Monday, March 09, 2009

giant armoured bus considered harmful

But not to the right people. Via Jason Sigger's blog, the US Marines have second thoughts about all those new armoured wheeled vehicles they bought.

Demanding more vague armoured vehicles was an easy cross-party response to Iraq; it got around saying whether you actually opposed the war, or what strategy you favoured. If you were on the Left, you were opposing and also supporting the troops, and that was enough. If you were on the Right, you were fighting the terrorists, and that was enough - and the program cost an absolute fortune, money that spread itself all over the military-industrial complex.

While the vast contracts worked their way through the bureaucracy, the soldiers worked out their own solution.
It's like I started to say after my month in Ramadi in 2005: the best IED armor is a sniper team.
It further turns out that the Richard North-championed vehicles are essentially incapable of manoeuvring off the roads, and they are too big to be handy in the city, so the Bush era created an armoured vehicle for use in Iraq that was best suited to Richardson, Texas or Egham, Surrey.

Off road -- even on a dirt road -- you can move them maybe one or two miles per hour. Cross country they have zero ability.

1 comment:

nojay said...

It's a tossup - either the troops ride in lumbering heavily-armoured vehicles which are at least somewhat resistant to mines and IEDs but they can't go off-road easily, or they ride in high-mobility vehicles (HMMVees and Snatch Landrovers) which can manoeuvre at speed even on rough ground but which come apart when hit by sufficiently large amounts of explosive. Adding lots of armour to a Hummvee or a Landy simply makes it roll over when it hits a bump -- see the number of US casualties in Iraq resulting from non-combat accidents when a hillbilly-armoured Humvee capsized into a canal and the passengers drowned.

The Serf Efrican police in the 70s used the first option with their home-built Warthog. It was a truck chassis with a lot of armour plate underneath the personnel-carrier section in a Vee-shape to deflect the blast from Soviet AT mines the Spear gang were deploying against them in Soweto and elsewhere. The chassis was wrecked but the passengers survived and could do their job afterwards. It was strictly an urban policing solution, though.

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