Those who have been combat arms in the military for a good while are fully aware of the good “Old Mechanized Infantry (Mech Infantry) Brigade Combat Team”. For the longest time, this was the standard. If you wanted the combined capabilities of the light, dismounted Infantry with added maneuverability and armored protection, you went Mechanized Infantry.
However, the recent advent of the Stryker platform, designed by General Dynamics Land Systems, has reshaped the combat arms landscape. 5 Army Divisions have ditched the old M113s and transformed into Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. But, why? What benefit does the SBCT bring that the Old Mech. Infantry couldn’t?
The answer: The SBCT gives units more trigger pullers than any other element (i.e. MECH INF., LIGHT INF., AASSLT, etc.) and they do so with LESS authorized personnel! For example, the old Mechanized Infantry Brigade Team had an authorized total of 3851 Soldiers which comprised of 45% Combat Arms, 33% Combat Service Support and 22% Combat Support.
Coupled with that, you roughly had 762 Infantry Riflemen, 105 Mortarmen and 0 Snipers. Doesn’t sound too bad, until you compare that to the SBCT. A SBCT has an authorized total of 3498 Soldiers comprised of 66% Combat Arms, 19% Combat Service Support and 15% Combat Support.
Basically, you have LESS manpower but more combat Soldiers requiring less support. Typically with that, you have 1353 Infantry Riflemen, 168 Mortarmen and 51 Snipers…TALK ABOUT A COMBAT FORCE MULTIPLIER! Just looking at the math, you can see that the SBCT provides more trigger pulling Soldiers and requires less Combat Service and Support.
The benefits of the SBCT do not end there. Overall, The SBCT can perform its mission throughout the entire spectrum of military operations (offensive, defensive, stability, and support although it may require some augmentation for certain missions). The SBCT can deploy as part of an early entry force (C130, C17 & C5 transportable!) and may fight by itself or as part of a division or corps. It achieves this through its primary operational capabilities:
- Mobility: Max Speed of 62 MPH, can travel over 300 miles, reduced thermal and audible signature (super quiet) and capable of crossing all sorts of terrain and obstacles.
- Dismounted assault and the Close Fight: Variants like the ICV (Infantry Carrier Vehicle) transport squad-sized element dismounts to the fight and are able to sustain maneuver through platform weapon systems.
- Enhanced Information Superiority: FBCB2, real-time information and digital feedback.
- Lethality: Depending on the variant, each platform is enhanced and highly lethal. The MGS (Mobile Gun System) provides heavy firepower via its M68A1 105-mm Main Gun (tank like firepower, lightweight maneuver), the MCV (Mortar Carrier Vehicle) can rain down 120-mm mortars and the ICV has the RWS (Remote Weapon System) capable of supporting both .50 CAL and MK19 grenade launcher.
- Force Protection & Survivability: 14.5mm thick armor all around, “birdcage” slat armor deters RPGs and Stryker provides the best survivability during an IED blast via its newly designed “V-Shaped” hull.
- Force Effectiveness: Weapons platforms are precise, lethal and allow for maximum standoff for engaging the enemy.
- Unified Action: Each Company has a vast array of integrated combat power (i.e. MGS, Mortars, Snipers, Infantry) at their fingertips coupled with the Fire Support and other combined power that the BTN has.
- Flexibility and Augmentation: The task organization of the SBCT allows for ease of adjustment (i.e. task organization of MGS to Infantry PLT for critical mission support) as Soldiers are integrated at the Company level. Soldiers are able to fulfill positions with ease (i.e. old 19K tankers easily transforming to MGS platform due to its similarity within the turret, etc.)
The SBCT has the same mission as any other type of combat unit: close with and destroy the enemy during full-spectrum operations through close, violent combat. However, the overwhelming capabilities of the SBCT far shadow those provided by other Infantry elements and has since changed how units execute their mission.
I hope you have enjoyed my very broad Overview of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team and I hope to provide more in depth, future posts in the future. In the next post, we will focus on the SBCT Task Organization and its capabilities and limitations. Feel free to leave your questions and comments!
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