The Combined Arms Regiment: Evolution And Relevance
SUBJECT AREA Strategic Issues
Title: The Combined Arms Regiment: Evolution and Relevance
Author: Major Martin M. Westphal, United States Marine Corps
Thesis: The MAGTF commander requires a decisive combat organization that provides lethality, shock action, survivability, and sufficient organic logistics sustainment to employ at the critical place and time on the battlefield. The CAR, or its derivative the Mechanized Amphibious Assault
Regiment (MAAR), is this organization.
Background: The Force Structure Planning group (FSPG) was convened by the Commandant to restructure the Marine Corps and comply with an anticipated personnel end strength of 159, 100 personnel. The FSPG created the framework for a Combined Arms Regiment (CAR) within each division. This was done primarily in response to an armored mobility deficiency identified for infantry in the (3ulf War and as a means to retain force structure. In August l992, the
Commandant endorsed the FSPG recommendations with Marine Corps Order 540l .5, Marine Corps 200l Force Structure Implementation Plan. The Fleet Marine Forces were asked to provide recommended changes to the organizational structures developed by the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC). 8th Marine Regiment, in close coordination with Regimental Combat Team-7, developed a viable, effective combat Table of Organization (T/O) to "man" the CAR. Significant changes, such as a 177,000 Marine Corps personnel end strength and
reduced fiscal resources, precluded implementation of MCO 540l.5. An alternative to the CAR, the MAAR, was proposed by 8th Marines. The MAAR incorporated all the high-tempo, armor/mechanized warfare principles, employment concepts, tactics and techniques generated during the CAR structure development. MAAR implementation requires no significant personnel costs or fiscal resources. The MAAR offers tremendous benefits and advantages to the MAGTF commander in the amphibious assault, security force, and mechanized operations arenas.
Recommendation: That the MAAR structure and Table of Organization be implemented in Marine Corps force structure.
The Combined Arms Regiment
Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the largest combat operation in the
history of the Marine Corps, provided numerous valuable lessons to be studied. One of the most important shortcomings of Marine ground forces proved to be tactical mobility.1 The inadequate number of armor protected infantry carriers proved lacking when MARCENT employed a two division Ground Combat Element (GCE). This resulted in the use "Saudi Motors" to transport infantry combat troops to the line of departure in buses. Obviously, had the Iraqi forces been more inclined to wage combat, this situation would have been totally intolerable.
Another problem arose at the conclusion of operations in Southwest Asia. The
Marine Corps, as well as the other uniformed services,
were facing a significant down sizing of the military. This exasperated the
dilemma faced by the planner at Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC). The
Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), General Carl Mundy, Jr. published Marine
Corps Order (MCO) 540l.5 dated 24 August l992.2 This order directed the
formation of the Force Structure Planning Group (FSPG). The FSPG mandate was to
create the most capable force with an end strength requirement of l59, 100
active duty Marines. The result of the FSPG deliberations was the United States
Marine Corps 2OOl Force Structure Implementation Plan.3 MCO 5401.5
further directed the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Force Structure Implementation (ADC\PS), under cognizance of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policy and Operations (DCS PP&O), to act as the coordinating agency for adjustments to the FSPG's implementation plan. The ADC(PS) was directed to chair the Implementation Working Group (IWG) and brief any recommended changes to an Executive Steering Group (ESG) chaired by the Assistant Commandant.4
The Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (CG,
MCCDC) was tasked with providing mission, capability, and concept of employment for Fleet Marine Forces (FMF) and Marine Reserve Forces (MARRESFOR) combat
organizations to the FMF commanders, CG MARRESFOR, and structure sponsors.
entirely new combat organization was included as part of the restructured Marine division ground combat element. That organization was the Combined Arms Regiment (CAR).
The structure sponsors and their staff comprised of the military occupational
sponsors, set about the difficult task of developing a Table of Organization (T\O) to support the allocated end strength of personnel for the CAR. The FSPG determined the CAR would be manned with 157 officers and 2800 enlisted Marines Initial FSPG guidance to the structure sponsors stated the CAR would be comprised of three maneuver battalions, a reconnaissance company, and a headquarters and service company. Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Battalions and the Tank Battalion constituted the maneuver battalions. A Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Company provided the CAR's eyes and ears. The LAI battalions and LAR company would be equipped with light armored
vehicle (LAV) variants. These variants included a new armored personnel carrier (APC), the LAV-BISON, which was to be procured by the Marine Corps.8 The BISON
constituted the bulk of vehicles in the LAI battalions. The tank battalion would be structured around the LAI battle tank, first fielded by Second Tank Battalion in the Gulf War. Combat service support vehicles and equipment, command and control (C2) and recovery vehicles were all to be LAV variants. The tank battalion retained the M-88 Tracked Recovery Vehicle.
Major Mike Davis, the armor occupational sponsor at MCCDC, was assigned
CAR structure development. This assignment necessitated the table of organization development of all proposed units within the CAR. LAI battalion structure development proved the most challenging, as an organization of this type never existed before. A fundamental change in the structure of the infantry squad had to occur. Current infantry squads consisted of thirteen Marines. The LAY-BISON carried a total of eleven Marines. Two of the eleven were permanently assigned to the vehicle, the driver and the vehicle commander. The nine remaining Marines constituted the dismount infantry squad. This represented a significant infantry reduction to the conventional infantry battalion
The table of organization constructed by Major Davis, and approved by CG,
MCCDC, was forwarded to the Commanding Generals, Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic and Pacific for review and recommendation. The CGs, in turn, routed the proposed CAR structure through the chain of command to their respective ground combat element "subject matter experts," the division Commanding Generals.
CG, First Marine Division, had an existing organization possessing similar
capabilities of the proposed CAR, that being Regimental Combat Team Seven (RCT-7) commanded by Colonel Beddard. CG, Second Marine Division, tasked the Eighth Marine Regiment as the lead CAR proponent. Eighth Marines was commanded by Colonel Holcomb, who had most recently commanded Second Light Armored Infantry Battalion in the Gulf War.
Review of the proposed structure was to be completed in approximately four
months. This necessity was driven by the impact of changes to implementation of the force structure changes on Marine Corps manpower planners. Significant changes to USMC 2001 Force Structure would have repercussions in recruiting, retention, and budgetary and fiscal policy for years to come.
The CAR force structure, as provided by MCCDC, was adequate. However, it was more administrative in nature versus a true oriented organization. The combat line companies were organized as warfighters, but the logistic support organizations and command and control assets were too few in number to provide redundancy and the mobility required to keep pace with the maneuver units and maintain contact with higher headquaters. The decision was made to completely restructure the CAR proposal from the ground up.
To ensure unity of efforts, a proposal to concurrently develop the CAR table of
organization with RCT-7 and Eighth Marines was requested. This proposal was
subsequently approved by the Commanding Generals of First and Second Marine
Divisions. Direct liaison was authorized between the two commands.
In July of l992, work in earnest commenced on the CAR development. Close
coordination was maintained between RCT-7 and Eighth Marines throughout. This
relationship continued until RCT-7 was deployed to operations in Somalia. At that time, Eighth Marines became the principal CAR proponent for both divisions, with full concurrence from RCT-7.
Colonel Holcomb directed the restructuring effort. The CAR would be the ground combat element commander's decisive combat force. It would provide shock effect, lethality and survivability through speed and armor protection. The CAR must also possess the organic logistics capability to sustain high-tempo, mobile combat operations. All these requirements would enable the GCE commander to commit the CAR from anywhere on the battlefield at the critical time and place.10
A mission statement and concept of employment needed development before a
viable CAR table of organization could be constructed. Historical examples of armor and mechanized operations were studied and analyzed with certain precepts emerging. The first of these precepts dictated that mobile, mechanized forces require unique and well-developed logistics, fire support coordination, intelligence and reconnaissance, and command and control infrastructures to support high-tempo operations. General Heinz Guderian stated in l929:
.tanks working on their own or in conjunction with
infantry could never achieve decisive importance. My historical
studies, the exercises carried out in England, and our experiences
with mock-ups had persuaded me that tanks would never be able to
produce their full effect until the other weapons on whose support
they must inevitably rely were brought up to their standard.. In
such a formation of all arms, the tanks would play the primary role,
the other weapons being subordinated to the requirements of the
Guderian's theories were validated in June, l942 on the eastern front. German armor and motorized infantry formations measured their daily advances in terms of forty to fifty miles against determined Soviet resistance. The "Mot Pulk" or motorized square, with trucks and artillery enclosed by a frame of Panzers with Luftwaffe air support overhead became the standard maneuver formation. German war correspondents traveling with the Panzers stated, "It is the formation of the Roman Legions, now brought up to date in the twentieth century to tame the Mongol-Slav horde!"12
Secondly, mechanized operations demand cohesive, well trained forces working from a common set of standard operating procedures (SOP). These SOPs incorporate proven tactics, techniques, and procedures developed though continual training exercises between units. Only in this manner could an organization survive while prosecuting sustained, high-tempo operations in mechanized warfare. Third, mechanized elements require extensive, carefully designed deployment plans to conduct amphibious operations, and in the case of Marine divisions, link-up with Maritime Prepositioned Force (MPF)
assets.13 precepts formed the basis for Colonel Holcomb's initial planning guidance to his staff for CAR concept of employment development.
Next, attention turned to the role of the CAR in supporting the Marine division's mission accomplishment. The CAR must be able to meet standard offensive and defensive
mission parameters. It must also be trained and equipped to conduct forcible entry operations, exploitation and pursuit, the full spectrum of security force operations, conduct raids and spoiling attacks. Only in this manner would the CAR be the decisive force in the division. All these capabilities within one regiment of the division would truly enable the GCE commander to achieve battlespace dominance within the close battle.14
The CAR mission statement was also developed with these thoughts in mind. The stated mission of the CAR was:
To locate, close with, and defeat the enemy through the coordination of armor protected firepower, maneuver, shock action, and close combat.15
A mission essential task list (METL) was established to support the
CAR mission statement. Tasks were:
1.) Command, control, and coordinate the actions of the entire regiment.
2.) Coordinate fire and maneuver
3.) Deploy to a theater of operations
4.) Conduct amphibious operations
5.) Conduct defensive operations
6.) Conduct offensive operations
7.) Conduct security operations
8.) Conduct mechanized operations
9.) Conduct peacetime operations (Operations Other Than War (OOTW))
10.) Function as the Ground Combat Element (GCE) of a joint/combined landing force.16
A concept of employment was formulated based upon the mission statement
and the comprehensive METL. The CAR concept of employment states:
The Combined Arms Regiment is the decisive force of the
Marine Division. It is a powerful organization possessing significant
firepower, mobility, communications, and armor protection. It has
the capability to conduct all types of offensive and defensive
operations and is ideally suited for high tempo offensive operations
that exploit success by striking deep into the enemy's rear areas and
disrupting his command and control, fire support and combat
service support. Usually, these operations require support by air,
artillery, electronic warfare, air defense, and engineer assets.
Provision of a mobile combat service support detachment
(MCSSD) is required to sustain the regiment. The Light Armored
Reconnaissance Company provides reconnaissance, security, and
economy of force capabilities. The regiment is organized and
trained to be employed in support of maritime preposition force
operations. The regiment may be employed independently with
other Marine, joint or combined forces.17
The CAR mission statement, METL, and concept of employment enabled a
detailed analysis of the proposed MCCDC table of organization (Annex A, CAR
Table of Organization (T/O)Comparison
8th Marines was granted complete freedom of action in developing the new CAR T/O by CG, Second Marine Division. Close coordination was maintained with RCT-7 throughout until their deployment to Somalia. The goal of both 8th Marines and RCT-7 was to build the most combat potential into the CAR within the constraints established by HQMC and the USMC 200l Force Structure.
The primary considerations of the staff at 8th Marines were the employment
concept (or doctrine), the ability to concentrate the CAR combat power and speed, and to establish the expertise within the CAR headquarters to effectively employ the CAR.
The concepts based development of the CAR T/O now required a detail
examination of the battlefield activities as they pertained to the CAR.
Logistics flow was the lifeblood enabling the CAR to accomplish its mission and tasks. For this reason, the CAR concept of logistics was developed first. In high tempo, mechanized warfare, the maneuver units must be relieved of cumbersome logistical requests and administration. To facilitate rapid replenishment of the maneuver battalions, the regimental headquarters, under the S-4, would become the focal point for logistical support. Unit requirements would be anticipated through analysis of recurring unit usage data. The S-4 could therefore anticipate unit requests and employ support. The regiment
would prioritize requests, establish replenishment and collection points, determine resupply and evacuation of routes, manage and coordinate both ground and aerial resupply, and coordinate movement of all CSS elements within the regimental operations area. The MCSSD, coordinated through the CAR S-4, would push supplies and maintenance contact teams directly to the regiment subordinate units.
The S-4 required a robust command and control infrastructure in order for this system to work effectively and efficiently. Not only would the S-4 need to monitor doctrinal CSS nets, it would have to possess the capability to monitor regimental tactical and command nets to ensure situational awareness of current operations and therefore be able to anticipate unit requests. The S-4 would be thoroughly integrated in planning so as
to be aware of future operations' logistical requirements. It was essential for the regiment to be the focal point for all logistics in the area of operations in order to coordinate requests with MCSSD and higher, and prioritize requests when resources were scarce. The S-4, as the single controlling agency, ensured CSS synchronization with the CAR's designated main effort thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of delivery asset allocation, Air supply coordination and management would also be conducted through the interface of the S-4 and the regimental fire support coordination center (FSCC). All these
tenets would ensure logistics support direct to the units with the added benefits of increased speed in delivery times.
Command and Control (C2) was the next area of evaluation. First and foremost C2 would have to be capable of echelonment. This would enable effective C2 over the great distances involved in mobile, mechanized operations. C2 also had to possess sustainability to maintain communications in high tempo operations. Enhanced communications, therefore, was critical. The C2 infrastructure must possess the same mobility capabilities inherent to the CAR maneuver units. Redundancy of communications assets was critical to maintaining effective links with higher and subordinate units over large distances. The commander had to have a combat vehicle possessing the requisite C2 and armor protection to range the battlefield. Only in this manner could the commander
maintain situational awareness by positioning himself well forward with the maneuver units. The commander could then direct his armored firepower at the critical enemy weakness at the decisive time and place. Once decided the commander could coordinate the actions of his staff and subordinate commanders from his vehicle. Enhanced
intelligence capability was required for effective direction of the organic reconnaissance company. The fire support coordination center and its staff must be permanently assigned to the CAR C2 infrastructure to effectively employ all fire support assets in support of operations.
Fire support to the CAR was next considered. It was essential to have an organic CAR FSCC to develop employment techniques, SOPs, and cohesion through continual training and interaction. This was particularly true with the absence of self-propelled artillery in the Marine Corps inventory. The use of towed artillery in support of mechanized forces presents many significant problems. Movement and displacement of towed artillery is much slower than that of self-propelled and CAR maneuver units could quickly outdistance their artillery support. An FSCC organic to the CAR, familiar with its tactics, employment, and SOPs, could develop imaginative and innovative artillery employment techniques to best support CAR maneuver.
The CAR FSCC would also have to be mobile, armor protected and capable of
rapid displacement in order to provide effective fires in support of the maneuver battalions. Most importantly, the FSCC would need to possess a robust communications suite to ensure responsiveness and the ability to mass fires at critical times and places on the battlefield. Due to the limitations of towed artillery, it became apparent that the T/O of the CAR maneuver units had to possess organic mortars to compensate for the times when artillery support may be outdistanced and air support not readily available.
The importance of intelligence to the effectiveness of the CAR could not be underestimated. Throughout the history of armor and mechanized warfare, the units that
discovered the gaps in the enemies operations and was best prepared to exploit them, proved victorious. The CAR, through the organic LAR company, was uniquely suited to employ recon pull by discovery and identification of enemy surfaces and gaps. The LAR company scouts were vehicle mobile, foot mobile or capable of helicopter insertion. Scout platoons were also integral to every CAR maneuver element. The CAR S-2 would require the infrastructure to effectively direct the collection efforts of the CAR organic collection assets, process and interpret their information, then disseminate the information throughout the chain of command.
Mobility was the one area of the CAR T/O structure that could not be
compromised. The combat vehicles, logistics support vehicles, C2 vehicles and
infrastructure must be rugged, reliable and possess the same mobility. Armor protection was crucial. With these parameters met, shock action of the CAR was guaranteed and the GCE commander's ability to shape the battlefield greatly extended. The ability to deploy the CAR would present the greatest challenge. An
organization of this size footprint would require a tremendous amount of amphibious shipping to employ. The Maritime Preposition Force ships would need to be expanded and reconfigured to carry the increased number of combat vehicles and logistic support assets.
The amount of combat vehicles and combat support vehicles assigned to the CAR in the MCCDC T/O proposal did not adequately translate to the battlefield activities analysis conducted, The MCCDC proposal did not provide enough LAV-C2 variants to exercise effective command and control. LAV Anti-tank (AT) variants were also lacking
to provide long range direct fires in support of CAR employment. The MCCDC proposal favored retention of HMMWV (TOW) variants to provide support to the CAR. Gulf War experience with the HMMWV (TOW) supporting line companies in the tank battalion displayed significant problems with wheeled vehicle mobility in support of armor. The increase in the LAV-AT version compensated for removal of the HMMWV (TOW) variants.
Perhaps the most serious deficiencies evident in the MCCDC proposal occurred in the area of logistical support. The MCCDC proposal made no mention of ambulance kits for installation into LAV-logistics variants. The injuries sustained in mechanized warfare are intensive and very traumatic in nature, serious burns being only one example. These injuries require immediate and rapid medical attention. The personnel administering first aid must possess the same mobility and armor protection as the units they are supporting. Appropriate modifications were instituted to the logistics support assets. The final version of the draft CAR Table of Organization was approved by CG, Second Marine
Division in January l993 and submitted to FMFLANT and HQMC for implementation.
(Annex B, MCCDC and Eighth Marines' CAR T/O and T/E)
The Eighth Marines' CAR T/O, endorsed by FMFLANT and HQMC, was to be
implemented in fiscal year 93 and 94.18 Significant internal and external changes to the Marine Corps changed the implementation schedule. The changing world order, particularly the end of the Cold War, triggered a reevaluation of the United States' military roles and missions. American political attention began focusing on domestic issues with a
resultant decrease in fiscal resources allocated to defense budgets. United States friends and allies in the Persian Gulf region began a military build-up to prevent a repeat of events which led to Desert Shield and Storm. The fiscal expenditure required to equip the CAR with the requisite LAV variants shrank. The Saudi Arabians also committed to purchasing numerous LAV variants, so much so that production facilities would not complete delivery of all the purchased systems until fiscal year 97.19 These external pressures began to erode the implementation of not only the Car T/O, but the USMC 200l Force Structure
Internal to the Marine Corps, CMC published a document revolutionary at the time. "From the Sea" was officially released in September l 992. The direction set forth in this document fundamentally changed the course of the Marine Corps. The external pressures, particularly in the fiscal and procurement areas, continued to mount. Eighth Marines undertook an analysis, evaluation, and estimate process concerning the CAR's future role within this framework.
CAR Concepts Validation
Eighth Marines deployed to Twenty-nine Palms concurrent with CAR
development assigned as the regimental headquarters for Combined Arms Exercises
(CAX) Three and Four '93. The CAX presented a unique opportunity to validate the
CAR mission, METL, and concepts of operational employment. The Tactical Exercise and Evaluation Control Group (TEECG) was tasked by Brigadier General Sutton, CG, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) to develop a scenario supporting CAR employment in response to a request by the Eighth Marines' Commanding Officer, Colonel
Holcomb. The basic operating employment tenets of the CAR were successfully validated by the conclusion of the CAX.
The CAX further proved the importance of an experienced, well trained
commander and staff in mechanized operations. Close air support during offensive
operations is difficult due to the speed of the advancing mechanized formations. Effective coordination with supporting aircraft requires a practiced, cohesive FSCC. The situational awareness of the staff was exceptional because of the military occupational specialty diversity in key billets. Recognitional decision making by the commander and staff was made possible through the MOS diversity coupled with experience gained in wargaming and exercises. Ultimately, the commander and staff operated inside the enemy's Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop continually placing the enemy in a dilemma.
Lastly, the CAX was accomplished utilizing assets and equipment organic to the Marine division and regiment. With "From the Sea" in the background, the commander and staff of Eighth Marines began to see the seeds of a new organization emerging that would incorporate all the tactical and operations employment concepts used in the CAR development. This new organization, however, would be structured utilizing equipment currently in the Marine Corps inventory. The idea of the Marine Mechanized Amphibious Assault Regiment (MAAR) was born.
Assumptions drawn from the influencing external and internal pressures impacting
the Marine Corps were used to assist in the MAAR development. These assumptions
1. Marine forces will act as the enabling forces for follow-on U.S./Allied forces.
2. Current fiscal constraints would remain constant or deteriorate.
3. Operational tempo within Fleet Marine Forces would remain constant or increase.
Disconnects became readily apparent when the LAV based CAR was measured
against "From the Sea." In order for Marine units to be an effective enabling force their equipment and vehicles had to be capable of supporting amphibious assault operations. LAV's could not negotiate surf nor fight their way ashore. This shortfall would therefore generate an increased requirement for landing craft and amphibious shipping. A serious shortcoming was also identified in Maritime Preposition Force shipping. A major reorganization of shipboard equipment would be required to support the LAV based CAR. The CAR would require storage of over 200 LAV variants plus the additional wheeled support vehicles.
The strategic mobility arena presented another disconnect. The emphasis on joint operations continued to expand. The joint planner on a CINC staff could be faced with a dilemma. Given that the LAV CAR could not act as an enabling force, it certainly was suited to function as a reinforcing force. This potentially placed the CAR in competition with Army mechanized forces. The joint planner's decision would be to use limited strategic lift assets to move an Army mechanized brigade or the CAR. What organization provided the "most bang for the buck"? The choice is obvious when firepower is the discriminator. The mechanized brigade is equipped with M1A1 tanks, as is the CAR, but Bradley fighting vehicles with turret mounted AT-TOW and a 25 millimeter chain gun are
far superior to an LAV-APC armed with a 7.62 millimeter machine gun (Annex C, LAV Bison Characteristics).20
Operational tempo within the Marine division was also an issue. The LAI
battalions organic to the CAR saw a substantial decrease in the traditional number of personnel assigned, particularly infantry. In effect, this decreased the number of battalions within the division capable of supporting Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) and the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) from nine to six. This reduction would seriously impact the personnel tempo and turbulence within the division. In the final analysis, the Marine Corps would be requesting significant fiscal resources to field the LAV based CAR while it did not support a forcible entry/enabling force capability, was not compatible with the MPF, provided less reinforcing capability than an Army mechanized brigade and reduced the Marine Corps to support forward deployment by thirty percent.
The MAAR offered a solution to all the problems listed. It was based upon units and equipment already organic to the division. The LAY-BISON procurement could be canceled. AAVs would provide the amphibious and ground armor mobility required of the infantry. The regimental structure, as organized, provided the infantry battalions that constituted the maneuver elements. The tank battalion would be permanently assigned to the regiment, as would the LAR company from the LAI battalion. The regimental headquarters staff required an increase of approximately ten personnel in order to enhance the capabilities of the staff sections to coordinate the battlefield activities of such a large, vehicle intensive organization. A T/O change to the headquarters also enabled the
assignment of officers trained in armor and mechanized operations (military occupational specialties 1802, tanks, and 1803, AAVs) to key billets.
The advantages of the MAAR organization were numerous. First, it possessed a potent forcible entry/amphibious assault capability and was in immediate consonance with "From the Sea." Second, it retained two infantry battalions to meet continuing and increasing operational requirements and deployments. Third, significant cost savings were realized. The projected cost of each LAV-BISON was approximately 700,000 dollars. It also precluded purchase of additional landing craft and amphibious shipping as well as modification to the MPF suit. Fourth, it supported the classic employment concept of armor and mechanized formations. For example, the LAR company provided reconnaissance. Elements detached from one AAV mechanized battalion and the tank battalion would be task organized to constitute an advanced guard. The remaining elements of the lead battalion and the second mechanized battalion formed the main body. The tank battalion is positioned to be the decisive force, striking the lethal blow once LAR
identifies an enemy weakness or the situation is developed by the advance guard. Fifth, the total firepower of the MAAR represented a significant increase over the CAR. The up-gunned weapons station of the AAV (cupola mounted 40 millimeter MK-l9 and caliber 50 machine gun) was far superior to the 7.62mm machine gun of the BISON Sixth, the MIPF already possessed sufficient quantities of AAVs to support MAAR employment. No modifications were required. Seventh, the MAAR avoided any unfavorable comparisons with Army mechanized brigades. The MAAR provided the amphibious assault capability a mechanized brigade could not.
The advantages of the MAAR were presented to Major General Neil, the new CG of Second Marine Division. He concurred with the assessment and recommendation and forwarded the proposal through the chain of command to HQMC.
The MAAR proposal, nor that of the CAR, was ever implemented. Ostensibly the reason was Congress' decision to maintain the active duty personnel end strength of the Marine Corps at approximately 177,000 negating major force structure revision. Those remaining required personnel reductions to bring end strength in line with the congressional decision were made to support establishments and selected combat arms units. Many of the FSPG proposals were never enacted for this same reason.
"Only movement brings victory", Panzer General Heinz Guderian.22
The operational concepts developed for the CAR and MAAR remain applicable
and relevant to the combat operations of the GCE and Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) commanders today. The primacy of the MEF in fighting the single battle places additional burdens on the GCE and MEF. A recent example of this occurred in the Gulf War during MIEF security force operations. I MEF utilized two separate elements, under the command of their respective divisions, to conduct security force missions. This technique worked, but the question must be asked if it would have been successful had the Iraqis been more aggressive or determined in their operations. What would have been the outcome if the Iraqis launched a large scale offensive operation at numerous locations? The command, control, and fires coordination problems faced by the MIFF could have been numerous and possibly catastrophic in attempting to coordinate the single battle
through two GCE command structures. The use of two security forces did not maximize utilization of resources or enhance synchronization of the battlefield activities. The MAAR could have provided the MEF commander with an organization capable of conducting all security missions (screen, guard, cover) based upon his intent. The MAAR would be a cohesive unit trained and practiced in the intricacies of coordinating fires, maneuver, and logistical support in a high tempo, armor and mechanized environment. The potential of the MAAR structure represents the integration of organic direct fire combat power and all supporting arms in one organization. Practiced SOPs and a mutual
understanding of employment concepts within the MAAR by all organic units would make this potential a reality.
From a larger perspective, all US military forces are down sizing. It is unrealistic to think Marine forces will only act as an enabling force in a major regional conflict and then reembark aboard shipping to await the next crisis. Rather, it should be anticipated that once Army forces are ashore, Marines will continue to be employed in a supporting role as was the case in the Gulf War, Marine involvement in current Korean conflict scenarios substantiate this position. Potential adversaries of the United States have embarked on an unprecedented qualitative and quantitative modernization program which
includes mechanization as well as armor procurement. Russia continues to conduct
research, develop, and market its latest generation tanks and APCs. The Russians also continue to lead the world in the manufacture and sale of new active and explosive reactive applique armor.23 For these reasons, it is imperative the Marine Corps reevaluate the utility of the MAAR structure.
The MAAR provides a resident mechanized warfare expertise to each Marine
division with virtually no cost in personnel or equipment. The MAAR is ideally suited to support the MIEF and is in consonance with the Commandant's guidance presented in "Forward.. From the Sea." In l926, British Field Marshal Milne spoke of mechanized armor units while addressing senior British officers,
A force of this description you can use as a swinging blow to
come round the flank. It is an armored force intended for long distance work... What I am aiming at is a mobile force that can go long distances and carry out big operations. The potential combat capability embodied in the MAAR meets this description.
1 Norman Friedman, Desert Victory: The War For Kuwait; Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1991; pp 267-270
2 Marine Corps Order 5401.5 dated 24 August l992
6 Navy personnel were not included in force structure planning at this time.
7 The reduction of regimental strength from three infantry battalions to two was necessary to meet the Marine Corps personnel end strength objective of l59,100. The addition of the tank battalion replaced the loss of one infantry battalion leaving the CAR with three maneuver battalions.
8 LAV-BISON manufacturer characteristics data (Annex C)
9 Major Mike Davis interview, October '94
10 Commanding Officer, Eighth Marines letter, l500, S-3, dated l6 September l992
11 H. Guderian, Achtung Panzer l929
l2 Alan Clark, Barbarosa, the Russian-German Conflict l94l-45; Quill, New York, New York, l965; p 205
13 Colonel Keith T. Holcomb, personal notes, July l992
15 Eighth Marines CAR Brief to CG, 2d Marine Division (MGen Van Riper) 21
16 8th Marines Draft CAR Table of Organization, Number 1091F,, December l992
18 MCO 540l.5 dated 24 August 92
19 Major Doug King interview, January '95
20 LAV-BISON contractor data sheet (Annex C).
21 Major King interview, January 95. The preponderance of personnel end strength reductions were made to headquarters elements, primarily III MEF, recruiting, and tanks (reduced from three battalions to two), artillery, and aviation units (OV-10, A-6).
22 Bryan Perrett, A History of Blitzkrieg; Jove Books, New York, New York, l983; p 20
23 Point Paper, Threat Assessment: Worldwide Armor Proliferation and Effect on Marine Corps Capabilities MCCDC, Quantico, Virginia, l4 July l994
24 Charles Messenger, The Blitzkrieg Story; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York, l976; p 44
Clark, Alan; Barbarosa: The Russian-German Conflict l94l-l945; Quill, New York, NY, l965
Friedman, Norman; Desert Victory: The War for Kuwait; Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, l99l
Messenger, Charles; The Blitzkrieg Story; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, NY, l976
Perrett, Bryan; A History of Blitzkrieg; Jove Books, New York, NY, l983
Field Manual (FM) 7l-l23, Tactics and Techniques for Combined Arms Heavy Forces: Armored Brigade, Battalion/Task Force, and Company Team; Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 30 September l992
United States Marine Corps 200l Force Structure Implementation Plan, MCO 540l.5, 24 August l992, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC
Point Paper; Threat Assessment: Worldwide Armor Proliferation and Effect on Marine Corps Capabilities MCCDC, Quantico, Virginia, l4 July l994
. TABLE OF ORGANIZATION COMBINED ARMS REOIMENT
NUMBER..... 1091F FLEET MARINE FORCE
1. PROMULGATION STATEMENT This Table of Organization prescribes
the organizational structure, billet authorization, personnel
strength, and individual weapons of the COMBINED ARMS REGIMENT, of
the Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.
HEADQUARTERS AND SERVICE COMPANY
LIGHT ARMORED RECONNAISSANCE COMPANY
LIGHT ARMORED INFANTRY BATTALION (2)
3. MISSION AND TASRS
a. Mission. To locate, close with, and defeat the enemy
through the coordination of armor protected firepower, maneuver,
shock action, and close combat.
(l) Command, control and coordinate the actions of the
(2) Coordinate fire an maneuver.
(3) Deploy to a theater of operations.
(4) Conduct amphibious operations.
(5) Conduct defensive operations.
(6) Conduct offensive operations.
(7) Conduct security operations.
(8) Conduct mechanized operations.
(9) Conduct peacetime operations.
(10) Function as the Ground Combat Element (GCE) of a
Joint/combined landing force.
4. CONCEPT OF ORGANIZATION
a. Command and Control
(l) Command and Staff. Command and staff functions are
exercised through an operational command group consisting of the
commander and his executive staff. The staff assists the commander
in the decision making process. The staff is capable of
displacing by echelon and in conducting sustained operations. The
regiment is also capable of control and coordination of fire support
assets through the employment of an organic fire support
(2) Communications. Communication means are provided to
maintain continuous communication channels to subordinate units
attached units and higher headquarters. The primary method of
communications is by single channel radio. Alternate means include
multichannel radios, computers supporting a regimental local area
network (LAN), digital communications, wire, telephone, messenger
and liaison parties. The division headquarters battalion provides
multichannel radio communications to the regimental headquarters to
support voice and data communications with adjacent commands and
(3) Intelligence. The Combined Arms Regiment possesses
organic reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting assets in its
reconnaissance company, the scout platoons in each of its maneuver
battalions and the UAVs in headquarters and service company.
Information, received from these or other subordinate and supporting
units as well as adjacent and higher headquarters, is processed into
intelligence for use by the commander and his staff. The regiment
forwards collected information/intelligence both to higher
headquarters and subordinate units for further processing and use.
b. Firepower. In addition to individual weapons, the organ
firepower of the regiment consists of tanks, heavy, medium and light
antitank weapons, small caliber cannons, medium and heavy machine
guns, automatic grenade launchers and heavy mortars.
c. Mobility. Tanks, light armored vehicles (LAVs) and heavy
medium and light utility vehicles provide tactical mobility
for troops, equipment, weapons, communications assets and limited
amounts of ammunition, fuel and other supplies. Tanks are
transportable by rail sea, and air. The regiment can be
transported by strategic air assets to join up with its associated
equipment on maritime proposition ships. LAVs are swim capable but
cannot negotiate ocean swells or surf zones
5. CONCEPT OF EMPLOYMENT. The Combined Arms Regiment is the
decisive combat force of the Marine division, It is a powerful
organization possessing significant firepower, mobility,
communications, and armor protection. It has the capability to
conduct all types of offensive and defensive operations and is
ideally suited for high tempo offensive operations that exploit
success by striking deep into the enemy's rear areas and disrupting
his command and control, fire support and combat service support.
Usually these operations require support by air, artillery,
electronic warfare, air defense and engineer assets. Provision of a
mobile combat service support detachment (MCSSD) is required to
sustain the regiment. The Light Armored Reconnaissance Company
provides reconnaissance, security and economy of force capabilities.
The regiment is organized and trained to be employed in support of
maritime preposition force operations. The regiment may be employed
independantly or with other Marine, joint, or combined forces.
6. ADMINISTRATIVE CAPABILITY. The Combined Arms Regiment is
capable of self administration
7. LOGISTIC CAPABILITIES
a. Concept of Logistics. The regiment is the focal point f
logistical support for all elements of the regiment. All requests
for support are submitted through the regiment to the supporting
MCSSD. The regiment prioritizes requests, establishes replenishment
and collection points, determines resupply and evacuation routes
manages and coordinates both ground and aerial resupply, and
coordinates the movement of CSS elements throughout the regimental
area. The regiment anticipates unit requirements to the maximum
extent possible and push and throughput concepts of support.
Upon receipt of consolidated and coordinated requests from the
regiment, the MCSSO pushes supplies and maintenance contact teams
directly to the logistical trains of the regiment's subordinate
units. The regiment in turn keeps the MCSSD apprised of the
battlefield picture. e.g location of units, obstacles and minefield
locations , through the CSS liaison team.
b. Maintenance. The regiment is capable of operator level
maintenance (1st echelon) on all organic equipment, organizational
maintenance (2d echelon) on all organic weapons, NBC,
communications , and motor transport equipment, and organizational
and limited intermediate maintenance C2d and 3d echelon) on tanks
light armored vehicles, TOW, optics and very high frequency (VHF)
equipment and associated cabling and auxiliary radio equipment.
c. Supply. The regiment exercises management and coordination
of the overall supply effort within the organization
d. Transportation. All units In the Combined Arms Regiment
are capable of transporting their personnel, equipment, and a
limited quantity of supplies. Some transportation for attachments
is available within the LAI companies of the LAI battalion.
e. Medical. Medical personnel provide for emergency treatment
arid preparation for evacuation of casualties, treat minor
Illnesses and injuries of the headquarters and service and light
armored reconnaissance companies The medical section at regimental
level supervises disease prevention and control measures, provides
technical supervision and coordination of all medical activity
within the regiment.
f. Messing. The Headquarters and Service Company and
subordinate battalions of the regiment are capable of supporting
garrison and field messing.
8. EFFECTIVE DATE. This table of Organization is effective upon
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|