Thursday, 16 June 2016

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

In a previous blog, I wrote about the possibility of Canada providing an infantry Battle Group to a NATO deterrence effort in the Baltic States.  I've heard many comments from my peers about the difficulties of raising such a force, so I decided to think outside the box and propose an alternate ORBAT:  A Tank Regiment Battlegroup.  It would look something like this:

Regimental Headquarters

3 x Tank Squadrons

1 x Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron

1 x Mechanized Infantry Company

1 x Armoured Engineer Squadron

That's it, that's all.  It would be a lean force equipped primarily with the Leopard 2 a combat-proven tank that is arguably the best tank in the world.

So, how would this force fight?  Essentially, it would rely on its mobility and secure lines of communications to counter any Russian thrust into the Baltic state of Latvia.  Alternately, it could form the nucleus of a counter-moves force for an ad-hoc NATO brigade in the area.  The Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron would be the eyes and ears of the NATO force in the east in general and as such would not be part of the fighting force for the Tank Regiment.  The Armoured Engineers would provide the much-needed mobility and counter mobility required by the Regiment to conduct operations.  The Infantry would be to retain terrain (when needed) as well as to provide close-country protection to the tanks, again, as needed.  Alternately, they could be used in the rear to provide the much-needed protection to the vital logistical links back to Riga.

If it came to blows, this force of some 59 tanks would most likely conduct a delay or mobile defence in order to attrit and/or destroy the lead Russian formations as they closed in on vital areas in the NATO rear.  For fire support, this regiment would have to rely upon other nations to provide that given that Canada doesn't have any mobile medium artillery.  Unless we were to purchase some M 109s, we would have to ask Germany or even the Netherlands to provide a battery of Panzerhaubitze 2000s.

Yes we could.  It would require a massive recruitment campaign in order to get trained crews for a second rotation as well as a massive effort to retrain our crewmen back in our regular force regiments.  It would not be an easy task, but it could be done.  This would project some serious combat power overseas and would arguably be the most powerful NATO unit in theatre.  As such, it would therefore demonstrate our resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with our NATO partners overseas.


  1. I have also posted this on my blog, verbatim, without comment and linked to your blog. Thanks.

  2. Further to this, I am going to conduct a plan wargame of just such a Canadian Tank Regiment Battlegroup conducting a Mobile Defence versus a Russian Tank Brigade consisting of 3 tank battalions, 1 battalion of infantry in BMPs and 1 battalion of 2S3s. The Russians will have artillery support in the form of another battalion of 2S3s (direct support) and 2S1s (152mm). MRLS may or may not be employed. Russian helicopter support will also be featured in a supporting role.

    I will game this using the Game Designers' Workshop game system of "Assault".