Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Light Infantry Division: Tongo Tongo,Niger,4th of October 2017

The Light Infantry Division's independent air drop capability,that is air drops unsupported by other forces,is specifically intended for use in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Both areas are prone to frequent natural disasters and political instability which may demand rapid humanitarian or military intervention.

In these areas the Light Infantry Division's brigades are unlikely to encounter superior enemy forces and the threat to transport aircraft is low.

Most ground forces in these areas are modern day "warriors armed to the teeth with kiwi fruit and dry guava halves",being poorly trained and motivated and predominantly equipped with Cold War era Soviet or Chinese made weapons such as medium mortars,heavy machine guns,rocket propelled grenades,light machine guns,sniper rifles,assault rifles and mines

The Light Infantry Division is designed to conduct tactically offensive or defensive,mounted or dismounted operations against such opposition.

It may also conduct tactically offensive or defensive,mounted or dismounted operations against poorly equipped medium weight forces such as the British Army's conceptually flawed Strike Brigades.

When faced with heavier opposition such as the 4th Guards Tank Division,the Light Infantry Division shall be used in an offensive manner at the strategic and operational levels but as a defensive mounted skirmishing force or,in close terrain,a defensive dismounted blocking force,at the tactical level.

The low fuel consumption and maintenance requirements of the Light Protected Truck minimise the logistical requirements of the Light Infantry Division and make it well suited to low intensity combat operations which are characterised by a low bullet to mile ratio.

The Light Infantry Division is therefore a suitable formation for anti terrorist operations in the Sahel.

This may be illustrated by considering a recent military operation in this area in which a platoon sized force of soldiers from Niger and the United States of America was defeated by a slightly larger Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant platoon.

"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat,and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy."

The outcome of battle is often decided before the fighting starts.

In Tongo Tongo the Islamic State platoon had the advantages of heavier weapons,superior numbers and superior intelligence while their opponents had a handful of more highly trained soldiers,superior communication systems and air support.

The Nigerien and American platoon suffered failures of intelligence,failures of communication,both within and without the platoon,failures of air support and failures of morale within the Nigerien elements,all of which are normal events in combat,Clausewitz's "friction".

However,there was not sufficient margin of error to allow for success despite these failures,the platoon could not defend it's self without external assistance because senior decision makers had chosen not to exploit one of the greatest advantages available to them,the ability to operate protected vehicles.

Some seem to believe that driving around Africa in Toyota pick up trucks confers invisibility on heavily armed,white men with beards and baseball caps.

Photo: Lt. L.A.W.Powell (Photographer)

This is what white men used to drive around Africa over century ago.

This is a Second World War convoy equipped with First World War era Rolls Royce armoured cars,one may imagine how this convoy might have performed in the Tongo Tongo ambush.

One may also imagine how a platoon from the Light Infantry Division may have dealt with this situation.

A platoon from the Light Infantry Division would consist of forty infantrymen and four Light Protected Trucks,armed with forty Quarter Inch Rifles,four Six Inch Rockets,Four Three Inch Mortars and four Three Eighths Inch Machine Guns.

If this platoon were ambushed outside Tongo Tongo it would be able to drive through the ambush without casualties and turn to face the enemy flank.

This is due to the vehicles ballistic protection,when someone is shooting at you,protection is mobility (this is why the tank was invented).

The vehicle commander's machine guns would then be able to exploit their superior external ballistic qualities and three to twenty four times magnification day scopes to engage enemy vehicles and infantry from beyond the effective range of return fire. 

These may be supported by fire from Quarter Inch Rifles and Six Inch Rockets fired from the two rear roof hatches for a total of twelve weapons firing in any direction from within the protection of the still mobile vehicles.

When the enemy is sufficiently attrited and deprived of their mobility the infantry may dismount half a mile from the enemy and advance behind the protection of their vehicles to clear remaining hostile positions with rifle,rocket and mortar fire.

The platoon from the Light Infantry Division would have defeated the Islamic State force because it had the correct tools for the job at hand.


B.Smitty said...

"A platoon from the Light Infantry Division would consist of forty infantrymen and four Light Protected Trucks,armed with forty Quarter Inch Rifles,four Six Inch Rockets,Four Three Inch Mortars and four Three Eighths Inch Machine Guns."

I like your posts, but what's up with the non-standard, Imperial units of measurement and cumbersome, spelled-out numbers? "Quarter inch rifles"? Umm, 5.56mm? 6.35mm? 6.5mm? Three Inch Mortars? 81mm? "Three Eights Inch Machine Guns"? 7.62mm? .338 Norma?

It makes understanding what you're really listing out significantly more difficult.

The above could be said,

A platoon from the Light Infantry Division would consist of,

- 40 x infantryman
- 4 x Light Protected Vehicle
- 40 x 5.56mm rifles
- 4 x 155m rockets (what kind?)
- 4 x 81mm mortars
- 4 x 7.62mm (.338?) machine guns

Also, of course a full, professional platoon would've performed better than a handful of SPECOPs and a platoon of questionable locals. But that would require a far larger presence in-country, with all of the attendant drawbacks.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello B.Smitty,

the Quarter Inch Rifle,Six Inch Rocket and Three Inch Mortar are what they say on the tin.
They do not fire any standard ammunition.
I wrote a brief overview of the Quarter Inch Rifle in this post:


It shall be chambered in a quarter inch by two inch cartridge.
You won't be able to find any information about that cartridge (or others mentioned here) as it is my own design.
I have no intention of giving away my intellectual property by posting the cartridge drawings on the internet (though people who know something about this subject can deduce some information by working backwards from some of the information I have given).
For the same reason I have deliberately omitted mention of my other innovations relating to the gas system,feed system,ejection system and day sight design.
I can tell you a little about the non-innovative parts of the rifle.
The bayonet/mine probe/multitool shall weigh three quarters of a pound complete with sheath and accessories and have a scaleless titanium blade with tungsten carbided edge.
The bare rifle shall weigh eight and a half pounds including the moderator.
The action shall be driven by a long stroke gas piston,with lightweight reciprocating parts,positioned above the barrel.
The forend shall be skeletonised to reduce weight and promote airflow around the barrel.
The barrel shall be relatively heavy to absorb heat and recoil and put weight directly in line with the axis of recoil,this shall be possible due to weight savings else where,and also fluted to improve the stiffness to weight ratio and increase the surface area to accelerate cooling.
The barrel shall be microgroove rifled,these are commercially available (Marlin is known for them) but uncommon,which may be slightly more efficient than conventional rifling.

There may be a post in the near future describing the Three Inch Mortar,it shall be a one man operated,smoothbore,muzzle loaded mortar throwing a three inch bomb to a range of half a mile.
The sighting system for it seemed novel but,as is often the case,something similar but different had been done before.

The Six Inch Rocket shall be a one man operated,unguided rocket system with a variety of projectiles intended to engage a wide variety of targets at ranges up to half a mile (the ballistic range is far greater than that).

Grand Logistics.

B.Smitty said...

I see.

Is there really a good reason to deviate from existing calibers and designs? Will adopting a Quarter Inch Rifle measurably improve the effectiveness of infantry currently using 5.56mm or 5.45mm? Many have tried to push various different rifle calibers, but most western armies appear satisfied with 5.56mm for general issue, with a sprinkling of larger caliber weapons for DMRs and sniper rifles.

Your "Three Inch Mortar" sounds like the capability that would come from a 60mm commando mortar. What benefit is there from deviating from 60mm mortar rounds and weapons that are in wide use and cheaply available from numerous manufactures?

On the "Six Inch Rocket", why six inch? Why not five point five inch? Four point five inch? Three point five inch? (or somewhere in between)

I posted some thoughts on the future of infantry rocket/missiles. (I need to go back and make it more readable)


To me, it seems like a variety of calibers are needed for various targets and weight categories.

I suggested three types of Guided Light Anti-armor Weapons (GLAWS): light, medium and heavy. This roughly corresponds to guided versions of the LAW, AT4, and Predator SRAW/MBT-LAW/RPG-28.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello B.Smitty,

to answer your comment fully would require far more words than can be posted in the comment box and much of that shall be in future posts anyway.
For now,let me give you just one example.

If you fire a 60mm mortar at an infantry target,during it's time of flight that target can move at an unknown speed in an unknown direction,the product of the target's speed and the time of flight defines the radius of the area in which the target may be located.
Add to that radius an allowance for dispersion,errors in laying the weapon and estimating range,elevation and windage.
If your 60mm mortar bomb generates a larger lethal area then you have a high probability of a one shot kill.
If it is smaller you need to fire another (and then another,and another) bomb which will have the same hit probability as the first if you can sight on the target again,and far lower probability if you cannot.
When you do the maths on this,small bombs start to look like a really bad idea,a smaller number of more effective bombs weighs less and costs less (a fuze alone often costs several times as much as a bomb).
The Three Inch Mortar is designed to generate a larger lethal area than 81mm mortars (due to bomb design which shall be explained in a future post on the subject) in a lightweight package weighing about ten pounds with a packaged bomb weighing about the same.
Using 81mm bombs would create safety or weight issues as the mortar would have to be heavy enough to withstand full power 81mm charges or be at risk of fatal accidents when someone uses the wrong charges if designed only to withstand smaller charges.
While bigger bombs are better,there are also upper weight limits as the weapon has to be light enough for infantry to carry the mortar and bombs in addition to their rifles and other kit.

Grand Logistics.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello B.Smitty,

in answer to one of your questions,the width of a shaped charge is a major factor in it's armour penetration,if you want to penetrate heavy armour you need a wide warhead,which has negative aerodynamic effects which affects other aspects of the design such as the propulsion.

Your blog,interestedamateur.blogspot.com,shall be added to the blog list.

Grand Logistics.

B.Smitty said...

Yes, penetration of HEAT warheads is proportional to diameter. The rule of thumb is anywhere from 5*diameter for older warheads to 10*diameter for the most recent warheads against RHA. ERA adds another dimension, requiring a precursor warhead. But this is all 80s and 90s tech.

Why 6"? Penetration needs to be driven by threat. TOW 2A is a 6" warhead, but is considered marginal against top end threats (e.g. T-90 with latest ERA). TOW 2B uses a dual, top attack, EFP warhead instead.

Does the "Six-Inch Rocket" have a fire control system like Javelin or Spike? Or is it more like Predator SRAW or MBT LAW and issued as a unit of ammunition?

GrandLogistics said...

Hello B.Smitty,

the Six Inch Rocket is a low cost system intended to be procured in large quantities,widely issued and cheap enough to be used against low value targets.
It is intended to fire two families of rockets both of which are entirely unguided and rely on their flight qualities to hit the target.
This approach is adequate at relatively short ranges where flight time,windage and target movement are moderate and the the angle of descent is sufficiently flat to tolerate errors in target range estimation.
Omitting a guidance system reduces the system's cost,weight (this is important when you need a big warhead in a manportable package) and volume allowing a larger number to be on any part of the battlefield at any time.

A top attack warhead requires a stand off fuse,possibly radar,laser or magnetic,and a flight control system to put the missile above the target,both the fuse and guidance system are vulnerable to countermeasures and some types also make the launcher vulnerable to attack in addition to adding cost (which reduces numbers),size and weight to the system.

Man portable weapons are subject to size and weight constraints,a ten inch warhead may be desirable in terms of terminal effect but it's weight and aerodynamic drag would either require a bigger and heavier propulsion system or a sacrifice in flight performance and consequent reduced hit probability in addition to reducing logistical efficiency (fewer missiles per pallet/truck/train/ship etc.).
Therefore it is necessary to to use the smallest practical warhead.
Six inch (non top attack) warheads have a recent record of success against modern Main Battle Tanks such as the Abrams,Leopard 2 and merkava 4.
The latest Russian tanks are said to be designed to withstand 150mm shaped charges though it is not possible to say if this is truth or propaganda.

The Six Inch Rocket is intended for use against a wide range of targets and a variety of warheads and fuses may be fitted to the same propulsion system such as High Explosive Fragmenting with a contact fuse,High Explosive Squash Head with a base mounted fuse,High Explosive Thermobaric with a delay fuse or (the most complex) High Explosive Anti Tank with proximity fused counter-countermeasures and impact fused precursor and main shaped charges.

The same day sight used with the Quarter Inch Rifle may be used on the Six Inch Rocket a more sophisticated fire control system such as those by Aimpoint or Trijicon may be used as an option but there is little benefit except when engaging a vehicle crossing the line of sight at a large angle,high speed and long range.

Incidently,when I first came up with the idea for this rocket,T.O.W.2B was newfangled and a six inch shaped charge was big.

Grand Logistics.