Sunday, July 14, 2013

Terminology Questions

One of the things I've wondered about our Army's new brigade structure is whether they will also be triangular in regard to the companies in the battalions. I also wonder if the "armored" brigades designation for twelve of our brigades means a departure from our current "heavy" brigades.

Our current "heavy" brigade combat teams have two maneuver battalions with 4 companies each, split evenly between tank and mechanized infantry companies. I liked this balance because I've read that experience going back to World War II showed that a balance between infantry and tanks works better than having too many tanks and too few infantrymen.

Is it significant that we will call the larger new brigades "armored" brigades? Does this mean we are abandoning the balanced organization in favor of one that favors tanks? In the past, an armored brigade would have 2 tank battalions and 1 mechanized battalion, each with 3 maneuver companies of their designation. It would be routine for the battalions to swap companies so that each battalion would have 2 tank companies and 1 mechanize company. The companies could swap platoon, too, to create mixed company-sized "teams."

Or is the return to "armored" terminology just a salute to tradition? Or is it just a blanket term for different organizations that might be tank-heavy, balanced, or mechanized infantry-heavy?

After all, we say we will have 14 "infantry" brigades when that clearly has to include paratrooper and air mobile brigades. I assume the infantry brigades will really be motorized infantry (with trucks and lightly armored vehicles), after all, rather than true marching infantry.

There is much to wonder about, including how the Army National Guard's combat units will fit in.