Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Home Wreckers

LEATHERNECK, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Marines with Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), fires the main cannon of an M1A1 Abrams tank during a range at Camp Leatherneck, Jan. 13, 2011. The Marines are the first tank unit to deploy to Afghanistan (Official US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ned Johnson)

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney says

he believes he'll have to make a decision on

whether to have a heart transplant ..."

--Cheney says he may have to have heart transplant

RAW comment: Doesn't it seem a bit late?

On the avenue, Fifth Avenue,

The photographers will snap us

And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure

--Easter Parade
, Irving Berlin

Clank, clank

I'm a Tank

--Infantry barb

Something is always happening,

but when it happens, people don't always see it,

or understand it, or accept it


You ready to be fucked, man?

[W]e're gonna fuck you up

--The Big Lebowski

A belated commentary on the U.S.'s latest bad-boy entry into the Afghanistan melee: The company of M1 Abrams tanks rolling down an avenue near you, that is if you have the misfortune to be Taliban (U.S. Deploying Heavily Armored Battle Tanks for First Time in Afghna War.)

One must know that developed nations (a designation which still includes the U.S.) share combat doctrine that tanks fight tanks. Infantry supports the tanks. Tanks do deep objectives, religiously avoiding fighting in channelized environments like cities and built up areas.

No matter. Gushes the WaPo
: "They can destroy a house more than a mile away"!

Wow -- that sure is great: A tactic to destroy slow-moving houses a mile away. Our ardor was a bit extinguished when contemplating the question: "Why destroy a house if it is a mile away?"
Is the metric to win this war or the ability to fuck up houses in Afghanistan? When have hearts and minds ever been won by house-wrecking?

Do we have a clue how stupid and disconnected this violence has become? Will destroyed houses lead to victory or even democracy?

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Blogger Minstrel Boy said...

The Taliban doesn't have to destroy the tank, merely disable it by blowing a tread off with ANFO IED. Then as US dismounts surround the disabled tank and try to repair it they step on smaller no-metal content IEDS. Tanks did turn out to be effective in Iraq, but they weren't used for COIN.

It is worth watching the video attached to this article.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 5:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

The ultimate in snivel gear. Nothing like having a sixty ton handwarmer while walking patrol in the wintertime. With the heat coming off of the exhaust of those tanks joes won't even have to wear field jackets. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 5:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,

What, no quote from the movie Tank Girl?

Tank Girl: You gotta think about it like the first time you got laid. You just gotta say: "Daddy, are you sure this is right?"


Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 9:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

Seeking to protect another kind of homewrecker:
'Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat'.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 10:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You're discussing IRA tactics that were stolen from Partisan warfare.
Always fear the secondary ambush more than the primary, since the leaders often bunch up and responders are better targets than grunts. More bang for the buck.
I was thinking of you and wondering why you didn't cmt on the MOH articles that we recently discussed.
In addition tanks can't traverse the isolated valley home terrain of the Taliban. They're nothing but mobile coffins waiting for the funeral ceremony.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 11:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I was mech infy in Germany and we cooked on our engines, and SELDOM if ever turned our engines off since they would freeze up and we'd have to slave off of tanks.
We weren't allowed to sit on exhaust vents b/c of carbon mono, but we did it anyway.
Grunts are especially aware of tanks b/c any tracked vehicle is dangerous and will crush us if we're on the ground asleep.
I wonder how many houses a tank must destroy before the crews qualify for a CAB?

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 11:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Gays are "pure and rare like a snow white colt..." The Onion is brilliant -- the only honest news outlet today (provided one understands).


Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 2:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


My knowledge of pop culture is woefully spotty -- thank you so much for the apropos "Tank Girl".

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 2:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada deployed a squadron of Leopard 2A6 tanks to Afghanistan in 2006. Denmark sent a squadron of Leopard 2A5s in 2007. They seem to be useful in some cases, but it strikes me that they are used much as they were in Korea, once the lines settled down: long-range direct fire support of patrols.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The Leopard is a FINE tank ,but it is NOT a mobile pillbox, nor is it a support weapon.
WE have cheap recoilless weapons that'll do the same thing, and there's always my favorite-mortars and arty.An AT4 will do well for light infy fighting.
The tanks were psychological tools of intimidation with little tactical relevance.
Thanks for writing and welcome to RAW.

Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 11:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I absolutely agree with you - as a former infantryman myself, I see the value of recoilless weapons, mortars and man-portable anti-armour weapons (which also work fine to bust up houses, if that's what you need to do).

The Canadian Army, which took the 81mm mortar platoon out of its infantry battalions years ago (and gave them to artillery units), is now shedding the 60mm mortar in favour of some complicated 40mm beltfed grenade launcher that is expensive and advertises that it does airbursts, but will probably break within half an hour of taking it out of the box. These are definite steps backwards IMO.

Anyway, again you are right - the tanks are psychological weapons, clumsy ones at that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 12:31:00 PM GMT-5  

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