61The 3d ACR
refers to military formations which join different arms categories – such as infantry, tank,artillery, and air support – into a single unit, like aregiment or battalion. Such an organisation may be apermanent structure, such as with the US Army’s 3dArmored Cavalry Regiment (3d ACR), or a temporaryarrangement designed for a specific mission, such as whena tank company is attached to an infantry battalion.Combined arms units are different from segregated units,which are primarily comprised of one arms type in orderto provide greater concentration of force. Acombined arms unit has both great flexibility and theability to act independently of other combat units. Thisallows it to respond in a rapid, coordinated manner to awide range of battlefield needs. For example, a combinedarms unit may be able to carry out its own intelligence andreconnaissance, plan its own logistical support, andexecute its own battle and defence plans, while providingits own air and artillery support – all under a singlecoordinated command. We will look at a specific examplein a moment, but first it will help to look at a couple of new terms.
Terminology in the US Cavalry
In Unit 2, we looked at some typical groupings and namesfor military formations. But the terminology for militaryformations varies widely depending on the branch andcountry. The US Army Cavalry, for example, uses thefollowing terms:
typically composed of four or five squadrons;the equivalent of a normal brigade
typically composed of four or five troops; theequivalent of a normal battalion
the equivalent of a normal company.Also notice these spelling differences:UK: armoured US: armored.
Armoured Cavalry versus Mechanized Infantry
As an example of the difference in combined andsegregated arms units, we can look at the differences andsimilarities between an armoured cavalry regiment and amechanized infantry brigade. Both units use armouredpersonnel carriers for troop transport, and both have main battle tanks. But the armoured cavalry regiment isintegrated down to the troop level, with a typicalarmoured cavalry troop containing two tank platoons, twoinfantry platoons, a mortar platoon, and a headquartersplatoon. The armoured cavalry regiment also has its ownair support squadron. Atypical mechanized infantry brigade, on the other hand, has two or three mechanizedinfantry battalions, one armoured battalion, and varioussupport squadrons, each of which is a much moresegregated unit. The mechanized infantry brigade usuallydoes not have its own air support, which is insteadsupplied by a separate regiment in the division.The integration of an armoured cavalry squadron allows itto act independently, and often more rapidly, than atraditional segregated battalion, which must rely onsupport from its parent brigade. This means, for example,that armoured cavalry may be used more easily as anadvance attack force, while mechanized infantry may beconcentrated where fighting is heaviest.
3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (
To look at a particular example, the 3d ACR is made up of three armoured cavalry squadrons, one aviation squadron,and a support squadron, as follows (code names are initalics):•1st (
) Squadron (armoured cavalry squadron)•2nd (
) Squadron (armoured cavalry squadron)•3rd (
) Squadron (armoured cavalry squadron)•4th (
) Squadron (aviation squadron)•Support (
Armoured Cavalry Squadron
Atypical Armoured Cavalry Squadron is made up asfollows:•Headquarters Troop•Three Cavalry Troops•Tank Company•Artillery (Howitzer) Battery (roughly company size)•Attachments (an additional company, such as artillery,engineers, intelligence, or medical).
The 3d ACR