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Author Topic: Should the CF retain MBTs?
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posted 20 November 2021 14:05     Profile for Brock   Author's Homepage   Email Brock     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The Canadian Armed Forces recently updated all of its Leopard C-1 MBTs to Leopard C-2 standard. In my opinion, this is merely another round of wishful thinking that it has the equipment and therefore capablility to fight a modern mechanized war with heavy armour MBTs and supporting vehicle's. Even tankers must admit that the Leopard C-2 supported Combat Brigades, even if fully equipped with Leopard C-2s, could not go toe-to-toe with a brigade equipped with modern MBTs and supporting AFVs such as the Leopard II's and Marder's or T-80's and BMP-3's that had crew of similar training. Canadian crew's would be decimated, even by a smaller force. The Leopard C-2 is merely an improved vintage late 1950's tank design. Why pretend that Canada has mechanized combat brigade groups that can fight "with the best against the best", when clearly we are not equipped to do so and it is highly ulikely that Canada will ever be.

Canada would be much wiser to embrace the the interim combat brigade groups that the US is scrambling to create and has just recently ordered 2000 plus LAV III from Canada based Diesel Division General Motors to equip three brigade groups plus spares for training and attrition. These brigades fast and highly mobile, although in some area's tracked vehicle's enjoy advantages such as in severly swampy terrain. They are essentially modern day cavalry brigades supported by substantial numbers of infantry and combat support units such as artillery. These brigades are of use in all war scenarios, even high intensity conflict where they are able to act as quick strike brigades. Although they aren not able to go toe-to-toe with a heavy armour brigade equipped with modern MBTs and AIFV's they can easily run away if they meet stiff opposition. Yes, Canada loses the capabilty to fight even in a very limited heavy armour battle, but is it likely that Canada ever would and since we aren't equipped to do so what person would want to. When or if MBTs are not utilized by the CF, it is even more unlikely that any politician or officer would ever put the military into a situation where they must go toe-to-toe with a well-equipped mechanized armour brigade group.

The LAV III should be adopted as the sole armoured vehicle in the Canadian Armoured Forces due to its excellent combination of more than adequate tactical mobility and fighting capability and its exceptional strategic mobility. In a high intensity situation Canada could offer battle or combat brigade goups entirely equipped with LAV III vehicles to act as fast strike units where tracked vehicles are too slow, without losing world influence to allies because of riding on past actions (ie. Desert Storm). In medium to low intensity conflicts LAV III equipped brigades are far superior to their tracked counterparts. And in peackeeping scneario the vast majority of parites will have no problem with a well equipped wheeled combat brigade on their homeland, but the many countries will not accept heavily armoured vehicles, because they signal a loss of control to the conflicting parties. Also, when things get out of hand these brigades are able to hold their own. Just my thoughts. Please provide yours, as other critiques could improve improve mine or show mine to be wrong.

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posted 23 January 2021 04:22     Profile for McG   Author's Homepage   Email McG     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Canada could do great things with LAV III brigades based on the US model, however there are some tasks that only a MBT can do. Maybe it is time to look at buying new. Will a Leopard III be on the market any time soon? Seriously though, I don't belive MBT should be eliminated from the CF. They should be concentrated so that they can be employed on mass, and Leopard 1 should be replaced by a modern generation tank such as the Leclerc or the Leopard II Improved.

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Yard Ape
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posted 21 March 2021 13:29     Profile for Yard Ape   Email Yard Ape     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
If we do eliminate the MBT from the CF inventory, should we not also eliminate the Armoured regiment? Adding one LAV III fire support Coy to each Inf Bn would result one fewer Coy/Sqn sized formations in each Bde. The current 20 CMBG model calls for four tank Sqns. It would also eliminate one Bn's sized HQ and suppurt element.

Yard Ape

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posted 25 March 2021 05:05     Profile for Nate   Email Nate     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I agree, Canada should integrate the Armour Regiments with the Inf battalions, using LAV 105s and focusing on combined arms.

However, with the manpower saved in this reorganization, Canada should form a single, small, Armoured Cavalry Regiment-equipped exclusively with MBTs, tracked RECCE, and tracked SP howitzers. this forces main goal would be to retain a core heavy armour formation for the CAF LFs, should the need ever arise to reconstitute a heavy armour capability. A secondary (or primary) purpose for such a unit would be to allow the mainstay light armour brigades to train against heavy armour units, and develop and hone tactics for successfully engaging such. It could act as a regular OPFOR at Shilo or Petawawa, and allied heavy and light armour formations could train against them, for a user fee. This fee would be used to fund the maintenence of the ACR.

Composition could be as follows:

3 squadrons of 36 MBTs (Leo 1C2s for now, perhaps surplus M-1s or Leopard 2s in future)

Each squadron would have a troop of say 12 M-113 equipped for RECCE-with Delco 25TOW turret, or just a simulated weapon-the idea here is training, not actual combat.

Support-use the Taurus, Beaver and Badger LEO variants for comabt service support, engineers, etc.

ID Fire Support-one battalion of the M-109s, sell the rest.

Basically, the CAF ACR would be a slightly scaled down version of the US ACR. It would retain the core heavy armour function of the CAF, 2000-2500 men, it would be available for an emegency, but its main purpose would be to train our reg Brigades in counter heavy armour warfare, and retain a MBT capability.

The real issue behind giving up MBTs is that we some think that once it is gone, it is gone. This is true to a degree. But if we aren't going to use MBTs, and can't afford a army which will utilize MBTs for its primary mission, then why attempt to retain them in an operational capacity? For the Reg force brigades, go all wheeled, rapid response capability. Give the navy and air force the ability to transport these forces strategically. If money is left, and these missions are covered first, maintain a small cadre of MBT and heavy armour for training/reconstitutive purposes.




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posted 25 March 2021 15:07     Profile for RCA   Author's Homepage   Email RCA     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The Armoured Corps is in the unenvyable popsition of being split in two compltely different branches (recce and tank) and a very bleak future.

For what its worth , if LFC are going to keep tanks then it must do so wholeheartly. The military maxium is mass x velocity and single Armoured regts or a comined brigade isn't going to cut it. Not enough mass. To organize (with tanks) we must be looking at Div sized units organized with 2 x CMBG and 1 x Armoured Brigade Group as the punch. Seeing how the economics of today's forces are ,this isn't llikely.

So the question remains keep tanks so as not to lose those skills or move to a LAV III concept and lose our armoured capability completely. Those of us who aren't zipperheads it is easy to move towards this doctrine, but for our tanker bretheren, a bitter pill to swallow.

Reading some of the above, you see the Armoured Corps as gloried infantry support, (shades of the Brits prior to WWII.) This is not their role nor should it be.

There will be no easy solution and it will probably be a politcal one that pleases no one. My feelings is that we should move towards the American Armoured Cav Regt (3 or 4 of them) concept (relacing CMBGs) wihch are self contained Battle Groups that can operate indepedantly or as part of task groups (this Arm Cav can either be wheeled ie LAV III based [prefererable] or tracked). Add 1 x Armoured Brigade and we have a multi-capable combat force.



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Yard Ape
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posted 27 March 2021 10:36     Profile for Yard Ape   Email Yard Ape     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The Armoured Corps' greatest threat is the black & white / tank or recce philosophy. There is much more potential to armour than just the above.

One role suited to the Armoured corps, but which is not recognised in the 20 CMBG model, is anti-tank. Canadian Btl Gp doctrine recognises three types of armour units: Tank, Recce, and Tank Destroyer. No specialised anti-tank sub-units exists within the tank regiments. If the armoured were amalgamated into the Inf Bn, they could also assume (or share with the infantry) the role of the anti-tank Pl. They would be using the LAV III TUA. If the two are not combined that tank regiments could have their own integrated Anit-Tank Tp or Sqn.

When we refer to recce, in the CF, we are typically referring to the stealthy sneak-and-peak approach. Often forgotten is what is commonly called heavy recce. Heavy recce is, unlike its name suggests, the mid-point between heavy armour and armoured recce. It consists of the light tank. It can produce a heavier screen than recce units or a more mobile covering force than the heavy tanks, and (as its name suggests) Heavy recce would provide the capability to conduct recce by force. This is the type of formation I typically think of when I hear people talking about armoured cavalry.

There is also mechanised cavalry. This is the role given to reserve armoured recce regiments. It is basically the same role performed by armoured recce, but in lighter softskined vehicles (read "Iltis"). There is no reason the armoured corp could not provide a Sqn of mechanised cavalry to support each light Inf Bn. The sqn could also fill the role of Anti-tank (if provided TOW systems) or mechanised fire support (with HMG's, 40mm grenade launchers, recoilless rifles, etc). These Sqn could employ armoured LUV like the Mowag Eagle for better survivability.

Nate, I like your ACR suggestion. I would put it in Gagetown and relocate all the RCR to Ontario as part of 2 CMBG (although the troops might prefer Borden to living with the rest of the Bde in Pet).

Within the CMBGs, I would add a fire support Coy to each Mech Inf Bn (ideally all three would be mech) and a Mech Cav Coy to the light Bn (or nothing to the light Bn). The recce Sqn could be increased to a small Cav Bn. It would consist of one recce Sqn and two heavy recce/armoured cav Sqns (or one Armoured Cav and one Anti-Tank Sqn). Thus an independent armour presence would not be lost.

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posted 30 March 2021 02:14     Profile for McG   Author's Homepage   Email McG     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Unfortunatly, Yard Ape, the 20 CMBG model does not accuretly reflect the composition of the Bdes. The last time I checked the Tank Regiments consisted of HQ, CSS, one recce Tp, one Tank Sqn with Leo's, one fire support Sqn with Cougars (now replaced by Coyotes), and the Bde's Recce Sqn (attached for administrative purposes) in Coyotes. While your initial proposal would see the elimination of the Regt's HQ & Recce Tp and the disperssion of it's CSS, it would result in only minimal manpower reductions. Your susequent proposal to create Cav Bn's in each Bde (in addition to the Fire Support Coys) would require an increase in Bde strength. That would not be a safe path to tread at a time when there is talk of cutting a Bde at their current sizes.

Nate, I like the LAV25-TOW idea, but I would rather see them employed on operational vehicles. We should buy the turret for the LAV III, and put its LAV25 turret on the Cougars for the reserves to train in (as a "Coyote Trainer").

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posted 17 April 2021 21:57     Profile for recceguy   Email recceguy     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

Lots of variables at work here. Put away all MBT's in favour of all wheel? Maybe in this country as they won't spend the money to properly equip us. Still, the tank is a wonderfully intimidating weapon that strikes fear into people on the ground. If you have ever been witness to a Sqn of tanks doing an armoured hasty attack, it makes every one spectating walk away in awe. Yes, there are many weapons that will defeat an MBT (the old, "I can take one out with a Carl G" argument) but they never travel alone. And personally I don't want to be the first to draw the attention of the other three tanks! The same arguments can be put forward against all armoured vehs. The old maxim (and no disrespect intended here) that a single tank can do more damage in 15 minutes than an entire company of infantry can in a day, still holds true. I've made comments in other posts about the offers given to Canada by other countries, ref: availability of more tanks for Canada. Remember, we work on the concept of combat teams, I'll cover your ass crossing the field, you watch mine in town. This includes all arms, incl the air defence guys to cover us all from fast air and helos. So without being for or against the following statements, I offer you this article that was sent to me. Thought you may be interested. Pay special attention to what the veteran Infantry officer has to say.

THE age of the heavy battle tank is over, says the senior officer in charge of
the British Army's weapons.

Has the mighty, 70-ton, Challenger main battle tank had its day?

Since its introduction on the Somme in 1916, the tank has been regarded as
the master of the battlefield. But with the increasing sophistication of modern
weapons, especially the attack helicopter, its influence has declined, according
to military experts.

A different political climate, including the end of the Cold War, has also influenced strategic thinking on its future. Maj-Gen Peter Gilchrist, master general of ordnance, made his comments to an international group of officers and defence industrialists at the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham, Wiltshire.

He said: "In the long term, we expect technology to allow us to deliver a better capability than current forces from a significantly lighter platform. We believe that the 70-ton tank, manifested in Challenger 2 and other Nato main battle tanks, will have had its day. It will be replaced by a lighter system with greater protection and firepower."

Christopher Foss, editor of Jane's Armour and Artillery magazine, said: "The chances of having an East-West war have gone and, with it, the need for a huge stock of tanks." The shelf-life of Britain's 386 Challenger 2 tanks, which cost 4 million each, comes to an end in 2025.

Britain, America and Sweden are looking at a 20-ton replacement that will be
air-transportable but retain its firepower and protection. Electric engines would make them smaller and quieter with the average crew reduced from four to two. Stealth technology, including building tanks from plastic which is being developed by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, could be used to defend it against "intelligent" weapons.

An MoD spokesman said: "We are looking at what will happen when the Challenger finishes service. We are considering technology that might allow us to have the same punch a tank has but in a lighter form that is air-transportable. This is not the death of the tank but its evolution."

A former infantry officer, who was among the first to enter Kosovo in 1999, argued that the tank was still an important asset. He said: "We knew the Serbs had a significant tank element in Kosovo and we would have to fight like with like."

He said: "The American Apache helicopters kept crashing and would have been very limited in mountainous terrain where the Serbs were well dug in. If it had come to a fight, we would have got nowhere without tanks. When we finally did deploy into Kosovo, putting a tank on a road junction was rather like having a bouncer on the door at a nightclub."

While some still regard tanks as the best anti-tank weapons, it is argued that their size and lack of speed make them vulnerable. Attack helicopters travel at 200mph and their missiles have a range of three miles, allowing them to threaten flanks of armoured formations moving at 50mph.

But Brig Andrew Gadsby, a former cavalry officer now marketing manager at Vickers, said: "From one point of view the tank is dead. The 70-ton monster will be replaced by something that has the exact same characteristics." David Fletcher, of the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, said: "They have been sounding the death-knell of the tank since bazookas were introduced in the Second World War."

17 March 2001: [International] Germany sends tanks into Macedonia
3 March 2001: [International] Taliban tanks and artillery fire on Buddhas 25 February 2001: [City] Rolls-Royce wins 200m tank deal
16 February 2001: [International] India signs deal to buy 310 tanks from Russia
11 February 2001: Villagers fight MoD over tank firing on fells

The above was taken from the Telegragh, issue 2150 on 14 Apr 01 @

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posted 21 April 2021 00:14     Profile for Briar   Email Briar     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
You have apples and oranges. Having been a member of the US Army, and suffered through the trials, and non-adoption of the LAV, I can tell you that they are a far cry from the MBT. That is why the recon elements went with the M-3 series. The LAV brigades were already tried in the mid-80's and found to be too light. That is why the US Marines adopted the LAV (lightweight & amphibious), the Army did not. When the battles began in the Persian Gulf, the USMC realized it made a mistake and had to get M-1 MBT's, some old M-60's, upgrade them, and train tank crews like hell (the heavy force had been seriously neglected.) The US light brigades are not equipped for heavy, nor sustained combat. If you can guarentee me they would only be used in the settings that would work for the LIB doctrine, fine. But you can't. A force has to be flexible and adaptable to all types of situation. The US has adopted the ACR system, which works quite well, but has kept the basis with heavy hardware.

As for going toe-to-toe, well, you have to know something about your enemy. Just because they have T-80's doesn't make them good. Chad defeated Libya with almost no armor. They used Toyota pick-ups with anti-tank guns and heavy MG's. When interviewed and asked if their tactics would work against a first-class army, a Chadanian General replied:"No, probably not. But then we weren't fighting a first-class army, were we?" Canada has a much better level and quality of training. That puts them at an advantage over most world forces.

Should Canada keep its armor? It has to.

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Yard Ape
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posted 27 April 2021 10:17     Profile for Yard Ape   Email Yard Ape     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What is the status of the 120 mm turret that was being prototyped for the Leo 1? If that is ready to go, it would have been a better purchase than older turrets w/add-on armour. Or If there were a model with an auto-loader to allow for reduced crew size. Does such a thing exist for leopards?

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posted 28 April 2021 00:55     Profile for fortuncookie5084   Email fortuncookie5084     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Maybe the stress of finals last week and again this week are putting me in a bit of a sour mood, but just as I am sickened by fellow Soldiers advocating our neglect of Airborne forces, it breaks my heart to see us debate seriously the idea of Canada getting rid of heavy armour. The above post that said Canada has good training and needs a heavy tank force is right on. Let's stop even considering less than the best---that's what got Canada into the mess in the first place. If we want to debate, let's debate the Abrams versus the Challenger, or whether a slower Merkava with more armour than any other MBT and a squad of infantry in the back, is a better tank than the faster and more boxy Leopard 2. Let's argue about a turbine engine's pluses and minuses. Let's entertain the thought of light tanks, and devise ways to get the heavy stuff to the battle--Canada's really big problem now. We should put an END to this defeated attitude and all the stuff about Canada being a weak country. Anybody that has worked with Canada knows we probably have the best trained soldiers in the world, but also the worst equipment of the major armies.
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