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Thanks for Keeping Me Informed
I appreciate your honesty and facts. I saw Bill Moyers' Now broadcast of Aug. 1 with Chuck Spinney so I found you via pbs.org site links. I have written Northrup which via Vinnell will be training Iraqi soldiers. I told them I will be watching them and not to profit off the troops sacrifices without consequences. Keep me informed of your progress and if you need help at some point with a donation, I will do what I can.
Ed: The best way to donate is to subscribe to the G2mil library for $29.95 a year. Click here to subscribe.
Joint Universal Spotters
you add our Air Commandos web page link to our excellent JUS web page since they share similar
Hopefully this is something along the lines of what you were thinking. I couldn't find any m1108 gifs, so have done it "KIFV" style, which I think is more practical. One version has a simple Russian style turret. the other a modified M60z type. A Soldier can sit in his pod, and above him with comfortable headroom is a individual hatch that opens back. In front of him, at chest or shoulder level is a firing port set in an armoured window -this window may have armoured sutters. He can fire through the port or open the window and fire from this without leaving his seat. He can also crack open the hatch to fire upwards, or get his buddy to do this while he uses both hands.
Individual hatch is lighter and quicker to open, and the divider will be a useful hand hold when clambering in and out. It also allows one man in the pod to watch his assigned quadrant heads up while the other rests, but does not leave a big hole for a molotov to enter. To shoot or operate heads up, the hatch is thrown back, the soldier puts his feet on a "fire step" such as an ammo box and hikes his seat up. He is still sitting but his shoulders are level with the hull top and he can rest his weapon on the hull top.
There is no need for the outward folding hatch since his front is shielded by the armoured window etc -if you want we can build crennels into the top of the window. Pulling a "panic handle" drops his seat (and head) down. The rear opening hatch does, however, protect the rear or the soldiers head from plunging fire (a tactic my father encountered in Malaya, and why he maintains that any armoured truck needs a steel divider between the men's backs. For debussing you can throw the hatch back and the window down -a middle support added to the tank roof would provide a useful handhold.
Ed: This is a great depiction. Phil thought two turreted machine guns would be better, with the M-60 type cupolas (although preferably with scopes rather than vision slots) and a provision for fitting .50 HMGs, 40mm AGLs or 30mm ASP cannon if more firepower is needed. This requires they be placed farther back, behind the driver. All four window hatches are closed, with two of the top hatches open. The canopy on top is an steel "tank roof" to provide overhead protection from artillery frags, top attack munitions, hand grenades, snipers high above, and the sun and rain.
Adapt old M-60 tanks
Here's an idea.. you know all those old tanks? m60s and the like,?
remove the turret, magazines etc. Stick a tank roof on
it, some hatches, I dont know what position would be best for that. beef
up the armour a tad, say apply some refractory ceramics- to resist HEAT, you'd
have an APC that was almost as tough as a tank, if it needs weapons
how about a remote turret on the roof, unmanned just give it a pair of M2
.50 cals- that should prevent the vehicle commander trying to use it as a
seeing as these older style tanks are a lot cheaper, diesel, and with all
the ammo outside the hull catastrophic fuel fires and ammunition
detonations would not occur. And I think that by removing that dirty great turret the silhouette would
be much lower < harder to hit> and you should get a lot more
speed out of the thing. I'm unsure of the weight of a turret and gun but
its got to be several tons.
Ed: I agree, these would allow for some instant well-protected APCs.
In response to "the ultimate APC", I have a few thoughts to consider.
Dispersing MCAS MiramarIntriguing article about dispersing Miramar. Thought I would bring up a couple of points. I have heard rumors about a possible move to March AFB, Edwards AFB, MCAS Yuma, and 29 Palms. If I had to guess, I would say it would be March or Yuma. The big problem I hear about the Stumps [29 Palms] is a lack of available water. I don't think Pendleton can handle anymore aircraft. With 2 training squadrons there now (the FRS's for the 46's and skids), the one runway is overworked as it is - and the skids are using the grass area beside it for most of their work. Maybe move those 2 FRS's (and the 53E FRS at New River) all to Edwards AFB where the Marine reserve 46 and 53E squadrons are. Also, HMT-164 isn't going anywhere for at least a decade due to the need not only to train new pilots but also refresh those coming back to the fleet. Likewise, New River has a problem with ramp space that became a problem when VMMT-204 stood up.
I don't think you will see a 53E squadron decommissioned at New River (You have 461 and 464 there now.) Even with only the standard 4 aircraft det to an HMM when deploying, you are going to need 2 squadrons of 16 - 18 to handle the normal MEU rotation. When the MEU's get plussed up with 6 or even 8 of the "Big Irons", you definitely need 2 squadrons.
You are spot on about the 53D's in Hawaii. The aircraft have never been SLEP'ed and are in horrible condition (bad enough that none went to Iraq - or even the last Gulf War). Likewise, the minimal amount of hours that they fly mean that the pilots are not current, much less proficient in their skills - no knock against the pilots, they just are not getting enough flying time. They are simply place holders for Osprey squadrons - and if I remember correctly, they are the last scheduled to be replaced by the MV-22.
I do think there are solutions that are overlooked. Switch the 53D's in Hawaii to the Reserves and send the Reserve 53E's to active duty. The total number of aircraft should be roughly the same. Activating the reserves 53E's to augment the MEU's while you have 4 squadrons of 53D's in Hawaii and never deploying is ludicrous.
Secondly, if you need more 46E airframes, there are 2 solutions: One is to pair down the 2 Marine reserve squadrons from their T/O of 12 aircraft to 8. This happens often at New River when a returning squadron is stripped of people, planes, and parts. Likewise, the Navy is retiring their 46D's. These can either be reworked and brought up to 46E specs, or can be sent to the reserves and the remainder of the 46E's sent to the fleet.
Finally, with the number of helos on the East and West Coasts, you are going to need 2 MAG's per coast. Matter of fact, MAG-16 just returned from Iraq and they fought as a MAG. Interesting to note that on the East Coast, the MAG's are mirror-imaged (1 53E, 3 46E, 1 skid each) while due to all of the skids being at Pendleton, the West Coast MAG's are somewhat different.
Anyway, good job keeping everyone on their toes and thinking.
Ed: If the Corps moves to March AFB, it would
have to become the host and pay for all that overhead. Then there
may be encroachment problems there by 2020. I've heard the USAF plans
to move more units there anyway after the 2005 BRAC. Its a great spot
for reserve units, with 12 million people living within a two hour drive.
Thanks for the water tip about 29 Palms.
However, four squadrons would add just 1000 Marines to a base with 11,000.
The easiest solution is for the Corps to snap up
the 43 MH-53Es, which the Navy has begun to retire in favor of cheap MH-60S.
Just scrap the old Deltas and put the MHs there. They were built after
the Corps Echos, so they are newer. The big problem with the CH-53Ds is that they
have to spend huge amounts to special order custom made parts. They
did that a few years back to stretch them to 2006, but the V-22 won't show
up until 2010 at best. They are very secretive about how many Deltas
are in service, but I suspect they've begun major cannibalization to keep
flight worthy. I doubt the Corps wants to touch the old Navy
46Ds, but then they plan to reengine all their Es anyway, so they could
include the old Ds.
That article is making the rounds.
Everyone agrees the fixed-wing part makes sense. But the rotary-wing
is up in the air as the V-22 drags on and the 53E SLEP is put off. MCAS Miramar should close! It will benefit the
Marines and 99% of San Diegans. Let's hope the selfish minority who make
money off the base and a few hardheaded retirees don't block progress.
Dear General Shoomaker, Ed: A retired Army officer offers this advice to
the new Army Chief of Staff
Ed: If the Corps moves to March AFB, it would have to become the host and pay for all that overhead. Then there may be encroachment problems there by 2020. I've heard the USAF plans to move more units there anyway after the 2005 BRAC. Its a great spot for reserve units, with 12 million people living within a two hour drive. Thanks for the water tip about 29 Palms. However, four squadrons would add just 1000 Marines to a base with 11,000.
The easiest solution is for the Corps to snap up the 43 MH-53Es, which the Navy has begun to retire in favor of cheap MH-60S. Just scrap the old Deltas and put the MHs there. They were built after the Corps Echos, so they are newer. The big problem with the CH-53Ds is that they have to spend huge amounts to special order custom made parts. They did that a few years back to stretch them to 2006, but the V-22 won't show up until 2010 at best. They are very secretive about how many Deltas are in service, but I suspect they've begun major cannibalization to keep some flight worthy. I doubt the Corps wants to touch the old Navy 46Ds, but then they plan to reengine all their Es anyway, so they could include the old Ds.
That article is making the rounds. Everyone agrees the fixed-wing part makes sense. But the rotary-wing is up in the air as the V-22 drags on and the 53E SLEP is put off. MCAS Miramar should close! It will benefit the Marines and 99% of San Diegans. Let's hope the selfish minority who make money off the base and a few hardheaded retirees don't block progress.
Dear General Shoomaker,
Ed: A retired Army officer offers this advice to the new Army Chief of Staff
General, if you expect to make radical changes in the Army then start with the force design process. By this I mean an immense reduction in the numbers of government agencies and official DoD people involved. In other words, decapitate your internal opposition before it can fight back. This has to be done before you can even consider attempting anything else.
If you simply toss another ROC into the existing TRADOC/AMC swamp you will get business as usual back out. I don't care how artfully your ROC is written. It could even be of Nobel Prize literature quality. I have seen lots of people on G2mil and elsewhere on the net say General Shinseki didn't listen at all in designing the new medium brigade. Au contrare, I think he listened very well to TRADOC/AMC. Everything that existed in General Myers' old heavy brigade is represented in the new medium one. In other words the bureaucracy was on autopilot and just divvied up the development and procurement funds according to their current internal balance of power.
The gnashing of teeth in Armor branch is merely helping persuade Congress something different is really being done this time. From this idea they're leaping to the conclusion the new medium design is rapidly deployable as advertised when in fact it isn't.
The same thing will happen to any further new initiatives proposed to the old system. The branch chiefs will all start meeting to decide their positions and protect each other's turf. Meanwhile the AMC bureaucrats and their existing contractors will all start lobbying Congressmen and Congresswomen and Congresshermaphrodites. People who've never been on an Army base will suddenly press release their entire districts because the widget sub-sub-sub contractor, a major political donor, told them changes are brewing that threaten the existing pork barrel ecology.
Branches in danger of being reduced to the point where their bases become BRAC candidates will get entire state delegations opposed to your changes before you yourself are sure what they are. Meanwhile on the strength of 'victory' Vth Corps staff will appoint itself to optimize the Army to refight the last campaign. PM Abrams has already contracted engineers and started this process.
After a few months your boss will be so busy answering Congressional questions he'll forget what he initially set out to do. Meanwhile your fully staffed 'answer' will return probably about the time his replacement is being confirmed by the Senate. Some existing variables x in the 'new force equation' will be 0.75x, others will be proposed to be 1.2x. But not one of these variables will order itself out of existence or initial its concurrence on the staff study that points things in that direction. And not one of them will support the addition of a brand new variable, i.e. a new competitor for resources.
I'll take just one example of our RDTE condition.
Small arms. You have a huge nest of termites inside TRADOC and AMC who still think the next generation infantry weapon will also shoot 5.56mm. They think this, work on this assumption and spend money in this direction despite the certain knowledge body armor proof against 7.62mm NATO is already being fielded to the Army and has already worked in Afghanistan and Iraq. Body armor with this performance is commercially available from South Africa and elsewhere around the world. We will not be the only ones with IBA quality armor next time. But TRADOC/AMC's bureaucratic intellectual armor is impervious to such simple public domain facts.
Result: We're issuing emergency buys for Barrett 50 cals any place we can find them and hauling M-14s back out of depot storage. Probably armor piercing bullets jazzed with teflon will get us through to 2010 but the RDTE ovary is barren thereafter as far as I can see.
The last new infantry weapon the Army developed in house that was good enough to type classify was the M1 Garand. Garand designed it at Springfield Arsenal in the 1920s. I make that 80 years since a usable personal weapon emerged from our internal system. The M-14 represented an incremental development on the M1. The weapon that became the M-16 was designed in the 1950s by a Marine veteran named Eugene Stoner working in his garage. M4 is to M-16 what M14 is to M1. Stoner's design is a contemporary of the B-52 and will probably outlast it for longevity. There has never been another era of stasis in small arms of such length in our Army's entire history.
For the majority of the 20th Century US infantry battalions were armed by one designer, John Browning. Browning did the .45 cal pistol, the M-1917 and M1919 .30 caliber machineguns, the M2 .50 caliber and the Browning Automatic Rifle. Go find the next Browning and five competitors. Just tell them the force required to kill the enemy you expect to meet in 2010 and 2020. This is how the .45 was designed. And also fire the hundreds of government funded lotus eaters writing emails and power point briefings about future infantry weapons.
With pistols we screwed around for several decades until Congress finally ordered us to license a design from Beretta and find a domestic manufacturer. I don't know the annual cost of the pistol RDTE bureaucracy in that era. But it was probably more than Browning got from us in his entire career for all his designs.
The rest of your force development and RDTE establishment is of equal or lower quality and loyalty. Many imagine TACOM is the Army's representative to Detroit. If this were true it would be based at Fort Knox instead of Selfridge. TACOM is Detroit's representative to HQDA. And it will join with existing industry and its heavy political connections to abort any initiatives that might lead to dollars flowing towards new industries or to small companies that will quickly grow large because they have novel technologies that are suddenly of military importance.
As you consider realignment consider this. Take away equipment RDTE proponency from AMC and give it to TRADOC. AND MOVE THE DEVELOPERS YOU DECIDE TO KEEP TO THE BRANCH SCHOOL POSTS. The infantry branch chief should become a LTG. This is because he ought to take over everything Natick does and also everything concerning small arms development. Same for Boss Armor and TACOM. AMC should devolve into a procurement contracts administration and material manager of existing type classified material. This is the biggest single change that might possibly start insulating the Army's future from current political patronage.
Good luck. Been There Done That.