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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:02 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
I wonder . . .

Artillery obviously accounted for the majority of combat casualties in WWI (I forget exactly, but I want to say something like 75%?).

I believe this generally held true in WWII, though perhaps smaller proportion?

Korea, Vietnam, and the rest of the conflicts of the 20th century not sure. Except: Iran-Iraq war, here again, I believe artillery was incredibly lethal, accounting for nearly WWI levels of casualties. Desert Storm: if you count air-launched ordnance of one sort or another and "missiles" as a type of "artillery" then once again, it would seem that standoff bombardment was incredibly lethal.

But then, most U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were from IEDs and small arms or shoulder-fired explosives . . . What say you maddogs? Why is artillery sometimes so effective (at various points in the last ~100 years) and other times so "ineffective" (which I put in quotes because, if you don't use it, it is obviously ineffective, but for different reasons than if you DO use it and it is ineffective).

I'm not entirely clear how effective artillery has been in Ukraine, which would seem to be a reasonable analogue of what an actual war between USSR and one of her neighbors would look like. I get the impression that: the massed use of standoff bombardment has at times caused disproportionate destruction and death, but the these types of attacks and counter-attacks have not been maintained at anything like a regular frequency.


There are many variables.

What is the predominant nature of the conflict? Is it a series of massive standoff battles fought along shoreline roads in North Africa? Is it a series of massive offensives over long densely packed lines in the plains of Netherlands and Belgium? Is it a series of raids and counter raids and base to base wilderness warfare during the long night of Arctic Circle? Is it a short blizkrieg followed by limited insurgent bomb campaign against occupying force?

How dense are the force concentrations? What tactics are used? What is the intensity of warfare? Are there front lines and if there are, are they fluid or slow to change? How well are the forces supplied?

Finnish defensive battles of 1944 that started with the Soviet equivalent of D-Day invasion against Finland saw some extremely lethal use of artillery. Finns had *at the time* some of the best artillery fire control systems allowing for accurate and fast coordination of even massive amounts of artillery without revealing the spotter's location - UK had similarly and potentially even better systems but UK didn't get to use their system the way Finland did.

Soviets never abandoned massive force concentrations along the lines of their main thrusts. They would concentrate massive forces and attack Finnish positions in rocky terrain with shallow dirt cover on top of bedrock.

Quote:
At the critical Ihantala sector of the battle, the Finnish defenders managed to concentrate their fire to the extent of smashing the advancing Soviet spearhead.[31] The clever fire control system enabled as many as 21 batteries, totaling some 250 guns, to fire at the same target simultaneously in the battle; the fire controller did not need to be aware of the location of individual batteries to guide their fire, which made quick fire concentration and target switching possible. The Finnish artillery fired altogether over 122,000 rounds of ordnance. This concentration was considered a world record at the time.[5] These fire missions managed to halt and destroy Soviet forces that were assembling at their jumping off points. On thirty occasions the Soviet forces destroyed were larger than battalion size.[10]


Soviets pounded Finnish positions a lot harder but it was often not very precise and they often intentionally fired hours long barrages that reached from frontline to deep into rear lines and even support formations. The bombardments were compounded by massive aerial attacks.

During these attacks Finns would be dug in underground. Our current standard for artillery resistant position is a two man ditch which has an underground position at one corner where both men can take refuge if under heavy artillery. The position is deep enough to stand in and has diagonal firing sectors in relation to expected route of enemy advance.

Even against such positions you can achieve heavy casualties once you can 'saturate' the area with enough fire. It is by no means easy to negate the effects of Soviet style artillery.

However, when the Soviets themselves formed for attack Finns would hit these attack formation while they were advancing in the rocky terrain with partially exposed bedrock. It was said that the heavy artillery shelling of 250 barrels hitting a single formation on rocky ground was 'devastating' and the effects were multiplied by splinters from boulders and bedrock as opposed to being dampened by clay field.

These shellings did not actually stop the attacks but they forced the attackers to take cover during attacks, slowing them down and also caused such heavy casualties that the attacks simply didn't have enough momentum to punch through the weakened defenders.

It is one thing to grind a defensive position to dust, it is another thing to take it when you're yourself subjected to punishing fire while at it.



Today we have digital aiming systems, fire control systems and to top it all off we can put eyes above the target area with spotter drones.

We can't guarantee that there won't be enemies to oppose your attack but we can guarantee that any attacker is going to bleed.

Due to how easy it is to conceal infantry and vehicles it is still today difficult to effectively destroy defenders. It is a lot easier to punish someone coming out of cover to attack. In large scale warfare this means that you have to think strategically where to position your firepower and where to launch your attacks. Attacks in a region where enemy has heavy firepower available will be seriously dented unless you can utilize armor - a force of MBTs with IFVs and APCs to minimize artillery casualties on your troops during the advance phase and so.

Or as we Finns currently plan to fight - we let the enemy proceed and we fight in depth, always ambushing, striking and disengaging while moving from prepared defensive position to another, constantly fleeing the might of enemy hammer while using our hammer on their advancing forces.


A form of war of attrition on the enemy where our side also will lose because things don't always go as planned but in general the idea is that we're utilizing fighting in depth and the advantages of defender to hit the attacker hard and withdrawing before they can adjust. Indirect fire is utilized heavily.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:25 pm 
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Some good PR on the part of "Puolustusvoimat - Försvarsmakten." I reckon Ivan is impressed ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:41 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:
Some good PR on the part of "Puolustusvoimat - Försvarsmakten." I reckon Ivan is impressed ;)







At my kids' elementary school's Independence Day celebration we did honor to Finnish flag as it was carried to the auditorium, followed by a play where the boys were all clad in WW II style winter camo and carried wooden rifles. First we listened to the original radio broadcast telling that the Russians had attacked by bombing our cities, then their 'commander' told them that they'd march to front line and they did it to the beat of Sillanpään Marssilaulu:



Then in the play there were sounds of attacking aircraft and the 'troops' fired volleys at the make belief Russian aircraft.

This was followed with the girls' play on how many women volunteered through the Lotta Svärd, serving as medics, cooks, air spotters etc. and how some even lost their lives as they did their part too and how they helped relieve more men to front line.

It was beautiful and many of us found something caught in the eye, not that we were crying but it was beautiful and it is good to see the unbroken chain of generations. One day these small people will take the torch from us to carry it with pride.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:23 pm 
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https://www.defensenews.com/interviews/2017/12/05/interview-gen-jarmo-lindberg-head-of-finlands-defence-forces/

Quote:
Interview: Gen. Jarmo Lindberg, head of Finland’s Defence Forces
By: Valerie Insinna

Image

HALIFAX, Canada — As tension between Russia and NATO continues, Finland finds itself in a difficult position due to its shared border with Russia. While it remains unaligned with NATO, Finland is moving on a similar trajectory as many of its Western European neighbors, with plans to funnel more money into its defense budget and increase participation in training exercises.

Gen. Jarmo Lindberg, head of Finland’s Defence Forces, is charged with leading the country’s military as it grows its reserve force and makes several large technology investments. During the Halifax International Security Forum in November, he spoke with Defense News about the country’s top spending priorities and how it is responding to increased Russian military activity.

How is Finland’s defense budget changing? Are you seeing more investment? Are things very constrained?

There’s a possibility for more dramatic change. So the previous government in Finland cut the defense budget by 10 percent, and we have cut a lot of procurement. We used to buy annually some €750 million (U.S. $892 million), plus or minus, and we were going down to around €500 million a year. But then this current government made the decision that they were going to return some of the procurement money, and they will ramp it up so we have some about €150 million more by the end of this decade. This will up the procurement of Army weapon systems and Army materiel because the life cycle is ending for a lot of Army systems.

But in the defense report that was finalized in June last year, the government stated that they are willing to fund strategic procurement programs first to the Navy, where six ships are going away, and they’re going to be replaced by four multipurpose corvettes of about 100 meters. And the anticipated cost of that is €1.2 billion. Then the replacement of the F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters is due to happen between 2025 and 2030, and also in the defense report they wrote that they would reserve money between €7-10 billion for the fighter replacement. If all this will go through with the next government, then the Finnish Defence Forces are in a very stable situation where, at the moment, by the way, NATO counts the percentage of GDP. We put something like between 1.6-1.7 percent out of GDP. But if this goes through, what I’m telling you now, for the next decade, with the strategic programs, we will be putting over 2 percent out of the GDP to do this. So there’s a chance for a significant opportunity.

You mentioned NATO. Is Finland considering joining?

It is not an imminent decision-making point because the latest polls show that only about 22 percent of Finns support NATO membership. And one of the big hurdles or points for NATO members is that there has to be a kind of national support for that. Because in the polls there is not such a big support for NATO membership, so not a lot of politicians are going forward with that. So it is not happening in the imminent future.

I understand there’s an ongoing competition, but what is Finland looking for out of its next fighter?

We already have the request for information, the RFI, out. And we have analyzed some 8,000 pages, answers from the companies, and we have five jets in the competition for the RFI. We have the Eurofighter, the Super Hornet, we have the F-35, Rafale and the Gripen. And now we are kind of in between because we have done the RFI round and we plan to initiate the official request for proposals or request for quotation, RFQ, in next April. And that’s where the real competition starts. It will be for the same five jets that I have mentioned to you already. But we are not doing it in a way where we would be shopping for a fighter one-to-one to replace our Hornets.

What we did in the RFI round already, we put out a scenario. There’s a kind of unclassified scenario and there’s a secret scenario for all of the competitors. Then we told them: “OK, we know that you manufacture fighters and other stuff. This is our problem. With the things that you’re manufacturing, how would you solve this problem?” And this is what we have already done once, and now we are refining our scenarios and our RFQ so that the next round will be a bit different in the way we put it.

But that also shows our approach — that we’re not just looking for a fighter to replace another fighter one-to-one. We’re looking at total capability, how you solve your air defense problems with multirole fighters.

How many jets are you looking to procure, or will this exercise inform that number?


There’s no definite number. At the moment we have 62 F/A-18 Hornet Cs and Ds, lot 17 and up. And it’s written in the defense white paper or the defense report that we will replace the whole capability. That needs to be defined once we get the answers and once we have the value system done. Then we have to figure out what is the full capability and what does it mean for the numbers.

That’s a really interesting way of going about a fighter procurement — going to companies and posing your problem directly to them and seeing how they would use their tech to solve it.

We did something that the others haven’t figured out in their fighter competitions, and some of the companies said: “Hey, Finland, you did it again.” So this is a novel and a new way to approach [this], but me being an operator and me being a fighter pilot — when the guys came to me and told me, “OK, we figured out that we’ll do it this way,” I immediately told them, “Yeah, way to go, let’s do it that way.”

So what did you learn from the first round of these inquires and answers, and how does that help you refine an RFP as you go forward?

The companies, they did a very good job. They did the evaluations. The challenge in this kind of a global competition is to refine the answers in a way that they are comparable. Even though we tried to be very specific with the request and we tried to tell them a very specific way in how do you answer and what do we expect from you.

So obviously there are differences from their background, in how they answered. And then we had additional discussions with them when we have received them, so we are trying to put them into the same matrix and turn them into a comparable way. I would say that is the challenge and that is why we have done the RFI. That’s why we are now refining it. And we think obviously we are very optimistic that the RFQ will be a better one. But we will do it also in a way that in the process we make sure that we can compare them in the right way, even if the initial answers are a bit different.

I can see why that would be challenging, as these jets are so different from each other. The F-35 is just such a different machine than something like the Gripen, and you would have to operate them completely differently as well.

You’re exactly right.

For the corvette competition, have you structured that similarly to the fighter competition?

No, we did it in a different way. So first, the Navy, they selected the yard in Finland that will build the four corvettes. Then we had a global competition for several companies for the sensors and weapons systems and specifically the integration for that. Then we down-selected three of them. The ones that are left are Saab from Sweden, Atlas from Germany and Lockheed Martin Canada. So these are the companies and where we’re at in the moment. These three companies are now competing for the most expensive part of the corvettes, which is the integration of the sensors and the weapon systems.

When will you make a decision on that?

Next year, in 2018.

Switching over to the geopolitical situation Finland finds itself in, are your defense forces seeing increased encounters with Russia, as they boost their own military activity?

The high number was 2014. It grew linearly to 2014. Then it went down in 2015, 2016. For 2017, it looks like it is not going — the air ops — it’s not going any more linearly down. It’s roughly in the 2016 ballpark. But compared to times before 2012, the air and maritime activity has been growing in the Gulf of Finland and in the Baltic area. Russian activity has been growing.

So even though the big year was 2014, the level where we are now is still a lot higher than what we’re seeing in 2012.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:24 pm 
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..continued...
Quote:
How do you ensure that tensions don’t escalate as those encounters increase?

Obviously, when we go and intercept the vessels at sea and the aircraft over the Gulf of Finland, there are standard procedures, and people have to be really careful when they do the intercept, that they do only the standard maneuvers. And they are careful, that’s what we stress all the time because of the high activity.

We’re not alone there intercepting the Russians because the NATO air policing jets are doing the same and the Swedes are doing the same, so there is a lot of activity.

As Finland increases its procurement budgets, is it also increasing the size of its armed forces?

We had a wartime strength of 230,000, which is, by European size, it is really big. So our reserve is really big. In the same defense report from June, then there was a decision that we would grow it by 50,000, so, yes, our numbers and the number of our wartime structure is growing in the very near future from 230,000 to 280,000.

When will that growth be complete?

It will happen next year. So it’s very fast.

Does Finland plan on doing more exercises with its neighbors, too?

We used to have about 65 international exercises annually. ... Last year we had 87. This year, 84. Next year’s international exercise level will be about the same ballpark. I would say around 80 exercises, which is a fairly big amount. A lot of multilateral exercises. Also the number of pilot drill exercises has been growing with our neighboring countries and then also with the United States, and we have nations that come to Finland to train in Finland, which is also something that has been growing. So I would say from the earlier years, a definite jump from 65-something to around 80, but currently 80 is the level where we’re going to be in the near future.

What would you say is driving this push to enlarge Finland’s military?

The overall military activity in the neighborhood of Finland has been growing. Russia, as we all know, has been active ever since Crimea. NATO has brought on forces to the Baltic states, and in Poland it has forward presence. There is a U.S. Marine Corps unit in Norway. Sweden has brought the forces back to the island of Gotland, and they also ran a huge national exercise — 19,000 soldiers — this September. So overall military activity all around Finland has been growing for the last four, five years. That means that also we are in a situation where we have been analyzing our military capabilities, our military readiness; and based on our analysis, it is changing. So more reserve, it is better readiness and it is better spearheading of capabilities for all the services.

Russia has been public about its desire to see Finland align itself with it and not with NATO or Western Europe. Do you see partnership with Russia as feasible in this environment?

I would say that no European nations are partnering with Russia. We have been keeping up a dialogue, a high-level political dialogue with Russia. And we just told a couple of weeks [ago] that we have activated a hotline to Russia. So we now have a hotline that is there in place just in case if something happens, we have a hotline where we can pick up the phone and we can ask them: “OK, what’s happening?” This is a very recent thing, only a couple weeks ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:28 pm 
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Finland, where every boy over the age of 10 is a Navy SEAL! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Hum, I've found that having lots of "boxes" and "cases" of gear mounted to me by straps (as was mostly done in my day in the Army and prior) causes the gear to "flop around" causing balance issues when climbing up creek banks and such, but also making NOISE. Which is bad when trying to be stealthy at night (or in the day). The MOLLE type system attempts to attach the various pouches and gear closely to the wearers body to mitigate "flop". The reduces the noise and with careful placement can create a good balance, thereby reducing the feeling of carrying lots of weight.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:56 pm 
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jwilkerson wrote:
Hum, I've found that having lots of "boxes" and "cases" of gear mounted to me by straps (as was mostly done in my day in the Army and prior) causes the gear to "flop around" causing balance issues when climbing up creek banks and such, but also making NOISE. Which is bad when trying to be stealthy at night (or in the day). The MOLLE type system attempts to attach the various pouches and gear closely to the wearers body to mitigate "flop". The reduces the noise and with careful placement can create a good balance, thereby reducing the feeling of carrying lots of weight.

Image


That was some random squad covering a missile launcher or so. They have some special equipment cases.

Image

This slightly better shows how gear is carried. All was neatly tucked into combat vest, some of the stuff had to be forced in by thrusting with your knee and putting all your weight to it - the rain jacket and pants as they had to fit in a pouch.

Every item was muffled so that there would be no sound.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:18 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
Finland, where every boy over the age of 10 is a Navy SEAL! :)


I wish. It's a citizen army and we make do with what we have.

It is objectively obvious that professional militaries are better equipped and trained - hence better. And professional have good morale.

We do have a good morale despite having a conscript force. We try to keep up with equipment and try to make sure we make the most of our limited amount of training. We fill some gaps by having a professional element in the military - when you need 4 years of training for some task we use professional specialists.

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 Post subject: Re: Military Thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:06 am 
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I think there's a big difference between feeling pride with the military you belong to and thinking it is this fantastical otherwordly thing and superior to everyone else.

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