What exactly is 'cavalry'?

Discussion in 'Military' started by Semper Fi, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Semper Fi
    Offline

    Semper Fi VIP Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,772
    Thanks Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Ratings:
    +130
    And what is their role, specifically. Cav is like LAVs and tanks, right? I've also heard of cavalry being light air units, like Kiowas. Another question, if there is an infantry unit that is supported by a cavalry unit, how does that work? Wouldn't it take a heck of alot of LAVs to transport a battalion or even company from point a to point b? The origional push to Baghdad comes to mind. Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Hobbit
    Offline

    Hobbit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    5,099
    Thanks Received:
    420
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Near Atlanta, GA
    Ratings:
    +421
    Cavalry is a quick-moving unit designed for scouting, heavy support, and first strikes. Cavalry, of course, originated with the horse troops of ancient armies. They would ride out ahead of the army, scouting for the enemy army. Once they found that army, they would report to their superiors. In battle, heavy cavalry would charge infantry formations with devastating power, softening up the front line for the infantry. Light cavalry would either do quick, hit and run strikes with ranged weapons or ride around the flank to attack enemy archers or artillery.

    In a modern army, the cavalry is split up by purpose. First off, tanks aren't cavalry, they're armor. That may not always be true, but typically, tanks aren't cavalry. Ground cavalry is lighter vehicles, the heaviest of which would be something along the lines of an APC or Bradley Fighting Vehicle. These units usually roll with armor and mechanized infantry units for quick presses against the enemy. In this case, the cavalry follows the old light cavalry roll of attempting a flank against the slower enemy units. When accompanying infanty, they do not provide transport, but instead scout and soften up enemy units in preparation for an infantry attack.

    Now, the air cavalry is a whole different story. They're designed to make quick, decisive strikes deep within enemy territory, or at the very least in hard to access terrain. The choppers transport the unit in and out, along with supplying them. In a larger strategy, they're used more for striking weak points in the enemy army and can also provide effective flanking. Since the air cavalry is basically infantry with quick transport, they're not good for prolonged assaults, but are instead used to get to one place quickly, hit something specific, then leave the full assault for faster armor and mechanized infantry units.

    As far as the transport question, cavalry is never for transport. For how LAVs support infantry, see above. The choppers themselves for air cav aren't the cavalry, the infantry unit and the choppers together make up the air cav unit. This means that a cavalry unit only transports itself under normal circumstances. Of course, they'll give some space for wounded, evacuees, and the like, but that's abnormal.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  3. archangel
    Online

    archangel Guest

    Ratings:
    +0

    Damn and when I was in the 2nd and 7th Armored cav and a tank Commander
    ya mean I wasn't Cav? Damn now my feelings are hurt! :firing:

    side note: Cav is made up of Heavy,Light and air..if assigned to a cav unit ya can be assigned to any of the units...light,heavy or air! :salute:
     
  4. Mr. P
    Offline

    Mr. P Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    11,329
    Thanks Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South of the Mason Dixon
    Ratings:
    +620
    I was assigned to the 1/17th (Air) Cavalry attached to the 82nd Airborne division.
    We were a self contained unit…I’m sure much information is on the net but I’d rather not give specific information. I will say we had transport, attack and scout aircraft along with infantry and more.

    Hobbit did a pretty good job summing up the “AIR” Cav. I’ll add, they are the eyes and ears for the Division, typically deployed ahead of the “FEBA” (forward edge of the battle area) commonly known as the “front lines”.
     
  5. Hobbit
    Offline

    Hobbit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    5,099
    Thanks Received:
    420
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Near Atlanta, GA
    Ratings:
    +421
    Eh, forgive me. I'm a civilian. What I meant, anyway, but wasn't as good at saying, is that cavalry isn't tanks, but tanks can be cav. I also forgot that we now have high-speed units called "armored cav." I just thought anything that was mostly tanks was called an armor or mechanized infantry unit.
     
  6. Semper Fi
    Offline

    Semper Fi VIP Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,772
    Thanks Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Ratings:
    +130
    Man I'm confused. Don't get me wrong, you all did a great job explaining (especially you, Hobbit). Maybe this goes back to my question a few months back about how the Army operates, essentially.

    If cavalry unts are not main transport for infantry, then what is? Again, Kuwait to Baghdad comes to mind.

    And a question that's been bugging me lately: Why doesnt the Army, or any branch of the service for that matter, organize themselves into self-supported units, that can be deployed rapidly as a whole battalion/brigade. Like have artillary, ARMOR, CAVALRY, and infantry, though not necessarily air power; in one neat little package that the Defense Secretary or whomever is in charge or a theater can deploy with ease. Just my thought.
     
  7. Hobbit
    Offline

    Hobbit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    5,099
    Thanks Received:
    420
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Near Atlanta, GA
    Ratings:
    +421
    Ok, here's your questions in order.

    1) Correct me if I'm wrong, vets, but doesn't infantry get transport units to take it to the battle, then transport itself through the battle? Last I heard, non-mechanized infantry still walked when they were in danger of being shot at and took APCs (or big planes) when they were in less danger of being shot at.

    2) Brigades actually are combined forces, most of the time, with cavalry, mechanized infantry, and armor working in conjunction. Artillery, though, is a different matter. Artillery is never placed closer than a few dozen miles from the battle. If it's closer, you have a problem, meaning artillery, being deployed, used, and located far differently than the rest of the forces, is not integrated with the other forces on a unit scale. Artillery also may need to support multiple brigades and, as such, can't have attachment to one of those brigades in order to smoothe the chain of command.
     
  8. Semper Fi
    Offline

    Semper Fi VIP Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,772
    Thanks Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Ratings:
    +130
    Well that makes sense. So why not make a whole bunch of brigades? It doesnt make sense to have elements from an infantry division be supported from elements from an armored division, why not just make them all part of a brigade, and do away with the divisions? (By all, I mean a principle warfighting amount, of course there would be several brigades)
     
  9. CSM
    Offline

    CSM Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    6,907
    Thanks Received:
    708
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Northeast US
    Ratings:
    +708
    What you describe here is called the new BCT (Brigade Combat Team). In concept it is supposed to be 'modular'; that is the brigade can be configured as needed to accomplish the mission. The Army is already moving in this direction. Divisions and Corps are neede because those are the elements that coordinate with the Air Force, Navy, etc. Those same elements have to coordinate for logistics (for example, the 82d Airborne jumps out of Air Force planes).

    As for artillery, the infantry, armor, etc do indeed have artillery battalions assigned to them. This mission for the artillery is called 'direct support' and they are part of which ever brigade they provide artillery fire for. There are additional artillery brigades and battalions assigned 'general support' (division level) or 'general support, reinforcing" which means that brigade or battalion is assigned to a maneuver battalion or brigade on a temporary basis. This is a very simplistic expalanation, but is essentially how the Army does business currently.
     
  10. pegwinn
    Offline

    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    2,549
    Thanks Received:
    329
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    Ratings:
    +329
    Hey there Semper Fi. Let me add to your confusion along with all the great answers you already received.

    You were asking about integrated combined arms forces. Well, the Marines took a different approach a while back that works for us. I could have typed all the below from memory. But, a staff weenie at HQMC gets paid big bux to do it. So I just pulled it from the web. Red comments are mine.

    Marine Expeditionary Units are the smaller and most visible example of the Marine-Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Concept. A MAGTF is the Marine Corps Combined-Arms, self-sustaining concept for military operations. By combining air elements, ground combat elements and logistical support elements under one command element, the individual elements together become a force-multiplier and effective, powerful force unlike any force in the world. Because all of these elements are indigenous to the Marine Corps, the MAGTF Force trains together, works together and deploys rapidly together as one force.
    Scalable, flexible, responsive Marine Air-Ground Task Forces. The basic types of MAGTFs are:

    The largest and most robust MAGTF is a Marine Expeditionary Force. Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs) are task-organized forces designed to fight and win our Nation's battles in conflicts up to and including major theater war. Commanded by a 3-Star General Officer, a MEF is comprised of one or more full Marine Aircraft Wings, one or more Force Service Support Groups and one or more complete Infantry Divisions. Uniquely, a MEF can be tailored to any size dependent upon the mission, but usually a MEF accounts for approximately 20,000 to 90,000 Marines with an average of around 40,000 men and women. MEF's are the cradle for embedded MEB's and deploying MEU's, capable of enabling or leading of a Joint or multinational force and have a sustainment of approximately 60 days. Marine Expeditionary Forces are the proud hammer of the Marine Corps and are major warfighting elements of all operation war plans. I was part of IIIMEF for my last three years, ending in 03 A MEF consists of:

    Command element plus command, control and reconnaissance/surveillance assets
    Division: 18,000… 3 infantry regiments (9 infantry batallions), 1 artillery regiment (4 artillery batallions), 1 tank batallion, 1 LAR batallion, 1 amphibious assault batallion, 1 combat engineer batallion
    Wing: 15,000… approximately 300 aircraft
    FSSG: 9,000… military police, supply, maintenance, engineering, health services and transportation assets
    Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs) are task-organized to respond to a full range of crises, from forcible entry to humanitarian assistance. They are our premier response force for the small-scale contingencies that are so prevalent in today’s security environment. The Marine Corps has three numbered MEB's, one within each MEF with the capability to deploy the MEB's in several ways. Similar to a MEU, a MEB deploys on 15 amphibious ships of which 5 are large deck ships such as LHA or LHD ships and has a 30 day sustainment. The MEB consists of

    Command Element sourced from the parent MEF staff with the Deputy MEF Commander as the MEB Commander. Ready to enable a Joint task Force or form a nucleus to enable introduction of follow on forces.
    Ground Combat Element built on an infantry regiment
    Aviation Combat Element consisting of a composite Marine Air Group capable of conducting all (6) functions of Marine aviation including Offensive Air Support, Assault Support, Electronic Warfare, Control of Aircraft and Missiles, Antiair Warfare, Air Reconnaissance.
    Brigade Service Support Group (BSSG) for the Combat Service Support Element or CSSE, which can logistically support a community of 30,000 Marines and Sailors.
    Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)s) are task-organized to provide a forward deployed presence to promote peace and stability and are often the Marine Corps’ first-on-the-scene force. Each MEF deploys a 2,500-man MEU (SOC), embarked aboard a three to ship Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), to operate in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans continuously. These MEU(SOC)'s provide the National Command Authority and Unified Commanders-in-Chief's (CINC's) with forward deployed, sea-based, multi-purpose Marine forces. These forces are uniquely poised to provide CINCs with a variety of quick reaction crisis response options. MEU's act as a Joint Task Force Enabler to enable Joint or Combined Multi-National force follow-on operations in an Area of Operation. You can be in a MEU and not be SOC. 31st MEU was doing the workups and training for our SOC certs the last time I was in Okinawa. The workups are intense and consist of a MCCRE (part of which is a 40K march in about eight hours) and builds teamwork among all the Marines of different specialties. The "thirty worst" was an outstanding unit. I think you would have a good time with them someday.

    Special Purpose MAGTFs (SPMAGTFs) are task-organized to accomplish specific missions, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peacetime engagement activities, or regionally focused exercises.

    MAGTFs, along with other Marine Corps unique forces, such as Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FASTs) and the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), represent a continuum of response capabilities tethered to national, CINC, and naval requirements.
     

Share This Page