On mikey's page there are several "Fix-it" articles. Below is part of a
series that will, as Mikey wants, "discuss the issues". I don't think he'll
appreciate my views, so I'd like as many as possible to coment.
What's the matter with Mechanized Infantry?
A U.S. Army Infantry Captain writes:
"I will always think of Mech Infantry as having grunts in the trunk.
They spend a lot of time driving around pretending they are tankers and
they never want to let the grunts out of the back. I was a light guy I
never wanted to be treated as cargo."
Which is different from what Mech Officers might think. This lacks
THE MINDSET OF A TANKER, MISSION OF A GRUNT?
He has described in a "nutshell", what I call "Mech infantry disease". I
could never understand why if you take a light infantry squad and ADD an
Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) to them, why we end up with LESS fighting
power from them? You should have MORE.
Mikey claims to be Mech trained (see next para), but he doesn't seem to have
actually analyzed the mission of Mech units. The reason for the IFV is to
protect the troops from artillery, small arms, and NBC threats. The IFV allows
the Troops to keep up with tanks, thereby providing security to them from light
froces that might ambush them, as well as giving a heavy unit the ability to,
when the enemy is found in closed in terrain, go in after him.
The M-113 APC cannot keep up with the M-1 Abrahms or the Proposed (and
cancelled) M-8 AGS. The M-113 does not have the same armor protection, or the
NBC protection of the M-2 series vehicles. Finally, the M-113 does not have
the firepower to truly assist the infantrymen once they dismount. .50 Cal
machineguns are normal armament, and I have seen M-60s.
The continued use of the M-113 APC would therefore hamper high speed, long
distance operations, such as the Gulf War of 1991. A cornerstone of modern
combined arms tactics is, and has been since the Germans developed it in the
30s, moving faster than the enemy can adjust for. That is, moving so fast your
opponent is reacting to what you did an hour ago and he's already behind the
As being Mech infantry at one time, I know why. First, what happens is the guys
with a vehicle to carry their stuff, stop living "light".
"Living Light" isn't an offical Army term. Take a Mech squad off the Bradley
and you have the <I>same</I> TA-50 the light guys have. There <I>are</I> fewer
dismounted personnel, but they are still infantry, and the lack of numbers is
made up by the ability to carry heavier weapons, <I>much</I> more ammo, and
they have the M-2 for fire support (see my next post on Mikey's comments on
They start taking coolers and their rucks are not ready to go. The AFV becomes
their "RV" of sorts.
While this does happen at NTC and Ft Hood, not elsewhere. In Germany, during
the Cold War (last part, too. Gorby might have been pushed too far - Our NCOs
couldn't predict we wouldn't wake up the next day in a shooting war), we had
our rucks packed all the time. The exception was during inspections and when
we were doing routine TA-50 PMCS.
Extra bags are permitted, to a point. Usually these take the form of Pogey
bags, or a kit bag (pilot's, 1 ea.) with extra socks and uniforms. extra bags
were always a luxury we knew we couldn't count on in a real war.
Next, you have the nature of the Armored fight where deep down inside, the
tankers do not want to stop and have the Mech infantry dismount, they want them
to stay mounted and fight there.
Never met too many tankers, huh? Or did you just alienate them with your
"You're not Airborne (tm)!!!!!" Ask a tanker whether or not he likes having
grunts along, and he'll say, "Yeah! I'm not going into that dense brush. Not
even within 500 meters of it till the Infantry clear it!"
Now that the Bradley A2 model's firing ports are covered up by extra armor
panels, the infantry "squad" in back sits inside doing nothing because noone is
willing to open the top hatch for them to stand up and face out with their
weapons like you can in a M113A3 out of fear the M2 Bradley turret will spin
around and kill them.
This isn't going to happen, because the Turret has a safety feature that
kicks the barrel up to max elevation so it won't hit the cargo hatch and damage
something. Besides - when the TOW fires, the Backblast is killer!
The Bradley is actually a Medium tank...with a few infantry in back. It weghs
the same as a M4 Sherman tank from WWII: 33 tons. Thus, they are blind "cargo"
as the Captain said.
So it weighs as much as a Sherman tank? The M-1 weighs more thn a Tiger, but
I don't recomend taking it on like you would a Tiger. Good way to get dead.
The "Captian" has no experience with the Mech Infantry, so he isn't qualified
to comment. You might want to find Melvin D Hull, USA. He was IN a Mech unit,
hated it, he'd give you better info. Not that he was a good platoon leader,
just that he'd buy into your line and be more credible.
Then you throw in the disdain the light fighters have towards the Mech guys,
and you have a less than ideal situation...
You have soldiers with a personal problem. I seem to remember the Army's
policy on Personal Problems. The "disdain" you mention is much like your own.
And REAL soldiers don't have this problem, except for a an institutional joke,
meant in all fun.
but one that can be corrected with LEADERSHIP. These guys are great Soldiers,
they just need better leadership.
Yep! If you'd had better leadership during your formative years in the Army,
you'd have gotten rid of you pissant attitude for the Heavy Units.
LEADERSHIP DRIVEN BY MODERN BATTLEFIELD REALITIES
This all needs to change. First the superb M113A3 Gavin Armored Fighting
...with its RPG and auto-cannon resistant applique' armor attached needs
to be provided in about a dozen vehicles each to every U.S. Army Light
Infantry Division instead of a dozen trucks that weigh exactly the same:
22,000 pounds. This vehicle allows the Soldiers to stand up and fire
weapons as the vehicle moves, see the battlefield and dismount with an
idea where they are going. This would give light divisions the "punch"
they need ORGANIC to them so they can train with them and be ready, and
not have them denied as the Rangers were not supplied with AFVs in
Unfortuately, the M-113 won't go where the Light divisions need to go. In
Viet Nam, the M-113 couldn't be used in areas where an Army presence was
required. Your solution won't work. The 10th Mountain would die laughing the
first time one of "their" M-113s slid down a slope easily climbed by a man on
Somalia was a clusterfuck in the Viet Nam/Operation Eagle Claw pattern. Too
much micromanagement from CONUS, too restrictive Rules of Engagement. You go
into an area, tell the warlords to leave or else, when they do not, send in teh
troops or a flight of Apaches and blow them away. Yes, there may be civilian
casualties, but that happens in war. Next time, the civilians will stay away
from the Warlord's weapons warehouse. (One might even turn that into a combat
intel tool - the places the civvies keep away from, like croos the street, go
down the street, and recross - good chance that you'd want to search that row
of buildings for a weapons cache.)
Next, in ALL MECH Infantry units videos of the current generation of
signature-less Russian anti-tank guided missiles needs to be viewed so they
realize the "Sagger drill" upon muzzle flash will in the future not work. There
will be no muzzle flash. The only thing you will see will be the missile
creaming your vehicle. Thus, MECH infantry will need to clear out possible ATGM
firing positions ahead of the M1 MBT tankers by advance detection using forward
looking infared (FLIR) devices like the Dragon ATGM night tracker sight which
is too heavy to hump and gets left in the arms room doing nothing, and good
Would you care to elaborate on these "new Russian ATGMs"?
In our unit, we went to the field, the Dragon trackers went with. Our
platoon's Dragon gunner was well trained and knew his shit. Even had an idea
on how to "Kirk" his tracker to benefit the Platoon.
To get the latter, we need a better, more tactically oriented Infantry
AIT taught by a Combat/Survival cadre not drill sergeants from a
One-Station Unit Training parade ground drill & ceremony mindset.
My Drills taught me useful skills. Sure there are always a few bad apples,
even in the (hush) Special Forces (Oh! the Humanity! He accused some
individuals with SF training of impropriety!!!!).
This would deliver, a tactically ready, Soldier able to step in from day one at
an Infantry unit and contribute to the fight, not require in-house training
from scratch as takes place now.
This never happened in my unit. Sure, a private needed time to see how what
he was just taught fit into the real world, but that applies to any job and
will <I>never</I> be gotten rid of.
Next, the realization that we no longer "own the night". We must practice the
stand-off attack, where the noisy vehicles stop short of the target outside of
enemy detection range as the assault force speed marches at 4-7 mph on foot
(like IDF paratroops or our own Darby's Rangers in WWII) along routes secured
first by security elements with "eyes on" the target for days beforehand....to
close in on the enemy to assault him. Once the shooting starts, the AFVs close
in and provide
direct fire support.
Been There, Done That. In the winter, no less. Company night movement by
foot to an objective. This skill is alive and well in the Mech Infantry, one
of the things we enjoyed in training.
We need MECH infantry to not be "slugs", for without them and we try to fight
"light" pure we will get October 3, 1993 "Somalias" or 1943 "Cisternas". If
they hide out in their vehicles we will get Grozny. We can stop the Mech
infantry from being looked down upon by rewarding ALL U.S. Army Combat Arms
Soldiers their own Brown Beret upon completion of their AITs.
When I was in, the big beal was an Infantry Blue beret. Me, I liked Rifle
Green, just like the Europeans - as in, the Panzer Grenadiers and RM
Commandoes. BTW, for those that don't know, the SF beret isn't Rifle Green.
Much darker, blends in better. Rifle Green is rich, non-natural, medium green.
Anybody know where I can find one? The one I bought in Germany was ruined in
a basement flood!
USING YOUR TAX DOLLARS WISELY
We need VICTORY as we got in Panama by a Air-delivered MECH-LIGHT-ARMOR
team weakoned with the abandonment of the M551 Sheridan and M8 Ridgway
Armored Gun Systems. We still have M113A3s, we ought to use them.
Instead of wasting money on expensive $28 million dollar fighter jets
that marines crash and burn in a dozen a year, we should use the money
to buy a platoon of light, air droppable Ridgway tanks at $5 million
each that would last us for decades like the M551 Sheridans did. The M8
uses the same engine as Army trucks and parts from other AFVs already in
use so its adoption would be inexpensive.
We <I>need</I> the M-8 AGS, true. Unfortuately, it's gone. The Sheridan was
a piece of junk. The Gun's recoil made the sights useless for firing the
Missile. When it rained, the electrical system shorted out. Mean Time Between
Maintenance Fialures was about 90 minutes.
The idea of dumping the Bradley is also rediculous. The M-113 <I>cannot</I>,
no way, no how, keep up with the M-1. Using the M-113 will either slow down
the M-1, or the tankers will routinely, in the excitement of combat, leave
their infantry behind. One little thing Mikey left out of the Items about the
bradley is that there are vision blocks and an intercom. The grunts can see
out (I even took a picture of a German town through one), and the Dismount
Leader can hear all radio calls and the Squad Leader's instructions. So much
for blind and unknowing...
More to come!!!
"Who IS Keyser Souze?"
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