|ROLE||AIR SUPERIORITY||BOMBER INTERCEPTION||GROUND ATTACK||CLOSE AIR SUPPORT|
|SIZE||small (surprise, agility)||large (range, missile load)||medium-large (surprise vs range, weapons load)||small-medium (surprise, agility vs endurance, weapons load)|
|NUMBER OF ENGINES||single (agility, surprise, operating cost)||twin (top speed)||twin (damage tolerance)||twin (damage tolerance)|
|COCKPIT/CANOPY TYPE||bubble (situational awareness)||sunk (drag reduction)||sunk (drag reduction)||bubble (situational awareness)|
|WING SWEEP||moderate (maximum/cruise speed, turning performance, airfield perf.)||moderate to high (high altitude performance vs maximum speed)||low to moderate (low speed/altitude performance)||none to low (low speed agility, airfield / low altitude performance)|
|WING LOAD||low to moderate (agility)||low to moderate (high altitude performance)||high (gust sensitivity)||low to moderate (low speed agility, airfield performance)|
|GUN CALIBRE||20-30 mm (firepower vs loadout)||25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout)||25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout)||25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout)|
|GUN TYPE||revolver / linear action (response time)||rotary (maximum rate of fire)||rotary (maximum rate of fire)||rotary (maximum rate of fire)|
|SENSORS||radar, IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS||radar, IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS||radar, FLIR, RWR, LWR, MAWS||RWR, LWR, MAWS, (FLIR)|
|ENGINE TYPE||afterburning turbojet / afterburning low bypass turbofan (speed, acceler.)||afterburning turbojet / afterburning low bypass turbofan (speed, acceler.)||afterburning turbofan (speed, endurance)||nonafterburning high bypass turbofan (endurance)|
NOTE: reason for selection of certain characteristics is explained in brackets. Aircraft that are intended for more than one of listed roles will have characteristics of several types.
233 thoughts on “Characteristics of aircraft types”
Very well put: the armchair generals make the same mistakes over and over again.
Not just armchair generals…
I cant read section on CAS. Its cut-off?
I do want to add that just like some have made mistake of thinking that close-in gun fights were obsolete you might be making the opposite mistake. You’re AA design is optimized for close in fight but you make little attempt to make it good for BVR fight.
Small one engine plane=Less ability to carry avionics, lesser carriage of missiles, lesser thrust, lesser fuel, and usually lesser ceiling. What you gain is better W/L and agility. As well as ease of construction, maintanability, and probably sortie rate.
I understand that according to your historical analysis BVR Pk is super low but you are analysing data from dacades ago. Some of the more modern Missiles and guidance systems have made some sizeable leaps forward and airplane maneuverability has not so much. Although electronic jamming has progressed on par.
I understand that at some point when designing you have to make a guess as far as where you think future warfare is going but if an airforce were to go with your design philosophy only and the next air war proves that new BVR missiles have a Pk of 25% or better than that airforce will be in trouble.
I also have read a few times now that IRST lacks good ability to guide missiles because it provides less info than radar?
Also, you seem to be all about agility but size and W/L are not only factors in agility.
In an energy fight you need thrust, and two engines will (all being aqual) add much thrust. Also uses more fuel and for a small airplane fuel carriage might be an issue.
Also remember that I beleive that best air-superiority strategy is to be able to go into enemy airspace and attack airfields and/or shoot airplanes as they take-off (heaviest and in worst energy state), or as they return to land (running out of fuel to fight). This requires Stealth most of all and, heavy weapons load, and lots of endurance. High max cruise speed will also be helpful.
Playing devils advocate because it makes conversation much more interesting.
“You’re AA design is optimized for close in fight but you make little attempt to make it good for BVR fight. ”
Incorrect… I’ll adress your points one by one.
“Small one engine plane=Less ability to carry avionics, lesser carriage of missiles, lesser thrust, lesser fuel, and usually lesser ceiling.”
It also has higher cruise fraction, less supersonic drag, better agility in all flight regimes, lower IR signature and lower RCS (for a given design). Also, missiles carried should be counted per certain procurement / operating cost, not per aircraft, and single-engined aircraft is cheaper to buy and operate and easier to maintain, thus giving greater number of sorties (procurement cost is more-or-less proportional to aircraft’s mass).
“What you gain is better W/L and agility.”
Also better ability to surprise the opponent due to higher cruise speed and smaller sensory signatures, as well as on-ground survivability.
“I understand that according to your historical analysis BVR Pk is super low but you are analysing data from dacades ago.”
Doesn’t really matter. I have analyzed data ranging from 1950s to 2000s, and all of it points towards the conclusion that visual ID and surprise are absolutely crucial for gaining kills. Which, for BVR fight, means optical IR sensors + IR BVRAAM and RWR + IR/AR BVRAAM.
If you surprise the enemy, you typically achieve a kill no matter the weapon used. If you don’t surprise the enemy, you typically don’t achieve the kill no matter the weapon used. Using radar against a competent opponent means giving up surprise. Of course, you only shoot if you know what you are shooting at, and VID is the only reliable choice… which means IRST but no radar.
“Missiles and guidance systems have made some sizeable leaps forward and airplane maneuverability has not so much.”
Defense suites and situational awareness have, however. Maneuverability was, in the past, the least important factor in actually evading a missile. Most important factor was to know that you are being fired upon, and to know where the missile is.
“I understand that at some point when designing you have to make a guess as far as where you think future warfare is going but if an airforce were to go with your design philosophy only and the next air war proves that new BVR missiles have a Pk of 25% or better than that airforce will be in trouble. ”
It won’t. I really don’t understand why you (and mostly everyone else) assume that BVR = massive radar. PIRATE can detect a supercruising fighter aircraft at 100 km from front, whereas the longest-ranged missile kill (against nonmaneuvering target and with no ECM) was achieved at cca 40-50 km. IRST range will drop with reduced altitude (OSF has maximum detection range of 130 km from the rear at 20.000 ft and 110 km at low altitude) but missile range will drop far more rapidly (from 180 km at high altitude to 36 km at low level, aerodynamic range).
And against targets that are aware they are being shot at, your 180-km-range BVR missile will have a useful range of maybe 20-45 km at most, at high altitude and with no jamming. Jamming may reduce radar range to approximately that much anyway (I calculated that Su-35 will start locking onto FLX at 45-50 km), and there is still an issue of identification – radar simply does not allow you to identify targets at adequate range. NCTRs ID range is significatly lower than that of IRST (cca 10-20 km, if I recall correctly, compared to 40-45 km for modern IRST) and can be disrupted with jamming, maneuvering etc.
“I also have read a few times now that IRST lacks good ability to guide missiles because it provides less info than radar?”
It provides significantly lower range resolution but significantly higher angular resolution compared to radar. Range resolution can be a problem but it can also be worked around with datalinking, kinetic ranging, and various other ways. It is also not really necessary for all missile engagement modes. Plus, IRST provides VID, which radar does not, so saying that it provides “less info” is a misconception, to say at the least. Less range info, for sure, but more information overall.
“In an energy fight you need thrust, and two engines will (all being aqual) add much thrust. Also uses more fuel and for a small airplane fuel carriage might be an issue. ”
Except issue is not thrust per se, it is thrust-to-drag ratio. Significant amount of drag comes from several sources: engine frontal drag, airframe drag and shock cone. Single-engined fighters have advantage in engine frontal drag as engine frontal area increases with square of size increase, yet thrust increases with cube of size increase. They also have less wave drag as single engine allows for easier airframe optimization. If you take a look at my article about supercruise, you will notice that most of the early supercruising aircraft were single-engined (excepting one rather unique twin-engined design).
And endurance is more-or-less proportional to fuel fraction. Large aircraft with low fuel fraction may have longer level-flight range yet significantly less combat endurance than small aircraft with high fuel fraction, and one larger engine is typically more fuel-effective than two smaller engines (a lot, of course, depends on engine design, aerodynamic design, etc).
“Also remember that I beleive that best air-superiority strategy is to be able to go into enemy airspace and attack airfields and/or shoot airplanes as they take-off (heaviest and in worst energy state), or as they return to land (running out of fuel to fight).”
That is true for offensive operations, but if you design for that you end up with hugely expensive, hard-to-maintain long-range “stealth” fighter aircraft that will be procured in too small numbers to be truly effective. Meanwhile, you could have just used smaller aircraft and air-launched (or not even necessarily air-launched) cruise missiles for the same effect, possibly with dispersal submunitions. Also keep in mind that stealth is dependant on sensors, stealth design effective against X band radar may not be effective against VHF or HF radar, and no stealth design is effective against IR sensors.
And if you really need to put aircraft around enemy airfields, best option will be low-altitude CAS fighters as they can stay on station for huge amounts of time and fly below radar cover. Aircraft that has just taken off is vulnerable to just about anything… even a WWI era Fokker with pair of AIM-9Bs, as it simply doesn’t have the speed or altitude for evasive maneuvers.
“Playing devils advocate because it makes conversation much more interesting.”
Indeed it does.
What type of aircraft would fly SEAD? The CAS plane would have good endurance, low flight ability, and a fairly tight turn radii.
About ground attack, how would the A-7F have done as a ground attack plane? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_YA-7F (I remember that there was a foxtrot alpha article about it, but I can’t find it)
CAS aircraft would be the best, I assume, though you could make a specialized design as well.
A-7F seems OK as a ground attack aircraft, but I can’t say anything more precise without more data.
SEAD aircraft needs to be able to loiter but not down low like CAS. Too dangerous down low.
I would think best airframe characteristics for SEAD would be stealth, high ceiling, and size (for ability to carry enough missiles, fuel, and SEAD avionics). Supercruise and manueverability would be nice to avoid Sams that cannot be jammed or decoyed.
“SEAD aircraft needs to be able to loiter but not down low like CAS. Too dangerous down low. ”
Mostly because most aircraft are thin-skinned. Sneaking up below radar cover and filling radar full of bullet holes may still be the best way of permanently shutting down SAM network.
“I would think best airframe characteristics for SEAD would be stealth, high ceiling, and size (for ability to carry enough missiles, fuel, and SEAD avionics). Supercruise and manueverability would be nice to avoid Sams that cannot be jammed or decoyed.”
I’d change that to stealth, high ceiling, endurance and supercruise. For avionics, you don’t really need much beyond integrated self-defense suite and FLIR.
Just for laughs:
ROLE: Money maker for military industrial complex
SIZE large (lots of avionics and other features, such as stealth; hull can be draggy)
NUMBER OF ENGINES usually multiple (complexity)
COCKPIT/CANOPY TYPE sunk (drag reduction) in most cases although sometimes, bubble (situational awareness – such as F-22)
WING SWEEP moderate (maximum/cruise speed, turning performance, airfield perf.); can be variable wing sweep though
WING LOAD high (too small a wing for the loaded electronics and other features)
CREW 1 to many (many for bombers)
GUN CALIBRE Often none because the MICC thinks missiles are “good enough”, otherwise 20-25mm gattling
GUN TYPE rotary (maximum rate of fire), but not gas operated; poor spin-up time
SENSORS radar, IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS, and various electronics the defense industry has lobbied for
ENGINE TYPE Excessively high bypass turbofan
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Maybe engine type should also note that sometimes it can be a low bypass turbofan and that there is the tendency to add features like TVC, which is of questionable usefulness.
Too sad and too true.
Do you think a revolver type weapon would do better for CAS? Or at least a gas operated Gatling (very fast spinup).
I’d like to see someone try proper artillery for CAS. Literally airbourne artillery.There was a project which fitted 105s to the sides of a Chinook, not sure how it went.
Saw a video on youtube of Tsetses attacking shipping in a Norwegian fjord, the range they started the runs at was impressive. They were designed for use against subs though, which aren’t a particularly large target, certainly not an awful lot bigger than the area you’d be wanting to hit in a CAS mission.
Higher standoff range, more hitting power and more than the potential for airbust fuzed with the latest developments.
If you want a tankbuster / CAS aicraft just make the sea hornet, attach some commercial turboprops and arm it a la Tsetse.
As it so happens, there is actually a Combatreform article on this very concept!
Cannon-Fighter: A Proven Concept We Must Employ :: http://www.combatreform.org/cannonfighter.htm
It’s a very interesting read.
Gas operated Gatling would be good. Revolvers have quick acceleration but low maximum RoF so they’re not so good against harder targets.
@Mike, it’d be closer to the ground attack variant, although I’d prefer a bubble canopy for situation awareness. A case could be made that the craft should have lower wing loading too (better turn speeds) as you’ll want to get shots off quickly.
For long range shots you’d arguably want higher wing loading. The A10 for instance has almost double the wing loading and is slower with vastly lower loiter time.
The tradeoff is that you need such an aircraft to be able to get off the deck of a carrier and maneuverability is important too for it’s nose mounted guns. This was the design compromise for the Hornet though if it was anywhere near as stable a gun platform as the Mosquito, which had similar stats, it would have been excellent in both roles. It’s wing loading was only a tadge higher than the Skyraider which was famed for low altitude agility.
Watching vids of the anti-shipping strikes accuracy clearly wasn’t a problem, looks as though they’d begin their gun runs at 4km or so. 33% hit rate against tank sized vehicles with nothing but a crude gunsight.
Add in a bit of modern day tech…
And you have something that could fire from your own side of FEBA away from manpads threat. Difficult to think of anything it wouldn’t be effective against.
I’d even let Picard put some armour on it. 🙂
It’s a matter of wing shape and wing size as well – I would prefer something very agile, but at the same time, with the endurance for longer patrols (especially if an opportunity “turkey” shoot presents itself). I liked low wing loading for quick turns in case someone does shoot at you (agility matters for survivability).
With modern fire control, accuracy should be better for sure. You just need to absorb the recoil and to be able to reload (and if you are firing bursts, you would need a fast spinup time).
Think the Sea Hornets were capable of 6 hour plus patrols, certainly the PR versions. Would be improved with turboprops too. Wing loading is about the same as a Gripen.
No spinup time on the 20mm cannons it carried, though the modern equivalent doesn’t really exist you could get a similar effect from 4 M3 50 cals firing DP. 4800 rds a minute with the old 57mm firing just over 1 round / sec. Modren equiv would increase this, or the Bofors 40mm runs 300 rds / min and also fires 3P.
A case could be made that a 2 seating Rafale-like aircraft might also be of use as a command aircraft alongside the FLX.
I’m going to design a twin-seater FLX someday, so not really necessary. I doubt that Rafale could keep up with the FLX anyway.
Yeah that would work best.
What role do you see the ground attack having? Tank destroyer? Modern day Stuka dive bomber? Or something else?
Low-altitude strike and general ground attack missions against fixed targets. Though, for SEAD/DEAD, something based off an air superiority fighter would be the best choice (twin-seat FLX), though case could be made for CAS-type aircraft due to its high endurance.
So for destroying airfields and fortifications. Basically a tactical bomber.
Something like the Su-34, or perhaps the YA-7F?
Su-34 – basically a ground attack variant of the Su-27:
YA-7F – smaller single engined strike bomber:
Actually, CAS aircraft would be good for that. Especially fortifications, which tend to be defended.
The question becomes whether it is worth it for a dedicated tactical bomber then – especially considering the costs compared to a CAS aircraft. You’re looking at maybe 4-5x the cost of a CAS aircraft.
Another alternative (that has never been extensively used) is the cannon fighters that Combat Reform and several other sites have proposed, although for larger calibres, you’ll need a larger aircraft.
The only aircraft I can think of which were specifically designed for taking on airfields were the Fencer, Tornado and F-111. All big, low altitude performers. Could probably add the F-117 in a different take on things.
Airfields are very tough targets if properly protected as the RAF Tornados found out in the Gulf War. Read an account of an entire squadron of Tempests being blasted out of the sky whilst attacking a German airbase ( at dive speeds not dissimilar to today’s aircraft), so it isn’t a new thing.
A typical CAS aircraft would have to swarm them, as the Sea Harriers did in the Falklands.
For taking out HAS, runways, control towers, taxiways and dumps you really need specialist weapons. The Russians and Chinese don’t bother with aircraft for these missions anymore, their plan would just be to lob IRBMs at large airfields.
“A typical CAS aircraft would have to swarm them, as the Sea Harriers did in the Falklands.”
That, or get close enough to fire off cruise missiles.
“Airfields are very tough targets if properly protected as the RAF Tornados found out in the Gulf War.”
Aye, but Tornados are large, very sluggish and thin-skinned.
“For taking out HAS, runways, control towers, taxiways and dumps you really need specialist weapons. The Russians and Chinese don’t bother with aircraft for these missions anymore, their plan would just be to lob IRBMs at large airfields.”
Missile attack would be the first stage in any case, but I don’t think missiles can take out everything. So it depends on what do you precisely want. If you want to prevent operation for the time, you can have a cruise missile disperse cluster bomblets all over the field… it would do a number on runway, I expect, with added advantage that bomblets are notoriously unreliable, and can explode minutes, hours, days, weeks… even years after being dropped. Which would play merry hell with efforts to bring runway back into operation.
But if your targets are supply dumps, infantry/artillery positions, aircraft shelters, you’ll need different weapons. For buildings, laser- and GPS- -guided bombs, and heavy-duty cruise/ballistic missiles would be good. But for dug-in, smaller targets you’d need aircraft capable of low-altitude precision attacks with missiles or gun.
I think that a CAS-Cannon fighter combo might work better than a CAS-Tactical bomber combo – what kind of bomber are you thinking?
The specifications gave some clues as to where you wanted to go with it.
RWR=make any stealth aircraft useless once they turn on radar
Jammer=Can jam any motherf*cker modern AESA even on LPI mode
Ultimate plane designer=Pierre Sprey
ALL LOVE ALL PLANES(cept F22 and F35, cuz I hate military industrial complex that did 9/11)
Radar BVR = useless because successful BVR engagement requires surprise and reliable IFF.
Too heavy and mostly useless.
“RWR=make any stealth aircraft useless once they turn on radar”
If capable enough, yes.
“Jammer=Can jam any motherf*cker modern AESA even on LPI mode”
Depends on jammer and radar. But LPI is far from unjammable.
“ALL LOVE ALL PLANES”
Except F-15, F-22, F-35, F-111, F-117, B-52, B-2, Tornado, Su-30, MiG-23, MiG-29, MiG-35, J-20, J-31… and few dozen others I couldn’t remember on a short notice.
“(cept F22 and F35, cuz I hate military industrial complex that did 9/11)”
My dislike of these aircraft has nothing to do with MICC and 9/11, even though MICC is the reason why they came out the way they did.
Read my blog and try to think about what you are reading, OK?
I don’t think he is the kind open to facts or new ideas.
Most people prefer to be told what to think – not to think for themselves.
There is always hope… truth is, I made this table as purely an overview, with no explanations, so somebody who doesn’t know how and why I reached these conclusions will likely feel off if they’ve been on a diet of mainstream media (dis)information and corporate PR releases.
This is somewhat unrelated, but could you make a counterpoint to the single-role philosophy in that if two role’s needs are similar, the same weapon can be used for multiple roles? (The 8.8cm Flak for example; despite the allies having very comparable 3.7 inch and 90mm guns, neither achieved the same success due to not using them widely in both AA and AT roles.)
“The Germans became aware early on that the nature of AA weapons, and the type of crews needed to man them, made them very suited to anti-tank work. AA guns were high muzzle velocity, high rate of fire weapons which need better than average optical gun sights. They had to be mobile to keep up with and protect other arms. They needed to track a target very rapidly, establish its range rapidly and shoot it down rapidly. To fulfill these functions, AA gun crews needed to be trained better than most and be able to respond rapidly to changing tactical situations. It turns out these are also all ideal attributes for destroying tanks and other vehicles. It therefore made perfect sense to make sure flak guns had optical sites for ground as well as air combat, could depress and traverse the gun onto ground targets, and had ammunition specifically designed for ground targets; especially tanks.”
“This is somewhat unrelated, but could you make a counterpoint to the single-role philosophy in that if two role’s needs are similar, the same weapon can be used for multiple roles?”
I’d say yes. But if you want a good result, you always design for a single role – the most difficult one – and then adapt the aircraft for other roles. For example, if you design a fighter for aerial combat, you should design it for combat against enemy fighters (air superiority, more specifically point defense interception) and then adapt it to other roles (combat air patrol, bomber interception etc.). If you design a fighter for ground attack, you should design it for close air support and then adapt it to other roles (battlefield interdiction, maritime strike, SEAD, DEAD). Tanks should be designed primarily for maneuver combat, but you should never ignore the need to provide direct fire support for the infantry. With submarines, you design them for hunting down warships – including other submarines – first, and if they can do that, hunting down merchant ships is no problem. However, you have to again choose wether you want a submarine that is specialized for the open ocean (nuclear attack subs) or for closed, coastal or shallow waters (DE / AIP subs), because you can’t have both (Los Angeles class in, say, Croatian archipelago would be in about the same situation as a beached whale).
Of course, sometimes weapons will end up useful in very different roles, but that is typically improvisation due to the lack of better dedicated weapons. In your example, 8.8 Flak 38 was excellent in destroying tanks due to the qualities noted. However, a dedicated AT gun of the same calibre was still superior as Flak had very high profile which made it a (comparatively) easy target for enemy tanks, and you had to choose wether to have more ammo for shooting down aircraft or for killing tanks. Targeting sights for anti-aircraft work are also more complex than those required to shoot tanks.
Now that I think about it, what’s your stance on the IFV philosophy? They aren’t really designed for one specific job, but more like 2 (infantry carrier + fire support) or even 3 on occasion (infantry carrier + fire support + limited anti-tank with ATGMs).
Anti-tank with IFV is a pure idiocy. Fire support is fine as long as there aren’t any major anti-armor threats, which, with modern AT weapons is a rarity. Careful emloyment may make it useful even then, however. Infantry carrier is the primary purpose, and ability of a vehicle to carry infantry should not be compromised.
There is a difference between the technical characteristics of a “vehicle” and its tactical use. With this i mean, that the carrier can very well be used as a AT weapon, but than the vehicle will not be used as an IVF. A YPR with a TOW capability is very well suited for its task and on a tactical level to be part of a (Dutch) armoured infatry batallion ( as was the case when i was the platooncommander in the Royal Fusileers “Prinses Irene”). The advantage is logistical, technical and tactical. Of course due to its capabilities the “YPR TOW” will not be in front but more in depth (thanks to its range) because of its tactical use.
“With this i mean, that the carrier can very well be used as a AT weapon, but than the vehicle will not be used as an IVF.”
IFV can have AT missiles for self-defense, but it should never come into situation to face tanks in the first place. IFVs are simply too thin-skinned and with too limited armament – even with AT missiles – to face tanks. Take a look at how “well” US Bradleys performed against Iraqi tanks… sure, they managed to take out some tanks – in many cases, using 25 mm cannon and not AT missiles – but they suffered far more losses than any actual tanks. Kuwaiti M84s meanwhile performed as well as US M1s and far better than Bradleys.
The israeli’s have learned the hard way that you can either have IFVs that protect your infantry or death traps that soak up anti tank missiles. Also that the best defence is to see them coming, which isn’t too likely buttoned down in a tin can. Sure you can put missiles on an infantry carrier, but much better to have those same anti tank missiles with the infantry where they can dig in and are mobile without guzzling gas and being a three metre high target.
In fact the Israeli’s converted many captured tanks into APCs, only to find that the very missiles designed to knock the tanks out were very effective against them. In high threat environments they ended up using their Maerkevas exclusively. Interesting design, quite how many infantry it can carry appears to be the subject of some debate. More recently they’ve used the same chassis, only with even more armour, for an APC.
Infantry are difficult to kill, putting them all in poorly armoured boxes with a whole host of platforms specifically designed to take them out in one lump is not a great idea in my book. There are more effective ways to triple ( very conservatively) the supplies needed by a battalion.
Also depends upon what you mean by fire support. Remarkably few infantry vehicles are designed for fire support, unless you narrow the definition to slightly implausible direct fire by automatic cannon. If you are in range with your cannon then someone else is well withing range with their ATM and heard you coming half an hour ago. Exercises seem to model this rather well, I’m quite sure that 80% of the mechanised infantry losses were from simulated hits on IFVs in my time, whereas the humble foot sluggers who could never quite seem to keep up didn’t fare at all badly. Rather amusingly quad bikes with a chap on the back packing a LAW type weapon simply eat them for breakfast. Literally run rings around them.
Almost all armoured forces have recon vehicles which are similarly armed and armoured to APCs, though in their case it is doctrinally merely to lay down lead whilst someone selects reverse gear. No-one suggests that they should charge across a muddy field firing wildly at a tree line. It would be silly.Adding eight automatic weapons which cannot fire wildly at the same treeline is even sillier.
Sure against a foe with massive amounts of artillery I can see their appeal, though frankly mainly on the retreat. As battlefield ambulances and mortar carriers excellent. Good platforms for mobile AAA as well. Twenty five ton APCs might be all terrain on the move, but leaving them standing for hours on anything other than tarmac and you are likely to get a nasty surprise. Even the reliable ones are only reliable due to the immense amount of servicing they need and you’d be surprised how much of it is often broken. They certainly give you the mobility to outstrip your supply infrastructure, which is of course based upon the humble truck. Quintuples the number of hoccifers needed too in most armies. Instead of a driver you now need a vehicle commander to get everyone lost and a ‘loader’ to powder his feet..
Other than the humble landrover the only APC I’d really want to be in would be the israeli RAM series. Massively armoured ones might sound appealing, but try spending 8 hours in the back of one and you’d soon change your mind. The big truck based MRAPs are all right, as long as Terry or Ivan has never heard of artillery or air support. Though if they ran on piss the bogs at the Munch beer festival wouldn’t keep them supplied.
That chassis is called the Namer.
They also found that M113s were very vulnerable to enemy fire. Not a surprise considering converted tanks were vulnerable – the M113 with it’s aluminum armor probably would not stand much of a chance.
As you note, the problem with the truck MRAPs though is they get stuck easily and are vulnerable to artillery and probably enemy ground attack aircraft.
Engineering is full of compromises I suppose.
I was looking at RSA animations and saw this one.
RSA Animate – Smile or Die :: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo
They use the corporate world as an example, but the military, especially with weapons procurement, is a shining example of this philosophy of, “Smile or die.” People who raise concerns are forced to retire, transferred to a remote area, or are simply told to shut up before the prior happens.
Yes, that is a major problem. Humans will sooner forgive others for being wrong than for being right, and those in power especially do not want to admit being wrong in anything.
There have been other projects. Here in Canada, they proposed using the Leopard 2 as a very heavy APC-type tank. Another was to use the PzH2000-type tank.
Anyways here is some reading:
The advantage that I could see is that you get some efficiency from the common chassis with your tanks.
Survivability of course should be high – with the tank turret removed, you could add the weight savings from the turret as armor.
The big con I guess is fuel and possibly maintenance (keeping everything supplied).
There’s also the fact that you have to modify the chassis quite a bit for optimal infantry layout.
On one hand, if you could have all your tracked vehicles on 1 chassis – tank, APC, engineer, recovery vehicles, support, etc, I could see some operating efficiencies realized. All vehicles too would be very survivable.
On the downside, you most certainly would not be able to do a Blitzkrieg style deep penetration with this type of “heavy chassis” configuration. The fuel consumption would be prohibitive. The other problem is that even if your tanks, APCs, and vehicles are well armored, the massive logistics train behind that this would entail would be thin-skinned. It might be useful in super high threat areas though and perhaps in urban combat or a siege.
I think that Russia may be moving this direction. The Armata consists of a tank, APC, recovery vehicle, engineering, and possibly artillery (both rocket and possibly gun).
I suspect though that the success or failure of the heavy chassis vehicles will come down to quality of your troops – people first!
I doubt any APCs are going to be more effective than light tanks have been historically, which is not very. At the end of the day they can’t protect themselves with firepower or armour and hence only really overmatch – a truck. Trouble is they aren’t raiding vehicles so are unlikely to ever see an enemy supply truck, will see plenty of their own though, for fuel, though not oddly for ammo. The truth behind their utilization you can probably get from their daily ammo requirements. In ww2 the Italians and Germans tried to supply their towed light cannon ( 20mm AA etc) with between 1000 and 2000 rounds per day. I suspect in the British Army you’d happily get away with about 6 for the 30mm Rarden. Even the few Warriors deployed to Afghan were more useful for ramming compound gates than for fire support. This does depend on ROE of course, the Americans probably got more mileage out of their turreted cannon. With lots of upset civilians in tow.
Not sure about very heavy APCs, the Israelis swear by them and the Russians found out that their APCs were vulnerable to somewhat upset civilians in an urban environment. The reaction is to increase firepower and armour, which pushes their tail up considerably. I still think they’d still get too hot under a few molotovs though and chuck enough RPGs at anything but a heavy tank and you get it in the end. Thermite, red phosphorous and the like are pretty effective even before you start thining about LAWS and guided ATGMs..
Take the money spent on building, maintaining, supplying and crewing any armoured APCs and I’m sure you could have on call CAS 24/7 no matter what the platform. If you are going to build heavily armoured APCs then armoured against what? Tanks themselves are rubbish against mines, MRAPs are very different to converted tanks. Undoubtedly useful if you’re going to assault a fortress or town, though you could merely surround them, cut off their supplies and wait. To me heavily armoured APCs rather violate the point of manouvre warfare, sounds as though you’re planning on punching through a strongly defended line, but the heavier the vehicles the less distance they’ll make until they outstrip their supply line. How many are you going to buy to accompany your tanks? Aren’t tanks themselves enough protection? If you spot one through any means it does rather give the game away as to the assault target. Operating with tanks as an infantryman is terrifying, they have a habit of reversing suddenly or squishing people though if someone was really laying it down I’d far rather be on foot behind a tank than in any APC.
The original APCs were just for crew served weapons, half tracks were the solution favoured by the Germans and Americans, though even the latter struggled to fuel them in western european infrastructure.
The one exception to my mind is something along the lines of the Marine corps amtracks. Something large that can deliver useful quantities of supplies to close to FEBA, potentially from a ship or across rivers, is a truly useful beast. Not sure about the recent one they cancelled though, started to look like a horrible compromise. Back in the day they had it about right with 5 ton capacity genuinely amphibious trucks as well as much larger 60 ton ones. I find it difficult to believe that a hovercraft is as reliable or useful.
My own pereference would be for all services to embrace ISO containers, something along the lines of the Sikorsky Skycrane, amphibs with an armoured wheelhouse that could carry an ISO container and engineering versions that would both carry and dig in ( cross between a JCB and a supply truck). Oh and trucks. Yes they could carry infantry, with some protection, but not with mine resistant, T-72 resistant, ATGM reistant, air transportable, 30 mm cannon and TOW firing, NBC protected, air conditioned, clusterfucks. Course that would mean the marines, navy, air force and army buying the same kit…
I should note here something:
APC: an armored taxi, designed to bring the infantry to the front
IFV: an APC with heavy firepower, designed to support the infantry it has brought to front
You write APC but are describing IFV. Bradley was the first (?) IFV, and… just watch Pentagon Wars.
“…has less armor than a snowblower, but has enough ammo to take out half of D.C.”
APC has only one crew-served weapon, mostly for self-defense and limited fire support, but is not design to stay around and support the infantry.
They will be ineffective for maneuver warfare (too much tail as you’ve noted).
You would have to maintain a heavy force (for things like urban warfare and maybe as a “breakthrough”) division for sieges and a light force for deep penetrations.
Survivability though I think would be better than tanks. With the turret removed, there is the opportunity for more armor to the sides, bottom, and rear. You could also put reactive armor like on tanks and a birdcage. Finally, there’s the fact that there’s no area with lots of 120mm ammo and there’s less potential for explosions there (only the fuel tank really).
The one thing you would want is very wide tracks though, so that they don’t get stuck in the soft soil (otherwise you’ll be stuck on roads and be vulnerable to IEDs). I think most heavy tanks have to much ground pressure.
Either way though, I think for a lighter force, the same idea applies, you want the entire force wrapped around the idea of a single tracked chassis so that it’s easier to maintain.
Agree with the container battle box idea though. They might have to be a bit more heavily armored and it might be a good idea to get a spall liner though.
Anyways, Combat Reform has an interesting read about it:
@Mike ” Rather amusingly quad bikes with a chap on the back packing a LAW type weapon simply eat them for breakfast. Literally run rings around them.”
I like this, I would even go further. Motorcycle dragoons. Each dragoon equipped with a light weight, electric all road motorcycle, and carrying 5 or 6 AT missiles and one or two MANPADS. The motorcycle allows that much equipment to be carried. I would prefer motorcycles over quads because they can fit on much more narrow roads practically being able to use even goat-trails if the rider is skilled enough, which a quad can not do (to wide), and if the motorcycle is engineered well enough it can carry just as much as a quad. The motorcycle is also much more easy to maintain, it has a very simple transmission compared to the two differentials required by a quad, and also with electric motors you could install them in the hubs of the wheels and get a 2X2 motorcycle much more easy then existing models.
Dragoons would fight on foot the way dragoons traditionally did, and be used for ambush, motorcycles would be used for transport only, or they could have an option where a missile launcher could be installed for fixed forward firing, to be used for very situational “cavalry charges”.
Small pigeon sized drones could be used to give the dragoons “over the next hill ridge” type recon capabilities and improve their situational awareness, while being very hard to track and shoot down by AAA or SAMs.
With the motorcycles being electric, they would be very silent, they could sneak very close to their targets, and also the rider motorcycle combination wouldn’t give more heat then the rider.
Molecular batteries with high capacity already exist they just have to be made in sufficient quantities to lower they price. A module the size of ones finger costs about 2000$ but forty such modules with a smaller volume then a small motorcycle gas-tank can give an record setting prepared motorcycle 400 km autonomy at 300km/h (saw an documentary a while back 😀 ). Recharge options for moto-dragoons could be quick battery changes if time is not available or maybe wind/solar/portable hydro-turbine charging while the dragoons sleep.
What do you think? Could such an asymmetric force give “tank heavy armies” fits?
You could also use bicycles. Maybe not as much autonomy, but even lighter, and easier to maintain. Of course, using both would be the best.
The idea is to carry as much missiles per man as possible. With bicycles you are still limited to human power, and human carrying ability. Also there is the speed problem. The best road bicyclers get up to maybe 60 km/h downhill, 100km on flat road with a streamlined reclining bike, off road I don’t think a bike can do more then 20 km/h. The idea with the moto-dragoons is to outmaneuver and out-speed tanks over all terrain types so one can choose where to ambush them and set the tempo of operations and keep initiative. With bicycles I don’t think you can do more then react.
On the other hand the electric motorcycles I have in mind aren’t a whole of a lot more heavy then bicycles. The main weight of a motorcycle comes from the engine and gas tank. Two hub electric motors would weigh a few kg and offer the same power and torque as a 1000cc engine weighing close to 100kg, not to mention that there wouldn’t be any chain transmission and it would have all wheel drive. And also the molecular batteries that I was talking about would weigh less then the 30 kg of a tank with the gas inside it. So I think one could obtain an electric all-road all-wheel drive motorcycle weighing about 50kg, with an autonomy of about 300-400kms and performance similar to the best 200kg adventure bikes.
Yes, that sounds OK. Though I don’t think it can completely replace bycicles.
I think the thing against motorcyles in peacetime is the incredible casualty rate, Going cross country where there could be rabbit holes and whatnot is pretty dangerous. Saying that people don’t join the Army for a safe life.
Electric really would be an option, I’m less than convinced about armoured vehicles with electric engines but yeah it would work on a motorbike.
“Small pigeon sized drones could be used to give the dragoons “over the next hill ridge” type recon capabilities”
Already exists, desert hawk or something, which fits nicely in a backpack. Also electric. Would be the only genuinely air transportable vehicles that would be worth bothering with. Have them pack a few LAWs or a light mortar and would be a fantastic recon asset.
I think that a mixed force might be good. Bicycles are not hard to maintain at all and you could have both – it’s not like bicycles are expensive (even cheaper for an army buying them by the thousands or more). Even high end light weight bicycles have been getting better (advancements in the civilian world).
“Even high end light weight bicycles have been getting better (advancements in the civilian world).”
Aye, but I’m not sure you’d want them. Many of these – particularly race bicycles – have composite frame, which is sturdy but will either stay in shape or snap, and it is expensive as hell. Mountain bicycles are better off with metal framework, which is heavier but will bend and twist before breaking.
“Aye, but I’m not sure you’d want them. Many of these – particularly race bicycles – have composite frame, which is sturdy but will either stay in shape or snap, and it is expensive as hell. Mountain bicycles are better off with metal framework, which is heavier but will bend and twist before breaking.”
You really don’t want those: high-end downhill mountain bikes have to be sturdy and light weight, thus they are made of carbon fiber and other high end composites and a 8 kg bike winds up costing around 60000$. For those money you could build a electric motorcycle like I just described much more sturdy, fast and comfortable.
You’d want mountain bikes with wide tires.
Electric motor cycle would be a bit heavier and it will still need to have the batteries recharged so that would add to the maintenance and logistics load.
There are bikes on the market with tires as wide as 13cm.
Here’s an example:
Just read the article ” Death on the battlefield” , Eastridge et al, Acute care, 2012, where it is shown that the main cause for “non survivable” battle casualities since 2001 is gunshot wounds etc (so no “big” bombs etc). Most of it happens in foot patrols. Furthermore, according to the authors more emphasis, in order to bring the numbers down, should be put on prevention. If one can agree, that the probability of getting wounded lies in gunshotwounds and explosions it would serve a purpose to “protect” the valuable footsoldier as long and as good as possible. A strategic or even tactical advantage is not found in having guys drive on bicycles or quads with an rpg on their back. Also: a strategic or tactical consideration is not found is logistical aspects ( there will be not enough diesel! ), because the ultimate goal being keeping as long as possible men in the fight is far more important. This means that there still is a need for APC’s or IFV’s. Keeping the men protected as long as possible, whilst not hampering military objectives, still is a very important goal, when the war is to be won. It is a bit like the tactics the US army developed in the last year of ww2: they demanded a white flag to be shown by the citizens of the towns they were to liberate. If no flag was shown they called in the artillery, who shot the town to pieces. Of course such a tactic is not accepted nowadays, but it shows the most important concern, which is keeping men out of harms way. I am sure that technically speaking an improvement- mini drones, extremely accurate fire, prevention of collateral damage and battlefield intel– can work, before ,as is the case now, men are “sent in”.
“Just read the article ” Death on the battlefield” , Eastridge et al, Acute care, 2012, where it is shown that the main cause for “non survivable” battle casualities since 2001”
So that is Irak and Afganistan. Which are not conventional wars, but more like occupation actions. What I was describing with motorcycles is to be used in a conventional war to neutralize an opponents tank advantage with minimal cost in money and life. It’s something to be used with elite forces in lighting raids. I was not suggesting for occupation actions.
But you do bring in an interesting point that has been debate on the site. The tendency of military to go for multirole platform, to cram as many capabilities into a platform with disastrous results see Bradley and Abrams. Thus they wind up buying overweight gas guzzlers, to be used in cross-country open field scenarios and justify the expense with the need for increased protection to be used in urban warfare and occupation duty. What they should be doing instead is to buy two platforms: a fast, light weight, heavily armed speedster to be used cross-country, and a heavy-weight, slow, economical, heavily armed and armored mobile fortress to be used for urban warfare.
What am I saying is that ground troops should be more specialized: motorized cavalry for use in open field battles, and heavily armored siege troops and engineers to be used in urban warfare. In fact the same specialization Picard is suggesting for aircraft.
I think Russians are preparing to do this, in fact an evolution of their organization since WWII. They have 3 platforms, the Armata with tank, APC, IFV and artillery variants to be used by line breaker and urban warfare units, the Kurganests a 30 ton medium weight tracked platform with IFV, APC, light tank (tank destroyer) and mortar carrier variants to be used by cavalry units and open field warfare units , and the Boomerang wheeled platform with again IFV, APC, tank destroyer, motar carrier variants to be used by second line units and occupation units .
“A strategic or even tactical advantage is not found in having guys drive on bicycles or quads with an rpg on their back.”
Actually, there is. First one is mobility, as even tracked APCs are far more limited in terms of mobility than bicycles. They can’t go through forrests, or mountain tracks or similar mobility-limited areas. When APC can’t traverse the terrain, you have to leave it and travel on foot. When a bicycle can’t traverse the terrain, you can carry it (it would be problematic, though, I remember my BMX being quite heavy, mostly thanks to its steel frame). Bicycle is far faster and more energy-efficient than walking, and so bicycle-equipped troops will have mobility advantage over ones on foot. Second one is surprise – you can hear APC/IFV/tank coming from huge distance while bicycle is quiet. It is also far smaller, and you can easily hide it in bush when preparing an ambush. Third one is logistics, since troops on bicycles can live off land and/or a small amount of airdropped supplies, whereas armored units require massive logistics trail (less so if they have multifuel diesel engines, but still…).
Of course, armored vehicles have advantage in survivability and firepower. But there are situations where you simply can’t use them, and in any case, you will never have enough to equip your entire military. So question is not a soldier in APC vs a soldier on a bicycle. Question is a soldier on foot vs a soldier on a bicycle, and I’d say that latter has an advantage in many situations.
“Also: a strategic or tactical consideration is not found is logistical aspects ( there will be not enough diesel! ), because the ultimate goal being keeping as long as possible men in the fight is far more important.”
An APC without a diesel is a bunker, except it is extremely exposed and thin-skinned. And being able to fight doesn’t do much good if you can’t get to the fight in the first place.
“This means that there still is a need for APC’s or IFV’s. ”
You are misunderstanding. I never proposed abandoning APCs. What I am pointing out is that one should not focus on higher-end systems (APC) to an extent that he ignores a lower-end system (bycicle).
The conventional war, a better description is “industrial” war, is, at least according to General Sir Rupert Smith (former commanding officer of the UK Armoured Division in the Gulf war, commanding officer of UN forces in Bosnia and Deptuty Supreme Commander in Nato) a thing of the past. In his book “The utility of force, the art of war in the modern world”, he describes the “assymetrical war” we see in the majority of conflicts since WW2. A main focus in these conflicts is on air dominance. It “pays” to invest a lot in order to be “the boss in the skies”. This proves my point: the enemy who will have to hide in the population will try to make it as costly for us as possible through the use of IED’s for instance. Which makes investing in the protection of the boots on the ground even more important. Even Daesh is winning its battles (at least it is not losing because of the air weapon) through the use of suicide bombing for example (it is also clear that “stand off CAS” is not working, by the way). Therefore: the main focus will still have to be on protection (and adequate CAS). Of course if one expects WW3 on the plains of Germany the necessities change, but even then in both cases, when the ultimate advantage of the enemy is that it can “afford”, in a political sense, more casualities, our main effort is to protect the “grunts”.
“A main focus in these conflicts is on air dominance. It “pays” to invest a lot in order to be “the boss in the skies”.”
Assuming that either you or your enemy will actually use air force for supporting troops as opposed to strategic bombing, it definetly does. Air superiority / dominance is “enabler”, by itself it is “disconnected” from situation on the ground, but it “enables” other missions that can influence, or shape, situation on the ground – such as strategic and tactical air lift, battlefield interdiction, close air support etc.
“This proves my point: the enemy who will have to hide in the population will try to make it as costly for us as possible through the use of IED’s for instance. Which makes investing in the protection of the boots on the ground even more important.”
True. But best way to minimize casualties is to either not go to the war, or make sure that war lasts as little as possible. Which means that you have to deny shelters to insurgents, and in that, added mobility of a bicycle pays a lot. There are places where armored vehicles simply can’t go.
“The conventional war, a better description is “industrial” war, is, at least according to General Sir Rupert Smith (former commanding officer of the UK Armoured Division in the Gulf war, commanding officer of UN forces in Bosnia and Deptuty Supreme Commander in Nato) a thing of the past.”
That is Sir Rupert’s Smith definition, and is a somewhat limited and confusing definition. With I think of when I think of conventional war is war between “state actors” and that is not a thing of the past. A very recent example is the war between Georgia and Rusia. It has not been an industrial war because the industry of either country didn’t play any role in it. It was however a conventional war. On the other hand the war between Israel and the various Islamist militias like Hamas surrounding it is very much an industrial war. The Islamist militias have a quite developed underground industry building artillery rockets and various munitions and Israel is spending billions developing C-RAM measures. On the other hand this war has nothing conventional about it.
A good description of what this kind a war entails is given in “Assymetrical warfare”, Jonathan B. Tucker. Most of the conflicts nowadays are assymetrical and/or irregular. The war in the Ukrain is by both parties for a big part “by proxy” and done by “irregulars”, which shows that the use of terms can indeed be confusing…
” In his book “The utility of force, the art of war in the modern world”, he describes the “assymetrical war” we see in the majority of conflicts since WW2. A main focus in these conflicts is on air dominance”
I’d disagree with his definition, though you can call it whatever you like.
I do like the term asymmetric warfare, supposedly used to indicate that one player is more powerful than the other and should therefore win. The excuses for constant and repetitive losses in such conflicts become so long and tortuous as to be amusing.
To me the usage of the term actually indicates a complete lack of comprehension as to the aims of terror attacks. Suicide bombings and whatnot are not explicitly designed to spread fear and terror, they are to provoke an overwhelming and disproportionate response from the opponent, therefore showing up the injustice in the system of government.
The simple fact almost always missed is that due to the huge tail needed for heavily armed and sophisticated forces the actual teeth arms are always massively heavy on firepower but also massively outnumbered. Every man with an AK hidden in his attic with two magazines is actually far more efficient than heavy armoured forces. Calling in a Strike Eagle to precision bomb a Toyota hilux is just such a disproportionate use of force.
Main problem is that people in the West, especially generals, forget the main aim of use of the force. Clausewitz wrote that war is continuation of peacetime politics by other means. When you are fighting a war, you are fighting to accomplish a certain political goal. In such a situation, it is entirely logical to accept a military disadvantage (or a perceived disadvantage) if it helps accomplish the goal of the war.
But today in the West, generals, and even politicians I fear, think of a war in terms of “target processing”, that is, killing as many enemies as possible. They can’t wrap their miniature brains around the fact that you can kill more men than you loose and still loose the war, even if forces are of roughly equal size. Hell, you can completely destroy enemy military and still loose the war.
Again asymmetrical warfare is a deceptive term. The use of electric motorcycles for tank-hunting like I am suggesting with the moto-dragoons is a form off asymmetrical warfare, but like you have observed it’s unsuitable for war against non-state actors and more suited for war between nation states. On the other hand the could be used in proxy wars too. For example in Ukraine the Russian backed “irregulars” use a lot of armored vehicles, the Ukrainians if they would be thinking creatively and pro-active instead of reactive could very much organize special forces to use motorcycles to attack Russian backed irregular armored columns., and would thus neutralize the main advantage the Russian backed irregular have over the Ukrainian army, better vehicles.
“but like you have observed it’s unsuitable for war against non-state actors and more suited for war between nation states. ”
I’m not entirely sure I agree that bikes would be unsuitable. Would take some balls but the speed of reaction would be magnificent and it fits in with the ethos of young gun toting hotheads in most parts of the world. Rather than having 11 eyes in a tin can ( or 33 blokes in at least 3 tin cans) of whom two are looking forward and one elsewhere those same blokes would I think be much more effective, especially on quiet electric bikes. Even on roads I doubt mines would be particularly effective, command line would be extremely difficult to judge given the difficulty of ascertaining speed. Vulnerable to machinegun fire of course, but arguably less so that the same blokes on foot who are increasingly knackered from lugging kit around in desert climes.
Most important thing though is the mobility, Get lit up in flat featureless terrain and you’d have a squad around the back of them in minutes. Even in hilly or mountanous they’d still have a massive advantage in speed. Wouldn’t have to stick to roads and noone is going to post a video of blowing up a motorbike, it is almost the opposite of what asymetric warfare is about.
I have a suspicion it would actually be safer. Design them to form a reasonable barrier when prone and you almost have the equivalent of using your horse for cover. It is surprisingly difficult to hit a moving target at range.
If anyone tried it I doubt they’d be short of volunteers, lets put it that way.
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“I’m not entirely sure I agree that bikes would be unsuitable. Would take some balls but the speed of reaction would be magnificent and it fits in with the ethos of young gun toting hotheads in most parts of the world. Rather than having 11 eyes in a tin can ( or 33 blokes in at least 3 tin cans) of whom two are looking forward and one elsewhere those same blokes would I think be much more effective, especially on quiet electric bikes. Even on roads I doubt mines would be particularly effective, command line would be extremely difficult to judge given the difficulty of ascertaining speed. Vulnerable to machinegun fire of course, but arguably less so that the same blokes on foot who are increasingly knackered from lugging kit around in desert climes.”
I got caught in the same trap set by depiction of the War in Irak and started taking of conflicts with non state actors as highly urbanized ones. I forgot that Afghanistan and Mali for example where mostly rural conflicts, and in this kind of environment the moto-dragoons would be perfect. That’s how the French resolved the conflict in Mali so fast compared with the American debacle in Afghanistan. The French in Mali gave up highly armoured MRAPs and patrols in force and large base presences, for patrolling in fast long range vehicles, staying in the field for long periods of time and building a rapport with the native population and supporting the local African forces instead of replacing them like the Americans did with the Afghans.
“If anyone tried it I doubt they’d be short of volunteers, lets put it that way.”
Hell no. And it might be good training for prospective combat officers: it builds initiative, aggressiveness and also through Darwinian evolution it selects against those that cannot temper those two traits, because somebody to aggressive and with to much initiative to listen to the orders and recommendations from those with more rank and/or experience then them, would probably not survive training let alone combat.
If you put patrols out, and they get shot up, I wouldn’t really consider doing the same route with a vehicle to be the answer. If the overall aim is to stay there as long as possible with the minimum casualties then yes, politically minimizing every risk makes sense.
If you are looking to win then you actually want your infantry trading rounds, on an unequal basis of course. That is one of the aims of patrolling… Doing the same patrol with a vehicle ( actually at least three) in tow might deter the attack, in which case you learn nothing. More likely doing the same patrol actually in a vehicle is utterly pointless. They aren’t going to attack unless they think they can take a vehicle out.
Ladening your infantry with so much kit that they are semi mobile in a country with little natural cover from fire, in order to minimise casualties, is another example. I’m not saying that many would have swapped their body armour out given the option but it did deny the possibility of pursuit, which given the ROEs in place made it a bit bloody futile. Frankly though, whenever rounds were traded the odds were ten to one in our favour.
“Also: a strategic or tactical consideration is not found is logistical aspects ( there will be not enough diesel! ), because the ultimate goal being keeping as long as possible men in the fight is far more important.”
Logistics are fundamental and key to both the tactical and strategic aims. For instance the proposals for part electric drive vehicles are not down to concern for the environment or even stealth so much as the harsh logistical reality that in order to keep vehicles with low mpg in the field takes dozens of men behind the scenes and in the supply chain. Only a small part of the Army actually engages in combat, the most efficient armies can put a higher percentage of their men in the bayonet positions whilst keeping them adequately supplied. The least efficient can neither supply their men nor protect those who do supply them. Supermen on the front lines without rounds in their magazines will lose. Brilliant Generals without gas cannot maneuver. In a conventional war the plans made boil down to mere wishful thinking unless the supplies can be brought forward and stockpiled. In an unconventional war too, the idea of being in the middle of Afghanistan whilst your supply and casevac choppers get taken out does not bear thinking about.
If unconventional war really is about hearts and minds ( not convinced) then putting tanks ( anything with a turret) on the streets pisses the locals off. Don’t forget that the civilians and police, who are more likely to be in a Ford Ranger than an MRAP, run risks too and are probably getting blown up daily. They are more likely to root for the guy using a peashooter against a battleship. Terror attacks do not succeed by blowing a wheel off a multi million pound vehicle. Why use 1000lbs of hard to get HE for such a task when the same quantity could take out 50 police patrols or wedding parties? At some point, when you sign on the dotted line, your job is to protect civilians somewhere or other, riding around in MRAPs does not accomplish that in my opinion. Getting stoned in a police compound by the children of the policemen rather reinforced the point that occupation is not an easy sell.
“You write APC but are describing IFV. Bradley was the first (?) IFV, and… just watch Pentagon Wars.”
Arguably the first IFV ( though from way before the term was coined) was the Landing Vehicle Tracked from WW2. Originally just for cargo they used them operationally to storm beaches, found they were slaughtered, so added armour, turrets etc. Honourable mention for the German half tracks too as one in three carried an antitank gun.
First modern IFV would probably be the BMP-1 (or maybe the HS20, which was crap) which caused many heart attacks during the cold war. Would be interesting to see statistics on whether an IFV is a safer place or more effective place to be for infantry, I doubt it. The original german doctrine was to have a small force ( usually company sized) riding in half tracks alongside the tanks. Targets of opportunity could therefore be hit with combined arms, which is an important point.
Your recce will decide whether sending tanks in first, infantry in first, or a combination. The idea behind the APC was to protect the infantry from artillery and machine gun fire. This is a fine concept in high intensity warfare. The problem is that since used effectively, in small numbers, by the Wehrmacht the effective range of infantry small arms has stayed about the same. The effective range range of artillery has increased little. The effective range of ATGMs however has doubled and doubled again. Hence the threat the APC was designed to defeat, is no longer the primary threat, if you are using APCs. If you are up against ATGMs you aren’t going to take them out with direct fire, unless they are very stupid.
In fact, for the western european scenario, the true buttfucker for the concept itself was that the secondary threat was chemical weapons. If your APCs are going to ride along with, keep up with and compliment the tanks, then the infantry inside have to be protected against the same threats. This meant NBC protection, more armour and a hell of a lot more cost. Instead of relatively simple and cheap vehicles they rather quickly became sealed boxes with all of the inherent problems of the tank with added dimensional problems- the same problems the original half tracks and whatnot were designed to overcome, excellent visibility being primary. So now your company of infantry riding along with the tanks is effectively costing you at least half a company of tanks. 🙂 This for a very small number of otherwise stealthy infantry.
At this point too, which is still in the 60’s and 70s, the mission for the IFV became to suppress and avoid infantry, rather than to potentially charge into positions ( blissfully ignoring machinegun fire) as had originally been envisaged, and help out against potential swarms of opposition tanks. Their unit cost became such that you either ordered them in quantity as a standard piece of infantry equipment or didn’t bother at all.
So yes, you are correct in that there is a definitional difference between APCs and IFVs. To me though an IFV is just a badly designed APC with it’s priorities all arse backward. Basically if it mounts an autocannon with DS ammunition it might be called an IFV, but it most certainly is not one. To be fair I even disagree with the term APC. By labelling it a personel carrier it rather excludes the history and utility of such vehicles in a resupply role. Armoured carrier, excellent idea. Specially designed Armoured goldfish / paperclip / bathtub / beret carrier, not so much so.
“Agree with the container battle box idea though. They might have to be a bit more heavily armored and it might be a good idea to get a spall liner though.”
I’m sure someone could take the non existent ballistic protection of an ISO container and add NBC, compound reactive armour, turrets, the entire sensor suite from an SSN and a shower if you paid them enough money.There is little point though, other than maybe a semi-armoured infantry box ( splinter and MG protection). Thin armour is actually an advantage against heat warheads for instance. The idea would be more along the lines of an air defence ISO, either short range cannon or SAMS. Stick it on a container ship and instant-ish CIWS. Stick it on a truck and convoy protection. Stick it in a 5 foot deep hole with berms around the side and static AAA. Same with an infantry box, stick it on an amphibian truck and you have a makeshift riverine patrol craft ( what do you mean we don’t have any?). This wouldn’t be an IFV, the grunts would be walking the last couple of miles, as they would anyway with IFVs incidentally. Rinse repeat for mortar, artillery etc. Yes armoured carriers would have their uses but for all other scenarios they are still basically a truck. SP arty? Only takes a moment to hoik an ISO onto a trapeze fitted truck.
Want more protection ( there could be a case for a very small number of protected ammo or fuel containers), get a shovel and dig it in.
Course you might find a crane equipped truck which could sling these things about might be useful… Onto railway cars for instance or barges / lighters.
I wonder what else you could use such a crane for? 🙂
I’d agree that for real COIN, the heavy APCs are not the solution.
That and I agree ladening infantry with too much is not good. Can’t recall where I found the links but there are very real declines in fighting efficiency after a certain load.
The issue is that the troops are going to have to integrate into society, live near the people, and eat the food that the locals eat (that also builds relationships and by extension, information). In other words, they need to earn the trust of the local population. If anything, it has more in common with a disaster relief operation than a war in a sense, although the danger is very real still. IEDs will go away I think when the population trusts the military force enough for them to not make IEDs. In the short run though, it will mean casualties.
The logistics are always going to be the weak point and yes, heavy armor force means lower fighting to logistics ratio, which is another weak point.
“The issue is that the troops are going to have to integrate into society, live near the people, and eat the food that the locals eat (that also builds relationships and by extension, information). In other words, they need to earn the trust of the local population. If anything, it has more in common with a disaster relief operation than a war in a sense, although the danger is very real still. IEDs will go away I think when the population trusts the military force enough for them to not make IEDs. In the short run though, it will mean casualties.”
Nail hit on head.
The current, woefully unsuccessful model, is to build massive bases in the middle of nowhere, preferably with a runway bigger than your own international airport, then smaller but still large compounds close to civilian centres. Troops only go in or out either heavily armed, treat every civilian as a threat or in huge armoured vehicles. Meanwhile 90% of the force sits behind guarded walls. So your 100,000 troops in theatre is actually 10,000 going out on patrol occasionally. I doubt the ratio was that high. Didn’t meet that many people who had been outside the wire.
Imagine living next to that? We are here to help you, we’ve spent $100 million constructing this shit tip and many billions on the main one – here’s $100 now be a good chap and tell me where your brother is hiding.
The only people who see the locals ( other than the local workers needed to keep such bases going, and who therefore see colossal infrastructure which is likely 10 times better than their own) are… Ta da.. The infantry.
Now if you were going to get Lockheed Martin to come up with the most expensive possible way to piss the locals off in the shortest possible time, they would probably design the Infantry for you. Getting pissed and upsetting people is their modus operandi. Nice people they rarely are, unless they are eyeing your daughter up. The Infantry are snarling dogs of war waiting for the leash to be unslipped. The face the locals needs to see is the Labradors, the ordinary men and women who just wanted a career, educational qualifications a disadvantage.. Not the bloody hoccifers either, I’m sure they have enough of their own people capable of condescending to them or speaking their language badly. Frankly you are more likely to win such encounters on the end of a pork sword than a bayonet. Long haired translators are the key to hearts and minds me thinks, though clearly there are cultural issues around places that are really, really frighteningly good at beating invaders.
“The logistics are always going to be the weak point and yes, heavy armor force means lower fighting to logistics ratio, which is another weak point.”
It is also a backhanded compliment to the courage and tenacity of the bloke with an AK in his attic. Look at us, the greater of the two asymetric forces. Won’t be coming out to play without $20 million dollars worth or kit though. Abdul meanwhile gets a heroes reception for firing a magazine off from maximum range and tying an armoured column down for 8 hours as they try to figure out whether he is still there.
Think of the fawning admiration for the Mujaheddin who took the Soviets on at their own game. Brave men protecting their families with nothing but a WW2 Lee Enfield firing blindly at heavily armed Russian attack helicopters who are about to strafe a refugeee camp from altitude..
Same people, different spin on the propaganda…
Charlie Wilson’s war, Rambo 3, lord knows how many documentaries from news channels exposing the genocidal tendencies of the evil empire as they set about a bunch of goat herders with space age technology.
We just got our arses handed to us by them too.
In many ways, the Islamic Jihad organizations have managed to use the very strengths of Western conventional militaries as weak points. They in a sense got in the West’s decision cycle.
Despite the vast disparity in resources, they’ve managed some impressive resistance – and in terms of monetary gains have managed to bleed the West.
More troublingly, they seem to have understood and accepted Boyd’s theories better than any Western military. Moral > physical, and they are managing to alienate West from indigenous Arab populaces.
I have always found it interesting that the Arabic nation state-armies don’t fare so well, while the unconventional armies do very well.
In the case of the Western armies, I think that it is a matter of willful ignorance. They do not want to see the truth, because they fear the implications of what it would mean – especially in the case of favored weapons systems and the like.
“I have always found it interesting that the Arabic nation state-armies don’t fare so well, while the unconventional armies do very well. ”
I believe that issue is simply one of motivation. ISIL fighters aren’t that well trained; neither is Iraqi military. But being religiously motivated, ISIL will fight often to the death and will do their best to defend themselves, while Iraqi troops are prone to running away as soon as they hear some noise.
You have materials linked in here:
Major reason is that Arab countries are actually a legacy of European colonial occupation, drawn on a map with a ruler, with no regard to ethnic composition… or anything, really. So Arabs don’t have any reason to feel loyalty to their country.
“In the case of the Western armies, I think that it is a matter of willful ignorance. They do not want to see the truth, because they fear the implications of what it would mean – especially in the case of favored weapons systems and the like.”
Precisely. I’d say that best NATO tanks are Leclerc and M-95, because they are designed for mobile operations. M-1 Abrams and Challenger II are primarily defensive tanks, akin to German Tiger. Similarly, the best Western fighter is Gripen, but militaries want large budgets and shiny toys, and are so buying the F-35.
“I have always found it interesting that the Arabic nation state-armies don’t fare so well, while the unconventional armies do very well.”
They aren’t really armies in the way we’d understand them. The Muslim world is essentially one theorcracy, the nation states are imposed upon them ( no lines in the desert) and the military are more used to impose and assert the authority of the ruler than to provide security from external sources.
The Saudis are a good example. Basically if the Army gets a tank, the Imperial Guard gets an anti-tank weapon. Still the Saudis are more stable than most.
No Muslim army has defeated a western one in battle since Saladin’s day,maybe a Pyrrhic victory against the Serbs.
I’m not so sure their unconventional armies do particularly well either. Political goals are merely centred around stability rather than outright defeat and the blood price they pay is huge. Time after time we take out their armies, only to see the country descend into chaos afterwards. Me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against any outsider still rings very true.
Political leaders vie with each other to be seen as an Arab leader rather than merely a national one, which generally involves being mean about the United States. Whoever is meanest and uses the harshest language wins, until the bombers turn up. The only success I can think of was Bin Laden’s. His complaint was centred around the stationing of American troops in Saudi, which they fairly promptly withdrew.
“Despite the vast disparity in resources, they’ve managed some impressive resistance – and in terms of monetary gains have managed to bleed the West.”
As the neocons put it, chump change. The reason revolves around the world financial system, oil out of the ground ( the more expensive the better) is effectively new money. It allows the US to borrow at practically no interest so the cost of protecting the resources through exports of military kit and providing guarantees of military assistance is effectively negligible. The blood price is another matter. Times are a changing but that’s the way it’s been since the 50s.
Interestingly once the mercenaries took over in Iraq the government were quite happy to allow them to kill civilians with impunity. Literally licenced to kill. The only restriction was that all weapons had to be under 50 cal, which was enforced vigorously.
“No Muslim army has defeated a western one in battle since Saladin’s day,maybe a Pyrrhic victory against the Serbs. ”
400 years of Otoman domination over eastern Europe would beg to differ. As for the victory against the Serbs I don’t know what history you read but it was anything but Pyrrhic on the contrary it earned the young Sultan barely one day into his reign the nickname Bayazid which means lighting. That’s how the Serbs felt, like being hit by lightning.
As for no victories of Muslim armies of Western ones let’s see: Nicopolis ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nicopolis ), Fall of Constantinople ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Constantinople ), Varna which ended Ioan Corvin’s successful until that battle Crusade of Varna ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Varna ), Mohacs ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Moh%C3%A1cs ), Rhodes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Rhodes_%281522%29).
Practically until the 17th Century the only time the Ottomans lost decisively was when they were overextending they’re lines: Lepanto ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lepanto ) , Malta ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Siege_of_Malta ), Vienna twice ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Vienna https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vienna ), or when fighting Romanian rulers such as Stephen the Great in Moldavia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vaslui ), Mircea the Elder and his grandson Vlad the Impaler (yes Dracula) in Wallachia ( no he was not ruler of Transylania ) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Rovine , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Attack ) and Ioan Corvin, known more by Hungarian version of his name John Hunyadi who was actually ruling Transylvania around Draculas days. Why I call the victories the Romanians (in Wallachia and Moldavia mostly) had over the Ottomans decisive? Because the Ottoman armies always numbered well above 40000 troops some times close to 100000 while the Romanians had at most (battle of Vaslui) 40000 troops (mostly irregulars, poorly armed peasants ) but usually around 10000 to 15000 troops. Usually the Ottomans had at least 1 to 3 numerical advantage and yet lost, mostly because of Asymmetrical warfare tactic used by Romanians. 😀
“Practically until the 17th Century the only time the Ottomans lost decisively was when they were overextending they’re lines”
Yes and no. They tended to lose smaller battles – Croatian army could easily go from one end of Bosnia to another – and Matthias Corvinus gave them beating after beating, liberating most of the Bosnia in short order. He was kinda an exception, though. Most of the time, however, Ottomans’ superior command and control and logistical capability allowed them to field and control far larger armies than their Christian enemies, and even when that wasn’t the case, they tended to have superior leadership. All battles that John Hunyadi lost were lost not because Ottomans were superior in any way, but because Hunyadi’s subordinates ignored his orders.
“All battles that John Hunyadi lost were lost not because Ottomans were superior in any way, but because Hunyadi’s subordinates ignored his orders.”
Same as Nicopolis where WESTERN knights, refused Sigismund’s Order to hold back and let Mircea the Elder, which had experience against the Ottomans having defeated them a year earlier at Rovine, attack first and thus conduct a Reconnaissance in Force of the Ottoman defenses. So the WESTERN knights charged first in search of glory and the outcome was so predictable that Mircea the Elder choose to simply retreat without engaging the Ottomans at all to conserve his forces for the future confrontations which he knew where to come: the WESTERN knights got tangled in the trench-works prepared by the Ottomans and where massacred by expandable irregular infantry recruited by Bayazid from newly conquered lands and thus unreliable. The sipahii then charged and broke what remained of the WESTERN knights and went on to take crusader camp, Sigismund barely escaped with his life. No glory was to be found that day, but ignominious capture and/or death .
Indeed. Same thing happened later at Battle of Mohac.
If you want to see a funny joke, look at this.
Click to access MICHEL_III_55.pdf
(The red bird is the F-16 program, and the Critics are the Military Reformers)
“The Critics were outmaneuvered by the Air Force, which presented enough serious, carefully crafted detailed arguments to Congress that they carried the day. ”
“The reason the Air Force ignored Red Bird was that the service saw it as a small, simple fighter with short range and limited load-carrying capability, and the Air Force had previous bad experiences with such aircraft. Range was the major issue. Small fighters carried a small amount of fuel, so they had limited endurance. This meant their patrol time was limited and they were not able to escort long-range bombers. Additionally, small aircraft had to keep their weight down so they could only carry limited armament, radar, electronic countermeasures, and other systems the Air Force deemed necessary for modern air combat, especially based on their experiences over North Vietnam. The Air Force had looked at two small fighters, the F-104 in the 1950s and the Northrop F-5 in the 1960s, but combat tests in Vietnam confirmed that both the F-104 and the F-5 had too short a range and too light a payload to be useful.”
I’ll take a look at the document later, assuming I can access it… but Air Forces arguments are bullshit. And this: “presented enough serious, carefully crafted detailed arguments to Congress that they carried the day. ” must be sarcasm.
BTW, F-16A had combat radius of 925 km with air-to-air load and full internal fuel, which is exactly the same as Rafale (I’m not kidding, Rafale also has combat radius of 925 km on internal fuel). YF-16 had even better combat radius, IIRC, in fact it was larger than the F-15As.
He doesn’t like the fighter mafia much…
Not what I’d expect of a doctorate level in Philosophy, that’s for sure. I’d like to think that my rants have greater academic integrity, at least when my crack pipe is empty!
What is his background?
Almost everything he describes seems to vindicate the fighter mafia, small lightweight fighters running rings around their heavier more complex counterparts ( especially in the aggressor and top gun contexts) yet their ideas and values, though reflected in the demands of younger air force pilots, are treated with derision and scorn. The aggressors using Soviet tactics, specifically giving the Air Froce pilots the chance to paint them on radar, yet scoring 80% of their kills unseen, is particularly telling. Saying that I’ve read different takes on the aggressor’s effectiveness in the 70s, usually along the lines of not embarrassing the unit’s commander.
I’m guessing most of those who participate on Picard’s site are fans of the mafia, so it’s not easy to be objective or know what to make of the document. Well footnoted but the salient points are almost always speculative or based upon perceived qualities and even gossip. Even reductio ad absurdum in places. Boyd thought that range was pointless in an aircraft did he?
At times it reads more like a script for a soap opera.
I know nothing about the author, I just found the report in the Wikipedia references on the John Boyd page.
The person who originally updated the page to include this report and some info within stated their reason for editing was: “updated with new reference, removed biased account.”
About Boyd thinking range was pointless – I highly doubt it. According to his biography (by Coram) he placed the fuel fraction of his lightweight fighter in high regard.
About fuel fraction of the F-16; straight from the book.
“but the salient points are almost always speculative or based upon perceived qualities and even gossip.”
“Boyd thought that range was pointless in an aircraft did he?”
Not exactly. However, he placed more emphasis on combat endurance.
Mission requirements of the F-16 included use of external fuel tanks in order to cut on size and weight. It still had higher combat radius on internal fuel than F-15A.
You have an interview with Harry Hillaker linked to somewhere in “links” section, I suggest you read it.
“While the Critics, notably Sprey, considered long range a useless requirement, range was a key issue for the Air Force, ”
Quote from that thesis… The Critics, defined explicitly as unhelpful marginalised people, being the fighter mafia. According to him the Critics had little to do with the LWF, with lots of mental gymnastics to disassociate them from it. According to him it was a career politician and ex sailor who insisted that the design for the LWF should have long range. Which is basically amusing gibberish.
“You have an interview with Harry Hillaker linked to somewhere in “links” section, I suggest you read it.”
As I said in my original post, his stance is absurd.
“As I said in my original post, his stance is absurd.”
Indeed it is, I just thought it would be an interesting reading.
There is very little realistic testing as you’ve noted – tests are highly scripted. They want to show a weapon in a certain light.
The Leclerc and M-95 I note are both somewhat lighter in mass (although the Leclerc is approaching 60 tons), so I guess they’d be more mobile.
And yes, motivation must be the big one. Saddam’s fighters no doubt were poorly motivated and had very little warfare training. Another issue seems to be organization culture.
“The Leclerc and M-95 I note are both somewhat lighter in mass (although the Leclerc is approaching 60 tons), so I guess they’d be more mobile.”
That’s why I like them. Tanks are supposed to be used in mobile warfare, not as bunkers or battering rams.
“And yes, motivation must be the big one. Saddam’s fighters no doubt were poorly motivated and had very little warfare training.”
In some cases they surrendered to journalists…
The regular conscripts yes. Large part of them were not even Sunni.
The Republican Guard was all (or mostly) highly loyal to Saddam and mostly from his ethnic tribe/group. They had good living and high status in Iraq and they were going to fight for that like most in that position.
True. But even the Guard was ineffective in anything but supressing rebellions, largerly due to excessive centralization. At least they didn’t fall apart ASAP, though.
They were simply overwelmed by a fast moving force with deadly firepower. If they had benefits of good recon and better weapons that could actually take out Abrahms they might have done well. The T-72’s they were using were older models and were just greatly inferior. They had no good ATGM either.
But, I think from what I have read that they did try to fight and were willing to die.
In any warfare If your troops are not willing to risk their lives to acheive objective no matter what other advantages they have they will fail.
Training helps and professionalism is important but at end of day either by Spirit de Corp, peer pressure, religion, nationalism, or pride troops have to be willing to fight for objective under great risk.
Best thing is when you are fighting for something you really care about.
You’re home and family behind you or some type of religious beleif. An enemy who prefers death over defeat or failure is usually going to win the fight.
Thats whats happening with Iraqi army in most places. These guys dont care about what they are being sent to fight for.
“The T-72’s they were using were older models and were just greatly inferior. ”
And were employed as static artillery positions most of the time.
“But, I think from what I have read that they did try to fight and were willing to die.”
Republician Guard, yes. Regular units, no.
“In any warfare If your troops are not willing to risk their lives to acheive objective no matter what other advantages they have they will fail.
Training helps and professionalism is important but at end of day either by Spirit de Corp, peer pressure, religion, nationalism, or pride troops have to be willing to fight for objective under great risk.”
Indeed. “Moral is to physical what three is to one.” Yet too many times discussions and analyses of wars focus on material factors to the exclusion of human factors, such as training and motivation.
Actually there is some evidence that the protection of the Leclerc may be better than the 70 ton Abrams. Layout does matter as much and apparently the French use better materials. I think that the Leclerc is more expensive, although the latest version of the M1 haa gone way up.
The M1 is much more expensive than the Leopard 2, the last I checked.
I have wondered if the decision to move to 120mm and 125mm was correct for all tanks. A lighter gun would offer more rounds to be stored.
“Actually there is some evidence that the protection of the Leclerc may be better than the 70 ton Abrams.”
Possible, though I don’t know enough to say for certain. But Leclerc has smaller profile, so it doesn’t need as much armor weight to achieve same level of protection.
“I have wondered if the decision to move to 120mm and 125mm was correct for all tanks. A lighter gun would offer more rounds to be stored.”
It would. But it would also mean lesser ability to penetrate armor of modern tanks or bunkers. In fact, I’d like two tanks:
45-65 ton main battle tank; 120-125 mm main gun; designed for breakthroughs, tank engagement and infantry support; penetrates enemy defense lines
25-45 ton light-medium tank; 75-90 mm main gun; designed for deep penetration and destruction of soft targets; exploits breakthroughts achieved by heavy tank, bypassing enemy defenses and destroying and cutting off support infrastructure, supply lines etc.
As with aircraft proposals, both designs would be used across NATO, so maintenance and economies of scale would not be an issue.
The only modern tank to take on large numbers of third generation SACLOS ATGMs is the Merkava, which fared pretty well. As the design is predominantly based around crew protection I doubt lighter models would have survived. It also faced a massive IED threat.
Could argue it is an IFV too, used both to carry, medevac and support the infantry fairly recently. Specialist anti personnel rounds from the main armament.
The return of combined arms tactics.
The thought of using ‘traditional’ IFVs in such a scenario is frightening. Would have been a bloodbath. Despite this supposedly being their reason detre.
“The only modern tank to take on large numbers of third generation SACLOS ATGMs is the Merkava, which fared pretty well.”
Actually, there was that time when Challenger II survived a Milan ATGM in addition to 14 RPG hits. In fact, Challie’s Dorchester armor was never breached by anything.
“As the design is predominantly based around crew protection I doubt lighter models would have survived. It also faced a massive IED threat.”
Merkava is actually not that good in terms of mobile warfare, but since Israel isn’t very large and is focused mostly on defense, that is not so much of a poblem.
“Could argue it is an IFV too, used both to carry, medevac and support the infantry fairly recently. Specialist anti personnel rounds from the main armament.”
Yes, but it can carry either infantry or rounds for its gun. So… you get either an MBT or a lightly-armed, heavily-armored APC. Not both.
“The thought of using ‘traditional’ IFVs in such a scenario is frightening. Would have been a bloodbath. Despite this supposedly being their reason detre.”
Depends on scenario.
So in conclusion best tank is one which can carry it’s own infantry support. I agree.
“Yes, but it can carry either infantry or rounds for its gun. So… you get either an MBT or a lightly-armed, heavily-armored APC. Not both.”
Depends on the number of infantry carried. On the blog of an Israeli infantry man ( I wound up on it by following some links from the Military Reform site ) he stated and put up pictures take by himself that the Merkava can carry up to 8 infantry. I imagine that that was without ammo. A smaller fire-team of 3 or 4 for self protection could probably be carried in addition to a decent ammo load.
I can find some evidence to support anything. Especially when I dont put the evidence up to be scrutinized.
I wish there was a way to run independant tests. Even than you can argue about which characteristics you value more. Most Frenchman will tell you Leclerc is better of course. Or vise versa for Americans or Brits.
Leclerc uses less fuel than M1 which does make it more mobile in most type of warfare. Assuming you have not used up your ammo. As far as dash speed and suspension the numbers are about equal. Depends on your bias.
M1 is more heavily armored anyway you spin it. The size difference is small. I had this argument already with Picard. Leopard II is actually biggest of major tanks in height, width, lenght calculations. Latest Leclerc does have a longer gun so its firepower is probably deadlier. Although I think M1 carries more rounds on board.
They are both good. Who is better depends on how its used and its supporting network.
I like your idea Picard. This one size fits all thing is not best idea. Unless for non-tactical reasons you have to have a swiss army knife weapon.
“This one size fits all thing is not best idea.”
Indeed. Most armies have gone for heavier designs in 45-65 ton class for protection purposes, with result that air mobility and mobility over rough terrain was significantly reduced. Plus, across large distances, tanks are typically transferred by other vehicles – ships, aircraft, trains, trucks, name it. Having a smaller tank design also helps in that regard, though in many situations heavy tanks are necessary.
The reason why the Merkava is able to do it is because of the tank design.
The engine is at the front.
+ That means that if anything breaches the front armor, it is more likely to hit the engine first rather than the crew compartment.
+ It’s can be easier to load/unload your tank
+ Fewer crew casualties if they need to abandon tank (can get out of the back of the tank rather than exposed on top)
+ Easier to convert chassis to things like heavy APC with engine in front
+ Casualties from mines and IEDs are more likely to knock out the engine and not the crew
+ Can function as it’s own APC (this is also to allow the Merkava to pick up crew of a nearby downed tank), although this comes at the expense of ammo capacity
– Distribution of mass is very heavily towards the front (versus in a standard tank with heavy armor in front, turret in middle, and rear engine)
– Rear hatch can be vulnerable (an RPG 7 once completely destroyed a Merkava hitting it)
– Maintenance to the engine can be difficult
– IR signature might be higher (Merkava for example has exhaust in the side); there may also be less room for the radiators – I think this could be solved with good layout
– Depending on the layout, the transmission can be somewhat less efficient (driving wheel is in front on Merkava)
– It is easier to mission kill the tank (engine in front) and the sides become somewhat more vulnerable (as does the rear)
I think that the optimal tank in many regards will have a good armor mass to profile surface area needed ratio.
I wonder though, front vs rear is not completely settled. I do know that Pierre Sprey once advocated for a ~45ton medium tank with a Merkava like layout and objective testing.
I like how you state advantages and disadvantages. I wish more people would do that when arguing about the benefits of certain weapons or characteristics of weapons.
As far as higher projectiles go, there are several issues:
– At 140mm, apparently to store 40 rounds, you’d need about 4m^3 of internal volume, which in turn has to be shielded (much greater risk of “cook off” which of course would be worse with the larger ammo)
– Each shell weighed about 60% more than a 120mm shell (autoloader mandatory or rate of fire would go down)
The gun would be quite a bit heavier (perhaps as much as 2 tons)
Barrel life is shorter (the reason is because the circumference of barrel goes up with the calibre as a single variable, whilst the amount of explosive is a cubic function – ex: double the calibre means 8x as much explosive, but the barrel is 2x – since it’s diameter x pi, so more pressure on barrel per shot)
One problem there is that there would need to be more equipment in the turret to allow the gun barrel to elevate/depress at the necessary angles
That in turn needs a larger mantlet (which in turn means that the frontal turret armor has to be protected) – that could lead to a big raise in the turret mass (overall perhaps as much as 10-20 tons – the range being depending on how much armor you want on the now larger turret)
The turret itself is larger and more likely to take hits
It might rotate more slowly, or need a better motor system, which makes that heavier too
That would in turn mean serious mobility problems.
First off, there’s the fact that ammo logistics become somewhat harder to supply.
The tracks and engine on such a tank would no doubt wear out sooner. That means more spare parts.
It would need more fuel as well.
Getting the tank to the location would be harder too. You are limited by your nation’s rail (wide gauge does work better here) and possibly lane width of roads (although double wide can somewhat mitigate this one).
It goes without saying that many bridges will not support this tank and navigating in urban warfare would be hard.
I would imagine that a 152/155mm tank gun would have the same problems as the 140mm tank gun, only bigger.
Only time I recall a 152 mm tank gun being used was Soviet KV-II, which was designed to take out fixed fortifications. Turret was so heavy that rotating mechanism would jam at any hull inclinations greater than 2 degrees.
I think the MBT is overrated in modern combat. When you can take out an MBT with a crew served or even one-man weapon you kind of start to think whats the point? At least in modern peer type combat.
Point is that tank cannot be employed on its own. It has uses even in urban combat, and is unlikely to completely disappear, but careful attention must be paid in coordination between tanks and infantry.
Agreed. It does have uses and does need infantry support.
But still, with mobile infantry (small light vehicle and maybe the motorcycle idea) armed with modern ATGM’s or any portable weapon that can equal firepower of 120mm. An attacking tank force is minced meat I think. Unless, your infantry can out-fight and overcome the enemy your tank is dead.
In defense same applies. I would rather defend point with light mobile infantry with powerful crew-served or man-portable weapons. Less of a target for enemy to hit from far as they advance.
If anything, I would use that heavy armor for the supply trucks. You are always going to need re-supply and you will most probably require large vehicles (that cant hide well) to do it. Than again too much armor makes supply vehicles less mobile and if you are going to have armor that cant protect against RPG than why have it at all?
bottom line for me, mobile light infantry with firepower that can disable heavy armor will win in most war scenarios against a heavy armored force. And the logistics tail will be smaller.
“But still, with mobile infantry (small light vehicle and maybe the motorcycle idea) armed with modern ATGM’s or any portable weapon that can equal firepower of 120mm. An attacking tank force is minced meat I think. Unless, your infantry can out-fight and overcome the enemy your tank is dead. ”
Which is why I believe we will be seeing more and more tanks being pushed into infantry support. Though tank will keep its maneuver advantages.
“In defense same applies. I would rather defend point with light mobile infantry with powerful crew-served or man-portable weapons. Less of a target for enemy to hit from far as they advance. ”
Maybe, but using tanks for static defense is a folly anyway (and even mobile infantry will become somewhat static in combat situations as it will fight from foot). Tank’s main attribute is its mobility combined with firepower, they will be sent where there is need to defeat enemy tanks, enable a breakthrought or cut off enemy supply lines, and even then it will be done in coordination with infantry.
I suspect you might be right. Whilst the Merkava fared reasonably well against the AS-14s it isn’t clear how many of the 1000 ATGMs fired were modern. You would expect a tank introduced in the last few years to be reasonably proof against such a threat. It certainly caused enough problems to be considered effective.
The MkIV is one of the better protected tanks in the world. If a 30kg missile can take down a 65t tank, and reports suggest that the Abrams is vulnerable too, then we might be seeing the twilight of the weapon’s system’s life.
Trophy and the like might provide a temporary solution, though having all of your tanks broadcasting their positions on radar can’t be optimal in the vast majority of situations. Tanks don’t have much of a role in counter insurgency, neither do IFVs. ATGMs on the other hand have proved to be indispensable in long range ambushes.
In a peer type scenario where do you keep your infantry? The Israeli solution, having them ride in the back of tanks and converted tanks, is an extremely expensive one, which doesn’t supply enough infantry to be really useful. What would be more useful is simply more infantry, backed up by indirect fires. If the tanks have lost their ability to hide on the front lines by having to broadcast then I’d suggest there isn’t really a place for them, or a massively declining place. Frankly 120mm can’t do much that a Javelin can’t.
The problem as I see it isn’t that very heavy tanks can’t smash through a defence, it is that the tanks role is to then to exploit such a gap. Fine, if they can take incoming over their frontal arc then that is still useful but once beyond the first line there is no guarantee that you’ll be taking hits in your frontal arc. The IFVs, if not heavy enough to take the same punishment, will have to play catch up though you’ll have to be very sure that there isn’t still an ATGM threat or your expensive IFVs are toast., which actually means exploiting with infantry.
Also the Merkavas were operating against little more than a militia, with advanced gunship, infantry and artillery support. Their greatest contribution was firing 105mm anti-personnel, which wouldn’t be the case in a peer conflict as you’d have to loadout your tanks more for anti-tank work.
“Depends on scenario.”
What scenario could we paint where the tank is indispensable? Uncontested air, no manpads threat, older ATGMs and an enemy force consisting of lower quality tanks? Welcome to North Korea, but their artillery would be quite a problem in a massed tank assault. Arguably massed infantry with advanced ATGMs and fire support are the superior solution, especially in mountainous terrain.
Defensive engagement certainly, but that doesn’t argue for lighter more mobile tanks. Combined arms and infantry cooperation? Fine on Salisbury plain, though don’t forget you need to deploy all parts of the combined arms force, which means the ability to take a port, in order to feed the hungrier elements. A month to deploy? Couple of months workup and acclimatisation and sorting your supply situation out? Somewhere in the littoral of course. Not exactly flexible and one hopes the enemy isn’t in a hurry.
Show of force in counter-insurency? Counter-productive in my opinion.
What would be the result of a peer conflict where the green force concentrated on infantry with advanced weapons and backup whilst orange force had heavy armoured brigades? Given adequate comms etc I’d put my money on the former.
If the role of the tank is back to infantry support then none of the current breed look to be equipped to mine eyes. The Merkava far more than most, in fact uniquely so, scraped through.
If you can rely on the infantry to take out tanks and APCs at range then you’d be better off giving them an armoured bulldozer to help build fortifications and clear mines.
“If a 30kg missile can take down a 65t tank, and reports suggest that the Abrams is vulnerable too, then we might be seeing the twilight of the weapon’s system’s life.”
30 kg missile was enough to take down a 65 t tank for the last 70 years (King Tiger weighted cca 60-some tons, and Bazooka could easily penetrate it anywhere but from direct front). But being vulnerable does not equalize being useless, and tactics do exist to reduce vulnerability.
What we might see, rather, is redefining tanks, where more emphasis will be placed on mobility, small size and active defenses as opposed to heavy armor.
“In a peer type scenario where do you keep your infantry?”
“Frankly 120mm can’t do much that a Javelin can’t.”
It can avoid running out of the ammo on the account of same being hellishly expensive (78.000 USD per missile), and cannot be jammed (poor heat contrast can easily cause Javelin to miss) or have its guidance system damaged. Of course, infantry can use recoilless rifles for the same purpose, so wether tank’s direct fire support will be really required is questionable. Main advantage of tank is mobility, as it is far faster than infantry, can go where wheeled vehicles can’t, and unlike aircraft can do it in all weather conditions.
“Fine, if they can take incoming over their frontal arc then that is still useful but once beyond the first line there is no guarantee that you’ll be taking hits in your frontal arc.”
Once you’re past the front line point is to use mobility to try and avoid combat. Which is why heavy tanks create a breakthrough, but light to medium tanks exploit it.
“What scenario could we paint where the tank is indispensable?”
Just about any where you need rough terrain mobility combined with direct fire support. CAS aircraft can also provide it, but air support is in many situations less effective and they can’t stay on station forever.
“Uncontested air, no manpads threat, older ATGMs and an enemy force consisting of lower quality tanks?”
Not necessarily. You just have to make enemy aircraft worry about something else than your tanks – and remember that most air forces do not have dedicated tank buster aircraft.
“Arguably massed infantry with advanced ATGMs and fire support are the superior solution, especially in mountainous terrain.”
In mountainous terrain definetly, in other types of terrain… I’m not so sure about. And you don’t need “advanced ATGMs”, in most cases simple recoilless rifles are far better at duplicating (rather useful) properties of tank fire support.
“What would be the result of a peer conflict where the green force concentrated on infantry with advanced weapons and backup whilst orange force had heavy armoured brigades? Given adequate comms etc I’d put my money on the former.”
Depends on exact conditions. Remember that tank’s main advantage is mobility. Assuming that orange force has balanced setup as opposed to “heavy armor only”, it can easily pick the green force by the nose with infantry and kick them in the ass with tanks and APCs. Meanwhile, any motorized movement by green force would be suicidal unless it knows precisely where orange force’s tanks are… and mobility is the cornerstone of modern warfare.
In the latter part of my “military life” my function was as a “second” in an “infanrty heavy” team ( company size). This team consisted of armoured infantry and tanks (Ypr and Leo 2 respectively). In the battlefield of today infantry on foot wont last long ( that does not have to be a problem as long as you have enough of them and have not invested a lot of time and money in training them). If the infantry is well trained and thus “expensive” it pays to protect them. By the same token the tank is not to be seen as a stand alone piece of hardware. The principle “funken, fahren, schiessen” is even more valid today as the computer makes coordination and battlefield awareness much easier. In this context in the landwar (for the western democracies at least) the MBT is a very valuable asset still. De “fire and forget” capabilities of rockets are only better when and if the kp of a tank round is worse. This is not the case, which means that firing uder armoured protection and whilst moving, with much better reaction times (-and cheaper at that), with more flexibilty in its use makes the 120mm smootbore an awesome weapon and the MBT an up to date weaponsystem. Having been an infantry (armoured) man myself i did not like the cockyness of the “tankers”, but having said so it must be aknowledged that they are, in offensive and defensive manoeuvres, as was indicated, indeed awesome.
“By the same token the tank is not to be seen as a stand alone piece of hardware.”
As a side note, a family member of mine was an artilleryman in Homeland War. He theoretized that anti-tank guns (artillery) may have made tanks obsolete. However, a closer look at Serb performance reveals that it is not so much that tanks are obsolete, as it is that they are only effective when properly employed… but Serbs lacked military expertise and common sense to do so.
“It can avoid running out of the ammo on the account of same being hellishly expensive (78.000 USD per missile), and cannot be jammed (poor heat contrast can easily cause Javelin to miss) or have its guidance system damaged. Of course, infantry can use recoilless rifles for the same purpose, so wether tank’s direct fire support will be really required is questionable. Main advantage of tank is mobility, as it is far faster than infantry, can go where wheeled vehicles can’t, and unlike aircraft can do it in all weather conditions.”
120mm isn’t all that cheap in comparison, $10k a round plus the huge tail involved. Artillery can’t be jammed either, though if you’re waiting for your tanks to call in fires then they’d be better off them getting out and walking around a bit to spot positions.
Tanks can easily outstrip their own infantry sure, I’d question whether tanks were truly faster than infantry though. Faster to deploy? Sounds like a few months head start. Faster than a heli drop? Faster than their supply line certainly. Go where wheeled vehicles can’t isn’t necessarily that much use when your supply vehicles have to catch up at some point and you have tracked infantry anyway.
“In the battlefield of today infantry on foot wont last long”
As an ex light infantryman I’d disagree! Even merely modelling LAWs on exercise the armoured forces didn’t fare too well, the higher the mobility of the ATGMs teams, the more poorly the IFVs and tanks fared. Add in Javelin or similar and the tank forces lose their sensor advantage. With armoured forces which are constantly emitting then how do you plan to deal with ATGMs?
“De “fire and forget” capabilities of rockets are only better when and if the kp of a tank round is worse. This is not the case, which means that firing uder armoured protection and whilst moving, with much better reaction times (-and cheaper at that), with more flexibilty in its use makes the 120mm smootbore an awesome weapon and the MBT an up to date weaponsystem. ”
You must have been on exercises trying to take out ATGM teams with direct fire surely? How did that work out for you? You are assuming the tank can spot for itself, we both know that isn’t the case.
“Go where wheeled vehicles can’t isn’t necessarily that much use when your supply vehicles have to catch up at some point and you have tracked infantry anyway.”
Supply vehicles can have tracks as well, and you can supply tanks from the air. And tracked IFVs or no, tanks are still the best fire support infantry gets to have. Indirect artillery isn’t of much use in many situations, especially when the enemy is close (urban fighting), and aircraft are only useful when the enemy is out in the open, and pilots are actually smart enough, and have aircraft that allow them, to fly low enough to give some useful support. Which leaves tanks and recoilless rifles, both of which have pluses and minuses.
“You are assuming the tank can spot for itself, we both know that isn’t the case.”
Open the hatch and peek out. In World War II, commanders of German Tiger tanks had high casualty ratios because they would always, always look out of the top of their tanks. As in, they’d be exposed to the waist in order to get better situational awareness.
The experiences in the war in Yugoslavia illustrate the importance of MBT’s even there. Where the Dutch thought the use of the Leo “too provocative” (they also, for the same reason took the 25 mm off of the YPR), the Danes took their Leo’s with them.
We all know what happened in Srebenica, but little is known what happened to the Danes. In operation “Bollerud” and “Amanda” the Danes were attacked and they used, in defence, theis MBT’s and shot up the attackers completely. The notion, that the big tanks would be too cumbersome and therefore would lose its mobility advantage was wrong (as was the case also in the battle of the Bulge in WW2) and its firepower was a very big plus.
Note that what you describe is a defensive operation, not an offensive one. So it is not really indicative of tank’s actual mobility performance. It does show that tanks are still useful, though.
As i said before, the use of the tank in an offensive capacity only is a non realistic one on a tactical and strategic level. To start with the latter : the whole concept of war on the plains of northern europe was from the point of view of Nato of a defensive nature: “to close the Fulda gap” and a lot of armour was supposed to be needed to stem the flow of t62’s and up. Why? Because the saying goed that the best tankkiller is another tank. Furthermore: on a tactical level there is no such thing as a offensive mode only. Combat is on this level mostly a mix of offensive and defensive actions (this says nothing about the strategic posture!). As far as mobility capabilities are concerned: on most battlefields the mbt’s will fare well.
Indeed. Which brings us back to my point: having a single-size-fits-all tank is unrealistic. At the very least you need a defensive heavy tank plus offensive medium tank. Preferably you’ll also have an air-mobile light tank as well.
The best tank killer is a anyone or thing with the firepower (ATGM, 120mm, recoiles rifle, etc) and the ability to not be destroyed by enemy tank. Be it by crazy amounts of armor or by being small and mobile like an infantry man.
Scenarios: A wave of T-90’s approaching a defensive line.
What is hardest for attacking T-90 to do?
Spot and destroy enemy tank defense’s or spot and destroy infantry (armed with long-range ATGM’s). in camo position?
Both can kill T-90 at long range but only one can hide from T-90 and more quickly disperse and reform.
Not sure the best tank killer is another tank. Most likely mines will slow down a rapid advance – and much cheaper too.
Mobile light infantry has better ability to maneuver and even penetrate deep into enemy than big tanks.
Issue is probably re-supply. But, infantry can be more easily re-supplied I think.
ATGM costs more than 120mm round but you save the money on not having to purchase or maintain big fancy tanks.
” ““Frankly 120mm can’t do much that a Javelin can’t.”
It can avoid running out of the ammo on the account of same being hellishly expensive (78.000 USD per missile), and cannot be jammed (poor heat contrast can easily cause Javelin to miss) or have its guidance system damaged.” ”
Why obsess only over American kit? The Israeli Spike missile offers similar capabilities to the Javelin, comes in six sizes (mini, SR, MR, LR, ER and NLOS) has multiple firing options (man-portable, vehicle, naval and air-launcher), can also engage low speed aerial targets and depending on size of acquisition and size of missiles chosen can go down to 10000 USD per missile in the case of the Spike Mini, although that might not be a good example of the family seeing as it is mostly anti-personnel.
That’s one very serious problem these days with anti-tank missiles – too expensive to allow for multiple repeated training so the risk the troops won’t use it effectively in the field is greatly magnified.
What’s needed is a cheap light to medium weight missile that can penetrate the sides/rear of any tank.
“Why obsess only over American kit”
Cause we are awesome Andrei thats why.
By the way, Mali was a cake walk compared to Afghnistan so stop bloating your self-esteem up.
Yes I read your snarky post about Afghanistan.
“By the way, Mali was a cake walk compared to Afghnistan so stop bloating your self-esteem up. ”
I’m not the one bloating me self-esteem up, you are with that affirmation. For the record I’m not French but I have an increasing admiration for the way the handle war admiration that seems to be shared by United States Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno according to this RAND study: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR770.html , which is the source of most of my affirmation regarding Mali . The only reason Mali was a cake walk compared to Afganistan is because the French handled it competently and expeditiously, unlike the American military in Afghanistan which not only did everything wrong when it came to counter-insurgency and fought a completely different war then they should have ( http://onviolence.com/?e=191 , http://onviolence.com/?e=98 ) but actually profited from the situation by asking for increasingly inflated budgets. Yes the number of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan was greater then in Mali but so to was the American Military involvement in Afghanistan compared to French one in Mali. On the other hand the supply situation for Afghan Islamist fighters was much harder then then the supply situation for Islamist fighters in Mali seeing as the Afghans could only resupply through Pakistan, a US ally, through very dangerous terrain, while Mali is surrounded by Islamist hold-outs, failed states and countries hostile to NATO and the UN, with prodigious amounts of weaponry available.
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“Yes I read your snarky post about Afghanistan.”
What snarky post?
The one where you mentioned the tactical mistakes made in Afghanistan and highlighted that French strategy used in Mali was so much smarter.
Can’t remember the exact discussion but it was discussion into ISIS and Middle East wars.
I honestly don’t know too much about situation in Mali (it was one of those spurt of the moment impulse posts I sometimes write) but I doubt the situation in Mali would compare to what was going on in Afghanistan.
I did take many hits to the head when I was young so If I am blaming you for someone elses post than forgive me.
“I honestly don’t know too much about situation in Mali (it was one of those spurt of the moment impulse posts I sometimes write) but I doubt the situation in Mali would compare to what was going on in Afghanistan.”
I didn’t say they were mirror images,. yes there are a lot of differences mostly with scale and nationality of fighters involved (lots of Tuareg in Mali and they make Afghans look like petulant children ) but that is not a valid reason to dismiss the experience and success the French gained there and assume it dose not relate to Afghanistan. Difference between situations is also no excuse to wishful thinking that something that didn’t work in another situation is going to work now. I’m talking about Vietnam. Yes it’s a whole different situation then Afghanistan but that doesn’t mean that what didn’t work then is going to work now. It’s a logical fallacy to assume that. Still the US military repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Afghanistan and added to them some of the mistakes the Soviets did with the same results. Don’t take me wrong I don’t hate the United States of America, on the contrary there are a lot of things I admire about it, but that dose not make me blind to the mistakes it makes especially when my knowledge of the history of the Roman Empire makes me draw parallels between it and the USA that lead to not so happy predictions about the future of not only the United States but the whole world. You see, this is the crux of the problem you might consider the rest of the world as ungrateful and hypocritical for pointing out the mistakes USA makes while ignoring the good things, but that only comes becomes the rest of the world realizes something you do not: you are now in the same position as the Roman Empire and thus your actions have a disproportionally big impact on the well being of the hole population of this planet. So you can’t afford to make mistakes.
Still there are some bright spots such as general Odierno that is willing to learn from others. That RAND study is very interesting because it not only highlights what the French did right but alos points out that the US must not copy the French but adapt what they did to the higher resources available to the US Army.
The recommendations are most relevant to this discussion :
The Army should examine the French experience for additional insights, including in the following areas:
the advisability of reducing protection and fielding lighter vehicles to enhance mobility and reduce sustainment requirements, and in particular the introduction of a vehicle with the weight, protection level, and firepower of the VBCI
the potential advantages and costs of pushing modularity below the brigade level to facilitate battalion and company-sized combined arms deployments
the impact of digitization on small-unit operations
the integration of intelligence into lower-echelon operations
training to enable company commanders to conduct decentralized, combined arms operations and practice mission command
French insights into training and interoperating with West African and Sahelian security forces
the costs of France’s rotational equipping strategy (PEGP) and its effect on readiness.
I read the RAND report.
I agree with the recomendations. Yes there was a lot done right and a lot the be copied. But, there is a lot about Mali comparison that must be mentioned.
First what the French did in Mali was militarily defeat an insurgent militia force. The country was than turned over to Malian authorities. In a country that the French had deep associations and knowledge, having been a French colony until not too long ago.
In Afghan & Iraq the US and allies quickly won military victories. In Afghanistan using Northern Alliance on the ground with special op support. In Iraq using regular large formations. It was the years after when US allied forces attempted policing & nation building that things got hairy. Very likely that special interests that wanted a prolonged campaign also played their part.
The French had reliable support of local Taureg forces and Chadian troops in the northern areas were insurgents had taken territory. I would compare northern Mali to northern Iraq and Taureg to Kurds. Notice that in Northern Iraq (until recent ISIS campaign) the US had little trouble both militarily and in follow-up policing. Same as northern parts of Aghanistan were anti-taliban Groups (Tajiks being foremost) were in place to support Nato forces.
Although the french use of surprise and quick decisive action is something to learn from. So is the use of scalable units with high degree of communication and on ground decision making. French also have developed some vehicles that were very good for operations like that in Mali.
There is much French did right and anyone can and should learn from that. But, I dont agree that what they did was so much better than what US did in Afghanistan & Iraq. It was just a much easier scenario to look good in. Its easy to look good when everything is set-up nicely for your success.
French were very good at setting themselves up for success. In other words taking mission that had high likelyhood of success. On the otherhand US has been very stupid about taking on missions that are impossible to look good in.
I would make an American football comparison: Its like the quarterback that looks good against an inferior team when his O-line is giving him all day to scan the field and make a throw.
Its when you are facing a good team that is making the QB make quick decisions under pressure and throw on the run that you can trully judge a quarterbacks quality.
In US everything has become about money and business and even military operations are dictated by this corruption. System is decaying Andrei. Even foreign nations (Israel first and China is now doing it more) are now lobbying their interests in Washington. To big of a machine, too many moving parts. Hard to maintain quality control.
“There is much French did right and anyone can and should learn from that. But, I dont agree that what they did was so much better than what US did in Afghanistan & Iraq. It was just a much easier scenario to look good in. Its easy to look good when everything is set-up nicely for your success. ”
This is the key to the success of every military operation the set-up not the execution. Think about it why did the US look so good in WWII was it because the US soldiers were superior to the Germans and Japanese? No. In most cases on an individual basis they were inferior. Was it maybe that the US equipment was so much better then the German and Japanese ones? No again it was inferior across the board safe for some exceptions such as the M1 Garand, the Jeep, the Iowa class battleships (which were not decisive) and the carriers. What was it then? The set-up. The US was set-up to look good because of it’s industrial might there was no way the Germans and Japanese could equal that.
In both Afghanistan and Iraq the US ignored the set-up until it was to late. Sadam should have been deposed in 91 and the Afghans aid should not have been stopped after the Soviet withdrawal but converted from Stingers to Schools and roads. With this two pieces off setup the interventions at the beginning of the Millennium would have gone much smooth.
This is what I’m trying to tell you military power is not the only power, and civility and diplomacy are not signs of weakness but actually signs of strength just because you can kick down a door and beat somebody into submission doesn’t mean that you should do it, sometimes you can convince somebody just by giving them a trinket.
“In US everything has become about money and business and even military operations are dictated by this corruption. System is decaying Andrei. Even foreign nations (Israel first and China is now doing it more) are now lobbying their interests in Washington. To big of a machine, too many moving parts. Hard to maintain quality control.”
Then something must be changed. We the little people should do something because it’s not just the US where everything has become about money and business but the whole planet.
I agree with your assessment of WWII. When US came into the war (December 1941) it was set-up nicely for their success. Japan and Germany was overstretched and incapable of winning the war logistically. Russia and China were the real reasons for US/UK WWII success. Outside of all of the industrial/logistical benefits.
US soldier was clearly inferior to German in WWII. Also inferior to Brits. It was a matter of experience not some personal deficiency. Equipment situation is same scenario. No experience in developing weapons. Kind of like China today. Japanese were not very effective fighters and not well lead. Their key strenght was fanatical fervor. But, that was also a weakness as it went too far.
Yes we need to do something Andrei. All I can do is just talk about it. There are many that are starting to see it my way. We will see were the pendulum swings. I beleive that in US first key is eliminating federal government. We need to become a federation of independant states with a constitution that prohibits seperate military action. Only military action can take place if majority of states agree. Bill of Rights should continue to be overriding rule over state governments. there is a lot to figure out but it starts with getting rid of this overpowerful, expanded, corrupted federal government.
Democracy only functions well when power of government is as local as possible. When central governments overpower local it leads to power being concentrated in hands of rich and powerful entities.
” We need to become a federation of independant states with a constitution that prohibits seperate military action.”
Yeah that’s what we need to do here in the EU, become a federation of independent equal states not an empire ruled from Germany, with border provinces like my country and other Eastern European countries exploited for their cheap labor and market which can absorb the overproduction of German industry. In other words the original French model of the 60s not the current neo-liberal semi-fiasco. And if we succeed here in Europe and you guys in America there will be no reason why the two polities could not unite and become the seed of a larger Global Federation, based on growth, harmony, and equality of chance. Imagine what that would be an advanced prospers federation stretching over two continents and with population to rival China and India. A very nice dream. 😀 But it was dream such as these that lead to the Civil Rights Movement and modern democracies.
“not the current neo-liberal semi-fiasco.”
I’d say it’s more like neo-liberal semi-fascism.
“And if we succeed here in Europe and you guys in America there will be no reason why the two polities could not unite and become the seed of a larger Global Federation, based on growth, harmony, and equality of chance.”
Eh, not gonna happen as long as both US and EU are run by capitalists. Mind you, Global Federation is entirely possible… but it will be a dictatorial neoliberal / neofascist entity ruled by bureocrats and capitalists, much like modern-day EU.
“Imagine what that would be an advanced prospers federation stretching over two continents and with population to rival China and India. A very nice dream.”
Very nice dream, yes. But only a dream, I’m afraid. And I’d prefer a confederacy myself.
We can’t give up and let it be. We must continue to dream and do our part whatever that might be.
We must be careful with this idea. It can work only if true power and the large majority of decisions are kept as local as possible. Not just to current national governments but as local as possible.
In Us I would virtually eliminate federal Government and than I would also remove many of state government powers and return these to the local counties. I would also make popular referendum a bigger part of government decisions, especially in municipalities.
I am also all for having one world common currency and along with that open borders for trade. Without shared monetary unit open trade creates too many inbalances.
Maybe it can start with US & EU linking Euro and Dollar (and eventually making one currency). Monetary/currency issues have become too important. One world currency would put focus back on what really matters which is allocation of resources, efficiency, gains through trade and specialization, Etc. Markets would really reach their true potential when world has one currency and no barriers in trade. Along with proper regulations and re-distributions to prevent accumilation of capitol.
I always say to understand Macroeconomy you must first understand what money really is. It really is nothing, not important. Important only for enriching some and controlling markets. Money must be returned to its true role. to facilitate trade and exchange on an equal basis, thats it.
I do beleive that democracy is the best governing system but only if power remains local. I also beleive in free markets but only if they are regulated smartly to prevent corruption, manipulations, and accumilation of capitol.
Regulated smartly does not mean more and complex, it usually means less and simple.
There are many simple smart fixes out there to make the world better. Problem is that the ones in power like the system that benfits them and are preventing these changes through various methods including media and control of information.
“I would also make popular referendum a bigger part of government decisions, especially in municipalities.”
That is an issue for most of the world’s countries. People are too removed from decision-making process. Here in Croatia, Government is doing its best to make referendums as unviable as possible (well, they are staffed by Stalinists).
“I am also all for having one world common currency and along with that open borders for trade. Without shared monetary unit open trade creates too many inbalances.”
Free trade is not a good thing as it exposes economies, especially those of smaller countries, to manipulation and outright assault. Same for open borders.
I am not a big fan of free trade how it is done today. As done today I agree with you.
But, if done right free trade is a wonderful thing for so many reasons. Free trade will increase the size of the pie for everybody as it takes advantage of each nations best skills and efficiencies.
First, you need to have common currency so that trade happens equally and fairly. Than you must eliminate all taxation, tarrifs, and most other barriers. Except those establishing balanced trade.
each nations money supply would start of being pegged to a specific currency (lets say Canadian Dollar). All of worlds funds will be converted to that specific value. than you would give new currency a name. Lets say “Common Dollar”
Lets say that Canadian dollars value Vs Euro is one dollar= .50 Euro
so if you had 25,000 Euros you now have 50,000 common dollars. From that point on there will be no central banks no printing no money creation.
wealth will increase and or decrease based on real factors not on monetary/banking policies and manipulation of exchange rates.
Once currency is set than you eliminate all taxation on trade worldwide. If sales taxes are in play you would pay tax only on retail therefore all items domestic or import will be taxed equally (I would get rid of all sales taxes altogether but thats a different argument).
Nations will no longer be able to afford trade inbalances and im sure all nations will soon establish balanced trade laws that will prohibit imports if they exceed exports over a period of time.
To fix issues of tax havens and multi-national firms I would disallow any corporate taxes. Taxes are only on funds, capitol, and other value gained by individuals. That means if you are “gifted” a yacht the value of said yacht is considered profit.
your tax home will be the nation of your birth as long as you have been proven to have lived there for at leat half the time from birth to age 21. If by age 21 you have not lived in place of birth for half your life than your tax home will revert to the place where you have lived in the most (could be place of birth) or your mothers tax home if you do not have a place where you have lived at least half your life
I would make all profit taxable in same manner and rate. No lower or higher taxes for certain types of profit. I would prefer to keep taxes generally very low and elimination of big central governments would go long-way toward that goal.
Continuing on trade I would make certain labor rights and protections universal.
Any nation found to have violated taxation and regulation agreement will be disallowed from participation in trade for a period of time.
Thats a start.
“But, if done right free trade is a wonderful thing for so many reasons.”
Trade has to be regulated. If not regulated, it turns into something best described as a “feral beast”.
“First, you need to have common currency so that trade happens equally and fairly. Than you must eliminate all taxation, tarrifs, and most other barriers.”
That would strip almost all defenses that smaller nations have against domination by larger ones. As for consequences… look at Greece and its problems.
“From that point on there will be no central banks no printing no money creation.
wealth will increase and or decrease based on real factors not on monetary/banking policies and manipulation of exchange rates. ”
I don’t see banks giving up manipulation that easy. I’m afraid that common currency would actually increase possibility of manipulation. Look at the EU.
“Nations will no longer be able to afford trade inbalances and im sure all nations will soon establish balanced trade laws that will prohibit imports if they exceed exports over a period of time. ”
Sorry, not gonna happen. First, there are import lobbys in every nation. Second, some nations simply don’t have anything to export. Third, large corporations, especially multinational ones, have greater financial and lobbying power than many small nations. More likely, common currency and lack of barriers will create far greater trade imbalances than before, as nations won’t be able to defend from imported cheap sh*t by, say, raising taxes on imported products.
“I would make all profit taxable in same manner and rate.”
That would depend on wether you include wages in profit. If you do, then you have to have an untaxable proportion. It is not same if you take 10% from someone that is living on basic substinence wage or from someone who makes 5 million USD a month (most likely by forcing workers to live on substinence wage).
“Continuing on trade I would make certain labor rights and protections universal.
Any nation found to have violated taxation and regulation agreement will be disallowed from participation in trade for a period of time. ”
That would be good… but you’d also have to expand it to “Any nation or multinational corporation…” as latter have financial power greater than many nations, and also have greater propensity to violate regulations (even if just by acting like rules lawyer).
Whitout creation of fake fiat currency and with balanced trade laws nations will have no choice but to trade equally and fairly based on real economic factors. I am not saying my ideas are going to happen in the real world anytime soon. All of these are ideals of how I would do it if I could. I am barely considering real world political obstacles. I am going mostly on pure economics. Just to establish a system of principles & beleifs. In real world all you can do is fight for your principles and try to get as close to them as is possible.
Considering reality (from US perspective) I would support balanced trade amendment that would require big tarrifs on imports from nations that have unbalanced trade with us, like China. Purpose would be to try to prevent corporations from producing cheaply and than making big profits selling that stuff in US. Tarrifs would be set to try to make cost (for producer/importer) of items produced in cheap labor markets balanced with items produced domestically. Purpose of tariff is to balance out trade by equalizing cost to producer/importer. Cost being equal firms would produce based on things like available workforce, training/skills/education of workforce. Available capitol and natural resources, Infastructure, regulation, and taxation. this is maybe more realistic.
Once trade with said nation balances out than tarrifs would begin to drop, at least until trade losses balance again. Most likely some nations like China, Vietnam, India would require constant tarriffs to maintain balance until their currency value and labor costs elevate.
Realistically, if idea ever gets enough support it would not start as world trade bloc but maybe as regional type bloc and maybe progress as it is shown to work.
“Trade has to be regulated. If not regulated, it turns into something best described as a “feral beast”
Firms have to be regulated to ensure they don’t abuse rights of workers, attempt collusion to manipulate free market, violate safety and security statutes, are responsible for environmental impact, etc. In my ideal world, nations would be responsible for enforcing universal regulations with oversight. Firms would be made to pay price by nation. If nation is found to not be properly enforcing regulation they can be banned from trade bloc for a period. Based on international agreement.
No regulation is bad and too much (and too complicated) regulation is even worse.
Too much regulation is the real “Feral Beast”. Thats what special interests want, complicated incomprehendible (to most people) regulation that they can manipulate to their interests. Same goes with taxes. Ask any small business/individual provider what is their biggest obstacle in competing with big firms and they will tell you its regulation. Big firms manipulate regulation to their needs because it is too complicated for regular people to be able to notice.
Regulation and taxation will be an issue in free trade. You do not want nations/regions/municipalities competing for business based on those factors. It would be a race to the bottom. Thats why in my ideal scenario I would eliminate taxes directly on firms and support common/universal regulation.
As far as taxes, all profits eventually go to a real person. Unless firm uses profits for capitol growth, investment.
I would tax only real people and very progressively. That means that higher income will be taxed much higher than lower income. I would also support general exception on first $30,000 for married filling jointly. That means 0 taxes on your first 30,000 in income and than progresivley higher rate on anything above 30,000. All form of income is treated the same no special rates for dividend/rent/interest or wages.
I am supporter of small government in my ideal scenario there would be no sales or property taxes. Taxes would be only on income and local, state, and federal would have seperate voter approved rates. Powers and responsibilities would mostly be sent down to local government as I stated before. Therefore, Local municipality would probably get/need largest chunk of those taxes. State would get next highest and Federal smallest chunk.
All tax rates will be negotiated by legislators/representatives to present to public but would have to be approved by popular vote. In my scenario there would be no money creation based on banking tricks. I would prohibit government bonds or tacking of debt. Governments can only spend what they collect. If cuts cannot be negotiated and a spending plan is not put up for public vote, than there would be automatic and equal sequestration until spending is in equilibrium with inlays collected.
Again this would work in theory. In practice taking into account political factors, special interests, and stupidity of people this is probably impossible.
its like Communism (as Marx envisioned it) it will not work in real world because of the human factors mentioned above. But, it is worth studying.
Remember I am writing of top of my head in-between clients at work. This is not my fully developed macroeconmic theory. It would help if I had computer aided models that can run numbers. In fact I have never put my whole theory on paper. I do have parts saved but not put together yet.
Mostly, becuase I generally prefer to discuss real-world, realistic, piece-meal solutions. Based on my general theory.
And, nothing is ever fully developed. You have to be flexible as you face issues.
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This is sounding a lot like Boyd, now that I think about it.
National government delegates a local government freedom of action/power to achieve a common schwerpunkt (the betterment of the nation). The freedom of action should reduce the friction and increase harmony/tempo as more decisions are being made independently with a common schwerpunkt.
The catch seems to be the most important part: Trust. Trust between national and local would be the ‘glue’ that keeps the whole operation together. With political parties, however, there is never any trust between the governments with different parties.
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We are not talking about a federal government delegating powers to local gov. I meant legal/constitutional removal of powers from feds. Feds only function would be foreign affairs and administration of Defense.
State Dept and DOD, thats it. Maybe CIA. Domestically the States would take back some powers and even more would become local.
I would like to see a mayor have more power than a president domestically in each municipality.
Powers to use military force must be authorized by grand mayority (I say 74% 37 out of 50) of states. And states probably should determine this vote based on referendum or at least include municipalities in vote equation along with state representatives.
Decentralize base of power is the objective.
Lots of comments during the night when I sleep I understand for Duviel and Chris which are at least 7 times zones behind, but you Picard? What did you do move to America? Or turned into a night owl?
Okay let me get my opinions in. I agree with lessening centralization and putting more political power in the hands of the people thru referendums, which in most countries except for Switzerland are jokes. Also I think the average citizen should me more involved in the political debate. From my point of view the current model of representative democracy is obsolete. It was conceived in a time when most of the population didn’t know how to read or write and were employed in agriculture and where affected only by a modicum of the decisions being made by leaders. Thus one educated person could easily represent a large mass of uneducated people with very low expectations from him. Today most of the population has at least high-school level education, and there is a bewildering large array of possible occupations and expectations. How can a lawyer represent an engineer? Dose he/she have any idea of what the engineer faces in day to day life what his/her expectations are? Nope. My idea would be to make full use modern communications technologies to allow every interested, educated person a role in the political decision making. One could imagine that at a local level the legislature is divided into two chambers, an upper one to which I while get later and a lower one divided into several for lack of a better word guilds. Each guild comprises people with similar or related occupations which tend to be affected by the same laws. Guilds would debate and vote on laws concerning them with each person wishing to state an opinion give the right to a single opinion. Communicating this opinion could be done on-line on a guild forum, I would be partial to the term e-agora seeing as forum is an already overused term, where each participant to the discussion is clearly identified and has proven his or her expertise in the matters covered by the guild. Voting then ensues with every person that identified itself having the right to vote. Laws affecting more then one guild (such as budget laws) would be debated and voted in each involved e-agora and would only pass through consensus off all involved e-agoras. Thus a form of referendum is achieved. The upper chamber lets call it a Senate, would be an elected meritocracy. Eligible for election in the Senate would be only persons whose work would have benefited the whole community, for example a business man would be eligible only if his business brought a lot of benefits to the community such as permanent jobs, education, health-care etc, and didn’t destabilize the community in times of crisis. So somebody like Donald Trump would not be eligible 😀 (heard he wants to run for president. If he wins I’m emigrating to Mars) . The role of the Senate would be to verify the laws passed thru the e-agoras.
Executive branch would be purely technocratic each e-agora would elect one of it’s members to oversee that branch of government on the assumption that they would know which one of them is more appropriate for the task. So the Transporters E-agora would elect the minister of transportation, the judges and attorney e-agora the minister of justice etc.
I will elaborate in further posts, because I don’t have anymore time right now.
Very intersting! a little complicated but sounds like its probably same reason my ideas sound complicated
1) They kind of are
2) I have not had the time to properly explain them
I would attempt to try it out at a smaller local government. Once you get the kinks out you can maybe expand concept. I like use of communication/social tech for getting popular involvement. My concern would be hackers and such.
in my idea, local governments would be able to make their own laws [with constitutional constraints] that would than require popular vote to approve. Municipalities would have more power than today, state would administer mostly some oversight functions and feds would have basically only powers in external relations and military, with super majority state approval needed for military ops. Roughly speaking.
I know we are probably wasting our time but every idea started somewhere before it became popular.
I can see both of our ideas being compatible.
Maybe we can start this when we all move to Mars.
Trump wont win. Just a show.
“I understand for Duviel and Chris which are at least 7 times zones behind, but you Picard? What did you do move to America? Or turned into a night owl?”
I’ve got rather… irregular sleeping pattern. And irregular pattern of everything else, truth be told. One day I’ll be asleep at 1 AM and up at 4 AM, next day I’ll be asleep at 8 PM and up at 6 AM, then I’ll be asleep at 9 PM and up at 7 AM but with the caveat that I won’t be able to sleep between 1 AM and 2 AM… you get the idea (it’s 3-and-something AM right now, I left my laptop running over the night to download some crap as I often do as my mobile Internet’s typically sh*t, so when I realized I can’t sleep at the moment… here I am).
“From my point of view the current model of representative democracy is obsolete.”
Agreed. It’s plutocracy, plain and simple.
“I will elaborate in further posts, because I don’t have anymore time right now.”
So far, quite nice.
Your brain is in full throthle. You have to do something light before going to bed. I have conversation with my wife before bed, that usually works, Lol. Or I put on a nature show on Tv. Anything light. Also try to keep same bedtime hours.
Most importantly, stop trying to sleep!
You just go to bed and do something relaxing your body must do the rest by itself. Its like blinking your eyes, if you try to do it you will mess your self up. Your body must do it without your help or involvement.
Try this for a week. Try going to bed with the goal of lying there but not sleeping. Remember, you dont want to sleep!
Try it and tell me about it later.
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And probably has same guidance downsides as Javelin. Seeing as info is most easily avaliable on US systems…
I think that the Russian tactic of using anti-tank guns remains a valid and arguably, an effective strategy.
I think that MBTs are going to be pushed more into a niche role – they are not going to be a single-handed war winner; sure a very important part of a niche, but still a niche. If you think about it, heavy tanks were always defensive in nature and only useful for the initial breakthrough of very heavy lines – after that lighter tanks were always going to be needed.
One of the more serious Israeli flaws was that they did not support their tanks with infantry very closely. They did have artillery and some airpower, but no CAS. Coordination I would argue was not too good.
The Merkava IV is arguably a better protected tank than the M1A2, so I would argue that pretty much every tank is going to be vulnerable.
I think that recoiless rifles, artillery (provided it’s accurate enough) and CAS might be able to largely replace the tanks direct fire support. A turretless tank might be worth looking at as well for this job (one other advantage they have is that they may be able to better elevate their guns to the higher arcs (important for urban warfare).
I think a light highly mobile infantry force with un-armored light vehicles that can provide heavy firepower will not necesarily need direct fire support.
Humvee for example. You can put a TOW launcher on top or a .50 cal, 40mm grenade launcher, etc. You can probably modify most any ATGM to fire from a Humvee (or the versions from around the world).
I would actually say that vehicles in general are best for moving to and fro not for fighting (in most cases). Man on foot ar harder to target and can more easily ambush or sneak up on adversary. With new lighter weapons a single soldier can now carry ATGW, .50 cal machine gun, 40mm auto grenade launcher. There is even a version of Minigun (3,000 rpm .762 cal gatlin gun) that is light enough to be carried around by one soldier. There are these light vehicles (I will get name for you) that SOC forces use that are basically a small flat bed with 4 large wheels and serves basically as mechanical mule. These would work well to help soften load on soldiers and transport some of these heavier man portable weapons. As well as for other heavy equipment, mortars, etc. You dont want to put to much weight on soldier and wear them out either.
“Humvee for example. You can put a TOW launcher on top or a .50 cal, 40mm grenade launcher, etc. You can probably modify most any ATGM to fire from a Humvee (or the versions from around the world). ”
And get blown up by harsh language or bogged down in mud. Wheeled vehicles are far from ideal solution if you want an offroad mobility; and staying on road will get you killed.
“There are these light vehicles (I will get name for you) that SOC forces use that are basically a small flat bed with 4 large wheels and serves basically as mechanical mule.”
I had an idea for a tracked jeep. It would solve most issues I have with light vehicles. Mount a recoilless on it and it may be a better support weapon than a tank. It would not be as survivable (against NBC attacks and AT weapons, though latter are hard to judge), but it would have better mobility – both tactical and strategic. You could also take off recoilless rifle and carry it around for use by infantry.
Yes you are right about wheeled vehicles. You can use wheeled vehicles in many cases if good off-road wheels and vehicle not too heavy. But, you do need tracked vehicles. The idea was that you can put direct fire-support on small-light vehicles. making them tracked is easily doable. I know a guy (friend of a friend) who figured out how to make his Ford F-150 truck tracked.
Big tanks are just unnecessarily big and not mobile enough. You can get same firepower out of a man-portable weapon or small light vehicle. You wont get armor protection but you give many more targets for apponent and targets that are small and fast moving.
If you can make tank invulnerable to direct fire than yes tanks all day but when you can take out a tank with one soldier tank losses its value.
The problem with wheels is their pressure is too high. They cannot go into soft soil and not get stuck. It’d be quite dangerous to rely on wheeled vehicles because if they go on predictable roads, they’ll get mined and blown up (especially the ones without V-shaped hulls, which I note the Humvee lacks). Heavy tanks sometimes share this flaw as well.
I think the light tank is probably the least bad situation here.
Half-track might be close to what you’re looking for.
The British Supacat or ATMP is the flat bed design that resembles my idea of mech. mule to carry equipment for infantry. A tracked design alternative might be needed. Other current vehicles that fit my tactical concept are Panhard VBL scout car (it can roof mount Milan, TOW, M249, M2, HK 40mm grenade machine gun, etc), Israeli RAM, British Fox light armoured car, Cadillac Gage Scout car, Rheinmetall Wiesel 1 (especially TOW version), Russian BMD, etc. Small low profile vehicles that are highly mobile, easily transportable, and can provide heavy fire support. I would honestly use MBT’s more for protection of logistical convoys than for frontline direct action. I might use tanks as force mix for initial attack on enemy defense line but not for penetration or flanking/maneuver warfare. Tanks require too large of logistics tail and are too slow and visible for use in actions inside/behind enemy line. Regardless, (unless you can break enemy line to allow for re-supply or you have full control of air) you can’t do large force actions inside enemy territory if you are not able to follow that up with breaking of enemy frontal defenses. Otherwise your force might get trapped and/or starved. Penetration maneuvers are useful in weakening enemy defenses to allow for main force breaking of said force.
Additionally, In a maneuver fight were there are no set lines and both sides are maneuvering and attacking (kind of what Nazi’s did early) Use of a tank army would not be best. Light mobile vehicles with heavy hitting firepower and anti-infantry firepower will best be able to fight and with less logistics issues.
To me logistics and re-supply are the key issues in any land war. But, best way to solve that is by quickly breaking up and destroying enemy forces through fast swarming manuevering supported by heavy firepower. And/or by being able to control airspace and having large airborne re-supply capabilities.
For my use, (protection of convoys and fast moving initial attacks of heavy enemy defense formations) I would prefer to have a tank like Challenger II or M1-A2. Terrain will also dictate much here.
Thats my view at least.
Just a note: tanks are not necessarily heavy. Which is why I want a 70 ton tank, a 45 ton tank and a 20 ton tank (metric tons, obviously). Tracked vehicles are always more mobile than tired ones.
70 ton tank would be for infantry support and facilitating breakthroughts, 45 ton and 20 ton ones would be for maneuver warfare, with a caveat that 20 ton one would also be employed in air mobile divisions.
Although weight influences mobility in some aspects (and gas need) its not just the weight factor for me, its the size factor too. Tanks are (even light ones) usually big targets and in my mind with the ATGM’s out there (both land and helo based. Although land based bigger threath I think) big vehicles are just big targets.
In fact if you are going to bring a tank into front line combat I would bring a 70 ton tank that can atleast protect crew (if not remain in combat) if hit by ATGM. A 20-45 ton tank is still a big target, still requires more maintenance and fuel and wont survive an ATGM. I would prefer small light mobile vehicles in larger numbers and with firepower.
a 20 ton low profile tank with a fuel efficient engine and simple design might fit more into my tactical idea for maneuver and penetration.
Not saying that I beleive that my concept is only one that could work. Just think it deserves consideration. and at least a role.
Past use of tank armies is becoming obsolete and I think needs some re-thinking.
Tanks are not necessarily big. You can have a light tank with 75-105 mm gun with an autoloader, something like AMX 13.
Main advantage of tanks is not their armor but their mobility. If you use wheeled platform, you lose mobility. You can put a recoilless rifle on a jeep, but what if that jeep gets bogged down in mud? APC similar to M113 or FV432 is a possibility, but they are not really that smaller than tanks and are more vulnerable for their weight – not only does FV432 have thinner armor but also has larger profile than AMX-13.
yeah you do need tracks. Most if not all of the small, light vehicles I mentioned could be converted to tracks. Wheeled vehicles have some benefits in good terrain or if use of roads possible.
My key point is smaller more mobile with less logistical needs while maintaining anti-armor firepower and anti-infantry fire support. I would use Mechanical mules to carry load so to allow infantry on foot to carry heavier weapons and increase use of infantry served ATGM’s
I would not use tank for tactical maneuver. I think smaller vehicles (like ones I described) can do that best with less logistical needs.
As Jan mentioned, mortar and artillery can be dangerous to foot soldier. But, fighting in a big profile armored vehicle is just as dangerous with todays anti-armor weapons. A tank like Chally II offers high probability of survival for crew (against most battlefield weapons) but the tank will usually not be any good for combat until heavy repairs. regardless, tanks don’t carry infantry APC’s, trucks, Utility vehicles do, and these are not usually heavy armored.
A certain amount of practical knowledge seems necessary in order to have a good view on the issue. For instance as i have seen myself, the AMX 13 was a complete failure. The “little tank” (as in the tv series “Allo,allo”) had, in order to fire, be positioned carefully, otherwise it flipped backwards due to the recoil of the gun. In the Durch army firing it was strictly regulated due to this risk. In ww2 the tanks were just as heavy as they are now, which makes itlogical that functional necessities and weight are connected. One should not judge a weaponsystem isolated. Nowadays it is about integration. A unit should be judged by the way it is coordinated/connected ( armour and inf), its mobility and its firepower i.e. Its capabilities to hurt te enemy. Anyone who suggest that infantry on foot is capable to kill off tanks…well, just look at the “load” the average grunt must carry. The biggest (infantry) killer is mortarfire. The intensity of such a barrage and its sustained character makes a battlefield killing zone for unprotected grunts. In my time we were warned for the 200mm mortars of the Russians…footsoldiers need protection and mules to carry their eavy weapons and ammo
“The “little tank” (as in the tv series “Allo,allo”) had, in order to fire, be positioned carefully, otherwise it flipped backwards due to the recoil of the gun.”
Which version? I couldn’t find anything about it except a forum legend. And even if it could not fire gun when turret was off the axis by a certain number of degrees, it could still fire machine guns – which are if anything even more important for light/medium tanks whose duty is to destroy enemy support structure and not engage other tanks.
“In ww2 the tanks were just as heavy as they are now, which makes itlogical that functional necessities and weight are connected.”
Primary German tank was Panzer IV which weighted 26 tons and later versions had long 75 mm gun. IIRC, Guderian believed it to be the best German tank of World War II. Primary US tank was Sherman, which was about the same. Primary Soviet tank was T-34/76 which weighted cca 30 tons and had long 76 mm gun. Heavy tanks weighted about as much as modern MBTs, but that does not mean that light and medium tanks are useless.
Agree with the rest.
12000 panzer mark III, of which the Russians said :” good for bad european weather, not for bad russin weather. Therefore in 1942 came the mark VI (tiger) and in 1943 the Mark V (panther). The latter considered to be the best tank of all, mainly because it was an improved version of the t34, with sloping armour for instance. 45,5 tonnes. The tiger 58,9 tonnes. The t34 weighed 32 tonnes. Andrew roberts states that, had the germans started earlier the building of its mbt’ they wouldhave had a much better chance of winning the war, page 528 “The storm of war”.
“12000 panzer mark III, of which the Russians said :” good for bad european weather, not for bad russin weather.”
You’re mixing things up. Guderian said that late model Panzer IV was the best German tank of the war, not Panzer III. Panzer IV Ausf G and later models had long 7.5 cm gun that, while not as good as one on Panther, was superior to its Russian equivalent. They were also lighter than German “beasts”, and thus more strategically mobile.
Germans produced 8.600 of them. Overall, instead of one Tiger, 1,5-2 Panthers or 2-4 Panzer IVs could have been produced.
“Andrew roberts states that, had the germans started earlier the building of its mbt’ they wouldhave had a much better chance of winning the war, page 528 “The storm of war”.”
Andrew Roberts is wrong. Germans had problems with lack of fuel, lack of steel, lack of personnel and lack of logistical capacity. Panzer IV was lighter, cheaper, more mobile and easier to produce and support in the field, which would have meant that less fuel, steel and workforce would be necessary to produce and operate equivalent, or larger, number of tanks. You needed 3 towing vehicles to tow a Tiger. One was enough for Panzer IV. Panther was too expensive and put into full production way too early, while Tiger was an unnecessary waste of resources.
AMX-13 may not have worked well (not sure if it did) but that does not devalue the concept of having a small, low-profile, light tank with a big gun. I prefer a small scout car (tracked in most cases would be best) with a ATGM launcher. I like use of APC for transport but not direct combat and MBT for protection of supply convoys and maybe for use in punching holes in heavy defenses to allow for lighter forces to penetrate. Although I prefer not to attack teeth of defensive line. I prefer to out flank defensive lines and cut off supplies when possible.
Its always helpful to have combat experience when discussing combat but you need other factors too. I know bunch of guys with combat experience and none can nor wish to think outside the box they were trained in.
“The t34 weighed 32 tonnes. Andrew roberts states that, had the germans started earlier the building of its mbt’ they wouldhave had a much better chance of winning the war, page 528 “The storm of war”.”
There are also others (seen them in some documentary about german tanks on Discovery some years back ) that state that the Germans would have won the war had they not invested in the Panther and Tiger and instead concentrated on building large numbers of the latter marks of Panzer Kampfaagen IV, which had the same firepower as the Panther but were much more cheaper both to acquire and operate and infinitely more reliable then the Panthers and Tigers which often broke down. I believe this idea would have been more feasible then starting to build the Tigers and Panthers earlier as there was no way the development process for the Panther at least could have been expedited in anyway.
“For instance as i have seen myself, the AMX 13 was a complete failure.”
Yes a complete failure a total production run of 7700 stretched over 37 years and 3400 exports in about 30 countries 14 of which still use it today 69 years after it was designed. If that’s the French fu**ing up I really want to see them succeed.
“a small, low-profile, light tank with a big gun.”
I think the best modern vehicle that fits that description is the Sprut SD.
It’s technically a tank destroyer, but it has a 125mm gun, is tracked, is amphibious, and is air portable.
Wow, excellent. If Croatian military was smart, we would have bought it, considering mountainous terrain in southern Croatia.
It is amphibious and air transportable. It is very light which improves mobility in certain terrain, roads, bridges. So yes it will be very useful in many situations where MBT’s cant operate. It is not as fast or quick as I would like.
Worse of all even though is is very light (which also makes it poorly armored) it is not that small. I would like it to have smaller dimensions.
2S25 I think fills a need. I also want a small, fast vehicle that can be made both tracked and wheeled.
There are also roles for 70 ton MBT’s (although I beleieve mostly in protection of fixed sites and supply convoy escort).
My issue is more with todays over-reliance on heavy tank formations as primary offensive tool for ground forces. Key word being over-reliance.
“I also want a small, fast vehicle that can be made both tracked and wheeled.”
So listing it all out –
1. Track and Wheel capable
4. Powerful main gun* and/or ATGM
For duel wheel and track purposes, the first thing that comes to mind is the T7 Combat Car.
The T7 also had good mobility and was small, but its armor/armament was inadequate for a light tank.
The problem is that you need a big turret ring for a big gun (one of the problems with Pz. III was its turret ring was too small for the KwK 40), which drives up vehicle size.
*Unless I am misunderstanding what you mean by powerful main gun. Do you simply mean a high velocity gun with good armor penetration, or something of a large caliber which can provide support with HE and HE-F shells?
You pretty much got it as far as what type of vehicle I would like to base (or atleast more heavily incorporate) my maneuver/attack ground forces around.
I would add, I want said vehicle to be able to mount various weapons. ATGM, 100mm+ recoiless rifle, 20-30Cal. cannon, .50 cal, Aero minigun, 40mm grenade machine gun.
I will take a look at T7 and write what I think.
“Do you simply mean a high velocity gun with good armor penetration, or something of a large caliber which can provide support with HE and HE-F shells”
I simply want a vehicle mounted weapon that can destroy/disable a heavy tank TOW/Milan launcher would be good enough. M40 106mm recoiless might work too.
I guess one of issues would be that small vehicle will not be able to carry too many missiles/shells. Although price, material usage, complexity will make it so that army will be able to have 5-10 for each MBT.
Having supply vehicles (maybe something like Bvs 10) sitting just behind carrying ATGM’s for reload might be a solution worth evaluating.
I would like to hear more opinions on how to best use this proposed vehicle/weapon along with other weapons like MBT’s maybe?
Just for fun. But, you never know who is reading. And than again, it could be russians or chinese reading too 😦 Or, most likely just some bored office workers like myself.
I do think that a certain amount of tactical knowledge on warfare and even more so the deciding factors in winning certain types of wars is necessary to make a realistic choice of weapons, protection and to answer the question of logistics . If the decision to introduce the M16 and not to use the very good M14 anymore is based on weight (weapon and ammunition) that is needed to provide the footsoldier with adeqate firepower, the introduction of 40 mm’s and or Gatlings is not a very wise one. Logistics is a very important factor and the soldier that has to carry his “own” will likely end up like the para’s and marines during the falkland war, so savibg weight is important. Most battlefields of today are extremely lethal environments and the number of bodybags a very important political factor. A western nation will not let getting killed its precious sons very easily. And to illustrate the importance of “manpower”; the airwar over Germany was not lost because of inferior planes but because the Germans ran out of able and experienced pilots (next to some important strategic mistakes Hitler made). So, if protection can be given, without compromising the goals too much for us “westerners”, this is the best choice, as it is for Israel.
Against a modern real foe tanks will be blown up and become nothing but coffins. Again if one man with a modern ATGM can destroy a tank than tank is useless other than for psych warfare. Of course that psych starts to change when tanks are blowing up and you cant find the shooter.
Troops will not be carrying heavy weapons you need a mechanized mule like a stated. Highly mobile troops with firepower will take less casualties than tank force supported by infantry.
In scenarios (like much of Vietnam war) where mechanization is not possible and you need troops to cover distances on foot my mobile firepower may not be usable but neither will tanks.
Just want too specify the truth is usually the mean of various truths. Most of our ideas here are just preliminary ideas to spark discussion not fully developed tactical doctrine. I do beleive the use of heavy vehicles and tank armies needs to be updated. Otherwise, we might put ourself in position of French army in 1940. Stuck in past war. As much as development of weapons/technology must be dictated by doctrine and tactical needs, doctrine must also take into account new technology and weapons that become possible as time goes by.
“Just want too specify the truth is usually the mean of various truths. Most of our ideas here are just preliminary ideas to spark discussion not fully developed tactical doctrine. ”
Which is why we have discussion. People are generally like blind men trying to understand the elephant, each of them will have a good image of one part but for the whole picture they have to talk.
“I do think that a certain amount of tactical knowledge on warfare and even more so the deciding factors in winning certain types of wars is necessary to make a realistic choice of weapons, ”
Knowledge of military history primarily.
“If the decision to introduce the M16 and not to use the very good M14 anymore is based on weight (weapon and ammunition) that is needed to provide the footsoldier with adeqate firepower”
Decision was based on the need to provide foot soldier with adequate firepower. Automatic AK-47 has proven its worth, especially in suppressive fire situations, in Southeast Asia, and US had nothing to counter it with. M16 was intended as a stopgap measure – being originally designed for airfield protection – but US never went around to producing a proper assault rifle designed for battlefield conditions.
M14 was “very good” for a WWII/Korea scenario where most armies were using bolt-action and semi-auto rifles. In Vietnam, it could have been a DGM rifle, and nothing more.
But yes, weight is important. Soldiers today carry to much weight anyway.
“So, if protection can be given, without compromising the goals too much for us “westerners”, this is the best choice, as it is for Israel.”
That is true. But the best way to minimize casualties is to end the war quickly. Which means primarily establishing clear political goals. But when those goals are “introduce neoliberalism to a Middle Eastern country”, as it was in 2003, or “help the hugely unpopular dictatorial government” as in Vietnam, such a thing really isn’t possible as people won’t give support to it.
Same thing goes for infantry rifles. One size cant fit all. We need different weapons/solutions for different problems.
What do you want from general assault rifle?
I want a rifle that is
1) Reliable, simple and easy to maintain
2) Light, well balanced, and easy to fire accurately. Especially after I been firing for a while and im tired. I want a bipod on mine.
3) Accurate in single shot with a good and light scope that functions well in all light levels and distances.
4) High rate of fire in auto mode with controlability. Not like the AK’s I have fired in auto.
5) Fires a round that keeps good balance between weight ans size (for my own logistics), and balistics (how well and accurately it kills the enemy at all the distances i will need it to). And, how well it penetrates body armor).
I dont know which rifle best fits that criteria?
I can tell you I am not huge fan of AK personally. Although, it meets criteria #1 from what I have read.
Yes, these are all good requirements. Personally I prefer bullpup designs as it is better for a number situations – you can combine short rifle for urban combat with long barrel required for open-field combat, a feature impossible in classic rifles. While I may be partial towards the VHS rifle, seeing as I’m Croatian, I would say it is one of the better designs around – I hear it is reliable, and it has integral sights for the grenade launcher. Steyr AUG also seems to be an excellent design, while I have heard that FAMAS is not exactly reliable; if true, then any other pluses it may have are basically irrelevant and it can be sent to scrap heap.
I like that one!
I will try to use it with my clients.
Interestingly, the US has been hesitant to adopt Bullpups. I’m not sure whether that’s due to institutional inertia though.
One particular use I could see is instead of Carbines, using Bullpups. They have much better stopping power than a Carbine would. Carbines are given to vehicles crew and people who cannot haul around a full sized rifle due to space limitations. I would argue, instead of arming people with a Carbine, arm them with a Bullpup.
“I’m not sure whether that’s due to institutional inertia though. ”
Probably. US military is, if nothing else, conservative.
“One particular use I could see is instead of Carbines, using Bullpups. They have much better stopping power than a Carbine would. Carbines are given to vehicles crew and people who cannot haul around a full sized rifle due to space limitations. I would argue, instead of arming people with a Carbine, arm them with a Bullpup.”
That is the point. In fact, Bullpup designs have a major advantage in ratio of rifle length to barrel length when compared to classical designs. In other words, you get either more precise and lethal weapon for the same total length, or shorter and more mobile weapon for the same barrel length.
There is one thing totally not related to tanks that I think is worth considering – the fleet size. It will be a doubling, even with replacing all fighters with the FLX.
Let’s say the FLX costs 1/6 as much (so about ~$40 million million USD) and about 1/15 as much to fly per hour (say $4,600 USD was Picard’s figure) as a leading double engine bomber interceptor (like the F-22, which let’s say costs about ~$250 million – the USAF contends this is $160 million and with R&D, it is ~$360 million; $68,362 apparently, so close to $70k/hour).
Let’s say we go for 60 hours of flight per month
– Even with 1/15 the flight per hour cost, you’ll be flying 5x as much (F-22 flies 10-12 hours/month, so let’s say 12 hours/month)
– Assuming the FLX has an 8000 hour airframe life (same as F-22), you’ll have to replace it 5x as much because your flying 5x more per month
So in terms of marginal costs per fighter per life cycle (and I’m assuming the costs per flight hour encompass everything):
– 40 million + $4.6k x 8000 = 76.8 million
– 76.8 million x 5 = $384 million
– 250 million + ~$68.362k x 8000 = $796,896.000
So you will have about 2x as much aircraft (because $384 million versus $797 million) and 5x as much sorties per plane, so outnumbered in force multiplier around 10:1 (5x as much sorties, 2x as much aircraft). The other is that your pilots will be vastly superior at 60 hours per month.
Sorry for missing this post, but IIRC figure was 45.000 USD for the F-22 direct operating price – 68.000 includes base maintenance etc. Let’s say 46.000 to account for inflation.
FLX: 40 million USD, 4.600 USD PFH, 60 hours per month, 8 years
F-22: 275 million USD, 46.000 USD PFH, 15 hours per month, 44 years
FLX: 66.496.000 USD lifecycle, 345.725.000 USD per 44 years
F-22: 639.320.000 USD lifecycle per 44 years
So the F-22 costs about twice as much as the FLX. Somewhat less if we take USAFs cost figures for granted. However, you also get 4 times as many hours per month from the FLX compared to the F-22, so real difference is in neighbourhood of 8:1. Plus, there are other multipliers to account for – both pilots and maintenance staff will give superior performance on the FLX, and you won’t have to do expensive MLUs and reconstructions: if you want upgrades, send specs to factory and you’ll be getting them next batch! (Tranche system) If you don’t want upgrades, economies of scale will mean that flyaway price will likely get reduced below 40 million USD per aircraft I have calculated – not only will FLX remain in production for a long time but it is intended for use across NATO (in my last NATO air forces proposal, I calculated a total of 6.700 FLXs in service).
With the FLX, you might be able to get more economies of scale at production because you are building so many. The closest real world example to this is the Lockheed F-16 plant – an FLX will have even greater economies.
Seeing that the aircraft will last for shorter (~11 years), it might make sense for major upgrades to not to do the upgrade and at times to simply by a new plane.
The FLX also will have lower R&D costs per plane, plus more planes, so R&D costs per plane should be lower.
You will have a large cadre of “super pilots” because of their extra hours and because at any given time, you have 2x as many pilots (so 2x as many top 5-10% pilots, who became so good in the first place because they have about 5x hours per month).
Another option: If you want the same sized fleet, the money could be invested elsewhere (such as into better engine technology or materials sciences) or perhaps simply it may make sense to reduce the military spending to begin with (it makes no sense to win a war and “lose the peace” by being out-competed in civilian sector manufacturing or industry).
Also, because FLX is cheaper, there will be little incentive to keep it in service past its lifetime. Plus, since many components from older aircraft – gun, IRST etc. – will likely be in working condition even at the end of the service life, production costs of later FLXs may be reduced by reusing old components in a new airframe.
There is that.
I was reluctant to factor those in
Potentially gun parts (but barrel will likely have to be changed – as realistic training probably entails firing the gun or firing blanks)
IRST, I think the issue will be technological advancement – a problem shared with the radar and avionics as well
But yes, there is less incentive for SLEP and upgrade programs.
The US has been aiming to try to get the F-18s, 10k hours overall:
I have heard anecdotally though that many aircraft in the USAF inventory are restricted to lower G maneuvers for that reason. Apparently their only “saving grace” has been the fact that after the USSR collapsed, Russia does not have the money to procure fighters and their fleet is aging too.
One more thing that I forgot to mention. Problems. Although I expected that the initial few FLX too have their share of problems, like all fighters, I expect it to be a lot smoother than an F-22.
Certainly, while there may be some peacetime losses from accidents, it will be one of the safer aircraft in terms of flight hours versus accidents.
The F-22 and soon, the F-35 have no doubt incurred a ton of costs from simply having problems that were not anticipated.
Agreed. Benefits of a simpler design. I expect the FLX to be most similar to Gripen in that regard.
“One of the more serious Israeli flaws was that they did not support their tanks with infantry very closely. They did have artillery and some airpower, but no CAS. Coordination I would argue was not too good.”
They did, but combined arms isn’t something that most militaries have practiced too much. The Israeli’s more than most in the past, though they gave up on it, not entirely sure of the reasons.
Before anyone shouts me down, you will see a semblance of combined arms, though not the real thing. For instance an infantry battalion during training might find the odd attack chopper, half a battery or a troop of tanks, but it is in a, “oh look there’s a tank over there” sort of a way.
The reason is cost and casualties. I don’t know how many miles you expect a heavy tank covers in a year of training though the figure might surprise you. Many ( most even) won’t even get through a tank of gas. Also working closely with tanks is quite dangerous, as too is maneuvering in IFVs at night. These vehicles are rather top heavy, traversing inclines and the like results in a real danger of rolling, which the poor bugger with his seat jacked up to peek out of the turret has to be aware of. In training the British Army puts quite powerful lights at the bottom of depressions, there were simply too many cases of Warriors rolling.
Tanks are not designed to travel for many miles. In total. Many WW2 types weren’t designed to last for much more than 500 miles, not true these days but it probably gives you an idea of the design compromises needed to pack the firepower and protection needed into the design size. When was the last time you bought a car that going to last you for 20 years or more? Those huge tank transporters ferry them around to where they are needed, and tank design has historically been either tied to railway transportation or bridge quality.They are quite an extreme asset in terms of the maintenance and care needed to keep them running, hence the solution is generally to trickle their use during peacetime to keep costs down. The lighter tanks certainly have some fun ( CVRT etc) but a tank crew might only spend a month or two on exercise per year. Ammo too is a bit of an issue, once it is close to it’s sell by date they’ll bang em off but there isn’t as much live firing as you would think. Look at any tank buy in the world and you’ll likely see that 10-15% or higher of the vehicles are armoured recovery and the like. They do tend to break down quite a lot, which is why you need the recovery vehicles.
“A turretless tank might be worth looking at as well for this job (one other advantage they have is that they may be able to better elevate their guns to the higher arcs (important for urban warfare).”
I do like the design of the S-tank. Height is a biggie. The trouble with direct fire is, to my mind, that you aren’t going to outrange the ATGMs, and you aren’t going to spot them in a tank either. Frankly neither system is going to be engaging at max range outside of the desert under perfect conditions, so you have to assume that when you fire the big gun someone is going to notice. Now the new CIWS systems might prove to be effective, in which case why do you need the armour? You certainly don’t need 120mm for direct fire support, Nor 105mm. They were chosen to defeat tanks. If the tank is now reduced to the niche of infantry support then something which can light up a ridgeline with ananswerable suppressive fire would be useful, as long as it could scoot pretty rapidly too.
Sounds more like mobile AAA to me than a tank. Protected by something Trophy-alike it might well be viable. It pretty much already exists, oto 76mm. Wouldn’t want to run into a tank company but theres likely a soboted projectile that could worry them a bit.
“I think a light highly mobile infantry force with un-armored light vehicles that can provide heavy firepower will not necesarily need direct fire support.”
I pretty much agree, or rather the target set they would require direct fire support for is a small one. One of the real advancements is remote turrets. Stick a GPMG in a squaddies hands and he’ll love you forever, stick one in a turret and people think it is underpowered. There is nothing underpowered about a GPMG as fire support in a remote turret though, those things rattle through ammo belts at quite a pace, with the operator in complete safety if hull down. Pick whatever sensor fit you like, much easier to integrate without a turret itself in the way.
Thing is all the major militiaries are going in the opposite direction. Take the British, a brigade is going to be 1 x heavy armoured ( about 50 Challies) , 1 x recce ( light armour), 2 x armoured inf ( warrior) and 1 x ‘protected mobility’ ( Basically inventing a role for the Mastiff).
Total cost £668 million per year.
Light infantry battalion ( land rovers and trucks) will cost you about £40 milion p/a for about 650 blokes. £60k per year. Add in all the fluff that came with Afghan and each pair of boots on the ground ( well actually in the base, only a small percentage venture outside) was between £300 and £400k. And that’s excluding your tanks.
Looking at the brigade above, you are only putting less than 2000 inf into the mix and you get a similar figure ( about £350k per bayonet). I’m being overly generous, once upgraded the Warriors will only house 7 men, so the real figure for bayonets will be closer to 500 – assuming the Mastiffs can get to wherever the Warriors are. What you would probably see is 14 Warriors supported by 4 Challies. That’s an awful lot of direct fire support for 72 blokes. Hope they aren’t planning on sleeping.
Artillery is even cheaper than inf, and doubles nicely as light inf, so what would be the superior force given equal budgets? I could put 10,000 bayonets in the field and beef up the IDF support massively and add some more engineers for the same money. My supply requirements would be tiny in comparison too.
The reason I like the idea of electric motorbikes so much is that such a force would be more mobile than anything else on the battlefield, and stealthy too. Hell if they massed their armour to punch through ( what else could they possibly do?) them wave them on by. Let them through and let the highly mobile ATGM teams hit them in the flanks. If they’re crawling at 3mph dismounted it won’t be long before they need resupplying, keeping tabs on them isn’t going to be tricky. 2-4 bikes per platoon laying cable and I’ve got secure comms, organic recce, useful T1 casevac light resupply and the ability to deliver ATGM teams anywhere they choose to do battle with response times that make their mission very difficult. They won’t be going anywhere near a wood, marsh or hills.
I could move an entire company in a very short space of time, completely off road and silently. The only emissions even close to the front line would be the Coy HQ generator. Probably worth getting a bit fancy and adding some airmobile but not strictly necessary.
To be honest Mike, I don’t think that there’s any army that has the level of service that me and Picard are advocating – especially not between CAS and ground forces. It needs to be as close together (probably closer) than infantry is with land artillery.
As far as the Israelis, since the 1973 war, their officer to troop ratio has become somewhat more top heavy, which may have adversely affected their abilities. Their pilots also fly less, and I suspect their military culture, although no doubt man for man, one of the top still in the world (and in some areas, probably the top still), has been declining from the force that it once was.
One of the reasons why is the amount of armour they ride around in. Not entirely down to cost, more down to the limited amount of infantry they can put out.
If you’ve only got 2500 infantry in the field how much CAS do they really need? Arty is quicker.
Overall I prefer my idea for an armed recon / dedicated gunship with SLAR. Think my rough design was asymetric, hence two could fly a racetrack pattern.
“As far as the Israelis, since the 1973 war, their officer to troop ratio has become somewhat more top heavy, which may have adversely affected their abilities. Their pilots also fly less, and I suspect their military culture, although no doubt man for man, one of the top still in the world (and in some areas, probably the top still), has been declining from the force that it once was.”
The Israeli’s have a habit of surprising, though when you’ve been bogged down in the drudgery of policing actions you aren’t going to be as sharp for the real thing. Operational imperatives take precedence.
“If you’ve only got 2500 infantry in the field how much CAS do they really need? Arty is quicker.”
Artillery is quicker but not really mobile and cannot scout in front of troops. CAS aircraft have far more roles in force setup than just CAS.
Yeah, but what Mike is trying to say is that 2500 men (and maybe women) won’t be able to cover enough ground to require the higher mobility of an aircraft. Modern artillery with ranges of up to 75 km with base bleed/rocket assisted/guided projectiles. That a whole lot of ground to cover with 2500 people.
“Yeah, but what Mike is trying to say is that 2500 men (and maybe women) won’t be able to cover enough ground to require the higher mobility of an aircraft.”
With heavy armour too don’t forget that the tail has to be protected, those supply trucks and recovery vehicles have to come from somewhere, as does your artillery. This sucks combat troops out of the frontline so out of those 2500 you might have 800 forward ( Oh the generosity!).
Five hundred of those riding around in armoured vehicles doesn’t leave a lot of ground you can cover with two infantry companies spare, Hence with such a force it is easy and natural to ensure that your artillery covers their movement. Very difficult to make a case for CAS being necessary here, particularly a specialist design.
Far more likely that you’d always have a full battalion in the close, how much frontage do you think a single battalion can handle?
Armoured forces are necessarily deep, both in terms of their intended operation ( as in deep beyond the FEBA) and in terms of the rear elements needed. If you want to apply great force to a small frontage then armour is your friend, though this almost completely nullifies the justification for CAS, except in an expoitative fashion or to defeat counterattacks. Don’t forget that you aren’t leaving your tanks on the front line, they themselves come from rear areas to smash and grab whatever the recon tells them is out there.
If you want to occupy a large frontage then infantry is your friend, and CAS too. If you want to saturate a small frontage then artillery is your god. Armed recon by CAS would be counter-productive here as it merely gives away your area of interest. CAS too as don’t forget that it is called in by ground troops. With few troops over a limited width it isn’t difficult to do the math.
This is why I keep disagreeing with your insistence on armouring up your CAS designs. Close and Deep are very different environments.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the answer to deep lying and deep striking armoured forces is mobility. If you can hit their rear areas or even merely force them to expend more manpower on the rear areas then half the battle is won. With their protected mobility ( from the front at least) you will generally want to be able to get out of the way pretty sharpish when a 65 tonne monster turns up. You then want to be able to deny them the ability to reinforce and exploit, here CAS is your friend, as too are weapon systems which can target follow on forces. ( MLRS).
As a simplification infantry need CAS, tanks need recon.
“Five hundred of those riding around in armoured vehicles doesn’t leave a lot of ground you can cover with two infantry companies spare, Hence with such a force it is easy and natural to ensure that your artillery covers their movement. Very difficult to make a case for CAS being necessary here, particularly a specialist design.”
In mobile warfare, towed artillery has to stop to deploy while self-propelled artillery is limited in types of terrain it can cover. So it cannot always cover the movement.
And smaller the force, greater necessity for good situational awareness… which means scouting. And CAS aircraft are ideal for that.
“If you want to apply great force to a small frontage then armour is your friend, though this almost completely nullifies the justification for CAS, except in an expoitative fashion or to defeat counterattacks. Don’t forget that you aren’t leaving your tanks on the front line, they themselves come from rear areas to smash and grab whatever the recon tells them is out there. ”
Yes and no. Armor is used primarily for breakthroughts and fast maneuver deep behind enemy lines. CAS aircraft aren’t really useful against dug-in units, but shine during maneuver phase – you can have them scout in front of the force, discover and destroy ambushes, have them secure the flank against the counterattack so that full weight of your attack can be employed against your specific point of interest (as Patton did during campaign in France), have them help out the main attack whenever it runs into trouble, and very presence of CAS aircraft will make the enemy more careful with his force maneuvers, thus forcing him to give up initiative and ability to respond to your own movement. CAS aircraft can also be used to eliminate enemy artillery. Therefore, combined employment of CAS aircraft, armor and mechanized infantry only makes sense.
“If you want to saturate a small frontage then artillery is your god.”
That is only relevant in the initial breakthrough, and it is rare for modern maneuver battlefield to offer targets for massed artillery.
“Armed recon by CAS would be counter-productive here as it merely gives away your area of interest. CAS too as don’t forget that it is called in by ground troops.”
If you move too fast for the enemy to exploit that information then it doesn’t really matter. And don’t forget that engagement by tanks also gives away your area of interest, and having CAS aircraft destroy enemy troops in advance will speed up the movement of ground troops. Besides, warning the enemy if your presence several minutes to hours in advance is preferable to walking into an ambush.
“This is why I keep disagreeing with your insistence on armouring up your CAS designs.”
If it can’t survive at very least small arms fire, it is useless for CAS.
“It doesn’t take a genius to see that the answer to deep lying and deep striking armoured forces is mobility.”
“As a simplification infantry need CAS, tanks need recon.”
CAS aircraft can provide both. Plus a lot more.
“Artillery is quicker but not really mobile and cannot scout in front of troops..”
CAS, as in your ALX, cannot scout in front of troops either, or not without getting it’s ass handed to it by every peer rival and many militias with goat herds. If your ground based recon has pinpointed all of the AAA, SAM and likely manpads locations, then you probably don’t need aerial recon. If on the other hand it hasn’t, and it never does or will, then you are merely flying,at low level, in a relatively slow machine, into the enemies back yard, where every ground based system can hear you coming and has the initiative and drop on you. I don’t know of a single armoured formation that doesn’t pack enough AAA and SAMs to have such a recon flight dancing a jig to avoid them.
Say the airframe survived, the chances of the recon being useful are extremely small. 300 knts is still rather fast to pick out individual camoed up vehicles whilst extremely low. Operate a bit higher for greater visibility and you are entering the terrain which every single SAM system is designed to protect. Over Kosovo, much higher, the NATO jets spent rather a large amount of time maneuvering to defeat SAMs. Difficult to calmly watch the treeline whilst you are pulling G to defeat incoming.
Every battlefield interdiction aircraft is designed for speed on the deck, the closer to mach 1 you can get the more chance you have as at least they don’t hear you coming. Arguably you still need relatively safe ingress and egress points, and this in the 70s and 80s, they don’t make them any more for good reason,
Oddly enough the airframe you want for this work is explicitly the F-35. ( boo hiss).
Battlefield interdiction, deep air support is the one mission it is designed to be ruthlessly brilliant at. All those expensive EOTS and radar sensors are there for just this reason, to spot and prosecute armoured formations on the move, day or night. Hence why it is designed to defeat manpads and X-band fire control radars, and why it’s situational awareness has been beefed up so much ( it it works), and why it operates above the level of traditional AAA. It is designed to compliment armoured forces on the offensive by defeating counter attacks, prevent the massing of force. In other words to defeat mobility itself.
I’d be rather interested to see how the F-35 fared against my Draco like creatures… Should be effective to 20,000 ft .
Now, I know we don’t like the F-35. It is the pantomime villain in fat bastard form. Trouble is it is the insistence on protected mobility and direct fire support which has caused it’s development, and in this context it makes perfect sense.
“CAS, as in your ALX, cannot scout in front of troops either, or not without getting it’s ass handed to it by every peer rival and many militias with goat herds. ”
It can. SAMs have a kill rate of 1 aircraft in 200-300 SAM launches. Having a low-flying aircraft scout ahead means greater danger, yes, but main danger will not be SAMs, or MANPADS, but rather AAA. Which is why you need armor, as optical AAA gives no warning until they start shooting at you (like radar SAMs, radar AAA is more or less useless).
“If your ground based recon has pinpointed all of the AAA, SAM and likely manpads locations, then you probably don’t need aerial recon.”
Ground recon cannot pinpoint it except for those close to the frontline, that is the issue.
“If on the other hand it hasn’t, and it never does or will, then you are merely flying,at low level, in a relatively slow machine, into the enemies back yard, where every ground based system can hear you coming and has the initiative and drop on you.”
Wrong. First, all aircraft are slow down low, and speed = survivability mantra is bullshit. It helps survivability, but is not the only way to achieve it. Second, flying low means that the enemy has very short time avaliable to lock on and fire at you, which means that many won’t be able to actually attack you even when they do see you.
“I don’t know of a single armoured formation that doesn’t pack enough AAA and SAMs to have such a recon flight dancing a jig to avoid them. ”
AAA and SAMs need to be static to be employed. If the enemy remains static in fear of your CAS aircraft, then said aircraft have done their job without firing a single bullet.
“Say the airframe survived, the chances of the recon being useful are extremely small. 300 knts is still rather fast to pick out individual camoed up vehicles whilst extremely low.”
A-10 has search speed of 225 mph or 196 knots.
“Every battlefield interdiction aircraft is designed for speed on the deck, the closer to mach 1 you can get the more chance you have as at least they don’t hear you coming.”
Wrong. Only proper battlefield interdiction aircraft in existence are Su-25 and A-10. Tornado isn’t it, it is capable of deep interdiction, which has nothing at all to do with battlefield interdiction except for low altitude flight and similarly-sounding name. Same for the F-35.
“Oddly enough the airframe you want for this work is explicitly the F-35.”
When I feel like murdering my own troops I’ll drop a nuke.
“Battlefield interdiction, deep air support is the one mission it is designed to be ruthlessly brilliant at. ”
Deep interdiction =/= battlefield interdiction.
“All those expensive EOTS and radar sensors are there for just this reason, to spot and prosecute armoured formations on the move, day or night. ”
They are there primarily to allow it to target fixed points – bridges, ammunition depots etc. – in all weather conditions. Its ability to attack armored formations is limited, but it does exist; its ability to attack infantry is nearly nonexistent.
“Hence why it is designed to defeat manpads and X-band fire control radars, and why it’s situational awareness has been beefed up so much ( it it works), and why it operates above the level of traditional AAA.”
Only thing it has been designed to defeat are X-band fire control radars. It is still vulnerable to IR SAMs, optical AAA and VHF search radars. Combine first and last ones, and F-35 is about as stealthy as the F-16. Which is why it will always fly at 30.000+ ft… from where it cannot support troops (it can cheer them on, though, if that counts as support). No different from the F-15E, F-16, Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon…
It will come down to the goals really. To hold terrain, your infantry force is probably best.
For a deep “Blitzkrieg”, some form of light tank will be needed for sure.
For breaking a fortified line (ideal would be to maneuver around if possible, but the terrain may not always be ideal – and of course, enemies are likely to fortify critical choke points).
Oops, hit enter by accident. For breaking the fortified line, there may be a need for heavier forces.
Inevitably, you’re going to get less manpower combat to logistics the heavier you go. There is also the issue of outrunning supply lines for Blitzkrieg (happened in WWI during the Ludendorff offensive).
I think that the ALX should be able to do ok – large radar missiles will not be effective and at the divsionary level, there isn’t much in the way of mobile massive mobile AA. IR missiles (especially Manpads) and medium calibre flak guns will be a threat though. It will not be able to survive a fortified line though – the density of AA is simply to large. But one small ground hugging aircraft will have the element of surprise – and it should be able to report back the location of heavy AA.
“Wrong. First, all aircraft are slow down low, and speed = survivability mantra is bullshit. It helps survivability, but is not the only way to achieve it. Second, flying low means that the enemy has very short time avaliable to lock on and fire at you, which means that many won’t be able to actually attack you even when they do see you.”
It isn’t speed per se ( though all designs are considerably faster than you envision on the deck), but energy conservation. For instance the proposal to upgrade the A-7s with F110s ( as part of the CAS / BI program) was to enable them to pull 6gs at 450knts, which was the minimum requirement for evading manpads ( which also doesn’t announce it’s launch). More powerful engines on the A-10 was also considered, but the airframe just wasn’t up to it. Once you are doing cartwheels in the sky to avoid incoming your speed drops, you become less agile and therefore easy prey. High drag designs like the A-10 have serious problems conserving energy in the first place, most units nix several weapons stations to reduce drag and one of the reasons the airframes wre a bit knackered was the need to spin the engines up with the boards out to get reasonable acceleration.
Same reason the LANTIRN pods purchased for the A-10 went to the Strike Eagles instead, with the advent of teen series soviet SAMs the threat environment was simply too hot for a low and slow mud mover. Hence they were relegated to SEAD and bomb trucks should another asset paint the target ( mainly in cooperation with AH-64s). They’d turn up to provide the heavy weaponry, but they weren’t asked to do the spotting themselves….
They did some scud hunting I suppose, but IADS was already toast, no counter air and the launchers specifically required visual ID.
“Wrong. Only proper battlefield interdiction aircraft in existence are Su-25 and A-10. Tornado isn’t it, it is capable of deep interdiction, which has nothing at all to do with battlefield interdiction except for low altitude flight and similarly-sounding name. Same for the F-35.”
I have no idea where you get the idea that only the A-10 and Su-25 are designed for battlefield interdiction. This is the staple diet of almost every ground weapon carrying tactical bomber in existence. Jaguar, Mig-27, Harrier, the list is endless. Some are more specialised for the deep strike or interdiction role but that would just make them slightly over designed. Dial back a bit and most of the tactical bombers from WW2 were designed for battlefield interdiction too, almost exclusively on the German side of the fence. Bombing staging points, roads, supply convoys, ammo dumps, rail heads… If it is beyond the fire support line and the tactical commander on the ground wants it bombed then it’s battlefield interdiction. Within the range of artillery and it’s close air support. Armed recce can be a blend of the two but if you care to look at the aircraft which carry recce pods, or cameras in the older days, none of them are, or were, low and slow. Completely defeats the object.
Purely visual armed recon from a jet over a contested battlefield? Really?? Maybe in a very low threat environment, or where the IADS has already been seriously degraded, and there is nothing else available…. You mean like as in a low speed pass on suspected enemy positions? Or just looking out of the canopy a bit whilst pootling aimlessly around the battlefield? How do you think this works?
Go hire yourself a Cessna and fly around at 500 feet, 110knts and see how effective you think it would be faster…. Cubs used to do it in Normandy, but they only got away with it because the Germans feared opening up on them, and the hail of artillery which would follow.
Interdiction or deep strike is generally controlled by the air force given the theatre aims, rather than the Army having input. Sub-strategic though still with a view to limiting the movement of supplies and forces.
” Its ability to attack armored formations is limited, but it does exist”
This is it’s primary role! Every iota of the airframe is designed around the SAR imaging and target discrimination from the expensive radar!.. I hate to link to propaganda pieces but there are plenty of youtube vids and the like which demonstrate it…
You didn’t think it was a fighter did you?
“It isn’t speed per se ( though all designs are considerably faster than you envision on the deck), but energy conservation.”
Yes, ideally a CAS fighter would have a TWR of >1,0 at combat weight.
“More powerful engines on the A-10 was also considered, but the airframe just wasn’t up to it.”
Or Air Force simply didn’t want to upgrade the aircraft it desperately wants to retire at all costs.
“They did some scud hunting I suppose, but IADS was already toast, no counter air and the launchers specifically required visual ID. ”
A-10 also did SEAD and DEAD, so that Strike Eagle excuse doesn’t really hold water.
“I have no idea where you get the idea that only the A-10 and Su-25 are designed for battlefield interdiction.”
For battlefield interdiction you need to be able to find targets, engage them, and return. Tornado is a wee bit too fast for it, while high-flying designs like just about any multirole fighter have to search for targets with FLIR… which is quite problematic, as huge amount of clutter means very narrow search field and therefore short range or slow search; grayscale nature of IR sensors also limits pilot’s ability to find targets, though in some cases FLIR can be a huge help as IR emissions are hard to camouflage. At the same time, fast movers simply don’t have the endurance to hang out in search unless carrying external tanks, can’t fly down low to find camouflaged targets and typically have very limited weapons load onboard (Typhoon can carry at most 4 AtG weapons if it wants to have sufficient endurance, which gives a total of 7 firing passes when combined with gun; compare this to 20+ firing passes avaliable to the A-10. Did I mention that Typhoon costs 5 times as much as the A-10? Make this 20:7 advantage into 80:7 advantage, and that’s not counting sortie rate difference).
“Bombing staging points, roads, supply convoys, ammo dumps, rail heads… If it is beyond the fire support line and the tactical commander on the ground wants it bombed then it’s battlefield interdiction.”
“Close Air Support
CAS is air action against hostile targets close to friendly forces. Each air mission requires detailed integration with the fire and movement of those forces. This means that the aircraft are under positive or procedural control.
Battlefield Air Interdiction (BAI)
BAI is air action against hostile surface targets that are in a position to directly affect friendly forces. These missions require joint planning and coordination. However, they may not require continuous coordination during the execution stage. Those air strikes short of the fire support coordination line (FSCL) must be coordinated with the FSCOORD.
Although not a part of close air support, air interdiction will play an important role by influencing actions in the deep battle. Air interdiction is that air operation conducted to destroy, neutralize, or delay the enemy’s military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces. It is conducted at such distance from friendly forces that detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces is usually not required.”
What you are describing is air interdiction, not battlefield air interdiction. Close air support requires specialized aircraft and specialized pilots. Battlefield interdiction is best done by CAS units, but can be done by other air-to-ground capable aircraft if required. Air interdiction is doable by mostly everything capable of dropping bombs.
“Armed recce can be a blend of the two but if you care to look at the aircraft which carry recce pods, or cameras in the older days, none of them are, or were, low and slow. Completely defeats the object.”
Or it is simply that slow and low aircraft don’t need to carry cameras / recce pods. Besides, armed reconnaissance is different from reconnaissance in that you need to be capable of actually attacking and destroying targets you find.
“Purely visual armed recon from a jet over a contested battlefield? Really?? Maybe in a very low threat environment, or where the IADS has already been seriously degraded, and there is nothing else available….”
Wether it is purely visual or with FLIR / recce pod, pilot has to be trained for it. Which means multirole jets can’t do it. And in many cases doing recon from 30.000 ft completely defeats the purpose.
“This is it’s primary role! Every iota of the airframe is designed around the SAR imaging and target discrimination from the expensive radar!”
Oh yes, tell me when it works against mobile targets…
In terms of what I think about the tank destroyer, it’s like the S-Tank and the German Stugs from WWII, probably Jagdpanther is what you’d want to base it on most closely. The big benefit of the turretless tank is that the turret weighs a lot and getting rid of the mechanics and complexity in the turret saves quite a bit of weight (and potentially height). This gives you the opportunity to
– Add more armor (you could have near-heavy level tank protection with a medium tank)
– Or add a bigger gun on the same mass chassis (this is also where the opportunity to get higher elevations is)
– Enjoy the weight savings and have a lighter vehicle (could also have a lower profile)
Obviously, without a turret, it isn’t going to fare as well offensively in tank to tank combat (and the Stug was originally made for infantry support). But in WWII, the Stugs did fare remarkably well all things considered on the Eastern Front versus Soviet tanks, particularly when used defensively.
I think that the Trophy and similar systems represent a partial answer to the RPG/ATGM problem. Ideally, I would like to see a passive detection system rather than a radar though (probably IR based). I think that this will lead to an arms race between missile/RPG vs countermeasure.
You could add multiple layers of defense in, although this will come at the expense of weight:
Active defense (probably like Trophy, a shotgun), but with passive sensors
Birdcage for detonating RPGs
Explosive reactive armor (probably double layered with some NxRA first to prevent decoys)
Then the actual armor
If it were necessary to do all that. I think though that it may be desirable to have 2 variants of the turretless tank – one based on the light chassis and the other based on the heavy chassis. Some versions could be Open topped as Picard advocated.
You could put a remote MG turret on it. What kind of MG are you thinking for the turret – a 7.62mm variant (could use FN MAG or M240?) or a 12.7mm variant?
I would agree that light infantry battalion is going to be your cheapest option though.
– S tank would be for a short variant
– Jagdpanther if you wanted a more powerful gun (although you would of course want a more reliable chassis than the Panther tank)
“In terms of what I think about the tank destroyer, it’s like the S-Tank and the German Stugs from WWII, probably Jagdpanther is what you’d want to base it on most closely. The big benefit of the turretless tank is that the turret weighs a lot and getting rid of the mechanics and complexity in the turret saves quite a bit of weight (and potentially height). This gives you the opportunity to”
Very feasible but I don’t really see a role. Love the design in general and I’d certainly rather have lightish S-tanks than many of the behemoths out there, but as I’m wondering whether tanks are worth it I really can’t see a specialist design for a purely defensive tank having much clout.
For instance if the opposition tanks and IFVs are now emitting pretty much full time then I’d rather replace all of mine with Dracos, nullify the attack helicopter threat, provide rapid on call fire support and, with the addition of a Trophy type system, could be used to brass up a ridge / tree line in an emergency. 76mm is a bit heavy for AA, about right for IDF and perfectly adequate for direct fires. Would be very much shoot and scoot direct though.
“Sounds more like mobile AAA to me than a tank. Protected by something Trophy-alike it might well be viable. It pretty much already exists, oto 76mm. Wouldn’t want to run into a tank company but theres likely a soboted projectile that could worry them a bit.”
There is. The South African Rooikat ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooikat ) armed with the GT4 76mm cannon that can fire all of the ammunition of the Naval Oto 76 mm but also an APFSDS with a muzzle velocity greater then 1600m/s (that about as much as the APFSDS of the Abrams’s 120mm cannon) that can defeat T-62 Armour from any angle at 1500 m. I have a sneaky suspicion that the South Africans are understating these values.
Hmm.. Nice, but a bit on the heavy side.
Liking the APFSDS though!
“Liking the APFSDS though!”
Me too. Wonder if there is any chance to be combined with the STRALES guidance systems of the Oto 76 for guided antitank round?
“Hmm.. Nice, but a bit on the heavy side. ”
True. And old. Conceived in the 70s. But it’s a starting point.
Thinking about it a bit more I’m really not convinced that direct fire support is worth it. There are innumerable vehicles that you could make a case for, whether due to mine protection, armour, firepower, mobility, air transportability, amphibious etc. Having a mix of all of them is expensive, and degrades your core capability.
Take the Warrior, the new 40mm doesn’t give you anything the old 30mm didn’t, except increased armour penetration and modular armour, which is jury rigged anyway. No new capability, just £650 million spent to retain one, at the price of a dismount per vehicle.
If you need increased anti armour capability though the best way is simply to assign an extra Javelin section. This is pretty much the number of blokes you are losing. Same with IDF ( more mortars), manpads ( not part of a battalions normal strength).I can understand why retaining heavy tanks and the like is an easy decision, they might cost you and extra £50 million per year but with all the infrastructure and training as sunk costs it makes sense. The question though is would you spent £3 billion to buy them in the first place if you didn’t have any in this day and age? Tracked or wheeled recon is necessary, but with the battlefield increasingly transparent to SAR not quite as necessary in the numbers present. If the modern ATGMs eat even the heaviest of tanks then IFVs and recon are basically fucked.
Back in the day the sensors, thermal imaging and the like, were almost the reason detre for the heavies and their recon. Now every battalion has thermal imaging which is at least on a par and available at platoon and section level.Your average infantryman carries more batteries of every imaginable type than you could shake a stick at.
The only problem is concentration of force. Potentially there isn’t much in the way of fortifications, mobile or fixed, that the infantry couldn’t handle given almost unlimited ammo and fire support. On foot though the amount you can lug about isn’t huge, hence part of the reason detre for the APC / IFV and the various attempts ( walkers and the like) to mimic the natural mobility of humans.
Still loving the idea of electric bikes, providing you could find a way of moving reasonable numbers of reloads. This would greatly solve the timely movement of heavy weapons to the point of need. You might typically be looking after 5km and anything up to 10km of front, so your 12 ATGM teams have to be able to respond. They also need enough reloads to deal with anything bigger than a probing attack and several positions to fall back upon or else become vulnerable to direct fire.
The main problem though is your mortars. They’ll be eating a ton of ammo a day each, easily. Sustained fire can burn through tens of thousands of rounds a day too. The thing that strikes me is that we probably had this about right in 1936 with the universal carrier.
No pretence at mine proof, shark proof, NBC proof, just a low lying very mobile and not particularly fast tractor. Only thing around which is even similar is the German Wiesel, though the design is horribly compromised by the airmobile tag. Looks as though you could pick it up and put it in the missuses handbag too, which isn’t awe inspiring. The 120mm version would be pretty awesome if I wasn’t convinced it would only work for about five rounds…
All you really need is mobility, something that can act as a battlefield ambulance, rapid resupply and the ability to dig in quickly, which could be solved in itself by adding something along the lines of a mini excavator to it. It isn’t a question of which calibre and how much armour, the infantry already have the tools they need, they just can’t carry them.
Another idea which might have a place for especially heavy fortifications or particularly hazardous recon is one the Germans tried in WW2 with creeper mines. Basically very low tracked mini vehicles which were steered by remote to their intended victim ( under tanks, next to pill boxes, trenches etc) filled with 100kg of the good stuff. Looked a lot like the IED busting mini vehicles. One of the advantages of heavy armour and direct fire support is that every sod opens up on them, therefore giving away their positions. I don’t see any reason why such a mini vehicle couldn’t fit the sort of rooftop mounted remote weapons that are now adorning light vehicles, Basically either a remote heavy weapons station which would be almost undetectable or a sacrificial lamb in an assault. Keep their heads down and let them crawl right up to and into opposition positions. Maybe more one for the engineers but very dooable.
“Your average infantryman carries more batteries of every imaginable type than you could shake a stick at.”
Which is kinda problem as it f*cks up mobility.
I remember reading once Colonel Douglas McGregor argue that the US had become like the old colonial powers, a mostly constabulary force for fighting insurgents and for corporations, rather than something more about fighting to win versus a heavily armed conventional enemy.
As far as tactical bombing and CAS go, I found a 1968 study which fleshes out many of the specifics.
Click to access DSB_TacticalAircraft_1968SummerStudy_Declassified.pdf
Two of the most interesting things I found were:
The ordinance effectiveness table.
And the problems in attack aviation.
Thinking about CAS again, it seems CAS aircrafts’ biggest threat is from MANPADS, and countermeasures such as DIRCM are in place to be utilized, but what about physical defenses?
Are there any materials that are light, and have excellent tensile strength for withstanding explosive detonations? Kevlar comes to mind, but Kevlar doesn’t seem like it would help much against a continuous-rod warhead, even if you took an entire sheet of the stuff and stapled it to the bottom of your plane.
(I’m not very knowledgeable at all in material sciences, so I’m speaking out of my ass here)
I’m not really sure. I’d say that biggest threat is optically-aimed AAA. As for MANPADS, they do damage via fragmentation, that is to say kinetic penetration of fragments. Some kind of composite armor might be useful, maybe Kelvar / Titan or something like it. Kevlar is designed to stop physical penetration, but I can’t really say I ever gave much attention to the topic.
I found an interesting post about the Abrams and Leopard 2.
(The whole thread is rather interesting)
Why is the M1 abrams so good? Seriously. Currently, the Leopard 2A6/A7 has quite important things over the M1A2SEPV2, but, at the core, i think the M1 is better.
The M1A2 has probably the best comm/navigation and optics, of any tank. T-14, K2, Altay, type 10 may be more or less equal… but it’s not sure.
To be Honest, what bothers me the most with M1A2 is that they are painted in desert color since 15 years… Damn! And actually, US army shouldn’t even bother painting in tan! who cares? They fight insurgents!
Look standard dark olive color M1A1 abrams (1990s)… Ain’t it far more pretty? Looks solid.
M1 Abrams currently has 3 main issues in my opinion:
-turbine… The diesel engine is needed ASAP, for fuel economy and price reasons. Turbine is powerful and reliable otherwise, it’s not the problem.
-too heavy! US army must find a solution to reduce weight to 58-60t max, currently the latest mod is about 64t i think… New armor solutions and a proper APS should lead in that direction.
-the lack of true HE-frag ammunition! US army / USMC will never understand it or what? Damn, they need ASAP something like russian 125mm HE-F rounds.
Why is the M1A2 so good? I mean, the M1 tank in general… Because, right from the start, it made no compromise with ammo storage: all is safely stored in 2 places equiped with blowout panels. The side turret armor is on its whole length made of composite and spaced armor, while the Leopard2 isn’t.
I think it’s a fantastically thought-out tank, but some doctrinal choices of US army hampers its full potential. This tank designed in the 1970s is not only able to remain competitive, but it’s one of the best.
I love russian tanks… But, M1 offers a better package than any tank of the T-64-72-80-90 type. T-14 is no doubt a different beast.
The real problem with the M1 and other tanks, is the lack of an autoloader… it’s not a real problem, but, it’s not a quality.
I think the M1A3 should remain without autoloader, as it would compromise too much the design and turret armor.
M1A3 needs imho:
-reduced weight under 60t
-lighter armor solutions
-a new 120mm gun of L50 length, but no L55 rheinmettal, it’s a false solution, this gun is overrated
-a new 120mm cheap and programmable HE ammo, forget all these multi purpose HEAT bullcrap
-NEVER NO MORE TAN PAINT… eyes burn.
Why should US army ever replace it (for now)? for now it’s as good as anything and needs just a new evolution step. The definitive problem with M1 armor in a possible tank fight is the lower hull… I have no doubt that T-14 ammo or even current T-90/72 ammo can penetrate that 600-700 LOS armor block with no problem.
As an “ideal” current tank, i think the AMX leclerc is quite it. The problem is, it’s too expensive and hard to maintain, bad reliability of many components. It’s ideal because it’s small, lighter and has an autoloader, a gun that outperforms rhm L44, and a modular armor that is very effective. Well in this regards, the japanese type 10 is also ideal and more modern than leclerc.
T-14 might be even more “ideal” but it’s too early to say something.
I want to see what you think of his points before I say anything.
First and foremost, tank is a system… gas turbine alone is enough to disqualify a tank from competing for title of “the best” as it drinks fuel by the gallon, makes tank-infantry cooperation difficult and creates huge IR signature. It also has superior top speed but inferior acceleration when compared to diesel engine, and just as in aircraft, in tanks acceleration is more important than top speed.
Autoloader, or lack of it, is not a problem it is a tradeoff. Autoloaders allow smaller crew and smaller turret profile at the expense of longer reload times, lesser reliability and, in certain (Russian) designs, greater vulnerability.
Leclerc may be the best tank on paper (balance of firepower / protection / mobility), but it is expensive. Personally, I prefer Challenger II to either of them.
Read an article recently from someone who had been on the frontlines in the Ukraine…
Very interesting analysis which pretty much backs up the discussion above. The key points were the proliferation of UAVs – and that there is no current way to take the buggers out ( I still think some good old fashioned flak is a wonderful thing to have).
The vulnerability of IFVs was a considerable lesson – mainly due to their incredible vulnerability to thermobaric warheads. The Ukrainian infantry would ride on top of their BMPs!
Now I’ve always thought IFVs / APCs were basically crap but didn’t really expect them to be quite so crap. The Russians used lots of rocket arty, TOS-1s etc. Previous mixes had been about 4 tubes to 1 rocket arty piece though intel suggests it was more like 4:3. With UAVs constantly overhead their lethality was amazing. Those lovely 240mm mortars were, oddly enough, lovely.
Saying that tanks themselves lost none of their sparkle, though the UKR forces didn’t have much in the way of decent ATGMs. They resorted to using self propelled arty to 122mm the turrets off as tank shells were usually defeated by the reactive armour present on both sides. Russia committed a handful ( report stated maybe a company worth) of T-90s which it appeared were almost invulnerable. Their CIWS system would just knock out incoming ATGMs at knife fighting range, the ATGMs described it as being a bit like a magical force field surrounding them.
Some darned good manoeuvring at one stage from the Ukrainians, though couldn’t convert it into a strategic success.
Russian artillery being a bit good is nothing new, 85% of casualties were caused by it, but one has to wonder how NATO forces would have fared…
Badly I think. If BMPs are made obsolete then what chance ours aren’t? Report said they were often useful as fire support platforms when kept back to support attacks, but that makes their armour almost entirely pointless. Would a warrior, Luchs, Ajax or whatever fare well against thermobarics hitting the top armour? I doubt it.
I imagine the Ruskies still have quite a few Shilkas and whatnot so with the western reliance on missiles for AA I’d imagine we’d lose the UAV war. Which probably means we’d lose the artillery duel too. The Ukrainians had no airpower to speak of but I can’t see us having much else in the way of advantages…
ATGMs were a bit of a damp squib in other ways. With constant surveillance dug in ATGM teams would quickly be on the receiving end of fires, so maybe even the PBI need to shoot and scoot…
I didn’t save the link but I’ll try to find it…
” Very interesting analysis which pretty much backs up the discussion above. The key points were the proliferation of UAVs – and that there is no current way to take the buggers out ( I still think some good old fashioned flak is a wonderful thing to have).”
That, or jamming…
“Russia committed a handful ( report stated maybe a company worth) of T-90s which it appeared were almost invulnerable. Their CIWS system would just knock out incoming ATGMs at knife fighting range, the ATGMs described it as being a bit like a magical force field surrounding them.”
Yes, that is an interesting system.
” Russian artillery being a bit good is nothing new, 85% of casualties were caused by it, but one has to wonder how NATO forces would have fared…”
That is actually nothing new, in almost all wars majority of casualties were caused by the artillery. In Crimean war percentage was 50% IIRC.
” I imagine the Ruskies still have quite a few Shilkas and whatnot so with the western reliance on missiles for AA I’d imagine we’d lose the UAV war. Which probably means we’d lose the artillery duel too. The Ukrainians had no airpower to speak of but I can’t see us having much else in the way of advantages…”
” ATGMs were a bit of a damp squib in other ways. With constant surveillance dug in ATGM teams would quickly be on the receiving end of fires, so maybe even the PBI need to shoot and scoot…”
Shoot and scoot is a must on today’s battlefield, unless you are really well dug in.
“That is actually nothing new, in almost all wars majority of casualties were caused by the artillery. In Crimean war percentage was 50% IIRC.”
Quite but the APC / IFV is supposedly designed to protect it’s infantry from said artillery. It appears that thermobaric warheads are a previously unthought of vulnerability.
That they actually made them more vulnerable is quite a finding… Whilst the Ukraine military had it’s weaknesses it was by most standards a relatively modern force.
As too the utility of the tank, admittedly in the absence of some of it’s key predators. Saying that the Ukrainians resorting to 122mm HE in thin skinned vehicles rather than their own tank cannon due to the effectiveness of reactive armour is another eye opener.
” Quite but the APC / IFV is supposedly designed to protect it’s infantry from said artillery. It appears that thermobaric warheads are a previously unthought of vulnerability.”
Agreed, but how many militaries can afford large-scale employment of thermobaric weapons?
” As too the utility of the tank, admittedly in the absence of some of it’s key predators. Saying that the Ukrainians resorting to 122mm HE in thin skinned vehicles rather than their own tank cannon due to the effectiveness of reactive armour is another eye opener.”
Indeed it is. But IIRC Ukraine did not have modern double-head ATGMs.
I suspect most.
They aren’t fundamentally expensive systems.
From what I know though, they are not most effective at penetrating armor… I looked it up, and thermobaric AT weapons still require HEAT warhead to clear a path first (so dual warhead). Purely thermobaric weapons are only used against soft targets, chances are if you make a thermobaric weapon that can destroy an armored vehicle, a cheaper HE weapon of similar size would be able to do it as well.
So if IFVs were vulnerable against thermobaric weapons, question is why? Against vehicles that are not hermetically sealed, I could see them sucking the oxygen out. Tanks and other AFVs cannot afford to always remain completely sealed off, so a surprise attack could be effective.
The description didn’t make the mechanism of vulnerability clear though it was maybe implied that occupants would be burned to death.
AT Thermobarics are designed to punch through armour first, I think the point here is that the AFVs were being defeated through their top armour, which is merely structural rather than armoured. I’m wondering whether the positive and negative pressure waves might pop the hatches?
Found a link, though it does seem like a draft version…
Click to access rus-ukr-lessons-draft.pdf
Smaller thermobarics being used against light armour about 1:30 in..
That’s a 2kg warhead… Not sure what the warhead on a TOS-1 is but the rocket itself is over 200kg.
“From what I know though, they are not most effective at penetrating armor… I looked it up, and thermobaric AT weapons still require HEAT warhead to clear a path first (so dual warhead). Purely thermobaric weapons are only used against soft targets, chances are if you make a thermobaric weapon that can destroy an armored vehicle, a cheaper HE weapon of similar size would be able to do it as well.”
Been having a look into this myself…
Just speculation as the physics is rather complex though the article I posted is from eye witness accounts so I take it seriously.
As you say thermobarics don’t defeat armour, but what are we talking here? The top armour on a BMP is 6mm and up to 10mm on the actual hatches. 6mm isn’t even enough to reliable defeat 7.62. It isn’t armour per se but merely structural steel. AFVs are just open topped boxes with enough steel over the top to keep them together.
So what is required to effectively defeat 6mm steel? Well if we turn the problem on it’s head the situation is little different to a HE blast on the underside of a vehicle, one that is not optimised against mines. The upper sides of all IFVs and APCs are just flat.
The answer then would be not a lot. Light MRAPS use at least 10mm spaced armour and V hulls to withstand 3kg blasts from about 50cm distance, which represents an anti-vehicle mine. Without armour, double hulls or nice V shapes you’d probably barely need a pound or two of HE.
I’ve seen plenty of Ford Rangers that have been ripped apart by IEDs, not sure how thick the steel is but a couple of pounds was enough to destroy the floor pan and structural members, which I guessing would be tubular 1/8 inch steel or similar.
Hence I’m guessing that the shock wave from thermobarics is enough to overpressure the top of the BMP hulls and the resultant fireball incinerates anything that is left.
As far as I’m aware the vast majority of our IFVs are mainly aluminium…
“As you say thermobarics don’t defeat armour, but what are we talking here? The top armour on a BMP is 6mm and up to 10mm on the actual hatches. 6mm isn’t even enough to reliable defeat 7.62. It isn’t armour per se but merely structural steel. AFVs are just open topped boxes with enough steel over the top to keep them together.”
Seems it would be better to use trucks or halftracks than AFVs… at least infantry transported would be able to see any possible dangers.
” Hence I’m guessing that the shock wave from thermobarics is enough to overpressure the top of the BMP hulls and the resultant fireball incinerates anything that is left.”
Thanks, makes sense. I don’t know much about BMPs specifically, so I assumed they were better armored. But with the armor this thin, overpressure would be enough… hell, with faster missiles or projectiles, you may not even need a warhead.
“As far as I’m aware the vast majority of our IFVs are mainly aluminium…”
Which so happens to burn quite easily… that is what I’d call a deathtrap… IIRC, that is why most of them received steel additions to the armor – still not a perfect solution though.
Not just me it appears… The Pentagon seems to be taking all this quite seriously.
Cross domain fires? Sounds like ADAT with an anti-ship capability. Can’t see that working, a simplification of logistics yes but how this answers the questions raised is…. Beyond me.
Thing is IFVs are most definitely designed to survive reasonable scrutiny from likely artillery and VT fuzed ammo has been relatively common for quite some time now. I seem to recall that the Bradley was designed to survive VT fuzed 152 from about 20m, so presumably it has reasonable top armour.
VT fuzed though is fragmentation which probably has a circa 100m incapacitation zone against exposed infantry, so 20m armoured doesn’t sound like an awfully stringent test to me. Saying that there isn’t too much to suggest that the thermobaric warheads are airburst, though it would make sense.
Would Warrior / Bradley etc be as susceptible as BMPs? I’d have to assume so, otherwise you’d think the Ruskies would have designed something else. These platforms have been in service for quite some time and it wouldn’t take a great deal of int to ascertain their tolerances.
“”In a 3-minute period…a Russian fire strike wiped out two mechanized battalions [with] a combination of top-attack munitions and thermobaric warheads,” said Karber. “If you have not experienced or seen the effects of thermobaric warheads, start taking a hard look. They might soon be coming to a theater near you.” ”
So what roughly 100 vehicles? Seems the British Army are upgrading 245 Warriors… So the Russians took out the equivalent of 40% of our armoured infantry fleet in 3 minutes….
I can’t see that there is a fix here, IFVs already trade far too many seats for protection and firepower. Adding more top armour means slower, less room, more powerful engines and all the tradeoffs which had already made these vehicles marginal at best in my opinion. Is this why the Russians refused to buy any more BTRs?
Christ the F35 had better work.
I’m glad I’m not in the bloody infantry anymore.
Ironically, infantry may soon be the most survivable because it is spread out and hard to find… if thermobarics are that effective, it may well spell the end for armor in general, not just IFVs. Or we’ll be seeing IFVs as armored as tanks, something similar to Israeli Merkava variants maybe.
Possibly… I think the latter is more likely though I don’t know of a single NATO weapons program for them.
The Kornet and other Russian ATGMs come with thermobaric versions, I had assumed this was for bunker busting but likely not.
Infantry will only be hard to find if you can neutralise the UAV threat. This is a real problem and one which almost all Western forces are poorly equipped to deal with. It is clear from the Ukraine that they could see them but not shoot them down, probably due to their reliance upon missile based systems which can’t target their low emissions. .
Laser beam riding light MANPADS might be a partial solution, though Blowpipe and Javelin weren’t thought to be particularly effective with a similarish mechanism.
Those Ottomatics that I was rather fond of could offer a flak option, trouble is Russian MLRS systems have impressive range. Also a lot of the more threatening UAVs might operate above their engagement envelope.
Oddly enough if you recall my idea for a purpose designed gunship with an asymmetric configuration. It was basically a side on stealthy aircraft which would mount something akin to the 6 pounder or Mk110. No reason why they couldn’t be used as airborne flak to reach out and touch UAVs at any altitude. Same too my crack pipe ideas about blimps mounting CIWS.
Actually, even UAVs have trouble locating infantry, as Afghanistan has shown. They tend to have shitty situational awareness in general.