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Old 04-21-2009, 12:55 PM
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Default A Quick Reflection on 1999

I’ve given my 7th Graders a quick writing assignment. I’m typing this in the few spare minutes I have…

While in the car for the daily commute, I’ve been thinking about my grenadier-dragoon-cavalry model and how it might apple to the US Army in WW2 and the Twilight War. Though the US Army probably wouldn’t like the labels (too Euro), the idea might have application. I have been thinking that given the heavily motorized condition of the US Army in North Africa and Europe, the light infantry ought not to be organized into divisions. In the European/North African theater, I think grenadiers would have been most effectively operated in separate brigades which receive all of their heavy support from corps-level assets or a division to which the brigade is temporarily attached. The brigades would be separate, independent maneuver elements similar to the Red Army’s rifle brigades. I’m up in the air about whether the brigades would have field pieces (75mm or 105mm). However, they would have organic motor transport. (Organic motor transport, used correctly, would free the grenadiers from carrying the godawful field packs US troops have been carrying at least since WW2. Less encumbered-soldiers would stay fresher and be better able to do what light infantry do). If a corps had multiple grenadier brigades, the brigades would be combined into a brigade group. The group would be little more than an administrative structure.

It occurred to me that there is a setting in which this idea can be applied. As so many of us have observed, 1999 is a quiet year in Europe. I believe there is a general consensus among us that 1999 is a time of reorganizing and husbanding resources in Europe. Most of the action seems to be light infantry actions. While I was driving, it occurred to me that many US divisions might reorganize themselves into internal light/heavy models. 1st ID, for instance, might concentrate operable AFV into a single brigade and turn all other maneuver elements into light infantry. As time went on and both internal troop strength and operable equipment numbers went down, the heavy/light structure could be either contracted to have heavy task forces and grenadier battalions combined in brigades or battalion task forces with single heavy company teams and multiple light infantry battalions. As the number of operable AFV diminishes, the remaining armor might be concentrated in company teams held at the division (!) level.

All of this goes to my fixation with how the military deals with increasing chaos. Yes, there is a degree to which worsening circumstances will cause units to collapse. Yes, there is a large degree to which things will simply fall apart. The militaries of Twilight: 2000 will resist this trend to the greatest degree possible, though. Individual soldiers will desert. The system will attempt to adapt to changing circumstances. Thus I believe the mechanized formations of USAEUR will develop internal light/heavy splits in a rational and orderly way that both preserves the combat power of massed AFV and exploits the ability of the light infantry to stay in action even when the logistical situation has deteriorated badly.

Webstral
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:08 PM
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Your grenadier concept of troops dumping useless gear;

I am thinking that would happen soon enough through two ways;

1.) A lack of equipment. Gear is expended or worn out and there are no replacements for it. Thus, your packs get lighter and emptier. I mean MOPP suites are usualy big and bulky and also one time use items.

Uniforms and boots wear out and when they are beyond repairing they are discarded.

2.) Useless of overly heavy gear is dumped! WWII the standing joke was the gas mask, which was often "lost" in action. However, you patrol the former stagging areas and you would most likely find all of them. In my day it was the shelter halves and bayonets that would be left behind <in the seabag or wall locker and often along with spare uniforms and sleeping pads>

I mean would the indavidual troops or even company level still issue and carry NVGs when they had no batteries and had no idea when or if they would get batteries in the future? Optics for a Dragon or components for a mortar are useless weight for troops who have no ammo and are often destroyed and abandoned.

Troops tend to be pretty good about "lightening" their packs. And coupled with a lack of replacement gear packs would become light before long, either due to not having the gear, or a lack of equipment to make systems functional.

And also troops are pretty good at just ditching the junk!

And then we also have equipment that is genuinely lost. I mean, you get exposed to NBC and have to suite up in a MOPP suite well the rest of your gear will most likely get exposed and end up abandoned.

You stage your packs prior to an assault and can't return to where they were staged, you just lost your gear.

Bail out of a vehicle thats hit, you don't take your pack.

You have your packs and duffels in the rear when the base gets nuked well its gone. Or its in the supply truck and it hits a mine, well your load just got lighter.

I can honestly see troops by 2000 or even 2001 behind equiped like the Confederates of the American Civil War, a bed roll slung over a shoulder and a satchell for essentials, like rations, spare socks, ammo, shaving gear and maybe a spare shirt in addition to the ammo the carry in their ammo pouches. And that is light infantry!

I recall we did an experiment in the jungle once, no flacks, no helmet, no packs just living on our duecegear for a week, we brought ponchos and poncho liners as a ranger roll, we also had a 3rd Canteen, we moved much faster with fewer head injuries and almost no blisters or similiar injuries that one normal gets from marches.

And lets remember the American Civil War, the North was much better equiped than the South. However, the Southern Troops were less encumbered so they were able to move faster as a result and Jacksons troops had the nickname of "Jacksons Foot Cavalry" since they could move much faster than most other infantry units.

And that is what I see in the T2K world circa 2000-2001
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webstral
While in the car for the daily commute, I’ve been thinking about my grenadier-dragoon-cavalry model and how it might apple to the US Army in WW2 and the Twilight War. Though the US Army probably wouldn’t like the labels (too Euro), the idea might have application.
The U.S. fielded units using the dragoon label/designation at least through the Mexican War so there is some precedent/tradition associated with that title, at least. Grenadier, on the other hand, may be too Euro-centric for U.S. military tastes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webstral
Most of the action seems to be light infantry actions. While I was driving, it occurred to me that many US divisions might reorganize themselves into internal light/heavy models. 1st ID, for instance, might concentrate operable AFV into a single brigade and turn all other maneuver elements into light infantry. As time went on and both internal troop strength and operable equipment numbers went down, the heavy/light structure could be either contracted to have heavy task forces and grenadier battalions combined in brigades or battalion task forces with single heavy company teams and multiple light infantry battalions. As the number of operable AFV diminishes, the remaining armor might be concentrated in company teams held at the division (!) level.
I like this. It's a way for armored and mech. infantry divisions to concentrate their sparse available armored strength without sacrificing too much in the way of mobility.
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:01 PM
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Mounted troops:

The question has been discussed alot, the thing is, how many horses will be available in Europe to outfit such a force, when many would have been neglected, found their way into a stew pot, taken for use as draft animals and all sides using them for similiar purposes? It is not like there is a large horse population now like there was 100 years ago when we used horse power more than motorpower. So, where will they come from?
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jester
Troops tend to be pretty good about "lightening" their packs. And coupled with a lack of replacement gear packs would become light before long, either due to not having the gear, or a lack of equipment to make systems functional.

And also troops are pretty good at just ditching the junk!
It's true that many guys tend to ditch stuff that isn't working for them. Soldiers have a way of deciding for themselves what is essential, though. The nods that don't have any power probably won't get lugged along. The sleeping bag might very well get taken in Germany in October. Obviously, the first aid gear will have to go along. Ditto enough mags and ammunition to get through the fight. I could go on ad nauseum. The combat load for many, many infantry units in Vietnam was huge. The longer the unit goes out and the cooler the climate, the greater the need for gear.

It's also true that combat is going to cause a lot of folks to lose a lot of baggage. The infantry have a habit of picking up what they need (or think they need) from the enemy or other sources. During the back-and-forth action across Central Europe, there are going to be a lot of opportunities for soldiers to lose their A bags and rucks and a lot of opportunities to rifle somebody else's for needed items. As much as soldiers are going to want to lighten their load, they are also going to be anxious about having what they need when they need it. While I pondered this issue, I thought of a coat-of arms for the anxious soldier: a packrat on a field of blue with the motto "vous ne savez jamais" ("you never know").

The relatively short-range infantry actions probably will see a lot of very lightly equipped infantry on the move. Longer-range actions will place a high premium on self-sufficiency. It would be very, very helpful to have Hummers or other light trucks carrying a platoon's bags so that the light fighters wouldn't have to choose between going very light and having enough to get them through tough situations.

This gets one to horses. I think you're absolutely right about horses, Jester. It will be years before any horse-breeding program in post-nuke Europe yields enough horses to sustain a sizeable army. For a while, I thought seriously about mule trains to support 111th MI Brigade. I just couldn't imagine where the mules would come from.

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Old 04-22-2009, 08:22 AM
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I agree with equipment, but especialy for colder climates. But it will be similiar as well, the trooper in Northern Europe will toss his tropical kit. They will adopt as you said local items as they would be more common and most likely more suited for the enviroment.

An example, for N. Europe, off the top of my head, going on the assumption I were say a member of the 8th Marines who took part in Norway.

The idea of going more or less native with gear over some of your issue gear since alot of times localy made gear will be more apropriate for the climate as well as resuply.

So, things like M16s would get swapped for a G-3 or an AK along with mags and mag pouches.

Woolen Uniforms would be adopted to suppliment issue uniforms as they would be more common but also warmed for a colder climate. Of course one would be a fool to ditch their poly pro and goretex.

I think I could still manage to to have a lighter pack operating in an arctic climate. Go with the wool and poly and goretex, with the old style woodland uniforms, mickey mouse boots, sleeping bag, poncho and liner, wool sweater, kevlar and a G-3 along with food, hygene gear and a few other uniform items and for a arctic/snowy climate skiis. I see no purpose to having NBC gear in the arctic as it is of minimal effectiveness.

As for horses and mules,

I would imagine the steppes of central asia, portions of the US Southwest and S. America they would still be fairly common. Remember in the US we still have several million wild horses. And in the US SW we also have a large wild burro population as well. Now the issue is rounding these animals up and breaking them would take some talent as well as time. So, these regions I can see horses and mules would be common.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:57 AM
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Jester,

Good points about the woolen gear and the AK. In fact, I can’t help wondering if raiding parties will not use the enemy’s weapons so that ammunition resupply will become much easier. Use of the enemy’s weapons and ammunition also would serve to confuse things during a raid, which could only be to the benefit of the raiders. Maybe divisions in Europe after 1998 would maintain stores of the enemy’s small arms and light support weapons for use by raiding parties.

Good point about the wild horses, too. Sadly for SAMAD, the wild horse (and mule) population isn’t going to be very large locally. Still, a fair number of the beasts will be living elsewhere in Arizona at the time of the Exchange. However, once the bombs fall wild animals will be meat on the hoof for many, many hungry and desperate Americans with rifles. By the time SAMAD gets serious about animal transport, many of the potential pack animals and cavalry mounts will have been eaten. Nevertheless, you’ve given me some food for thought. Just how many wild horses are there in Arizona? What is a reasonable expectation for mortality from post-Exchange predation by humans?

Hm. All this makes me think that captured wild horses and mules might be the basis for long-distance trade. If SAMAD is going to be a major local user of horses and mules, the animals are going to have to be captured and brought in from elsewhere. A major horse-buying expedition is a perfect excuse to put a reinforced company of motorized infantry on the road from Huachuca to one of the northern parts of the state. Perhaps there is room for a mission for player characters in all of this. Thanks, Jester.

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Old 04-22-2009, 01:15 PM
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Enemy Weapons;

I would think it would be universal for a long range patrol or raiding force to use enemy weapons for the reasons you mentioned, to be less conspicious as well as for the lack of resupply and for leaving less of a footprint for intel.

I mean, if humping a M16 well you will run out of ammo eventualy. And if you get into a fire fight well, the sound is different and will draw every hostile in the region as each shot you make will scream, "AMERICAN! AMERICAN AMERICAN!!!" And how can they track you from engagements, if they find AK cassings, but if you leave a nice trail of 5.56 casings well its just as good as a trail of breadcrumbs. And of course locals or being seen from a distance. A glancing shot alot of times they will identify by the weapons carried. So imagine this scenario;

You are a member of the GRU, you are following reports of an enemy patrol. You hit village of old folks and women. They saw some guys yesterday morning wearing camo. It is a lesson in futility to get the description of the type of camo, to them it is all the same.

But they had "BLACK RIFLES!, Not wooden rifles." POOF!!! You struck gold! If they say, "They wore a camo uniform like you and a rifle like you." Well then that is just a patrol of some local unit and quite possibly ignored.

As for mules and horses,

I know portions of Death Valley and the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon and Red Rock Canyon areas have several large herds of wild buros that are pretty sizable. I doubt they would suffer to much from human hunting as they are in the middle of the desert. Sure, they are in and around major highway routes, but, by then, who will have the fuel to make it to those islolated areas in the middle of such inhospitible areas? And horses are dumb but smart! After a few attacks, they will llearn and take off to areas less populated and less threatening to people.

As for numbers, we on the old site actualy had some numbers. I would check the BLM as I think they are the ones who manage the wild horse and burro adoption program they have here. But I want to say the number is about 7 million.
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