A call for a unified light infantry

Back during the Second World War infantry divisions defined the frontline during the less hectic phases; they did set up and maintain a string of pickets and positions that defined 'ours' and 'theirs'. These de facto divisions of the line made up about 85% of the German field army throughout WW2.
The other 15% were about 10 per cent points fast troops (armoured, mechanised, motorized or semi-motorized cavalry divisions) and about 5 per cent points specialised light infantry formations; mostly mountain troops, few dedicated Jäger divisions, and the Luftwaffe's true paratroopers (let's count them as army here). These figures were rules of thumb, not accurate - but descriptive enough for painting the overall picture.

Later, during the Cold War, West Germany promised a twelve division army for a planned 26 division defence in central Europe against the Warsaw Pact. Germany had rebuilt and recovered so quickly that by the mid-50's it had a higher economic output than ever before WW2, and motorization had progressed as well. The new army was almost fully motorized, and the infantry (Grenadier-) divisions were equipped much heavier than their ancestors - more like late WW2 American infantry division orders of battle (that had organic tank support).
Army structures were changed a couple times, infantry was renamed from "Grenadier-"* to "Jäger-", but what mattered the most was that both the more infantry-strong and the more tank-strong brigades were meant to establish and maintain a semblance of a front line with mobile warfare tactics. This had been done before, for example by a motorized division south of Stalingrad that covered a sector hundreds of kilometres wide (steppe terrain).
There were some mountain and paratroops brigades as well, not the least because they were supposed to be cheaper (not so much or at all if you consider the need for transport aircraft and helicopters). The old infantry division-centric idea of an army was gone, at least regarding peacetime order of battle.

Post-Cold War, the Jäger brigades went away as well, and even the occupation mission in Afghanistan and earlier similar peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslavia did not change this: Jäger brigades used wheeled vehicles that were most suitable for such missions, were relatively cheap, had the infantry strength to 'put boots on the ground' - but they were not preferred. Save for Jäger leftovers on the battalion level, the only German infantry of the 2000's were para and mountain infantry.

This is a similar outcome to what happened in other NATO powers; 'regular' infantry demised, 'special' infantry (marines, mountain, para, heliborne, ranger) survived the cuts (and "special forces" were created), possibly due to higher prestige and higher perceived utility.
_ _ _ _ _

This begs the question; why differentiate at all? Why not go to a unified (light) infantry?
Let's compare the two most common infantry types; para and mountain
(a) both largely lack heavy weapons
(b) both are typically motorized, with lightly armoured wheeled vehicles at most
(c) both are typically expected to meet high physical fitness standards
(d) both are heliborne-capable
(e) both depend on light infantry tactics and little (if at all) on infantry-tank cooperation

The paras get some parachuting training, but you can get a more demanding (manual jumps) parachuting training on four weekends in a civilian parachuting school for a few hundred Euros. The mountain infantry gets (or is supposed to get) some high altitude training, usually with at least some serious mountain climbing training.
Yet it's neither realistic to expect a parachute assault larger than battalion nor is it realistic to expect more than a fraction of mountain troops to be of much use above 3,000 m altitude.
And there are lots of air defence systems and very few high mountains at the periphery of European NATO.

Furthermore, "brigades" imply an accomplished combined arms capability, whereas "regiments" admit a focus on one of the branches with little combined arms capability. A light infantry regiment could still have a regimental artillery battery or two rather than only infantry, and would still deserve to be called "regiment" more than "brigade".

I suppose we could and should garrison army unified light infantry forces close to mountain, swamp, settlement and woodland training areas. The size could vary from a two infantry battalion regiment to two regiments with each four infantry battalions. "Battalion" sizes may vary, so this may really be about 1,500 to 5,000 personnel.

One battalion with extra qualification in parachuting including a HAHO platoon of parachuting experts/trainers.
One battalion with extra qualification in high altitude combat including a platoon of mountaineering experts/trainers.
One battalion for combat support (two batteries which choose between 120 mm mortar and 105 mm howitzers as the French do, one company for electronic intelligence and joint forward observers.
One battalion for  non-combat support including a platoon which retains the super-rare skill of (combat) bridging at high altitude and a small company that maintains animal-handling skills (mules and llamas, forget the inferior Haflinger horses).

Bavaria has both some mountains and some swamps for training (assuming the latter could be used legally). Two unified light infantry (Jäger) regiments in Bavaria would make sense for Germany - particularly if they were allowed to train in Austria (EU ally) often. Their ease of long-range administrative marches in exclusively wheeled vehicles would allowed for frequent exercises with mechanised forces in low lands as well.
Other countries could unify their infantry as a versatile force for terrains where mechanised troops are inefficient or ineffective as well. (The reasoning changes if a country decides to mechanise its airborne forces in Soviet/Russian style.)


This may have had the appearance of some military history summary followed by an Order of Battle proposal.
It was really meant as something different; the regimental OoB example isn't important. I mean to point out that the current army structures with their infantry types are legacies** and neither optimal nor necessary. A force design released from the shackles of the past would almost certainly not arrive at what we have nowadays, but at a force structure that recognizes the small importance of the infantry specialisations and the great importance of the infantry's unique strengths vis-a-vis mechanised forces.

Also, please not I did not argue to unify all infantry forces. Mechanised infantry and my basic volunteer infantry proposal were not included. The separation between stand-alone "Jäger", "Gebirgsjäger" and "Fallschirmjäger" forces makes hardly any sense, though.




*: Grenadiers were elite troops from the 18th century that used hand grenades and early grenade launchers. The ordinary infantry had been renamed "Grenadier" or "Volksgrenadier" by the Nazis in mid-WW2 in an attempt to bolster their prestige and morale. "Jäger" were reliable light infantry with rifles instead of muskets during the 18th century, and with their open order tactics precedents for 20th century infantry. The term "Jäger" had not been used much by the Nazis, so it was more politically correct in West Germany and used to rename the regular infantry, while the "Panzergrenadiere" were never renamed.
**: Originally airborne forces were separate from mountain infantry because they were first introduced during the Nazi era and the head of aviation ministry and air force, Göring, wanted to be in control of airborne troops. The training and material needs of mountain and airborne troops were never very different. Airborne troops were often employed in gliders, which could have been done with mountain troops and their light equipment as well.


  1. In my opinion you are right here, especillay such a unified light infantry could also train to fight in tropical jungles or in some parts of the desert which are not suitable for vehicles. For germany it could simply be named "Jäger". But i want to critisize your ideas about the size of this force. In my opinion we need much more of this troops in the NATO and also especially in germany: Two Regiments and both of them only in Bavaria is insufficent. Because such units would be excellent in fighting in citys, some of them should also be stationed in the Northwest of germany and the "Mittelgebirge" offer also much terrain for such a troop. I would recommend at least 1 Regiment in Northwest Germany, 1 of them in Middle Germany and 1 in Bavaria and 1 in Baden Württemberg. So 4 such Regiments at least instead of 2.

    1. Keep in mind this is only the light infantry. I'm a proponent of more infantry in the mechanised brigades, and a proponent of having a short volunteer service with many reservists trained to basic infantry standard or junior NCO for the same.

      Active service forces are in no feasible concept going to be able to provide enough infantry for combat in cities. I also doubt that Germany should try to provide much of the alliance's urban warfare power.

  2. Well, the largest operation certainly proves that point. The airborne division was followed by the 5. mountain division during the assault on Crete.

    The US army rangers are one such force, even though they are counted as SF forces for some reason.

    The only issue is that modern parachute forces are usually designed to be dropped in terrain where they will valiantly perish to disrupt and buy time for the mechanized forces. So they have much more AT and AD assets (or they should have them) and vehicles then forces that are destined for rough terrain.

    Merging them together means picking one doctrine.

    1. There's no nature's law keeping them from leaving some units behind.
      Furthermore, German infantry in Africa '42 went to the extreme of "every squad an anti tank gun squad". In positional defence they were AT squads, in offensive action they were capable of assaulting entrenched troops.
      Similarly, to add an EuroSpike launcher with munitions and several unguided AT munitions to a squad reinforces its AT potential on the defence a lot.

      Nowadays German Jäger are supposed to switch roles in minutes depending on what equipment they take from their "mothership" GTK Boxer vehicle. There's little reason why at least professional long-serving troops shouldn't be able to switch doctrines without switching battalions.

  3. Assuming an all out war between peers would there even be any fighting in cities? Surely it would be too costly in terms of infantry meaning the attacking army would surround and use artillery/air power to crush resistance. The defender being cut off would have no choice then to be annihilated or surrender which would lead to the forces retreating before such a scenario occurred.

    1. It depends. The reduction of a modern city with HE takes a huge amount of supplies and much artillery, so a destruction of the defenders is likely only if the land warfare around the city is effectively lost.

  4. Considering that there is de facto no conscription in Germany anymore I am always thinking about establishing another branch in the German defense system. A homeguard style force similar to the ones in Scandinavia or other countries could be all light infantry. Training people for basic infantry tasks on a weekend base, especially for the defense of the homeland (as opposite to "out of country" ops) or as "Sicherungstruppen" could be a good addition. Also this system could provide a pool of semi-fit soldiers (probably people interested in their normal jobs BUT also in military) considering that there will be a growing gap in personnel fit for service in the future.

    1. https://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2009/04/modern-time-landwehr-for-germany.html

      "weekend warriors" would be unacceptable politically, but a voluntary really short and well-paid basic military service may be developed to a useful size.

  5. But the mechanised infantry had not the same skills and the short service/reservists are not professional enough. Neither of them can handle the light infantry task in the same way. So the size of the true professional light infantry would be insufficent. But such infantry is much needed especially in the coming age of urban guerilla. That s the reason why i am convinced that we need much more such troops and neither mechanised infantry nor short service volunteers can replace or take over their work.

    True light infantry demands professional high quality soldiers. Not short service volunteers, because their qualitiy is for modern infantry combat insufficent. And the mechanised infantry is much needed in the mechanised brigades and cannot replace it either.

    1. All that "high quality" thinking goes out of the window in wartime when "high quality" forces get drowned by superior numbers of "good enough quality" forces. It's been like that for thousands off years.

      Poland, for example, could create a "Warsaw Guard" of 50,000-100,000 conscripts that would deter hostile forces from entering the city and effectively offer more depth for defence because the mobile land forces would not need to stop incursions short of Warsaw at all costs.

    2. Any infantry that can't fight dismounted isn't much of an infantry. The problem of the mechanized infantry is the low dismount strength.

      I like the USMC approach of training everyone to be a riflemen first, and then specializing them after. The riflemen training should be the basic infantry skill-set so that you could use motorized infantry as poor panzer grenadiers etc...

      It was possible to train reservist forces to be close to professional forces, the only drawback is that such forces are ill suited for colonial games.

    3. SO:

      A high quality army can beat a much larger army of lower quality. And especilay today and in germany the idea about a high quantity army is clueless, because we do not have the manpower and will not have it.

      Moreover: the main enemy of such light infantry will be partisans / terrorists and so on or enemy special forces in hybrid warfare scenarios (little green men / Krim-Style). Such enemies are not numerous, and we cannot beat them with quantity either. To beat them we need high quality.

      And what was for thousand years does not matter today. Masses cannot drown a highly superior quality because simply the firepower is to big tody. More Masses mean only more victims, more losses. You cannot drown a high quality oponnent wiht superior numbers.

      Your example of a city guard of 100 000 men defending warsaw is also useless: the cannot be sustained in such numbers and the same with the city. It is not the work of such a light infantry to conquer a big city. Storming such a city would only happen after victory in the war as a hole is cartain. It would only bind enormous ressources for nothing.

      More realistic is a urban guerilla and little high quality opponents. And for them the opposite of your idea matters also: you cannot drown them with superior numbers either. You need high quality light infantry - in any way.

    4. 1) Over and over again military history yielded the same result: A high end army stands no chance against an army with a bit less of the high end forces and instead plenty more lower quality forces. This is true even if the "budgets" were about the same. The peacetime focus is often on quality, and in wartime much quantity needs to be added, often by improvisation.

      2) The Russians did beat the irregular Chechen forces by flooding Chechnya with troops. Quantity works. It's the professional army design of the West in occupation warfare that failed.

      3) Quantity is not about offering many targets to an arty-strong force. It's about being present in places at all. 50 infantry companies surely can call in more arty support than five elite infantry companies. They can also restrict the movement of the latter better than the other way around.

      4) About Warsaw example; you seem to ignore the political side. It's necessary to deter entry/prevent into a capital like Warsaw, and this can neither be done with few high quality forces in the city nor would be a stiff defence with mechanised forces in front of it be advisable.
      A guerilla force is irrelevant in this case, for it only becomes effective once the city was occupied already - and that's politically unacceptable in the case of Warsaw.

      5) Just in case you referred to the myth about Germany not having enough men; there are certainly more than five million fit male citizens in Germany.

      So again; a large German high quality infantry force is unrealistic and not really helpful. We're the ones who should be able to arrive in force near Warsaw with mechanised forces within a few days.
      The unified light infantry regiments would maintain valuable expertise, while a widespread voluntary short basic service with basic infantry training would give us a 6+ month head start if a 2-3 year arms race happens again.

      To provide much infantry for Polish and Lithuanian terrains could and should be left to allies of Germany.

    5. 1 The simple continuance of the past and the overestimation of the lessons of military history has lead to many desasters in warfare. Especially today we should avoid this failure and should not try to make yesterday perfect. In history quantity has won often, because the firepower per soldier was very small or small and much fighting was close combat melee. So more firepower could only result from more soldiers.

      2 The russians did not beat the chechens by numbers. They beat them with superior firepower. This is true especially for the conquest of Grozny. Not Numbers count, but Firepower.

      3 The true costs for 50 infantry companys are much higher than the costs for only 5 elite infantry companys. But let it be: Joint Fire Support Teams must not be big. Some few soldiers can call in NLOS fire as effective as more soldiers at the same place and they are much better in calling in such fire than many short service infantrymen who in most cases even have not the skills to do so.

      4 It depends on the circumstances. It could even be very useful to give warsaw to the enemy and fight a urban guerilla their.

      5 And of course every one of them can be recruited... it attracted my attention in several occasions that you always do as everything can be directed in any way. In reality only a small percentage of this young man would be really available for military service. A state and especially the BRD or a similar western state cannot act like he wants like a dictatorship. It is practically impossible. Your höhenflucht ignores the practical problems of doing things.

      A high quality infantry force of 4 Regiments is moreover not a large force. And you restrict your thinking to much to eastern europa and a full scale peer war with russia. But even in this case: A civilian russian uprising and guerilla warfare without any official russian involvence is much more realistic than your full scale mechanised warfare szenario. And there are much more such enemies worldwide.

    6. I get that you're in line with Robert Leonhard on the 'mass' thing, but you ignore that I didn't imply that multiple battalions would fight one battalion and offer plenty arty targets. More battalions = more presence.
      Back in 1944/45 Panzer divisions recaptured terrain easily most of the time, but it was lost soon thereafter because there wasn't enough infantry to occupy it - not even for a picket line to direct arty fires. An inability to be present is a severe problem, and 50 reserve infantry battalions are much better than 5 elite infantry battalions unless the theatre of war is tiny.
      Furthermore, Leonhard underrated the usefulness of mass in regard to urban warfare.

      The Russians deployed more troops into Chechnya than Chechnya had adult males. Firepower was secondary for the suppression f resistance. It was merely important for breaking into centres of resistance.

      50 reserve infantry battalions are easily cheaper than 5 elite infantry battalions.

      You're in complete denial of the political side of war. Warsaw could not be abandoned, and this would force the manoeuvre units into a suboptimal stiff defence.

      You should look at the demographic figures I linked to. 5+ million is much less than the demographic figures given by the statistics office. 5+ million is realistic for males, and that's why I wrote "fit male citizens". There's no reason why we should be less able to mobilise 5+ million today than we in 1939. The demographics are nowhere nearly as bad as people think.

      Last but not least; the point of the existence of the Bundeswehr is to keep a "full scale mechanised warfare scenario" unrealistic. Questions are; how to do it better (cheaper), and how to do it if the challenge grows.A large scale uprising of minorities without Russian aggression involved would be no more a collective defence issue than the PKK in Turkey was, the IRA in Ireland etc. Not our problem.

    7. Quantity is firepower.

      It is not simply 5 elite infantry vs 50 reserve infantry, but also 10 artillery battalions versus one gold plated art. battalion, 10 Grippen vs 1 F22 etc...

      The bad part about war is that very soon attrition reduces the elite to not so elite.

      Desert Storm created the picture that you can dismantle an opponent. The industry likes that image as it helps sell silver bullets, and the over match of the NATO is still as large as it was back then. When you are several maginudes stronger, you can do whatever you want.

    8. madner:

      War also creates elites. The eastern front in ww2 is a perfect example for this. The red army begins it victory not with masses, but with high quality that was a result of the concentration of survivors in some units which were the spear point of every soviet action since 42.

      Moreover infantry is not so important than for example artillery. So if you spare 40 reserve infantry bataillons you can invest the sparing for example in artillery. And 1 F-22 does not cost as much as 10 Gripens. It is cheaper (look for the data of switzerland for this). And 1 F-22 can easliy beat for example 4 Gripens of even 6 Gripens.


      The costs for 50 Bataillons reserve infantry are much higher than for 5 Bataillons of elite light infantry. And the elite troops are available worldwide for expenditionary warfare, the reserve not. Moreover you can spend the money you spare into other more important weapon systems.

      Reserve short service Infantry is often near as worthless. It has no use, and are only victims to other weapon systems. It has not the Kampfkraft in the sense of Crefeld to withstand modern warfare.

      And your picture about the chechen war is also false. I recommend a book about this for you: Russias Chechen Wars. Lessons from Urban Combat.

      Last: you are in complete denial of the real practical possibilities. You think you can direct anything as you wish, like in a computer game. And especially because of this you deny the political side of war. You cannot direct anything as you wish. You need deployable troops that can and will fight. Short service reserves cannot achieve this.

    9. madner:

      So it´s 50 reserve infanry, 1 artillery and 5 Gripen

      against 5 elite infantry, 5 artillery and 1 F-22.

      The winner should be clear.

    10. No stop that nonsense. The 50 battalions would simply infiltrate and overrun the arty, we saw that in Korea already. F-22's don't influence the ground war directly, and the probability of kill of an AIM-120 against Gripens is almost certainly so poor that the F-22 would score less than one kill per sortie even if Gripens were in the air at that time and the F-22 wasn't destroyed on the ground where it would be 80% of the time.
      Now to something relevant:
      Personnel costs per soldier are USD 71,000/year (USA) or EUR 61,900/year (GER). Reserve infantry that served about nine months on average (six months basic + reserve NCO courses + reserve Lt course + voluntary refreshers) would cost us about about EUR 45,000 per head and be available for about 15 years on average, resulting in EUR 3,000 per head and year personnel costs. That's 5% of active personnel expenses. The ratio of operating expenses would be similar.
      The equipment costs would no doubt be less lopsided, but also tiny compared to personnel costs. Even gucci gear and gadgets are less than EUR 30,000/head once a decade if not purchased in small quantities.

      There's no way how professional infantry could win 1:10 or 1:15 against infantry with an average of nine months training, more likely ten months of training (mobilisation prior to war) with almost equivalent equipment. The vast majority of the professionals would have less than four years experience themselves.

      I don't think one should seek the decision with light infantry in a European conflict, though.
      Their quantity is very useful for denying areas for use by the invaders, thus giving the friendly forces a substantial advantage on 'blue' countries' terrain (through battlefield shaping).

      The very idea of matching one side's infantry up against the other side's is leading one's thoughts away from this much greater utility.

    11. If you realy believe a reserve infantry years after a 6 month course is mobile enough, has enough fighting power and can infiltrate, and that their equipment is sufficient you have no clue about reality. And the korean war is long ago - today you have ofther possibilities and a complete different technology. The precision and also as a result of this the firepower is much higher.

      I have many contacts to switzerland and know the niveau of the switzerland militas which are often regarded as better reserve troops than such units in other countries. The niveau is not sufficient - they would fail even in your infiltration scenario.

      And about your calculation: Lets count 500 infantry per Bataillon in 50 Bataillons, you have costs of 1125000000 Euro. Plus infantry equipment costs. Plus economical costs / national account costs. That is a enormous amount of artillery and close air support if you invest this sum in the right weapon systems.

      And this units would not be mobile enough. They would stay imobile and outmanouvered by the professional forces and the biggest part of them would have to surrender without much fighting.

      And no word from you about the two main points:

      1 you cannot act like you want and direct anything as you wish. The people would not follow you in such plans.

      2 Reserve infantry is imobile especially if you want to use them in other countries or in the offensive. The are not deployable to other continents either.

      Ill equipped and ill trained masses of reserves are practically useless in a modern war. They would end very similiar to the iraqi conscripts - as simple victims of firepower. And even a assymetrical war would overburden them. As a perfect example: Your picture of the chechen war couldn´t be wronger. The russians win of different reasons but the size of the force and the many conscript infantry units add near to nothing to the victory.

      Your false conclusion is: the russians has many troops. The russians win. So the reason for winning was the masses of troops. But that is not true.

      PS: the light infantry troops that infiltrate to the arty in korea were not reserve units and especially not troops with training several years ago.

      Moreover: war creates elites, if the losses are not to high. But to avoid such to high losses, you need high quality infantry from the very beginning.

    12. >>There's no way how professional infantry >>could win 1:10 or 1:15 against infantry with >>an average of nine months training, with >>almost equivalent equipment.

      There are two simple ways: Using superior firepower (which needs superior skills to explore it) from other units which your reserve units lack and use superior mobility to outmanouver the enemy (which need superior skills to do it).

      And the equipment would not be equal either. Modern infantry equipment need skills to explore it to the fullest.

      You spoke like a chinese general in the korean war: waves of chinese conscripts shooting wildly into the direction of the enemy are sufficient... but the result was neither victory, only extreme losses. And that was many years ago.

      By the way: the same tactic you recommend was used by the chinese years later against vietnam. The reserve infantry units failed against much much smaller vietnamese elite infantry. The proportion was (funny incident) about 1 : 10. Same in the Winter War in Finnland where very few finnish elite infantry beat the shit out of the russian reserve masses.

      And both the chinese and the russians of that time had a much higher fighting power and fighting spirit than tody sybarite german / western youths which are decadent and weak and will spit on plans to conscript them into a levee en masse.

    13. "1 you cannot act like you want and direct anything as you wish. The people would not follow you in such plans."

      I'm not a politician who goes beyond the limit of his political capital. I am a citizen who expresses dissent with the government.

      "2 Reserve infantry is imobile especially if you want to use them in other countries or in the offensive. The are not deployable to other continents either."

      There's no reason for troops deployed to other continents anyway, that's not defence. I'm not advocating their use in offensives - I advocate their use to make closed terrain highly inhospitable to invaders.

      "Ill equipped and ill trained masses of reserves are practically useless in a modern war."
      I don't care about your strawman. Nobody here advocated ill equipped infantry, and six months is not ill trained if those months were used well.

      "The russians win of different reasons but the size of the force and the many conscript infantry units add near to nothing to the victory."
      This only shows that you completely ignore the non-obvious aspects of land warfare. The many troops with all their checkpoints etc limited the freedom of action of the Chechen resistance and depressed their hopes. The purposes and utility of land forces in war is but to a tiny share the killing and maiming, that's mostly the artillery's job anyway. There's very little difference between professionals and reserves in regard to most activities and uses.

      "the light infantry troops that infiltrate to the arty in korea were not reserve units and especially not troops with training several years ago."
      Right, at Pusan an already depleted North Korean 6th Inf Div defeated a much larger American force (equivalent to 1.5 divisions; entire 25th Div+2 Rgts+USMC Bde) by having its non-infantry participate in an infiltration counterattack. Most of those men didn't have much more training than a basic training (about 3 months).

      "Modern infantry equipment need skills to explore it to the fullest."
      90% exploitation of equipment is achievable in a matter of days. Make that two weeks and the skills stick even under stress. The combat medic and signaller jobs are enlisted-level jobs in an infantry Plt that require much training.

      "You spoke like a chinese general in the korean war: waves of chinese conscripts shooting wildly into the direction of the enemy are sufficient..."

      Another strawman nonsense. Besides, the "human waves" thing is more propaganda than history. The American infantry wasn't really superior in quality. Air power, defence-favouring terrain and artillery saved it.

      "tody sybarite german / western youths which are decadent and weak"

      I should have known that you're that kind of person. Go to some nazi forum if you want to discuss such bollocks.
      My real world experiences have taught me that young men can and do adapt to military life quickly and easily. My knowledge of history also tells me that the young men of 1939 were much more sick, partially poisoned, less intelligent, shorter and weaker than today's young men. Look at some WW2 photos not made by propaganda units, but by serving soldiers; you'll see a great many short featherweight men in uniform.

    14. This is getting silly, with more manouver units you restrict the freedom of action of the opponent. Instead of using all combat power to attack, now it has to use a part to secure the lines of communication. This leads to fragmentation, which leads to defeat in detail.

      Gold plated artillery can't shape the battlefield in the same way as cheap alternatives. While you can substitute accuracy by volume, denying an area for passage, laying smoke and firing blind need volume.

      World wars were fought with conscription, and good divisions were raised in a year to 18 months from scratch.

      Lastly waves are ineffective types of attack. You can delay a typical mechanized batallion by occupying a strongpoint with an infantry company. 50 batallions give a lot of strong points. That way you can use all your strike units and attack with more tanks.

    15. >>Nobody here advocated ill equipped infantry, >>and six months is not ill trained if those >>months were used well.

      Good equipment costs. More troops need more equipment and this have to be stored, maintained, replaced and so on. And it need skills to exploit it which you deny contrary to reality:

      >>90% exploitation of equipment is achievable >>in a matter of days. Make that two weeks >>and the skills stick even under stress.

      Even simple shooting with a rifle is not achievable within two weeks. The soldiers would be more a danger for their comrades than anything else. The right use of thermal imagers, infantry tactics, special weapons, infiltration, camouflage, use of explosives, participatin in information warfare and so on and so on are not even mentioned.

      >> The many troops with all their checkpoints >>etc limited the freedom of action of the >>Chechen resistance and depressed their hopes.

      They slipped even out of Grozny then the battle there come to an end, despite the city was sorounded by the main part of the russian forces in chechenia at this time.

      >>six months is not ill trained if those >>months were used well.

      If. In reality such troops cannot achieve much. And the years pass and the few things they learned are lost too. I would not give a soldier which has only 6 months of training 5 years ago even a rifle.

      >>The many troops with all their checkpoints >>etc limit... the freedom of action .... >>There's very little difference between >>professionals and reserves in regard to >>most activities and uses.

      So you advocate here a large infantry reserve for checkpoint dutys? But in defence (which you strongly adovacte) this is not necessary in most cases or useless for the defence against a conventional acting enemey. You need no checkpoints to counter an enemy offensive.

      But to counter it conventionally you need high quality infantry because the reserve infantry you sketch here would not be able to even shoot their rifles properly.

    16. Anon, I close the comments here now. You're not discussing cohesively anyway. I long since mentioned how little even good equipment costs compared to personnel.
      You also mix up equipment training and total training, as if I had argued to train everything in two weeks.

      Furthermore, you must have experienced horrible trainers if you think so lowly of military training.

      In short; it's pointless because you simply don't (want to) understand what I write. Instead, you are hostile and distort (see the checkpoint nonsense).

  6. "This had been done before, for example by a motorized division south of Stalingrad that covered a sector hundreds of kilometres wide (steppe terrain)."

    You've mentioned this example in several different articles. I don't suppose there are any sources on it in English?

    1. It was the 16th Motorized Infantry Division, and the area is known as Kalmye Steppe or Kalmouk Steppe in English. The frontage of the division was up to 300 km. Water wells were rare and provided poor quality water - a problem even for Russian Panje horses. It was more close to Afrikaarmee experiences than to typical Eastern front experiences.

      I looked up links, but this is the only noteworthy one, not quite historian's grade: http://www.stalingrad.net/german-hq/astrachan/astrachan.htm

    2. The primary source for that is