Is the Heavy Brigade Combat Team about to be renamed?



One wonders of maybe MG Brown should have better things to spend his time and my money on.

12 thoughts on “Is the Heavy Brigade Combat Team about to be renamed?”

  1. In the spirit of DM… You just don’t get it! Changing from HBCT to ABCT will ensure a generation of officers have SOMETHING to put on their -1s – “I completely revised the Army’s doctrine for (Insert branch/functional area/specialty) ensuring complete synchronization with emerging tactical precepts and conventions.”

  2. This is retarded and unnecessary. Throughout recent history, armor has indicated pure tanks, mech refers to pure mech infantry, and “heavy” generally refers to task-organized forces with a mix of tanks and infantry, or sometimes you will hear of a “heavy-light” rotation meaning you throw light infantry into the mix. (Yes, for you ACR types, “heavy” also might mean the pure tank troop.) In my opinion, from the standpoint of semantics, this only works if the infantry is willing to switch from calling themselves mechanized infantry to armored infantry. Though I disagree with a need for it, there is a precedent for this. I have even seen one photograph of a brigade commander with a branch insignia of crossed rifles with a tank on top of it (Craig, if you looked at all of the pictures of former “Liberty 6″s in the hallway during SDO, you may have noticed this). On the whole, I see no need for this. On a side note, only infantry officers command Infantry BCTs (IBCTs) but I suspect that they will not agree if told that they can’t compete for command of ABCTs, as HBCTs can be commanded by either infantry or armor officers (or even other branches, if they are just that good). Additionally, as this will require a change to every manual, class, or MTOE document, policy letter, unit sign, etc, it is beyond frivolous, it is a totally unjustified expense. If this does go, I will have served in a BCT, HBCT, AAB, and BCT-A (all in the same organization) and will return to an ABCT, all while nothing changed but the designation.

    1. How so? Brigades are standing HQs without organic BNs. The lineages and honors go to the subordinate battalions. The lineage of the brigade is now vested in that of the Brigade Special Troops Battalion. Traditionally, a heavy brigade may have been referred to as infantry or armor based on whether it had two mech and one tank, or two tank and one mech, but it was not called as such, i.e. 1st armored brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (back when it had two tank BNs and one IN BN). Calling a modular BCT I, A, S, H, BCT-A, AAB, etc, is purely semantics, in my opinion. I’m not sure of my footing with regards to the history of armored infantry, though it is a concept I have heard of, but if there are honors and lineage we are bringing back to justify an ABCT, those honors don’t include the recent history of the mechanized infantry battalions that became combined arms battalions, and still retain the traditions of those battalions. Ultimately, an “ABCT” as of now will contain 2 Combined Arms battalions, with a total of four armor and four infantry companies. A balanced BCT, or…. Heavy BCT. Nothing about it conveys anything that should convey calling it Armored, as opposed to Heavy. To add a wrinkle, what happens if/when they add a third CAB, and say it is an infantry CAB (even though they look the same, what the army has done is called half of the CABs AR and half IN.) Does a heavy brigade with two mechanized infantry battalions warrant the name ABCT? Or are we going to call the infantry “armored infantry” instead of “mechanized infantry?” Just my thoughts, I would like to hear yours on lineage and honors.

  3. When I was in the TNARNG I was in the 3/109th Armor, 30th Armored BDE(Sep). I knew nothing of the honors, lineage or battles the 30th had been in, but I knew (and have now forgotten) the story of the 3/109th. Both are now history, disbanded with the Clintonistas nonexistent “peace dividend.” I see no reason to rename things as he is proposing. It’s just chasing your tail for no purpose. It’s funny when a puppy discovers his tail, but it’s disgusting in General Officers.

  4. The term armored is a term in our force…not heavy. That is what I meant by the lineage and honors piece. We had armored units in name, not heavy unit.

    That is what the intent of change is for per the Institute of Heraldry. As the commander of the Maneuver Center that falls within MG Brown’s purview as the area which generates doctrine for armored as well as infantry forces.

    Much ado about nothing, folks.

    1. Brigades, traditionally, have NOT been “armored” or “mech” or “light”, but rather simply “Brigades.” Theoretically, brigades, until the BCT U/A reorg, had no fixed organization, and only consisted of their own HHC, and led whatever troop units the division allocated to them for a given operation.

      These headquarters do have their own lineage and honors.

      Prior to the brigade system, we did have armored regiments, (as well as infantry regiments, of course) and their lineage and honors, which, since the institution of the Combat Arms Regimental System, have been maintained at the battalion level.

      The fetish shown by the institutional side of the Army for renaming organizations, roles and missions to “better describe” them is silly. Perhaps a “Fires Brigade” is more accurate a term than a “Field Artillery Brigade” and perhaps a “Maneuver Enhancement Brigade” better defines the role than an “Engineer Brigade” but the costs, which are real, outweigh any benefit.

      Somehow the Army managed to limp along for over 200 years with the prior terms. Why mess with success?

  5. I know quite well what the make up of a brigade was….I was serving in them back when we wore permapress fatigues, the 11 ACR rode the border and the 101st Air Assault Division wore dark blue berets. Be that as it may the field Army has been trying to call itself regiments for a long time. A brigade with 3 battalions of the 9th Infantry would define itself as 1st battalionm 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion…and so on even though they were not in a regiment.

    When the Army constituted the Armor Force in World War 2 is was not call the Heavy Force. And they were not Heavy Infantry battalions they were Armored Infantry. Some offiers even wanted to wear a half track as their branch insiginia instead of the crossed rifles. I read several monographs on this subject at the Infantry School Library while in the Advanced Course in the 1980s doing research for a paper.

    And I don’t see this as messing with success. I see it as a way to return a name to the regimental sized forces in our structure to a term which has a proud heritage, Armored, as opposed to a term which had no historic conotations. The guys at FT Bragg brought back the term Parachute Infantry Regiment for the battalions of their BCTs. Nothing wrong with the mechanized guys doing the same.

    1. That was my original contention; there is nothing wrong with it, if the infantry accepts it because armored infantry is historically acceptable (though has no basis in RECENT history). But in common use, the term “heavy” has much more relevance than does “armored” to describe a unit of tanks and mechanized infantry.
      Brad, the current modular BCT (please don’t use U/A) does not change the fact that brigades consist of only their HQ, but since by MTOE, the BDE headquarters company now resides in the special troops battalion, the brigade, per se, IS the BSTB and a bunch of habitually aligned BNs, though when deployed they may or may not work for the BCT. (As a squadron 3, I worked for 2 HBCTs, and and an RCT in 12 months.) Before modularity, brigades were indeed commonly referred to as either heavy or light, and less so, differentiated as armored or infantry; not formal designation but common usage. Now since modularity, they have been formally designated as such. As Buck said earlier, it is much ado about nothing, but I lean on the side of, if so, don’t bother. Designating pure infantry brigades as infantry brigades and then forcing the 50% of the heavy brigade that is infantry to refer to themselves as armored instead of mech because of a historical precedent is not worth it. It smacks of more of the propensity for our senior leaders to change seemingly random things on a daily basis, such as the current operational lexicon in which I can come up with about three words for any tactical concept. Despite my recent comments about branch parochialism largely being gone, I know I will soon be listening to the complaints about “I’m not armored.”

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