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Author Topic: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe  (Read 1301 times)

nerd

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Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« on: 29 December 2018, 06:18:05 »
Say, this work?

First topic I've started here is a loooong time. But it's a semi-serious one.

Where are the Command and Staff Colleges in the Inner Sphere, and do the Clans have anything like it?

Old Field Manual Federated Suns and Lyran Alliance both referred to a Command and Staff College required for command above the Battalion level. It's a shame certain scions didn't go. Sian University has 'refresher' courses to ensure proper political orientation for officers. I've got to wonder if some of those taught to more senior ones include staff work, not unlike real world attendance at the various War Colleges and Command and Staff Colleges. Wisdom of the Dragon in the DCMS sounds similar to a staff college, as an "Officer finishing school". Kensai Kami and Gunslinger programs are more like USAF Weapons Schools, where officers go to learn about one topic and become unit level experts. As for the LCAF, I'm surprised a strong General Staff loyal to the Archons hasn't been developed to counter balance the infamous Social Generals. The Department of Strategy and Tactics sounds like an embryonic General Staff, but nobody's had the idea in universe.

Now the Clans. Considering their method of selecting officers (single trial by combat!), the really surprising thing to me is how their logistics network supported Operation Revival, with one of the Invaders loathing anything but sheer ferocity. Reading about the various ones, I'm surprised the Wolves or Star Adders never set up a de facto Officer's School, for teaching those skills to proteges from the Warrior Caste. "Aff, I know it sounds like a topic unworthy of a Warrior, but the Great Father himself understood the necessity of logistics. He could never have Liberated sacred Terra from the Usurper with out understanding logistics."
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Daryk

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #1 on: 29 December 2018, 10:29:08 »
Interesting question!  It strikes me the best way to add it AToW would be similar to how OCS is added (as a one year program with prerequisites that gives a field).  As for the facilities themselves, I'd think the larger military schools within each realm would have them on their campuses.

Weirdo

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #2 on: 29 December 2018, 11:17:17 »
I have to wonder, what if in many Clans the General Staff isn't composed of Warriors, but instead Merchants and Technicians and whatnot? The Warriors just expect it to be done, and the lower castes have long since learned to attach a background staff of their folks to every Galaxy to attend to their logistical and intelligence needs, lest the failures fall on their heads. In some Clans the Warriors are aware of(and may even appreciate) this staff, while in others, they ignore it or it may not have even occurred to them for the need of such things, only paying attention to it when it fails them.

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense. If you look at modern militaries, there's oodles of positions that in a Clan force would be foisted on lower castemen. Yikes, can you imagine the personnel needs of a military where your grunt soldiers and general labor force must come from two separate manpower pools?
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #3 on: 29 December 2018, 11:38:26 »
The Clans:
I'd agree with Wierdo. The lower castes of the Clans never struck me as being considered "civilians", but more akin to military personnel with non-combat professions (with lifetime terms of enlistments...).  The only "civilians" in Clan society are the Sphereoids populating worlds inside Clan Occupation Zones.  Well, them and Dark Caste... which in my headcanon are indistinquishable but that's another thread.

As for War Colleges... I get the gist that officer polishing/strategic planning is actually done as part of the Agoge Sibko Training.  A Clan warrior is only expected to have a career that lasts what 5, maybe 10 years max?  Those that manage to remain hale and not thrown out of the Warrior Caste beyond that time frame pretty much are so high on themselves in the "might makes right" culture that you can't teach them anything anymore anyway.  Quite literally: who's able to say there's something they could be doing better when they've already survived the crucible of Clan warrior culture thus far?

The Inner Sphere:
I'm increasingly out of synch with successive iterations of BattleTech authors, but it doesn't stop me from still being utterly convinced I understand the setting better than they do.

The main way I've digested the House Armies that differs from (especially the last couple regimes of Powers That Be) is that they're House Armies, not Post-Westphalian National Armies.  Another is in the differences between a Regimental and Continental organizational paradigm.  House Armies are repeatedly said to be Regimental in structure, but TPTB routinely treat them as Continental.  Or at best, a mashup of the two.

The point I'm getting at is in the Regimental system, the Regiment recruits/equips/trains/retains personnel (for their entire careers, normally. No PCSing between regiments!).  The notion that a cadet goes to Nagelring or Sun Zhang and then goes to a regiment is inherently Continental.   As one of the very few canonical examples consistent with the Regimental model, look at the 3rd Proserpina Hussars and the University of Proserpina.  The UofP trained cadets, but only for the Hussars regiments.  And later on (post Jihad) we have the example of the 3rd maintaining their own entire Academy (based out of an Overlord DropShip, IIRC) even after the Hussars were disbanded and the regiment was transferred to the Pesht Warlord's District Regulars.

So: It may not completely jive with the vision of the current (and last few!) Powers That Be, but I envision regiments generally maintaining their own War College training programs. There are some canonical examples where there's a canonical National/Continental program, but I prefer to envision those as being exceptions to the regimentally-minded norm.  Main advantage of programs like Wisdom of the Dragon are socio-political afterall rather than functionally militarily useful.

« Last Edit: 29 December 2018, 11:40:49 by Tai Dai Cultist »

Doom

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #4 on: 29 December 2018, 21:36:33 »
The Clans don't really care about large-scale unit actions when assigning command positions. If you do really well AS AN INDIVIDUAL in your Trial of Position, you get placed in command of others. Natasha (I think) still holds the record with four kills in her Trial, making her immediately a Star Colonel. That's nuts. Being excellent in single combat suddenly earns you command over an entire Cluster? Well, that's one kind of cluster, all right... (Yeah, Kai got five for the Dragoons, but that's not exactly a fair comparison.)

And the Inner Sphere isn't much better. Nepotism is rampant in all the Houses. Have some grand lineage and graduate a military school? Here's your company! Or a battalion! Again: nuts. Too few commanders seem to go in as an ensign/leftenant/leutnant/kashira, and rise to colonel or higher. Part of that is nepotism, part is the "caste" system present (unintentionally, perhaps) among military academies consigning those who might be meant for greater things to exile in backwaters where they waste away their careers (Filtvelt Military Academy compared to Albion, for example). The same goes not just for the academy someone might attend as for the homeworld/province/region they're from. Born on a backwater known more for wool production than for legendary warrior breeding? Here's your militia lance to command, see you in thirty years for your retirement if you live that long. Sure, the Kurita Proving Grounds and similar programs give lip service to getting lowborn folks into the vaunted ranks of MechWarriors, but how many folks from those backgrounds have attained Warlord, or General,  or Admiral? Far too few.

Staff Colleges (or whatever the factions might call them) would contain the same unqualified persons, with a few hard-workers sprinkled in to be sure, as the ranks at large. And the instructors would have similar backgrounds and biases. The militaries are entirely too monolithic. And the Clans? Sheesh, they'd be so busy arguing over tactics and strategy, always devolving into Trials that would end up with dead instructors and the students taking their place, that I don't think they'd even bother with the concept. They just let people demonstrate competence and rise through the ranks on their own merit, or they get killed, or they LOSE their position after showing gross incompetence.

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #5 on: 30 December 2018, 21:44:17 »
Where are the Command and Staff Colleges in the Inner Sphere, and do the Clans have anything like it?

The AFFC has several schools that you can attend the course at.
IIRC both schools on New Avalon & the Tharkad school offer those courses.
I think one of the books even had Jamie Wolf teaching something similar on Outreach to Senior Officers that could manage to get a slot in his class which was always full with attendees from all over the IS.

I'm not sure if every single Academy also offers the CSC courses but I know that a few do.
I think FM:FS has a history of 3 major NPCs  (Jackson Davion, Simon Gallagher, & George Hassek) and they have notations about where they took their courses in their bios.


As for the clans, they do mention having "tests/exams" for promotion in addition to the standard Trial in a mech.
So I imagine they get basic officer training done for Star Commanders & above but I doubt its as in depth as the IS schools.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #6 on: 31 December 2018, 14:00:55 »
For the Clans-

We have, in FMCC/WC, specific information in the bios of Galaxy Commander or sometimes Star Colonel about how the officer is clueless strategically or logistically usually managing to be propped up by some gifted lower ranking officer.  The really bad situations in galaxy/cluster are usually when there is not someone for that ranker to rely upon.  I typically envisage Galaxy keshiks including warriors who handle staff functions as well as being the body guard- Phelan's pals were in his keshik (Evantha & Carew specifically) and had been tasked with putting together intel papers (WoK) as well as handling branch planning functions/command interface- Carew was Phelan's Aero commande/liaison  and Evantha handled the same position for Elementals.

The two exceptions that come to mind MIGHT be the Adders, with their 60s revision since IIRC they have a staff (we did not participate in the Invasion b/c we knew they would fail) or at least a planning staff concept.  The other possibility might be the Scorpions with their SLDF collection and greater understanding of the Star League's practices- after all training the Dragoons had to come from somewhere.

For the IS-

Yeah, it sort of gets back to my question a few weeks ago about the National Training Centers.  The FedSuns (and later FedCom) have a few and other Houses did not really seem to have any.  Although Invader Galaxy & Focht War College would perhaps qualify as both NTC-esque and a staff school, IIRC at one point Focht had invited Hohiro, Kai and Victor to show up with their units for a exercise though they headed for Coventry instead.


I think TDC has some great points about the Regimental vs Continental systems, but one reason some of that gets broken for feudalism . . . certain of those groups of regiments are more loyal to a region or the lord of that region, and thus by not letting that regiment recruit & train strictly from that region then it means the unit has more loyalty to the ruler.  For example, the New Syrtis Fusiliers recruited from Warrior's Hall which took in candidates from the Capellan March for the most part.  Its how Morgan's father could build the 8th New Syrtis Fusiliers who were more loyal to him in his treason than the the First Prince though they were nominally a national unit rather than a Hasek personal unit.

In the FWL, fake Thomas was trying to break such a system- hence the requirements that regiment groups like the Regulan Hussars take graduates of other academies rather than only taking in graduates from Auitaki which was their school.

I can SORT of see why Staff Colleges & Schools went away during the Succession Wars.  First, they would be a military target just like any other academy/training ground.  Second, military schools are a 'technology' . . . consider how armies were trained during Roman times, though I will say post-Marian reforms.  The future legionnaires attended a boot camp of sorts that taught them what they needed to know to join the legions.  Now shift forward 750 years . . . the early Middle Ages, where stories of what the Roman world were seem glorious- a lost golden age.  The military of the time is typically very stratified with professionals at the very top who spend their lives in individual training and are supported by varying degrees of a support structure.  To the bottom you have the levy, or just a fodder.  Your lord says he needs you to fight so you get whatever might be a weapon for you and off the mob goes to support the pro.  Depending on the time you had freemen who followed their lords with the personal arms they kept (fyrds & viking bands) which while sometimes levies were a bit better than a gaggle of peasants & serfs.  But the idea of taking a large number of men (or boys) and spending the time required to train them to discipline and common standards was a military 'technology' that had been lost for a variety of reasons.  It took how many centuries before military entry training once again became a standard practice?

Its not inconceivable that Staff college was a technology lost just like ER Medium Lasers during the SW1 & SW2 time frame.
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mbear

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #7 on: 02 January 2019, 10:32:01 »
Well, for the FedSuns, would appropriate courses be offered at the regional Combat Training Centers? Maybe a temporary duty as the XO/CO of such a facility would be equivalent to a year in the Staff College? And I'd be really surprised if the various academies of all nations didn't have "graduate level" studies programs that cover what you're talking about.

Colt Ward

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #8 on: 02 January 2019, 14:39:07 »
No, temp duty at the rank is still not the same as going to a school to learn what is needed at the rank.  Also the Staff schools are where your new doctrinal ideas typically generate.

First how about some definitions/qualifications . . .

Lieutenant or entry level officers, learn through their academies how to operate their small unit- platoon/lance size.  They are then trained at their posting by the senior NCOs and the CO/XO when they have time- who usually tell them to listen to the experienced NCOs since that butterbar is clueless.  The LT spends his/her time learning how to command the platoon- hopefully not micromanaging (good luck on that, its a phase and some never get out of it- they make good staff officers).  They will then either be rotated to another platoon (usually some form of support/weapons) or sent to be a go-fer for a battalion or larger (BDE/RGT) staff.  The idea here is that while they fetch water and spend time worrying about updating maps they also start learning the basics of how larger formations operate & the complications of those larger formations.  Then a stint as a executive officer will roll around, where you study under a (hopefully) excellent company commander while managing the unit along with the company's senior (or First/Top) sergeant. Provided they show some ability and things progress, they are then advanced to commanding a company- where knowing some of what goes on at higher helps make the company perform.  The company is a lot like the platoon only larger . . . but the difference between company and battalion is a big jump.

With command at the battalion level comes a whole lot more discretion about logistics, transport, commo, and all the other details the BN sets for the company . . . that the company commander never had to set up.  For instance, the company commander for a route march from a assembly area to a jump off point in the AO just has to ensure the movement briefing, order of march, make sure commo is up, and see that the company moves off on time.

Battalion staff has to organize-
order of march between the components
time table to stagger component's movement (A Co leaves at 0915, B Co sets out at 0940, etc)
plan any refueling stops if required
plan for any rest periods/driver swaps
coordinate movement with higher
hand off control if replacing unit
divided assigned AO between components
get latest intel update and push it to components
perform any liaison work (ROK liaisons for instance when operating in S Korea)

None of which a company command really prepares you for . . . and being a captain on a BN staff does not prepare it for you either, even if you hold one of the big slots like Ops or Intel.  To get a idea- http://www.cgscfoundation.org/about/the-college/

Additionally, I THINK the US Army also has big regular exercises carried out by simulators at Ft Leavenworth that use the officers attending the school but also bring in troops at all levels to participate.  One of my buddies volunteered for TDY attending a exercise at Leavenworth- I want to say it was a big theater war exercise.  But he manned a panel to be the FDC input.
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Daryk

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #9 on: 02 January 2019, 17:42:50 »
And that's why battalions have a significant dedicated staff, and companies don't...

Colt Ward

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #10 on: 02 January 2019, 17:57:13 »
Oh yeah, I just gave a short list from memory but there is many more- just for the movement.  Which does not even come close for producing a coordinated Op Plan for initiating a battle- especially if its the mech battalion being the command unit of supporting armor & infantry.  Which is also something CGSC would do- teach combined arms since the officers would come to it out of their branch (mech, armor, infantry, VTOLs, PAO . . . ).
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Apocal

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #11 on: 03 January 2019, 12:49:49 »
Oh yeah, I just gave a short list from memory but there is many more- just for the movement.  Which does not even come close for producing a coordinated Op Plan for initiating a battle- especially if its the mech battalion being the command unit of supporting armor & infantry.  Which is also something CGSC would do- teach combined arms since the officers would come to it out of their branch (mech, armor, infantry, VTOLs, PAO . . . ).

Or worse, if having to coordinate with the mech battalion next door doing the same thing and figuring out phase lines, boundaries of fire, priority for fire support, etc. It is the sort of stuff that is severely glossed over in fiction, but for the quite sensible reason that staff work is... well... work.
« Last Edit: 03 January 2019, 12:54:29 by Apocal »

DOC_Agren

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #12 on: 03 January 2019, 19:31:51 »
Oh yeah, I just gave a short list from memory but there is many more- just for the movement.  Which does not even come close for producing a coordinated Op Plan for initiating a battle- especially if its the mech battalion being the command unit of supporting armor & infantry.  Which is also something CGSC would do- teach combined arms since the officers would come to it out of their branch (mech, armor, infantry, VTOLs, PAO . . . ).
NOPE NOPE NOPE.. Not going to work...
MECHWARRIORS ARE GODS PERFECT ONES, the rest of them are flunkies and mooks, are not all equal...

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That being said, given how bad most units handle combined arms the idea of Command Staff College could never make them all equal.  That being said if you could find them, my two choices for nations where this could be taught and maybe work would be Fed Sun or Taurian Concordat.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #13 on: 04 January 2019, 01:49:19 »
Combined Arms training for staff officers is not about making them equal, its about instructing the future staff officers and regimental CO/XO about how to work the synergy so that the weaknesses are eliminated to make the most potent fighting force possible.  Its to teach mechwarriors about the requirements for armor to refuel during movements, to expand armor officer's awareness of all-terrain options a attached mech force would give them tactically, for artillery officers to plan their fires for any dead zones that might shelter enemies from mech or armor observation, and a ton of other details they may not have picked up.

Up until they are captain promotable they are trained to perfect their execution of their branch- be it mech, armor, infantry, artillery or VTOL.  When you become a staff officer, your horizons need to be widened since ideally in BTU you will end up on the staff of either higher (BDE) or on a regimental staff of a RCT.  Like a mechwarrior captain ends up as deputy on a armor or infantry regiment's intel shop.  Staff College is what expands that horizons and fills in the holes in a officer's knowledge base . . . or determines they do not need to be promoted, let this company leader stay in that slot.
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Daryk

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #14 on: 04 July 2019, 13:35:30 »
So, since Colt brought up this topic in another thread, I've given my original suggestion some more thought.  How about this:

EDIT: Whoops!  Realized about 30 seconds after I posted it, my idea belongs down in Fan Rules...
« Last Edit: 04 July 2019, 13:42:25 by Daryk »

deathfrombeyond

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Re: Command and Staff College in the Battletech Universe
« Reply #15 on: 05 July 2019, 03:49:27 »
Quote from: Tai Dai Cultist link=topic=63881.msg1469632#msg1469632
The point I'm getting at is in the Regimental system, the Regiment recruits/equips/trains/retains personnel (for their entire careers, normally. No PCSing between regiments!).  The notion that a cadet goes to Nagelring or Sun Zhang and then goes to a regiment is inherently Continental.   As one of the very few canonical examples consistent with the Regimental model, look at the 3rd Proserpina Hussars and the University of Proserpina.  The UofP trained cadets, but only for the Hussars regiments.  And later on (post Jihad) we have the example of the 3rd maintaining their own entire Academy (based out of an Overlord DropShip, IIRC) even after the Hussars were disbanded and the regiment was transferred to the Pesht Warlord's District Regulars.

I think the Warrior Houses are better examples, because each regiment is responsible for training, and it is extremely rare for Warrior house personnel to transfer to any other unit except the Death Commandoes.
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