Before I lay out my dream team of a battalion, we need to shape the battlefield with some assumptions and considerations.
First it is important to remember that armored forces are exquisitely expensive to equip, train, and maintain, not counting the cost to field them in battle. Fuel and ammo are expended at incredible rates in a clash of armor. Development of updated equipment is slow and difficult in our country, for reasons I won’t touch with a ten foot pole.
Second, armor is VITAL on the modern battlefield. More so as part of a combined arms team. The mix of tanks, infantry vehicles, infantry squads, artillery and enablers is clutch for any combat operations within the full spectrum. I’m relying on experiences and lessons share from others on this aspect.
Third, modern battles will likely develop rapidly and there might not be much time for trying to push critical enablers forward. Forces are also likely to be spread out on the battlefield. The battle space a company can manage in a low intensity fight is much larger than what it would in a very high intensity fight. At the same time, the fight is likely to ebb and flow on the scale.
Fourth, we do not, and will not ever, completely own the sky in a peer or even near-peer fight. Very capable aircraft are proliferated and so have enemy anti-aircraft capabilities. Theater denial systems can make it possible for even near-peers to get aircraft onto the battlefield for short durations or longer. Furthermore, drones – UAVs – are widespread and have been employed with great success against even technologically capable forces. They are small, they are sneakier than a jet, and many carry weapons. Those that don’t are beaming video to enemies with weapons. Information dominance is a myth and it is safe to assume the enemy knows as much, if not more, about you that you do about him.
Fifth, there is a time and a place for heavier weapons, some more often than others. Having witnessed large artillery impact, I am a huge fan of having that capability in the back pocket. However, there are times when calling for 155mm or rockets isn’t the most appropriate. In this modern woke age, using mortars is much more palatable than tube artillery. This really shouldn’t be a consideration, but realistically, it is. What should and does matter though, is mortars are much easier to employ in terms of time and airspace deconfliction.
Sixth, an armored force can expect to fight in any terrain, but especially urban terrain. Cities are the key terrain of any modern conflict and at the same time, cities and towns dominate the road junctions of the world. At the same time, tanks have been called upon in every type of terrain, including impassable swamp (Cape Glouchester, World War 2).
Read Strike Hard and Expect No Mercy for some insights to intense combined arms combat in urban terrain. It is probably a more entertaining read for you than this mini-series. While you read Strike Hard and Expect No Mercy, stay tuned for the next installment of An Armored Force of the Future.