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Friday, March 17, 2017

SBCT Infantry Company Project Part 2: Organization

See all entries on this project

The Stryker Infantry Company

The Stryker Infantry Company with attachments will be the basis for one the forces I am assembling.  For all of the details on the formation, see FM 3-21.11 The SBCT Infantry Rifle Company.

"The SBCT infantry rifle company capitalizes on the strengths and minimizes the limitations of mechanized and light doctrine. The light infantry ethos is the foundation of this organization but is combined with the speed, mobility, and precision of mounted warfare. Success is achieved by integrating the complementary characteristics of each type of infantry where decisive action must occur."

To support this concept the SBCT has these organic assets:
*The official organization of the SBCT Infantry Rifle Company has been modified since the FM was published.  The original concept was for every company to have a platoon of Mobile Gun Systems for direct fire support.  These are Strykers with a 3 man crew and a 105mm gun and autoloader.  They were designed to provide direct fire support to the Infantry and NOT act as a tank.  Fielding and budget issues have convinced the Army to reduce the number purchased, so instead of 3 per company (27 per SBCT) there are 9 assigned to the SBCT Anti-Tank Company (9 per SBCT).  More on this in the attachments section.

Organic assets:
The vehicles are all available from Picoarmor, and I am using the following codes:
  • Infantry: This is the main combat power of the company.  As you can see above, the company has Rifle squads (also armed with Javelin ATGM), weapons squads with M240’s, and a sniper team.  

  • ICV: The majority of the vehicles in the company are the Infantry Carrier Vehicle 
  • Mortar Carrier: The Company has an organic section of two 120mm Stryker Mortar carriers.  This provides immediate indirect fire and smoke, including precision guided munitions. 
  • Medical Evac: I am not modeling the company ambulance yet, but probably will, it is available also 
  • FIST:  The Company has a dedicated fire support team that acts as the company commander’s main coordinator for indirect fire and air support.  Interestingly, the Army is experimenting with mounting a 5kW laser on this chassis to defend against UAV’s.  I will be modeling this with the RV version of the Stryker, as they look similar and are basically ICV’s with extra sensors and laser designators on top. 
  • Raven UAV: This was added to the Company around 2006 and gives the company commander direct ability to “see over the next hill,” although there are some limitations to its use in highly mobile conditions, see: "Tactical Employment of the Raven SUAS"  . This will need to be modeled in the rules.

There are a plethora of assets than can be attached to the company from battalion or brigade levels.  These include:

  • Battalion 120mm mortar platoon, which I will model as off table
  • Battalion Scout Platoon: 4 x Stryker Reconnaissance vehicle with scout teams
  • Fire support from the SBCT Field Artillery Battalion of towed 155mm guns
  • Anti-Tank Platoon: 3 vehicle TOW Anti-Tank platoon attached from Brigade Anti-Tank Company

  • MGS Platoon: 3 vehicle MGS platoon attached from Brigade Anti-Tank Company
  • Combat Engineers: Engineer support from the SBCT Engineer Company, I am not fielding this yet, but the vehicle is available from Picoarmor

There are also attachments that are not organic to the SBCT that have a high chance of being attached and falling within the SBCT Infantry Rifle Company Commander’s control or area of operations.
·        M1A2 MBT’s
o   It is probable that armor could be attached to a SBCT for high intensity operations.  That has been practiced at the National Training Center and in one example a Stryker company was organized with 1 Infantry Platoon and 2 Tank platoons, see: "The Stryker-Tank Company Team" 
o   I am representing M1’s with M1A2 TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit) variants, as they have reactive armor, which will probably become more common over the next few years 
Aviation: The SBCT has no organic aviation component, but the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) is station in Germany and has 2 attack battalions equipped with AH-64D’s.
All in all, the SBCT Infantry Company Commander has a plethora of organic potential assets under his command to accomplish his mission.

OPFOR: Krasnovian Army
I am modeling the wily Krasnovians on Russian Combined Arms Battalion Tactical Groups.  While superficially similar to old Soviet organization and still using a lot of the same equipment, this is NOT the Soviet Army of the 1980’s.  It is smaller and has a manpower problem, hence the high ratio of support weapons available at every level of command.  The emphasis is on maneuver and decisive action in high intensity and “Hybrid” warfare, which involves using powerful conventional forces for limited political objectives.  See my last post for some good articles on this.

This army is well equipped and supplied, moving away from use of conscripts, and has recent combat experience in decisive action operations.  They are savvy in deception, intelligence, cyber and information warfare, and are technologically sophisticated.  Like the US Army, in the last 25 years they have moved towards establishing combined arms formations on a permanent basis.  To quote one of the articles I referenced last time “Current Russian land-warfare tactics are something which most armies, including the U.S. Army, are largely unprepared to address.” (

The Krasnovian Battalion Tactical Group is organized as follows:
I intend to represent only a reinforced Company sized formation on the table at any one time (at least initially) and am modeling the elements of the BTG as follows:
Tank Company: Can be Modernized T-72, T-80U, or the brand new Armata MBT.  I am going to start with T-80U and my OPFOR will use the “Boris” MBT as a surrogate as I can have it work for any of those.
Motorized Rifle Company: Can be BTR or BMP-2 or BMP-3.  For the various weapons systems I am using:

  • IFV: BMP-3 Equivalent is the “Matabele” 
  • Infantry: The rifle squads have the usual array of light weapons and RPG’s
  • Infantry Weapons, including AGS Grenade Launchers and Koronet ATGM’s
  • Anti-Tank: this is a little more complicated, I am fielding “Thor” missile launchers as ATGM carriers. In the Russian Army, they are fielding the 2B16 120mm anti-tank gun / mortar, something that the US army has no equivalent for.
  • SP Artillery: “Direct-laid artillery, used in conjunction with anti-tank capabilities, provide excellent standoff for Russian Krasnovian forces, allowing them to advantageously shape the battlefield prior to launching tank and mechanized forces”  As a results, I am fielding 122mm SP guns to fill this role as well as larger, longer range guns

Based on my research, manpower shortages in the Krasnovian (Russian) Army have impacted the organization of their infantry, with fewer dismounts in the Motor Rifle Platoons, and more emphasis on heavy weapons.  As a result, I am basing my company on the…
Motor Rifle Company:

·        HQ: 1 x BMP-3
·        2-3 x Motor Rifle Platoons:
o   3 x BMP-3 with 3 x Rifle Squads
·        1 x Weapons Platoon:
o   2 x BMP-3
o   2 x AGS 30mm automatic grenade launchers
o   2 x Koronet ATGM launchers

The company can have attached to it:

  • 1 – 2 Tank Platoons
  • SP Artillery fire direct fire
  • ATGM carriers
  • Light Recon platoon
  • Plenty of off board fire support from Brigade Artillery and Mortars
  • UAV’s
  • Close Air support
  • Aviation support, such as Mi-28

My approach is not exactly a reproduction of current Russian Forces, but should give similar capabilities and challenges to the SBCT Infantry Rifle Company.

Why use 3mm (1/600) scale at 1:1?

Well lots of reasons, but mainly these:

  • The amount of geographic area a unit occupies has increased radically over the last 25 years.  
    • For example, in the 1980's a Soviet Motorized Rifle Regiment might attack on a 4 km frontage.  In the West German Army, a Leopard 2 Panzer Battalion might hold a 4-5 km frontage on the defense.
    • In modern maneuver operations, the improvements in communications, lower troop densities, and improved reconnaissance at all levels has led to units spreading out much more and then rapidly concentrating for attacks,  during recent fighting in the Ukraine, a Russian Brigade Tactical Group might be spread out over a 40 km frontage, roughly a tenfold increase.
    • As a result, you need lots of room to maneuver and you can get that on a reasonable table with 3mm.
    • No offense to our 15mm FOW and Team Yankee brethren, but the hub to hub tank park look just bothers me for purely aesthetic reasons.  Horses for courses, but I do not want my table to look like this..

  • Weapon ranges are really long
    • Even with using 1/600 scale vehicles, if I halve that to get my ground scale at 1/1200 a 1.5 meter wide table is only 1800 meters wide.  The range of the Javelin ATGM is about 2500 meters.  Using larger scale models would make it look odd to me.
  • Cost
    • I bought everything for the SBCT Infantry Company with a company's worth of M1A2's from Pico Armor for $33 including shipping.  They look great too, IMHO.
  • Table Size
    • With the spread out nature of modern maneuver warfare, I need to be able to portray it on a reasonably sized table, ideally my home table size of 5' x 3.5'
  • Time and storage
    • I can knock this project out quickly and be up and playing and enjoying it rapidly with a minimum of fuss and trying to find some place to store it.
All of these considerations led me to choose 1/600 and focus on company sized actions, with vehicles at 1:1 and Infantry based as squads or weapons teams as appropriate.

Next time, I paint some vehicles!

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