An Army M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in Iraq.

An Army M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in Iraq.

Massive government documents typically hide some gold nuggets of information. In today’s report from the Pentagon’s independent Director of Operational Test & Evaluation, a famously tough grader known as DOT&E, there’s one detail that is going to make defense contractor BAE Systems very happy:

“Results from the third underbody blast test also demonstrate that the Armored Multi-purpose Vehicle survivability requirement is achievable with a Bradley-like platform.”

Why should BAE care? Well, because BAE builds the M2 Bradley, a tank-like troop carrier, and because they’re entering a Bradley variant in the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle competition. With the much heavier, more powerful, and more expensive Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) apparently in programmatic limbo due to budget cuts, the humble AMPV is the biggest game left in town for anybody who builds armored vehicles for the US military. That boils down to BAE and its competitor General Dynamics, which is offering a variant of its Stryker vehicle.

Why should anybody else care? The answer has to do with the deadliest single threat to US troops today, the improvised explosive device (aka the IED or just plan “roadside bomb”), and with how the Army can address that threat.

The Bradley looks like a tank — tracks, turret, gun, the works — but it is technically an “infantry fighting vehicle” because it carries half-a-dozen passengers into combat in addition to its three-man crew. The Bradley has been the Army’s frontline troop carrier since the 1980s, but like every other vehicle, it struggled to catch up to the ever-escalating IED threat in Iraq. While the uparmored Humvee and its replacement, the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected truck), are the most famous cases, all sorts of other vehicles got extra armor, including the Bradley.

But even that wasn’t always enough. At the height of the surge, when sophisticated Iranian-designed IEDs called “explosively formed projectiles” were punching slugs of molten copper through American armor plate, one young officer told me he had to keep his Bradleys in the back of the column and lead with massive M1 Abrams tanks, because the Bradleys were just too vulnerable.

The Bradley undergoing the “underbody blast test” that DOT&E mentions, however, was partially upgraded to a new standard called “Engineering Change Proposal 1.” ECP1 doesn’t just add extra armor on the outside: It also changes the passenger compartment, especially the flow, and rearranges how ammunition is stored to minimize potential damage to the troops inside.

“The blast test revealed that significant improvements to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems (BFVS) level of force protection and vulnerability are feasible,” DOT&E said. That’s good news for BAE, which wants to keep getting contracts to upgrade the Bradley, and it’s good for the Army, which isn’t going to replace its Bradleys any time soon now that the Ground Combat Vehicle is being put on hold.

Instead of buying Ground Combat Vehicles to replace Bradleys, the Army is now focused on buying Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles to replace M113s, a lightweight tracked vehicle whose design predates the Vietnam War and which is considered so vulnerable the Army didn’t let them off its bases in Iraq. Back in the 1980s, the Bradley replaced the M113 in the mission of carrying infantry soldiers into combat, but the Army still has thousands of M113 variants serving support roles from armored ambulances to mobile command posts. Those vehicles aren’t just old: In the IED era, when enemies can attack your support forces more easily than your frontline troops, they’re also dangerously vulnerable.

The Army’s aspiration — more a hope than a plan given the current budget crunch — is to buy almost 3,000 AMPVs for $6 billion. BAE has to convince the Army that the Bradley design can be made survivable to have a shot at that contract.

The DOT&E report has some good news for BAE’s rival General Dynamics Land Systems, as well. GDLS builds the Stryker, a eight-wheel-drive armored transport. The Stryker troop carrier’s troubled brother is the Mobile Gun System, a Stryker variant fitted with an almost comically overlarge 105 millimeter gun, the kind of weapon normally reserved for battle tanks twice its size:

A Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) fires its 105 mm main gun.

A Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) fires its 105 mm main gun.

After years of development problems, the Army ultimately bought 142 Mobile Gun Systems and sent MGS to war. As late as 2008, however, the Pentagon issued a report going through the MGS’s flaws. But it’s got better: “The Army has mitigated, by either material fixes or tactics, techniques, and procedures, 22 of 23 deficiencies identified in the 2008 Secretary of Defense report to Congress,” DO&TE wrote. What’s more, “in live fire testing,” an upgraded set of “Stryker Reactive Armor Tiles” (SRAT II) showed it could make MGS and a wide range of other Stryker subtypes more survivable without the expense of totally rebuilding the hull.

That gives the Army a cheaper option to upgrade older Strykers that to rebuild them entirely as “double-V-hull” vehicles. It also makes the MGS a more attractive option for the Army’s light infantry units, which are looking for a new light tank to support foot troops and even be flown in quickly to reinforce paratroopers.

By contrast, the lightest and most nimble part of the military, the Special Operations Forces, got some bad news in DOT&E’s report. SOF wants its own souped-up version of the most mobile type of MRAP truck, the M-ATV (MRAP All Terrain Vehicle), but it’s had problems and recent tests show that ” the most significant deficiencies were not resolved.” While the special ops M-ATV is nimbler and quieter than the standard version, DOT&E says, it’s too hard for the commandoes inside to see out in all directions: The rear windows are too small and the video camera on the remote-controlled rooftop weapon, called CROWS, has too limited a field of view. And if there’s one thing stealthy special operators hate, it’s for someone else to sneak up on them.

Comments

  • Gary Church

    Go with the Bradleys. At least they have tracks and firepower. I wonder how many M-60 series tanks we have in the inventory? Strip the weapons out of those, weld the turret to the hull and add extra armor and you have what the IDF uses- converted Main Battle Tank hulls transporting infantry. Heck of a lot of maintenance on those tracks though; real back breaking manual labor. Which is why tankers all have big arms (and infantry have big legs and cavalry have big mouths).

    • Gary Church

      Yes, I was in the armored cavalry. That wheeled Stryker disgusts me.

      • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

        Did the wheels work as good as the tracks in Sand, mud?

        • ycplum

          In extreme sand and mud, no. But it was better on roads, less maintence and easier on the gas. Personally, I feel both have their uses. I would have preferred the Striker as a scout vehicle and follow-on APC (with the Bradley partnered with the M1 in Cav units). Oh, and the Striker is a much better swimmer. Going in the water with a Bradley scares the crap out of me.

          • Gary Church

            Stryker sucks. Never seen one, never researched it, don’t know a thing about them. Except they have wheels. I never met a cav scout who preferred wheels. Ever. Guess I have now.

          • ycplum

            I was trained on the Bradley, got assigned to a unit with M113′s, switched over to HMMWVs and then switched again to M901 ITVs. Of the four, I preferred the HMMWV.
            I was in a scout platoon for a mechanized infantry battalion. We were the total intelligence asset for the battalion. A scout unit wants to be mobile, quiet, and a lower sillouette. The Striker is both. It may not have the firepower of a Bradley, but our main weapon is a radio. If we have to slug it out, we screwed up somehow. If an enemy is spotted, we report it, call for fire, sit back, watch artillery or CAS take it out, then report back on the damage.
            Of course, a scout platoon in a Cavalry squadron has other duties, such as screening. In that role, you want more firepower.

          • Gary Church

            Yes I know. Sneak, peek, report, and retreat and all that happy horseshit. I was in the Cav to. Garry Owen. I fixed your main weapon (31V). Wheeled vehicles did not work for the scouts in Korea. Could not go anywhere. Great in a desert maybe.

          • ycplum

            Why would a wheeled vehicle, even one as heavy as a Striker, not go anywere in Korea?

            They are a problem only in the deepest of muds and the hills/mountains should not be a problem (or at least no more of a problem). The tracked vehicle should be better in the snow. However, wheeled is much better on improved surfaces.
            Honestly, I would prefer something like a Saladin,but teh US never thinks small.

          • Gary Church

            You would have to go to Korea I guess and try and drive one of these wheeled things near vertically up a mountain knocking down pines as you go. You would try and you would fail. You cannot take wheeled vehicles over ditches- they hang up. You cannot drive wheeled vehicles through buildings- not enough traction to knock down walls and keep going. You cannot drive wheels into razor wire or over spikes or other such nasty things for very long. Does not bother tracks at all. As for your comment on the “deepest” muds; I have seen tanks finally mired around the top of the tracks- several feet. A wheel gets mired under half its diameter and they do not “float” on mud like tracks- wheels sink right in. Sand does not stop tracked vehicles- it stops wheels quite effectively. Bullets do not affect tracks. They tend to have a bad affect on wheels despite advertising to the contrary. I guess you just don’t have much experience in “difficult” terrain. I never thought I would be arguing with a cav scout about this.

          • madskills

            I was with the 11th ACR in Vietnam and have personal experience in getting m113s stuck in rice paddies along with a tank retriever. They floated on the mud. Never saw a m60 in Nam, m48s yes. I heard the m60 was too heavy….

          • Gary Church

            I have seen Vietnam pictures of several APC’s “daisy chained” with tow bars to push the whole column through paddies like a train. Pretty incredible. My brother was in the 173rd. I was a little boy when he came back wounded and was it his bedside in the hospital- in Norfolk I think- with our Mother crying he looked so bad. Jungle rot and grenade fragments…..He came out of it OK though and had a good life. He was sensitive to loud noises though and often ducked. He passed on early about ten years ago.

    • ycplum

      Actually, the IDF Merkava is not a “converted tank”. It is a purposely designed vehicle. It is especially suited for IDF needs, but not so much for the US. It is more optimized for low-intensity conflicts.
      As for the M60′s, I think we have completely phased them out. During the Persion Gulf War (Desert Storm), even the National Guards were transitioning to M1s.

      When I first reported to my NG unit in 1990, after as stint in the Active Army, I had trouble identifying the tank used and I prided myself on vehicle identification as a scout. It had the turret of a M60, but the hull was too small. The Lt told me it was a M48A5! A year later, my unit transitioned to the M60 and the year after that, they began transition to the M1. Don’t ask me why they bothered with the M60, it was above my paygrade. lol

      • Gary Church

        I was not talking about the Merkava Y; they used other chassis for conversions into heavily armored transports. As for the 48A5, 4/7 cav operated them in Korea into the 80′s because they were a couple tons lighter than the 60 and this cut way down on transmission failures in the mountainous terrain.

        • ycplum

          Interesting. I would have thought we would put our best in South korea, but then again, what does the North Lorean have? lol
          They probably have a lot. So much that some may actually work. I would think teh biggest problem for the NK army would be fuel.

          • Gary Church

            That was our best- for Korea in 1981. A tank with a bad gearbox is not what you want in those mountains…or anywhere. The tankers really liked them just because it had a ma deuce for the TC and a 60 with spade grips for the loader hatch. They really hated that turtleback cupola gun on the M-60 tank. The Abrams has two guns on top also instead of a cupola turret.

      • Gary Church

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namer

        On 2 April 2013, the Congressional Budget Office
        released a report that advised purchasing current vehicles instead of
        developing a new vehicle for the GCV program. Buying the Namer would cost $9 billion less, and met the required nine-man carrying capacity.[22] The army responded by saying that although the Namer and other vehicles assessed in 2012 met some GCV requirements, no currently fielded vehicle met enough without needing significant redesign.[23]

        No vehicle can meet the requirements which is why we have no GCV.

        • ycplum

          Thanks. I wasn’t aware of that development. One of the primary considerations of the US that Israel doesn’t share is strategic mobility. They do not need to transport the Namer halfway around the world: we do. Whether we should is a seperate issue, but at present, it is a strategic requirement and that is why we did not go that route or coverted teh M60 to APCs.
          Personally, I think we need to review our national policies, our global strategies and THEN the specs for equipment to meet these missions. At time, it seems we have unrealistic expectations for new equipment and too often do not consider the price a the initial stages.

          • Gary Church

            It is the one issue that makes me really mad. A small country like Israel protects their infantry like they are made of gold while we were welding scrap metal on hummers to try and get some protection. Rumsfeld was……I just can’t put into words the way I felt watching him tell that soldier “we have to work with what we got.” Arrrrrrrrgh!!!!

            That was the beginning of the end of any faith I had in our higher military leadership. After all the officers I saw in the military there just to punch their ticket and the hordes of civil service people doing very little besides sending emails to each other about sports and clearing almost six figures- I have had enough.

            Our service men and women deserve to be treated like they are made of gold and these thieves in the higher echelons need to be flushed down the toilet.

            I am pretty sure “strategic mobility” concerns have little or nothing to do with not having the heavily armored transports we need. It is more about not being able to make any money off of them. The replacement tracks, manual labor, and fuel associated with these transports cannot be transmuted into profit like the other toys and technology that Rummy was pushing for his cronies. It is a dirty damn shame it took so long to get those MRAP’s into the field and even they are low mobility and second best. Inexcusable.

          • ycplum

            They often start off with a need, followed by specs for equipment. Once it become open for bidding, it takes on a whole different (and often unpredictable) life with non-military consideration infecting the process.
            Rumsfeld was correct about us needing to be more strategically mobile. However, I doubt he fully understood what he was talking about.
            Developing military with limited resources is always problematic. You can’t spend all your resources protecting one soldier because one soldier is not going to fulfill all your missions. It will be a compromise and usually a painful compromise based on inadequate information of the future.

          • Gary Church

            “Limited resources”? “LIMITED RESOURCES”??

            I feel like Bones tripping off line on Spock in the Wrath of Khan here. My God man, we are talking about the largest defense budget on this planet- as much as the next…what, 14 countries combined?
            You are making excuses for Rummy just to push me over the edge. Well, I have been warned by our host that I have to control myself or I am gone. So…….go ahead, I will give you the last word on this one Y. Enjoy.

          • ycplum

            Limited, as in finite. To the best of my knowledge, our military has no cash stashed away and our country has a massive debt. We have teh biggest military budget in the world and we manage to spend all of it. If you can force the powers that be to be more cost efficient and direct that to better personnel protection, I am all for it it, but for now, exactly how much do you want to raise taxes for better personnel protection?

          • Gary Church

            No, not “but for now.” Puh-leez.

  • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

    I would think a Bradley with tow missiles would be about as effective as a tank and I would think a lot easier/cheaper to maintain. A tracked vehicle, if it loses a track can the other track still let it move as in a circle or does it just cut into the ground it is on. I thought the Germans Jadgpanther in WW2 was a beautiful machine but that non-turret stuff would really be a liability compared to the M-10/36 of ours. Of course the Jadgpanther looked as it was copied from the Russian SU-100.

    • ycplum

      – The M2/3 does not have the armor to close and engage heavy armor like a tank.–
      – The number of TOW rounds carried by the M2/3 does not even approach the anti-armor rounds carried by the M1–
      – A M1 tank crew can fire, reload, acquire another target and fire again in 10 seconds. A M2/3 gunner has to hold the crosshairs on a target until the missile hits. Also, after firing two rounds, it takes maybe minute and a half to reload both tubes.
      – There can be problems when a TOW is fired across large bodies of water of tall brish. The trailing wires will sag in flight. If both wires touch water, it will short the guidance. Similarly, the wires may snag brush and break.
      The Bradley is a good Armored Fighting Vehicle (and APC, but I dislike it in the scout role), but it can’t replace a tank.
      FYI I was a 19D. ; )

    • Gary Church

      I would not bother to answer anything your post normally- I cannot understand what you are babbling about half the time- but in case other people are reading I will explain about throwing a track. If you get a track shot off or sustain mine damage the recovery vehicle comes and they have all kinds of tricks to get the damaged vehicle back to the shop. It is really an art and I have seen them do some amazing things. The most common technique is to “short track” which is to re-attach the track as a shorter caterpillar leaving bare the front idler or back drive sprocket (or vice-versa on a Bradley or other vehicles with the final drives up front). If a tracked vehicle loses a track for whatever reason it cannot continue in a straight line and just goes in a small circle. I have never seen one towed without at least short-tracking it and I do not know if this can be done. It would be ugly.

  • jrg973

    You want to get the upper hand on IED’s and those that plant them…go out at night and plant our own…they want us out…let’s make so worth their while, that they’ll help us get out…PDQ I’d bet.

    • Gary Church

      You turkeys are going ruin this forum for everyone: it is so obvious what you are doing. A couple dozen people (probably someone being paid to do this with an astroturf program) with no posting history here suddenly show up and start posting hundreds of comments- endless trash. You are trash.

  • Larry A. Altersitz

    Wouldn’t a smaller main gun (90mm/75mm/60mm) be a better fit for an MGS? Think you’d want something to reach out and take out a bunker rather than get into a fight with an MBT. Use the Alliant fuze from the XM25 25mm “Punisher” round to get overhead burst capability; it’s there to support the Infantry, after all.

    How about another look at the Rapid Deployment Force Light Tank (proposed in the 80s-90s) for the 82D? Tracked, DP (ADA/AT) 75mm auto-cannon; make it amphib if possible. One of my long-time bitches with the Army (may the tiny thick-skulled collective pointed head of its leadership be blessed) is the lack of simple provisions/designs to make our wheels less aquatically challenged; lose a bridge, lose logistics and momentum of forward units, so you get Market-Garden redux.

    And IIRC, Strykers are NOT amphibious; the USMC LAV-25 is, and it was based off the MOWAG Piranha.

    Does angled (30 degree from vertical) defeat EFPs or reduce their effectiveness?

    • Gary Church

      It’s fun to come up with stuff like this Larry; smaller better blah blah…. But there is no substitute for heavy armor and the biggest baddest gun you can aim with a computer like a giant sniper rifle. That is what a 60+ ton Main Battle Tank is- a humongous sniper rifle that can fire in total darkness going 50 miles an hour bouncing over rough terrain and hit another bouncing vehicle going 50 miles an hour with a dart going a mile per second. It is the miracle of the laser gyro and rangefinder, micro-chip, and forward looking infra-red. And of course a wind/temp sensor and a barrel wear measurement after every shot to adjust for a few feet less feet per second.

      It is what it is and it is probably not going to change much. It is the combination of all things found on the battlefield; all terrain mobility, sensors, armor, artillery, communications, and don’t forget that machine gun (as most people do); with an endless 15,000 round belt neatly folded in a tray along the wall feeding the “coax.” Battlefield Bully, King of the Kill Zone, whatever you want to call it; it is as perfect a killing machine as you will find. There is no substitute.

      • Gary Church

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg50awMmNPc

        This is a tank Larry-

        The French MBT; it has a pretty reliable auto loader from what I have read; cuts the crew down to 3 which makes it harder to pull any of that back breaking maintenance on the tracks. The Frogs probably have their girlfriends do it for them.

      • Larry A. Altersitz

        Having started my Army career in the 2nd Armored Division in 1969 in Field Artillery, I understand heavy armor. But my concern is if heavy armor can’t get to the battlefield to inflict shock and awe on the enemy, it’s not much good for troops in contact. Tracks go places wheels can’t and I like the protection/firepower a track brings to the fight. But all Army initial entry forces are light (82D, 101st, 173D, Rangers, SF) with very limited mobility of any sort once they’re on the ground. My conclusion is that the Army needs a replacement for the M551 Sheridan to provide the speed, shock and firepower needed by light forces. That’s why I suggested the RDFLT and a smaller gun on the MGS as an alternative. Otherwise, we’re in a situation of “Rat Patrol”, “The Dukes of Hazzard”, “Starsky and Hutch” and Vietnam gun truck style vehicles as the only option. That silly advertising picture of C17s in an open field with M1s exiting out the back ramp is ludicrous; the USAF ain’t gonna put a C17 down on anything other than a nice big airbase with all the amenities. M1s and Brads aren’t airdroppable, so what’s left? M113s in an ACAV mode?

        The desert is the best place for Armor: open terrain and few barriers to movement. Closed terrain limits Armor’s advantages and that’s where we’re most likely to be engaged. My middle son (an 11M20) was in the 2/5 Cav and made the sweep into Fallujah to assist the USMC. He’s told me stories of what they did and how the Marines were impressed. One of my problems with the M1 is troops can’t use it for cover due to engine exhaust. Another is fuel consumption. Liked the LeClerc video, but the same claim is made about the Leopard in a video and I don’t think either has the combat record of the Abrams. What size/type of engines do they use and what’s the fuel consumption rate?

        TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) rules all and one size doesn’t fit all. There’s a limit to KISS, also, so how do we meet the needs of the troops today when they are out implementing national policy?

        • Gary Church

          I knew you would like the video. The Leopard, which is the tank everyone would buy if they had the money- because it does not have jet engine- uses a turbocharged diesel that gets much better gas mileage than the turbine in the Abrams. The engine almost designed by God for tanks it would seem; just as a gas turbine is a near perfect engine for a helicopter.

          As for “that’s where we’re most likely to be engaged”, that is not a really good argument. We will get engaged and engage whenever they can and we can. Where it happens might be up to us or up to them depending on how the ball bounces. Saying will be fighting in close terrain or have to cross rivers or paratroopers can’t take heavy armor is all just…..excuses. And excuses are no substitute for heavy armor. Like I said- there is no substitute. I appreciate your points Larry- but physics is at work here. Like missile defense these laws and the limitations of material science mean that some things are just not practical. Paratroops think highly of themselves because they have to- but not having tanks for them is not anyone’s fault. The Sheridan was junk. I knew many people in the cav who were in the 82nd on them.
          As for the C-17 not landing in the field; hmmmm. It is an expensive piece of equipment- I get hops on them out of McChord sometimes, but they CAN land on some rough stuff. They are designed to and are pretty good planes according to everyone I talk to who is associated with them. It is all about how important the mission is. Free rides on those planes have not been free. I have seen dozens of wounded soldiers on them. Many of them brain injured zombies. I almost started crying once watching an air force nurse talking to one of them. I am completely against these adventures overseas.

          • Gary Church

            And there are some other points you made Larry I just HAVE to speak to even though I am trying hard not to write a book here. The Leopard does not have much of a combat record simply because our tanks are the ones seeing all the combat. If you look at the history of airborne troops you will see that they…..are not that effective. Crete and Market Garden are representative of the outcomes of most drops to this day. Many argue they are not worth the resources expended on them. But the glamor just drowns out any criticism. Building “light armor” is a contradiction in terms and building them to operate in close terrain is sending lambs to the slaughter. It is why the IDF operates 60 ton transports like the Namer in those environments- and they still expect losses.

          • Larry A. Altersitz

            Until we’re close personal buddies of Mr. Scott on the Enterprise, the choices are walk/ride, swim or jump to get people where they are needed. I use “light armor” as a term to identify mobile, tracked, protected vehicles with a main weapon larger than 40mm that is not an IFV. The Namer is a de-turretted old MBT chassis IIRC; don’t recall what the Israelis use for MGs on it and how the troops exit. Could we de-turret old M1s, put in the turbo-diesel and use them? Over the dead body of the Chief of Armor, I suppose. But getting those US Namers to the needed location would require what in the way of resources.

          • Gary Church

            Heavy armor typically travels first by rail to a port, then by ship to another port, then on lo-boy truck to as close as possible to the fight. If they have to cross a water obstacle they call the combat engineers and let them shine. Mines are a pretty touchy (and classified) subject but lets just say there are sensors to detect them and some attachments that let an M-1 plow them up in front of each track as the first course. I would say all that applies to Namers since they weight the same.

          • Gary Church

            I have no idea why they have not re-engined the Abrams Larry. I have not done any research on it because that subject is one of those f-ups that make my blood boil. I was at Fort Knox at the Armor Center with some of the first ones and got to drive them and see them shoot and maintained their commo and some other systems. The tankers had a love-hate relationship with them when I was there- they were outstanding weapon systems and were…just completely deadly and the tankers loved that, but the engines; ugh. They also did not like that it did not have an escape hatch in the belly. The hatch is useful for driving over injured soldiers in the open and pulling them up inside- and also useful if the tank rolled of course (I knew a guy who was trapped in one for several hours). And it was hard to hide infantry behind you with that exhaust as you noted. I also heard there was the option of having two FLIR sensors on the first models with the commanders being able to rotate. That is what they call a hunter-killer set-up but they did not do it in the first models to keep costs down. It is now standard world wide. It lets the commander look for targets while the gunner engages. A tank crew is an amazing thing. If I had it to do over again I would go armor or submarines; not sure which.

          • Larry A. Altersitz

            Seems that when M1s are upgraded with new sensors, turbo-diesels could be installed at the same time. And I’d re-do a turret to use something like this on a battalion’s worth of M1s: http://www.military-today.com/artillery/amos.htm. Might be a good idea to use as a mech infantry battalion’s heavy mortar platoon.

            Fighting will occur where parties want to control people: urban areas. No one cares about the Empty Quarter, the Amazon jungle, the Kalihari, equatorial Africa or Siberia unless there is something there of value. If we’re fighting in built-up Western style cities, then the lessons of WWII should be reviewed. That fighting is infantry/combat engineers/ armor/FA in three dimensions. And there’s no tank that could survive a multi-story building falling on it. The Germans had a term for fighting in Stalingrad – Rattenkrieg. M1s can control almost any area they can hit with ordnance, but their limitation is line of sight; if they can’t get tanks to the next point to expand the area of control, they aren’t useful as other than mobile bunkers.

            Mobility and firepower once on the ground is an airborne weakness that needs to be addressed or someone with a knowledge of history is going to make any mass tactical with a company or more an impossibility. The USAF can’t go to the nearest Wal-Mart to get a new C17; just as the Navy won’t risk expensive ships close to shore, any use of a C17 in that sort of role would be a real one-off.

            I agree on keeping overseas adventures to the absolute minimum; if we fight, we’d better have it spelled out very clearly why and have it debated in Congress so the people can see and have input.

          • Gary Church

            I was cross-trained in the cav to drop 4.2 inch mortar rounds. They had me doing all kinds of odd stuff as a commo jerk. And I went to AIT at Fort Sill so I am kind of a cannon cocker I guess.

            “And there’s no tank that could survive a multi-story building falling on it.”

            Well, the crew would survive if they were dug out of the rubble. It depends on the building if it collapses completely. Small buildings you CAN drive a tank through but it is not a typical tactic. Tankers are noted for their clever field expedient methods though- being under all that armor let’s you calm down and come up with solutions. If they thought they could get away with it a crew would do it.

            “-any use of a C17 in that sort of role would be a real one-off.”

            Yes, I agree. At about a quarter billion each they are not like those WACO gliders they had sergeants crash landing in WW2. I REALLY am amazed at that credible sport project and would like to see that make a comeback. A C-17 with rockets that allow it to do air assault would really be something. But, like I was saying, some things are just not practical and a mass armor assault using Main Battle Tanks delivered by rocket equipped vertical landing/take-off cargo jets is pretty far out there!

  • Larry A. Altersitz

    C17 carrying rockets? Yeah, a 6-pack of MLRS under each wing would certainly get a LOT of attention ;-) ))

    • Gary Church

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWttlUxntr4

      I was thinking more on these lines

      • Larry A. Altersitz

        OMG…

        Ever seen the Blue Angels and their support C130 “Fat Albert”? At the end of the show, the Angels fly off, then the C130 starts down the runway, lights off a set of JATO bottles on each side of the fuselage by the rear side doors and this C130 climbs very fast at a steep angle, then leveling off and flying away.

        • Gary Church

          Credible Sport was supposed to land and take off in a soccer stadium very close to where the Iran hostages were being held. Just crazy enough to work. But the pilot hitting the wrong switch on this test flight put an end to that. Oh well. I think it could be updated with jet fuel and liquid oxygen carried in those wing drop tanks. Air Assault C-130. Could have made it work for what we spent on that V-22 monstrosity.

  • Larry A. Altersitz

    I LOVE M109A6 Paladins. A BnCO who’d look the other way while I got a few guys together to “field modify” a battalion’s worth of guns could help all Combat Arms types within range.

  • nobocan

    I just watched the Tank Battle in Iraq at 73 Easting on the ACH Channel and was really surprised and or better yet, shocked, being a former Grunt, at how lightly the Bradley was Armored for being a Scout Vehicle and a troop carrier as well at how small it’s main Gun was. I thought it a death trap for all aboard and could not believe the Army approved it’s 1 inch Armour in the front and apparently .223 penetratable on the sides. Any enemy firing an armour piecing round out of the famous AK-47 could probably piece the front armour. and Then to send it out to Scout for enemy Tanks I thought was a suicide mission in my opinion which proved to be correct, since a Bradley was the only Casualty in that tank battle. So I am glad they are upgrading it. The Stryker Vehicle is an entirely new Animal and my Nephew drives one and hates it and has stated that he feels he is a “dead man” should he drive into any urban conflict which I believe it was designed for, to be used against the American Populace as were the Ultra Frequency sound units and the Microwave units mounted on HumVees quietly developed by the Air Force and hidden away somewhere, probably near the White House or Reserve Units about the Country….