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USMC's Loss Army Gains

medic5

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What exactly will be the role of armour if war breaks out in the SCS? I definitely do think tanks will play a role like they did in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War, but I doubt any MBT could be operated and supplied adequately in the area. Are there any plans to procure light(er) tanks for use in such an environment? I remember reading about the M8 AGS and Taiwan wanting to procure some, will that or similar projects be pushed to the forefront as the US changes focus?
 

reveng

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What exactly will be the role of armour if war breaks out in the SCS? I definitely do think tanks will play a role like they did in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War, but I doubt any MBT could be operated and supplied adequately in the area. Are there any plans to procure light(er) tanks for use in such an environment? I remember reading about the M8 AGS and Taiwan wanting to procure some, will that or similar projects be pushed to the forefront as the US changes focus?
The US Army is in the process of evaluating the contenders for its MPF program. Essentially a light tank to beef up Infantry and Airborne forces. BAE offering is an updated M8, while GD is offering a turret with similar design architecture to modern SEP Abrams, mounted on an AJAX chassis. Perhaps the USMC will adopt these in time, if they realize they still need organic armour. Or perhaps they will lean on the US Army for support if required.

The USMC is also planning to upgun some of their new ACVs. Unsure if they still plan to field a purpose made LAV replacement, but they had some fairly ambitious plans for the program (ARV) when it was originally conceived.
 

FJAG

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What exactly will be the role of armour if war breaks out in the SCS? I definitely do think tanks will play a role like they did in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War, but I doubt any MBT could be operated and supplied adequately in the area. Are there any plans to procure light(er) tanks for use in such an environment? I remember reading about the M8 AGS and Taiwan wanting to procure some, will that or similar projects be pushed to the forefront as the US changes focus?
Australia seems to think there is still a role. They bought M1A1s to replace their Leopard 1s back around 2003-7 (the decision was made before we brought ours to Afghanistan) and are now upgrading them and will probably buy a bunch more.

There is a very strong difference of opinion between those who consider tanks of little value in modern war and those who believe they remain a necessity. The one thing that you can say about the Marines is that there is always a fallback to call in an Army ABCT when crap goes sideways. That's not an option for some countries who have drunk the light/medium forces Kool-Aid.

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medic5

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Yeah, the USMC can always call on the Army for support thankfully.

Going further off topic, why do light infantry units in the US have so few armoured vehicles? Like for example, in Russian Airborne units they are equipped with BMDs, whereas US IBCTs lack any sort of comparable vehicle. It is a matter of doctrine or logistics? Wouldn't light units with armored vehicles have far greater staying power than what we have today while preserving strategic mobility?

Perhaps that was the original aim of the SBCT, but it is clear now that the planned mobility of those units will never be achieved due to up-gunning and up-armouring said vehicles and a lack of air transport to move them anyway.
 

FJAG

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Yeah, the USMC can always call on the Army for support thankfully.

Going further off topic, why do light infantry units in the US have so few armoured vehicles? Like for example, in Russian Airborne units they are equipped with BMDs, whereas US IBCTs lack any sort of comparable vehicle. It is a matter of doctrine or logistics? Wouldn't light units with armored vehicles have far greater staying power than what we have today while preserving strategic mobility?

Perhaps that was the original aim of the SBCT, but it is clear now that the planned mobility of those units will never be achieved due to up-gunning and up-armouring said vehicles and a lack of air transport to move them anyway.

It's a matter of differing doctrines. IBCT's are designed to mostly move and fight dismounted. Vehicles add mobility and there's a difference between light unarmoured vehicles which are cheap and easy to air transport into a theatre and armoured ones which, while they offer some protection, are a greater logistic burden to get into a theatre and thereafter to operate. Generally vehicles such as the RWMIK Land rovers and Jackals and Coyotes of the Brit army are generally unarmoured (or lightly armoured) and open topped to allow the occupants to have full situational awareness while mobile and to fight from it, if required in an ambush. Same concept for the new US Army Infantry Squad Vehicle which is even lighter.

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medic5

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Thanks for clarifying.

Though I sure hope commanders don't use those light vehicles like armored vehicles, that would go pretty poorly for the crews.
 

quadrapiper

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...the new US Army Infantry Squad Vehicle which is even lighter.

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I see the driver gets some sort of seat suspension. Wonder what the chassis' suspension travel's like, because those things will be driven like they're stolen. Can't see it helping the back and spine situation.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Yeah, the USMC can always call on the Army for support thankfully.

Going further off topic, why do light infantry units in the US have so few armoured vehicles? Like for example, in Russian Airborne units they are equipped with BMDs, whereas US IBCTs lack any sort of comparable vehicle. It is a matter of doctrine or logistics? Wouldn't light units with armored vehicles have far greater staying power than what we have today while preserving strategic mobility?

Perhaps that was the original aim of the SBCT, but it is clear now that the planned mobility of those units will never be achieved due to up-gunning and up-armouring said vehicles and a lack of air transport to move them anyway.
I think it`s because the US can`t pull it`s head out of it`s ass in regards to having a light tank, the program has been a perpetual motion machine with vast sums spent and little to show for it. The Russians were able to stay on task and produce an acceptable vehicle that does maybe 75% of what they would like it to do and they accept that.
 

MarkOttawa

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The horror! The horror!

As Tank Battalions Shut Down, Dozens of Marines Are Joining the Army​

More than 450 Marines' careers have been affected by a forcewide redesign that launched last year as the Corps reorganizes to take on new threats, sending hundreds into new career fields, early retirement, or even Army tank units...

Mark
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medic5

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I think it`s because the US can`t pull it`s head out of it`s ass in regards to having a light tank, the program has been a perpetual motion machine with vast sums spent and little to show for it. The Russians were able to stay on task and produce an acceptable vehicle that does maybe 75% of what they would like it to do and they accept that.
Seems like the US are never going to find a Sheridan replacement, and the Stryker AGS is largely a failure and not exactly a light tank. It is nuts how ineffective US procurement is for the money that is spent.

Research/Design New Tank -> Testing -> Few Years of Nothing -> Cancellation -> Issue New Requirements
 

Colin Parkinson

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Seems like the US are never going to find a Sheridan replacement, and the Stryker AGS is largely a failure and not exactly a light tank. It is nuts how ineffective US procurement is for the money that is spent.

Research/Design New Tank -> Testing -> Few Years of Nothing -> Cancellation -> Issue New Requirements
I actually crawled around the AGS that Littlefields had, reminded me of a inflated Walker Bulldog, certainly nothing wrong with it at a quick glance, although the base armour is rather thin.
 

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medic5

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I actually crawled around the MGS that Littlefields had, reminded me of a inflated Walker Bulldog, certainly nothing wrong with it at a quick glance, although the base armour is rather thin.
From what I've read, the MGS (I meant to say MGS before) is cramped as hell, and if it takes a hit the odds of getting out not great. I guess it's what happens when you try to mount a tank gun on a Stryker.

How effective would it have been in its intended role instead of stuck in some counterinsurgency urban warfare type situation? I really struggle to understand the platform at all, it is far too vulnerable to perform it's support role in my opinion. Perhaps it and the Stryker program as a whole can be summarized like this: a mobile platform that is too vulnerable, so it is up armoured, which then becomes immobile, leading to a poorly armoured inmobile vehicle.

This is just my speculation and wild guessing obviously, I'm really not knowledgable at all about this. Please let me know if I'm completely missing the mark, I'm sure almost everyone here knows more about the intricacies of mechanized warfare than I do.
 

FJAG

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I think it`s because the US can`t pull it`s head out of it`s ass in regards to having a light tank, the program has been a perpetual motion machine with vast sums spent and little to show for it. The Russians were able to stay on task and produce an acceptable vehicle that does maybe 75% of what they would like it to do and they accept that.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that a "light tank" is by definition an oxymoron. The battle for armour dominance has never been won by building a lighter tank. It was won by either heavier tanks or so many medium tanks that they can absorb massive losses and keep going or by an intelligent mix of some heavy armour and a variety of anti-armour systems.

The Canadian concept of a Direct Fire System that wanted to marry up the MGS with a Multi-Mission Effects Vehicle (MMEV) was a nod in the direction of the latter but the MGS was the weak part of that equation because while the system combination might have done the job in defence it would have come up short in the attack.

You can have it one of two ways. You can have a "light tank" that's easy to transport to battle but becomes vulnerable to the proliferation of light anti-armour weapons (even with the best active protection systems), or you can have a heavy tank which can hold its own but is hard to get to the battlefield. Anything else is wishful thinking with current and foreseeable technologies. My own prediction is that the "light tank" concept will be replaced by small, unmanned, mostly-disposable direct-fire weapon systems which are cheap, and treated more like a munition than a deliver component.

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Colin Parkinson

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Very much "Western thinking". The purpose of a light tank is to have armour where MBT can't go, hence what a lot of small countries with poor terrain and infrastructure opt for lighter tanks. They accept the potentiel causalities caused by this, but feel the advantage of armour is worth it. In the US world, the reality is that light tanks would fill a temporary gap till the US was able to build their way in and support MBT's. The US is causality adverse and run into the same issues time and again. Which is that you can't have the same protection in a 30 ton tank as you do in a 60 ton tank, no matter how many fancy power points you produce suggesting otherwise.
 

Jarnhamar

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It's a matter of differing doctrines. IBCT's are designed to mostly move and fight dismounted. Vehicles add mobility and there's a difference between light unarmoured vehicles which are cheap and easy to air transport into a theatre and armoured ones which, while they offer some protection, are a greater logistic burden to get into a theatre and thereafter to operate. Generally vehicles such as the RWMIK Land rovers and Jackals and Coyotes of the Brit army are generally unarmoured (or lightly armoured) and open topped to allow the occupants to have full situational awareness while mobile and to fight from it, if required in an ambush. Same concept for the new US Army Infantry Squad Vehicle which is even lighter.

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Riding backwards, barf city.
 

Kirkhill

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What happens if you take a standard issue MGS - Stryker? Take all the armour plate and self-defence stuff off it, except, perhaps for an armoured cab with occupancy for two? The cab is occupied during road moves. The crew (commander and driver/operator) dismount at a safe distance from the enemy and then remotely manoeuver their Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun with its Auto-Loader into battery. And retires the SPATG after firing. With or without tracks.
 

FJAG

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What happens if you take a standard issue MGS - Stryker? Take all the armour plate and self-defence stuff off it, except, perhaps for an armoured cab with occupancy for two? The cab is occupied during road moves. The crew (commander and driver/operator) dismount at a safe distance from the enemy and then remotely manoeuver their Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun with its Auto-Loader into battery. And retires the SPATG after firing. With or without tracks.

As a gunner my experience with armoured warfare is limited (albeit having taken part in thirteen live fire battle runs with German Leo/Marder battle groups in Shilo, perhaps more than the average guy's)

Based on that limited experience I really don't think that your suggestion fills the bill, but not so much because of the concept but the basic doctrine itself. Long story short is that the Stryker (and the MGS) was not designed, nor intended for a high intensity battlefield. When developed at the turn of the century it was a middle option that provided "some" protection and mobility to what was in essence a light infantry force. It filled a gap between the light infantry brigades and the armoured brigades. Unfortunately, Canada only has this medium "interim" force as it's basically all singing and all dancing "full spectrum" army (Thank the stars for the serendipity of Afghanistan that saved a remnant of our armour capability despite all efforts to destroy it - I wish the same could have been done for the M109s and ADATS - if only the Taliban had learned how to fly suicide planes).

The question isn't whether we add or subtract parts and people, the question is what is our overarching doctrine for fighting a high intensity war. Once you have the doctrine, the components and the methodology falls into place. You need to do the same exercise for low and mid intensity conflicts to see what elements transfer between doctrines and which need components all of their own. In essence, this is why the Americans have ABCTs, SBCTs, IBCTs, Marines, and various add on components such as intelligence brigades, artillery brigades, air defence artillery brigades, sustainment brigades, manoeuvre enhancement brigades, divisional headquarters and corps headquarters. It's to have toolboxes that you can draw on with their own respective doctrines which will allow you to meet varying threat levels.

We dabble in doing that at a lower scale but there are some things that simply won't work. A LAV will never be a Bradley even if we hang a TOW on it. You can't cobble together an armoured battlegroup or brigade even if you have some tanks if it doesn't have a sound maintenance and supply system behind it nor proper artillery and air defence support.

Is there a conflict scenario where LAVs and MGSs would be of value. Probably BUT: forget about the idea of a rapid deployment of the force to a hot spot. We don't have the lift to do that (and for that matter, the Americans found that with all their resources they too couldn't deploy their SBCTs and division like they wanted to either) More importantly, I can't think of a scenario for Canada where we would deploy a medium weight force which would be expected to fight, rather than just defend itself in an extreme situation. I think we've had just about enough of this failed state fairy tale which was our "Future Force (2003) - Three Block War" transformation scenario. We need to get real serious about where we may "have to fight" rather than where we might choose to dabble and structure our doctrine for that.

The Marines have chosen and are building towards a new doctrine and a corresponding force structure. I think that's a real wise move. If nothing else it should provide a decent deterrent. The Chinese, however, are masters at pushing the envelope. I would think that the US Navy and Marines need to develop sound strategies and tools which will allow them to draw lines in the sand and enforce them.

As for Canada. I think we too have chosen the moment when we committed to both Latvia and the Ukraine. That's hard to draw back from without loosing major political face with Europe and the US. It's time we threw "Advancing with Purpose" into the dustbin where it belongs and build a new doctrine from scratch or adopt one from a more successful and invested nation.

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