflict is quite wide and warfare isn't just simply two forces in opposition in high intensity land combat. 
 

dapaterson

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ArmyRick said:
BTW DAPaterson, we DO NOT have 1143 some odd M113s. That was like the original early sixties purchase. We are down to about 200 maybe 250 tops functional TLAVs in service. I do know of some areas or bases where M113s are just sitting and waiting to be scrapped. Those ones are no way deployable or usable anymore.

Wikipedia is not the most trusted source as you already know. I remember someone screwed around with the article on USMC recruit training so it said something to the effect of having to run 3 miles barefoot over broken glass with meat tied tied to your butt while angry dogs are chasing you.

I'm well awaqrea of the shortfalls of WIkipedia - the numbers they cite are pretty much exclusively initial acquisitions.  However, the number of unclas sources is small, and I'd rather err on the side of quoting wikipedia vice releasing information that's not mine to release.

We live in an imperfect world.
 

vonGarvin

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Sprinting Thistle said:
Before one gets to troops to tasks, its a good idea to conduct an analysis of the mission.  What is it that the troops should be expected to do?  The spectrum of conflict is quite wide and warfare isn't just simply two forces in opposition in high intensity land combat.
Good point; however, the original question is "what size force could we actually deploy?".  So, assume the biggest LAND or JOINT force we could deploy for "worse case scenario" (after Zombie infestation, of course).

*IF* we were to look at what we have, we *could* deploy 3 brigade groups with an ad hoc "division" commanding it, leaving the cupboards bare.  There isn't the divisional level logistics to sustain that for any really extended period of time.  And our brigade groups are just that: groups. This is because they have divisional assets with them, such as the Bde Recce Sqn (from the Div Recce Regt) and the Engr Regt (which is a divisional asset) and the Arty (there should be a divisional artillery brigade, with the brigades having no integral fire support).

So, we "could" assemble our artillery into a brigade (which means that the infantry and armour REALLY need mortars for integral fire support), warn off one Engr Regt to be the Div Engr (which means that the infantry and armour REALLY need those assault troops and assault pioneers back), and we could make homogenous brigades for deployment:
The RCR Brigade of 3 x Inf Bns;
PPCLI Brigade of 3 x Inf Bns;
R 22eR Brigade of 3 x Inf Bns;
Armd Brigade of 3 x Tk Regiments (if there are enough tanks);
1 x Arty Brigade of GS, DS and all sorts of arty, including rocket artillery;
1 x Armd Recce Regt;
1 x Engr Regt;
HQ and Signal Regiment;
and so forth. 
I'm not sure if we could do that. 

So, that leaves the other option of going with what we have: 3 x Brigade Groups under an ad hoc command.  Since we fail to follow doctrine, let's make it ad hoc. (Where is our replacement and holding unit?  Why do we send people on HLTA for several weeks when they are in combat?  Why is going to combat considered "good for your PER" and not "doing Good for your country?", but I digress....)

 
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