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Armoured Vehicles  –  CV90 IFV as CCV?  –  DND  Procurement  –  July  2009

CCV Dismounts:  Does Size Matter or is it What's Inside that Counts?
Questioning the CV90 series as the Close Combat Vehicle for Afghanistan

CASR  recently backed the suggestion –  by Canadian Forces personnel and others –  that Canada should lease or borrow a trial batch of CV9040 vehicles for use in Afghanistan.  The CV9040Cs in question are up-armoured versions of  this formidable family of infantry fighting vehicles. Much smaller numbers of similar – but differently armed – CV9035s have been bought for the Danish Army.  One of  the Danish vehicles was on display at CANSEC, representing partners BAE Systems and DEW Engineering for DND's CCV competition.[1]

The issue has been raised – not least by Canadian Forces personnel with recent experience on armour in Afghanistan  – about the number of  'dismounts' (or infantry) carried by CV90 series IFVs. In theory, the complement for the existing CF LAV III and the CV9035 is identical – crew of three  (driver, gunner, and vehicle commander)  plus seven infantry 'dismounts' in the back. Probably the concerns are about space available for those seven dismounts.  Fortunately, the Danes have already addressed this.  Their solution is two squads of  three infantry along with one support specialist. Excess personal equipment is left behind (or carried by a supply truck).

So why is this issue important? There are two reasons. The first is how the Danes approached the problem. Speed was of the essence so the Danes adopted a standard approach for all their infantry groups regardless of vehicle type. If the CCV is adopted, the Canadian Forces should probably follow this example quickly. The second is that, in a pinch, CV9040s could be trialled with the full CF mechanized infantry group of seven soldiers  –  albeit, light on individual gear and platoon weapons. This is critical if  LGen Leslie's  recent remarks that  the Canadian Army will no longer need an 'operational hiatus' does indeed suggest an extension to the current CF mission to Afghanistan.  Edited excerpts of Danish articles from Hæren and Forsvaret follow.

[1] The CANSEC display CV9035 was not a standard Danish vehicle featuring, as it did, a BAE Systems Bofors Lemur Remote Weapons System on its turret roof, among other non-issue kit.

A Lightweight Carrier for the Infantry (Letsværvægter til infanteriet)

MJ-R [Major af reserven] Torben Øllegaard Sørensen, Hæren (18. Årgang Nr. 2, 2008)
In the Danish CV9035 DK, there is room for seven infantry dismounts in the rear. The soldiers sit with their boots in suspended hangers. If their vehicle is hit by a mine or a roadside bomb, the soldier's feet will not transfer blast effects to their bodies. When a mine or IED detonates, the CV9035's floor may be displaced by a few centimetres, without the soldiers being harmed.

[ Below:  Konstabel (PFC) Kristian Dreholm sits in the CV9035.  The folding seats, suspended from the ceiling to minimalize blast effects, appear to the same IBD seat as fitted to CF LAVs.]

The organization of  Danish armoured infantry companies (panserinfanterikompagni ) has been changed for the IKK- kompagni (IFV Company) in comparison with the old PMV kompagni  (or Armoured Personnel Carrier Company). The CV9035 IKK  (infantericampkøretøj) has a group sergeant (or delingssergent ) assigned  in addition to the traditional officer. This officer – usually a First Lieutenant – acted as both a platoon commander and as the vehicle commander. Roles are now interchangable between the group sergeant and officer.  Either can command the dismounts or vehicle.

If the platoon commander dismounts with his infantry groups,  the group sergeant takes over as vehicle commander of the CV9035 IKK.  But, should the platoon commander officer decide to remain with the vehicle,  the group sergeant takes over the lead of the dismounted infantry.

In the familiar panserinfanterigruppe, infantry were responsible for both machinegun and the Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless gun.  That general-purpose machinegun has now been assigned to a manoeuvre-support group –  the Carl Gustav recoilless gun having been replaced by the IKK's 35mm automatic cannon.  The manoeuvre-support groups  now also handle the mortars.

Extra Equipment is kept on Support Trucks  [ or Just Left Behind at the Command Post ]

The CV9035 IKK has less equipment storage space than the old  M113 PMVs. Infantry aboard IKKs carry only one day's kit. In practice, each individual soldier stows personal equipment in a pocket behind his seat. All sleeping bags and cots are stowed in boxes on the outside of the turret.  Other surplus equipment and weapons are left in containers back at the command post.

Infantry Dismounts: Size Isn't Crucial (Størrelsen er ikke afgørende)
New Danish  Infantry Group Size Tested with Success in Afghanistan

Anders V. Fridberg, Danish Military Media Centre, Forsvaret (6. Årgang Nr. 2, 2008)
The Danish Army's new Infantry Fighting Vehicle only has room for Seven Infantrymen

Is six, eight, or twelve  the correct number soldiers for an infantry group?  If the units of other countries are examined, there seems to be many answers. Kaptajn Asbjørn Paulsen of Hærens Kampskole (Danish Army Combat School) received his answer along with instructions to test new infantry groups in the summer of  2007. This order recommended six infanteers per group.

Kaptajn Paulsen's orders sprang from the introduction of new Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV, infantericampkøretøj, or IKK), the CV9035. Denmark bought 45 of these vehicles which are to be ready for deployment in 2010. With its 35mm cannon, the CV9035 IKK can support soldiers on the ground better than other vehicles. But, besides the driver, gunner, and commander, the CV9035 IKK only has space for seven soldiers in the back. The seven seats are for an infantry group of six dismounts and one other soldier from the so-called division squad  (delingstrop).

Nothing Won With Eight  [ Six vs Eight Dismounts and Danish Experiences in Afghanistan ]

Reduced to six soldiers, a group of infantry engaging an enemy gives away some of its weight of fire compared with the original group of eight. But, whether there are six or eight soldiers in an infantry group does not limit that group's effectiveness on the battlefield in the way it once would have. The task of infantry in the present Danish army isn't to neutralize the enemy with the infantry group's own weapons. Rather, that group is to find the enemy, engage them, hold them down, and  to direct fire on that position from different platforms (eg: artillery or aircraft). According to Kaptajn Paulsen, international investigations have shown that group size is not crucial.  This conclusion was reinforced by the first Danish experience with six-person groups.

  Premierløjtnant [ First Lt or PL ] Mads Mikkelsen was platoon commander of a company in
  Helmand from August 2007  to  February 2008.  Although often embroiled in heavy fighting,
  Mikkelsen concluded "I cannot see that I'd have won something by having eight men in my
  groups instead of  six ... I haven't felt a need for the two extra men in order to win the battle".

Dynamisk kamp [Dynamic Combat: Two Teams Support and Communicate with Each Other]

In the old Danish eight-man group, soldiers operated in pairs to operate the machinegun and the [ M/65 Carl Gustav ] recoilless gun. When KN Paulsen organized the new group of  six, he eliminated both the pairs principle and the two heavy weapons which dictated the pairings.  In the new, six-person groups, soldiers are arranged in  two teams of  three. A Group Leader (gruppeføreren) commands one trio, Rifleman (geværskytte) 1 leads the other.

Kaptajn Paulsen's idea was that the two teams can offer cover and provide situational reports to each other.  As a result, combat operations are more dynamic and liquid.  PL Mikkelsen has not resisted the new group of six concept. He has been satisfied that nothing critical has been given up with this new arrangement. From his perspective, there are advantages to the smaller group. An officer can better understand six individual soldiers. And, compared with operating in pairs, a leader of a trio of  infantry has more chances to reconnoiter and to find his bearings.

  "That has given us an increased speed of movement and manoeuvre", states PL Mikkelsen,
  "For me, what speaks most clearly in favour of these new six-soldier infantry groups, is that
    my two experienced group leaders say that they prefer it to the group with eight soldiers."

But Can We Tolerate Losses ?  [ Six Means Fewer Helping Hands when a Soldier is Down ]

According to both KN Paulsen and PL Mikkelsen,  the immediate drawback to a smaller group size appears when somebody in the group is wounded, then has to be treated and evacuated. If one soldier is wounded,  the whole group could be out of  the fight. To avoid that situation in Helmand  Province,  Mikkelsen brought along extra medics.  PL Mikkelsen also considered the six-person group to be vulnerably small  when his soldiers  had to search Afghan houses.

  "When searching houses, we lacked manpower. That meant we needed to insert two groups
   of six infantry whereas, before, we might have made do with one group of eight",  he says.

Only Room for One  [ A Standardized Infantry Group Size Regardless of  the Vehicle Type ]

The new groups of six are not only used in the CV9035 IKK companies. The PMV  [ M113 G3, the Danish equivalent to the CF's M113 TLAVs ] armoured personnel carriers) and  Piranhas
[a LAV III type] also now have to operate in groups of  six. That is due to a wish for flexibility between units. But the major issue is making the training of  the soldiers as simple as possible.

  "To avoid making training unnecessarily complex –  not least for the Sergeant Schools –  we
  decided against having two different organizational styles for infantry groups. We simply do
  not have enough room  for  multiple  infantry  group  sizes in our little army",  Paulsen states.

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