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CAN Armoured Ops Featured in Think Tank Paper

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David E. Johnson, John Gordon, IV, "Observations on Recent Trends in Armored Forces," The Rand Corporation, 2010.
.... This paper provides initial research observations on how various militaries view the role of heavy forces (tanks and other armored vehicles) in irregular warfare (IW) and hybrid warfare environments. The views of the U.S. Marine Corps, the British Army, the Canadian Army, the Danish Army, and the Israeli Army are discussed. What emerges from the research to date is that each of these forces believes that there is a role in IW and hybrid warfare for heavy forces, including tanks, because they reduce operational risk, minimize friendly casualties, and provide an intimidation factor against adversaries.

From the paper (attached)
.... In 2000–2001, the Canadian Army conducted an important internal review intended to determine
its structure for the next 15–20 years. At that time a decision was made that the Army’s old
German-built Leopard I tanks would not be replaced when they wore out—the Army
would move to a light-medium structure with vehicles of the Light Assault Vehicle (LAV) type
being the heaviest element of the Army. The Canadian Army sources interviewed for this paper
stated that the experience in southern Afghanistan completely changed the Canadian Army’s
perspective on heavy forces.

As Taliban resistance strengthened in 2006, the Canadian forces in southern Afghanistan
found that their LAVs were inadequate for the missions they had to perform. The 25mm gun
on their LAVs was not powerful enough for some targets, such as well-constructed buildings,
and the vehicles did not have sufficient protection against the mines, mortar fire, RPGs, and
recoilless rifles that the Taliban was using. Furthermore, per press reports, the heavy Canadian
LAV-III wheeled vehicles (similar to U.S. Army Strykers, but with a 25mm cannon rather
than a .50 caliber machinegun) were often confined to operating on roads, because their high
ground pressure can cause them to become mired when they go off road. As Canadian casualties
rapidly mounted, the commanders on the ground requested that tanks be dispatched; a
squadron (company) of Leopard Is was sent and very quickly became a key unit in southern
Afghanistan, supporting Canadian, Afghan, and British forces.

The Canadian Army initiated a crash program to buy surplus German and Dutch Leopard
II MBTs (a much better protected and armed vehicle compared to Leopard I). The first
Leopard IIs were dispatched to Afghanistan in early 2008 and have been even more successful
than the older vehicles. Canadian Army sources said that the introduction of tanks to Afghanistan
has been a major success. Like the Marine Corps and British Army, the Canadians employ
their tanks in small groups, generally in support of infantry operations. The Canadians also
stated that tanks intimidate insurgents, noting that convoys were far less likely to be ambushed
if tanks were present. Only three Canadian tanks have been seriously damaged in Afghanistan:
one Leopard I and two Leopard IIs. Only one tank crewman has been killed. Additionally,
tracked vehicles have lower ground pressure than LAVs, enabling them to work off road
(and to retrieve stuck LAVs).

The experience in southern Afghanistan has convinced the Canadian Army that armored
forces have a very important role in COIN operations. The Leopard II tanks currently operating
in Afghanistan have been modified with improved armor (in particular, all-around metal
skirts to detonate RPG shaped-charge warheads) and improved crew-comfort items, such as
cooling systems to cope with the intense summer heat ....

Also includes info on the Danes using tanks in AFG.
 
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