UPDATED 4 February 2009

Thunder Run


Superb painting by legendary artist Jim Dietz of 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) taking Baghdad

M113 Gavins THUNDER RUN! battle their way into Baghdad

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYOGj-MAYFs

The most important book to come out so far on Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the nation-state war phase of the Iraq war is Zucchino's Thunder Run. It may not be Pulitzer-prize winning material but its CONTENT and information about what happened is of utmost importance to military professionals and what we need to reform for the Non-Linear Battlefield (NLB).

Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad by David Zucchino, Mark Bowden Atlantic Monthly Press, Edition: Hardcover 2004 New York, NY


TDC Documentary: "The Fight for Baghdad"--complete in 10 Parts--details how the 3rd ID (M) took Baghdad while the incompetent USMC in wheeled trucks packed with loud-mouthed infantry egomaniacs had their asses kicked by mere Iraqi rear guards and were AWOL/UA 6 DAYS from their assigned sector in East Baghdad...resulting in looting that destroyed key infrastructure and Saddam Hussein and subordinates to escape and start a rebellion against us that so far has cost us 4, 236 dead, 26, 000+ wounded and $1 TRILLION dollars of waste that has harmed the U.S. economy...we cannot afford an incompetent, always bragging, always-making excuses marine corps...

www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=BA5750463C006BE4

CAVEATS

1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) Director, Mike Sparks writes: I interviewed a leader who was in the 3rd ID (M) thunder runs and he warned me that Zucchino was only with a narrow group of people within the whole task force:

"What he writes may be accurate of C 1-64 but not accurate for say Alpha company of 3-15 Infantry for example. Many of the participants are not happy of the portrayal of sloppy soldiering from the company that was catching up the rear of the column due to inexperience.

Zucchino in one part of the book confuses SFC van Ormer as the 1SG but then calls him a PSG and then a PL. He refers to kevlar helmets having 'liners' when they do not have liners but are one piece constructions. An email from Zucchino to confirm an award the leader I interviewed received showed he was not interested in anyone reading his manuscript for factual accuracy. He said he did not even have time for a phone interview because the book was being printed the next day!

The story was overly centered around C 1-64's wounded men because one tank was on fire in the rear guard, pinning the rest of the convoy during a thunder run. What to do with the burning tank? became the biggest thorn in the side for the convoy not the enemy! Then they poured WATER on a fuel fire...which spreads the fuel...the exact wrong thing to do! Everybody want to kill C company before they even got started. Notice later that C company also gets lost from the delay with the burning tank. Other than the burning tank, the 1st thunder run was indeed a "10" for intensity but you wouldn't have gathered this from Zuchinno's book... he has the second thunder run as more intense when really it was only a "2" on a scale of 1 to 10. Alpha Company 1-64 lead by CPT Hoelms did the lion's share of the fighting and he should write a book since they were in the lead and were everywhere.

As the enemy hit us, the first company would fire with every weapon they had and then keep passing targets down the column...every track had at least 3 machine guns! We killed a lot bad guys who fought us hard on the first thunder run because we were suddenly upon them. They feared they were going to die and were cornered frontally...this was a bad idea...when the showed a muzzle flash it was instant death. A learning curve developed that when an Iraqi saw a buddy blown to smithereens that maybe not fighting back head-on was the better choice. Thus, the 2d thunder was nothing compared to first time, word spread not to confront us head-on; so we received sniper, some indirect fire as the enemy hid knowing that our tracks could be avoided, it was not fight or die----maybe he could get us later when we stopped? However Zucchino in his book made the 2d thunder run look like we were fighting the WW2 German Army!

We had to self-evac because after the 11th attack helos were shot up attacking the Medina division we sure as hell were not going to get any Blackhawk MEDEVAC helicopters if any of our guys got hurt. So much for "shaping the battle" with air power. Col Schwartz and Major Donovan did a great job; our tracked armored units were the most successful in OIF; no one experienced more direct/indirect fire than them.....yet they took the least casualties.

After we stopped in Baghdad we formed into interior armored clusters within the cities and we didn't get challenged; we controlled the ground. Notice then later that we lost control of the roads and withdrew into base camps where we could re-establish the garrison lifestyle and routine we do back in the states! We had guys doing pt in the morning and doing PMCS with vehicles lined in neat rows in a combat zone because we thought being in a base camp makes us safe to live like it was peacetime. We replaced PRESENCE ON THE GROUND with PRESENCE PATROLS. Driving in vulnerable Humvee trucks trying to speed with the fatalistic attitude "if I get hit, I get hit" or "if the other guy gets hit better him than me" ends up missing seeing the indicators of enemy bombs and ambushers ahead. In contrast our Haji liaison created a favorable intel relationship if you stay tactical----by providing REAL security by being in armored vehicles...being embedded in cities in an armored posture made the Iraqi civilians secure and as they went about their lives could walk by and drop a piece of information: "I don't like this guy who just showed up in my neighborhood...hes from Syria...are you gonna leave?". There's no way Haji is going to be able to offer this intel as a Humvee speeds by at 60 mph trying to dodge roadside bombs or so the Soldiers can get back to base camp and not miss the NBA playoffs on satelite feed. Nor is Haji going to leave the city and walk across an open area to one of our forward base camps and let the whole world know he is informing the Americans."

LEADERSHIP

LESSON #1: UNDERSTAND MODERN WAR AND PREPARE FOR IT

Thunder Run is a stern warning that the current DoD/Army "transformation" plan towards wheeled vehicles with mental gadgets is flawed, dangerous and not-workable on the actual increasingly urbanized and lethal 4th Generation War (4GW) non-linear battlefields (NLBs) we must fight on. The Army has squandered billions of dollars and the lives of 1/10th of its men on these false notions of war. If you are blown to bits and on fire you are neither "lighter or faster", you are simply dead. Even dismounted, disorganized defending infantry can generate enough lethal, high explosive and saturation small arms fires in close combat situations to render deny operational and tactical movement to everything except adequately multiple armor-layered, tracked armored fighting vehicles (TAFVs). Colonel Perkins understood this and kept wheeled vehicles out of the fight as much as possible (pages 74 and 81). Fortunately rather than be bogged down, like Major Whittlesley's 307th Battalion in WWI, Colonel Macgregor's 2nd ACR in Desert Storm, Perkins boldly did the right thing and found a way to move forward and the rest of the force caught up with his initiative. However, the Army for years focused on open terrain far combats and garrison fantasy had neglected to gunshield and screen engine rear ventilation areas and armor-up resupply units for close combats that are unavoidable on the urbanized NLB.

The Army would be wise to drop its current fixation with emasculated wheeled trucks with mental computer gadgets and refocus the "Future Combat System" (FCS) into a 2D maneuver upgrade of Medium Bradleys and Heavy Abrams tanks and an across-the-board equipping of all support units and light units with up-armored M113 Gavin light TAFVs, beginning with the latter's Delta Weapons companies and anti-tank platoons to enable A, B and C companies to ride under armor protection as needed.

Page 128: Perkin's inside-out strategy good coup de' oeil

Page 243: leaders must look around even when driving during civilian life and "What if?" they had to fight in the terrain they see; world is urbanizing, battles will be fought there

Page 319: 3rd ID had NO PLANS FOR POST-WAR IRAQ OCCUPATION!


SIDEBAR: 3rd ID PRIOR TO THE THUNDER RUNS SLAMMED INTO THE ENEMY IN MEETING ENGAGEMENTS: No Cavalry, No CAS/MAS, reporter doesn't get it

Greg Grant wrote in "Network-Centric Blind Spot,":

"For two weeks, the Abrams tanks and Bradleys of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division had rolled like an iron fist through sandstorms and fanatical Iraqi militia."

FALSE.

The 3rd ID is composed primarily of M113 Gavin light tracks, in fact over 50% of their armored vehicles. Doing the typical Army BS of listing only "tanks and Brads" Grant is not reporting, he is acting as a mouthpiece for the U.S. Army as it ignores 3D maneuver warfare, cavalry operations and better aircraft delivered missions that can only be done using light tanks like the M113 Gavin. So Grant can complain about the network-centric MENTAL blind spot but he himself is contributing to it because its a PHYSICAL problem of not having a forward screen of LIGHTER TRACKED ARMORED platforms to make first contact with the enemy to develop the situation so the main body does nor slam into the enemy in what we refer to as a "meeting engagement". The 3rd ID has and still has absurb Humvee air-filled rubber tire trucks in its scout sections which cannot make first contact with the enemy and modularity reorganization slapping a large LRAS thermal sight isn't going to PHYSICALLY improve their lack of armor and cross-country mobility. The answer has been and has always been to place some of their M113 Gavins into the scout sections to create a light armored tracked cavalry.

Next, the reason why the Army has no air cover is because the overly complex helicopter in the wrong camouflage color cannot survive and we need to return to fixed-wing aircraft that are co-located with ground maneuver elements and can fly continually with less maintenance in the proper camouflage color. Details:

www.reocities.com/usarmyaviationdigest/grasshoppersmustreturn.htm

**********************************************************
Defense Transformation & Objective Peach (OIF)

www.edefenseonline.com/default.asp?func=article&aref=10_07_2005_OP

Mind the Gap

by Michael Puttré
Oct. 7, 2005

The September 12 issue of Defense News has a very important article on the failure of U.S. reconnaissance and communications during a critical engagement of the Iraq War on April 2, 2003, at Objective Peach, a major highway bridge over the Euphrates River. The U.S. Army battalion-size Task Force 3-69 raced to the bridge and secured it. The U.S. force was subjected to a night counterattack by two Republican Guard brigades and supporting units. It was the largest direct "force-on-force" battle of the war.

When the smoke cleared, the U.S. had won an overwhelming victory. The failure was that the counterattack had not been anticipated and the movements of the Iraqi brigades – totaling over 8,000 Soldiers and 70 tanks and other armored vehicles – had occurred without detection. The article, "Network-Centric Blind Spot," by Greg Grant, who was embedded with Task Force 3-69 during the battle for Objective Peach, is restricted to paid subscribers, but here's an excerpt:

For two weeks, the Abrams tanks and Bradleys of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division had rolled like an iron fist through sandstorms and fanatical Iraqi militia. Their final drive to Baghdad would begin with a push across a massive road bridge over the Euphrates 30 miles southwest of the capital city. Save Baghdad itself, the bridge at Objective Peach was the most important piece of terrain in the entire campaign.

Intel officers who had poured over 1-meter-resolution satellite imagery concluded that Objective Peach was undefended.

In fact, the nearby city streets, palm groves, and canals concealed a sizeable Iraqi force in an elaborate network of trenches and bunkers. They were concealed from state-of-the-art American sensors by simple camouflage and time-tested techniques.

How is it possible, you might ask? The fact is, it is still much easier to hide tanks in the bushes than to find them. Even with all the technology at the beck and call of the modern U.S. military. This transcript from the Frontline program, "The Invasion of Iraq", describes the encounter at Objective Peach from both sides. It even more clearly illustrates that the engagement itself was a crushing victory for U.S. forces. However, the more important fact is that such a large-scale engagement happened at all.

In 2002, I interviewed Maj. General Patrick Cordingley, DSO, (ret.), commander of the British Army's 7th Armored Brigade ("The Desert Rats") during the Gulf War of 1990-91. He described for me a situation where his leading elements unexpectedly ran into a company of Iraqi tanks in an area that intelligence said was free of enemy forces:

Once through the minefield, the plan was for the Desert Rats to go a hundred-plus kilometers to put in an attack on a particular enemy brigade position that we knew was there. In the actual event, we bumped an unexpected position that had to be dealt with first. One of the problems of the Gulf War was that there was a lack of detailed information at the tactical level. The information existed, but there was a dissemination problem. We had these wonderful downlinks – most of them American – from satellites, AWACS, and J-STARS all pumping the information into Riyadh. Although we obviously asked for information about certain areas and grid squares, the problem was that there was such a large amount of information in Riyadh, it was almost impossible to work out who wanted what and then disseminate it. When we went across the line of departure, we only had sketchy information about the brigade that we were going to have to attack. We were through the minefield going due north, and then we turned almost due east. Just south of the main axis of advance there was an Iraqi communications site that was protected by a company of infantry and about a dozen T-62 tanks. We hit those by mistake, meaning we didn't know they were there. We would have hit them in any event, but had we known, we might have been more cautious about it.

The night was pitch black, made particularly difficult because it was heavily overcast and raining. Curiously, we didn't have any of the artillery's guns unmasked and ready to fire. The battalion commander who made the unexpected contact with the enemy asked for some artillery, and I said: "Are you sure you need it? The Iraqis probably don't know you're there, because they don't have thermal sights and you do. Wouldn't it be better to just pick them off and see what happens?" And that's exactly what we did. We put the attack in at about 2200. The thermal sights enabled our tanks to engage targets at a range of up to three kilometers, where naked-eye visibility was less than 50 meters. Once the T-62s started burning, there was quite a bit more light, and our infantry could get out and into the enemy slit trenches. We then put up artillery illumination (some of the guns were unmasked by then) so we could see what the hell was going on, and we had all these prisoners milling around. That became a feature of the next three days – huge numbers of prisoners. The action had an important effect on our troops. The attack we put in was what we would call a quick attack, and the drill used was exactly the drill that we'd used in training – and it worked. That was good for morale.

So, training, tactics, and decisions by small-unit commanders have enabled U.S. and U.K. forces to overcome failings in intelligence and communications to achieve victory. Sometimes these are not enough, as with the case of the abortive raid by U.S. Army AH-64 Apache combat helicopters on the Karbala Gap of March 24, 2003.

Although developed for a potential conflict in Europe, the Apache, using hover-mode engagement tactics, was a star performer in the Gulf War of 1991. AH-64As of Task Force Normandy fired the opening salvo of Desert Storm in 1991 when they launched Hellfire missiles at Iraqi air-defense sites in a nighttime "deep-attack" raid. The first cracks in Apache doctrine, however, appeared during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in early March 2002. AH-64As of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division supported ground Soldiers of that air-assault division and 10th Mountain Division that were involved in attacks on Taliban and al Qaeda positions in the Shah-e-Kot Valley (see "The Apaches of Anaconda"). The close-quarters fighting, in which targets often were identified only after they had opened fire at ranges of less than a kilometer, was not something for which crews had been thoroughly prepared.

Yet doctrine dies hard. It took a celebrated failure of a deep attack by 32 Apaches of the 11th Aviation Regiment of the 101st Airborne in Iraq on March 2003 to cause Army Aviation to re-examine its doctrine more seriously. In the March nighttime attack, the Apaches were damaged and driven off by concerted Iraqi anti-aircraft fire from concealed positions that had not been detected by U.S. reconnaissance means, with a loss of one helicopter. The crew was captured, in part because enemy fire was too intense for a combat-search-and-rescue mission to be mounted.

Here is a short essay I wrote in January 2002 about missing the trees for the forest. Interestingly, I had called this piece, "Blind Spot."

"One of the great British aces of WWI was Albert Ball, who had 44 victories to his credit. Ball had developed a tactic of engaging enemy flights by himself from the rear and below. Climbing slowly up on the tail-end aircraft from its blind spot, he would deliver a fatal burst at point-blank range from a Lewis gun angled upward. Ball was generally able to claim a second aircraft before breaking away. Although a gifted squadron commander, his reputation grew as a lone hunter and marksman. During the battles around Aaras in the spring of 1917, Ball made a habit of flying by a particular clock tower in the village of Annoeulin every evening to check the time. Some German infantry noticed the pattern. On the evening of May 7, German machine gunners hidden in the tower shot him down.

A century earlier, the Duke of Wellington famously reported after the Battle of Waterloo: "They came on in the same old way, and we shot them down in the same old way." Wellington was referring to the attack of the French Imperial Guard, by then much diminished, but by inference he was announcing that, in fact, it was Napoleon's genius that had dimmed. It wasn't so much that the corps-based system of warfare Napoleon had engineered to smash his enemies was no longer valid. The problem was that the emperor's enemies had learned the system, eliminating his relative advantage. When the French were delivering flank attacks and rear attacks they were masters of the field. Forced to fight front-to-front, casualties were about even. And there were more non-French in Europe than French.

War is all about patterns. Once you have identified the enemy's patterns, and understand their cause and effect, you own him. This is why intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) activities are so vital. They provide the key to understanding the enemy's patterns. This is how you apply strength against relative weakness, rather than pitting strength against strength.

However, at what point do ISR activities themselves produce patterns that the enemy may discern? At what point do procedures of systems development and acquisition produce a predictable outcome of capabilities and concepts of operations? If an enemy can identify and understand how you conduct ISR operations and deploy the systems that support them, then he may well be on his way to owning you.

During the Gulf War, U.S. pilots claimed to have killed quite a few mobile Scud launchers. In fact, none were killed. The Iraqis, well aware of U.S. reconnaissance capabilities and tactical air operations, used tactics identical to those developed by the Germans in WWII for launching V-2 rockets from mobile launchers in the face of unrelenting Allied airpower. During the Kosovo War, U.S. pilots claimed to have killed 120 tanks, 220 armored personnel carriers, and 450 artillery pieces. In reality, they had only killed 14, 28, and 20, respectively. The Serbs understood how the U.S. would conduct reconnaissance and tactical strikes, and they fabricated wooden and canvas decoys that completely fooled the attackers.

In its bid to control the spectrum and use it to destroy the enemy, has the U.S. become predictable? Sometimes, in its understandable enthusiasm for its talent and technology, the U.S. forgets that its potential adversaries will look for ways to circumvent or counter those strengths. Although the U.S. prevailed in the Gulf War and Kosovo in spite of enemy deception, the uncomfortable truth is that patterns of U.S. operations had been successfully identified and exploited using clever, yet exceedingly simple tactics. In the future, the results could be more dire."

In the battle for Objective Peach, most of the reconnaissance assets in theater were deployed elsewhere, apparently in the Western Desert looking for Scud missile launchers. I have written in the past about how "political weapons" such as the Scud can be effective in drawing off assets that would be more effectively used to defeat maneuver forces. In the breakout of the Desert Rats in the First Iraq War, the problem was that communications were not able to convey reconnaissance information to tactical commanders in a timely way. In the failure of the Apache deep strike in the Karbala Gap – and the ineffective Scud hunts in both Iraq Wars, not to mention the inability to locate Serbian armored vehicles in the Kosovo intervention – the problem was that old fashioned camouflage and military deception were able to defeat modern reconnaissance sensors.

The U.S. is attempting to develop a network-centric approach to warfare. Central to this is the creation of a common, integrated battlespace picture that shows all friendly commanders the locations of their own and enemy forces. It will be important to keep in mind that the little red icons on the map might not be what they appear to be. And there could be other enemy units lurking in the gaps. The integrated picture might not be telling the whole story, and it might not even be telling the truth. Rather than accepting the picture at face value, commanders will always want to try to get inside the enemy's mind. You can be sure that the enemy will be trying to get inside of ours.


LESSON #2: ARMY MISMANAGING MONEY ON MENTAL GADGETS INSTEAD OF PHYSICAL ARMOR, ARMAMENT AND OTHER CRITICAL CAPABILITIES NEEDED TO PREVAIL ON NLB

The enemy surface-to-surface missile (SSM) strike on the 2nd BDE TOC raises the question of the wisdom of digitizing the Army if its going to result in massive amounts of electronic transmissions providing easy direction finding target coordinates for enemy mortar and tube/rocket/missile artillery strikes. It also raises questions about the Army's anti-theater ballistic missile defenses in light of nearby Iran's TBM capabilities that were used to bombard Baghdad during the 1979-1980 Iraq-Iran war as asymmetric retaliation against potential U.S. air strikes against nuclear facilities.

While we are spending $BILLIONS on these "mother may I?" gadgets to make the old men of rank feel they are still young men hundreds of miles away in safe teleconference rooms, the forces on the ground are being neglected armor protection and made to drive around in Humvee and logistical trucks that cannot protect the men nor punch through enemy resistance. The hundreds of rubber-tired trucks still in an Army mechanized unit is its "achilles heel" fatal weakness which an enemy can exploit and needs to be corrected via use of plentiful M113 Gavins. As one Soldier remarked to a doctor, driving to battle in a Humvee truck is a "sure way to get killed". See page 186. Yet this is exactly what we did after the nation-state war phase and Zuchino to his credit, in the Epilogue notes this physical emasculation into vulnerable trucks as unwise.

Page 165: too many capabilities centralized in the digital and bandwidth crazy TOC, must go to British system of Command Group A and B using smaller, mobile, armored TOCs

Page 47: not clearing co-ax 7.62mm empty cases and links jams guns; not firing these enough in training

Page 87 not enough spare parts (due to Army budgetary mismanagement) to keep vehicles operating puts Soldiers at risk

Page 240: M240C medium machine gun (MMG) cook-off injures Soldier, never fired so many rounds before in training

Page 265 crewmen getting cramps confined in TAFVs for days at a time

Page 267 troops turned tanks on all at same time to not reveal individual positions to enemy but a tank had to be jumped in middle of firefight to do this; Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) technology would give us more residual battery power and stealth operating mode at night to surprise the enemy and not result in vehicles that cannot start their engines, troops could sleep safely under armor protection in back of tanks with power packs cleared by HED instead of exposed on top of vehicles

Page 270 Not enough spare parts cripples tank in middle of firefight

LESSON #3: VEHICLES WILL BECOME DISABLED, MUST BE READY TO MERGE CREWS

A chain of errors began when an M1 Abrams was penetrated in its rear grill during a thunder run and caught fire. The next error was the tank crew split up; some going into a 1st Sergeant's M113 Gavin and another M1 Abrams. The tank's gear and high-cost items were thrown haphazardly onto the rescuing M1. The fire was not put out so the disabled tank was left and this was not drilled in peacetime to a high degree. The tank had so much bear badly arranged it covered vision ports leading to a collision with an abutment and destruction of the main gun tube. The turret began to spin wildly out of control and all of the troop's TA-50 gear was lost. Then the tank got separated from the main body, got lost and drove into a crowd of Iraqi Soldiers, where upon the driver hit the brakes and the M240C MMG held in the hands of the extra crewman popped free and had to be run over to prevent the enemy taking it. The two crewmen who went into the M113 Gavin were injured fighting from the top troop hatch because they lacked gunshields (see lesson #).

Another problem noted in the book was when RPGs hit the nylon troop gear outside they would help pre-detonate the shaped charges but caught fire and were lost. For the final thunder run into Baghdad some tankers stripped their M1s of all nylon troop gear since they were assured RPGs wouldn't hurt them. For M113 light Gavins and M2 medium Bradleys without Explosive Reactive Armor tiles they cannot be so cavalier about forgoing a "pre-det" layer for RPGs. Clearly, it should be standard on ALL vehicles that a pre-det RPG layer should be at least 12-24 inches off from the hull and troop gear stored IN BETWEEN to save interior space, keep catastrophic interior fire/explosion risk items out of the hull and add some extra armor protection. Troops need to practice to a high degree of efficiency rapidly moving all the items of one vehicle to a secure and sound location onto a new vehicle. Having troop storage in bins created by an outer pre-det wall would facilitate this. Rucksacks should clip on/off their position on the vehicle's outside using a pair of snaplinks.

Another important thing to have is extra space in back Merkava-style for troops. Perhaps a hybrid-electric drive M1 would have space free in the back to hold scouts or crews from disabled vehicles. We know for sure the new M8 Buford AGS HED light tank has space for scouts. Details:

www.combatreform.com/lighttanks.htm

Another point is there should be a pintle socket for a M240C MMG or M249 LMG on the back top of the turret roof for a "gunner" to lay down in the prone and provide rear sector security fires in event there are troops hitching a ride on top or there are more crewman from a disabled tank to integrate and add combat powers.

LESSON #4: BE ORGANIZED: BE ABLE TO DO THINGS IN THE DARK ON YOUR OWN

The garrison Army that spends the majority of its day in a sleep-deprived state mowing lawns and filling out paperwork; IS IT COMBAT READY?

Page 24 Soldiers cavalier about where they lay individual weapons

Page 122: Bradley 25mm gun jammed due to a missing wrench; units must be able to clear own jams

Page 121: marines even as guests should not be smoking in vehicles; unsafe

No MRE case cat litter potties? How about a piss tube that sends urine out the BFV's rear ramp firing port?

Page 267 Tanker forgets where he layed his boots and has to fight in his socks

Page 268 Captain leaves helmet outside not near his bed he's sleeping on when battle erupts

Page 270 Crewman's Nomex coveralls get caught in the dark and get ripped

Page 282: M9 9mm pistol fired without lanyard drops into turret ring and crushed

PROTECTION

LESSON #5 BETTER NLB TECHNOTACTICS: LEARN WHAT COVER IS

History will eventually show there has been so far, 3 U.S.-Iraq wars: Desert Shield/Storm was a nation-state war in open desert terrain, OIF was in the beginning like Desert Storm but became a nation-state closed terrain urban war and the current war we are losing is a sub-national urban guerrilla war. In these wars, you see the Iraqis adapting unsuccessfully the first two times. In the first war, they tried to meet us symmetrically in armored vehicles with the hope that their being dug-in would give them the edge. Their sand berms did not provide them cover and the U.S. Army lead by M1 Abrams tanks with 120mm guns that easily shot through to kill the Iraqi armor followed by Bradley tanks with 25mm guns that could smother the battlefield with automatic cannon fire and M113 Gavins packed with engineer troops and bristling with machine guns pinned down and killed any Iraqi infantry on foot. Anyone who did fire back had moving targets that if struck were armored enough to be essentially impervious. In the second war, the Iraqis seeking some kind of effective cover fought us dismounted behind buildings, concrete highway supports and various objects. As the 3rd Infantry Division thunder runned into Baghdad, the same Abrams-Bradley-Gavin weaponry pulverized and shot through the Iraqis sweeping them from the battlefield and Baghdad fell. The failure of the marines to arrive in a timely manner because they were in primarily vulnerable trucks unable to bypass the enemy to secure their half of Baghdad and the lack of an aggressive 3D air-mech maneuver by the Army's Airborne in the north allowed Saddam and his subordinates to escape and start a guerrilla war. This time they would have their "cover" in the form of a falsade of civilian life. In the current on-going war, civilians are providing an effective sea for the Iraqi rebels to "swim" in. Thanks to incredibly stupid light infantry narcissism-driven assumptions that after nation-state war ends that all that would be required to patrol/secure Iraq would be infantry on foot and in unarmored and poorly armored rubber-tired trucks, the Iraqis now with defacto cover (the civilian peace falsade situation) have been able to land blows upon the Americans and these blows have been severe, maiming and often fatal. Now after 1/10th of the U.S. Army has been ruined by the war in Iraq, we are finally starting to realize that slapping armor onto trucks is not MOBILE COVER for ourselves and we are slowly using more tracks that can be adequately multiple armor-layered to counter the Iraqi's road, car, truck and human bombs. We still need to get out of flimsy tents and former Saddam palaces, too.

The lesson learned here is that we in the U.S. military had better wake up to the fact that HIGH EXPLOSIVES (HE) not just bullets dominate the NLB. This means we better start teaching our troops WHAT COVER IS in the HE world we live in. Every Army Soldier should receive at least 1 week of hands-on training (Objective Warfighting Laboratory) setting up targets in different states of protection and then fire, blow-up and call in every weapon we have in the arsenal for a "reality check" so we do not fight like the Iraqis ignorant of what cover and weapons lethality is. It should include sound-distance estimation and crater-analysis training to determine where enemy fires are coming from. This does not mean that light infantry cannot go from cover- to-cover in nation-state wars on foot when required, but it does mean they need to stop driving around in trucks all the other times when they need to cross distances and conserve fighting strength, and god forbid---it also means being able to fight mounted from their own light tracks when needed to contribute to operational goals unlike how the marine foot clearance of towns with handfuls of Fedayeen rear guards delayed their arrival in Baghdad, a failure of gross strategic consequences. "Light" should not mean "foot-only" especially when these units use vulnerable trucks that weigh exactly the same as M113 Gavin tracks do. "Light" should mean LIGHT TRACKED ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLES and light troops who can fight either mounted or dismounted capable of 3D maneuver in all directions; to fly in and get the Noriegas and Saddams of this world or forge ahead and swim across rivers, lakes also as an effective cavalry recon force for 2D maneuver main bodies, too. Details:

www.combatreform.com/cluelessarmy.htm

www.reocities.com/paratroop2000/armoredhmmwvsstrykersfail.htm

Page 54 use tanks to mask so MEDEVAC M113A3 Gavin can dart in and pick-up wounded men

Page 105 Tank with mine plow busts through concrete barricades

Page 108 BFV pierced: where was the explosive reactive armor (ERA) tiles?

Page 113: enemy has so many RPGs were using them as indirect fire

Page 150: crater analysis pinpoints and enables air strikes to kill enemy mortar team

Page 176 TOCs need to be armored and defend selves to conserve combat power

Page 183: Enemy without helmets/flak jackets easy to kill

Page 219: RPGs incinerate Humvee truck

Page 240: Again where was the ERA tiles on Bradleys?

LESSON #6: SHIELDS ON TOP

The U.S. Army since the 1963 battle of Ap Bac in Vietnam has known that vehicles need SHIELDS on top for Soldiers to fight out from. The ACAV gunshield kits for the M113 Gavin have been around for 4 decades! Yet, the 3rd ID went into Baghdad without shields on all its tracked AFVs and men like SSG Stevon Booker died needlessly. The 3rd ID to its eternal credit is now gunshielding all its tracked AFVs for its next tour of duty in Iraq; a move the rest of the Army should follow. Details:

www.reocities.com/armorhistory/trackedvehicleupgrades.htm

Pages 48-51 SSG Booker's Ma Deuce jams he uses M4 carbine from open M1 Abrams turret hatch, hit and killed

Page 53: RPG blows off hatch; proof that gunshield could have saved SSG Stever

Page 57: no gunshields, no excuse

Page 187: no gunshields harm our Soldiers again

Page 211 SSG Stever hit in face by RPG while on top of M113 Gavin without gunshields

Page 216: M577 CP Gavins need gunshields, too

LESSON #7: WHERE WAS THE SMOKESCREEN AND SMOKEGRENADE USE?

Aggressive use and training of smoke screens using engine smoke and smoke grenades (get a less less grenade that's not red phosphorous so training can occur) to mask troops and vehicles from enemy gunners; drivers need thermals to see through smoke when doing thunder runs

We used to have AIRCRAFT that could lay smokescreens; the USMC were slaughtered at Nasiriyah by RPGs yet years ago they had SkyRaider prop planes that could lay smokescreensthat would spoil the aim of optically directed HE weapons...WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The USMC egomaniacs replaced their SkyRaiders in 1958 with at-the-time "sexy" A-4 SkyHawk jets that go too fast to see the enemy below to be an observation/attack plane and cannot lay smoke screens...they beat their chests about how they created "Close Air Support" then hypocritically not have any CAS planes from the 1950s...the Army flyboy club is equally guilty losing their smokescreen capability with the retirement of the Huey helicopter that could do it.

Page 111 could have used smoke to ruin RPG gunner's aims

Page 284: why not use smoke grenades?

LESSON #8: FIREFIGHTING CAPABILITIES NEEDED: GROUND VEHICLES WILL CATCH ON FIRE

An interesting revelation is that during a thunder run, a M1 Abrams was pierced in the vulnerable rear grill area and caught fire. Despite the vehicle HALON tanks being dumped and almost all the nearby vehicle's hand fire extinguishers, the fire would only reignite when the fuel leaked onto the hot turbine engine. The vaunted M1 Abrams heavy tank was abandoned and the enemy later tried to tow it away to get a psychological victory and maybe some money from the Russians to learn its design secrets. We even had a fighter-bomber shoot a Maverick air-to-surface missile at the Abrams to try to obliterate it. WE MUST FACE THE FACT THAT IN MECHANIZED WARFARE VEHICLES--OUR VEHICLES WILL CATCH ON FIRE. To prevent a duel over possessing the vehicle wreckage and to save the lives of our men, we MUST HAVE M113 GAVIN FIREFIGHTING VEHICLES IN OUR MANEUVER ELEMENTS TO QUICKLY EXTINGUISH VEHICLE FIRES using a foam filled water tank and sprayer. The time lost and men exposed on foot trying to extinguish a M1 tank fire, the nuisance of the enemy trying to steal our technology warrants the investment in firefighting Gavins in our mechanized maneuver forces. These Gavins should also have a dozer blade to smother fires with dirt as an added option in addition to their water tank. They should have a siphon to rapidly fill up with water from a nearby source like the Euphrates river and make new foam on-the-move. Put the vehicle fire out and connect to a tow-bar and keep going. Fuel tanks should be lined with fire-resistant foam like on USAF aircraft.

Another point not evident during Thunder Run's time period is that when vehicles are destroyed, WE NEED TO PUT THE FIRE OUT IMMEDIATELY or else we stand by look impotent and it looks bad on CNN when fighting perceptions. Having a firefighting capability could also be used against burning tires and other protests to nip them in the bud before they become media fodder.

Page 106 Iraqis try to steal disabled M1 Abrams tank, denied

Page 107 need recovery team in trace of lead combat elements

Page 170: the TOC fire after the missile strike incinerates dozens of vehicles

We need specialized fire-fighting TAFVs:

www.reocities.com/armorhistory/tafvfirefighting.htm

LESSON #9: ENGINEERS CREATE BERMS AND BARRICADES WITH DOZER BLADES

ALL TAFVs should have at least a small dozer blade to self-dig-in like the T-72 has

Page 94: berms and barricaded cars can help against RPGs and bullets

Page 306: engineers help hold positions with berms/barriers We need M113 Gavins with dozer blades that can fight not unarmored, unarmed DEUCE bulldozers:

www.reocities.com/lightmechsappers

LESSON #10: TENT CITY DOES NOT PROTECT SOLDIERS: IT MUST GO AWAY FOREVER REPLACED BY ISO CONTAINER "BATTLE BOXES"

What are we doing setting up canvass tents with no protection from enemy fires in combat zones?

Pages 86, 93

Page 93 Tent TOCs rob us combat power when we have to defend them

As bad as the Iraqis were at times technotactically, one thing they did NOT do was occupy Saddam palaces and try to fight from them. Today, Americans are still occupying dictator palaces in Iraq. In Chapter 18 The Bridge starting on pages 277, Zucchino describes how Iraqis guarding the approaches to the bridge over the Tigris river where to the east the marines had yet to show up had thousands of enemy Soldiers crossing over to fight them. Denied permission to blow the bridge, they sought to physically block it with TAFVs and got engaged by well dug-in Iraqi troops in bunkers. Organic 120mm Abrams tank, 25mm Bradley and .50 caliber Gavin direct fires, and 120mm mortar indirect fires did not suppress the enemy fires and the task force led by Captain Wolford had to withdraw with several damaged tanks and wounded Soldiers. A-10s and F/A-18s were called in and did little damage. Only after the Iraqis had given up were these bunkers able to be cleared.

Page 320: "At the intersection near the Jumhuriya Bridge, Wolford discovered an elaborate bunker at the southwest corner. It was made from a metal cargo container that had been buried underground. It was equipped with a thick wooden door, and inside were a desk, a nonworking military field phone, and piles of supplies--an entire command post".

In light of the FROG-7 SSM strike on the TOC, the question arises, WHY ARE WE STILL LIVING IN TENTS THAT CANNOT PROTECT US?

www.reocities.com/strategicmaneuver/battleboxes.htm

 

MOBILITY

LESSON #11: ENTIRE FORCE MUST BE TRACKED AND ARMORED: WHEELED STRYKER TRUCKS COULDN'T HAVE BUSTED THROUGH TO BAGHDAD: TRACKS CAN AND DID

Implied reading through this account is that there is no way in hell that a Stryker brigade or an entire division in thin boxes on top of 8 air-filled tires could have overcome the immense enemy fires and busted through the concrete obstacles that the 3rd ID's tracks were able to overcome on their own to reach Baghdad. If the Army continues to place all of its money into Stryker trucks that cannot survive much less prevail on the increasingly urbanized non-linear battlefield, it will be irrelevant or worse defeated in battle by an adaptive enemy who knows what HE does and what cover is and is not. Details:

www.reocities.com/paratroop2000/strykerhorrors.htm

Pages 158-176 After moving into Baghdad, Colonel Perkins had his Tactical Operations Center (TOC) set up using a ruined walls at an abandoned agricultural warehouse 18 km from Baghdad. An Iraqi FROG-7/ANABIL-100 surface-to-surface (SSM) missile strikes the TOC killing 3 Soldiers and setting dozens of unarmored Humvee trucks on fire. The mystery to this day is how did the Iraqis aim a FROG-7 which is unguided with such accuracy? My suspicion is it was not unguided and that it was steered by THE IMMENSE AMOUNT OF ELECTRICAL EMISSIONS EMANATING FROM THE TOC. This highlights the point that just because your signals are ENCRYPTED doesn't mean the enemy just cannot guess-timate where the QUANTITY of emissions are coming from and throw the dice with a strike.

It also brings up the point that WHY IS A TRACKED ARMORED UNIT like the 3rd ID HAMSTRUNG BY ANY UNARMORED TRUCKS? The few M113 and M577 Gavin tracked AFVs the TOC had were undamaged and were used to reconstitute a reduced capability TOC.

Page 59 enemy wraps RPGs in cloth to make expedient land mines; tracks run over them without any damage; would have set Stryker and other truck's rubber tires on fire

Page 116: mine plow tanks bust into gates of palace

Page 141: Fortunately Iraqi morale collapsed when 3rd ID took Baghdad; had they known to stay behind and attack or resupply trucks we would have been in trouble

Page 293 USMC not taking eastern half of Baghdad because it was forced to clear rearguards from outlying towns on foot due to their wheeled truck vulnerability

LESSON #12: WHY DID IRAQIS KNOW OUR OWN FOOLISH LIGHT INFANTRY LEADS IN CITIES DOCTRINE? WHERE WAS THE OPSEC?

Page 137 enemy expected 101st and 82nd Airborne would clear Baghdad on foot after helicopter/parachute delivery, who told them this? OPSEC? Or just more predictability?

Iraqis did not expect American TAFVs to fight in cities out of absurd interpretation of Somalia they must have read from us. Somalia cries out for TAFVs not foot infantry.

Good thing 3rd ID didn't believe our own doctrinal BS. Many of the Iraqi Army Soldiers were told by sympathetic generals bought off by the CIA to switch into civilian clothes as far back as March 27th. Those that did try to fight couldn't network because Saddam feared them before the war of over throwing him. We were lucky we were not fighting a cohesive enemy.

Page 143: Iraqi defense oriented on closed terrains expecting foot infantry assaults not on high-speed avenues of approach Colonel Perkins used to get in behind their rings of defenses

FIREPOWER

LESSON #13: REINSTATE THE 4th MANEUVER COMPANY

Throughout the battle Perkins and Twitty lacked enough combat power to guard the TOC and the resupply columns at the same time reinforcing a maneuver unit in trouble. Its time we cut over 45-year old officers from a layer of staff bureaucracy and return a 4th maneuver company of young trigger-squeezers to every unit in the Army (D company for heavy units, E company for light units). The Schoomaker initiative at Brigade level turning the third maneuver battalion into a gadget and sensor unit would have offered literally nothing to the 3rd ID's fight to take Baghdad and must be stopped. You do not need to lose an entire maneuver battalion to look over the next hill operating UAVs and 700+ men mounted in Humvee trucks that cannot go forward to scout the enemy lest they be destroyed because they lack armor, tracked mobility and firepower is not tactical progress.

Pages 174-176 Perkins has to chose between guarding his TOC and reinforcing a besieged maneuver unit holding a supply line open; TOCs need to be armored and able to defend themselves

Details of the Army's absurd "modularization" plan that while reinstating a 4th maneuver company gets rid of an entire 3rd maneuver battalion!:

www.reocities.com/pentomicarmyagain

LESSON #14: TIME FOR AMERICAN Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs)

Its clear the Iraqis thought they would be fighting us Somalia-style from a position of superiority their more numerous foot infantry behind urban cover with limitless supplies of AKM and RPG ammo versus our less numerous infantry in the open without RPGs. This shit has to stop. Its time we copy the RPG, with its ready-to-fire configuration and dedicate a gunner in every rifle squad so we are no longer outgunned on the NLB.

Some of these RPGs should be fitted with rubber foam ends and a powder inside to be shot at our vehicles for realistic training so we can perfect/practice evasive action driving skills.

Page 272 we need our own RPGs

MUST READ: EVERY SOLDIER IN UNIFORM SHOULD STOP WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND READ EVERY WORD OF THIS ARMY RPG MANUAL:

www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/row/rpg-7.pdf

LESSON #15: FIX M2 .50 CALIBER'S HEADSPACE/TIMING PROBLEMS

In typical garrison unreadiness no doubt caused by former Army Chief of Staff Shinseki's wastage of billions on Stryker truck purchases at the expense of training ammunition, the 3rd ID had never fired so many rounds before through their weapons and many started to jam. The reason why SSG Booker was on top of his M1 firing his M4 5.56mm carbine was because his M2 .50 caliber "Ma Deuce" wouldn't fire remotely anymore. I suspect the reason is that after shooting so many rounds its headspace slipped and its timing was thrown off. There is no time in a thunder run to reset head space and timing fumbling around with a GO and NO GO gauge and removing a backplate and fingering clicks on a tiny wheel. FN has a solution for this, a Quick-Change Barrel kit that the Army should buy for ALL of its M2s and it would have the money for this if it stopped wasting it all on Stryker trucks.

Page 53 SSG Booker's MaDeuce inoperative

LESSON #16: CONTINUOUS FEED TO COVERED WEAPONS

.50 cal M2 heavy and 7.62mm medium MGs are exposed on top of TAFVs; they need gunshields to protect them so they are not hit and rendered inoperative. Also they need a continuous feed of ammunition from within the vehicle so Soldiers need not have to drop down and stop firing to reload an ammo can.

Page 279-280: M1's .50 caliber has to be reloaded by hand again, exposed it gets knocked out of action by enemy fires

LESSON #17: ALL TAFVs including M1s NEED 20-30mm AUTOCANNONS THAT CAN FIRE-ON-MOVE, HELMET-MOUNTED SIGHTS

Whenever the thunder runs stopped, enemy fires could concentrate on TAFVs and find weak points to damage them or hit Soldiers in gaps in their protection; the Iraqis were surprised at how fast and far we could fire and hit them when moving; thermal sights gave us critical long range engage first capabilities. These must be organic to EVERY TAFV and thermals must be available to light infantry through them having light TAFVs.

See pages 23-45, 48-57.

Even though M1s have 10,000 rounds of co-axial 7.62mm medium machine gun rounds, these time and time again were not enough to stop suicide cars and trucks. With only 40 main 120mm gun rounds, something larger than 7.62mm but smaller than 120mm is needed; the M1 needs an 25-30mm autocannon co-axial to the other guns as the Russian BMP-3/BMD-3M does. To do this it needs a far simpler design than the dual-feed M242 25mm Bushmaster; perhaps the M230 30mm used on the AH-64 Apache.

Page 11: MPAT round's ability to have when to explode adjusted to situation helpful

Page 117: M1s only have 40 stowed rounds and 1 in gun tube

M2 needs a simpler, 1-man turret with 25-30mm autocannon that doesn't jam, has continuous feed, and helmet mounted sights. One Bradley's 25mm gun jammed for lack of an ammo feed wrench.

Page 109: autocannon smothers myriad threats, skip machine gun bullets off pavement best way to hit moving men in urban setting

Page 110: 7.62mm fails to stop suicide car

Page 122: got a wrench?

Page 124: 7.62mm not stopping suicide cars

Page 140 fire-on-move, long distance fires key U.S. advantage

Page 216: M577 Gavins need MG mounts; expedient mount using 550 cord to tie down tripod inadequate but good improvisation

Page 259: Iraqis avoided night combat due to U.S. thermals

Page 271 having gunners look through thermals inside turret ruins outside situational awareness via night blindness, need a helmet mounted sighting/surveillance capability

Page 283: autocannons needed on M1s, what if no Bradleys are nearby?

LESSON #18: MOUNTED M1064A3 Gavin 120mm MORTARS: STRYKER-MORTAR CARRIERS THAT REQUIRE DISMOUNTING TUBE, BASE PLATE ETC. UNSOUND

The 120mm heavy mortars in a heavy Army unit are mounted in M1064A3 Gavin carriers capable of being fired instantly from the vehicle. The 3rd ID was receiving fires and had they been in wheeled Strykers that need their mortars to be placed outside the vehicle in order to fire MEN WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED trying to do so. Lesser mortars like 81mm would not only lack the 7km range they would lack the minimal building busting power of the 120mm.

Page 223 Gavin 120mm mortars take out buildings where enemy fire is coming from

Page 262: MK-19 40mm has indirect trajectory like mortars and does not give position away at night to enemy

LESSON #19: SOMETIMES MANEUVER UNIT FIREPOWER IS NOT ENOUGH: DIRECT-FIRE 155mm SPH USE

The Israelis discovered in the 1982 Lebanon invasion that tank main guns have HE effect limitations and employed self-propelled howitzers in a direct-fire mode to smash buildings. After the 3rd ID thunder runned into Baghdad and were resupplied, why not send forward at least 1 battery of M109A6 Paladins to render more powerful DF building smashing support?

Page 103 airbursting 155mm rounds helpful over pavement highway overpasses to sweep enemy infantry clear

LESSON #20: MANEUVER AIR SUPPORT NEEDED: WHERE IS THE AIR OBSERVATION/ATTACK?

The next shocking thing you realize in reading Thunder Run is WHERE IS ARMY AVIATION? WHERE ARE THE OH-58D KIOWA WARRIOR SCOUT COPTERS? THE AH-64 APACHES?

The 3rd ID is going to punch into Baghdad and stay and they are BLIND. They are banking completely on their superiority in mobile cover and mobile firepower to overcome any Iraqi obstacles and armed opposition and then stay so the message sets in that the Saddam regime has lost control over their capital city. They will desperately need resupply once holding Baghdad, but WHERE ARE THE UH-60Ls BLACKHAWKS AND CH-47D CHINOOKS TO RESUPPLY THEM?

The 3rd ID has no "Maneuver Air Support"---there are no aircraft working PRO-ACTIVELY directly for them flying overhead and reporting back CONSTANTLY. All they have are the ability to REACT after they stumble into a problem and THEN call in USAF or other's fixed-wing aircraft to render CAS. At this point they have already had their nose bloodied, if they were a light infantry unit without protection they could be pinned down and fighting for their lives. They back off, the A-10s roll in and then try to drop larger amounts of HE then they can project from 120mm guns and 120mm mortars at a vertical angle to try to bust enemy bunkers. Is that all attack airplane are? Just a means to deliver HE packages in greater quantities? When an armored A-10 flies too low its hit by a SAM in its engine and is lost. Is waiting for aircraft to show up after an enemy is alerted a good thing? Maybe the problem with the low altitude paranoia (under 10,000 feet) that makes the USAF want to stay out of low level air spaces is that they are only asked to do CAS in a reactive mode AFTER the enemy is ready to shoot them down instead of PRO-ACTIVELY already being on the scene and discovering and shooting the enemy first?

Its time to face the ugly truth.

Despite helicopters being able to take-off and land vertically (V/TOL) so they should and could be CO-LOCATED with Army ground maneuver units, except for the 101st Airborne which actually is too helicopter-centric (see Atkinson's In the Company of Soldiers), the truth is Army Aviation as its own career branch is off in their own little world during garrison and even more absent when war comes. Its high time we place Army helicopters on trailers and make them co-locate with ground maneuver elements and not stay farther and farther to the rear where the supplies are safe and living areas comfortable. By being trailer-mobile, Army aviators will no longer be able to excuse away being co-located because they say that they have to wait until a suitable Forward Operating Base (FOB) is set up by the maneuver elements before they can fly forward.

The next ugly truth that our ground troops are blind and do not see from the air beforehand what they are maneuvering into is the failure of spy satellites and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) even when the latter are made available from Division Higher Headquarters to see what is going on on the ground. While we can and should get Pointer type hand launch UAVs into the maneuver battalion's 120mm mortar sections and other affordable Israeli-style UAVs, the truth is in WWII we were better off when we had "Grasshopper" light, fixed-wing planes that could land within 300 feet and be towed by ground vehicles so GROUND MANEUVER UNITS ALWAYS HAVE AIR OBSERVATION BY HUMANS WHO CAN ACTIVELY INVESTIGATE. The Army's current rotorheads will complain that their helicopters require too much maintenance to be co-located with ground maneuver elements. Fine then. Then its time we reduce their budgets and buy some 300 foot STOL Fieseler Storch type observation/attack (OA) aircraft that ground maneuver units like the 3rd ID will OWN AT ALL TIMES and tow behind a M113 Gavin light track on a trailer or in an ISO container "Battle Box". The maintenance crew chief will drive the XM1108 variant Gavin track, the observer will man the heavy machine gun behind a gunshield on top ring mount. When the maneuver unit is done making administrative port-to-foxhole moves, (they always seem to be able to have the time to set up BS flimsy canvass tents) a dozer blade on the front of the XM1108 smooths out a 300 foot landing strip for the OA aircraft and it takes off with pilot/observer to recon and attack the enemy with rockets/guns in support of the ground maneuver elements. We already have an OA aircraft that can do this: the Thrush AY-65 Vigilante a two-seat, armored crop duster with a turbine engine that burns the same JP-8 fuel as the ground maneuver vehicles use. At 200 mph it flies faster than current Army helicopters and only costs $1M each. Details:

www.reocities.com/usarmyaviationdigest/fighterinabox.htm

www.combatreform2.com/helicoptergroundmobility.htm

Land-Based Aircraft Carriers

What is an aircraft carrier? Its simply a runway on top of a ship. Fixed-wing aircraft with rubber tire wheels need runways to create or reduce lift to take off and land. Now take a look at the 3rd ID's Thunder Run maps.

Assault Landing Zones

Consider that to their east the USMC would cordon off a section of their paved highway they were traveling up for a 3,000 foot long stretch so a C-130 Hercules could airland and drop off 6,000 gallons of rubber fuel bladders. One of the few things the tardy-to-Baghdad USMC did during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was land KC-130s on stretches of road to offload fuel bladders to their fustercluck of rubber-tired, vulnerable trucks. The 3rd Infantry Division during its "thunder run" to take Baghdad DIDN'T HAVE ANY AIR COVER after the 11th Aviation's AH-64 Apaches got shut up attacking the Medina division to get the deep attack mission glory all for themselves. This is unacceptable. Maneuver forces MUST HAVE AT ALL TIMES MANEUVER AIR SUPPORT AIR OBSERVATION/ATTACK. We proposes fighters-in-a-box owned BY THE MANEUVER BRIGADES TO INSURE THIS TAKES PLACE.

Roy Ardillo writes: Survey the roads, plan where to place the equipment, fly the people and equipment in on lighter planes, and fly in the heavy lifters. It is my understanding that the C-17 can turn around within its own arc. But, it would make much more sense to me to have a runway part, an offloading part and a takeoff part.

If the planes land and take off into the wind, then this would solve the problems of ramp space, too. Gravel can be brought in to the offload area to get the equipment quickly away from the area.

I think it would look like this.

I===============I----------I===============I <-------wind
Landing------------------Offload----------Takeoff

2 x 3,000 foot highway section plus off load area ahead. C-130 or C-17 taxies all the way to FORWARD END of offload area; offloads. We could easily have 4 planes off-loading...just like a LAND-BASED AIRCRAFT CARRIER. Do off-loads fast (TAFVs are inside or push pallets off) and planes shuttle forward to take-off runway section---NO NEED TO TURN AROUND AT ALL AND TAXI DOWNWIND FOR UPWIND TAKE-OFF.

When not receiving USAF transports, we're only talking about 1,000 foot or less for Army AY-65 armored crop dusters, A-37s and OV-1 Mohawks doing this all the time from the land-based aircraft carrier.

So why couldn't the 3rd ID OWN its own armored STOL Thrush AY-65 2-seat attack planes and tow them behind a XM1108 Gavin TAFV and then secure a suitable 1,000 foot stretch of highway and operate these aircraft from there instead of miles and miles and miles to the rear out of any maneuver force usefulness? Engineers could create a plowed and packed dirt bypass for civilian car traffic (if any during a nation-state war) so the stretch of highway becomes a defacto "land based aircraft carrier". What's the mental block here? Why is it AOK to operate UAVs (model planes) from short runways alongside with maneuver units but manned aircraft that can operate from the same sized runways is not ok? If the Army Aviators don't want to do this, FU*K THEM, get some ground maneuver unit enlisted pilots to do this. The Army is not some fu*king private ego club, if we have a job to do and no one wants to do it, lets find someone who will and get it done. Judging from Thunder Run the job of maneuver air support was NOT being done by anyone, and it needs to be done ASAP.

Page 4: much of the Iraq's combat vehicles were camouflaged and not destroyed by USAF flying above 10K, fortunately they chose not to fight for the most part; to spot these we must fly lower

Page 68: too dangerous ahead to send Humvee scouts against dug-in enemies with RPGs; spy satellites and UAVs don't work

Page 79: no intel of path ahead

Page 95 surface laid land mines placed by Iraqis directly in front of 3rd ID and not twarted or detected by air surveillance/attack, causes risky covert breach by engineers

Page 121: WHY are we converting GPS MGRS coordinates to longitude and latitude for USAF CAS air strikes??

Page 286 A-10s attack intersection bunkers

Page 288 SAM downs A-10

Page 300: An OA aircraft with video imagery might have identified Palestine Hotel and avoided friendly fire killing news media men

LOGISTICS

LESSON #21 RE-ENGINE THE M1 ABRAMS TANK WITH A DIESEL PISTON ENGINE WITH EITHER CONVENTIONAL OR HYBRID ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION

For the M1 to act as an effective offensive battering ram it must not have any weak "achilles heels" like the ventilated rear grill area required by its fuel hog turbine engine. Not only does the turbine engine offer a vulnerable spot invite enemy RPG and recoilless rifle fires, it burns too much fuel placing the entire force in jeopardy if it seeks a decisive operational offensive, maneuver like taking Baghdad. Otherwise a M1 Abrams is a DEFENSIVE tank to ward off the Soviet tank armies at Fulda Gap. A 1500 hp Europack diesel engine will only be 4 tons more weight and would provide 1 mpg fuel economy instead of the current abysmal 7 gallons per mile turbine engine rate--a (-)7 MPG.

Details:

www.combatreform.com/heavytankshelicopters.htm

Page 79: The enemy knew the rear of the M1 is vulnerable and sought to hit it:

Page 270: M1 engines turned off to desperately conserve fuel in Baghdad defensive positions

LESSON #22: WE NEED AIR RESUPPLY FOR GROUND MANEUVER UNITS

This bogus flyboy vs. grunt non-sense needs to end once and for all. Ground units need to value, plan for and actually train on air resupply. The aviators need to stop with their BS excuses and make themselves easily available for these missions during peacetime training; if its all stifled by a lack of training dollars then HQDA needs to cancel the costly Stryker deathtrap/lemon and get monies available so we start training as we need to fight. The Army needs to stop this non-sense that they cannot fly in the face of enemy small arms fire and get some C-27J Spartan and AU-27 Caravan type fixed-wing transports and drop CopterBoxes full of ammo to units needed ammunition resupply desperately. LTC John Paul Vann used to do this from an O-1 Bird Dog light plane during the Korean war to save units from being over-run. Army aviation also needs to buy Erickson Aircrane S-64s with bigger engines and be able to drop fuel pods with at least 5,000 gallons of JP-8 fuel per sortie. Details:

www.combatreform.com/abnlogistics.htm

mwww.reocities.com/strategicmaneuver

www.reocities.com/airbornemuseum/nlmb.htm

See pages 81

LESSON #23: BETTER ARMORED GROUND LOGISTICS

Logistics Must be Non-Linear: Wheeled Trucks Creamed in OIF

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlnDzCda_gY

Eliminating the M1's (-)7 MPG fuel hog diesel engine will dramatically reduce daily fuel needs such that even air resupply could sustain a drive into a Baghdad, nation-state center of gravity. Vehicles should carry an extra tankful of fuel using Camel-Baks for Tanks") that when dropped to the ground refuel themselves by running over with their tracks to pressurize a hose.

Each vehicle itself should tow a quick-detachable trailer as CPT Jeff Schram proposed long ago. If the trailer is full of small arms ammo even if it it would not constitute a threat to tracked armored fighting vehicles, their bullets would simply ping off the hull. But having an incredibly large supply of .50 caliber and 7.62mm, 5.56mm bullets in the trailer would guarantee the unit could keep hosing down the enemies with co-ax and hand held weaponry 'til such time that the supply lines are secured.

The ground resupply that does take place needs to be ARMORED AND TRACKED USING XM1108 GAVINs that can travel off-roads to avoid enemy ambushes and fight their way through enemies they do encounter. Some should have dozer blades to self-entrench themselves when arriving at the battle resupply point to protect their cargo and themselves as its handed out or dropped off via PLS flat racks and/or smaller pallets.

Page 201 need individual TAFV ammo trailers

Page 204: non-armored resupply units vulnerable and easily destroyed but had some M113 Gavin tracks to help

Page 215: maybe a small wheeled cart would expedite ammo resupply instead of hand carrying?

Page 226: once a truck is damaged it may not even start anymore

Page 251 wheeled speeding not practical defense against enemy fires

Page 259 M113 Gavin tracks with their 9-man squad carrying volume can carry lots of ammo to other TAFVs

LESSON #24: ABILITY TO ABSORB ENEMY SUPPLIES & USE AGAINST THEM WITH "VULTURE" GUNTRACKS, BRACKETS AND TEAMS


400-500 Police Land Rover trucks were fitted with two captured AKM assault rifles designed to fire left and right of the vehicle to break through ambushers. From "Taming the Landmine" by Peter Stiff, pages 80, 82

When punching your way through to an enemy center of gravity and killing many enemies and capturing their weapons/ammo, why NOT USE THEM AGAINST THEM AND INCREASE YOUR FIREPOWER AND STAYING POWER?

What we propose is that every turret have a "Vulture" bracket for enemy weapons that moves co-axial with the main gun barrels be it large 120mm or small autocannon or attached to the hull like Pappy Gunn's WWII B-25 and B-26 bombers which had gun packs along the fuselage and the Rhodesians/South Africans did to counter-ambushers (see pic below).



Hull-mounted Vulture racks would be fired by the Driver. VULTURE adapters should enable enemy guns to be fitted to side-firing "wing" machine gunshields on M113 Gavin and M2 Bradley TAFVs. Another option would be a special kevlar hatch cover with side firing enemy machine guns that would fit over the top hatch of Gavins and Bradleys so they could be reloaded from inside the hull to create a defacto continuous feed. Captured enemy AKM and light RPK machine guns are fed by the same box magazines. Medium RPD and Dshka heavy machine guns feed from belts. Both could be attached and fed with captured ammunition so we can turn their weapons on their former owners. An RPG bracket would also be available provided Soldiers know how to properly load with booster charge and not blow selves up like 3 stupid marines did.

Don't Forget the Booster to the RPG Rocket, Stupid!


The hull-mounted forward-firing AKMs and or RPK LMGs could be positioned in such a way that they can be reloaded from crewmen in the top turrets or from the hull top hatches of M2 Bradley and M113 Gavin tracks from behind protective gunshields on their own U.S. weapons. Just imagine a "VULTURE Track" with 6 x RPGs and 6 x RPK light machine guns on its hull sides in threes that could be fired by the Driver steering and pointing his VULTUREtrack at the enemy and BLASTING him. Being able to use enemy weapons/ammo also eliminates having to blow up their stuff which wastes C4, time and gives our presence away.

A "VULTURE Squad" of several teams would be at the trail end of an armored column that would tow trailers and stop after enemy Soldiers had been killed to quickly search their bodies and strip them of their weapons and ammunition to bolster their "VULTURE Tracks" which would start the battle with enemy machine guns on their heavily armored "VULTURE Guntracks". As the American thunder run force engages the enemy and kills him, the force actually gets stronger logistically in terms of ammunition. In fact, the entire M16's 5.56mm bullet being inadequate in range/penetration/stopping power can be solved by a MODULAR M16A5 system which would have a large lower receiver magazine well to fit either 7.62mm x 51mm NATO or 7.62mm x 39mm Soviet or with a space filling adapter, 5.56mm magazines. You then snap on the upper receiver with bolt carrier group you desire and your shooting skills and hand/eye coordination muscle memory stay roughly the same for greater accuracy and weapons handling skills.

UPDATE 2006 M16A5 EXISTS!!!!

Ladies & Gents,

www.mgimilitary.com

MGI has done it!! A M16 that can shoot 5.56mm, 6.8mm, 7.62mm x 51 NATO, enemy 7.62mm x 39 AKM/AK47 by switching a few components!

This is the M16A5 kit we need to supply to every Army/marine unit so if they want to shoot a more powerful cartridge or be able to pick up enemy ammo via "VULTURE" squads they can use it to give back to the enemy if our supply lines are cut!

Kudos to Dave Crane for finding these guys.


Upper receiver kits for M16A5s would be carried in motor driven unit vehicles not Soldier's backs. However, carrying around a 9 pound AKM is heavier than a M16A5 upper receiver, lower receiver adapter and magazines (5 pounds).

SOF insists that captured enemy weapons are not accurate or "sexy" enough for them. M16A5 with 7.62mm x 39mm upper receiver meets their wants/needs/lusts (you pick word you think applies here) so they can do missions in enemy held territory and leave only enemy cartridge cases to not reveal their identity as 5.56mm spent cases would: re the Tom Clancy-based film, "Clear and Present Danger".

We should have VULTURE weapons squads that pick up enemy weapons and ammo and facilitate using them against them via distribution and VULTURE BRACKETS on the outside of tracked AFVs and WEAPONS HATCHES so we can hose them down even if our supply system fails and we run out of U.S. ammo.

VULTURE concept also details that each year EVERY Soldier in U.S. Army qualifies on the AKM ("AK47") or SKS as well as M16A5 in 7.62mm x 51mm NATO and x 39mm Russian on top of 5.56mm.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt7Zdp2W7eY

M16A5: what makes American guns better, anyway?

Accuracy.

The M16's bolt carrier group when recoiling from firing is not such a large heavy mass like the AKM's which throws your aim off with each shot. American M16s have red dot collimator and hollowgraphic sights, laser pointers to interface with naked and NVG assisted eyes, an "icing" that does not apply to the standard wood furniture AKM "cake".

American Soldiers wants the "combat edge" of American weapon accuracy, right?

You run out of 5.56mm ammo. Even 7.62mm x 51mm NATO.

The ad hoc lazy man will say "pick up an AKM" and fire it.

There goes all that "combat edge" of accuracy that American Soldiers say they want from American guns.

Why not this instead?

An American M113 Gavin light infantry company is spread out on high ground on the reverse slope awaiting a CHICOM human wave attack.

The Company Commander radios to his platoon leaders, "LACE report!"

Universally they reply: "We are green, RED, green, green".

"How RED are you?"

They all reply: "We need VULTURE"

The commander orders the VULTURE squad to distribute by All-Terrain All-Purpose Cart M16A5 7.62mm x 39mm Soviet upper receivers, 7.62mm ammo already loaded in AKM magazines to every Soldier in the company defensive perimeter.

While one man covers the front, his buddy detaches his 5.56mm or 7.62mm NATO upper receiver, snaps on the 7.62mm Soviet upper receiver. Then he transfers his sexy high-speed optics to the new upper receiver. He inserts then rotates back a loaded AKM magazine, pull the bolt back and releases to lock 'n load. When he's done, his buddy team partner switches over. Now as they kill the enemy, they can goggle up his 7.62mm ammo magazines and defeat him with "LOGISTICAL JUDO"--using their own energy against them.

They keep their 5.56mm or 7.62mm NATO upper receivers in their rucksacks a 5 pound weight penalty or send them back with the VULTURE squad on its return trip for when American ammo resupply is restored.

The CHICOMs attack but instead of meeting Americans out of ammo, they receive withering 7.62mm fire and fixed M9 wire cutter bayonets and M113 Gavins hosing them down with multiple AKMs strapped to the vehicle's sides. After they call off the attack, they leave hundreds of dead and wounded that are picked clean by the American VULTURE squads which now have even more captured ammunition and weapons to use against the next CHICOM wave.

Let's say your American ammunition is adequate and resupply works...why not as you go along and defeat the enemy INCREASE your firepower by attaching his captured weapons to the outsides of your M113 Gavins to create a "porcupine" effect with a push-button can be directed at the oncoming enemy?

So instead of running over captured enemy weapons with our tracks, we use them against their owners as we go along.

It may be possible to have VULTURE FuelTracks that could go up to an enemy vehicle that was disabled but not burning and rapidly siphon its fuel into trailer FLEX-CELL and Gavin external tanks.

Page 127 any thought of using enemy weapons until resupply comes through?

Page 264-266 Why are we destroying enemy weapons/ammo when we are about ready to run out?

Legendary tanker Ralph Zumbro [www.reocities.com/futuretanks] writes:

"Mike;

Some thoughts on the Vulture system. If the wing guns are going to be fed from down in the hull, add an electrical ammo lift that'll take the weight off the machine gun's feed mechanism. That only takes one electric motor and a chain driven sprocket. Fuel; equip EVERY vehicle with a self (electrically) driven scavenger pump so that it can suck the tanks of anything that is not on fire. Yes, you need vulture fuelers...BUT, they need really sophisticated filters on their intakes so that the fuel they distribute will be safe.

Incidentally, GM Diesels can be made to digest gasoline if 30 weight oil, at the rate of one quart per 30 gallons of gasoline is added to bring the viscosity up to the proper level....That comes from some old manuals, as well as personal experience. This is old knowledge from the '50s, but the engines haven't changed that much.....The 71 series of GM engines go back to the '30s of the last century. I have been working on them and using them since around 1966. The 53 series in the '113 is a little newer, but is only a smaller version of the 71 series. Which, BTW, was the engine (twinned) in the M4A2, which is the version that the marines used in the Pacific, for the most part, and which the Russians used to do so much damage to the Wehrmacht. Read "Commanding the Red Army's Sherman tanks" by Dmitry Loza, Amazon.

Ralph

Mike's Reply:

Something has to give, Ralph!...we cannot be mowing lawns all day when we need to be mixing motor oil with gasoline and actually trying it out on a guinea pig track so THIS IS A CAPABILITY WE ARE SURE WE CAN USE IN A PINCH IN WARTIME.

This is just one of the things the status quo is AOK apologists just don't get....we CANNOT spend all our time or even ANY of our time on BULLSHIT we have simply too much REAL things to do to be combat ready.

LESSON # 25: ARMORED SCOUTS WITH VIDEOCAMS TO CALL IN CAS, RELAY VIDEO IMAGERY TO PREVENT "PALESTINE HOTELS" FRATRICIDE

The Army has two combat camera units, one active duty and the other reserve running around in unarmored Humvee trucks or whatever the host unit they embed with gives them. This pathetic arrangement would not have survived to be with Wolford's men fighting at the bridge to capture imagery of the building where they were taking fire and relaying it to Perkins and others to insure this building and not the Palestine Hotel where journalists were was hit. The question is WHERE WAS THE SCOUTS? In an absurd version of the lighter is more agile mentality, a heavy armored unit has Humvee truck scouts which simply lack the mobility and armor protection to even be a round a firefight let alone blaze any trails on their own in bad guy country to act as advance guard cavalry for the main body. So the scouts were wisely not sent forward---exactly the same conclusion we reached in Desert Storm 15 years earlier. So WHY was this lesson not learned and our scouts placed in up-armored M113 Gavins with gunshields and long range infared sensors, laser target designators for Army attack helicopter Hellfire, Hydra 70mm guided rocket and USAF close air support strikes, with video cameras with transmission feeds to other commanders in M577/M1068 command track Gavins? What are we waiting for today?

Schoomaker's plan to turn an entire maneuver battalion into sensor scouts in Humvee trucks (! WTFO?) is simply unjustified when all we need is the scouts we have to be properly equipped. This includes the light infantry's Delta Weapons companies which when properly mounted in M113 Gavins also have space in back to give, Alpha, Bravo and charlie companies armored mobility as needed.

LESSON #26: WHERE WAS THE AIR-MECH-STRIKE?, OR IS THE QUESTION, WHERE IS THE AIR-MECH-STRIKE?

Its clear to almost any student of warfare that the Republican Guard escaped our "Desert Storm" 2D maneuver in the first U.S./Iraq war in 1991. The Iraqis fled Kuwait and slipped through our thin line of helicoptered in 101st Airborne (Air Assault) foot troops equipped with mere trucks and hand weapons (see Taylor's Lightning in the Storm). This weak 3D maneuver combined with VII Corps being unwilling to corner the rest of the Republican Guard after the 2nd ACR had punched through their rear guards resulted in Saddam staying in power and created the need for another U.S./Iraq war. In our two Air-Mech-Strike (AMS) books we point out that the 82nd Airborne Division had M551 Sheridan and M113 Gavin light tanks for a battalion but not enough for all its paratroopers to move rapidly across open and closed terrains under armor protection. You certainly cannot walk troops across the desert in full combat gear for very far. We proposed that this be corrected by replacing the Sheridans with M8 Buford Armored Gun System (AGS) light tanks and obtaining more upgraded M113 Gavin troop carriers. However, in the years preceding the 2d U.S./Iraq war, Army officials tinkered at the margins and actually atrophied capabilities by retiring the Sheridans and not replacing them. Then the absurd motorized infantry experiment began with thinly armored trucks being given to foot sloggers to supposedly make them more mobile when in fact their "Strykers" cannot fly by C-130 aircraft at all, and come by C-17 2-3 at-a-time when 5 x M113 Gavins can come by each C-17 planeload. Once arriving by sea ships the Strykers are road-bound and easily ambushed forcing the infantry to dismount often and early to clear the way of RPG gunmen and bombs for them; begging the question of who is serving who? 9/11 came and despite one of our authors participating in a CH-47D/Bv206 air-mech operation in Afghanistan, it was too little, too late and sub-national terror group Al Queda and mastermind Bin Laden escaped. Despite this encouraging precedent mentioned in the 2d edition book, the Army refused to adapt to enable it to do decisive 3D maneuver.

Implied in Thunder Run is that the 3rd ID as a tracked part of the Army not ruined by motorized infantry tinkering but neglected for resources and men, was spread too thin to take Baghdad. Further study shows that the marines (see West/Smith's The March Up) were bogged down clearing towns of rearguards on foot due to their 75% vulnerable truck composition and they arrived days after the 3rd ID took their western half of Baghdad, allowing Saddam Hussein and his henchmen to escape to start the 3rd U.S./Irag war. We also know that the 3D air-maneuver to the north by the 173rd was too timid as the foot immobile 173rd Airborne Brigade waited for armor to airland one planeload at a time instead of parachute dropping them en masse and fanning via TAFV mobility out to block Saddam's escape routes out of Baghdad as we proposed in our AMS book 4 years earlier.

But what could AMS force structures have done to help the 3rd ID and its 2D maneuver push into Baghdad? Certainly the 82nd Airborne can and should have parachute airdropped into Baghdad International Airport with its own M113 Gavin and M8 Buford AGS light tanks; the former were (and are still) available for this at the time. We are not talking about parachute assault to take the airport necessarily, either...even after the 3rd ID took the airport, having C-17s paradrop a brigade combat team of the 82nd with M113 Gavins and M8 Buford AGS light tanks would have resulted in a far faster reinforcement of the 3rd ID than slow airland. Especially if a brigade set of M113 Gavins and M8 Buford AGS light tanks were pre-loaded inside cargo 747s; they could have airlaned straight into Baghdad International Aiirport and enabled a light mechanized 82nd Airborne brigade to take-over the eastern half of Baghdad when the marines were AWOL (UA in USMC parlance). The armored 82nd Airborne Combat Team could then have assisted the 3rd ID in its thunder runs culminating in taking and holding Baghdad since the Paratroopers would not have been walking slowly on foot but would have been mounted under armor moving at 45+ mph. Then, when it was discovered that the marines were going to be late, the 3rd ID could have with more combat power moved across their sector to the east of the Tigris river to capture fleeing Iraqi leaders or at the very least stop the flood of enemy gunmen taking pot shots at them.

It gets better. Had the Army adopted our AMS proposals in 1999 instead of wasting $billions on Stryker truck purchases, we would have had a brigade set of M113 Gavins, M8 Bufords and some M973A2 (Bv206S) Ridgways pre-loaded into cargo 747s that could have flown straight into Baghdad international airport after it was seized to armor mobilize another brigade of the 82nd Airborne (101st was already on ground as mop up enemy resistance duties in wake of 3rd ID) then fan out to put down the looting and chaos in the city. If USAF C-17s were scarce say for the 173rd's mission up north, having cargo 747s pre-loaded would have enabled the Army to surge AMS forces with swarms of of hundreds of light/medium tracked AFVs into Baghdad just like the Russian Airborne did in Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. Had the 101st reformed into AMS force structure they would have been more successful and faster but that will be best described after analyzing Rick Atkinson's In the Company of Soldiers. The point here is that the 101st had all their helicopters available to include UH-60Ls for split-lifting M973A2 (Bv206S) halves and CH-47Ds for sling-loading M113 Gavins. With the outbreak of sub-national guerrilla war in April/May the 3D air-mech of TAFVs by Army helicopters could have and still can render vital, surprise laying down of cordons so rebels do not escape our 2D maneuver pushes as they did recently in Fallujah. That we are currently losing the 3rd U.S./Iraq war behooves us to adopt AMS force structures and equipment.

Since the 2nd edition of AMS came out, we have discovered that Erickson AirCrane still makes the CH-54 Skycrane helicopter as the S-64 and can up-engine it to transport snugly under its skeleton fuselage the M8 Buford AGS light tank. If the 101st had a small force of Skycranes it could air assault M8 Buford AGS light tanks to render fire support for troop carrying M113 Gavins and M973A2 Ridgways, rapidly on the battlefield for tactical and operational maneuvers



FEEDBACK!

transformationunderfire@yahoo.com

A British Army expert writes:

"HQs. Yes HQ and TOCs are too big and radiate too much. EVEN UK HQ's have their problems. They're also too big, and the "Step-up and Main" system is not great. A friend of mine has worked in a German Armoured unit HQ and says he thinks they have it about right.

From what he said and it worked like this.

CO veh, (TAC) - TAC groups are always too big in UK HQs

Main and Step up (split as required) 2iC veh.- 2IC Commands Main and acts as COS.

S1 Veh - RSM, and Adjutant (maybe the RMO as well?)

S2 Veh - IO, and Assistant IO

S3 Veh - Ops and Asst Op

S4 Veh - Loggies (the gods)

When it comes to a move, the Assitant IO and Assitant OPs, swap places, taking their Radio Freqs and latest traces with them. I'm not syure how the move splits down, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work it out, or come up with a way you do it.

All the other task, would be palmed off to Brigade, which in the days of Laptops, RAM sticks and Colour Photocopiers is not impossible. - BUT, IMO, transmission needs to be limited to voice, too and below unit. S1/4 might need some sort of very limited data bandwith, but we've survived without one for years!!"

A Vietnam combat vet writes:

Page 240: M240C medium machine gun (MMG) cook-off injures Soldier

"Curious. The M240 fires from the open bolt the last I checked. . ."

Page 267 troops turned tanks on all at same time to not reveal individual positions to enemy but a tank had to be jumped in middle of firefight to do this;

"Why couldn't he use the diesel powered AUX generator (developed specifically so tankers wouldn't have sit there with turbines idling (at same fuel cost as if moving at max speed) to be able to cnduct obsertavtion and turret operations. I would think that that generator should be able to "jump" it's own tank automatically. Fire up the AUX, use it to get the turbine started, turn off AUX and roll should be the standard startup technique if the system allows. Is teh AUX generator not wired to teh main charging system, were these tanks not the ones with the AUX generators, or was it a failure of doctrine?

While a Hybrid Electric Drive is CERTAINLY the goal, in the meantime, can we use existing TO&E equipment to handle this problem?"

Another point is there should be a pintle socket for a M240C MMG or M249 LMG on the back top of the turret roof for a "gunner" to lay down in the prone and provide rear sector security fires in event there are troops hitching a ride on top or there are more crewman from a disabled tank to integrate and add combat powers.

"Agreed. Cheap and easy to do."

Page 121: marines even as guests should not be smoking in vehicles; unsafe

"Shoot the stupid jarhead in the cranium."

No MRE case cat litter potties? How about a piss tube that sends urine out the BFV's rear ramp firing port?

"Agreed. Even one of teh cardboard camping chemical toilets from Sportsman's Guide would be useful, but a piss tube is essential."

Page 267 Tanker forgets where he layed his boots and has to fight in his socks

"Shoot the stupid BODAT in teh cranium."

Page 268 Captain leaves helmet outside not near his bed he's sleeping on when battle erupts

"Ditto. His CVC ought to be on teh track, his K-pot ought to be with him anytime he's away from the track (even to piss).

Page 270 Crewman's Nomex coveralls get caught in the dark and get ripped Page 282: M9 9mm pistol fired without lanyard drops into turret ring and crushed

"And people laugh at me because I'm a firm believer in lanyards, especially the ones made from coiled cord, like a phone cord.

NOTE -- lanyards MUST have a breaking point between 35-50 pounds, for the sames reason your dogtags are on a breaking chain. It's better to lose teh gun than be stuck in a burning track because your pistol caught something and you can't get it free.

LESSON #5 BETTER NLB TECHNOTACTICS: LEARN WHAT COVER IS

The lesson learned here is that we in the U.S. military had better wake up to the fact that HIGH EXPLOSIVES (HE) not just bullets dominate the NLB. This means we better start teaching our troops WHAT COVER IS in the HE world we live in. Every Army Soldier should receive 1 week of hands on training (Objective Warfighting Laboratory) setting up targets in different states of protection and then fire and call in every weapon we have in the arsenal for a "reality check" so we do not fight like the Iraqis ignorant of what cover and weapons lethality is.

"Agreed -- I got SO sick and tired of seeing troops huddled behind "Charlie Brown Christmas Trees", or the REMFs who (and were supported in this by their non-infantry OCs at JRTC), used cavas as "cover" because it stopped MILES lasers.

Page 54 use tanks to mask so MEDEVAC M113A3 Gavin can dart in and pick-up wounded men

"Funny, my drill sergeant (a Vietnam vet) covered this in Basic, we we went to the rifle range and graphically learned about cover and concealment. "You know, knuckleheads, a 50 ton tank is a Hell of a lot better cover than three layers of sandbags -- and it can move with to the objective!"

LESSON #7: WHERE WAS THE SMOKESCREEN AND SMOKEGRENADE USE?

Aggressive use and training of smoke screens using engine smoke and smoke grenades (get a less less grenade that's not red phosphorous so training can occur) to mask troops and vehicles from enemy gunners; drivers need thermals to see through smoke when doing thunder runs

Page 111 could have used smoke to ruin RPG gunner's aims Page 284: why not use smoke grenades?

"AND, we need to ensure that junior leaders know teh difference between "thin smoke", "effective smoke", and "too damned much smoke -- I can't see where I'm going anymore!".

The only way to do this is troop exercises (with their fellow classmates), using lots of smoke in offense, defense, and manuver, both mounted an dismounted, with organic and artillery smoke systems employed. Admittedly, in PLDC (junior NCO) and ROTC/USMA/OCS training, this could be handled by smoke grenades -- but by the BNCOC common course (mid level NCO) & Officer Basic Course (MOS training for 2LTs), mortar, vehicle, and artillery smokes (including those from all Army branch systems) need to be at least witnessed, with vehicular and personnel sized and shaped targets for reference."

The mystery to this day is how did the Iraqis aim a FROG-7 which is unguided with such accuracy? My suspicion is it was not unguided and that it was steered by THE IMMENSE AMOUNT OF ELECTRICAL EMISSIONS EMANATING FROM THE TOC. This highlights the point that just because your signals are ENCRYPTED doesn't mean the enemy just cannot guess- timate where the QUANTITY of emissions are coming from and throw the dice with a strike.

"THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!! We used to tell E-1 radiomen this crap!!! Volume of transmission is almost as good as being able to read the actual transmissions, since any fool will figure out that a target with 10 long range transceivers is certainly NOT an infantry company!

LESSON #12: WHY DID IRAQIS KNOW OUR OWN FOOLISH LIGHT INFANTRY LEADS IN CITIES DOCTRINE? WHERE WAS THE OPSEC?

"Because, bloody trial and error have established to most militaries that leading with armor in a city fight is a good way to lose your armor. This si standard procedure in urban combat for most modern militaries.

HOWEVER, the crunchies need to be INTIMATELY backed up by armor -- the infantryman are there for TWO things: a local security screen to keep AT gunners at a distance (avoid RPG ambushes from the third story, as Chechen rebels did so effectively against teh Russians), and sweep buildings (tanks are lousy at going room to room). The tanks should be no more than one terrain feature back (usually a city block), able to move up and drop the hammer when the 11Bs run into something a 40mm grenade can't handle effectively.

Page 137 enemy expected 101st and 82nd Airborne would clear Baghdad on foot after helicopter/parachute delivery, who told them this? OPSEC?

Iraqis did not expect American TAFVs to fight in cities out of absurd interpretation of Somalia they must have read from us. Somalia cries out for TAFVs not foot infantry.

Good thing 3rd ID didn't believe our own doctrinal BS. Many of the Iraqi Army Soldiers were told by sympathetic generals bought off by the CIA to switch into civilian clothes as far back as March 27th. Those that did try to fight couldn't network because Saddam feared them before the war of over throwing him. We were lucky we were not fighting a cohesive enemy.

Page 143: Iraqi defense oriented on closed terrains expecting foot infantry assaults not on high-speed avenues of approach Colonel Perkins used to get in behind their rings of defenses

"Proper use of armor for a raid -- which is really what the Thunder Run was (yeah, a big-assed raid, but a raid nonetheless). Peeling Baghdah like an onion afterwards is where the crunchies come in handy (with close coordination with teh tanks).

LESSON #13: REINSTATE THE 4th MANEUVER COMPANY

And look into a fourth manuver platoon and battalion. The "triangular" combat structure looks good on paper.

"For that matter, I wouldn't mind seeing a good white paper on a 6- tank platoon (two 2-tank sections, LT's tank, PSG's tank. . . it can fight as three 2-tank sections or two 3-tank sections). One tank in a section would be commanded by a SGT E5, the section leader would be a SSG E6, and the HQ tanks would get SGT E5/CPL E4 "master gunners" (since they might have to fight the tank while their boss fights the unit).

The "command span" of a simgle tank is a lot like an infantry fire team (4 men), and while there are more systems to keep track of, you don't have to keep looking around to see if PVT Snuffy wandered off to take a piss and missed your "freeze" signal. A Staff Sergeant should be able to keep track of his own tank AND a wingman (especially if he knows that wingman is going to hold a consistant position relative to him).

Of course, with a 6-tank platoon, a 3-platoon tank company is more viable.

Aren't Cavalry Scout BFV platoons 5 or 6 tracks?"

LESSON #14: TIME FOR AMERICAN Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs)

"Either adopt a launcher compatible with the RPG we think is most likely to be run into (probably still the RPG7 family, rather than RPG16), or just adopt the German Panzerfaust-3. We should not just wholesale adopt the Russian launcher and ammo (even if we decide to be compatible), but should make as effective a launcher and ammo family as we can. Should break down (like the Pzf-3 & RPG7V), should have Picatinny (Mil 1913) rails, with a good optic daysight and backup iron sights normally mounted, and teh capability of dropping NVDs in place.

RPG7 family rounds are already available from Russia with a wide variety of warheads, including laser designated, multi-stage HEAT (to defeat reactive armor), thermobaric, smoke/WP, etc. I think US ordnance developers could do even better than the Russian military complex.

Its clear the Iraqis thought they would be fighting us Somalia- style from a position of superiority their more numerous foot infantry behind urban cover with limitless supplies of AKM and RPG ammo versus our less numerous infantry in the open without RPGs. This shit has to stop. Its time we copy the RPG, with its ready-to-fire configuration and dedicate a gunner in every rifle squad so we are no longer outgunned on the NLB.

"Also, having a REAL "armored gun system" (like an M1 Abrams or M8 AGS), available and in overwatch (or at least sitting one block back, out of direct line of sight) ready to roll up and slap a 105mm or 120mm HE round into the bad guys position will help.

Failing that, how about 106mm Recoiless on feakin' HMMWVs at company/battalion level in light units?!? Maybe have teh TOW gunners cross-qualify on teh "reckless" and teh TOW, and take the mix of recoilless and missile systems that METT-T calls for?!? THAT we could do, RIGHT NOW, off the shelf."

LESSON #17: ALL TAFVs including M1s NEED 20-30mm AUTOCANNONS THAT

Even though M1s have 10,000 rounds of co-axial 7.62mm medium machine gun rounds, these time and time again were not enough to stop suicide cars and trucks. With only 40 main 120mm gun rounds, something larger than 7.62mm but smaller than 120mm is needed; the M1 needs an 25- 30mm autocannon co-axial to the other guns as the Russian BMP-3/BMD-3 does. To do this it needs a far simpler design than the dual-feed M242 25mm Bushmaster; perhaps the M230 30mm used on the AH-64 Apache.

"Maybe too much gun for the space in a MBT. How about a STABILIZED, HIGH ELEVATION .50 HMG (chain gun preferred) for the coax? Then the gunner has a long-range "anti-truck" weapon that can be used against low-flying slow movers as needed. The FRENCH are smart enough to do this, why aren't we?!?

Then, the commander's gun could be replaced with either an M240 (high suppressive volume -- since accuracy is shit on teh move, especialy compared to a stabilized .50 coax, lots of ammo) or a Mk19 (high effectiveness, some indirect capability, limited ammo). Frankly, I would call this METT-T, but a 7.62mm GPMG seems to me a better choice for close in defence (the .50 coax and 120mm main gun can take care of medium to long range threats), especially considering the ammo space available.

Maybe put a Mk19 on the loader's station instead, with a couple of cans of ammo ready? If _he's_ shooting, chances are the main gun doesn't need to be reloaded, in fact, he's probably in watch mode during manuver. . . and a Mk19 not only is good ground kamikaze medicine, but it's a Hell of a short-range data link for threat indication."

LESSON #18: MOUNTED M1064A3 Gavin 120mm MORTARS: STRYKER-MORTAR CARRIERS THAT REQUIRE DISMOUNTING TUBE, BASE PLATE ETC. UNSOUND

The 120mm heavy mortars in a heavy Army unit are mounted in M1064A3 Gavin carriers capable of being fired instantly from the vehicle. The 3rd ID was receiving fires and had they been in wheeled Strykers that need their mortars to be placed outside the vehicle in order to fire MEN WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED trying to do so. Lesser mortars like 81mm would not only lack the 7km range they would lack the minimal building busting power of the 120mm.

"Agreed. Although a mix of 120mm and 81mm might be best. 81's at company level in a "fire support platoon" (would include 2xmortar tracks, 2xdedicated ATGM tracks, FST track, maintenance track with armored ammo trailer), 120mms at battalion level in a fire support battery (same idea, only 2x120mm mortar platoons, 1xADA platoon, FIST team, 1xordnance platoon with maintenance tracks hauling ammo trailers)."

LESSON #20: MANEUVER AIR SUPPORT NEEDED: WHERE IS THE AIR OBSERVATION/ATTACK?

The next shocking thing you realize in reading Thunder Run is WHERE IS ARMY AVIATION? WHERE ARE THE OH-58D KIOWA WARRIOR SCOUT COPTERS? THE AH-64 APACHES?

"The Army should take responsibility of the A10 fleet, and either the production line restarted or a replacement aircraft developed. A turboprop design may be better (more loiter). The Air FARCE doesn't liek teh "unsexy" Warthog anyway, and A10's are such mudsuckers that they should fall into Army Aviation anyway. Let the zoomies concentrate on deep-strike, heavy bombardment, heavy left, high recon, and air to air -- deidicated CAS should be "organic" at least to divisional level.

LESSON #21 RE-ENGINE THE M1 ABRAMS TANK WITH A DIESEL PISTON ENGINE WITH EITHER CONVENTIONAL OR HYBRID ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION

LESSON #24: ABILITY TO ABORB ENEMY SUPPLIES & USE AGAINST THEM

When punching your way through to an enemy center of gravity and killing many enemies and capturing their weapons/ammo, why NOT USE THEM AGAINST THEM AND INCREASE YOUR FIREPOWER AND STAYING POWER?

"Agreed. Basic foreign weapons training needs to incorporated at the basic infantry and junior leader (all branches) levels.

A list of weapons that ANY Soldier should be able to safely "Load, fire, reduce stoppage, and unload" should include: AK/RPK series weapons, PK GPMG, RPD LMG, RPG7, PM Makarov pistol, FAL series rifles, G3 series rifles, MG3 GPMG, basic open bolt SMGs (they're all pretty much similar when you get right down to it), and the GP35 pistol. This list of wepons will pretty much cover not only 95% of the "squad level" guns a Soldier may run into, the skills (in addition to what he knows on U.S. weapons) willl translate and cover almost any gun, anywhere.

Infantry leaders should be able to "Load, fire, reduce stoppage, and unload" with the DHSk, NPV, and KPV HMGs, and maintain the "general list" of guns everyone needs to know.

Mortar and ATGM leaders should be able to "Setup, load, fire, reduce stoppage, unload, and break down" the most common equivalents they will face.

In-theater training for all troops (or at least all manuver troops) should include the standard rifles, SMGs, pistols, GPMG, and squad level support weapons (grenade launcher, rocket launcher, etc.) expected to be encountered.

Note that I've completely omitted any requirement to "maintain", except for infantry leaders. PVT Snuffy needs to be able to pick up a AK and make it sing without hesitation -- his squad leader can teach him how to clean the damned thing later.  


Private Murphy's View

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